California Dreamin'


By Shana Naomi Krochmal

What made you decide you wanted to be a cheerleader?
I was already hanging out with the girls in the show choir and the drama department. They all did cheering and it just seemed like, 'Hey, I'll do that too.' There were a couple of guys who had just graduated and the squad needed some more dudes. So I said, 'I'll do it. I don't care.' And I knew that it would give me the chance to hang out with some of the hottest ladies in town!

That's a good reason to be a cheerleader.
It's a great reason. I don't know why guys get so much flak for it.

What kind of flak did you get?
Oh, I got derogatory names called to me. I'd walk into the cafeteria and I would hear 'fag' thrown my way a million times. I'm like, 'I don't get it! I'm hanging out with chicks!' It was just insecurity from the jocks -- that's really all it was.

Describe your sexuality -- not using the words gay or straight.
[Long silence] Awesome?

That is an awesome answer, thank you. I saw a quote where you talked about being 'bisexually minded.'
When I was in high school, one of my best friends came out, and he became a magnet for [me to have] more gay friends. When I moved to San Diego in '99, the first guy I met -- who championed my career -- was a gay guy, who turned me on to my manager, who's also gay. I just have this community of gay friends. You can't help but just be in love with your community regardless of who there is straight or gay. Seeing all the love in my gay community, it's always made me wonder well, maybe... Who knows who's out there for me? I go back and forth between being single and not single, and certainly when I'm single I keep my options open -- although I've never had a gay relationship. Only a couple of random, random, quick gay club experiences.

Wait -- what is a 'quick gay club experience'?
Well -- [Laughs] There's been truth or dare night when everybody's just kissing everybody and you just go for it, you know? There are some dirtier things that I'd rather not talk about, because they're kind of gross and awkward. Here's the quick version -- no, I can't even tell you. It's pointless.

I'll tell you, and then you have the right to choose not to put it in your magazine. It was a typical Ecstasy night. Everyone passes out. And I pass out with a friend spooning me on the couch and I wake up at six o'clock in the morning totally sweaty, and I'm like, This guy is a little close. The sun is coming through the window, it's hot -- I've got to just get out of here and take my clothes off. So I went to my room and changed, because I was really just gross. And then about a month later I'm at a different party. The same guy passes out in the middle of the floor. And I'm like, 'Yo, should we put this guy in bed?' And [my friend says], 'Nooooo! When he mixes drugs and alcohol, he cannot control his bladder.' And I just flashed back to that night on the couch, and I realized he had peed all over me.

That, uh, definitely qualifies as a dirty gay experience.
Yes. That definitely qualifies.

Who's cuter: hippie boys or hipster boys?
Hmmm. I'm gonna go with -- that's a tough question. I definitely appreciate the hygiene of the hipsters.

You've been on an intense spiritual journey over the last few years. What's the most important thing that's changed in your daily life?
It's about taking time daily to just check in with myself. When I had time off, and I was on my little quest for awareness or an awakening, I did a million little things each day that kept me grounded and kept me present in every moment. Surfing definitely helps that -- you have to be present, you have to watch what's coming. You have to be going the same speed as the wave to be on it. And so I bring that with me on the road. Some days it's just getting up and going to the gym, or it's doing yoga or just a silent meditation for 15 minutes at any point during the day and just focusing on your breathing. Sometimes we just get so caught up in our schedule -- this Need to do! Need to do! We keep giving ourselves excuses for not just calming down. And in the past on tours I've done just that -- I've allowed my schedule to control me, and I've done just what other people tell me. Now in my daily life I take time. I just take my time. I make sure I'm checked in and that I'm cool with where I'm going and what I'm doing. If things get busy, I take a little break. It reminds you of the hard work you've been doing to become a conscious person and a happy human. So that's what I do.

We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (Atlantic Records) will be released May 13.

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