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, using a set of pre-determined questions. And by “gal pals” we don’t mean “girlfriends” or “wives” … we mean GAL PALS.
Today, Straddleverse Editor Carmen Rios interviews her BFF, Soph, who you may recognize from her time as a staff-human at A-Camp!
Carmen: How did we meet?
Soph: At A-Camp!
Carmen: We met at A-Camp 1.0.
Soph: I specifically remember when I met you because we had the same zip code at the time, because you lived in Cleveland Park.
Carmen: Oh yeah I did! And I remember that you had really intense long hair on one side of your alternative lifestyle haircut, and I was really terrified of you. In a good way where I thought you were really cool but it freaked me out.
Soph: That’s so funny, because I was so intimidated by the first camp.
Carmen: But you had this profile picture on Facebook and it looked like you were sitting in a throne. You were sitting in this chair with your long-ass hair and, I think, sunglasses. And when I added you, you had that nickname – Raptor? It was – I just figured you wouldn’t be my friend. But see, that’s why I feel like we got really close at Camp 2.0 because at Camp 2.0 I did the bad thing—that’s what we’re going to call it, “The Bad Thing”—and everyone was mad at me and I remember just walking over to you because I was your counselor and telling you that you had to hang out with me and drink with me because no one else would. And you said yes!
Soph: I was like: Alright. I like drinking and hanging out.
Carmen: Nothing about that was strange to you?
Soph: Well, I mean, the reason I went to the first camp was because I was moving back to the US from Geneva. I went to camp because I was like, there’s bound to be people who live in D.C., who are queer and go to this thing, and maybe I’ll make friends for when I move back, and it totally worked out. It was such a great idea in a way. But I also feel like people I met at first camp I’ve become better friends with than people I met at subsequent camps. Does that make sense?
Carmen: Is that because at subsequent camps we started hanging out with each other?
Soph: I think very possibly. We just haven’t made the same kind of effort.
Carmen: Okay, well, that’s fine. That kind of answers question two which is: “how long have we been best friends?” I would say we became absolute bros at camp two so that’s September of 2012.
Carmen: Oh my god that’s so long ago.
Soph: Is it?
Carmen: It’s 2015 now!
Soph: Oh my gosh!
Carmen: Whatever. We’ve been best friends for three years.
Soph: Feels like forever.
Carmen: This is a question only you can answer. Why are we friends and not girlfriends?
Soph: I feel like we just have friend chemistry not romantic chemistry, does that make sense? Like it never would have occurred to me to make a move on you. You’re an attractive person but, I don’t know there’s no real way to say it in a tactful way, but…
Carmen: No, I think it makes sense because everything you’re saying is how I feel as well about our friendship, like there was really never a moment in time where it was awkward to be your friend because I was never secretly pining for you.
Soph: We always got along so seamlessly and so well and it was always to fun to hang out together and it’s just never occurred to me.
Carmen: Wow! Okay. Sounds great.
Soph: You know I love you.
Carmen: I’m not offended at all.
Soph: I just, I also love that we both have dogs. I love it so much.
Carmen: I also really like that we have dogs, I like that your dog is big and my dog is so tiny. I really enjoy him. I also enjoy that our dogs are so different because I think we are so different from each other.
Soph: But I like that all four of us fit on one sofa.
Carmen: This is a really long sofa though. And usually Eli is laying on someone because he refuses to exist independently of everyone else in the room and he’s never going to leave you alone again.
Soph: Baldr takes up the room of three people, so.
Carmen: Just a note that, as we speak, the dog just curled into Soph’s lap. Okay. What have you learned from our friendship?
Soph: I want to say something like: the true value of loyalty and love. I feel like I learn things from you all the time when you tell me about newspaper articles I haven’t read yet. Or like, you teach me things about consent that I didn’t know previously. I don’t know, I think its a balance of things we learn from each other, that’s what makes our friendship solid and good.
Carmen: I feel like I learn how to “adult” when I hang out with you sometimes. Is that weird? Like knowing how to do things, real life things.
Soph: I do remember talking with you about taxes once.
Carmen: I talk about taxes with everyone. I become really unpleasant during the month of April.
Soph: We’ve talked about taxes more than once. I remember it not being April and you did that, so.
Carmen: Were we talking about taxes for fun?
Soph: Yeah, I think so. Um…I learned how to have a five hour brunch with you. I think we learn more things together than from each other.
Carmen: Yeah, we’ve definitely learned things about brunching together. I think if it were a sport, we’d be a championship brunching team in the doubles category. We really know the ins and outs of everything you have to do in order to make brunch last five hours.
