[EXCITED MUSIC IN]
TOBIN: Guess what’s happening?
KATHY: What is happening?
TOBIN: We are back! Nancy season 2!
KATHY: The sequel. [TOBIN LAUGHS] We’re a franchise now.
TOBIN: Nancy, 2 Fast 2 Queer 2 Furious.
KATHY: Sharknancy 2?
TOBIN: I like it. Nancy, Back in the Habit.
KATHY: Nancy and the Temple of Doom.
TOBIN: [LAUGHS] My only hope is that we're not as bad as like a straight-to-VHS Disney sequel, you know where they don't get any of the original voice actors?
KATHY: Yes. Mulan 2?
TOBIN: Oh my god!
KATHY: Did you ever see that?
KATHY: First of all, predictable ending. Three guys end up with three girls. Ugh.
TOBIN: I don't like it whenever there's offspring involved because then it's like uh Disney characters had sex.
[MUSIC ENDS] Disney sequels are terrible.
KATHY: Okay, ew. This is a bad idea.
TOBIN: Nope, too late! Run the show theme!
VOX 1: From WNYC Studios, this is Nancy.
VOX 2: With your hosts, Tobin Low and Kathy Tu.
TOBIN: Yes Kathy.
KATHY: I think you and I chose podcasting for a reason.
TOBIN: I think I know where you're going with this.
KATHY: And that reason is we're not comfortable really in front of people. We're comfortable with our voices.
TOBIN: I know, my comfort zone is disembodied voice.
KATHY: Yeah sometimes I'm not even comfortable with that, let's be real.
KATHY: So very recently, my friend Allie, fellow queer, decided that since it's summer and it's hot outside and I needed to go out and meet more people, more women, that we needed to go to a pool party.
TOBIN: No, absolutely not. [LAUGHS]
KATHY: That's what I thought too!
TOBIN: I have been on Instagram and have seen photos of these adult pool parties where everyone is gorgeous and there's bottle service happening and I feel like for me swimsuits have always been a very emotional thing.
KATHY: Emotional thing? [LAUGHS]
TOBIN: There's a lot of feelings!
KATHY: Yeah I too am uncomfortable in a bikini.
KATHY: And I think there's a lot of people who feel similarly weird about swimsuits and showing skin and all of those things.
KATHY: So, this pool party I was talking about, I just wasn't sure if I wanted to go.
TOBIN: Like, what was it like?
KATHY: Allie and I took two trains and then we walked for twenty minutes in the dark, very Stand By Me-like, and we arrived at this giant house on Long Island. And when I got there I thought I would just talk to people about those bathing suit feels.
[PARTY NOISES FADE IN, CLASSIC ROCK MUSIC PLAYING]
POOL PERSON 1: A queer pool party is the best pool party.
KATHY: Yeah? How is it different from other pool parties?
POOL PERSON 1: I think it feels like easy to be in a bathing suit and not feel like people are being disgusting around you. Yeah, it's amazing.
KATHY: How would you describe this party?
POOL PERSON 2: Lit. You know I might look a little queer but I'm really just an old school lesbian, and so I have here some gym shorts with a swimsuit bottom underneath and a sports bra.
POOL PERSON 3: It's a floral one-piece, a friend of mine made it for me so I like love wearing it everywhere.
POOL PERSON 4: It is a top that I got at Target and then re-sewed to fit my exceptionally large tits.[LAUGHS]
KATHY: Is there anything about your body that makes you self-conscious?
POOL PERSON 2: Everything. Yeah I've been working on trying to get a six pack and it's just, my sister calls it a six pack of fat that I'm working with here.
POOL PERSON 3: Ugh, genitals. That's a big bit of insecurity for me.
POOL PERSON 6: I have stretch marks on my thighs and I cover them all the time. With anybody else, I wouldn't care. Like if I was seeing them I'd be like, yes let me kiss all of those stretch marks. But on me, I'm like I gotta cover that. [LAUGHS]
POOL PERSON 7: I was like the freak that was hairy with braces, didn't speak English.
POOL PERSON 8: Braces, mustache, glasses.
POOL PERSON 7: I call it my ugly duckling phase.
POOL PERSON 8: Yeah absolutely, and honestly if you don't have an ugly duckling phase I kinda don't want to be your friend.
KATHY: Yeah who didn't?
