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Author Spencer Thomas talks his debut book, his viral Reels, and dating as a gay college student in NYC

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Spencer Thomas wearing Jacquemus

Interview and article by Alex Hughes, Photography by Troy Hallahan, Wardrobe Styling by Dylan Wadeand Hair, Makeup, and Grooming by Stevie Barbieri

Spencer Thomas is more than just a New York college student – he’s a creator whose face you’ve probably seen (thanks to tens of millions of Reel views on Instagram alone) and he’s expanding his resume with a his first book, Goodbye to Boyhood, that just dropped on Amazon and has a wide release date of April 30th. So.Gay sat down with Spencer to learn more about his writing, his dating dealbreakers, and how he brings his millions of viewers into his creative process. Read below for our full interview.

So.Gay: Tens of millions of people already know your face from social media, but tell us more about you, the New York College student, the creator, for people who might not know you yet.

Spencer Thomas: I am a writer and I live in New York and and I write primarily coming-of-age fiction.

So stories about growing up, what it means to be gay in this current digital age, how to deal with love and breakups and trying to date in this world.

Pretty much I find myself writing a lot about what it means to be gay in New York, but also how did that come to be? What shaped you into the person you are today?

That’s what I write about and I had started [my] social media back in 2019, 2020 with no intention in mind.

I was just stuck at a Catholic high school, unsure of who I was to become and it kind of turned into what my career is now and has given me the opportunity to write and share it with the platform and I’m really excited to see what comes next.

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So.Gay: Clearly with what you’ve done, you’re not just posting random videos. There’s a strategy to it. There’s thinking behind it. What goes into your thought process and the creation process of your social videos?

Spencer Thomas: I think the most important thing comes back to relatability.

Whenever I make a video, I ask myself, is someone else going to relate to this or am I just talking to the void and this only applies to myself.

So I think when it comes to social media content creation, that’s the first step is, is this relatable?

And then from there I’ll take the concept and either I’ll go down two routes, either I film it as a talking video or I’ll film it as a video that’s more on the scene, more kind of in the moment, spur of the moment.

But at the stem of it, it always comes back to relatability.

So.Gay: You also have a new book of short stories that just came out, Goodbye to Boyhood. Give us a sneak peek of the book and what we should expect.

Spencer Thomas: I do. Goodbye to Boyhood was the accumulation of stories that I’ve written from when I started college when I was 18 and have most recently finished now at the age of 21.

It is 10 stories that are interconnected about what it means to grow up. The stories start with early adolescence, very early adolescence and end with adulthood in college.

So as you progress through the collection, you’re progressing through the development of childhood, teenage years, the tribulations of middle school and finally what it means to be in college, be gay, be an adult.

Each story functions as its own individual narrative, but they all connect to each other with characters that overlap and different little Easter eggs here and there and it forms one cohesive interconnected tale that I fittingly called Goodbye to Boyhood.

So.Gay: You often share your writing on your accounts too. Do your community’s reactions or responses shape your creative process at all?

Spencer Thomas: Yeah, this is something that I’ve really had to reckon with is – I didn’t start sharing my writing online until August.

So this is all very new to me and it’s all very exciting and it’s all picked up very quickly.

I knew I was putting out the collection, but I was so scared to rip off the bandaid and share my writing online. And then I did it in August with the short story, a shorter version of a short story in my book, called “Boy,” and that took off and the reaction to it really made me think of what do I want to write to like make sure that I want people to feel seen and I want people to relate.

And sometimes when I’m writing, I ask myself, does this story apply to just me or is this a story that, you know, we can all find some sort of comfort and relatability into?

While it is important to take the audience into consideration, I try to make sure I stick to my roots and write about what I know best and I want to make sure I’m writing for myself and that it’s cathartic for me before anything else.

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Spencer Thomas wearing Ralph Lauren shirt and Stylist’s Own Jeans

So.Gay: You’re busy, you’re writing, you’re in school, you go to NYU. You have the world at your fingertips, you can be doing anything you want at any time, lots of potential distractions. What are you prioritizing this year that’s either fun or important to you?

Spencer Thomas: Besides writing and getting this collection finished, it’s been the year of work and looking inward and trying to make my life more structured.

I think when you’re in college and I’m a junior, it can be kind of chaotic and a challenge to balance everything at once.

So for 2024, my big goal is to just really hold myself to a structure. And that has been making sure I wake up on time in the morning and trying to do the things I like more.

I just joined a book club, that’s been fun.

I have been trying to make more time to see my friends and go out more while also working just as hard.

It’s been really a year of prioritizing structure and myself in the process.

So.Gay: What I’ve gathered from your videos is that you’re clearly a Swiftie, right?

Spencer Thomas: I am.

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Spencer Thomas wearing Marni

So.Gay Can you name your three favorite Taylor songs?

Spencer Thomas: This is such a fun question because I am constantly changing [my] favorite songs all the time.

I think my favorite album is always going to go back to Evermore and Reputation.

So my favorite songs at the moment would probably be “Call It What You Want” off of Reputation, “Clean” from 1989, and “Tolerate It” from Evermore.

So.Gay: Did you go to the Eras Tour?