Soph: And everything you have to do to make you feel like you can never go back to a place.
Carmen: Yeah, that’s a good lean in to the next question, which is: what are some of the most embarrassing things that we know about each other? I mean, probably whatever happened at brunch last week is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever seen me through.
Soph: It’s the most embarrassing thing we’ve ever been through.
Carmen: The time that I got really drunk on bottomless mimosas and encouraged you to steal a roll of toilet paper from the restaurant. I’m twenty-four.
Soph: Okay but this brunch was so long, I keep remembering things that we talked about and I don’t understand how we talked about so many things.
Carmen: Yeah, we covered a lot of topics at this brunch. But that definitely wasn’t the first time.
Soph: It was just such a vast array of topics.
Carmen: That’s true. We broke some ground with each other. We revealed some secrets really loudly in public.
Soph: Yeah, there was a deep sharing of emotion and feelings and we planned the future and organized and then shared opinions about finger-fucking and chlorine you know, very loudly, next to some children. And then we talked about lesbian bars…
Carmen: Then we talked about being the most attractive people in a room.
Soph: Yeah! Then we talked about straight people stealing the queer aesthetic. For a long time.
Carmen: Yeah, then I tweeted the thing that Marina said. But that was not the most embarrassing brunch thing that you’ve seen me through. I feel like we always have embarrassing brunches together. I’m really sad that you weren’t there the time when Eli flipped over the table at Boundary Stone. It just, it feels like you should have been there, because it would have been appropriate for you.
Soph: I feel like if I get embarrassed at brunch when you’re there, I don’t mind as much.
Carmen: Yeah, it’s not that embarrassing. I also feel like this question is about you seeing me go through something embarrassing, but like…
Soph: Going through, does that mean like a breakup? Like a prolonged thing?
Carmen: Yeah, I feel like we can’t answer this question because nothing super dramatic has happened. We’ve just been chilling for a few years. Maybe it’s just that we both feel no shame.
Soph: I think it’s that we have no shame because even when we talk about this brunch, I’m not embarrassed about it.
Carmen: I know, I’m secretly proud. The more time that goes on the more fun that brunch seemed.
Soph: Well, there was that time that we went to brunch and fell asleep, woke up, and we thought it was the next day and it was just 5 PM. I feel like that’s actually kind of embarrassing.
Carmen: Do you remember when we got so drunk at brunch, then went back to my house and got more fucked up and then when we tried to leave we walked all the way, like thirty minutes, to that lesbian party and then I realized I had left my wallet at home, and I took a cab home and walked the entire thirty minutes again, alone, and by the time I got there the party was just over. And we were like eating tacos?
Soph: I do remember that.
Carmen: Yeah, it was a night that ended in tacos, which isn’t embarrassing at all, but. I did walk alone.
Soph: I remember offering to go with you, but you were really on a mission. You were like: I’m gonna do this, don’t worry.
Carmen: I also think I once departed brunch with you and then walked down the street singing Alanis Morissette out loud.
Soph: We tend to sing when we get drunk though. We are those people who sing loudly on the street. I think the other day we sang Lana Del Ray?
Carmen: I know that I sang Sheryl Crow.
Soph: So we were all singing different artists, which makes it better.
Carmen: And I know we were talking about Uptown Funk, so.
Soph: Maybe we were singing Uptown Funk? Yeah, that makes sense. But it doesn’t make sense that we got home and watched Lana Del Ray videos.
Carmen: It just sort of happened. We started watching #homogoth videos. Let’s see. What was our biggest fight that was also embarrassing? Do you remember when we fought at A-Camp when we were too drunk?
Soph: Yeah, because I had…why was I wearing your crop top? I honestly have no idea. I think it was…maybe it was like I had your sweatshirt for some reason and then we switched clothes? Just like, over my shirt?
Carmen: That’s a distinct possibility.
Soph: Just for context, did I borrow it?
Carmen: No, we were in Klub Deer and I was dancing but I had changed in order to dance, and I went and checked on all of my belongings and my crop top and my sweatshirt were missing, and I started yelling at you because you said you were gonna watch them, but I didn’t realize you were wearing it—you were wearing the crop top—and I thought it was missing.
Soph: No, I asked you if I could wear it! I think we had a miscommunication in Klub Deer because I think you said—
Carmen: It’s not a very easy place to communicate.
Soph: Yeah, you thought I was asking if I could watch it when I was asking if I could wear it, like wearing your sweatshirt. Because I remember looking down so distinctively and realizing that your crop top was over my shirt in a really strange way, like underneath the sweatshirt.