POOL PERSON 8: They called me Dumbo in school.
POOL PERSON 7: Baby your ears are beautiful!
POOL PERSON 8: I was very well teased.
POOL PERSON 7: I was very well teased too, I feel like most queers are very well teased.
KATHY: What's your favorite thing about your body?
POOL PERSON 9: I like a lot of things about my body, I like my hands because they remind me so much of my family's hands.
POOL PERSON 3: I love my lips and my legs.
POOL PERSON 4: My collarbones. Are there parts of your body that you love so much?
KATHY: I think I like my legs. You can't tell because I'm wearing pants. [LAUGHS]
POOL PERSON 4: Yeah thanks a lot.
KATHY: Do you feel more comfortable at this pool than other pools?
POOL PERSON 11: Oh for sure, yeah. Like at first I was like oh do I want to go in? Do I feel comfortable in this bathing suit? But then also I'm just like this is the most accepting community that you could be in.
POOL PERSON 6: It's just like you wanna meet people? Cool this is the way to do it and isn't that what queer spaces should be about?
[SOFT MUSIC FADES IN]
TOBIN: Kathy, that sounds really lovely I'm a little jealous.
KATHY: Yeah it was actually a lot of fun. I think YOU should find a queer men's space or something, like a queer men's pool party how bout.
TOBIN: Uhhhh, I'm gonna pass, I'm gonna say no.
KATHY: Tobin, why?
TOBIN: I have complicated and let's say negative associations with pool parties.
KATHY: Uh tell me more, tell me more.
[SOFT MUSIC ENDS]
TOBIN: Okay so when I think pool parties my mind goes back to fifth grade when I got invited to like a big social hang kind of pool party. Do you remember those? It's like you're all tweens and some popular kid is like come to my pool, eat pizza, don't throw up please.
KATHY: I've seen this on TV but I never got to go to those things because 1) my parents wouldn't drive me anywhere, and 2) I don't know how to swim. [LAUGHS]
TOBIN: First of all, I apologize. I guess what I would say is like, this is a thing that can be a big deal at that age because you're sort of all running around and it can be very intimidating cuz you're just starting to think about your body, you're starting to enter that part of teenage years where it can get really hard.
KATHY: But like were you thinking about like, I don't know, running around kissing a girl or a guy or something?
TOBIN: No, well I mean, that scared me too, but the thing by far that scared me the most was the idea of having to take my shirt off in front of other people.
TOBIN: Growing up, I was always overweight. I had the kind of cheeks adults like to pinch and the kind of shape that kids like to make fun of. So when it came to my body, I developed strategies. Like if I got invited to play soccer at recess, I'd volunteer to be the referee so I wouldn't have to run or jump in front of anyone and face the inevitable ridicule. I developed a self-deprecating sense of humor. There was no fat joke you could make that I hadn't already made about myself. And when faced when having to dive into a pool or go to the beach, I pulled the old keep my shirt on in the water trick.
[MUSIC FADES OUT]
TOBIN: Which is basically what I did the entirety of that pool party. What little time I spent in the water I kept my shirt on. The rest of the time I ate snacks or played games on the lawn, I had terrestrial fun.
TOBIN: But as I watched the other boys, the thinner boys, walking around shirtless with a confidence I didn't have, I felt jealous. I imagined a line that divided them and me. We were not the same. When I got in my parents' car at the end of the night, I felt relief. I had successfully avoided showing my body. Back then, I used to tell myself that it wouldn't always be this way, that I would eventually figure out the secret to being more confident in my body. Turns out, I was really fucking wrong.
TOBIN: [DEEP BREATH] Okay.
SABRI: It's good to see you!
TOBIN: It's really good to see you too. It's been a really long time.
TOBIN: This is Sabri. He's a friend and former coworker. I used to be his intern.
TOBIN: Best one there ever was.
SABRI: No but for real. One of absolutely the best.
TOBIN: [LAUGHS] So basically I'm working on a story about how I hate my body, always have. And one of the reasons I want to talk to you is because, I think if I were to imagine what my perfect body would look like or the body I imagine I would have and feel okay about it or good about it, it is your body, Sabri. [LAUGHS]
SABRI: Okay, um, I think thank you, I think, that's nice, but that's also um, okay.
