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5/6/16 - We discuss Lemonade, scamming, the Met Gala, period activism going mainstream, Melania (aka Ivanka’s stepmom), election season self-care, and child-free icons.

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

Visual Creative Director: Kenesha Sneed

Merch Director: Caroline Knowles

Ad sales: Midroll

Ketsa - Dryness

Beyoncé - Daddy Lessons

Beyoncé - Don’t Hurt Yourself

Ryoma Maeda & Romantic Suiciders - Boys, Be Ambitious

Blank & Kytt - RSPN

Breakmaster Cylinder - Key Cards

Ben Carey - War I


Lemonade reax

Joanne the Scammer

Met Gala faves & garbage looks

This week in menstruation: Periods “go mainstream” ::snort::

The legislators behind ending the tampon tax

Profiles: Melania / Erykah Badu / Sharon Horgan

Election self-care

Terry Gross on being childfree

LOL, Susan Sarandon


Ann: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.

Aminatou: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.

Ann: I'm Ann Friedman.

Aminatou: And I'm Aminatou Sow.

Gina: And I'm the producer Gina Delvac delivering this week's agenda. Ann and Amina discuss Lemonade, scamming, the best and worst looks from the Met Gala, period activism going mainstream, Ivanka's stepmom, self-care for election season, and a child-free icon in the form of Terry Gross.

[Theme Song]

Ann: Hi!

Aminatou: Hi, booboo. What's going on?

Ann: You know, just snacking.

Aminatou: I know. I was just telling you before we started recording that I almost choked on this triple chocolate brownie. They're not kidding.

Ann: I mean sometimes that's like a warning, you know? Like too much chocolate for some consumers.

Aminatou: I know. Oh, now I'm looking at the label and it's so crazy. Artisan-crafted, gluten free, triple chocolate truffle brownie. Yeah, almost died.

Ann: That's a lot of adjectives.

Aminatou: Locally-produced chocolate for a moist, fabulous, chocolatey treat. So gross.

Ann: Wow.

Aminatou: You know what? I'm in my period so I really needed this chocolate snack and it hit the spot.

Ann: I'm happy you're meeting your needs.

Aminatou: I know. What else is going on? Are you having a good day?

Ann: I'm having a pretty good day. It's like it's really funny that the pre-summer gloomy season has started in L.A. and so it makes me loathe to do my work in the morning. It's like this is the true cozy season here. So that's what's happening in my world, slow start. And lots of travel. The usual story. The story I always tell you.


Aminatou: [Laughs] It's like we're traveling. We're busy. We're bleeding. I had kind of an eventful morning though. This morning on my walk I found some tourist's passport with their money belt and it had over a thousand dollars in it. It was crazy.

Ann: Did you immediately look for hidden cameras? Like is this a reality TV setup?

Aminatou: No, okay, listen, here's how it went. I saw it and I was like I don't want to be responsible for this thing so I really debated whether to pick it up or not. And finally I was like fine, I'll do it. It's like that Kanye tweet a long time ago where he's like "I hate it when I wake up on the plane and somebody's put a water bottle next to me and now I'm like I've got to be responsible for this water bottle."

Ann: It's passing the psychological buck.

Aminatou: No, exactly, so that's how I felt. I was like ugh, this passport. But it was clearly a foreign country. I've been that person. You should be a good person and help them. So I picked it up and there's all this money in the money belt and I'm like oh my god, either I'm going to get narcoed or there's a hidden camera somewhere. It was so crazy. But also not even going to lie the first . . . after I dealt with the fact that I was going to be responsible for this, visions of Joanne the scammer flash across my eyes.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: And I was like I'm a liar, scammer, scoundrel. I was feeling so excited about it. It's like I love robbery and fraud.

[Clip Starts]

Male: Hey girl, I just want to let you girls know that I'm a real messy bitch, a liar, a scammer. I love robbery and fraud. A messy bitch who lives for drama.

[Clip Ends]

Aminatou: I decided to turn it again. But again I was like this is the price of being a good person. I was like I have a busy day. I don't want to find this person's consulate or go to the police and turn it in. But then I called their consulate and they came to pick it up and it was a very nice interaction with a very nice Portuguese man today.


