Talk Hole is the bi-weekly spoken column of New York’s alt-comedy darlings Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst, offering their oracular powers of cultural analysis on all corners of the zeitgeist (high, low, top, bottom). Over several drinks at Honey’s, a meadery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Schwartau and P-H (as Steven is lovingly referred) prove talk is chic and drop references to hot trends, hotter temperatures, and scalding political debates. This time around, Talk Hole discusses the radical power of falling in love with the unknown, house hunting in Colorado when you’re poly, and an encounter with Caroline Calloway in a rowing blazer.
STEVEN PHILLIPS-HORST: I’m Steven.
ERIC SCHWARTAU: I’m Eric.
P-H: And this is Talk Hole; a podcast about an article.
SCHWARTAU: Okay, well, I think Love is Blind is on everyone’s mind. My problem with the show is that they actually don’t have anyone bad-looking. They didn’t have any catfish.
P-H: I thought it was very well cast. Who’s your favorite? I’m obsessed with the interracial couple.
SCHWARTAU: Well, they were the first ones to fall in love.
P-H: Their love seems really legitimate. She seems so hot and fab and sassy, and you wouldn’t think she’d go for a super nerdy guy. But he’s actually sexier than he comes off and she’s actually nerdier than she comes off, so they perfectly meet in the middle. They actually needed the weird veneer of not seeing the other person.
SCHWARTAU: I love how the only thing that led to major issues on the show was a guy being short and a guy being bi.
P-H: Yeah, it turns out all straight women want is someone who’s tall and straight. Wait, remember when they’re talking about dick size then everyone was just like, ‘Okay, does the motion of the ocean matter or is it the size of the boat?’
SCHWARTAU: Oh right, they were like, ‘You can’t make motion in the ocean without a sizeable thing creating it.’
P-H: I love the way she fucking ripped that metaphor a new one. It also got me thinking, I would love a gay version of this show with all tops and all bottoms, and they would just be like, ‘So I’m at the bottoms’ apartment’ and it’s all these shrill bottoms covered in makeup, plucking their eyebrows, swishing back vodka.
SCHWARTAU: And all the tops are doing pushups and drinking Gatorade.
P-H: But they all love Ariana Grande.
SCHWARTAU: In other news, I did relate to Jessica a lot because she’s like—
SCHWARTAU: She’s like 34 and she’s a size queen and she is just like super desperate, and she’s a Regional Manager.
P-H: You identify as regional?
SCHWARTAU: Yes, a regional size queen.
P-H: I guess as to the question of whether or not “love is blind”… it’s not. You can hear in someone’s voice whether they’re tall and hot. If you are an attractive person it informs your personality. If you are a tall person it informs your personality. There’s no world in which your personality is divorced from your physical posture.
SCHWARTAU: Right. Like, the word “cocky” for example, is very much related to kind of swagger and hotness, and that’s also a personality type.
P-H: I thought it was a British word?
SCHWARTAU: It’s like a cock. A cocky person has swagger. Can I say, I also loved how the bi-phobia somehow felt fully warranted.
P-H: Well, bi-phobia is hot right now. It’s actually in the news! Remember Katie Hill? That congresswoman who resigned because she was in a throuple with her husband and one of her staffers? Just this week, she was like, “I had to resign because Congress is bi-phobic.”
SCHWARTAU: Okay, mood.
P-H: And now she’s starting some organization to get women to run for office. I saw this article in The Hill that was like, ‘Katie Hill starts an organization called Take the Hill for women getting on Capitol Hill.’
SCHWARTAU: It sounds like she’s looking for another third.
P-H: Well, D.C. is very hostile to poly folk.
SCHWARTAU: But you know where they aren’t?!
SCHWARTAU: Thank you.
P-H: Here’s my take: I think The Bachelor has primed Americans to be ready for polyamory by basically normalizing this idea that 20 women are going to date the same guy at once, and that episode was the fruit of all those Jennifer F.’s and Jennifer K.’s collective labor.
SCHWARTAU: The only reason people are in polyamorous relationships is so they can afford their mortgage for their giant house. Also, homes are so super-sized that literally there are plenty of bedrooms for as many partners as you want.
