Did you choose “Fresh Air” over having children?
First of all, I never really felt called to have children. And when I started hosting “Fresh Air,” I had a lot of plants. After a few weeks of hosting “Fresh Air,” I had no plants. I couldn’t even keep up with watering them. I know I’m missing out on very, very special things; things I will never understand, because I will never get a chance to experience them.
I imagine you don’t particularly like kids.
I relate to children much better when they get verbal. Sometimes I feel like when I see a baby that I should throw my catnip toy and scratch them under the chin like I do my cat.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they have erotic associations with your voice.
With my voice? That really makes me laugh.
This can’t be a surprise to you.
I don’t get that a lot. I’m very short, under five feet, and I often think of myself as smaller than life. Until I was on radio, I went through life being, as far as I was concerned, invisible, which of course I am on radio. But it’s one thing to be invisible on radio; it’s another thing to be invisible in real life.
I gather that people frequently assume you’re a lesbian. Several years ago, it came up at a cocktail party for your husband, the writer Francis Davis, celebrating his Pew Fellowship.
The spouse of a recipient went up to my late mother-in-law and said: “That’s Terry Gross. Did you know she’s a lesbian?” She just thought that was hysterical. There’s actually a Web site called NNDB, where they list people’s biographical statistics, like your date of birth and religion. They have my sexual orientation as “Matter of Dispute.”
God bless Terry Gross for putting up with that bullshit. Note to Goldman: Provocative interviews are fun, but asking the most stereotypical (and simply rude) questions possible isn’t interesting or effective; it’s lazy and obnoxious.