Drifting Further From Reality with Director Drew Tobia

See You Next Tuesday is a movie about a mentally unstable, very pregnant young woman named Mona. As Mona drifts further from reality, and thus closer to her mental breakdown, we watch as the people close to her – namely her alcoholic mother and manic lesbian sister – get caught in her downward spiral. As the film’s website puts it, “See You Next Tuesday is a dark comedy the whole family can enjoy cutting themselves to.”

This Brooklyn-based indie is the debut feature film from director Drew Tobia. Provocative and quick-witted, the movie feels at home in the world of fringe, queer cinema – a descendant of peculiar creative minds like Todd Solondz or John Waters. I recently hung out with Drew in New York to talk about divisive characters, girls who kick ass, and gay representation in film.

(Oh and p.s., I have a tiny role in the film–like literally two lines–and you can spot me in the trailer below the interview!)

Why did you want to make a film about a pregnant girl?

Drew Tobia: Well, I was interested in taking a concept that would be considered “mainstream,” but making it subversive and weird, while also retaining some semblance of heart. I wanted to create weird characters that I pushed to moral and emotional limits, and then dare the audience to like them.

Watching it, one does grow really fond of Mona, despite the fact that she’s a train wreck and not necessarily making efforts to improve herself.

Drew Tobia: That’s partly why I cast Eleanore Pienta to play the role, because she just immensely charming, so she can get away with saying almost anything and people still like her. There are still going to be people who have a violent reaction to her character, but clearly this movie isn’t for those people. But I still love all the characters in the film, even though they do terrible things.

Do you think it’s accurate to put the film in the category of queer cinema?

Drew Tobia: I definitely feel there’s a queer sensibility to the film– not necessarily in the forefront, but more in the execution of the humor, which can be dry and sarcastic, like an obnoxious gay man – a.k.a. me! Honestly, I was a bit surprised when none of the gay festivals we submitted the movie to wanted to show it. The thing is, there are two lesbian characters in the movie, but they’re not exactly the protagonists, and they’re not always portrayed in a positive light – they’re not in a very stable relationship. But because they’re lesbians, some people took their volatile relationship as a comment on lesbian relationships in general. But it has nothing to do with being gay or not – most relationships are unstable!

I liked the fact that the movie normalizes their gay relationship. It’s not glorifying anything about gay culture –the lesbians in the film are just as flawed or weird or boring as everyone else. I find it annoying that so often, especially in mainstream media, gay characters–their personalities and interests–are defined solely by their homosexuality.

Drew Tobia: I know, I hate that! Like, whose life experience is like that? I’m gay and I obviously love gay people, but I think it’s dangerous to define oneself as one single thing. It’s funny – following multiple screenings of See You Next Tuesday I was asked by audience members, “So, why were they lesbians?” And it’s like, “I don’t know, why wouldn’t they be lesbians? They’re just people. Also, I’ve been constantly asked “Why would you want to make a movie about women?” Of course, female filmmakers almost never get asked “Why did you want to make a movie about a man?” For some reason, making a movie about women is abnormal. When I began writing the script, I wasn’t setting out to make a movie about women or the female experience, because clearly I don’t know about that. But I’ve always loved movies about girls who kick ass. I loved the Fifth Element, I love BuffyEnlightened was amazing. I actually think I’m discovering my inner vagina, because I only listen to female singer-songwriters from the ’70s at the moment. It’s bizarre.

Watching SYNT I was reminded of the films of John Waters, partly because of the atypical characters, and also Todd Solondz, for its moments of bleakness…is it bad to us the word ‘bleak’?

Drew Tobia: Well, John Waters was a big influence of mine. When I was a kid I watched his movies on loop, especially Pink Flamingos. And I think you can use the word bleak, sure. Todd Solondz is amazing at capturing characters who are going through an extreme trauma, but portraying it in a way that’s both funny and heartfelt, and that was a big part of what I was trying to do with this film.

See You Next Tuesday is now available on Amazon and iTunes.

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People Who Just Had Sex: Deep Gay Love

The new episode of People Who Just Had Sex is out, yay! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the idea is simple–we go to people’s houses and talk to them before they fuck, wait around while they fuck, and then interview them again after they fuck. 