P-H: Homes are super-sized so you need a third income. You need that lifestyle coach, you need that legal videographer’s extra 2k/month.
SCHWARTAU: Right. Everyone has such part-time jobs that they cannot pull together a decent income. They’re also just fucking all the time. A throuple is a job in itself.
P-H: In that sense, I think the throuple episode shows why Bernie is going to win.
SCHWARTAU: Everyone’s going nowhere in their careers and everyone’s getting bored. Hungry couples are preying on vulnerable singles and vice-versa. There’s an aggressive undertone.
P-H: Yeah, we’re reverting to sort of a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer-like nomadic tribe, so it’s like, ‘Oh my God, wait, we’re neanderthals? We have to be poly.’ Okay, reason number two that I think the throuple episode of House Hunters predicts the election of Bernie Sanders is that for obvious reasons it’s the end of this dying gasp of the Christian, one woman, one man, six kids model. Now it’s one man, three women, and 1.5-kids.
SCHWARTAU: So we’re going back. We’re all Mormons now.
P-H: It’s kind of insane that Mormons are the original poly.
P-H: The one place conservative, old school Catholicism has us godless liberals beat is romance. Having an affair is so much hotter than having a goddamn Google spreadsheet to schedule playtime with your four different lovers.
SCHWARTAU: Right, because secrets and intrigue are hot.
P-H: Like, where you keep information from your lover?
SCHWARTAU: No. It’s this thing that’s only between you and another person, and it’s—
P-H: Aww, that’s so beautiful! Eric, you’re such a romantico!
SCHWARTAU: I am. I think it’s sweet to have something between two people that no one else knows about.
P-H: Like, say, a frosted wall where you can’t see the other person. Wait, we should be doing this in the pods!
SCHWARTAU: But I feel like I can be less evasive when I’m forced to look at you.
P-H: When you’re “forced” to look at me? I don’t know if I love that phrase.
SCHWARTAU: It’s more the table that’s forcing me.
P-H: I think the other thing about throuples is maybe the concept of jouissance? I haven’t read Lacan but my boyfriend has a book by him, and I’m pretty sure this is what he says: our entire society now is all about “enjoying every moment,” and it’s like, your career has to be this incredibly fulfilling, satisfying endeavor where you’re a she-boss. Every second of every day has to be perfect and sexy and effortless, and low-key, and down home, and glam but also self-care. Everyone has to be Lizzo-ing out every five seconds. And if you’re not, you feel guilty. So you get in a throuple, the ultimate enjoyment, to assuage that guilt.
SCHWARTAU: Well, it’s also escalating and super-sizing a relationship, in a way.
P-H: Yes! That’s my fear about America’s embrace of socialism via Bernie—that we’re going to approach socialism in this really American way where it’s just an excuse to be even more extravagant and consumptive. More leisure time means more selfies.
SCHWARTAU: That’s why people feel like they should be getting paid for all their time on social media.
P-H: Right. We can only speak about socialism in terms of capitalism, in terms of how much we can profit off of our image or ideas or clout. It might be a fool’s errand.
SCHWARTAU: Voting for Bernie?
P-H: I mean, do vote for Bernie. Also, that makes me think I have errands to do.
SCHWARTAU: What do you have to do?
P-H: I have to post all this shit to Grailed.
SCHWARTAU: Your capitalist errands?
P-H: No, resale is a kind of socialism. I’m actually fucking over Prada. I’m my own worker, you know what I mean? I own my own business. Let me just say again, congratulations on your viral tweet.
SCHWARTAU: Thank you. You know, going viral, you lose a full day. There are so many responses and so much emergent culture swirling around your post, even people falling in love in the comments section. Literally, some girl from Boston met a guy from Brazil in the comments and fell in love, all like “It’s 11:00 AM in Brazil. Miss you,” and sending a pic of a cute penguin. I’m a matchmaker.
P-H: Were they both poly?
SCHWARTAU: I don’t know, and that’s the thing, they seemed very monog. I wanted someone to jump in and be like, “Need a third?”
P-H: Digital third. Yeah, so my next topic is The Tyranny of Close Friends.
SCHWARTAU: Okay. My next topic was My Feet Feeling Far Away From My Body.
