In an unmarked cab driving circles around Lower Manhattan, the ATL Twins are hustling me, again, for cash: “Just exactly how much do you have in your bank account? We need a hotel room… We need more cocaine… Grey Goose…”
The cab turns the corner again, “Where are you going now?” the driver asks, irritated. We’ve given him three different destinations, the twins changing their mind each time.
I scroll through hotel apps, chain-vaping, uneasy. One of the brothers makes a call for cash and the other jabs a long fingernail into a vial of coke. “You know what would be dope, visually,” he says, sniffing, “to get a photo of us busting on a chick at the same time. We’ve tried but it’s hard to time.”
The ATL Twins–a pair of reptilian white boys from Tennessee with rose gold grills–are of a certain genre of Famous for Being Famous; they attained Internet celebrity by playing themselves, “mirror twins” who wear the same clothes, sleep in the same bed, and fuck the same women. They’re identical twins who refuse to be apart for longer than fifteen minutes; a novelty that quickly circulated in a culture that chooses always to see, to click, the freakshow.
After parlaying their fame into roles in Harmony Korrine’s Spring Breakers, 2013, the twins have worked to retain cultural cachet in certain urban warehouse-party-fueled circles. I’m in a cab with them because they’re in town for New York Fashion Week, a world they’ve managed to hold some relevance in, filling the need for some imagined “authenticity.” Together, they perform an endless loop of infinite teenage maleness, something we want to believe is real.
Part of the viral-draw of the twins is the story that they grew up broke, hustling, and now they seem to live comfortably, partying every night in their Atlanta penthouse. In person, they complain that they’ve never been so broke. They flash a negative bank statement on an iPhone.
Recently, the twins have struggled to make themselves known as visual artists and there is also talk of fashion collaborations but, of course, this isn’t what we want. We got what we wanted: A swamp-thing rising from American sludge, a single spirit with two nine-inch cocks, twin demons, living in mutual desire and disgust. We don’t want them to, like, do anything.
Hanging out with the lizardy twins, rocketing around in the back of a taxi, listening to their grit-crusted drawl, I couldn’t look away. I also wasn’t sure that this decision wasn’t proving to be regrettable.
They seemed mostly to be on a series of coked-out errands to collect free clothes.
Introducing me to their fashion world contacts, the twins explain that I am known online as a Sex Writer.
“She’s gotta get that experiential story, if you know what I mean,” they say.
“No, thanks,” I laugh. “I’m just trying to be a fly on the wall.”
“It’s okay, honey,” the twin mumbles in a low southern twang, “you’re not my type and I’m sure I’m not yours either.”
In a room at the dark glitzy Hotel on Rivington, the twins slouch on a sofa to chain-smoke, eat McDonalds, snort lines, and begin the drawn-out process of finding girls to fuck.
“Who is this girl texting us like a psycho?” one twin asks the other, their iPhone settings connected so that they get the same messages on separate numbers. “We have to start saving names with digits….”
The boys tell me that they have no problem getting laid. I ask if they have ever paid for sex and they shake their heads. They say they’re the ones hustling dates for cash.
“It seems like most guys don’t even like girls. Most guys seem gay,” says one of the twins.
“Why do you say that?” I press, trying to find the proper interview mode.
“I mean… for the same reason they wear short, fat v-neck sweaters and tie their shoelaces as tight as possible…the same reason they go to the movies. Who wants to go to the goddamn movies, it’s horrible. I mean, how can anyone watch televised sports? You gotta be a bored motherfucker to pay attention to sports.”
They DM with focus, cigarette ashes inching longer and longer.
“We hate people, for real we do… fuckboys, fuckgirls, the fucking masses,” the other twin says.
I’ve been watching the twins hit on girls for hours. At the Soho gallery–where they were part of a group show–one of the twins cozies next to a girl eyelash extensions and a wide-brim hat. He mutters: “I have a crush on you. You’re a rich girl, aren’t you? I’m sayin’… you’re the type of chick I’d like to impregnate.”
