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Lee Sean Huang is Taiwanese American designer, educator and podcaster. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and had what he describes as a typical middle American upbringing. In the late 90s, as a teenager, he spent two summers in Paris, France on a study abroad programme. It was here that he got an opportunity to explore his identity and figure out who he was. And one of the gay bars where he got to do that? The wonderfully named Le Queen. We talk all about being relegated to sidekick role by a boy you fancy, random encounters with men whose language you don’t speak, and kinda accidentally taking part in a foursome…
Lee-Sean Huang 00:00
I think there was some breaking out that happened. But yeah, I think I had to excuse myself when I was making out with Emily and I had to just like puke.
K Anderson 00:08
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there and the people that they used to know. Li Shan Wang is a Taiwanese American designer, educator, and podcaster. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and had what he describes as a typical middle American upbringing. In the late 90s. As a teenager, he spent two summers in Paris, France, on a study abroad programme. It was here that he got to dip his toes in the sea of sexual away. Yeah, okay, that didn’t work. But what I am trying to say is that he got an opportunity to explore his identity and figure out who he was away from his everyday life. And one of the gay bars where he got to do that was the wonderfully named lurk queen. We talk all about being relegated to the sidekick role by the boy that you fancy, random encounters with men whose language you might not speak, but you know, you know what I’m saying? And kind of accidentally taking part in a foursome with a number of strangers.
Lee-Sean Huang 01:52
Especially in my teens and early 20s, I was definitely one of those gay boys who was friends only with girls. Oh, geez. Yeah. So they were like the cool, fashionable girls. I remember, there’s one girl who kind of this rich American girl who bragged about how her father sent her away to Paris every summer, every summer since she was like, 15, or something, just one of those, like, you know, tragic, rich girls who had parents who would throw money at her but weren’t super loving and stuff. So she acted as like, she knew the city, and she knew the nightlife and you know, we’re like 19 years old, or whatever. So I think I just followed her for a little bit around to different places, because she also spoke better French than a lot of us. And so there was a little bit of that dynamic of anybody who knows a little bit more than anybody else kind of became the de facto expert.
K Anderson 02:44
Yeah, cuz I mean, especially with France as well, when you go there. Everyone’s like, oh, make sure that you speak French to people, because otherwise, they’re going to be really rude to you, and they’re gonna spit in your face. So it’s kind of nice to let someone else do all of that.
Lee-Sean Huang 02:56
Right. Yeah. And certainly, I mean, we’re talking about 2223 years ago now, where, even in touristy areas, there was not a whole lot of English spoken, or I think it’s very different today. Like I’ve been to France much more recently. And even when you try to speak French, sometimes with your Uber driver or whatever, they want to practice their English with you. So I think that’s changed over the years. But certainly back then that was the case you just had to make do with bad French and hope for the
K Anderson 03:25
best by someone who knew a little bit more than you. Yeah. And so there’s clubs that you went to with her. I’m presuming they were straight.
Lee-Sean Huang 03:31
Some restraint. I think I ended up at the queen with her one night with and a couple other people from our programme. I think it was like gay night, one of the nights of the week, but it was very much a mixed crowd at that point. There were a lot of straight people who went there. During my Paris trips, I didn’t go to like, exclusively gay places or more sort of hardcore gay places. In that sense. It was very much a nightclub that happened to be gay, but had a lot of straight people as well.
K Anderson 04:03
Ah, Oh, damn, I was expecting today. I was gonna hear all about your sexual awakening in the city of Paris.
Lee-Sean Huang 04:10
Oh, there wasn’t, too I mean, we can.
K Anderson 04:12
Oh, okay. All right. Well, cool. You lead the way tell me all about.