P-H: I think those two are related. Feeling like I’m in a long distance relationship with my feet and the only way to really keep them close is to put them on your close friends list.
SCHWARTAU: I need to connect with my feet more. That’s all I want. My close friends list is just different body parts that I don’t check in with a lot.
P-H: I think it’s a compliment to be included in someone’s close friends list. But then it also becomes a hostage situation.
SCHWARTAU: I have my Rinsta account, real Instagram account, and that’s where I let the content spill over, so to speak.
P-H: I think you’re confusing Finsta and Rinsta. You mean your Finsta?
SCHWARTAU: No, Rinsta is the new Finsta because that’s reality. Well, I’m saying my Rinsta is my Finsta. Anyways, no one’s on Instagram anymore.
PH: I guess we could talk about the election now.
SCHWARTAU: Yeah, why not?
P-H: So Bernie is now just going to win. It’s… is it over? Is he not cool anymore now that it’s in the bag?
SCHWARTAU: I haven’t donated to him in like, seven days.
P-H: I’m organizing a fundraiser for him in a few weeks, but I’m starting to think maybe it’s not punk anymore.
SCHWARTAU: Well, I think that’s what we want. So you think Warren witches are the new punks?
P-H: No, I think the Warrenistas are already hanging up their Hermione hats. They’re putting their brooms back in the closet. I saw a video today of a girl tearfully taking down her Warren sign from her window just being like, it’s time. As I said on Twitter, the thing about being a middle of the road “unity candidate” is people either want a salad or a soup but they don’t want a wet salad.
SCHWARTAU: That’s true. She tried to be everything to everyone—
P-H: She was a wet salad.
SCHWARTAU: She got wet third in Iowa.
P-H: And Katie Hill got a third wet. The thing is when people actually start voting, those Hermione stans are not actually the bulk of America. So we can talk about Bloomberg?
SCHWARTAU: If Bloomberg wins the nomination, people will just vote for Trump. At least Trump is funny.
P-H: Well, I would vote for Jill Stein.
SCHWARTAU: Is she running? Or you could write in Tulsi.
P-H: If Bloomberg buys the election, Bernie should absolutely run as Independent with Tulsi as VP. And I do think Bloomberg is worse than Trump. I’ll tell you why.
SCHWARTAU: Tell me.
P-H: He gets a lot of flack for being this racist fascist, which he is. And I think he’s really bad for all minorities. I wrote a—I wouldn’t say viral, but it got a good amount of likes—tweet about how I was arrested a bunch of times as a gay person in New York.
SCHWARTAU: Oh my god. As a gay person it must be super hard.
P-H: No, I know. They apparently have a gay section of jail I didn’t know about. And now I’m regretting it. I’m like, “Wait, can I go back?” But I think that Bloomberg is bad for upper-middle-class white people, too. They just don’t realize it because they love the prison of their own creation. He is a data-mongering, productivity-obsessed, surveillance tyrant who wants everyone in this endless rat race working 90 hours a week, with less leisure time and less privacy, just so that Amazon can sell more generic Pilates balls than it did last year.
SCHWARTAU: He’s literally going to make every household in America get a Bloomberg terminal.
P-H: It’s so depressing. It’s just a cold, open plan office that has all these nods to humanity, but it’s not human at all. It’s like a windowless food hall where it’s all these little fake restaurants, but there’s not an ounce of soul.
SCHWARTAU: I really don’t see how anyone could possibly relate to Bloomberg. But maybe people just relate to anything they see on television.
P-H: With enough visibility, with enough advertising, you’re not relating to him—you’re relating to the ad. The word Bloomberg is in your head. If I lined up 10 people in a row and one of them was your ex, who would you have sex with?
SCHWARTAU: I would have sex with my ex, but I’d like to know more about the others…
P-H: Exactly, you go with what you know. Anyways, the new Grimes album, did you listen?
SCHWARTAU: Oh, I was thinking Grimes and Elon would be the perfect people to meet on Love is Blind. They seem like a blind pairing.
SCHWARTAU: Yeah. Physically weird, but mentally on the same page. I also noticed how when she got best new music on Pitchfork, she replied with five gray heart emojis, which led me to realize that artists always post different colored heart emojis as comments and think they’re literally Marcel Duchamp. We need a return to red. Is that a take?
