Our own Wendy Heard returns to the show for a chat about her latest YA thriller DEAD END GIRLS, how to fake your own death for fun and profit, and what’s on her personal gay agenda.
Grab your copy of DEAD END GIRLS (or any of Wendy’s other books) in the official Unlikeable Female Characters Bookshop.
LAYNE: Hello, and welcome to Unlikeable Female Characters, the podcast featuring feminist thriller writers in conversation about women who don’t give a damn if you like them. My guest today is someone you may remember. Hello, Wendy Heard!
WENDY: Hello! I’m back. Mwahahaha.
LAYNE: Kristen cannot join us today, because Kristen is—she’s either there or on her way to this, like, luxurious shipping container Airbnb in Amish country with like no Internet. It sounds magnificent, honestly.
WENDY: What is she doing? Is she finishing a book, like drafting?
LAYNE: No, she went with her partner. It’s vacation. She’s on vacation. Can you believe?
WENDY: I didn’t know that we were allowed to do that. I thought we just took, like, vacations, but they were actually work trips.
LAYNE: That’s what I thought as well. But now that I know. Yeah, she told me it’s three levels, and there’s windows, so you can see the wildlife, but you don’t have to actually, like, touch or interact with the wildlife. And there’s no Internet. Bliss, pure bliss.
WENDY: But you’re with someone—like, it would be blissful if you were alone.
LAYNE: You’re the only person on the planet, and there’s just you and the squirrels. Okay. I see what you’re saying.
WENDY: Pretty much. I’m just saying.
LAYNE: Okay. That’s a good point.
WENDY: But you bring your family with you, that defeats the whole purpose.
LAYNE: It depends on your family, but okay.
WENDY: Here’s the thing, I have a kid. So it’s a little bit of a different—yeah.
LAYNE: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Kristen and I didn’t make that mistake. We’re so glad to have you here, though, to talk about your new YA book Dead End Girls, which comes out on May 10th, right? Is that correct?
WENDY: May 10th.
LAYNE: All right. Tell us about Dead End Girls. What is this about?
WENDY: So Dead End Girls is my most unlikeable main character yet, a teenaged girl named Maude who is two years into a really over-the-top detailed plan to fake her own death. She’s got, like, the whole thing organized. She’s one of those Type A spreadsheets bitches who has applied her mind to faking her own death, to get revenge on her just horrible family. Her mom has married into this awful Orange County, real estate development company family. And so she’s got this awful step-family, awful parents, and she just wants out.com. So she is ready to fake her own death by faking a boating accident on a family trip that she has to take with her step-family in Hawaii, and her step-cousin who she like barely knows, she’s met her like four times, discovers or plan and demands to be brought along with.
So Maude has to decide whether to bring an unwilling partner, or to go ahead and cancel her plan. So she decides to bring Frankie, who’s her same age, and they go on this kind of Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde vault into freedom and the unknown. But of course it ends up that accidental deaths, and maybe less accidental deaths, people start dropping, and suddenly the whole plan starts going very wrong, and they start falling in love along the way.
LAYNE: I was going to say: and it’s gay, the most important part.
WENDY: Of course.
LAYNE: Please know that when I told my partner that I was interviewing you for the podcast about your new book, I just told him the title, and he was like, is it gay? That was like the only thing he asked me. Of course it’s gay.
WENDY: Of course it is. My most monumental achievement with this book is that the Kirkus review—for those of you who are listening, who aren’t authors, we get these trade reviews where it’s like, librarians think this about your book, booksellers think that. You’re holding your breath, waiting to see if the critics are going to like it or hate it. And this one review company is called Kirkus Reviews. They’re mean.
LAYNE: They’re so mean.
WENDY: They’re mean, and—but they’ve been nice to me. I don’t know what I did. And then the review of my book, the highlight part that goes at the top that everyone sees, so like bold, says “be gay, do crime.”
WENDY: I was like, did I—Kirkus is like, like your mean grandma, or like a mean old librarian, like that’s the vibe. So that I got Kirkus Reviews to say be gay, do crime, that’s a huge accomplishment.
LAYNE: Who did you finger bang at Kirkus to get them to do that?
WENDY: I can’t say. I cannot—you know I can’t reveal that.
LAYNE: I’m sorry. I just had to ask. So this book—it was funny cause we were talking about you coming on the show, and we scheduled this, and then I was like, oh, I should read the book.