In this episode I meet Tobias and Brian, a Brooklyn couple who have had particularly unique and experimental sexual histories—from gay porn auditions, to Tobias losing his virginity on a plane, to three-way relationships, to a stint of anti-gay therapy prompted by the Mormon church. The couple met during pride in San Francisco five years ago, and after years of friendship they began dating seven months ago.

And if you’re still thirsty for more after you’ve seen the video, below, Tobias and Brian discuss all the juicy details of their sexual past and present that you didn’t see in the video.

Slutever: So, you guys both had pretty unique experiences when losing your virginities.
Tobias: Well, yeah, the first time I had sex was with a woman… on an airplane. I was 15, flying back to San Francisco from my boarding school in New York, and I was sitting next to this woman who seemed around 30. We were talking, and she got really drunk, and she eventually started slipping me drinks and rubbing my leg like “Oh, you’re so handsome.” She asked me what I did, and I said “going to school,” so I guess she assumed that school meant college. And then she just said “meet me in the bathroom.”

And you managed to full-on fuck in that tiny stall?
Well, she went to the bathroom first, and then I joined—she started to rub my chest, and I touched her breasts. And ya know, when you’re a teenager you get rock hard right away as soon as anything remotely sexual happens. She gave me a blow-job, and then she sat me down on the toilet and got on top of me, and in like 5 seconds it was over.

That’s a hard story to beat. Brian?
Brian: Well, I didn’t really do anything sexual with anyone before college. Then at college I worked at the gym on campus, and one day these two guys came up to me and said, “We’re going to a club tonight, do you want to come with us?” I was so nervous—I don’t think they knew that I was so new to this “gay thing,” but I was drinking my way through it. So they drove me downtown to this club and we were waiting in line to get in, and the one guy literally just put his arm around me and instantly I was rock hard. It was so embarrassing. I was wearing khaki pants and trying to cover myself, but he noticed, and I think it excited him. We ended up not even making it into the club, we just went back to his friend’s studio apartment with a couple other guys. So his friend took out a literal chair pad and put it on his kitchen floor and was like, “You guys can sleep there.”  We started making out, and soon his friends start watching. One thing led to another, and I ended up losing my virginity while two other guys were watching, jacking-off.

Did that turn you on?
At the time it was amazing. It’s so funny though, because when I look back, I never had that whole “romantic, losing my virginity” thing. But in a way I think it was a good thing to just get rid of it, ya know?

Yeah, I guess virginity is sort of like a disease. So you mentioned that you both auditioned for porn, but eventually decided against it. Have either of you ever considered other forms of sex work?
Tobias: I’ve done sex work before. I worked as a stripper, and as a naked cleaning guy, so when I auditioned for porn I’d had experience in the sex industry, but it’s completely different when you go on camera.

Naked cleaning guy—how cinematic. What were your clients like?
It varied. I had “stereotypical” guys that were huge and disgusting. I also had this one guy who had a totally filthy house. I walked in and was like, “Oh my god, am I really going to have to clean this?” And he was just like, “Whatever, just jack-off.” But then this other guy had a house that was eerily spotless, and he just wanted me to walk around naked wiping the clean counters while he jerked-off.

That sounds like a good job.
It’s a great job.

So do you guys ever use sex toys?
Brian: We have. I own a dildo, and we have wrist constraints that we use a lot. Tobias has a cock ring.

We gave you a double-hole sex toy from TENGA to try. I know at first you said that it was a little bit tight for Tobias but now there’s an ultra-sized version of the toy which is bigger. What I think is cool about it is that it’s a masturbation toy, but you can use it together, so it’s creates a different way of interacting with each other. I like to use a couples vibrator for that reason.
Yeah, that’s why I really enjoyed the toy too. When we first started dating, we did a lot of just mutual masturbation, which I think can be really intimate.

Brian: Yeah, when we started dating we waited almost two months before we had full-on sex. We fooled around, but it was important for us to take our time, because the goal was for this to be a serious thing. But masturbation with eye contact can be just as intense as sex. It’s hot watching someone give themselves pleasure—watching their movements, and learning what they like it. I personally really liked the egg masturbator too. It looks like your dick wouldn’t fit in it, but it’s actually really stretchy. It’s this really weird, squishy, stretchy material.