TOBIN: Yeah. [LAUGHS NERVOUSLY]
[SOFT MUSIC FADES IN]
TOBIN: Let me back up here. Sabri and I have been friends for a couple of years and in those years I started following him on Instagram. Typically you don't see your coworker shirtless but on Instragram Sabri would post pictures of whatever he'd been up to. And whereas my Instagram photos tend to be shoulder up, his I would say are torso inclusive. He has a Superman body...broad, muscular chest, built shoulders, thick arms, and the fucking V, you know what I'm talking about. I'd scroll through and see Sabri in a similarly muscular group of gay men on a boat, on a hike, next to a volcano. They just seemed so comfortable with their shirts off. And the second I saw their bodies compared to mine, I did the thing I've been doing for the last thirty years.
TOBIN: You're having some thoughts or feelings.
SABRI: Well, um, I guess I have a few thoughts. One is that whatever one might think about my body, when I go to the gym there's a whole bunch of guys who I look at is like oh my god I wish I had their body. Like, I wish, ya know, I were bigger, or gosh those guys' shoulders are bigger, or oh my gosh his ass is like... you know, I wish I had this, I wish I had that.
TOBIN: Do you think of yourself as somebody who is like in shape?
SABRI: Um, I mean I think I'm somewhat in shape. I mean that's different because, I mean I do have some muscles but they are largely vanity-based and I probably could not survive in the wild. [ALL LAUGH] Like I would probably get out of breath if I had to run around the block. Why are you thinking about this?
TOBIN: Well it's a thing I feel bad about, which is that like, you over the years have been very sweet to me and invite me to a lot of things, like pool parties and all of that. And if I'm being totally honest, because I follow you on Instagram, I have tended to say no and made up an excuse, but the actual reason is...um, your friends are very muscular and I'm very self-conscious about it. Um and I don't know, I know that's my shit that's not your shit but that's a thing I feel very weird about. I don't know.
SABRI: [SIGHS] You know that you are the third friend to say that to me.
SABRI: Yeah. Especially with that pool party that I threw. I feel bad about that. And um yeah a bunch of the people I invited to the party, they were all from my gym for example, and you know they're largely people I see there the most and so yeah a lot of them have big muscles or whatever. But they're also I mean I don't know them that well, I mean I know you much better than most of the people, and same for my other friends who said the same thing, and it made me feel bad. It also made me feel like maybe I'm the problem.
TOBIN: I don't want you to feel bad in talking about this because I realize it's a construct that I made in my mind also, right? It was like, it was a barrier that I put up.
SABRI: Yeah I get that. I mean, but it also still made me question, why did I invite half my gym to this party? I mean I still invited you and people who I know but like, why did I also invite half of the f-ing gym? Why did I do that? It made me want to step back and think what are processes here implicitly at work? And are they problematic?
TOBIN: Do you feel like you came up with any answers for yourself?
SABRI: Yeah! One is I need to look at my own gaze, does that makes sense?
SABRI: Like, we are super superficial as a people, okay? [TOBIN LAUGHS] We are extremely superficial, in my view. So the lesson that I learn is, for all the complaining about superficiality that one does, am I doing it?
TOBIN: I'll tell you what I'm oddly comforted by, I guess what I feel comforted by is that we're both really awkward talking about our bodies.
TOBIN: Like we both got a little weird about it and a little awkward and there's something a little nice knowing that you also...
SABRI: Just as crazy.
TOBIN: Yeah. [LAUGHS]
[OCEAN AND SEAGULL NOISES FADE IN]
TOBIN: Do you wanna introduce yourself and tell me where we are right now?
JAMES: Alright, alright, I am James T. Green. I am a queer male, Midwest born and raised, and I'm at Riis Beach right now. It's beautiful!
TOBIN: Riis Beach is the historically queer beach down in Queens.
TOBIN: Um, I know I was a little cryptic in my request to bring you out here.
JAMES: Yeah you were.
TOBIN: Well first I'm going to do something that, okay yeah here we go. [RUSTLING NOISES] Okay, I am so deeply uncomfortable with my shirt off.
JAMES: Oh no!
TOBIN: So I thought I would, if we're gonna talk about body stuff, I thought I would take us to a place where I am deeply uncomfortable.
JAMES: Oh no, oh no. You look great, you look great.
TOBIN: [LAUGHS] Thank you, James.