Spencer Thomas: I did.

I went in May at MetLife Stadium, which was super fun because I went to the Reputation Stadium Tour and she sang “Clean” there and then when I was at the show in New York, she also sang “Clean” five years later and I thought that was so fun.

I was like, it’s sick.

So.Gay: What are your favorite restaurants and or bars in New York right now?

For favorite restaurants, Mono Mono in the East Village, I love that place. It’s so comfortable. It’s so cozy.

I really love this bar – it’s called Tile Bar. It’s just like a dive bar, but I really love it because it’s cheap drinks, which is hard to find in New York. It’s cheap and cheap’s hard to find.

So.Gay: In your videos and in your writing, you talk about your love life, your dating. For the gays who want to know, are you single, dating, in a relationship?

Spencer Thomas: I am single.

I think there’s this running joke online, is that if Spencer ever gets a boyfriend, then his career’s out the window, it’s done, because I’ve talked about my dating life so extensively online for such a long time.

I’ve dated, I’ve had my moments, but right now I’m single, and I’m just trying to not put any pressure on my dating life at the moment, just letting things be what they are.

So.Gay: Do you have any dating deal breakers?

Spencer Thomas: People that are mean.

I think there’s this thing that applies to men, period. They try to be really mean as a way to flirt with you – sometimes banter is really attractive. I love a good conversation, I love banter, but my caveat to that is I don’t like when they’re outwardly mean.

For example, I was at a bar a few months ago, and the guy comes up to me, he taps me on the shoulder, and he was like, do you have Tourette’s Syndrome? You look like you have Tourette’s.

And I was like, I don’t have an issue, I was like what?

And then he was being weird, and being mean, and was making fun of me. Don’t make fun of me to my face as a way of flirting, that’s not going to work.

I feel like I just want someone to match my energy, be kind, don’t be an asshole, and it’s pretty simple, and that’s my deal breaker – Men that use cruelty as a way to flirt, because that’s just not the way to my heart, it’s just not going to work.

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Spencer Thomas wearing Ralph Lauren shirt and Stylist’s Own Jeans

So.Gay: What’s the best thing about gay dating in New York?

Spencer Thomas: I think gay dating, as challenging as it can be in New York, always comes back to this, I feel this sense of gratitude, because I think that New York is just a very accepting place to date, and to figure out what you’re looking for.

So I’ve gone into dating most recently without fear of failure, because I know that this community is like, you can date freely, and you can explore, and you can learn who you are and meet friends in the process, so it’s very much you’re dating, and you’re looking for relationships, but it’s also like you can find a lot of great people and become friends with them out of it.

It’s a very fluid space, and I think you can meet a lot of great people because of it.

That’s what I love about it.

So.Gay: What’s the worst thing about gay dating?

Spencer Thomas: The pressure.

I think there’s a constant pressure to look a certain way and to be a certain way, and it almost feels impossible to live up to the standards of what it is to be gay sometimes in New York City, because everyone’s in good shape and everyone’s doing cool shit and everyone’s hustling and everyone is doing everything all the time all at once, and sometimes you get lost in the machine of it all, and you’re unsure of where you fit in with all of it. It can be really stressful, because you just want to feel accepted as you are, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not doing enough, but sometimes that’s the feeling that comes out of it – you’re not doing enough.

So it’s a constant, for me at least, I have to remind myself of, you’re young, you’re in New York, you’re in college still, there’s no pressure, and everyone’s doing their own shit, but so are you, you are enough in everything that you’re doing, and you don’t have to compare yourself to other guys, because that’s just a losing game no matter what.

So.Gay Do you have a current male celebrity crush?

Spencer Thomas: Harris Dickinson.

He’s in The Iron Claw, he’s in this new TV show called A Murder at the End of the World, he’s in Triangle of Sadness, that’s my man, that is my man, that’s my lover, I am in love with him, I think we should get married, and he’s British, he has the accent, I’m in love.

So.Gay: You’re light years ahead of most 21-year-olds, how are you thinking about kind of approaching your career after you graduate college next year?

Spencer Thomas: I look at my career holistically as like, if I can do everything I want in the world, like what would it be?

And there’s a lot I want to do, so I think as I look towards what’s coming after college, I want to keep writing, I’m working on a novel, and I really want to see that get its legs in the ground and take off and do its thing.

I’m trying to get myself more into producing, and the idea of taking books or any sort of written content and the ability to adapt that to screenplay format or media, and I’m really excited to see where this world of media and literature and TV and film takes me.

And I feel, for the first time in a long time, really ready to take that on head on.

So.Gay: Long term, we just heard what you’re thinking about, but for the rest of 2024, what else is on the horizon for this year?

Spencer Thomas: For this year, besides my collection, I think this year is going to be a lot of writing and working on new projects and taking my social media platform, which kind of got started in the queer space of like talking about my dating life and, you know, TikTok and like the story times and kind of shifting that more towards writing and stories and books, and I really am looking forward to kind of launching myself into a whole new world of media, of writing, and I’m really excited to see where that takes me.

You can purchase Spencer Thomas’ debut book, Goodbye to Boyhood, on Amazon here.

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