One of John Waters’ most popular quotes is the one about how if you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.
You know the one.
Since this is the best dating tip on the internet we figured he’d have others.
(What the hell else are you supposed to ask our most beloved filth elder — who is currently in London for a 50-year career retrospective at the BFI, who directed classics like Pink Flamingos, who filmed the infamous scene where Divine eats dog shit — other than some totally inane questions entirely unrelated to the movies he’s here to promote? Let’s bring everyone down to our level and talk about boys and the internet.)
I went to meet him down at the BFI.
John, should you really decline to fuck the bookless?
John Waters: That’s not really true if they’re cute enough. I like the idea emotionally but if they’re cute enough — who’s looking at their books? Someone said to me, “If you went home with a racist and they were cute enough, could you?” I have, yeah! It’s just if they start talking you go "lalalalala" or you put something in their mouth and shut ‘em up. Generally it would be a turn-off.
If you knew before you got home that they were a racist I would think that would be wrong, but if you’re already there — as long as they stop talking, it’s fine. Shut ‘em up. But you can’t just say “haha that’s funny” and crack a racist joke. That is unacceptable.
If you go home with an asshole you can still fuck them.
So if you accidentally go home with a Tory, it’s not the worst thing you could do?
JW: I actually can get along with Republicans. I don’t have sex with them a lot but I have friends who are Republicans. I think in a way you have to get along with everybody if you’re ever going to change anything. You have to get people to listen to you, and you have to get people to laugh. That’s the first step in politics is to make someone laugh and then they’ll listen to what you have to say.
English men are just way too meek to approach girls in bars so we have to do it ourselves. What’s a good opening line?
JW: Come on aggressively. “Get in.” Like a John Wayne Gacy line. “Where are you goin'? Get in.” Try that.
What’s your ideal date movie?
JW: Boom! the movie I’m showing here. If you hate that movie, I hate you, and I could never be your friend or your boyfriend. Divine and I had seen Boom! right before we made Pink Flamingos, and it’s about Elizabeth Taylor, retired, writing her memoirs, which is what Pink Flamingos was too, in a way. In Pink Flamingos, when they come down the steps, there’s the poster for Boom! in Connie and Raymond Marble’s house.
I love it because it’s terrible and brilliant and perfect. It’s a great combination that you can’t ever fake – it just has to happen. This was a Tennessee Williams movie that went terribly wrong at the height of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s career. It ended their domination at the box office because it was a huge flop. And in America the last-ditch effort they made was to add an exclamation point to the title so it really is called BOOM! whereas in your country it’s just called Boom. There’s there’s no exclamation point.
You could dislike Trog and I could have sex with you, but Boom! you have to love to be on my wavelength. Vincent Fecteau, the artist, hated Boom! but he had the nerve to tell me, so I respected him for that.
Have you ever internet dated?
JW: I have never in my life dated on the internet. I can’t do that. I’ve seen people that say “Come over and we’ll watch John Waters movies, I’ve got them all!” Their line is to say come over and we’ll watch John Waters movies!
Some people have specific films they put on when they get someone back to their place because they know there’s a specific part where they can make a move. Do you?
JW: If I was going to have a movie on a first date, I would probably go to the movies. Why would you want to watch a movie if you want to have sex? Maybe porno. I would pick a short movie. Not an endless one. A Woody Allen movie. They’re always short. And just say the sound broke.
What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
JW: He pulled over and vomited because I think he was a junkie and I didn’t know it. That wasn’t a good start, let’s put it that way. We went out but that was it. It took the blush off the rose, or whatever that expression is.
What’s worse: a junkie or a racist?
JW: Worse for what? A racist is definitely worse morally, but to have sex with a junkie is no fun, they can’t get it up. Racists can get it up. Have I had sex with a junkie? Probably. Not knowingly. Not unsafely. Maybe people that became junkies, but when they were one, not that I know of off-hand. But when I was young, times were a little bit more promiscuous. Who knows. I wasn’t asking for medical charts.
If I wanted to date the filthiest person alive, what should I be looking for?
JW: When I used the term “filth” in Pink Flamingos I meant it stylistically, like a compliment. They’d have to be a little bit punk, they’d have to be a little unreadable sexually, they’d have to have a definite look and have shoplifted in their life once, and been to jail once — just for even a night.
How do you make a relationship last?
JW: Someone always likes the other more and you should never let that person know that you’re the one. Never let them know that you like them more than they like you. That’s tough, so that’s the bluff. That’s the game you have to play.
Does age difference matter?
JW: I think age does make a difference. I think financial differences can be sometimes a problem, but it depends – if one is poor and one isn’t, you just have to be “well, in my life we do this, in your life we do this”. You can’t expect the other person to just pay for everything. I never date rich people.
Should you date anyone you work with?
JW: I’m never involved with anybody in show business, I always want someone with a completely different life than me. Someone who don’t care about show business that much.
So would you ever date an actor? Actors can be nuts.
JW: Actors are kind of crazy. I’ve never dated an actor. I would never date someone that you were making a film with. Especially if you were the director, that’s a really bad idea.
Did anyone ever date each other on your movies?
JW: Crackers and Cotton were a real couple at the time. Mink Stole certainly for a long time was with Vincent Peranio, our production designer. I’m sure Kenny King the foot stomper probably had made some friends when we made Polyester. Not me. But any movie stars? I don’t think any of the movie stars had affairs. Debbie Harry might have had an affair with somebody she met, and I think she’d be the first to say that.
Are you still in a loyal and loving relationship with your Maybelline eyebrow pencil?
JW: Yes! I keep trying to hint I want the Maybelline ad and they won’t ever give it to me. Maybelline’s not really an upscale product but Maybelline liquid eyeliner was the best. In Female Trouble that’s what Divine wears all through it: Maybelline liquid eyeliner. She shoots it up!