Lee-Sean Huang 04:18
So then this American Girl let’s let’s just call her Emily. Okay. We went to the Queen one night with a couple other people from our programme. And honestly, first part of the evening was kind of a blur. You know, it’s a big cavernous underground nightclub on the shelves at least a I think it’s closed now. But you stood in line, there was a bouncer. Then you walked down the stairs and then it was just like dark right? And they had different rooms and stuff. One night and this is like towards the beginning of the programme, like we had arrived. I think we had a day or two to just get settled in before like orientation or anything like this. So this is really like starting Paris with a bang. There’s like me and Emily and some other people who we kind of lost in the course of the evening, I think. But we met this French couple who were like, older, I guess when you’re like 19, like everybody’s older, but they’re probably maybe in their early 30s, maybe older, I don’t know. But it was a French straight couple are swinging a couple like, I don’t remember the woman’s name, but I do remember the guy’s name is sales. And I remember that because it was like, oh, sales, like sales gospel. Like, and so they just started buying us shots of things. And then, like, fast forward a little bit, we ended up leaving the club with them, and then ending up at their apartments was me, Emily, and then the French couple. And that kind of turned into like, this attempted for some, but like, at this point, I was just super drunk. And really, it was like, I think there was some breaking out that happened. But yeah, I think I excused myself when I was making out with Emily and I had to just like puke. And then by then it was way over. Right. So
K Anderson 06:07
did you know that they were propositioning you like, did you know this was happening? Or were you just being naive?
Lee-Sean Huang 06:12
I, I was just kind of going with the flow. I was like, Oh, this is kind of interesting. Like, we’re hanging out, and we’re shooting if he’s French people who are taking us back to their apartment. And I don’t know if I knew exactly what was gonna happen. But I was like, I was kind of okay, with the two I was like, Oh, this is kind of exciting. I didn’t really have much sexual experience very limited with both men and women at this point, and 19. So I was like, Oh, this is kind of cool. Like, and so I was kind of going along with it. But yeah, then one thing led to another, and then he threw up, I threw up. And then by then it was like, Dawn, so we kind of excused ourselves. And I think like Emily was less into it than me like she was kind of into it. But she wasn’t so into surge. And I was like, just, this is novel enough for me. But yeah, it was dawn, I was like throwing up until we had to, like, take the metro, back to our dorm, we had orientation the next day, I think I was like, still throwing up like along the way, back home. And then we made it just in time for orientations, I think, like, we didn’t have like proper classes that day. But it was the like, you know, welcome to the programme kind of stuff. So at least like an hour or so of just people talking about all of this stuff. And so I had to like excuse myself, at some point during that orientation to throw up some more, and then just kind of like, crashed after that and slept it off. But that was like starting Paris.
K Anderson 07:47
I what did this do to your relationship with Emily? Did you just like avoid each other from there now,
Lee-Sean Huang 07:54
we kind of avoided each other. But it wasn’t that big of a programme, I think there was only like 30 or 40 people. So even if you weren’t in the same section of French class would still see people in the hallways or in the dorms. She ultimately started dating some guy in our dorm during the programme. And so there was that kind of like weirdness there. Because I think maybe he found out about what had happened. And like, you know, he’d said this sort of like macho American guy thing. And then there’s a funny addendum to this story as well. So I ended up changing universities, and I transferred to Harvard. So I moved to Boston. And so this is like, probably two, three years after this, like this is towards the end of university at this point. And I ran into Emily, call Emily at a party. And I ended up making out with one of her friends who was like a guy. And we like exchanged phone numbers and all of that. And then after that I like saw, so we had like an awkward, sort of like, how have you been kind of conversation. But then the guy never ended up calling me back, or I think I like called him once. And he either it was true and just really tragic. Or he just needed an extreme way of like, getting out of seeing me again. But he told me that his dad had died. Like I think I like called him like, maybe the next day or something. There’s like, Oh, I’m sorry. My dad died and can’t deal with this right now. And so we never really talked again.
K Anderson 09:18
But yeah, then no one would lie about that. Right?
Lee-Sean Huang 09:22
Yeah, you’d think you wouldn’t need to go so extreme so yeah. And again, it’s just one of those memories that I remember not so much making out with the guy and like him saying his dad died but because Emily was there and they I think he was friends with her at Boston University. So that was the last time I saw Emily
K Anderson 09:41
right and and so what happened then was it just an awkward like, Oh, hey, really nice to see you. We must keep in touch and then scurrying away type situation or did you like promise to keep in touch through MySpace or Facebook or something?
