On Female Desire

Writers/producers Victoria Floethe and Kate Rose recently flipped the switch on the Desire Project, “a website about what women want and how they get it.” The site (currently in beta) features dozens of videos of women talking about desire — sexy desire, unsexy desire, one desire, two desire, red desire, blue desire. It’s hot and hypnotic (and goofy and honest), which you can get a taste of in the charming teaser above. I also emailed back and forth with Victoria and Kate about the project, and about linen.

What’s the first thing you remember desiring? And what’s the most recent thing you desired? Did you get it?

Victoria: I must have been three when I saw Muppets Take Manhattan. I wanted Kermit the Frog to get together with the waitress, and was inconsolable for days that he married Miss Piggy instead.

My most recent material desire was for linen sheets, which I did get. But, I suppose, more life-changing than even linen sheets, was the realization of Desire Project. We’ve been interviewing women for more than a year, and now we have a beautiful website designed by the guys at Madwell. When it went up, it felt more like Christmas than Christmas.

How about you?

Linen sheets! That’s crazy. Although I’m now desiring linen sheets, too — is female desire contagious? And if we’re sticking with the material desires (ahem!), I currently desire a very expensive kitchen appliance.

Do you have a favorite interview from the interviews page? I like them all, but I especially like Alix. Or is that like asking you to choose among children?

Victoria: Funny, Alix is my favorite for this episode as well — I love her delivery, everything out of her mouth is hilarious to me, and she does a nice shopping and sex tie-in.

I slept in linen sheets for the first time at a friend of mine’s Downton Abbey-esque country estate (on a horse-hair mattress). It was a transformative experience. There’s something about them — the tooth, the way it regulates your body temp, something — that makes for happy sleeping. I’d strongly recommend, especially in the summer.

I hope female desire is contagious! What kitchen appliance??

Well, the site is great so far. And does your Downton Abbey friend need another friend? Because I am a good, nice friend. (Also, the kitchen appliance is a [redacted], but I’m actually writing about it for this site, so I don’t want to give away the “surprise,” although I now feel absolutely ridiculous saying that.)

Kate: I used to think Downton Abbey was called Downtown Abby, and that it was about a poor girl named Abby who lived downtown. I was also really annoyed because I thought that everyone talking about it was trying to pronounce the word “Downtown” in an accent to be authentic.

I love that. It also reminds me of my friend’s friend who thought it was called “Downtown Arby’s.” I desire a Downtown Arby’s. But: were there challenges getting women to talk about desire, or did you find they were eager to?

Kate: We start talking the second our interview subject walks in the door, and once the camera starts rolling we keep a conversational vibe going, and just tell them to look in the camera. I’m behind the camera crammed in a little corner where my knees are pretty much touching theirs, so it’s very intimate. They know we’re right there with them and that they have our undivided attention. Contrary to what people may think, women like to talk! And, brace yourself for this one, women like to talk about their feelings! We’re deeply interested and ask them questions and we listen.

It’s crazy how many people have said, “No one has honestly asked me what I really want or engaged me like this.” When she leaves the interview and her friend contacts us the next day and says, “Angela told me she had the greatest experience yesterday, can I come in for an interview too?” you know you have something special happening.

Any tricks to getting people to open up about such an awesome but potentially nerve-wracking subject ?

Kate: Our goal is to make it not feel so scary, and I can share some pretty ridiculous stories about myself that would make anyone feel comfortable. Don’t ask Victoria for a follow up on that one, YET. We’ve laughed and cried and coughed and had technical problems and knocked stuff over during profound moments. I think the key is that we are having this experience with them. We’re learning a lot about ourselves as well. Victoria and I are on camera in many of the upcoming episodes, and obviously we’re sharing a lot of ourselves in the blog, too. We’ve had several women tell us it was better than therapy!

Victoria and I never want the ladies to leave at the end, and I know we stall sometimes so they’ll hang out with us just a little bit longer. “Are you sure you don’t want some more tea? Kate has a trove of strangely hilarious You Tube videos, do you want to watch one?” When they walk out, we close the door and look at each other with puppy-dog eyes. These women are so amazing to talk with, and so engaging on camera. We have some pretty amazing stuff. Just wait!

The Desire Project will update with new interviews and episodes every month. You can also follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

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