Jack Brightside: This dialogue exchange in Pirate Booty, establishes character baselines for Louis and Montgomery. It is on-brand for both characters trying to flirt. Louis is over-sexual and uses the shock value of inappropriate language to disarm Montgomery. Meanwhile, Montgomery does his best impersonation of a person that is ‘cool’ and ‘confident.’ It fails right on cue, when Louis finds something egregious enough to make him drop the act. The latter two-thirds of the exchange is Montgomery genuinely reacting to Louis.
Another function of this excerpt is to give the reader a preview of the flirting in the book. This piece is anachronistic to real life. Louis uses cheesy pickup lines that come from the 21st century. The way the two characters court each other is rooted in 21st century conventions, including setting ‘thirst traps.’
Louis is an amalgamation of some of the men I’ve met in Los Angeles. The good ones. These guys are characterized by an outgoing personality and extreme incompetence in long term romantic commitment. The kinds of guys who hang around bars in cheap jackets and flirt with everybody. They have a new romance every week. I don’t mean to be critical. I always envied their emotional flexibility. It seemed like an exciting way to live.
I thought Caribbean pirates was an appropriate setting for this demographic because these guys kind of look like pirates. I set the book in 1737 because it was the peak of thirsty menswear. After the American revolution, menswear became hyper-masculine. There are first-hand sources of people talking shit on Robespierre (yes, that one) for wearing short-style breeches after the revolution. Talking like (paraphrasing here): “he looks like he needs to get beat up in those short pants.”
In my head canon, if Louis were a person in 2020 he’d live in Los Angeles or New York City. Probably LA, because it’s not career-centric like the east coast is. I imagine Louis in a garbage apartment near decent nightlife, in Hollywood or downtown. He listens to R&B from the early 2000s about falling in love, and drives a busted white Audi. He’s never read a book before, but he loves movies. He likes shallow comedies about lovable stoners with great one-liners, and quotes them often. He smokes indica and drinks good whiskey out of plastic cups. His friends are also pirates, and they roll around LA eating chicken sandwiches in the back of his car.