Lee-Sean Huang 09:53
No. And I mean, this is the pre social media era. I guess maybe MySpace existed but it wasn’t like Facebook, were just on it all the time, or Instagram or something like that. So, no, I think it was just like, oh, how have you been? And I didn’t run into her to like, towards the end of the night at Harvard parties. I was like, Okay, well, this is super awkward, because I was just like, making out with your friend. I think it was like in somebody’s dorm room where it’s like a suite, right. So there’s like, multiple bedrooms. And so it was like, in the bedroom that they were using as the coat room. It was just kind of this shocking juxtaposition was almost like seeing a ghost from your past.
K Anderson 10:33
We need to like collectively, like as a society come up with a word or a sentence, or an eyebrow movement or something that like both people can use in those situations, and just like, come clean about it, because it happens all the time, right? Like when you’re with someone you don’t want to be talking to. And you’re just like, Fuck, I wish the world would swallow me up. And if you just had this one thing that you could both do, and then like nodded each other and disappear, then that would be brilliant,
Lee-Sean Huang 11:02
right? Or it’s like, do you just pretend that you don’t know each other? Or it was like, it wasn’t that big of a party? Right? So it’s like, it was more just the total shock value of like, like your person from my past who I associate with Paris, what are you doing here in Boston? And you’re friends with this guy that I just made out
K Anderson 11:19
as to do you ever do that? Would you just like blank someone.
Lee-Sean Huang 11:25
I don’t think I’ve done that, like in a party situation, especially when it’s like so small, you can’t really avoid somebody, but certainly in New York, like, you’ll see people from the past. And you’re like, I’m just gonna walk to the other side of the street or just pretend like I didn’t see them. They didn’t see me, I think
K Anderson 11:39
I think I’ve stopped doing it. Like I did used to do it. Like, obviously, in London, you see a lot of people that you know, and you just kind of don’t want to talk to them, and you feel Mingyang. And so yeah, but now I just smile and nod and I carry on and don’t engage in conversation. But the expert tip that I will give you is that if you do see someone that you don’t want to talk to, and you think that they’ve clocked you just start talking to yourself, because then they will assume that you’re so caught up in your own world, and that you’re so like busy in your head that they just won’t talk to you.
Lee-Sean Huang 12:10
Fair enough. Yeah, you know, actually to have that now, I’ve been temporarily living in this small town during COVID. And we definitely have a neighbour who’s like the crazy neighbour you want to avoid, because if you stop and talk to him, he just, he tells like all of these offensive stories of like on things he’s done to teenage girls, when he was a teenage boy, and this man’s like in his 50s. And it’s just like, this is really gross. I don’t really want to hear about this. And so now, I’ll just wave. It’s the kind of small town where like, if you don’t wave of people, you’re seen as it’s all just wave. But when I go out for walks, like I always have my headphones in and I’m like listening to a podcast, or I pretend I’m on a phone call. Okay, and then just keep going. Because I don’t want to get roped into this thing. And he’s one of those, I guess lonely, middle aged guys who lives alone with his dog. And I think he just really wants to talk to people, but he’s always so offensive when he does, and it’s just like, Oh,
K Anderson 13:06
I hate that I hate when you’re stuck in a conversation with someone and you’re like, is it really worth the energy of challenging what this person saying? Or should I just smile and nod and then try and leave as soon as possible. But so I mean, hopefully he’s not listening to this. But, but But back to Paris. Okay. So that was your one sexual experience there? Yeah. I mean, we probably can’t call it a sexual experience, because it didn’t quite go all the way.
Lee-Sean Huang 13:33
But yeah, it wasn’t like a fully consummated sexual experiences was another one where there was this guy, Alex, who was like the only other like, openly gay person in our dorm. And he was like, a couple years older, just like, this is the time when like, Abercrombie and Fitch was like really big in the US, so he kind of was that type, right of like, handsome, hunky white American guy.
K Anderson 14:02
And I did that kind of look to it for you.
