Far too often our queerness is only discussed in three contexts: relationships, family and politics. But our queerness plays a role in our friendships with other queers, too, and that’s what this series is all about. In honor of Gal Pal Week, welcome to “Interview With My Queer BFF,” in which gals interview their best queer pals about their exciting queer paldom. And by “gal pals” we don’t mean “girlfriends” or “wives” … we mean GAL PALS.
Today, HR Director Crystal is interviewing her BFF Desiree.
Crystal: How did we meet?
Desiree: It was at an Autostraddle meet up in Sydney, you had organised this thing at a weird hipster lesbian bar that had couches everywhere.
C: That’s right! It was the very first Autostraddle Sydney meet-up. I had no idea what that venue was, just that it looked like a place that a bunch of queers could comfortably sit and meet.
D: It was. I had no idea what Autostraddle was at the time, I was only there because Dina [wife] wanted to go. You and I didn’t talk at all.
C: No, we didn’t. I spent the night talking to people who were significantly younger than me, about television shows and university and other things that I had no idea about. I regretted not speaking to you. Even from the other side of the couches there were these good vibes, I was so curious about you.
D: At least you got in touch later and asked if we wanted to hang out. We went to a bar or something, and immediately clicked. We were both really into Castle at the time and so we bonded over that.
C: Yes! We both shipped Castle and Beckett. That was a strange time in my life, god. Beckett, what a babe. How long ago was that?
D: It was late 2010. It was a few months before I went to Hawaii to get married.
C: I think you’re right.
D: I am right. It was not long after you and Riese had recapped Skins. I know because I internet stalked you. Just a little.
C: That’s cute. The next question is how long we’ve been best friends, but I think we need to take a step back first. Are we best friends? We’ve never had that talk.
D: I don’t know. Are we? You’re definitely my best Australian friend, although I think at this point you’ve surpassed my American best friends. I don’t talk to them as much as I talk to you.
C: Okay, sweet. I’m glad we’ve established that we’re going steady. This feels like a big moment for us. Clearly I feel the same way, given I asked you to do this BFF interview. When do you think that transition happened, from friends to best friends?
D: It developed slowly. We emailed for a really long time before we started hanging out regularly. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint a specific time when everything changed.
C: For me, things started changing two years in. I remember that timeframe because one day we were walking somewhere and you turned to me and said, “We’ve known each other for two years but I still don’t know anything about you”. The moment stayed with me. I think it was so impactful because it had been a long time since someone had made me feel like they really cared to know who I was. Something changed in me, that day. We started growing closer and I started opening up to a few other people as well.
Also, that one time you helped me move out of my ex’s place and then we went to a pub and got drunk and took photo booth photos. That felt like a very best friend thing to do.
C: So why are we best friends and not girlfriends?
D: Well, I’ve been in a relationship the entire time that I’ve known you. You have too, mostly. For a while you were the only person I knew who had been in a long-term relationship like mine. Also, we are way too similar.
C: Yes! Waaaayy too similar.
D: We would have the most boring relationship.
C: We’d just sit around quietly watching Castle re-runs.
D: It would be — it is — a great friendship. But in a romantic relationship, at least for me, the other person needs to have things that I don’t, and vice versa.
C: I feel the same way. I’ve only ever been in relationships with people who have different emotional needs and personality types. I feel like my perspective is forever being broadened and challenged, and I love that.
D: Exactly. Dating someone exactly like me would get so boring. You and I would have a really stable relationship, though. We’d never fight. And if we did, we’d resolve it the next day. I’d be really stubborn in the moment but then give me 24 hours and I’ll admit I’m wrong, even if I’m not.
C: Really? That would work perfectly because I never admit to being wrong about anything. 24 hours is too long, though. I’d be over it within 24 minutes. Most fights end with me losing interest almost immediately and pushing for a change of subject, even if I was the one who set things on fire.
D: Now I’m going to revise my answer because I also always want conflict to be over immediately. I think it’s why I’m quick to say I’m wrong. I’d rather have the fight be over with than “win”.
C: You know what we would never argue about? Clothes. We would have such a great clothing situation.
D: Oh yeah. That part is a shame, isn’t it. We’re the same size and we already wear the exact same clothes. We could double our wardrobe. That’s the real downside of us not dating.
C: What is the most annoying thing about me? That I’m moving to America?