Ann: Oh my god, so true story, when I was in high school I definitely found a purse or more accurately a mini backpack that had a wallet in it. And it only had like 40 dollars in the wallet.

Aminatou: Yo.

Ann: And I definitely -- I don't know, high school logic. How can we defend what we do in high school? I definitely mailed the purse to the address on the driver's license on the wallet.

Aminatou: You kept the dollars?

Ann: And kept the remaining dollars.

Aminatou: You gave yourself a reward.

Ann: I totally did. This is so shameful. I don't actually think I've ever admitted this to anyone before and now I'm telling you about it.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: And then I probably bought weed with the remaining money or something.

Aminatou: You are also Joanne the scammer. You're a messy bitch. Who knew?

Ann: I mean I did not call the consulate so props to you for doing better than high school Ann did when faced with a similar moral quandary.

Aminatou: [Laughs] It was so crazy. It was really funny too because the whole time I was like how are you going to compensate me for my time of waiting for you here, sir? But you know what? It was very nice. I had a great conversation and I'm really happy that that person has their property back. And hopefully they'll go back to their country and say that America is the best country. I'm doing it for tourism.

Ann: Ugh. I mean you are truly an example to all other Americans, but also did you at least a little bit think come on, you're not going to offer me a reward?

Aminatou: I mean, no, so I really didn't think that. The minute I decided that I was going through the consulate instead of finding this person -- I did like a quick cursory search for them on Facebook and I was like I'm not dealing with this. But there's a part of me that feels that I really let down Joanne the scammer so I feel bad.

Ann: It's true. She scammed in more than 40 states.

Aminatou: I know. You know they like deleted her -- somebody scammed her Instagram, no, her Twitter this weekend so they took it down.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: I was devastated.

Ann: We will link to Joanne the scammer for those who are not informed.

Aminatou: Oh my god, and if you don't know who Joanne Prada is, a.k.a. Joanne the scammer, please get involved right away.


Ann: Even Katy Perry knows who she is so you have a little	catching up to do but we have faith.

Aminatou: Ugh, Katy Perry is such a try-hard. Of course. This is actually a great transition into the next thing I want to talk to you about, is the high holiday of fashion, the Met Gala.

Ann: Truly. So many delightful, delightful things. I really wish there were a culture of, I don't know . . . and I know people are tweeting about it and stuff like that as it happens, but there's not really a thing to watch for the Met Gala and I sort of wish there was.

Aminatou: Yeah, there's not really. And the thing about it that like . . . man, I'm going to sound like such a mean girl but it's like the one thing I feel like I feel fine being a mean girl about, is the Met Gala is like the one time that you can tell which ones of your friends just know nothing about fashion.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: It's like yeah, the point is not to show up with a beautiful gown. The point is to be outrageous and to be on-theme. And most of the celebrities never get the theme, and the theme this year was robots. So everybody was like metallic and I'm like god, how fucking groundbreaking.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: Metallic for the robot theme. You don't say? But Katy Perry, her outfit was so ridiculous. Again, try hard. And then she wore the "I'm not Becky" pin. Her and Rita Ora wore them which I thought was so disrespectful.

Ann: Just be smarter. Just be smarter. You can't see me. My hand is over my forehead covering my eyes. I can't even handle the white girl shame that I feel when I hear about that.

Aminatou: I know. I know, it's crazy. Then date of Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, legit was wearing a Tamagotchi. I don't think anybody's made me laugh that hard. I'm pretty sure they wore matching Tamagotchis. It was ridiculous.

Ann: So everyone was making fun of Zane's bionic arms but he stuck with the theme. I have to say respect to Zane sticking with the theme.

Aminatou: I feel so conflicted about Zane because I love him but I saw the arms and I laughed so hard. I laughed so hard. But him and Gigi looked so good and I really root for those two. It's like you know what? I'm going to let you have it. Claire Danes' dress, you were on-theme. You know what you're doing, and I usually don't ride for those kinds of gowns. But it was like glow in the dark. It was so good.

Ann: Bioluminescence, so hot right now.


Aminatou: I know. [Laughs] It's like you've got this. You've got this. What else did we love?

Ann: Oh, I have another kind of dislike which is Taylor Swift as Jenny Humphrey from the Kiss on the Lips party. You know what I'm talking about?