Lee-Sean Huang 14:05
i In some ways, I was like, both attracted and intimidated by that, because I was very awkward. I grew up in a very religious family. And I was also just like, a nerdy kid for most of high school. And so I hadn’t really sort of found myself I think, as a sexual being, or as somebody who was dating or anything like that, like I had never been in a relationship at that point, either. And so yeah, Alex was like so confident. I remember he tried to like, there’s the Spanish guy in our class, who we weren’t sure about, right. Was he like to Spanish? Was he gay? And like Alex trench out here by like, just dropping these little hints, like one day I think the Spanish guy was saying how he was an exchange student in the US, which is why he spoke English so well. And it was in somewhere really random like Idaho or Montana or somewhere that I haven’t even been to. And he was saying that people would ask him after saying he was from Madrid, people would ask him, What part of Mexico is that? And stuff like that. And then Alex, I think just changed. The subject is Madrid. Are there a lot of gay people there just to see what the Spanish guy would say, you know, it was like, well, like, like, okay, like you’re really, really digging there. And I think Alex started, like, kind of seeing this guy that he had met in Amsterdam, like he did a, a weekend trip to Amsterdam. I just met this guy or something. And he was telling me about
K Anderson 15:36
what happened with this Spanish guy did anything come of that? Did you ever did he ever answer that question?
Lee-Sean Huang 15:41
He didn’t. I think he just sort of like laughed a little bit uncomfortably. You know, this is like late 90s. I think it was still just like, okay, he wasn’t he? I think he like saw the bait, but didn’t go for it. Okay. Okay.
K Anderson 15:53
So you never found out? No,
Lee-Sean Huang 15:55
I think this is more just like a an anecdote for like giving you a portrait of Alex. Yeah, he’s like, I think I LinkedIn stalked him the other day. He’s like, at some sort of business empire in Texas now or something. Yeah, so fast forward, like I think, definitely had a crush on Alex was like, okay, but he’s just like, almost like unattainable. He just treated me as like his sidekick in a way. But then there was a time where like Alex and I sort of were drinking in his dorm room, and like, started hooking up like, definitely, there’s like some clothes off kind of stuff. And then his like roommate walks in which like, put a kibosh on that as well. So there was like, it was definitely a summer of like, starting of things that never really fully consummated. And then we also got a little awkward and didn’t really talk about
K Anderson 16:44
Oh, brilliant, brilliant. That’s the teenage experience, right? Just bury it down and pretend it never happened. And so we need to talk about the queen. Let’s talk about the queen. What was special about it?
Lee-Sean Huang 16:58
I think for me, it was like my first proper nightclub experience. I guess I was underage to do that in the States before I went to Paris. And so it was just the I guess there’s the story I can tell now. 20 plus years later about Emily and Sarah and that French couple. But I think it was just like a rite of passage of like, okay, this is my first nightclub. And I could go out dancing and drink gin and tonics or whatever. Yeah.
K Anderson 17:27
And, and what was like, what was the feeling then of being in Paris and being away from home and like, striking out on your own for the first time?
Lee-Sean Huang 17:38
I thought it was exhilarating. You know, as I said, Before, I grew up in a religious family and a conservative part of the US, like in middle America. And so it was just so different. You know, there were people on the streets who didn’t have to drive everywhere in the suburbs, like where I grew up. And there were just different kinds of people who could be who they were. I remember. I think I was definitely discovering like, what my fashion look was going to be and so we went shopping once I bought these, like, pure Kardan branded, like shiny jeans, so they were like, blue, but like shiny material. And so that became part of my club. Look.
K Anderson 18:24
became your identity. Surely? Yeah.
Lee-Sean Huang 18:27
I had these like, Raver, Kid sneakers that had these like faux spikes on them. And so it’s kind of like, you know, experimenting with different things there. So I think parents was good for that. Like trying different things that I didn’t really have the experience to try on.
K Anderson 18:44
But you didn’t like get a battery and a string and garlic. Did
Lee-Sean Huang 18:46
you know it wasn’t like a sort of Emily and Paris. kind of situation. Hang on. Hang
K Anderson 18:51
on. Is there Emily
Lee-Sean Huang 18:53
drops? Yeah. I’ve just made the connection.
K Anderson 18:57
Have you watched it? I haven’t watched it. I’ve just heard how mindless it is.
Lee-Sean Huang 19:00
I have I kind of hate. It was interesting. It was like one of those shows. That is so dumb.