D: Yes! That is so annoying. That aside, this is a really hard question. I don’t think there’s anything annoying about you. Do you think we could be in some kind of friendship honeymoon phase?
C: Maybe. Or maybe I’m just not annoying.
D: Oh no, wait. You’re really hard to read. That’s annoying.
C: I have heard that before, I’ll be honest. From every person I’ve ever met, actually.
D: I think because I spend a lot of time on the internet, I see so many people having these extreme reactions to absolutely everything, their feelings are amplified by a thousand. But you’re so leveled out. It can be hard to tell how you feel, like whether you’re into something or not.
C: That’s fair. In case you want to know, and I bet you do, your most annoying habit is being ridiculously nice. It’s obviously one of my favourite things about you but sometimes it’s difficult to witness because I feel protective and don’t want anyone to ever take advantage of your kindness.
D: I think the thing is that I just really hate drama and so I let things go quickly. But so do you! I know you understand that.
C: I think you take it to a new level, though. Your chill is inspiring. I don’t recall ever hearing you say negative things about people or casting judgement on their choices, and that’s something I really admire and want in life.
D: That’s interesting because being non judgmental is actually not something that comes naturally, but in the years I’ve known you it’s become a thing that I try really hard at. I think it’s also partially Autostraddle’s influence, the whole “You Do You” mantra.
C: That is interesting, I had no idea. Speaking of learning things, though, what have you learned from our friendship?
D: Well, when I first met you I knew nothing about queer culture. I’d probably only seen Better Than Chocolate.
C: What’s that?
D: A movie.
C: Oh, right. Sorry, continue telling me how I taught you about queer culture.
D: I didn’t know who Tegan and Sara were! I remember asking you one day, like “who the hell are Tegan and Sara and why is everyone on Autostraddle so obsessed with them?” It wasn’t just pop culture, though. Our friendship helped me to get more in touch with the queer community in general. I started going to Autostraddle meet-ups and A-Camps.
I sort of hate the phrasing of this question. What I’ve “learned” makes me think that my answer should be how to basket weave, or something.
C: I wish we could both basket weave. We could start a cool basket club.
D: I’d like to reframe this to be what I admire most about you, which seems fair given you just made me admit what annoys me. You’re a really brave person. I know for both of us, maybe me more than you, we can be a little scared to put ourselves out there. But you do it all the time with your writing! You put out these really personal articles and I think “man, I could never just open myself up like that to a bunch of internet strangers”. I can barely write an internet comment, or a tweet, or a Facebook post without over-thinking it to the point where I give up and don’t do it at all.
So you really inspire me to try and put myself into situations where I’m not 100 per cent comfortable. Honestly, it’s the only reason I’m doing this interview with you. I’m not sure anyone else could have convinced me.
C: Now that you’ve brought it up, I was kinda surprised you agreed to this. I didn’t say anything in case you second-guessed it and took back your very reluctant compliance.
My biggest learning from our friendship is that the right people will think being my friend is worth it any hard work that may come with. Because I worry about that, being difficult to read and slow to open up to people. They aren’t the easiest conditions for friend-making. But you’ve always been so patient with me, despite your comment about it being annoying. You’ve never pushed me to give or show more than what I’m comfortable with. That gives me hope for making new friends in America.
What role would I play at your wedding?
D: I wouldn’t put you in the spotlight, because I know you don’t like that. You would still be in my bridal party though, just not as the main person. That would be my sister.
C: That sounds great. I guess call me if you ever renew your vows.
D: It does suck that you weren’t at my wedding. We were friends but not ‘fly to Hawaii for a wedding’ friends. Although even if I had invited you, I’m not sure you would’ve come.
C: Probably not. It was too soon. Sometimes I get sad about that too. I know now that having a friend who would fly halfway around the world for your wedding is such a special thing. I wish I could’ve been there for yours.
Your role at my wedding would be the important logistical responsibilities because I’d trust you more than anyone else to get shit done. You’d help to set up and make sure that the photographer and DJ get their pay cheques at the end of the night. My wedding sounds really un-fun for you, I’m sorry.
D: I love responsibilities! I’d like those jobs.
C: Rad. I’m writing that down for later. The final question: what is the most embarrassing thing you’ve seen me do?
D: I think you try pretty hard not to be embarrassing ever. Your dancing is a little embarrassing but even then it’s also kind of great, I’d like to see you do it more often. You are a very non-embarrassing person.
C: This feels like a really great message to close with.