Comedian Brian Karpas Is The Sluttiest Virgin You'll Ever Meet
Sean Santiago: Did you perform a lot when you were younger?
Brian Karpas: I was really self-conscious throughout elementary and middle school, but my childhood idol was Marilyn Monroe; when I was alone in my room I would memorize all of her lines. When I was 16 my friend was like, you should try acting, and I was like—this is it. This is what I want to do.
SS: You loved the spotlight.
BK: Yes. I’ve always been needing and craving attention.
SS: There's an old-fashioned bent to your look, but it’s also very nineties. How would you describe your sense of style?
BK: If I see something that I like and it looks good on me, then I’m good to go.
SS: That’s it.
BK: That’s pretty much it. I've been really drawn to nineties style recently. I had gastric bypass surgery in June  and lost 120 pounds, so that's been giving me room to play, especially with older styles—tighter shirts and looser pants, and chokers. But if I had a million dollars I would want to look like Dita Von Teese. Like, straight out of the forties.
SS: Where do you shop?
BK: My favorite retailer right now is ASOS. It has the best plus size section for men and women, especially if you’re a queer man and you like dressing up. I think, honestly, this is the first time fashion has catered to plus size shoppers. But it's still hard to find clothes for men that are plus size and “fashion”. It’s a very Destination XL, very masculine, very “I have a few kids and I barbecue on Sundays,” kinda look. So I definitely have to stick more with the female section at Forever21, Torrid—I worked at Torrid so that’s always had a special place in my heart. I try to put things together that look a little vintage, but still feel modern.
SS: Because you love Dita.
BK: I love the forties to very early sixties; that’s my favorite fashion time.
SS: Tell me about your podcast and how that got started. The whole premise is that you’re both virgins, right?
BK: My friend Claire and I are both virgins, but we’re very knowledgeable about and very interested [in sex]. We’re not trying to save ourselves for marriage, it’s just a choice. We have very different reasons for it and we’re also on very different ends of the virgin spectrum. I’m the sluttiest virgin you’ll ever meet, and she’s the nicer one. We decided together that this would be a really great idea for a podcast, [because] there’s nothing that really touches on virginity that’s not from weird holy rollers. We just recorded our tenth episode last night and it’s been really fun. I’m having a friggin’ ball doing it.
SS: So you’re not a holy roller, but it is a choice to not have sex right now?
BK: My whole thing is just trust. I’ve never found someone I trust to give myself fully to, and I’ve never found anyone where they also want to, you know what I mean?
SS: Have you noticed a marked difference in approaching relationships since you had surgery? Has that done anything for you in terms of owning your sexual identity and engaging with and trusting people?
BK: That’s kind of the one area that hasn’t changed too much since the surgery. I’m very confident in every other way, but when it comes to approaching men I’m such a scaredy cat. It’s still something I’m trying to work on.
SS: Me too.
BK: Pretty much everything in my life has changed in a positive way. That’s the one thing that’s been put on hold since then, because in the last year I think I matured in a way where I’ve become ok with being single and I enjoy being single. So with the surgery and the focus more on my health and even my style, and with performing and trying to graduate, because that’s taking awhile, I put relationships on the backburner. But now I’m like, ok, I should put myself out there in that way more often.
SS: Do you want to put yourself out there in that way? Are you feeling more comfortable approaching people in a romantic sense? Or are you still wary of that? I find it’s so hard to...as soon as I see someone I’m interested in I look at all the people around them and think, they'd never go for me.
BK: Absolutely. Even though I’ve lost so much weight I’m still a fat boy. And I own it and am proud of it. I had a very long struggle to loving my body, but even before the surgery I’d gotten to a point of acceptance. But I’m still very wary of people in general. And let’s be very real, I love our community, but we have a lot of issues to work on when it comes to bodies and body shaming. So I always think I would rather not approach someone than have them give me a look that says I don't want to be around you because you’re too fat, or you’re too queer. So it’s been more of that wall that I’ve built for myself and I’m realizing how much I need to tear it down.
SS: I feel like visible queerness is a tricky thing to navigate. Dressing for your most fabulous self can quickly morph into dressing for being alone. When did you start to get your nails done? Do you always get acrylics?
BK: About two years ago I went with my cousin and a few friends to get my nails painted black and my cousin, I remember she picked up my hand and was like, this looks right. And I fell in love with it. The acrylics came in about a year ago. I’ve always been obsessed with long acrylic nails. My mom always had them; I think she even had her nails done when she was in labor with me. She wouldn’t go into the hospital without having them done.
SS: So you’re just like, fulfilling your destiny.
BK: And a lot of my idols—I have a huge obsession with Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand—and I’m from the South and it’s always a thing there. And now that I do it it’s my obsession. It makes me feel powerful.
SS: Talk to me about the jumpsuits. Is that another Texas thing? Or is it just that they’re easy?
BK: Kind of the latter. They’re easy, and it kind of goes along with the weight loss. Jumpsuits, I think, especially if you’re a queer guy and you dress more feminine, they’re such a great piece because you can dress them up or you can dress them down. It just says so much about who you are—it's just such a strong statement. For me, clothes, when I can really feel a story behind them, that's when I have the most fun wearing them. Jumpsuits give me that Joan Crawford, I’m gonna take you for all you’re worth kind of feeling.—