K Anderson 19:07
Yeah. You know what? I’m not absolutely not judging you.
Lee-Sean Huang 19:11
You’re welcome to my partner definitely judged me for watching. It’s, I think it very much is an American fantasy version of Paris. And like, you can definitely see the Sex in the City connection to just this like, very unrealistic, like white woman looking for love kind of story. But I was entertained.
K Anderson 19:33
See, I felt that the most unrealistic bit of it was that her career accelerates really fast. And she becomes like, oh, yeah, I would hate that. I would just hate watch out for that. And so anyway, we’re not here to talk about Emily, we’re here to talk about you. So let’s find out a bit more about you. So where were you on your like, coming out journey at this point, like had you come out to your friends and your family like what Where were you?
Lee-Sean Huang 19:58
I had not come out to my family. Emily, but I was also like in high school, I was involved in orchestra. And like I played cello and piano, I sometimes play piano for the theatre department for the school plays and things like that. And so it’s like around theatre kids. And so I was like, out as by, in high school, there was like a few other gay or bi kids in my high school. So among my close friend group, it was like, just kind of a non issue, but in the wider world. In Arizona in the late 90s. It was still like, you know, even if people knew it wasn’t like something as open as today. So I, like, knew I liked boys. I kind of liked girls as well, like, I made out with girls before. And I was like, okay, like, I’m kind of open to this, but I think I’d like to boys more. But it was still very much an abstraction before going to Paris.
K Anderson 20:51
Did you view Paris as a way of like exploring that more? Or was it just not something that you thought much of?
Lee-Sean Huang 20:58
I don’t know, if it was super conscious, I think it was like more of an unconscious thing of like, okay, I’m going there, because I wanted to try to learn French and just experience living in a different country for a short amount of time, and just to break out and to be independent. But I think the sexual discovery part was almost like a, it wasn’t like fully top of mind. I think it was more just like, Uh, okay, I’m a teenager, and I need to figure this out. I don’t think I had like a plan or a strategy or anything like that. I just, like, put myself in situations where things happened. And there was more just like, Okay, well, I don’t know what to do. You know, I don’t have like, as they say, like, I didn’t have any game. No idea what I was doing.
K Anderson 21:37
Sorry, I’m making it sound like it’s something that you need to like methodically plan rather than just letting the universe do its thing. But I just kind of remember like, for myself, being in such a hurry to grow up and experience everything that there was to experience and I’m just like, I didn’t feel as if I was going to be this fully realised person until I’d done everything on this list of things to do.
Lee-Sean Huang 21:58
I think also, given the time, like it was before any of these apps existed, I think there were like websites you could go on, but it wasn’t like we were online all the time, right. So you could like, maybe meet somebody online, but you would like send a message. And the next time you were online, you would respond to that. And you’re just essentially like, Penny. But my friend wasn’t good enough to have those sort of, like, long drawn out online conversations anyway. And so really, it was like, if anything was gonna happen, I guess it was gonna happen in real life. So in some ways, it’s like a blessing to almost be like the last generation to have that experience. I don’t know what it’s like for young people today. But in some ways, it’s like, okay, well, if you have everything on your app, like, maybe it’s just easier, or you can be more specific of like, this is what I like, this is what I want. This is what I want to experience.
K Anderson 22:46
Yeah. And like, I never, I’m never really sure whether or not it’s a good or a bad thing. Like you can be so specific now about what it is that you like, and what you’re looking for, which is, you know, it’s great. If you’ve got like a specific kink or fetish, that’s not common. But like, it also means that it kind of closes you off to trying different things with different types of people and letting collect chance, just play a bit of a role in your exploration. Like, you know, people are so quick to now put labels on themselves like, Oh, hey, I’m Terry. Bisexual bear who only wants dumb pansexual twinks. Between the ages? Yeah. 30.
Lee-Sean Huang 23:25
Maybe with more labels, you’re still stuck in the world of labels versus more open ended. Identification about that.