Carmen: But when I asked for it back, you were like: I need to wear this shirt. And we starting fighting because I just wanted my crop top back, I’m really protective of it, and we got in a fight because you wouldn’t give it back to me. That was the night when you told me you were going to leave me there, and there was a bear warning! And you said: “I’m not your girlfriend.”
Soph: I remember that. Because you were freaking out, and I was like, “I want to fucking go.”
Carmen: “You’re gonna leave me here, just all by myself, with the bears, alone?!” You were like: “make a lot of noise and deal with it!”
Soph: We were at the smoker’s circle, and people were like…
Carmen: Everyone was watching us! And people in the smoker’s circle were watching us, the people in the Eagle Lodge could hear us. This was overshadowed, though, by Kaylah and Rory’s amazing lemonade tear fight. It was like: we got in this fight about the crop top, and then we went inside and Kaylah and Rory got in a fight about, I dunno what, lemonade? And then we walked out of Eagle and we all just stopped having these arguments.
Soph: Well, I wasn’t really angry. Half the time I feel like we were just enjoying being loud because we were really drunk.
Carmen: It’s true, it’s true, we were extremely loud.
Soph: Yeah, and at a certain point I felt like we were arguing just like, because it’s really fun to be loud and no one else will let us be this loud unless we keep arguing.
Carmen: I also feel probably like we just had some emotions that we were working through in that situation.
Soph: Yeah, it was a combination of both of those things and I was like: “You know what? We’re in this together.”
Carmen: Wow, so, that’s the story of our worst fight ever. Which isn’t that bad.
Soph: Which is something that I look positively on, because I’m an incredibly positive person.
Carmen: That’s a good perspective to have. Okay. Do you think our friendship would be different if we were straight? Well, probably we would make out more and hold hands on the beach.
Carmen: Because I’m like 90 percent sure that’s what straight friendships look like.
Soph: I feel like we would straighten our hair together while we looked into the same mirror.
Carmen: Oh my god, would be be biddies together? I guess what else would we do. So I guess we’d still be friends?
Soph: Well, I mean, we’d always be friends because we both have dogs.
Carmen: It’s true. And we would still be able to get drunk with each other and have fun. That’s a thing that I believe straight people do that too.
Soph: I’ve seen it, but I’ve always been suspicious of it, you know?
Carmen: Yeah, like I haven’t really observed straight people having brunch. Like, I don’t really know what that’s like.
Soph: Is it enjoyable?
Carmen: I’m assuming so.
Soph: It seems weird.
Carmen: I think a lot of our friendship would stay the same because I think a lot of our friendship isn’t based in the fact that we’re not straight. Except that it’s obviously why we have some things in common.
Soph: Like having dogs. It’s like another bridge. I don’t know what I’m saying.
Carmen: You’re really bringing it back here to the dogs.
Soph: I miss my dog! He’s outside. I don’t know what I would be like if I were straight.
Carmen: You know, if we were straight slash interested in dudes, it would probably just be like Broad City.
Soph: Yeah, true.
Carmen: So it would be the same but different. So how would our relationship be different? It would not be different. Okay, this is the last question. What role would I play in your wedding?
Soph: I’ve never really thought about having a wedding…
Carmen: I’m trying to imagine your wedding. I would like to be the bartender at your wedding, or the DJ, or…
Soph: Carmen, I’m going to have a dry wedding.
Carmen: WHOA! Is that how our friendship would be different if we were straight? No, see, we can’t go down that path again, it’s a dark place. Yeah, I’ll be the bartender, you have to have an open bar at your wedding, like… what?
Soph: I’d have to have an open bar but have it only be champagne and then we’d have one or two waiters who would refill everyone’s glasses constantly.
Carmen: Are you going to have a Maid of Honor? See the Maid of Honor thing with weddings I’ve always just sort of, I just feel like I wouldn’t do that.
Soph: See, what my cousin did was he got eloped, and then he came back and he was like: “Yo, I got married, let’s have a giant party!” and I really like that because you still get to have a big party but it’s not as stressful. Like, we want to celebrate with all of you guys, but…
Carmen: So you’re saying I’m not your Maid of Honor.
Soph: You’d be the person who would run down the aisles and high five everyone who was sitting in the aisles.
Carmen: But what if I wanted to be the person standing all the way in the back smoking a cigar?
Soph: You could be that person.
Carmen: Is that a person at weddings? A suspicious figure in the back of the room.
Sophia: I’ve never seen that person personally, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.