[MUSIC FADES IN]
TOBIN: James and I became friends more recently but I already feel inspired whenever I'm around him. There's a couple reasons. He's proudly bisexual, he has great style, but also...
JAMES: I like to look at myself as like a delightfully doughy person.
TOBIN: He is confident as fuck. James is who I think of whenever anyone mentions the words, "body positivity."
JAMES: I don't have a six pack. I feel like it is a political act, to walk across the beach in a body of my type and not feel like I have to hide it. I walk with my chest out. I walk confidently. I strut. Just even like comfortably coming here right now and just completely basically disrobing without a blink took roughly fifteen years to get to this point of just like ease. You know what I mean?
JAMES: I remember particularly, it was this very day, in fourth grade. It was a rainy day obviously in the Midwest and everyone's taking off their jackets, so I was taking off my pullover jacket and of course with a pullover jacket you have to remove it over your head. And as I was removing the jacket over my head, it caught onto my shirt, so of course my entire body showed to the rest of the classroom. And one of the guys was like “James, he's got titties!” It was that moment, particularly, when I was like, my body is a problem.
TOBIN: When you would diet or when you would try to lose weight, did you have like an ideal body in mind? Do you remember what that body looked like?
JAMES: Wow. [LAUGHS] Oh man this is so embarrassing. My ideal body was The Famous Jett Jackson.
TOBIN: Oh my god. [LAUGHS]
JAMES: Like, I saw him and I was like that is exactly what I want to look like. His body type is like, imagine if you're playing a video game and you're creating a player and the default player pops up in this create-a-player situation, that is Jett Jackson. It's like I guess the perfect body that would blend into the background. Like you're not completely bulk but then you're not fat, you're right in the center, and I wanted to be directly in the center.
[LIGHT PERCUSSIVE MUSIC FADES IN]
TOBIN: James says he put himself on an intense diet over winter break of his senior year of high school. He also started over-exercising. In just a couple weeks, he went down four shirt sizes and lost six inches off his waist.
JAMES: The pinnacle moment where I felt like I was on the top of my game was, we went to Six Flags. And I remember the last time I went to Six Flags I was bigger, so I could not ride on the Raging Bull. It was this ride, it was the most popular ride, it had just opened up. And I couldn't ride it because I was thick, you know I was a thick boy, and they couldn't put the harness past my legs cuz they were too big. So I remember particularly feeling so embarrassed because I had to wait on the side for them to ride the Raging Bull and come back. But I went with the same group of friends when I was thinner and I sat down and it went over my thighs, and I remember I gave the biggest yell.
[LIGHT PERCUSSIVE MUSIC FADES OUT]
JAMES: I was like I'm riding this with y'all and then that day I literally went ham, I rode every single ride I could not get on. And I felt like I was amazing but still I felt terrible. I mean I got terrible headaches and it's weird I look back at pictures of that now and I look at my face and I realize I look malnutritioned, like you just see that you weren't bright in the face. But everyone's continually telling you, you look great, you look great.
[BEACH AND OCEAN NOISES FADE IN]
TOBIN: How do you feel about your body now?
JAMES: [SIGH] That is a tough question. It's like I talk so much about being so happy about it, but like even as I sit right here and I'm talking to you, I still keep looking at people that pass by. It will be a brief moment of comparison of like “oh man that person's chest looks so much better than mine.”
TOBIN: If I could wave a wand and you would go back to your thinnest, but also all of the problems that came with it, but you would be at your thinnest again, would you take it?
JAMES: Oh my gosh, um, oh man, um, every once in awhile, goddamn, like I would. And that sucks. And it sucks to say that. I felt like it took years just to get to a point where I can walk on a beach and without a blink, take off my pants, take off my shirt, and sit and be like I'm not only going to be on a beach but also eat chips on the beach. Last time I was here I took two slices of pizza out of my bag and I ate them, with my shirt off.
TOBIN: Like, you're not catching me pre-weight loss journey, like I am where I am.
JAMES: Exactly, exactly. Um, why don't you like your body?
TOBIN: Uh...um. I think it's a similar thing to what you were describing where you get the messaging very early on that's there's something wrong with it. And then I think especially when I started to come out and be more involved in gay culture, in queer culture, all of the messaging is like be muscular, be white, be hot. And so like...
JAMES: No fats, no femmes...
TOBIN: No Asians, no Blacks...