K Anderson 23:35
Yeah, yeah. But like having said that, at the same time, I’m just about to completely contradict myself. So sorry about that. But I know that when I was growing up, there were all of these guys who were like, Oh, I don’t believe in labels. I’m not I don’t want to put a label on things. Maybe I’m gay, maybe I’m bi. And it felt kind of less like a fluidity of identity and more like an internalised homophobia.
Lee-Sean Huang 23:59
Yeah. Yeah, I think I don’t know if that’s still a phenomenon. Now, but it was, like, almost safer to be like, I’m just going to be buyer, or questioning and, but like, There’s something so definitive about gay. Whereas like, I guess being more fluid, especially for like, for girls, for women, it was like maybe like, it was almost like a chic thing to be like, Oh, I have a girl who also has kisses other girls, but I’m gonna date a guy kind of thing. Whereas for me, it was like, I’m just kind of figuring things out.
K Anderson 24:31
So did anyone like, okay, so I know this question is gonna be a little bit of a weird question to ask and I might end up sounding a bit douchey so I’m gonna say all of this now to protect myself. So sorry, no worries. Did anyone like when you decided to come out as bi? Was there anyone that just like refuse to believe it? That was just like now you’re gay?
Lee-Sean Huang 24:52
No, I mean, I know that that’s a common thing, but I don’t really remember that. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah. Oh, that was lovely. You theatre kids in my small bubble of theatre kids in Arizona
K Anderson 25:03
thank you for not traumatising Li Shan right. Okay, so you said that you went to Paris over two years. Do you remember, like any differences between those two trips?
Lee-Sean Huang 25:17
See, there was, I don’t remember which of these trips this was there was another, like, experience in Paris where I was just like, walking around. And some guy like, tried to pick me up, like, you know, he’d like, we made momentary eye contact. And then he like, followed me for a little bit. And I didn’t really know what to do with this. It was just like, okay, is he like? Was he an escort? Was he just picking me up and wanting to hook up? I was still kind of virginal after all these sort of, you know, attempted hookups that didn’t like fully consummated, right. And so we ended up going into one of these like bar tabac kind of places to get like a drink, like a coffee or a beer or something. Like I remember, he bought me a beer. And then we were talking, and he just seems kind of sketchy, because he claimed to be Italian. And like, I didn’t really I don’t really speak Italian, but I knew a few words. But then he was like, kind of mixing up some words in different languages. And it was like what, like, as we were trying to communicate, so it’s like, are you really Italian? Or is this just an act? He wanted to, like, go to some porn theatre or something to hook up or something. But then I, I just kind of declined, thanked him for the drink. And it was like out there. And I think it was just like, it was cute and stuff like that. But I think it was just like, way too scary for me. At that point. I was like, Okay, I see some maybe red flags is the first time that like some stranger had shown interest in be like, and this was like, in the middle of the afternoon kind of situation. It was like, oh, like, so it was both sort of exhilarating. But it’s like I didn’t want to go fully through with it. Just like it was like too much
K Anderson 27:05
like dipping your toe in the water and then running back to shore. I am. I had something similar happened to me once when I was like, the first time I ever went to Barcelona. And I was just like, so young and naive. And I just had no idea what was going on. I did not clock what was going on until years later, when suddenly I was like, ah, yeah, he was a sex worker. This guy when I was just coming out of my hotel, he just approached me and just started talking to me in Catalan and just kind of trying to schmooze me and I was like, I didn’t know what’s going on. I have no idea. And then he got a bit frustrated with me and started going ombre like smacking his hands together. And I was still just like, I didn’t know what’s going on at dinner. What? Yeah. And he must have spent like, 10 minutes talking to me and trying to like, convince me to do something to go on some adventure with him. But I just did not figure it out quick enough and gave up and ended up buggering off. But yeah, I do love those kind of lovely little misadventures that you get up to when you’re in a foreign country and you just look kind of gormless and gullible to strangers.
Lee-Sean Huang 28:21
Yeah, speaking of ombre like just another kind of side. Funny story. I was in Brazil for work. This is much more recently, like, maybe 910 years ago, and I was, my co workers were staying in one place. And I was staying with a friend who I knew in Brazil, like, in a different neighbourhood. So they got out of the taxi, I was the last one left with the driver. And we drove by this neighbourhood that had a lot of, like, trans sex workers, essentially, it was like, you know, who appeared as women. And I remember the driver saying to me, you know, so omegas like, it’s like Sonoma is in Spanish, right? But the Portuguese version, I’m just like, Thank you. Thank you for letting me know. I definitely knew before but like, he was saying this to me. Like it was some sort of public service announcement in case I was like, confused that they might be women or something.