Tobias: I was using the egg on him, but I had to stop because he was about to cum, and we’d only just started fooling around.

Have either of you ever experimented with non-monogamy in the past?
Brian: I was in a three-person relationship for a year in college. The other two had been together for a couple of years before I joined, so I guess I was their “secondary parter,” as it’s called. And then sometimes we would bring even more people in, so I’ve had a fair amount of group sex.

Is that complicated?
It was fun, but yeah, it can get complicated. I ended up breaking up with them, but they stayed together.

But you guys are monogamous now, right?
Yeah, we’ve both had a lot of partners and casual sex, and what I’ve come to realize is that, when you’re in a relationship and building a life together, or even just building a sexual relationship together, the more you get to know that person, the better the sex is. And yes, I can find someone on my phone or go to a gay club and just have random sex, and it would probably be good, but our sex is better because of the level of intimacy we’ve established. I know that I have flaws, physically or whatnot, but I also know that Tobias is very accepting of me, so I can just be myself and not have to worry about ‘does my butt look good from this angle’ or whatever.

Tobias: Yeah, I think in terms of casual sex, you’re always trying to look good—to present a certain experience. But we’ve gotten to know each other on a very intimate level, and we’ve talked so much about our physical and emotional flaws. It did actually take me a while to get out of my head, but eventually I felt comfortable enough to Brian to let go, and that’s when sex becomes truly amazing.

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Halloween Costume Ideas for the Modern, Independent Slut

If you ask me, the key to a great Halloween costume is looking hot without looking like a desperate skank–it’s a fine line. A trick I’ve picked up over the years is: if you dress like a straight-up slut–i.e. like a sexy cat, a sexy nun, or Malibu Barbie–you just come across like a trashy basic-bitch. However, if you dress like a slut from a movie, you seem cultured and self-aware, while also “accidentally” looking totally fuckable. Success! Below is a list of some of my favorite film hotties, whose wardrobes make both provocative and functional Halloween wear.

Patricia Arquette in True Romance:

Trailer trash has never looked as good, or as fun, as on Patricia Arquette in her role as a call girl in one of my favorite movies of all time, True Romance.

Laura Dern in Wild at Heart:

The perfect excuse to wear skimpy body-con, a bright red lip and giant 80s hair.


It’s hard to pull of frilly, off-the-shoulder two-pieces and baby braids in real life, so you might as well seize the opportunity.

Eva Green in The Dreamers as Venus de Milo:

For the more adventurous party goer… 

Pam Grier in Jackie Brown:

A gun is the prefect accessory for a stewardess uniform.

Nastassja Kinski in Paris, Texas:

The most beautiful stripper in the most beautiful sweater.


One of the Heathers, from Heathers

Sexy, sophisticated and evil…

Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver:

The most iconic hooker look of all time.

Regina George in Mean Girls

A potentially obvious, yet classically good option.

Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour:

No prostitute has never looked as classy or as chic as Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour, in her wardrobe designed by YSL. Fuck Halloween–if I could look like this every day, I would.

Posted in Sex + Love Advice, Slutever Rants | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Islam and the Politics of Looking Sexy


This is Part 3 of Religious Fashion: a series of interviews with people who grew up in strict religious communities about clothing, sex, and how those two things sometimes overlap. If you haven’t read Part 1 you can do that here, which also includes a paragraph introduction to the series.

Part 3: Islamic Fashion

Aminah is a 28 year old academic, currently getting her masters in gender and development. You might recognize her as one of the ladies from the viral Mipsterz (Muslim Hipster, duh) music video. The Mipsterz are a group of young women proving that it’s possible to be stylish while still covering up, aiming to break the stereotype of the hijab as a symbol of oppression. Aminah was born and raised in Toronto to Muslim parents who immigrated from Pakistan. As an adolescent she never wore traditional Islamic dress, however when she turned 18 she made the independent decision to start wearing hijab, and continued to wear it for 10 years. Last year, she made the difficult and complex decision to take it off again.