She laughs like all the girls laugh. Each one has laughed that same laugh, not taking the twins up on the offer but not walking away either.
The fantasy of sleeping with two men seems obvious with its potential doubling of pleasure. Like we want to believe in the twins’ hard-luck-made-good story, and their endless adolescence, we want to believe in the visceral promise of being a focal point for dual desire. Then it hits upon something else–the sense that you could, always, be physically overpowered. One man is manageable but two boys were potentially sociopathic. Violence has its draw.
The twins sit, chain-smoking and serious. They text with upwards of twenty girls at once.
There is a lot of boring in-talk, scenester-circle-jerking about echelons of New York fashion and media, a shit-flow of shit-talk directed at a series of designers who do seem, I find myself agreeing, to make clothes for “faggots,” the slur aimed, in this case, at dull affluent heterosexual men.
“If guys could wear make-up, I’d be the most beautiful motherfucker in the world,” says one of the twins.
“I hate it when a girl wears a bunch of make-up and tries to act all distant. Take that make-up off, bitch. Take that make-up off.”
The twins, like everyone, take photo and videos of their sexual conquests. They show me an explicit video of a rising star who’s signed to a major label. The video was taken in doggystyle for its penetration shot perspective, the pop-star made relatable, likeable, by a series of unfortunate pimples along the crack of her ass.
They show me videos of cute skinny girls, scene-y girls in Hood By Air, Miami spring break girls.
Is fantasy of the MMF threesome about being a certain kind of girl, one who could access male energy? Who is this cool girl who explodes in a testosterone shower like one of the guys? The twins’ very existence invite you to believe in the fantasy. They want you to imagine some lost boyhood, running shirtless through a field. They are like a living a porno shot by Ryan McGinley. They’re looking for a certain kind of girl–one who could keep up, pill’d up, toes up, out of her skull. You almost want to be her.
I pause on a photo of a naked blonde and study her impeccable breast augmentation. “What do you think about those twin towers?” one of them asks and only then do I notice their cocks on either side of her, massive on their skinny frames.
“People will call you a famewhore but success is sexy,“ one of the twins is saying. “Oprah Winfrey, you know, I’d fuck Oprah…I’d get down with Hillary Clinton. I like these fuckin’ moms and cougars.”
The twins have had a few serious girlfriends and were even engaged– together– to a Penthouse Pet. This tale became part of their initial viral fame; the twins wanted to get married, become Dads and raise a kid together. It gave their “brand” an American ethical twist.
The twins have grown somewhat jaded, but they still foster fantasy. They say they have been “blasting it in hella chicks lately.” They name a rich southern girl whose father is some sort of government official.
“It’s just hard to date a chick because her pussy gets played out,” one of the twins explains. “In a relationship, sex just starts to matter more to the girl and I can’t be fucking them over and over like that.”
The night creeps on and the boys continue to text furiously. It turns out it’s hard to find a girl who doesn’t have a boyfriend, and even harder to find one who is willing to cab it to Manhattan past midnight.
“Man, I like hangin’ out with a chick but after awhile it’s just like, let’s go,” complains one of the twins, as he types. “You know you’re gonna fuck, we’re all grown ups here, let’s get it going… I hate it when girls get hungry and sleepy in my presence… when they start yawnin…’ that’s when I excuse them…”
We each snort another line and I suggest that the twins download Tinder to hasten the process. The twins tell me they’ve never heard of it.
They tell me that they don’t watch porn. They swear that they never jerk off, saying the only drive they have is to fuck.
I excuse myself to take a long shower and try to rinse the coke-twitch from beneath my skin.
When I emerge from the bathroom, I find that the girls have arrived. Three of them. Students from NYU in nameplate hoop earrings, tube-tops, and black plastic-framed eyeglasses.
“The government is just run by soy frappe lattes and bankers,” one of them is saying.
“I’m just saying, slut is a social construct and third-wave feminism did a lot of good by freeing us from certain stigmas!” says another.
