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From an outsider's perspective, is New York as Sodom-and-Gommorah-ish as people sometimes make it seem?
That's funny, my mother once referred to New York City as Sodom and Gommorah, and I've never let her live it down. But no, I don't think New York is the den of sin.
Do you ever look at your fellow city dwellers with head-shaking disapproval?
What I love most about living here is the liberty we all have to make whatever choices we want to without judgment. New Yorkers don't preach one thing and practice another; whatever they do, they do it openly and with pride.
You had what sounds like an international, cosmopolitan upbringing.
I moved to Madrid when I was nine and grew up primarily in Madrid and London. Now my parents live in Siberia where my father runs a titanium factory, certainly not your typical Mormon family.
Yet you've also described your mother as sort of a rube [who was afraid that New York would turn you into a gay stripper, for example]. How did your family reconcile their beliefs and traditions with the non-traditional urban environments in which they often lived and worked?
My parents want us to be adventurous, curious people but at the same time it's very important to them that we marry other Mormons and continue to practice the faith. It's hard for them to see me struggle. "Did we do you kids a disservice by showing you the world?" my father once asked. "Because now, when mom and I want you to make simple choices, choices we know will make you happy, you can't seem to do it."
What about you?
For better or worse, I've come to realize that I'm not the type of person who can learn things the easy way. And deep down, I think my parents appreciate this.
Judging from what you've said in other interviews, you've changed a lot since moving to New York. What role did the city itself play in your transformation?
As a Mormon, I was raised with a particular set of beliefs and a vague understanding of how my life ought to turn out. New York City has opened me up to all the possibilities out there. As I toy with these possibilities, I find that every year I change more and more. I feel less like a Mormon, in the traditional sense of the word, than I used to, but I still try to hold to my beliefs and follow my conscience.
And as far as celibacy goes, age has also made it increasingly more difficult. I'm 28 and, because I don't have sex before marriage, the longest relationship I've been able to sustain in New York has been four weeks, and that's only because for two of those weeks, the guy was out of town. Some days I ask myself if it's worth it. Other days I feel it is. I wasn't intending on being celibate this long, and I certainly don't want to be a spokesperson for virginity. Google is my biggest cock-block. On the other hand, it's strange because suddenly I've held on to something for ten years, longer than I ever expected to, only to be tempted to give up at the end because I'm not sure if it's the end or ten more years of No Sex in the City starring Elna Baker.