It’s no secret that the appearance of women is a major issue in Islam. Muslims around the world have differing ideas about what constitutes an appropriate female dress code; while the most extreme believe that all women should wear a veil that covers the entire face and body, most commonly, it’s preferred that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face. Muslim men are also expected to dress simply and modestly–as a minimum requirement, a man must always be covered in loose and unrevealing clothing from his navel to his knee.

Hijab is the general name for the head covering worn by Muslim women after puberty, and also refers to modest Islamic styles of dress in general. In the West, there’s an assumption that wearing hijab demonstrates a woman’s inferiority to men, whereas Islam states that a modestly dressed woman commands respect and rejects sexual objectification. According to Islam, the “liberated” Western woman, obsessed with looks, figure, and youth, is the one living a life of slavery.

I recently spoke with Aminah about how wearing hijab has affected her life, the male gaze, and the politics of looking sexy in Islamic culture.

Why did you decide to start wearing hijab at 18?

Aminah: Well, first of all, a lot of people would assume that because my dad didn’t make me wear hijab growing up that he must not be conservative, which isn’t true. He’s very conservative, and he definitely had an obsession with telling us how to dress. But simultaneously, as a new immigrant, he didn’t want to ostracize our family and prevent us from assimilating. For a lot of Muslims who grow up in Western countries–and I’ve heard this from people in Orthodox Jewish communities, too–we grow up embracing the identity of our country–so we feel very Canadian, or very British, or American or whatever–but we also have this alternative identity because we were raised being told that we’re Muslim, and are therefore different. You can’t do everything everyone does–maybe you can’t go camping with the opposite gender, or go to the prom, and so you kind of feel like you don’t belong. But then, after 9/11, I noticed that a lot of Muslim women started wearing hijab. And then I went to university, and suddenly I was around way more Muslim women. St the beginning of the school year almost no one wore it, but then one by one girls started wearing it, and by the four year almost all of us wore hijab.

So you think the trend was about unity?

I do. Obviously covering is a tenant of that faith, but in my opinion, in a lot of cases, it’s more about identity politics. It’s sort of like how goths have their place in society. If you’re in hijab, other Muslims will be like ‘Hey, I get that girl, she’s like me.’ When I was younger I would have said wearing hijab was about God, but looking back I’m like, ‘Wow, maybe there really is a crowd-psychology, sociological reason that pulls people in.” There’s a comfort that comes along with feeling like you’re in a group of people who relate to each other.

I recently spoke with a Hasidic girl who said that the hardest part of leaving her religious community was taking off the outfit, because even though she no longer followed all of the rules, it was primarily the clothes that established the group mentality.

It’s good to hear that, because there’s a lot of Muslim girls who wear the outfit, and then people get shocked–especially non-Muslims–if they see her smoking a joint or kissing her boyfriend. And yeah, those things are taboo within our community, but they obviously still happen, but it’s just not talked about. So you can wear the outfit and be part of the group, but you might not be following all the group’s principals.

Aminah recently

So what’s the consensus on the recent rise of Muslim fashion bloggers–girls who are pushing the boundaries of hijab, most of whom look undeniably sexy, right?

Totally. There are some bloggers with like 100k readers, and some have makeup and fashion lines, and they do look sexy, and it’s sparked a conversation within the community about what is hijab and what isn’t. In certain ways, hijab can be seen as celebratory, because it separates you from the mainstream’s obsession with beauty, which is why a lot of women don’t like that hijab has become more pop culture and mainstream and fashionista. They would argue that if you’re wearing hijab you should be saying to the world, “I don’t give a shit. I’m being radical. I’m not going to do my hair.”

But surely these girls are being radical in their own way, right?

Yeah, I think these girls are challenging lots of things. They’re challenging the patriarchy within the Muslim community that says that a good Muslim women wears no makeup, averts her gaze, hides from the public, and is shy, humble and doesn’t laugh loudly. These girls are reconfiguring that and instigating a dialogue. I think a lot of Muslim women want to be pretty and fashionable and current, and maybe even sexy, but not in a way that’s overt. Many Muslim women are pulling from the Quran and saying, ‘Actually, it’s not my problem if a guy is looking at me, I can look good if I want to.’