P-H: So gray means computers. What does purple mean? In ancient Rome, the senators all wore purple.
SCHWARTAU: So interesting. And Elizabeth Warren wears purple.
P-H: Right, because she’s a senator.
SCHWARTAU: I’m wearing purple today to support our senators in office.
P-H: Warren is over. Hang up your cardigans. Oh, I’m curious to know what you think about Prada hiring Raf Simons as the co-creative director.
SCHWARTAU: Okay, so Prada is a fashion brand from Italy.
SCHWARTAU: And for them to hire someone who sounds not Italian, that is a really bold move. And I feel strongly that they should not have done that.
P-H: And some classrooms don’t have maps.
SCHWARTAU: You’re trying to ask me a “gotcha” question because you think I know nothing about fashion. But for me, fashion is philosophical. It’s not facts and names-driven. Look, I read Sleeveless, I did my homework. In fact, my lover read it out loud to me, which was very stylish of him. Anyways, I guess we’re supposed to talk about Fashion Week but we were both in Mexico City and I had zero interest in going to anything because once you leave New York, the needing to go to events spell is broken.
SCHWARTAU: And everyone kept being like, “Fashion Week is dead,” and I was just like, “If you say so.”
P-H: I did participate in a photo shoot for the brand Rowing Blazers that was influencers only. And I was there with Caroline Calloway, which made me feel like I was very “under a million followers, but still important.”
SCHWARTAU: And I wasn’t necessarily jealous. I was just like, “What does Calloway want with Steven?”
P-H: I think the answer is very little. At the end of the day.
SCHWARTAU: I was very sus of Calloway because I don’t follow her and suddenly she was all over my Twitter. What is the algorithm telling me? I do appreciate her ability to get attention.
P-H: I appreciate her honesty. And it comes back to what we said about Gwyneth. There’s a lot of authenticity in someone who is open about the fact that they’re trying to be famous for being famous. In a post-Kim world, anything else is inauthentic.
SCHWARTAU: But I’m also like, what if Caroline Calloway literally has a day job she’s just never talked about? I was talking to someone and saying how I never talk about my job and he was just like, “Yeah, everyone has a day job.”
P-H: Everyone secretly has a day job that they don’t discuss. Many people don’t know this, but I’ve secretly been speech writing for the mayor of New York and his wife.
SCHWARTAU: Oh my god, are you coming out?
P-H: I’m standing in my freelance Democratic machine truth. So yes, our suspicion is that Calloway has a job. You secretly have a job, I secretly have a job. How many followers do you need before you don’t have a day job?
SCHWARTAU: Okay, the only thing I have left to say is my friend Evan had sex with someone and they said this amazing quote—
P-H: They said a quote? I think anytime someone says anything it’s a quote.
SCHWARTAU: It’s complicated because it’s hearsay. Anyways, Evan said that they said, “Everyone’s smart until they try to use someone else’s shower.” Evan was having a hard time turning on my shower, and I was thinking how true that is.
P-H: Showers are so subtle. And the peculiarities of them are something that only the owner can know.
SCHWARTAU: And it’s political, you know. Buttigieg is saying, “I’ll turn on the shower for you, but sometimes we need to get in there and figure it out ourselves,” like with healthcare.
P-H: I feel like Buttigieg is saying, “In the dark, you don’t care how hot the water is.” And that’s actually not true.
SCHWARTAU: Zero points made.
P-H: A year-and-a-half later on the campaign trail, not one point was made.
SCHWARTAU: Are we done? I feel like we talked about stuff, though it’s more like a Love is Blind episode recap.
P-H: This is now the Love is Blind podcast. Love is blind. That’s why people love us and our column.
SCHWARTAU: Because they’re blind.
P-H: Blind people are actually the only people who are excluded from our column, because it’s visual only.
P-H: Our column is a photo shoot and our podcast is read.
SCHWARTAU: But let me just say, we’re finally making podcasts available to the deaf community by having them be an article.
P-H: That is so true.
SCHWARTAU: Thank you.
P-H: Bye. Vote for Amy.