Aminatou: Oh my god, Ann. Oh my god. Somebody on Twitter said her dress was like the bottom of a salmon filet and I couldn't handle it. It's like close the Internet. But there's this great Twitter and Instagram account, this great person from Brazil, this man, who he recreated all of the outfits with tinfoil and toilet paper in 20 minutes. It's the funniest thing ever.

Ann: I saw this and, you know, this is like in the center of my Venn. So crafty, but also so fashion aware. I loved it.

Aminatou: I know. My favorite moment of the night, and any fashion moment, is any time the Olsen twins show up because I have loved the Olsen twins just forever. And it's the best thing. It's the best thing.

Ann: I mean I feel like the Olsens have a natural bionic woman look. I'm like are you robots? Are you women? I can't really tell. They're on-theme without really doing anything.

Aminatou: Yeah, no, that was the thing. They were wearing Saudi Arabian mom abaya type outfits and they still looked great. I get very verklempt any time the Olsen twins are involved in anything so it's perfect.

Ann: The thing I can't believe about the Olsen twins is they're not constantly sucking in their cheeks. That's just the way they look.

Aminatou: Oh my god, I love them so much. It's the best.



Aminatou: Well, you know who looked great at the Met Gala is Beyonc and we haven't talked about Lemonade yet.

Ann: I know, but how did that latex dress feel? Okay, anyway, setting that aside . . .

Aminatou: She was wearing a beautiful condom, you mean?

Ann: Exactly, the most high-fashioned condom. But I was like what is that thing lined with? Can you imagine? Anyway . . .

Aminatou: Ann, you must suffer for fashion.

Ann: Clearly. Yeah, we have not talked about Lemonade, and I have to say I have really enjoyed this week the kind of slightly delayed a little bit more . . . not that the early reactions weren't substantive, but the one week later/one month later reactions to Lemonade have really brought it for me.

Aminatou: No, totally. I agree with you. I've been listening to it on a loop and it's like I like Beyonc but I can't handle Beyonc fandom sometimes. It just gets a little too much for me. But I really like this album. I feel like she's taking all these risks. I'm obsessed with that Daddy Lessons country music song.


Aminatou: Because Beyonc's going to win a CMA and the white people are going to be so mad. It's going to be great.

Ann: I cannot wait. I feel like everyone was really proud of Taylor Swift for crossing over in the other direction, but truly what is more transgressive? The Beyonc going country move?

Aminatou: Yeah, no, and Dixie Chicks covered the song which, you know, not that they needed to legitimize it but it was such a finger in the face of all these people who were saying that black artists can't do country. And hello? First of all, black people invented country music. If you don't know, learn that. And then, two, Beyonc can do no wrong.

Ann: It's true. And the better . . . I feel like you're totally right that for me the best way to realize that is through repeat solo listening as opposed to with, I don't know, checking in with Instagram comment fandom.

Aminatou: It's so crazy. But yeah, so many good songs. The James Blake one made me laugh a lot the minute I saw the feature. I don't know why, it just made me laugh. It was like this is great.


Ann: Also I have to say the Jack White collaboration, very challenging for me personally as someone who dislikes almost everything about Jack White.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: I was like oh gosh, you're testing me. The lord is testing me, and I don't hate that song. It is not my favorite on the album, but the fact that there could be a Jack White song -- like sung portion of a Beyonc album . . .


Ann: I wish I would've known sooner so I would've had time to prepare myself.

Aminatou: Man, you know, black people love Seven Nation Army. I don't know what to tell you. [Laughs] We're here for you Jack White.

Ann: Ugh, I can't. I can't with that.

Aminatou: We'll trade you Jack White for The Weekend. How about that?

Ann: Oh my gosh, actually white people might take that deal. Like on behalf of white people I might take that deal.

Aminatou: On behalf of the white delegation. [Laughs]

Ann: [Laughs] On behalf of the white delegation we accept your trade of Jack White for The Weekend.

Aminatou: Oh my god. Ann, The Weekend looked also great at the Met Gala with his girlfriend Bella Hadid, my favorite Hadid. Well, that's not true. My second favorite Hadid after Anwar, the little brother.

Ann: You always love the little brother.

Aminatou: I don't know. First of all, Ann, he is struggling with Lyme disease so be nice to him.

Ann: All right. All right.

Aminatou: So is Bella. I feel like he's going to make it. He's like that next generation and he's on the cusp. I'm rooting for him.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: But you're right, I do like the little brothers, little Barron Trump, Anwar Hadid.

Ann: Oh my god, speaking of Barron, do you want to talk about this Melania interview in GQ?


Aminatou: Ann, what a mess. [Laughs] This profile is great because you realize that Melania and the Donald, Ivanka's dad, they deserve each other 100%.

Ann: Yeah. I mean I also though -- I loved the quote, the article quotes an old friend from Slovenia saying "There is a peace in her," like P-E-A-C-E. And I was just like yeah, you must have a deep well of inner peace if you can just kind of chill in the role you are currently in.

Aminatou: Oh my god, first of all, shout out to the great nation of Slovenia. You have given us so much.

Ann: I was just going to say Slovenia's biggest export. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Oh my god, it's so funny. This interview's in GQ and it's so great. It's one of the funniest reads in the world. Referring to her as anybody's Slovenian sweetheart is hilarious.

Ann: I love it.

Aminatou: Oh my god. Yeah, and it's also this like . . . I don't know. The pool quotes are amazing. "I didn't know much about Donald Trump," she said of being introduced. "I had my life. I had my world. It's like a more innocent time." Some of her friends in this thing are just not too kind to her. They're just like, you know, she's not the brightest crayon in the box but she's not going to break anything and that's funny. But she also has all this international intrigue around her. Well, not intrigue; like family intrigue, which she responded very poorly to the world finding out via this profile.

Ann: Yeah, I also have to say -- and this is going to sound kind of Mean Girls but I'm going to say it anyway because I wondered it -- does she strike you as one of those women who doesn't have any women friends?

Aminatou: Ann, literally she's a cipher to me. I don't . . . the circle that I know who she is through is like other women who are part of this world. So no, she doesn't strike me as a person.

Ann: Oh, okay, sorry, so you have inside knowledge of women who are real life friends with her?

Aminatou: Oh no, no, no. I'm just saying all the European trashy tabloid stuff I read, it's always "Melania, friend of this Swedish designer," "Melania, friend of this . . ." You know, like whatever, before she was wife of Donald.


Ann: I'm always skeptical though -- and this is again personal biases -- that rich people really are friends with each other. I'm like does that just mean you go to the same parties? Are you really friends if you're famous and rich together?

Aminatou: [Laughs] You're at the same parties and in two photos together. You are friends.

Ann: Oh my god, this is an issue of semantics is what you're saying.

Aminatou: I mean, listen, it's so funny. But the part of this that was really sad is the reporter who wrote the story, Julia Ioffe, got so much just anti-Semitic hate dumped on her because Melania didn't approve of the profile and said so on her Facebook page. She was like "This reporter is trying to make a name for herself." And it's like hmm, this woman has been writing for The New Yorker and The New York Times for a long time.

Ann: Right, this woman has already made a name for herself.

Aminatou: Right. Nobody's trying to make a name off a Slovenian model. Calm down. That was the part of the news cycle that was kind of insane to watch.

Ann: Yeah. I mean and I have to say as someone who depending . . . sometimes when I write about race I will get anti-Semitic tweets and that whole stormfront underbelly.

Aminatou: Because people think that you're Jewish, right?

Ann: Totally. Totally. And it's always one of those things where I'm like I'm not going to correct you because it would not be okay either way. Anyway, and not to say that I know what this writer is going through, but there is definitely something about it that is point-proving. Not that anyone should have to deal with this to prove a point, but you're like wow, you can't even write what is by most accounts not a deliberately negative profile of a potential future first lady without getting this level of hate spewed at you. Shocking.

Aminatou: Yeah. Ivanka's dad and his army of haters everywhere.

Ann: It's true. I mean, I don't know, that sort of stuff being done in your name. I understand that Donald Trump does not care about people being racist in his name, or being overtly racist himself. But she's an immigrant. You'd think she would care.

Aminatou: Okay, that's the part of this whole story that is such a mind-fuck to me. I was like -- I'm like I know that you obviously present European white and that's fine. But surely this cannot be okay.

Ann: Right.


Aminatou: Like you're also an immigrant. The cognitive dissonance around all of this just drives me crazy.

Ann: Oh, totally. Yeah, no one is like build a wall between us and Slovenia.

Aminatou: Oh my god. We should, though. Oh my god. Let's go to Slovenia. CYG Takes Slovenia. Sounds like a very nice place.

Ann: I actually have a friend who is obsessed with Slovenia and lived there.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Seriously. He had a clock in his apartment in the shape of the outline of the nation of Slovenia. We have an inside track on some tips if we want to take a CYG field trip.

Aminatou: That's so funny. A very good-looking brother and sister pair at my elementary school were Slovenians and I often think about them.

Ann: Ugh, so good.

[Music and Ads]


Aminatou: What else do we need to discuss?

Ann: I mean . . .

Aminatou: Ugh. This is just too much.

Ann: Hmm. Did you have a transition there?

Aminatou: No. I got really stressed out thinking about how the father of Ivanka is now also the nominee for the GOP. Ugh.

Ann: Yeah, I mean that's happening. Not too shocking but . . .

Aminatou: I guess it was between him and the Zodiac killer so it kind of worked out.

Ann: Right. I mean that's the definition of a lose/lose.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Can I tell you though the other day the Donald made fun of somebody on TV -- oh, it was John Kasich -- and he brought up how John Kasich is a disgusting eater and I laughed out loud. I was like I'm part of the problem.

Ann: [Laughs]

Aminatou: He was so ridiculous. He obviously roped Barron into it which is why I found the story endearing.

Ann: Barron "not a sweatpants child" Trump?

Aminatou: Barron was pointing at him and he said "Daddy, smaller bites." I'm like it's so . . .

Ann: Oh my god, Barron is such a little brat. I'm sorry. Like I'm sorry, I just cannot with that.

Aminatou: Oh my god.

Ann: This child judging . . .

Aminatou: Team Barron. You know what? They were right. John Kasich needs to eat in a more dignified way. He can't be our president eating like that. Anyway, what else is going on? Oh, do we have a This Week in Menstruation update?

Ann: Well, I feel like the meta menstruation news is that it has been declared a thing now that people are trying to reclaim the period as something not shameful. And that is kind of what's notable.

Aminatou: Oh, you mean a thing that we've been doing on this very show and in our very friendship for a long time?

Ann: Yeah, you mean our two-year-long public project to make . . . yeah. We're not bitter about not getting credit for this. Not at all.


Aminatou: Oh my god. It's like so many people sent us the Newsweek cover story, and while I'm very excited for menstruation to be having a moment I really dislike the gender essentialism around it.

Ann: Yeah, let me read the first line of this article since you don't have it open. It says "Let's begin with the obvious: every woman in the history of humanity has or had a period."

Aminatou: Yeah, that's not true.

Ann: Thumbs down. Strong thumbs down.

Aminatou: Like yeah, very strong thumbs down, and it really clouded the way that I read this thing and I received it.

Ann: Yeah. And I think that, look, I wrote my New York Mag column last week about all of the tampon tax and feminine hygiene tax bills happening at the state level and I talked to some very awesome legislators at the state level who are working on this. But definitely using language that says this is a winning issue for them because most of their women constituents have or had at some point had a period, I think that statistically is true. Like I actually think it is true that most women have some experience with having a period, but allowing for that little bit of grey area even though it doesn't sound like the kind of strong opening you want for your Newsweek feature is so important.

Aminatou: I know. And just also it erases so many -- basically anyone who's not a cis woman.

Ann: Yeah.

Aminatou: And that's not cool.

Ann: Right. Or I mean there are plenty of cis women who don't get periods either, quite frankly, for various reasons.

Aminatou: Ugh, okay. What else is going on?

Ann: Oh my gosh, I love that we're just like yeah, menstruation is getting big. Moving along.

Aminatou: Moving along. You know what? Menstruation's been big.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: For us at least, so it's cool. Also I tweeted via CYG, I asked people what we should be talking about, so now I'm just perusing these topics.

Ann: Tell me.


Aminatou: I'll tell you then we can yes or no them.

Ann: Okay.

Aminatou: Drumpf. That's the . . .

Ann: That's the John Oliver nickname for Trump.

Aminatou: John Oliver? Yeah, no. Already covered.

Ann: Already covered. We call him Ivanka's dad. Moving on.

Aminatou: Okay, Cruz, Kasich dropping out. Yeah, they're losers. They should drop out. I sound like Trump. [Laughs]

Ann: I wasn't going to say it.

Aminatou: Oh my god, the strange conversation of proper noun that was Khaled and Ariana Huffington Snapchatting together at the White House Correspondents dinner. That did make me very happy. Like Khaled at the White House dinner was incredible.

Ann: I mean he is really everywhere. I don't pay too much attention to the White House Correspondents dinner, but I'm just like how do you make it there then to Atlanta to open for Beyonc? He's just everywhere.

Aminatou: He's just everywhere. It's the best. Okay, somebody says "Talk about your morning routines, what you're reading right now, secret guilty pleasures."

Ann: Oh my gosh, someone wants to know us so well. It's really nice.

Aminatou: Well, my morning routine consists of waking up. [Laughs] And trying to wash my face. What are we reading right now? Magazines. I'm on a very solid magazine rotation right now because they've piled up at my house. And I have no guilty pleasures.

Ann: That's true. No guilt.

Aminatou: Oh, that's not true, Ann. The Wall Street Journal. That's my guilty pleasure.

Ann: I mean, yeah, how to spend it.

Aminatou: Reverse guilty pleasure.

Ann: That is a true guilty pleasure. I don't know. I am also reading lots of magazines. I did a major New Yorker catch-up on the plane recently, and so I've been reading lots of profiles lately, some better than others. The Erykah Badu profile I enjoyed quite a bit.

Aminatou: I know. I'm just so disappointed in Erykah Badu as a person right now.

Ann: I know, because of her . . .

Aminatou: It's very hard to engage in her work.

Ann: Trust, I know. Because -- well, did we talk about this on the podcast?

Aminatou: No, we didn't talk about it. It's because she . . . I don't even want to misquote her. Let me get some receipts.


Ann: But I will say this, that one of the details in the profile is she drives a Porsche with the license plate "She Ill."

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Which I don't know, I do a lot of thinking about if I ever were to get a personal license plate what it would say. I've not even come close to finding the right thing, but I did a pause and appreciate for that.

Aminatou: Yeah, okay, here's the Erykah Badu thing. It was basically about rape culture and all of that stuff. So people were tweeting about wearing modest clothing or whatever.

Ann: High school girls, right?

Aminatou: Yeah, high school girls wearing modest clothing. She just said all of this crazy, like very awful stuff about it. She's like "It's not like these young girls were doing anything wrong by being beautiful and attractive, but it's such an imbalance in our society that it's smart to be . . ." Where's the rest of the tweet before I get angry? She was essentially victim blaming and saying you need to do your part. She said "It's everyone's male and female responsibility to protect young ladies. One way to protect youth is to remind them that we are all sexual in nature and as they grow and develop it's natural to attract men." Ugh.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: Like this is not the way to start talking about school uniforms. It's not cool, and honestly it's just on that continuum of people just making young women responsible for the ways that society and men choose to sexualize and objectify them and that's not cool.

Ann: Right. It's also natural to attract young men when you're wearing giant sweatpants and a paper bag over your head so I don't even know where this comes from sometimes.

Aminatou: Ugh. Also, yeah, it's just that reminder that people who are into incense and patchouli and Hotep black culture, can't really trust them at the end of the day. Not okay.

Ann: I mean I will say that while I am not endorsing any of her politics I do endorse the profile.

Aminatou: Okay. I'll check it out.


Ann: And there's also an interesting -- there was kind of an interesting profile of Sharon Horgan who is a writer, actor in Catastrophe, and some of her work which there was this part where the reporter asked her about how her character in Catastrophe doesn't really have any friends. And she was like "Oh yeah, kind of it's because I don't have any friends."

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: Which it was like a very funny, kind of acerbic comedian thing to say but I definitely . . . you know how you watch shows sometimes and even if a show has a woman at the creative helm you're like "Do you have any real friends? Does this character not have friends? Does it feel real to you? It doesn't feel real to me." And it was very satisfying to hear her have to address the question.