So it’s not true, as we sometimes hear, that it’s the woman’s job to make sure men don’t look at her?

Not in Islam. In Islamic law men and women are both supposed to be modest. Muslim scholars wouldn’t say that the reason for a woman covering herself is to avert the male gaze. Because really, you can go to a Muslim country as a woman and be fully covered in black garb and men will still hit on you. And covered women get harassed in this country, too. If someone wants to sexualize you, they’re going to sexualize you. So the problem isn’t about women covering themselves, it’s about men who have been constructed to behave in a certain way, and that behavior being considered acceptable.

So if it’s not about deflecting the male gaze, especially in the case of a burqa, then what is it about?

Well the burqa isn’t something that’s common globally. Islam is a global religion–you have Muslims in Africa, in Saudi Arabia, in the West, etc., so there isn’t one monolithic practice, and that’s why a lot of people don’t understand us as much, because we come in very different colors and with different ideas. You will see women in Africa wearing hijab, and it will be tied in a turban, but she’ll be wearing a sleeveless dress, and that’s considered modest. But to achieve modesty in Saudi Arabia a woman will be wearing a full black veil, but it will be Christian Dior or Versace or whatever. So context is very important. So if you want to know why women cover that way in Saudi Arabia, well, I would say that it’s a lifestyle, it’s very bourgeois, a lot of the women there don’t work, it’s an oil country… but then the reasons why women cover in Afghanistan are different. And of course, there are examples of women being forced to cover.

How do you feel about that?

Well, I’m reluctant to talk about it because I don’t want Muslims or any religious people to be perceived as though they need to be saved by another ideology, or by secular humanism. In order to understand each other we really have to see where the other person is coming from, and to deconstruct and be critical of what we’ve been taught in our own culture. I live in a society where I was privileged enough to grow up with choice, so I can’t fathom what the life of a woman with no choice is like. But I do think the obsession around womens bodies is unfair, and that women are at loss when they have to cloak in such an extreme way, and aren’t allowed to participate in the public sphere or get an education, or even drive in Saudi Arabia. And those laws are usually not taken from the Quran. It’s just men at the top deciding what level of strictness fits their needs.

So earlier this year Lady Gaga wore a see-through neon burqa, and her song “Burqa” erotisizes Islamic dress. I’m sure she probably meant well, but many Muslim women have spoken out against the song, saying it evokes the worst stereotypes of Muslim women, painting them as submissive and sexually repressed.

Right, and that’s problematic. Like, when the women in the Mipsters video are wearing hijab in fashionable ways, that’s not submission, that’s power. They’re not just fighting against patriarchy in their own community, but in the West, too. The West is constantly saying that Muslim women are backwards and anachronistic, that we don’t contribute to culture, we have no art, we’re not intelligent–these are ideas that go back to colonial Africa! It’s the saving discourse, and some Muslim women resent it, and so in response they’re like, “No, actually, I like wearing it, I like covering my hair, it saves me time and makes me feel comfortable.” And ultimately they want to wear it because they believe in God. And as the world becomes increasingly secular and atheist, it becomes harder for the public sphere to grasp the religious community. But I think that goes both ways, and some Muslim women can’t understand why people like Lady Gaga, or someone like the feminist artist Petra Collins, for example, does what they do.

Why did you recently make the decision to take off your hijab?

Well, that’s a heavy and complicated question. I was comfortable in hijab, but then I started dating, and some of the guys weren’t Muslim, and people would literally stare at us in the street. Also, I felt like I was constantly being fetishized. I found that a lot of white men–and a lot of hijabis say this, actually–will fetishize you in this orientalist way, like they think you’re so exotic and want to take care of you, and treat you really peculiar, and that started to aggravate me. Especially in the work place. Or I would be riding a bike and people would literally point like, ‘OMG Muslim girl on a bike!” and sometimes I wouldn’t care, but other times it would just be like, ‘Ugh, fuck off, just let me ride a bike and drink coffee and play guitar and not have to answer to all of these politics.’ Ultimately, I just wanted to know what it would be like to blend in for once.

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