[Editor’s note: Every Wednesday New York City’s own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or — no surprise here — a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]
Dear Mister Double You Kay,
For most of my life I’ve identified as a straight male, but for some reason, I’ve been wanting to experiment with the same sex. I still find women attractive, but I’ve always had that “what if” question in the back of my mind about men. Do you offer any advice on this?
See also: Our Ask Andrew W.K. archive
It seems like there’s a spectrum of personal sexual preference that goes from extremely heterosexual on one end, all the way to extremely homosexual on the other end. But I imagine most people don’t fall all the way to one side or another, even if they choose to live that way. For lots of people, it’s a big spiral of feelings and ideas–not just a simple “this” or “that.”
The good thing is, only you can tell what interests you, and you don’t have to put a label on those feelings. You don’t have to identify as a “straight male” or “gay” or “bisexual.” You can just be yourself and move through this world in a way that celebrates it. That’s partying.
Also, you don’t have to jump right into any new experience head-on (pun intended), you can follow this new interest in a low-pressure and fun way. Start with exploring your fantasies alone before launching into a full-blown encounter with another person. Having a “what if” question in the back of your mind doesn’t mean much if a vivid fantasy doesn’t actually end up turning you on, so play out situations using your imagination.
If those ideas do turn you on, then follow that fantasy to the next step and try watching pornography that relates to your fantasies. And if that also turns you on, then start looking for an actual encounter. People who allow themselves to enjoy different ideas about sex are courageous. In addition to your own sexuality, I’d recommend applying this same adventurous self-awareness to other parts of your life.
What other “what ifs” are in the back of your mind, beyond sex? Use this as a jumping-off point to start following all your dreams with the same intensity, bravery, and honesty that you’re applying to your sexuality. And then you’ll really be partying hard.
What advice do you have for someone facing homelessness and struggling to have a job, water, food, and other bare essentials to survive?
First of all, don’t give up. Second, work your ass off. Third, stay strong and do everything you can to hold your feeling of life together. There are moments when many of us get close to the edge in different ways, and there can be almost a magnetic pull to go off the edge–kind of like riding your bike near a cliff and for some reason your whole body seems to pull towards where you don’t want to go.
This is the time to surround yourself with your own power. Even if there aren’t others around you to comfort you and cheer you on, there’s still you. And you can always care for yourself. That’s the most important person right now: You. Always be able to count on yourself and find strength in your own presence.
While you’re with yourself, you might as well take an extremely honest look at your life and what caused you to wind up here. Be brutal with yourself. Even if it’s painful, try to take as much responsibility for your situation as you can. Even if others deserve blame, don’t blame them–and don’t blame bad luck or anything outside of your immediate self.
Why? Because you want to give yourself and only yourself the power to make or break your own life. The same power that got your here, also can get you out. And as you go through this experience, try to learn from the entire adventure. What’s so great about “regular life” anyway? A lot of people are miserable and they’ve got all the bare essentials covered and lots more. Comfort, security, and happiness come from inside you.
You have found yourself here and you must embrace it. Fight for what you want and what you love, not against what you hate and don’t want. You will make it through this. And please write back with a mailing address so I can send you some cash. Stay positive.
Dear Andrew W.K.,
I am 20 years old, and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I’m being pressured about joining the military or taking up a trade in construction.The problem here is, neither interest me, and I’m not cut out for the military. My problem is that I know what I don’t want to do, instead of what I do want to do. I’m not sure if you’ve lived this, but what advice would you offer someone in my shoes?
Confusion is natural. We don’t need to always understand our life or know what we want to do. But in this case, being certain that you don’t want to go to the military or do construction is at least a start. Some people don’t even know what they don’t want!
I have a feeling that somewhere, deep inside, you probably do have interests, or had some dreams at some point. A lot of times, people get taught they can’t do what they really want in life. They can only do what they should do. That can be true sometimes, but it’s absolutely false as an overall rule.
The entire point of life is to do what you were born to. And how do you figure out what you were born to do? By listening very closely to the feelings deep inside yourself. Ask yourself this: If you could be doing anything 10 years from now, what would it be? If money was no object, what would your ideal day-to-day existence consist of? What would make you excited to get up in the morning, even on only a couple hours of sleep?
Even if it’s not what seems like a “job,” it’s a starting point. It’s a place where you can begin to familiarize yourself with what you really love about life. Someone might say, “I just want to eat chocolate all day.” There’s a profession for that. Someone might say, “I just want to have sex all day.” There’s a profession for that too.
Finding out what you love isn’t hard. The hard part is believing it’s possible for you to do every day. And it is possible! For now, don’t be too hard on yourself about your confusion and feeling of no direction. This was all meant to happen too because it’s brought you to this turning point. Now you get to have fun and dream about anything you want your life to be.
Pay very close attention to the ideas that make your heart beat faster, your stomach get butterflies, and your spine get chills. That’s your soul telling you what you’re meant for. It can be extremely surprising to realize your destiny, but it’s the greatest part about being a human being. I never would’ve dreamed I was born to be a professional partier, but I followed my instincts and against all odds, it happened. If I can do this for a living, than certainly you can do what you want.