K Anderson 29:14
Oh, I thought he was gonna grab your hand and put it in his crotch like most cab drivers. Right. So yeah, so let’s get back to that question about the difference. So did you notice that whether there was any difference between that first year in the city and the second time around,
Lee-Sean Huang 29:29
I mean, I was like, one year older, I guess. And I felt a little bit more comfortable in the city just knowing like some of the neighbourhoods and things like that. But definitely like a later bloomer, I had to like, wasn’t until like the end of university that I had really figured stuff out, or I don’t think I’d fully figured stuff out, but where I was just more actualized in that way. So I think I was still relatively shy and timid, I hadn’t, still hadn’t like dated anybody that second time around. In some ways, came the Emily like without the annoying part, right? But it’s like, okay, I didn’t know a little bit more than other people because I had been there the previous year, the previous summer. And so there was a little bit of that, but not that much because I still, My French was still awful at that point.
K Anderson 30:18
And so if you could go back in time, and have a conversation with Li Shan on the day after he’d almost had a foursome with Serge and Emily, and the woman whose name you can’t remember who was Serge, his partner, and he is sitting on the side of the curb, he is feeling sorry for himself. He’s hungover, he’s about to throw up again. What advice would you give him?
Lee-Sean Huang 30:47
Pace yourself, I don’t drink so much. Now that I just drink so much less now, in my old age, ripe old age of 40. I think there’s ways to have fun, be in the moment, be a little bit wild. But like, you don’t need to drink as much, I think to have fun. And in some ways, like the moment comes, you’re more able to enjoy the moment. She has that advice and just like, take it as like learning because maybe 20 something years later, you’ll tell the story on a podcast, I don’t know. Especially in your like, late teens, early 20s. Like all of these experiences are so formative, even if it’s like, not amazing, right? But that it like, you have to figure out what you want, what you like, and all of these sort of things. So it’s still worth it to have these awkward experiences.
K Anderson 31:40
Can I just side by very quickly, you were talking before about at that time in college, you were using drink a lot using alcohol a lot. And that you were also quite shy? Was alcohol the way of overcoming that shyness?
Lee-Sean Huang 31:55
I think so. Because it was just like something to do, right. It’s like, hard to have sustained deep conversation, like in the club when the music is so loud, but you can like drink and you can take shots with people. And I think it was a way of dealing with that. And then also like, not really speaking French in those days, it could really only interact on a deep level with like the other Americans I was with. I think that’s the other advice too. It’s like if you really want to learn French, like don’t go on a programme with all Americans.
K Anderson 32:24
And don’t hang out with that Italian guy either. He’s not going to do any French.
Lee-Sean Huang 32:27
Yeah, totally avoid, avoid the hustlers. But also maybe like telling Alex that I fancy sooner or something like that, rather than just being the sidekick, right? Which are the two that I think 40 year old Li Shan might might do that because it’s like, okay, like, you’re only there for the summer anyway. And like, if you’re, if it’s not reciprocated, it’s like, you’re still going to be in class, and then you don’t ever have to see this person again. It was already awkward with Emily. It’s like, I’d
K Anderson 33:00
rather not alienate everyone on their course.
Lee-Sean Huang 33:03
It’s like rather like regret the things that I’ve done than that I haven’t done. So yeah, maybe I would have put myself out there more.
K Anderson 33:12
Yeah, and you could have been like some business tycoon in Texas by now. Do you have any memories of the queen or clubbing from your own cuisine that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories of queer clubbing, go to LA spaces podcast.com and find the section sharing lost space and tell me all about what you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has lost spaces pod. Find out more about Leon by following him on Instagram and Twitter at least shown or listened to his podcast AI GA design podcast, which is available to stream on all good podcast platforms. La spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and it’s playing underneath my talking right this very instant on all good streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces