The Saddest Hello Since Lionel Richie


10/30/15 - We’re back! We talk about the Benghazi hearings, Bieber’s return, Drake’s turtlenecks, Adele’s furs, and the fact that someone made a bluetooth-enabled menstrual cup. Plus, guest Andrew Golis fields a question about not-so-feminist men, and we set the record straight on Shine Theory.

Transcript below.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Overcast | Pocket Casts | Spotify.


Producer: Gina Delvac

Hosts: Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman

Theme song: Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn


that post-hearing photo of Hillary

angry old congressmen yelling at women

Bieber’s back

Drake + Turrell, plus those thirst-trap muscles

Hello? It’s Adele

a “smart” menstrual cup


Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend!

Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.

Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman, and we are back!

Aminatou: We -- I mean we're back. We're back in a big way.

Ann: [Laughs] I mean we always do everything in a big way. I think we are big ladies and it's very, very good to be doing this again. I have missed doing this.

Aminatou: I know! And it seems the Internet has missed us doing this so thank you for showing us so much love while we were on break and checking out our back catalog.

Ann: Love and pressure.

Aminatou: Yes, love and pressure. You know, I was telling you earlier, this is -- now I know a little bit how Rihanna and Frank Ocean feel like. They can't go out. People are like "Where's the album?"

Ann: "You promised. You promised results."

Aminatou: I know, you know? And to be fair we said we'd be back in October. It's still October, y'all.

Ann: Oh my god, under the wire. You're right.

Aminatou: Yeah. I've never not kept a promise.

Ann: I mean I don't feel like I can actually declare that I've never not kept a promise but I do feel very good about keeping this one even if it's only technically speaking.

Aminatou: Fine. I've never not kept a podcast promise.

Ann: [Laughs] Podcast promise.

Aminatou: Way to keep me honest.

[Theme Song]


Ann: What have we been up to? Do we want to talk about that? It's been a couple weeks.

Aminatou: I mean mostly we've been taking some time off. Uh, which was good, you know? It's like how at all those companies with unlimited vacation people never take their vacation. I'm a big proponent of taking some time off. But we've also made a couple of time changes that you might notice. So I guess first off is that we joined this really fantastic podcast network called Acast.

Ann: Which is very, very exciting. It kinds of means that we are growing up a little, like podcast-wise. We are getting some support which is incredible.

Aminatou: Yeah, shout-out to Caitlin Thomson (?), you know, the fourth in our lady coven now.

Ann: It's true. The coven is expanding.

Aminatou: This podcast 100% brought to you by women.

Ann: Ugh, and which it feels very, very good to say that and that was something that we thought about a lot when thinking about how we wanted to get formal and get some support for this podcast, like how can we keep working with women? So that's awesome.

Aminatou: Exactly. And we took a lot of meetings and in some of these meetings did not meet a single woman so please know your audience, other people. [Laughs] But it was really fascinating how this process for us also replicated a lot of professional processes that we go through.

Ann: Oh, totally.

Aminatou: And some of it was really LOL and some of it was like "Oh my god, are you kidding me?"

Ann: Yeah, and I mean maybe we should also explain what is different now that we are working with this network. In some ways lots of things are the same. Like actually the core thing which is just you and I bumbling through our technical problems [Laughs] and having a . . .

Aminatou: Yeah, like that will never change. Have no fear. Probably the main thing that will change is that every once in a while you will hear an ad on this podcast. You know, because mamas are trying to get paid. You know, and a couple of segment changes, and we'll try to be more consistent about a couple of things. But otherwise, yeah, it'll still be your same two favorite fools talking about the same foolish things.

Ann: Oh my gosh, and also on a note about sponsorships and advertising, if anyone listening to this has say some kind of red wine import company and wants to underwrite This Week in Menstruation or if you guys are like "We love XYZ advertiser and want to hear from them," I mean I think that we have our own dream list of products we actually want to rep.

Aminatou: Exactly, and we're trying to make this as painless as possible for everyone involved so let us know.


Ann: Because let's be real, if we have to read an endorsement for something we dislike you will hear it all over our voices.

Aminatou: Ann, let's be real, we're not going to read an endorsement for anything we dislike.

Ann: Exactly. It wouldn't be possible anyway.

Aminatou: Perfect.

Ann: So yeah, and Acast has an app that you can use and that is separate from the iTunes podcasting app.

Aminatou: I mean download it by all means, Acast, A-C-A-S-T. Oh my god, I can still spell!

Ann: You did it. You did it. And also it just occurred to me listening to you spell it that we both have A names and we now work with Acast and I just -- I'm loving that right now.

Aminatou: Ann, the Illuminati touch was all over this deal. Like of course.

Ann: [Laughs] Yeah. The Illuminati symbol actually kind of looks A-like, you know?

Aminatou: Exactly.


Aminatou: Let's get into that meat of this podcast. We've missed so many things.

Ann: Oh my god, we can't even catch up on all the things we've missed.

Aminatou: We can't catch up. You know, sometimes you just have to declare bankruptcy but there are a couple things we want to touch on. So let's do a quick rapid-fire.

Ann: Of some of the many, many things we've missed? Let's do it.

Aminatou: Okay. First up is our girl Hillary Clinton sat through eleven hours of Benghazi hearings and came out looking like a boss.

Ann: I know. I mean that's how you know that woman has worked in government a long time, like just the ability to sit through endless meetings and come out still looking and sounding like the better and more accomplished person.

Aminatou: Right? It's like all these incompetent Republicans try to make her look bad. Trey Gowdy just looks like -- you know, that dude from Texas -- he just looks like a terrible, terrible Disney villain. Like a Disney villain come to life. No upper lip, awful, slicked-back hair. And she just dominated him. It was amazing to watch her just sit there, be really calm, be the expert, but also not take their shit. How many times did they interrupt her and she made these amazing faces the whole time? There's an amazing picture of Hillary Clinton in the Times where she's just looking up at the AP photographer and she's surrounded by all these other paparazzi photographers and she's just smiling.

Ann: Yeah.


Aminatou: And I'm like "Yes!"

Ann: Right. Not the like "Will someone save me from this interrogation?" look but "Can you believe the shit I have to put up with?" look. It's so good.

Aminatou: I know! You know, and the best part too was I think it was on -- she did this interview with Maddow afterwards, or it might've been with somebody else, where they were like "What did you do to celebrate?" and she was like "We had beer and Indian food." And I was like yes! [Laughs]

Ann: I like that she's pulling back the curtain on the snacks now fully.

Aminatou: I know. She made all those men look like fools.

Ann: I've also got to say there was a great post on Jezebel about just what it looks like when a panel of visibly angry, old dudes all line up across the table from a woman who is just left to answer their pointless questions for hours and hours and hours.

Aminatou: Yes, Cecile Richards too.

Ann: Exactly, Cecile Richards and I mean this is like what, two in the past month? Two since we've been on break alone.

Aminatou: Yeah.

Ann: It's ridiculous. I would like to see how any one of those dudes was able to continue thinking like "Oh, this is actually how I should respond to this. This is the right time to make a GIFable face." I don't know. I feel like I would not hold up that well under eleven hours of questioning that was total bullshit.

Aminatou: You know, I was honestly thinking about this. I was like personally me, I would not go. Congress can impeach you but the fine is like a hundred dollars. We can afford that. I would just say like "F y'all, I don't need to be here." But, you know, our boo is running for president so obviously she had to be there. But it's so annoying. You know, it's so annoying to watch people who kind of have no repercussion on your job performance criticize you.

Ann: Yeah.


Aminatou: And people that you know are bad at their jobs. That was the other thing.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: It made me very happy to watch that because I started off being really cranky and, you know, it devolved into an eleven-hour Twilight Zone marathon and she just dominated every step of the way.

Ann: Right. And I also think that there was also that New York Times article about how this investigation is explicitly about trying to drag all of her emails into the public, which fair enough, the emails should be public. But it's really about trying to get ammunition against her as a political candidate as opposed to actually investigating what happened in Benghazi. You know, if there were any questions about that, watching even 20 minutes of the hearings would make you go "Oh, yeah, this is a total waste of time. This is not what it says it's supposed to be doing."

Aminatou: Oh yeah, you know, you could so tell they were shopping for attack ad material.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: That's basically what everything was. You're just like yes, I can see you trying to use this footage later and it is very disingenuous and very dishonest, especially because we've seen all of the findings from the Benghazi report and it's been covered extensively in the media. But . . .

Ann: Trey . . .

Aminatou: I guess our Congress people don't know what's what, so . . .

Ann: Trey Gowdy -- I saw an article today where Trey Gowdy was like "She just keeps taking responsibility but I don't know what for." And it was like this seems like your problem at this point. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I know, Trey Gowdy is such a dummy. Like yes, dummy of the year. What a dumb-dumb. But at the same time see you at the polls, my man. See you very soon. Your job situation is also very precarious.

Ann: Seriously. Yeah.

Aminatou: Ugh. Okay, moving along to somebody else who has had their own tiny little mini Benghazi that is back . . .

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: Justin Bieber is back in a big way also. You know, I've been a Belieber since day one, since the YouTube days, since before the Scooter Braun and Usher days. I am so, so, so happy that Bieber has hit this wave of I call them apologetic dance bangers where he's just basically reassessing his past relationships but also feels sorry about this, you know, kind of douchebag behavior which I still stand by. I was like how would you feel if you were 17 and the entire world was watching you? So he released this song Sorry that I'm obsessed with. I'm trying to convince everybody I know who has a workout studio to run a cardio class with it.


Ann: I mean the dance is incredible. The choreography in that video is incredible.

Aminatou: Yes, this really cool woman named Paris Goebel directed, produced, and choreographed the entire video. You should watch it. It's amazing. I've been learning all the dance moves, I'm so excited. You know, but I'm also a little annoyed because all these people are telling me like "Oh, Bieber's finally good!" And I'm like no, no, Bieber has been good the whole time; he's just making music that's more closely aligned to your tastes now. Please recognize that.

Ann: Yeah, yeah. I was going to say that. I was never like Justin Bieber is a totally irrelevant artist; I was just like cool, not for me, which is how I feel about a lot of things. And I still don't love what do you mean, Sorry? Sorry, controversial.

Aminatou: What are you talking about? It's a consent anthem.

Ann: I mean not for content reasons.

Aminatou: Like EDM tropical consent anthem.

Ann: Trust. I hope it opens up lots of good conversations in young adult relationships. [Laughs] 

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: But as a song that I want to listen to when I am exercising or, I don't know, waking up in the morning or any other time that you might listen to an EDM consent tropical jam, it's just like, I don't know, not my number one. I do like Sorry a lot though.

Aminatou: You know what, Ann? I respect and support your opinions. It's okay.

Ann: But, you know, it's an important clarification, not being like Bieber is shit. Just like I prefer not to listen to old Bieber. I think that's fair.

Aminatou: That's fair. Nobody's perfect. It's fair.



Ann: What else?

Aminatou: What else? Drake also has been putting in work since we've been gone. You know, like dropping some really amazing Instagram thirst traps. Like how many times do we have to see that man's penis muscles? It's very distracting.

Ann: I mean I have this moment looking -- what is the name of those muscles? I can't think. I know what you're talking about.

Aminatou: I don't know. I call them penis muscles. Do they have a scientific name?

Ann: They probably do, but this is . . . we need like Google, M.D. to tell us what do you call the I've been working out my lower pelvis muscles?

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: But I definitely had this moment when I saw that Instagram that I was like some teenage girl is looking at this and going through what I went through when I saw the Deangelo video which is just like all his chest situation when I was a teenager.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: And I was like what are those muscles? I had a flashback to teen me looking at Deangelo's muscles.

Aminatou: You're like "What are those?"

Ann: Exactly. What are those? I did not know those existed. What?

Aminatou: I know. Those always scare me. I think in this family we've talked about our love of the soft-bodied man but every once in a while you see somebody who's working out and you're like hmm, interesting.

Ann: I think what it does is like those muscles extend the erogenous zone. [Laughs] Like they just expand the erogenous zone.

Aminatou: They do. They just draw your eyes somewhere else, you know?

Ann: That's all. You're right.

Aminatou: I appreciate it, Drake's trainer OVO Jonny.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: Instagram, will feature -- you know, he does the workouts prominently so it's good. But not to talk just about Drake's body because he's been putting in the work somewhere else.

Ann: Ugh.

Aminatou: You know, like released the video for Hotline Bling and it's amazing. Can I tell you how I saw it? I was on a plane, landed, and these two teens behind me I guess assessed that we were . . . I looked cool enough that I could maybe help them.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: And they were like "Our phones died. The Drake video is out. Can we watch it?" And so we watched it literally outside the plane.

Ann: Aww!

Aminatou: They're my brothers now, friends for life.

Ann: I love that.

Aminatou: Honestly it's the best compliment I could've gotten. I love that they looked at this full plane of business travelers and were like "This girl."

Ann: Huge, huge compliment.

Aminatou: Yeah, they were like this girl in the Yohji sweatpants, that's who we need to talk to. Obviously I loved it and it's very memeable and GIFable because Drake is devastatingly good at the Internet.

Ann: Also the turtleneck plus Turrell, like that's just a winning combo. Tims, turtleneck, Turrell.


Aminatou: Tims, sweatpants, like ribbed turtleneck. I didn't even know what to do with myself. The Turrell thing made me laugh a lot because I remember this interview that he gave to Rolling Stone I think in February where he actually said the words "I fuck with Turrell." [Laughs] And I was like dawg, somebody went to one LACMA show and everything is different now, so that was great. He's like embracing all the memes. The only thing that I will say, this thing about Drake that made me really disappointed, Drake has never had a billboard number one. This is the closest he was going to get to a billboard number one. Probably by the time that this podcast airs Drake will not be number one on the billboard charts because he released his song on -- he released his video on Apple Music.

Ann: Ugh, mistakes were made.

Aminatou: And that's the only place you can watch it, which is very annoying. Small factoid I found out today on Fusion. I was very upset by that. I was like this is -- you've done such good work. You just had platform distribution issues, bro.

Ann: He took a principled stand. Maybe that's what it was. [Laughs]

Aminatou: But sometimes it's like don't do it for the money; do it for the fans!

Ann: Do it for the memes.

Aminatou: Yeah, right? But it's like all of those memes and tweets and like this Fusion article said, those don't count towards billboard number one status.

Ann: Right. They didn't count my ten repeated plays of that song in Apple Music anywhere.

Aminatou: I know. Further to that point, our girl Adele is also back in a ginormous kind of way.

Ann: Okay, here is a question for you.

Aminatou: Talk to me.

Ann: How is Adele so sad? I thought she was married to that hot bear and had a baby. How is she still channeling all of her . . .


Aminatou: She's not sad anymore. I don't think that song is sad.

Ann: You don't? I think that song is really sad.

Aminatou: I don't think so.


Aminatou: I think that people who can genuinely sing transport you to a different plane of emotion and you don't know how to deal with it.

Ann: I mean . . .

Aminatou: But I think the message of the song is that, you know, she's doing fine. She just feels sorry for this other person.

Ann: The saddest hello since Lionel Richie, though. Like I know, it's like are you still . . .

Aminatou: [Laughs] The saddest hello since Lionel Richie.

Ann: Are you still like sad about this? I don't know. I question are you really over it if you're still writing songs about it even though you have this life with your baby and bear?

Aminatou: I know. But she's like 25 now. She's writing about being 23. I'll let her have it. Also literally I can hear my neighbors listen to it all day which makes me very, very happy and I listen to a loop on a private playlist I made called Hello, Sorry that's Adele and Bieber back-to-back. [Laughs] Which it evens out your emotional balance.

Ann: I mean although both sort of about the same thing.

Aminatou: I know! You know, everybody is apologizing right now which I really respect that. Take some responsibility for your life.

Ann: I mean I also have to say that that Adele video was the first time I truly felt fall in my heart. I was like it's looking very, very fall here, Adele.

Aminatou: Yo.

Ann: You know, all the leaves and like the . . . she's always touching her face so much which is not really a summer look.

Aminatou: But like two unimpeachable facts about Adele. You cannot -- like that woman has the tightest eyebrow game.

Ann: Oh, so good.


Aminatou: In the game. And you cannot mess with her fur game.

Ann: Yes.

Aminatou: She always looks great.

Ann: Also who makes a chin dimple look more elegant than Adele? No one.

Aminatou: Ugh, such a babe. And yeah, she had our boy Michael from The Wire, a.k.a. Tristan Wilds, a.k.a. Mack Wilds or Tristan something, Mack Wilds. He's like a ridiculous rapper which I love. Also I love the fact that there's flip phones in there.

Ann: Oh yeah. Also I definitely did have that thought where she's like "I called you so many times." And it's like Adele, when you were 23 you probably just texted twice and then were like no one texted me back. Repeated calls?

Aminatou: I don't know. All of Adele's music transports you to a time when you were sitting in public transportation and you made strong eye contact with someone.

Ann: [Laughs] I feel like it transports me to an emotional wind tunnel, or maybe that's the same thing for you. We just talk about it differently.

Aminatou: Yeah. I'm just like that one time on the subway I looked at this guy and he blinked twice and I can't believe we didn't end up together.

Ann: Oh, two slow blinks.

Aminatou: So good. Well, you know, it's good to have all these people back. Welcome back to Biebs, Adele, and Drake. Keep doing good work and we'll keep talking about them.

Ann: Ugh, so good.

[Music and Ads]


Ann: There has also been menstruation news.

Aminatou: Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!

Ann: Minor menstruation news since we've been gone. Lots of listeners sent us a link to this thing that is essentially a diva cup but it has some sort of Bluetooth-type technology so it talks to your phone. And I . . . okay, I will just read to you from the Kickstarter page because of course it's like they're Kickstarter funding this thing. And it says "It's the world's first smart menstruation cup and you'll love the way it tells you exactly how full it is. When it's time to refresh (Ugh) your new Looncup -- it's called Looncup -- will precisely track your fluid volume, fluid color, and analyze your cycles. Try finding a tampon, pad, or cup that can do all of that."

Aminatou: Oh. My. God. Bluetooth in your vagina?

Ann: I know. I know. It's actually -- it sounds like kind of the worst thing ever. There's also a photo of like what the app looks like and it tells you how full the cup is.

Aminatou: Do you want to know the other disgusting part of this? It means that your phone has to be in the bathroom with you and you know how OCD I am. That is not a scenario I foresee happening.


Ann: No, I don't think it is. I think it's different, actually. It's like you get out your phone -- you're like hmm, been a while since I've changed my cup, and check your phone at the bar or whatever and it says "You're 60% full" and you're like all good here, can keep drinking.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: Like I think that's what it is. You don't take it to the bathroom; you check in on your vagina when you can't check in on your vagina if you know what I mean.

Aminatou: I don't know. This is not okay with me.

Ann: I don't know. I'm curious to hear someone's feedback. I mean we've talked many times about our diva cup feelings and everyone has emailed us to defend their preferred . . .

Aminatou: People have such strong feelings about diva cup and to those people I say go with God.

Ann: But I would love a review from someone who actually really likes the diva cup, like what is up with this thing? Because I don't even like putting bleached tampons up there. I'm going to put computer technology up there?

Aminatou: Yes, it's like put your whole cellphone in your vagina.

Ann: It's just like screaming cervical cancer to me or something. I don't know.

Aminatou: I know. I can't trust a tech company to make a cup that I think I will go . . . you know, if the good people at OB were making this I would think differently about this but I don't know. I don't know.

Ann: I mean Looncup also. Looncup? Come on.

Aminatou: Eh, that's one of the least-offensive names. The name is the least problematic thing to me.

Ann: I think that there's a lot to be disturbed by. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh, if you're on the website can you tell me what color the fluid is? Because if it's blue I'm automatically going to dismiss this app.

Ann: Ugh. So there is no fluid. They just show the clear cup. Hang on, let me look at the Kickstarter.

Aminatou: Oh, I wonder what it looks like when it's full.

Ann: The app, it's just a circle that shows you a percentage and it's like . . . 

Aminatou: Oh, look at this. Somebody's using info-graphics for good.

Ann: Yeah, it's just a circle. I mean whatever, it looks like a fertility app or something that's trying not to be all pink and whatever.

Aminatou: Yeah. Maybe we can convince somebody we know to try this for us.


Ann: Right. But there's no blue fluid anywhere. It's just like red, manicured nails holding a clear cup.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Okay, I feel like we know enough ladies that we can convince somebody to try this.

Ann: It's 40 dollars.

Aminatou: Eh, that seems . . . that seems like a fair price point.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: For putting technology in your vagina.

Ann: I mean sure, I don't think it sounds too expensive. As an FYI for anyone who may be interested, 40 dollars. But yeah, I don't know. I also feel like it's one of those things that you know they always talk about how cars are made with more electronic components than ever and that's why they don't last as long and blah, blah, blah. I'm sort of like maybe your analog diva cup would last longer . . . [Laughs]

Aminatou: Exactly.

Ann: Than the fancy, digitized Looncup.

Aminatou: If you try this Bluetooth vagina device please write us, otherwise I think I know just the lady for this job.

Ann: Great.

Aminatou: Ooh, I'm like shivering. [Laughs]

Ann: It's like when the quantified self goes too far. On one hand I'm like yeah, we should give women more period-tracking options but also just there's a line, you know?


[Interview Starts]

Aminatou: For our listener letter this week we wanted to get an outside voice for some perspective. Today we're talking to our pal Andrew Golis, a long-time media mogul and the founder of my favorite social network This.

Andrew: [Laughs]

Ann: Hi, Andrew.

Aminatou: Hi Andrew!

Andrew: Hi.

Aminatou: Will you tell us a little bit about This and what you're doing?

Andrew: Sure. Well This -- the key thing to This is having the two of you as featured members. It probably would all be falling apart if it weren't for that fact.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Andrew: This is a social network where users can only share one thing a day and so the idea of it is to try to create a space where instead of the kind of noise and chaos you get everywhere else or the kind of clickbaity cheese ball crap people are really able to kind of express their deep love for something they read on the Internet. Then the people who follow them and trust them, people who follow people Amina and Ann, can see "Okay, this is what someone who I think is cool thought was one really good thing on the Internet today." And it's and we came out of our kind of long, semi-secret private beta last week and are now kind of taking the Internet by storm.


Ann: I have a question for you, do you ever have a moment -- I've had this moment several times -- where I read something later in the day and I'm like "Oh, I already spent my This for the day!"

Aminatou: Part of my struggle. Part of my struggle.

Ann: I know.

Andrew: I know. Actually we've thought a lot about whether we should create some sort of queuing function for people so they can keep a little internal list. I hear from hardcore users all the time that they have browser folders full of stuff that they want to eventually This.

Aminatou: Me too, and can I tell you that also I think my only qualm with this is that it's biased towards people on the east coast?

Andrew: Hmm. Well actually it used to be even more biased because it used to be that the day -- the one-a-day marker used to switch over at midnight east coast time, but Aisha who I think you guys know -- I know, Ann, you guys met up at one point . . .

Ann: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Who's in L.A. kept emailing me and complaining because she'd get home at 9:00 at night and the day would have started for the whole site, so it's now 3 a.m. Although the new site is going to be less biased because you see the stuff that was shared the day before still on your homepage the next morning.

Aminatou: Awesome.

Ann: Yeah, I like that.

Andrew: It doesn't flip over anymore.

Aminatou: I like it so much. Everybody sign up.

Andrew: [Laughs] Plug.

Aminatou: Listen, it's the least we can do.

Ann: And you have to clarify it's dot C-M. It's not obvious.

Andrew: That's totally true. It was about a million dollars cheaper than

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: We appreciate thrift. So listen, so one of the real reasons -- not the real reason, we obviously want to talk about This too -- but one of the reasons we wanted to have you on the podcast is because we got this question from a listener and we were like "Huh, maybe it would be nice to have a feminist-inclined man help us answer this question." And so you do consider yourself a feminist, yes?


Andrew: [Laughs] Of course. I love that I'm going to have to function as the stand-in for that body of people but I'll do my best.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: We're reverse-tokenizing today. That's what we're doing.

Andrew: Excellent. Glad to help.

Ann: So I'm going to read the question and then you can share your infinite male feminist wisdom.

Andrew: [Laughs]

Ann: So a listener writes "I've been dating this guy for the past month or two and I thought he was really cool. Smart, funny, patient, introduced to me by good people. We're both engineers and I have a lot of feelings about my day-to-day life dealing with coworkers and customers in my older-skewing, male-skewing industry. We've had a lot of interesting conversations about it where he has asked questions, empathized with me, actively considered how it would ever be possible to change anything systematically. Feminism and its importance to me was mentioned often. Cut to my Facebook feed this morning where he is mansplaining all over some girl's rape culture is killing girls status, like 'How exactly does rape culture kill girls?' and 'An inherent fear of men isn't a great start to bridge the divide between the sexes, just like a fear of black men isn't a great place to bridge the racial divide.' and 'Men are more likely to be murdered/incarcerated than women,' etc."

Aminatou: Oh boy.

Ann: Oh my god. So she's obviously horrified and she says "Is there even a worse way to find out that you've been making out with a garbage monster who even gets into Facebook debates?" Wow. So do you have relationship advice for this woman?


Andrew: I mean how is this complicated? Don't be with that person anymore. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Yes! I love it.

Ann: Hard line.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean I don't know, unless she has some sort of . . . it sounds to me like she's dealing with a 17-year-old boy, so unless she has the decades' worth of patience to let him grow up and work through his shit then what's the point? It's just like a . . . it's an explosion of all the kind of worst cliches of dumb blindness. I don't know.

Ann: Because, you know, Amina always says "Buy low, sell high," but I feel like this is a really, really low purchase.

Aminatou: Don't buy garbage monster!

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: That's not my stance on things. You know, it's like sometimes you see red flags and you're willing to work through them. This to me is a red flag that I'm not willing to work through. You don't have to be somebody's mom, teacher, educator, girlfriend, whatever. Google is free. He can learn about all this stuff without having to date someone.

Andrew: [Laughs]

Ann: Also just him nodding sympathetically in their IRL conversations then turning around and commenting this shit on the Internet, I'm just like that is the worst fear that some person in your life is going to seem really cool then you find out they've been creeping around MRA message boards or something. Ugh.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean because it's not -- it's actually the tone of it is not just that he doesn't understand; it's that he's actively trying not to understand, right?

Aminatou: And he's deeply stepped into the MRA stereotypes.

Andrew: Right. Right.

Aminatou: That to me is the fear. I'm like man, these are all the talking points. Do they give them out at a conference?

Andrew: An inherent fear of men.

Aminatou: [Laughs] It's not a great place to start.

Andrew: It's so funny to me how the anti-feminist thing is so rooted in a profound anxiety and insecurity of these pseudo-strong men. The idea that someone saying life is unfair means that you're afraid of men or that you want to hurt men or whatever, it's such a bizarre reversal.


Ann: Right, or that acknowledging statistics about violence against women and who tends to perpetrate that translates to an inherent fear of men. Like I don't . . .

Andrew: Yeah, exactly.

Ann: Yeah. Sad. Okay.

Aminatou: I'm doing my part. I'm opening this podcast up to more male voices so I feel good about that.

Andrew: That's right. That's right. My presence here is proof that feminists only kind of hate men.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: Little bit. Little bit.

Andrew: Small steps, guys. I'll win you back to, you know, non-man-hating ways.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Good luck, Andrew. Thank you so much for joining us. That was a delight.

Andrew: I don't feel like I really helped you on this one. I'm not sure this person needed that much help.

Aminatou: Listen, this is the dirty secret of Internet help advice. If you write a stranger about your relationship it probably means run away. That's always the answer.

Andrew: If you have to end your reader email with garbage monster in all caps with a question mark and an exclamation point you know your answer.

Aminatou: Right. It's like you already know. You just need validation. But a lot of times people don't want to take the hard line and I appreciate that you took the hard line.

Andrew: Small steps.

Aminatou: Okay, everybody join and thanks so much for joining us, Andrew.

Andrew: My pleasure. Thank you.

[Interview Ends]



Aminatou: One more thing that we have as part of, you know, something that came to us disguised as a shine theory update but I will soon explain to you why it is not, is this listener email from someone who says they're a feminist, sex-positive podcast/radio host in New Zealand.

Ann: So you've really just called out . . . there can't be that many people. [Laughs]

Aminatou: I don't know how many people live in New Zealand. Who knows? Maybe it's like an island full of feminist, sex-positive podcasters.

Ann: It's true. Just saying. Just saying. Anyway, go on.

Aminatou: It's true, right?

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: So anyway, starts off with a compliment. She does this podcast with her best girlfriend and she always forwards followers on to Call Your Girlfriend. Thank you. Then the note continues. "However, I have one bugbear with the show." Bugbear, great word. "And it's starting to drive me a bit crazy. It's the same thing that drove me up the wall with the whip-smart I went to architecture school with at !!br0ken!! Please stop saying like. It's a strange female Americanism which is accepted in America but to the rest of the world is synonymous with stupid women, and of course you're not stupid women. That's my two cents, said with love, only because you appear open to comments from your global listeners. Lots of love and shine pride."

Ann: Oof.

Aminatou: First of all it's shine theory. Second of all don't tell women how to talk. This is my bugbear. I completely understand that I sound like a California valley girl. Surprise to you, that's not surprising to me. We've talked on this podcast many, many, many, many, many times about the different ways that women are policed for their voice and for what they say. You know, to get a little vulnerable, obviously sometimes it bothers me personally how many times I say like but at the same time I'm not willing to change it. [Laughs] Or all of my attempts to have been kind of futile. Kind of, the other like. I don't like criticism that's wrapped as fake compliments. It's like come out and say what you actually mean.


Ann: Well, and I was going to say I don't think it's a fake compliment. I mean maybe it is, I don't know. I don't know what's going on.

Aminatou: Ann, telling somebody that you sound stupid even though you are smart is not a nice thing to say.

Ann: No, no, no. Yeah. But I mean just the idea though that I can't really imagine a world in which I would send an email like this rather than just stop listening to the podcast if it's bothering me. I mean it's sort of like if she likes what we have to say, listen to what we have to say and get over the way we say it if that bothers you. If you can't get over the way we say it, don't listen. That's how I feel about it. It's like you have two options and one of your options is not attempt to change the way that they speak by calling them -- telling them they sound stupid. That seems like not an option.

Aminatou: Also let me paint the scene for you. I am literally sitting here with a blanket on my shoulders. [Laughs] There is a ginormous glass of wine next to me and a vaporizer. This is not NPR.

Ann: Right. I mean that's the other thing. I think that am I capable of speaking with no likes, sort ofs, kind ofs? Yeah. But that's not how I talk to my friends and I'm talking to you.

Aminatou: Yeah. Also Google me. [Laughs]

Ann: Google me, baby. Yeah. That's the thing that really made me angry about this on your behalf because I am just a straight-up American girl who lives in California and says like a lot. Whatever. But there is something in this email that also implies that you don't know what the rest of the world is like.


Aminatou: Exactly. I'm like I'm from the rest of the world.

Ann: Exactly.

Aminatou: I just happened to learn English from people who talk like this and depending on where I live my accent slightly changes. You know, the Madonna problem. But, you know, there's also this thing that I think a lot of people don't understand about women who talk like us is that at some point too you have to admit that it is a dog whistle. We are talking to other women who understand what we're saying.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: And if you can't stay on my frequency or on my level then, hmm, get off it. But anyway, to this person, lots of love and shine pride to you as well and good luck in all your endeavors.

Ann: [Laughs] Oh.

Aminatou: Listen, on the scale of hate mail that we get this is nothing. This is actually a very nice email but sometimes somebody has to pay the price for everybody else.

Ann: Well, I think that the difference too is that it's an example of maybe a misinterpretation of what shine theory really is. This is not a let me talk about how great you are and it work to make your work better with you. It's also I'm sort of like we have talked about this in how many episodes, right?

Aminatou: Exactly. We talk about this constantly.

Ann: Yeah. Oof.

Aminatou: Oof. [Laughs] Another Americanization. 

Ann: I feel bad. It's totally the right thing but I also just -- I feel bad that somebody has to pay the price, but you're right.

Aminatou: I just -- listen, I listen to a lot of podcasts and a lot of them are obviously male voices. And to be perfectly honest they have the exact same verbal ticks. People just don't pick up on them as much as they do with women because women's voices are, hmm, very scrutinized.

Ann: Right, or they have the same ticks but the inflection is different and therefore it's not as noticeable or it's not as easy to sort of dismiss.

Aminatou: Exactly.

Ann: Yeah, completely.

Aminatou: How can we end on a good -- on a good note?

Ann: I know. I mean I will say on an actual shine theory note that it is coming to sort of the opposite conclusion that this letter writer that is part of what makes me feel okay about saying like too much, which is hearing friends of mine and realizing that when they're saying like or sort of or kind of or um it's because they feel comfortable with me and they're working out their thoughts and talking at the same time so we're working on something together. And that's something that made me really appreciate it. I think that, you know, this is what you're saying with the whole dog whistle thing wherein it's a way for awesome ladies to bond, or it can be, as opposed to something to correct in each other.


Aminatou: Exactly. Thank you for the linguistics update there. Maybe we'll make that into a recurring part of Call Your Girlfriend.

Ann: It's like a linguistics pep talk.

Aminatou: Yeah, because all these fillers, whatever, they manifest in all languages.

Ann: Oh yeah.

Aminatou: It's not -- they're not specific to American English only.

Ann: Right. And, yeah, if you don't like filler words then you can always listen to a news broadcast, not us.

Aminatou: Exactly. [Laughs]

Ann: They also discuss Benghazi and to a lesser degree Adele and Drake and Bieber so go for it.

Aminatou: Oh man, maybe this will be our little Benghazi. Let's see.

Ann: Oh no, we're going to get . . . yeah, don't even say that. Hearings for eleven hours in front of the podcast mic?

Aminatou: [Laughs] If you bring the wine and there's a comfortable pillow on this chair I don't care.

Ann: I was just about to say I don't think you get wine if it's a Benghazi-style hearing. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh, watch me. Okay, well, thanks to everyone for listening to us.

Ann: And enduring our break.

Aminatou: To Call Your Girlfriend 2.0.

Ann: Yeah, oh my gosh, we're still on the Internet where we have been all along, where you can find links to some of the stuff we talked about on this episode like I linked to that Drake video which is impossible to find other places. And what else? We're on Twitter at @callyrgf. You can email us at And we're on iTunes. You can leave us a review.

Aminatou: This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.

Ann: Gina!

Aminatou: Woot! See you on the Internet, Ann.

Ann: See you on the Internet.