What were you like as a teenager?
I thought I knew everything when I was a teenager. I was very opinionated and I really thought that what I knew was the answer to everything—and that my parents knew nothing. I was probably unbearable in a lot of ways.
I guess that’s how we all feel.
I felt like my parents didn’t understand. I loved them, and I still do, but I never considered my mom, like, my best friend. I always knew she’d be there if I needed her, but there were things that I could ever talk to her about—like sex. But my mom’s of a different generation than your mom and me. I would feel much more comfortable [talking about sex]. In fact, I probably err on the opposite side of things—I want to talk about everything with Mathilda, so sometimes I rush things a little bit. And [my husband] Panio’s like, “She’s not ready for that.” When she was in preschool she was interested in how babies are made, and we had this book, Where Willy Went, about a little sperm in a race to try to get to the egg. So she already knew about the sperm meeting the egg, but she didn’t know how [the sperm] got there in the first place. She asked me [about it], and I said, “You really want to know?” And she said, “Yeah.” And I just blurted it all out. It took about seven minutes. I told her the whole thing. She was like wide-eyed and I said, “Was that what you were expecting?” She said no. I said, “Has anyone talked about this at school?” And she said no. So I said, “Well, was it a surprise?” She said no. And then she said, “I mean yes.” I said, “Well, that’s it.” And then I had to tell all of the other parents [at her school], “Hey, by the way, if you hear [your kids say] anything about the penis getting bigger and blah blah blah, uh, this is where it came from.” My husband was just like shaking his head. It was really embarrassing. [Laughs]
Do you think she was ready to hear it, though?
She was not ready at all. I totally jumped the gun. Because six months later she said, “Mom, do you want to know how babies are made?” I was like, “Yeah, sure,” thinking to myself, I told you this whole thing. And she said, “Kissing.” I think kids are either ready to take in information or they’re not. So I have to get a little bit better about pacing my dispersal of knowledge. But it was pretty funny.
[Laughs] Tavi wanted me to ask if there’s anything that you would like to tell her teenage readers. Words of advice.
I sort of make it a policy not to give advice, because I think everyone has to figure it out on their own. The only thing I will say—which is not original, because Dan Savage did a whole campaign on it—is that it gets better. I think it’s important for teenagers to remember that life is always changing. However you feel right at this moment, you’re not going to feel that way in an hour or tomorrow. It’s ephemeral. And I think it always gets better.
How did you and Tavi meet?
I write for HelloGiggles, and Sophia Rossi, who’s the founder of HelloGiggles, introduced us. This is the first thing I’ve ever written for [Tavi], so I’m excited.
Did I tell you that I interviewed the comedian Demetri Martin last week?
I love him.
He’s great. He has a book coming out, and I took him to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and we walked through an abstract-art exhibit because his book is an art book. I didn’t [record the interview] on my phone because I didn’t want to take up the space on it, so I used somebody else’s recording device, and it kept turning on and off.
That’s my worst nightmare.
When I got home I wanted to make sure that certain things I said weren’t recorded, so I had to listen to this whole conversation. I was like, Oh my god, why am I talking so much? I was interviewing this guy and I didn’t stop talking. And I kept saying, “Oh, that’s great.” I’m like, How many times are you going to say that? Or How many times am I going to say the word like? And in the museum [Demetri] kept saying all these very interesting and intellectual thoughts [about the art], and all my thoughts were like Why isn’t this in my house? Like, I just want this in my living room. You know, total consumer. But yeah, you should pick up his book.
Thanks for doing this, Maude.
Thank you so much! Now I’m scared it didn’t record! ♦
Maude Apatow is addicted to technology, even though she knows it’s destroying her.