“I have no idea what ya’ll are talking about,” one of the twins says.
“I’m sex negative,” says one of the girls. “I decided to be celibate now.”
“Really?” the twins ask.
“She is,” her friend assures them. “She turned me into a hoe and then she left me in the hoe-world.”
I ask the twins how life might have been different if they were born female. They don’t have an answer. The girls refuse to let it go, saying that it might have been harder, that they would have probably faced more danger, different forms of male violence. I’m one of the girls, the fuckless fourth, making these arguments with the NYU undergrads.
“Girls are definitely prey for sick assholes and rapists and stalkers,” the twin agrees. “A lot of homies are pushy and aggressive.… I hate that shit.… it should happen the way it’s supposed to.”
“How does it happen with you guys?” asks one of the girls.
“We are gentle with girls. We are so close and comfortable with each other… it’s not like some gnarly animal that’s just pounding away.”
The way it usually works, the twin explains, is that one of them starts to hook up while the other one hangs out, smokes, changes the music, and joins in a little. One twin finishes and they flip so the other can start, a loop that can keep going if the girl wants it to, taking turns, flipping and going. An eternity of young men, an endless loop, a Möbius strip of ATL Twins, infinite. Unchanging.
Someone puts on music and the celibate girl starts to strip, casually.
The others cheer her on, passing a giant bottle of grey goose while chanting ATL Twins… ATL Twins, like a chorus of satanic school children.
The girls twerk in practiced rhythm, one of them flipping to shake her ass upside down.
The twins take several videos, several photos, and once the girls have their fill of social media fodder they all leave. Except the celibate one–she stays.
I am slumped next to the cuter twin, though in photos I still can’t tell them apart. We take sips from dozens of bottles in the mini fridge in an attempt to feel more drunk than high.
What’s it like, I ask, this experience of having your best-bro there for you as you come? Experiencing that high, and sharing it, like teammates in a locker room?
“It’s more like if you could split yourself and talk to yourself. I can’t imagine what you go through in life, what it’s like to be alone. Maybe that’s why a serious relationship isn’t so important to us.”
We are taking selfies and then one of the twins is taking my photo. I wobble up onto the bed and pose, hands in my hair, my expression serious.
We sit on the sofa, murmuring, looking at them. “You know what I wanna do?” he whispers, “I wanna cum on your face but, like not in that way…”
When I wake up, I am alone. I sit up confused for an improbably long second about where the fuck I am.
I try to remember the last thing that happened. The cute twin and I were hanging out when the celibate party girl and the other twin came back from the bodega. The twins started arguing– something about kicking the celibate chick out if she wasn’t going to fuck?–while the girl stood there, holding the bag of treats she bought everyone. This is when I must’ve closed my eyes. Dead to the world.
I snake the room, uttering obscenities, picking things up haphazardly. There was only the dryness of my mouth, its shitty sour laundry taste, and that internal racing. I wanted, needed, someone to call but then what would I even say– to who? I dial the twins over and over but it only rings. I open the closet door and take a sweatshirt the they apparently left behind.
I am staring at the wall, deep into the spiral of hangover, when the twins call me back, to ask if they left some clothes at the hotel.
“Um. What the fuck happened? I passed out?”
The twin says he and his brother were arguing when I passed out. That’s when he stood up and punched his brother in the face.
One twin wrestled the other to the floor and it went on like this, endless, a circle. The celibate girl stood there, grocery bag in her hand, the twins pummeling each other until one of them screamed out — he dislocated his shoulder.
The twins decided the best thing to do would be to go straight to the airport, leave New York City and its shady – ass girls, bouncers, taxi drivers, and hetero fashion fags.
“I was like fuck this trip, fuck New York City and threw my grill in the street.”
The other twin gets on the phone.
“You know we are going to have to approve whatever you write.”
“No.” I say. I chew the sleeve of the stolen hoodie. And with that one short word, the circle is complete. Ending this godforsaken story.