WENDY: Should probably read it.
LAYNE: I was your critique partner this whole time while you were working on it. So we talked about these characters, and we talked about every little plot twist in this, and I was there through the whole thing. And it was like I forgot I hadn’t actually read the book.
WENDY: Yeah. Cause you basically had, in little tiny pieces.
LAYNE: Yeah, but it was still just incredible and gripping to read, even though I knew kind of everything that was going to happen. I love these characters and, you know I love Maude the most, my little baby criminal mastermind.
WENDY: Of course, you have to love her. She’s mean, and so detailed.
LAYNE: The best. I look back at my high school days, and I’m like, I really fucked up. I could’ve done a lot more with my obsessive qualities and my intelligence. Instead I was just like in the marching band and had crushes on gay guys or whatever.
LAYNE: What was I doing with my time? I could have been planning my own fake death.
WENDY: You could’ve.
LAYNE: I could’ve pulled off heists. I don’t know, like I had these capabilities, too
WENDY: You do.
LAYNE: But I squandered them.
WENDY: There’s this one thing that Maude says at the very beginning, when she’s talking to her mom in the kitchen, that I thought of you when I was writing it, where her mom says something mean to her, just like a little side comment, and then Maude looks at her and she’s like, “your tattoos are showing.” And it’s like this trashy cherry tattoo that her mom has had since she was young and poor. And she’s getting it removed with the lasers, but it hasn’t come off yet. Do you remember that?
LAYNE: Yes. In fact, that was the moment in the book where I was just like, I fucking love her.
WENDY: I thought about you when I was writing that. I was like, I think Layne would like this one.
LAYNE: I did. Thank you. It was like you wrote her just to please me.
WENDY: Cause her mom’s like, why don’t you have a smoothie? And she was like, I will eat your children’s chicken nuggets, and also: fuck your tramp stamp.
LAYNE: Yes. Yes. We had a lot of conversations about like, why is she running? I’m like, what’s so bad about her family? And you did such a great job of showing how awful they were. By the time I met all of them, I was like, yeah, fuck this. Get out.
WENDY: That’s what I was thinking. Like my editor kept asking me, does Maude have a good enough reason to leave? And I’m like, once you meet the family, you’ll understand.
LAYNE: Yeah. Plus teenage girls, teenagers in general, are not like the most thoughtful decision-makers necessarily. Everything seems very dramatic back then. That’s part of the fun.
WENDY: Exactly. I mean, that’s the whole thing is—I would have done this, and my mom was pretty nice.
LAYNE: I might’ve considered this, if my parents hadn’t gotten divorced. Like, if I still had to talk to my dad, this would have been very appealing to me, I think. So is this how you would have done it when you were a teenager? Would this have been your plan or did you have a different plan? I know you had a plan.
WENDY: Of course. Here’s the thing. And I don’t really talk about this very much—I don’t know why I reveal things on this podcast, like this is a secret because now it’s going on the fricking Internet. But like, when I was a teenager, I had a fake ID, and I got this fake ID in LA in not in exactly the way Maude gets her fake ID, but in the process of getting this fake ID, it sparked some imagination around—wow. Cause there’s different types of ones you can get. And this is a long time ago, so things have changed a lot, but it’s kind of like, what are you going to use this fake ID for? Are you going to just use it to buy alcohol? In that case, it doesn’t need to be supported by like DMV records and a birth certificate. You know what I mean?
But you can get real identities that are supported by actual documentation. There are people in government offices who get paid off to boost birth certificates. It’s a totally a thing. And so I became very fascinated with this, and I always knew I wanted to write about this, but that was so long ago. And so I had to resurrect it, but then do new research on—obviously the computerization of everything has increased so much that I had to really dive in anew.
LAYNE: Do you ever worry that you are going to be a bad influence on the youth, and teach them how to fake their own death? Or is that your goal? Tell us the truth.
WENDY: So I do worry about that sometimes. Sometimes I do worry. I worried about this with The Kill Club actually more, where I was like, I’m basically writing a book about how to run an underground murder club. Everything in this book is like, if you want to kill people and not got caught, here’s an idea of how to do it, and like it’s been vetted quite thoroughly.
LAYNE: Yeah. I learned so much from that book. I learned how you can like order poison on the Internet.
LAYNE: Yeah. I learned a lot. Like if I wanted to have an underground murder ring, I’m ready now. But I would get caught instantly because of our texts. They’re bad.
WENDY: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
LAYNE: Halley Sutton would go down with us. I’m sorry, Halley.
WENDY: Sorry. Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t know. I don’t think any teenagers are going to go out and start scouring the insides of Los Angeles’s cartels looking for fake IDs that would get them a new identity. But if they did, and they were willing to put that many years of effort in like Maude did, I just feel they earned it.
LAYNE: Plus that would be incredible publicity.
WENDY: It really would.
LAYNE: if they got caught, and everyone was like, they were inspired by this book by Wendy Heard. And then people tried to ban your book, but then everyone wanted it even more.
WENDY: Sounds great.
LAYNE: I feel like you could, like, fake someone faking their death for publicity. That would be—there’s still time.
WENDY: Okay, cool. I’ve got a week and a half.
LAYNE: What could go wrong?
WENDY: What could go wrong. Should we talk about the love story?
LAYNE: Yeah. Let’s talk about that. At first when you told me about this, I was like, wait, they’re cousins? But no, no—stepcousins. Totally different. Not related.
WENDY: I’m waiting for the incest critiques still to come through. I feel like I’ve cued myself up for a number of pearl-clutching moms to talk about this online. So far, I’ve only gotten one incest critique, and I’m disappointed honestly.
LAYNE: What did it say, though? Did they just read it wrong and think they were actually cousins?
WENDY: No, it was like, I’m just not sure about the pseudo incest I’m seeing here. Something like that. I’m just not sure about it. I’m like, they’re not related, so.
LAYNE: And they don’t know each other. You do a good job of setting that up in the book quick. There are a couple of lines where she’s just like, we’re not related at all, by the way. I barely know her.
WENDY: There’s a scene at the beginning where Maude is checking Frankie out in their bikini. And Maude’s like, we’re not related, but this still makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I put that in there for all the people reading who might be like, but they’re related. I just want to clarify, not at all. And they’ve only met like five times at the most. So it’s fine. It’s totally fine.
LAYNE: This isn’t Game of Thrones. It’s fine.
WENDY: I did want to talk a lot about stepfamilies. Cause I’ve had one, two—I’ve had three stepparents in my life and I’ve had two stepdads and one stepmother who’s still my stepmom. The stepdads have both left the… left the vicinity.
LAYNE: I was like, left this mortal plane?
WENDY: I don’t know. One of them, I don’t know actually. But yeah. It’s always a weird thing to me that your parent marries into a family, and then suddenly you’re supposed to feel all close to them, and “this is your family!” It’s like, no, they’re not, It’s weird. It’s like this feeling that just because your parent got married to this person, you’re supposed to feel things about them and their family. And you’re like, I just got dumped here. Like I didn’t meet and fall in love with this guy. I am just being dragged along for this ride.
LAYNE: I kind of feel that way about in-law relationships too. My in-laws are great, and I like them a lot, but there is almost this expectation that like, you’re one big family now. And it’s like, not really. Maybe cause I have a really small family. It’s basically just me and my mom and my grandparents. So the idea of even sibling relationships is really foreign to me.
WENDY: Yeah. And so I think I wanted to write about that. And I wanted to write about things like custody, and the way Maude has to go back and forth between these two parents, neither one of them who like her very much. And there’s even a line toward the end when Maude talks to her mom and they have it out, where her mom basically admits that, like Maude’s always been too difficult to love. Remember that part?
LAYNE: Yeah. I don’t know, from the time her mom left her alone to watch her bratty little half-brothers I was like, fuck this bitch.
LAYNE: Not your babysitter. At least pay her, if you’re gonna make her babysit. Come on.
WENDY: I know, but yeah, I don’t know. So I think I wanted to talk about that, having been through three step parents of my own. I think I had some, I don’t know—I guess I wanted to talk about stepfamilies a little bit. Not that I’ve ever had one as bad as the Maxwells.
LAYNE: Yeah. I want to talk about the matriarch too—the grandma.
LAYNE: She’s a really interesting character. Morticia. What’s her real name?
WENDY: Oh, she doesn’t have one, I never even wrote her one. Cause Maude will only call her Morticia, and Frankie only calls her Grandma
LAYNE: Oh yeah, I guess that’s why I don’t remember.
WENDY: The only person who would say her name would be either Leah, or Maude’s mom, Anne. But neither of them ever actually say it on the page.
LAYNE: I was a little bit like, how could you call her Morticia? Cause that’s a compliment.
WENDY: She just says it. She started saying it just to mess with her mom. Cause she thought it would fuck with her mom and it does. So that’s why she does it, just to be mean.
LAYNE: Love it. She’s so mean. But she’s like this. I was picturing a very Emily Gilmore type, but like more of a boss bitch. Cause Emily Gilmore is like, I go to society luncheons, and this woman’s running a business empire and—very, a little like femme Logan Roy, like disappointed in her children vibe.
WENDY: Yeah. Yeah. So the matriarch of the Maxwells is the grandma. The grandfather has passed away recently, like I think a couple of years ago. And he left her the company, and she took it over. They do real estate development. So they’re totally like the douchebags in Orange County that level a field and turn it into 50 tract homes, like they build tract housing. So you know, they’re very wealthy and have been since probably the sixties, I would guess. And yeah, the kids are two brothers who are different levels of useless. There’s Maude’s stepfather, Todd, who’s just, hey I like to play golf and I’m like in charge of—he has some, like, client relations job, like nothing.
LAYNE: So he just plays golf and drinks beer.
WENDY: And then his brother, who’s Frankie’s dad, is just a complete, like, party, frat boy all grown up, like completely useless. And they’re in the middle of a family dispute where the grandma is going to stop supporting him. She’s finally had enough. He married someone that she disapproved of, and she was like, that’s it I’m out, I’m not supporting you anymore. And yeah, that kind of launches Frankie’s whole plot, really.
LAYNE: So let’s talk about Frankie’s gender identity and queerness, because I thought that was really well-handled in this, and not something that I’ve seen—I don’t read, like, the most YA, but it’s not something I’ve seen a lot. I feel like it’s starting to become more prevalent.
WENDY: Yeah. So you get some chapters from Frankie’s point of view, back and forth. It catches you up with the present ultimately, but it’s like, here’s what Frankie’s been going through for the last month. And I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but Frankie’s been going through a lot. And we’re learning why Frankie wanted to fake her/their own death.
So Frankie’s pronouns are ultimately she/they, and Frankie struggles a lot with their gender identity throughout the story, but really in the month before the trip. Once she’s away from her family, I think she gets to explore that a little bit more, and ultimately maybe come into their own a little bit, and come into a feeling of getting to know who they are. Maybe not like a final answer, but at least getting a chance to play around with it and get to, I don’t know, become comfortable.
Ultimately, my theory is that Frankie will identify as genderfluid, because I think Frankie goes back and forth between feeling pretty comfortable with the idea of being a girl, but maybe just like a super queer girl, or like not an effeminate girl, but it doesn’t feel horrible to be a girl. Feels fine, you know, identifies with idea of being a lesbian and stuff like that.
And then sometimes Frankie just feels super uncomfortable, and like, I am they/them, I do not identify with femininity at all. I actually feel masculine. So I think ultimately Frankie will develop like a fluid way of going between the type of gender expression that they like to do. But it’s hard. It’s hard to figure those things out, and their family’s completely unsupportive. I think the family of the Maxwell’s, the grandma figure really isn’t even comfortable with the idea of having a gay family member, much less someone struggling with their gender.
So it sucks, you know. I don’t like to write about a lot of homophobia for teen readers. And so it was really hard for me to decide how much of that to put in. But at the same time, I think authors are allowed to write about their lived experiences too. And so there’s like that striking a balance for teen readers where you’re like, I don’t want to burden you with this, but at the same time, I think this will make some people feel seen, and yeah. I don’t know. You never know if you did it right, but that was what I was thinking as I was writing it.
LAYNE: And with the grandma, she just cares about appearances. She just wants people to seem proper and like they fit into her society, and she’s kind of like, you can do whatever you want to do in private, but you’re my granddaughter, so you will present yourself in a certain way.
WENDY: That’s right.
LAYNE: And it’s not so much about sex as it is about actual physical appearance, like clothing and hair and all that stuff, and manners. And that’s very true to that kind of character. I totally understand your hesitancy to write about homophobia for teen readers, but at the same time to write this like Orange County, rich, old white lady, and have her be like, of course I accept you, my gender queer grandchild. Maybe there’s some cool grandma in Orange County, but there’s, like, one. It’s just not realistic.
WENDY: Yeah. And that’s exactly what she says. In her mind, she’s quite progressive, cause she’s like, look, do whoever you want to, be whoever you want to be—behind closed doors. But when you’re out in the world, and you’re representing the Maxwells, and you’re the heir to all of this, you need to present yourself in a certain way. And because you’re going to be running this company someday. get ready to do what it takes. She’s coming from like an old school feminism, like they will judge you based on your appearance. This will happen if you want to be a woman, successful. Here’s what you gotta do. That’s where she’s coming from. From like the sixties and the seventies, trying to be a badass. Not easy, I get it. But that’s where that kind of soured for her, I think.
LAYNE: Yeah, and I liked the way that you showed Frankie struggling with their gender identity, but also it’s not, like, a crisis. It’s just, they’re kind of like, I’m thinking about this. I don’t really know which way I’m going to go or how I feel. I’m considering all these different options, and like day to day seeing how I feel. And I think that’s really true to—certainly even older people, but definitely at that age, it’s like, whether you struggle with your gender or not, you’re trying to figure out your identity, and who you are, and what you want to do with your life, and all of this stuff.
And the way you wrap it up too, as well. It’s like they have come to a peace for the moment, but it’s still an ongoing exploration. Which for queer people, no matter your sexual orientation, gender identity, it is this like lifelong, I don’t know, just examination. I think that’s such a hallmark of being queer. It’s like, if you are hetero, and you don’t question your gender identity, you can just buy into whatever society says. You’re just like, this is what a man is. This is what a woman is. This is what a married couple is. This is, like, the role I’m supposed to fit. But if you’re any flavor of queer at all, you are forced to question those things. And I think it makes for better relationships and a more interesting life, but it is this, like, ongoing thing.
WENDY: Yeah, exactly. And I think, that can be really agonizing, or it can be wonderful too, because you’re not a static being, you’re always growing and exploring and learning new things about yourself and about the people around you. And that’s a good thing. But I think the way Frankie has experienced it for their whole life is like, there’s no real point in coming to any conclusions right now, because I’ve got no one in my life who would do anything with that information anyway. Let’s say Frankie decided, that’s it, I’m non-binary, and I’m going to be they/them, and this is how I’m going to present that gender identity to the world. They don’t have anyone in their life who would actually use those pronouns for them, or do anything resembling respecting that. So they’ve shelved it, you know? Like, I’ll come to a final answer later, maybe when I’m like in college or something, and I have people around me who might actually listen or support.
LAYNE: Yeah, they’re just in survival mode.
WENDY: That’s right. Yeah.
LAYNE: Figuratively and literally.
WENDY: Get through high school. Cause they’re in this really douchey Orange County high school, super upscale private school for the richest of the rich in that part of Orange County. And it’s not an environment where there’s a lot of very forward-thinking, you know what I mean? And so I wanted to write about that a little bit too. How much kids are recycling what they’re hearing at home sometimes, and how much we think that we’ve moved into a new chapter, but there’s a lot of places, even in California where it’s very still the same old way it’s been.
LAYNE: There are a douche bags everywhere forever.
WENDY: And then there’s even like a little thing in Frankie’s high school where there’s another queer kid, and he’s in a few of her classes, but he always has to stay quiet when they start messing with them, because then it’s going to target him too. And so there’s a little bit of that too, like yes, there’s other queer kids in this school, but it’s not safe for them either.
LAYNE: Yeah. Yeah.
LAYNE: Okay. Well, I would love to hear about what you’re working on next, even though I, again, feel like I’ve read this book because I’m your critique partner, but I have not read a word of it. So do you want to tell people what your next YA is about?
WENDY: Okay. I have a newly-announced, a new project called We’ll Never Tell. And it’s different. It’s very different. I think Dead End Girls was really different from She’s Too Pretty to Burn, but We’ll Never Tell is different from both of them. It’s about a group of urban explorers. So these four teenagers sneak into all these places around Los Angeles and give their YouTube subscribers a behind-the-scenes view of abandoned factories, or the zoo at night, or theme parks when they’re closed or notorious, you know, old buildings. They sneak in all of these behind-the-scenes places, and they have a YouTube channel. That’s what they do. And they go to Hollywood High, they’re in Hollywood. So this book has me, like, in LA writing my hometown, which is so fun.
And in the book, the thing that happens is they decide for their final YouTube episode, they’re going to explore the site of this notorious murder from the seventies. It’s called the Silverlake Murder House, or the Silverlake Murder Mansion, and it’s modeled after the Los Feliz Murder Mansion, which is like a real place here in LA, very similar. There was a murder, and the house was left untouched all the decades later. So they want to go in and show the untouched house and scene of this notorious crime. Like it still has cans in the cabinets, dishes in the sink, the whole nine yards. Blood on the carpet. But when they’re there, one of them gets stabbed at the site of the original murder, and they get all wrapped up in this mystery, trying to figure out who did that, and it connects to the original murder in the house. So there’s all these, like, interstitials of newspaper articles from 1972 and point of view chapters from back then. So it’s just really crazy. I love that book.
LAYNE: It sounds so spooky, and I can’t wait to read it.
WENDY: It is really spooky! I think it’s actually my scariest one, because there’s all these scenes in this terrifying old abandoned house. It is scary. It’s spooky.
LAYNE: Halley drove me by the real one, the Los Feliz murder house. And she had told me about it, and she’s like, yeah, it just has this like bad vibe, and you just feel sick when you look at it. And she’s not like a woo-woo person like me, so.
WENDY: No, not at all.
LAYNE: No. So I was like, really? Okay. And she drove up to it, and I was just like, holy shit, that place has the worst vibe. It’s just, there is something evil about that house. Like I’m not even really someone who believes in haunted or evil houses necessarily, but like that house is wrong.
WENDY: In real life, it was a murder-suicide of a husband/wife. Like he killed his wife and then himself. And he also messed up with his kids, which I didn’t put in. I don’t do that in my books. I don’t do kids. I don’t do, like, violence on children. So yeah. So he murdered his wife and then himself is the story of the Silverlake Murder Mansion. Or is that what happened? Dundundundun.
LAYNE: Well, I can’t wait to read that one. I’m probably just going to go through my life thinking that I’ve read it until like a week before it comes out and I’ll be like, oh shit.
WENDY: Oh God, we have to talk about this on the podcast.
LAYNE: So you haven’t been on the show in a while, but you and I talk all the time, and we do FaceTimes all the time and talk about our works in progress, and I think that’s been one of the best things to come out of the pandemic that we see each other on the Internet a lot. I want to see you in person again soon.
WENDY: I know.
LAYNE: But we did that Palm Springs writing retreat last year, and that was pretty amazing.
WENDY: Yeah, that was awesome. I want to do that again. I think about that all the time.
LAYNE: We need to just write in paradise.
WENDY: Yeah. I need to write, and I need a pool, and I need it be warm so that I can go in the pool. This isn’t that much to ask.
LAYNE: No, it’s not. It was really difficult to leave at the end of that weekend. I was just like, I have to go back to my normal life where I don’t live in this beautiful house near Palm Springs with a pool and a hot tub. Like, what the fuck? This is the lifestyle that I’ve become accustomed to, and I’m not going back.
WENDY: So check this out really quick. So the Los Feliz Murder House.
WENDY: Okay. It’s not only that the original guy killed his wife and then himself and attacked his children, but three other owners and tenants have died in the house as well.
LAYNE: It’s fucked up. There’s something wrong with that house.
LAYNE: I love that you’re carving out this niche of, like, true crime, LA-based kind of stuff, and the youths need this, I think. I don’t know. I don’t know what the youths want.
WENDY: I know, I don’t either. They wanted, I think they want—they want homosexuality, unfortunately, for many people. It’s part of the gay agenda. That’s what they want.
LAYNE: Yes, your books are definitely part of the gay agenda.
WENDY: I did get accused of that recently in a review.
LAYNE: Like it was a bad thing?
WENDY: Yeah, like it was like really pushing the gay agenda here. I was like, I am.
LAYNE: I’m like the gay agenda has won in some places. Like in our lives certainly. We just do it unconsciously now. That’s just the way we are.
WENDY: So here’s my question for you before you wrap, what is your gay agenda? Let’s think about what’s on our agenda. First of all, I think everyone has to learn certain songs, like the Rocky Horror soundtrack and they’ll sing it instead of the Star-Spangled Banner.
LAYNE: The Star-Spangled Banner sucks. I’ll stand by that. I mean, I definitely think the gay agenda should include men learning to do all sorts of housework and cooking and cleaning and all of that stuff. Like all these straight men have had it too easy for too long. Not in my house, but that’s because we follow the gay agenda.
WENDY: Okay. And I’m also going to say that straight men from now on are going to be forced to wear Speedos.
WENDY: It’s part of the new laws governing the country.
LAYNE: Do they have to dance for our amusement covered in glitter while they wear them?
WENDY: They have to submit to glitter-covering if we so request or demand, yes.
LAYNE: Okay. Okay. Good. Just wanted to clarify.
WENDY: Oh, I’ve got another part of my gay agenda: at my request, any man must be forced to shave his back.
LAYNE: Now my partner is going to be scared. Nate is going to shake, listening to this.
WENDY: At any given moment, a cis het man can be made to shave his back. At any request.
LAYNE: But like, how can you shave his own back? Like you would have to do it for him, and that’s disgusting.
WENDY: We will—you know, those drive-through car washes? We’ll do those, but for shaving straight men. Okay. What else is part of my gay agenda?
LAYNE: I don’t know. These seem like they’re all for men. What do we want the straight women to do?
WENDY: Oh God. There’s so much. First of all, everything to do with baby showers and pregnancy, there’s a moratorium on all of it.
LAYNE: Bachelorette parties.
WENDY: Yes. Anything with, like, themes and decorations.
LAYNE: Gender reveal parties. Not allowed. No. People’s gender will reveal itself in the fullness of time. You can’t reveal it before they’re born.
WENDY: You may decorate with plaid flannel only, from here on out only.
WENDY: If you must decorate, it must be only flannel plaid.
LAYNE: Yes. I’m wearing flannel plaid right now.
WENDY: So there you go. If you’re going to comment on another cis het woman’s appearance or body, you must then shave your head.
LAYNE: Okay. I like that.
LAYNE: A lot of women look really hot with shaved heads, so it’s not even really a punishment. You might be, like, opening up to new experience of yourself. I’m just saying.
WENDY: The only brand of glasses that will be sold will be Ray-Bans.
LAYNE: I know you already replaced the Star-Spangled Banner with Rocky Horror, but I feel like Megan Thee Stallion should be involved in this somehow. She should be the President, maybe? I don’t know. Like the Empress of the World? Is that cool?
WENDY: Oh, yeah.
LAYNE: Yeah. I know she’s straight, but like, we approve of her.
WENDY: How about this: at every Weight Watchers meeting, or diet culture thing, you must first watch a video of Megan Thee Stallion’s butt. It’s like part of a brainwashing or initiation—but first, have you considered? And then we’ll show her butt.
LAYNE: Yeah. It’s the most inspirational butt of all time.
WENDY: Yeah. The thing I’ve been disappointed in with the others in our culture, in our movement, has been the lack of organization and unification toward the agenda. So we’re going to need to put some of these terms in writing.
LAYNE: Yeah. Yeah. All we’ve really been doing is writing our super gay murder books, but we can’t do it all on our own.
WENDY: Yeah. We have to come together, and there’s gotta be certain things we can all agree on.
LAYNE: I think so. I think we can get there. Okay. Sounds like a plan. Let’s get this started. The gay agenda, spreading across the earth.
WENDY: Cool. Yeah. And I guess my book is a big part of it. So there you go.
LAYNE: It is. You’re pushing that gay agenda so hard.
WENDY: I’m very tired.
LAYNE: From pushing the gay agenda uphill?
WENDY: It’s been a lot. It’s been exhausting.
LAYNE: Oh my God. I love you. In a gay way, and also in a friendship way.
WENDY: Same thing, sister-wife. I miss our podcasting together.
LAYNE: Yes. I was so glad, the acknowledgements for Dead End Girls, you called me your work wife. And I was like, oh my God. Yes, I am.
LAYNE: I hate the word wife, but like, you can call me your wife.
WENDY: Same, yes, exactly.
LAYNE: Nate cannot call me his wife. I will punch him in the nutsack. But you can call me your wife whenever.
WENDY: Yeah. It’s totally different. That’s part of the gay agenda.
LAYNE: That’s totally part of the gay agenda. Thank you. Oh my God.
Thank you Wendy so much for joining us. Everyone go buy Dead End Girls, which will be out by the time this episode airs. And tell us your plans for faking your death and/or furthering the gay agenda on all of our social media. Thank you.
WENDY: Yes, please. Thank you.