JAMES: Yep yep yeah... [LAUGHS]
TOBIN: And I think there was this assumption that if I could ever get to that that I would be finally comfortable with myself, and since I never have, I've never been comfortable.
JAMES: But you look so good! You look so good.
TOBIN: But that's a forgiveness you give to everyone else but yourself. Like, I think you look great too.
JAMES: It's that kind of feeling where no matter what you still feel like you're on the sliding scale of people. So I'm like here on the beach and I'm feeling like my best life and I don't know maybe there might be somebody who's like, wow he's like out here and I'm like I don't give a fuck what you think. Like I have the best thighs in the world. I think I have the greatest looking thighs. I think my calves are just amazing, I think they're so sexy. And looking at these things as like, this is just my body.
TOBIN: Should we break into snacks?
JAMES: I think we should!
TOBIN: Oh that was so satisfying sounding!
JAMES: Oh yeah.
CALEB: Can I ask you what you're wearing?
BEACH PERSON 1: Sure so this is actually, this used to be curtains and then it turned into some costumes in college and now it's just a great skirt piece.
BEACH PERSON 2: A really supportive bikini top that actually fits and lifts and separates. For all the men out there I'm talking about boobs.
BEACH PERSON 3: A low cut short *laughs* that's a little tight, I don't even know how to describe it.
BEACH PERSON 4: Well I don't mind keeping some of the sand barrier in place down below.
BEACH PERSON 5: I like to be naked, yeah nothing at all.
VOX 1: Nancy will be back in a minute.
KATHY: It is so great to be back for a whole new season of Nancy.
TOBIN: I am so excited, there's so much stuff that I cannot wait for people to hear. I just feel bad that we can't release it all right now.
KATHY: So let's give everyone a little taste, a sneak peek.
TOBIN: Nancy season two, here we go.
PERSON 1: Yeah it was my very first scene and the AD was like Sarah this is Kate, Kate this is Sarah, and in this scene Kate's going to be going down on you and I was like holy shit what?
PERSON 2: They took me to this um gay bar and I didn't know what was going on and I said, "there sure are a lot of men here."
PERSON 3: Yeah we walking down the trail and then we smoking, and you like "yea, transition. I'm a man. And I'm like, "What?" And you're like "yeah I'm a man, so I'm gonna transition into a man, like change my name and do testosterone shots." And I was like, "I don't know what's in this weed bro, but okay."
PERSON 4: I was never going to make another silly joke. I was never going to pretend I didn't hear the gay slurs.
PERSON 5: We were one part of a little budding gaggle of gays at the Pentagon.
PERSON 6: I like exercising naked.
KATHY: You're talking like butt naked.
PERSON 6: Like butt naked.
PERSON 7: There's an old song from back in the sixties, going to the chapel and you're...
PERSON 8: I think labels do matter, especially if you're talking to a demographic that might not have heard from a trans person before, they've only seem them as a dead prostitute on SVU or something.
PERSON 9: We talk about it as like dropping the W bomb, you know you dropping off the dry cleaning, my wife will pick it up, I didn't think I'd ever use that word and then I realized how powerful it was.
PERSON 10: I am Tyrion, Lord of the Fallen, and I see all.
KATHY: Okay that's our show. And, by the way, the pool party I went to was hosted by the folks at Babetown.
TOBIN: Remember, you can always hang out with us on social media. We tweet @nancypodcast. We've got a new Instagram also @nancypodcast, and obviously we're on Facebook at, you guessed it, Nancy Podcast.
KATHY: And we're live on Facebook every Monday talking about the show and hanging out with the coolest queer people we know.
TOBIN: Joining us there is the number one easiest way for you to get some cool Nancy swag for free.
KATHY: They're so cool.
TOBIN: You know you want those sweet Nancy pins. Okay credits!
KATHY: Our producer...
TOBIN: Matt Collette!
KATHY: Sound Designer...
TOBIN: Jeremy Bloom and Isaac Jones!
TOBIN: Caleb Codding!
TOBIN: Jenny Lawton!
KATHY: Executive Producer...
TOBIN: Paula Szuchman!
KATHY: I'm Kathy Tu.
TOBIN: I'm Tobin Low.
KATHY: And Nancy is a production of WNYC Studios.
[END CREDITS MUSIC]
TOBIN: I burped while you did that, sorry. Can you cut that out?
TOBIN: Sorry. Yes.