Aminatou: In my head I always called catastrophe Cata-stroph so . . . [Laughs] I'm glad that you brought it up. Oh, here are the other things from Twitter. Who should be Hillary's running mate? Us of course. The other thing . . .

Ann: Huma.

Aminatou: There's an initiative to make pads and tampons free in New York City schools. Go New York City school system.

Ann: Oh yeah, so this is actually part of, like a lot of the legislators . . .

Aminatou: Of your column.

Ann: Right, that have introduced tampon tax bills are now pushing for making them free in public buildings such as schools and the legislature. That's also the case in California where it's been proposed.

Aminatou: Okay, the Twitter questions are getting weird now. Somebody's talk about retro grade. I'm like that's too deep. The pain of new but beautiful but not yet broken in shoes. Girl, break them in.

Ann: Oh, sometimes it's not possible though! I'm having a really tough experience with this right now. Anyway, go on.

Aminatou: I know. I'm such a proponent of wearing comfortable shoes, I don't know about breaking in shoes.

Ann: But what happens -- let me just hit you with a hypothetical that may or may not be my life right now. When you order a very comfy pair of shoes on the Internet that seem very practical in every single way, and the first time you wear them your heels bleed immediately.

Aminatou: Return them. Return them.

Ann: They were super clearance.


Aminatou: Then give them away. You don't need to be wearing things that you're not comfortable in.

Ann: I know, but ugh, I really like them.

Aminatou: Ann, this is why women are still in shackles. [Laughs]

Ann: Oh my god. I'm going to show you a photo of these shoes that are shackling women and you will laugh. They honestly look like hospital orthopedics. I'm like why are you hurting my feet? Go on.

Aminatou: Life is maximum comfort, okay? Talk about your time at university for those of us out there trying to get through mountains of assignments. Yo, do your homework. Don't take early morning classes. Enjoy your sleep. This is like the last time you're going to sleep regular hours.

Ann: Yeah, let me hit you with a truth: life is like mountains of assignments.

Aminatou: [Laughs]

Ann: They're not called that but we're busy and have to do stuff that is not super fun all the time because it's essentially the same thing as an assignment.

Aminatou: I know. My accountant essentially gave me homework the other day and I was like man, this feels like college. I was so resentful of it.

Ann: I know. I also have a worksheet from my accountant to fill out right now so that does not end when you graduate.

Aminatou: Yeah, you're like real life, we still do worksheets. The man book club that the New York Times wrote about. Oh, I saw just the headline about this. It's all these ugly old men, and the tweet was like "The Man Book Club's cardinal rule: no books by women about women." I'm like uh, good luck with that.

Ann: Right. I mean also that's just called getting a classics degree. We've heard of it.

Aminatou: [Laughs] Yeah, right? It's like what an earthshattering idea.

Ann: It's so true. Also are you so oppressed by narratives about women that you have to actively carve out space to avoid them? If so, good luck to you sirs.

Aminatou: I know. It's such a good trolly response.

Ann: I know.

Aminatou: And then keeping up with self-care during the US election fiasco. Oh, this is a good one. I mean like one, it's not the end of the world. People act every four years like it's the end of the world. We lived through George Bush, like you're going to be fine. I've been feeling this too, the election burnout, and I just choose not to super participate. You get what you put into it, and if you are just watching cable news and just driving yourself into the ground with feelings about this it will eat you alive.


Ann: Here is a personal choice that I have made, which is that when I'm checking in with political news or when I find myself being really frustrated by some dumb gaff or something during the presidential campaign I force myself to read about races that are happening in my state or things that are happening below the presidential level, because let's be real, if you know anything about our political process, yeah the president is important for some key reasons but the way things actually get done is in Congress. So I'm kind of choosing to refocus myself on not Trump, Cruz, Hilary stuff.

Aminatou: Exactly. That's how I feel. It's also going to be a long race and it's like just hang in there. I feel like political journalism is just made to get a reaction out of you every five minutes and you can really choose to not be a part of that.

Ann: It's true. We need a nerdy political news for people who are burnt out on the presidential election feed of some kind because it is harder to find. But really it's like all you have to do is scroll to near the bottom of the politics page of any news outlet you respect and you will find other news.

Aminatou: Yeah. And it's also like honestly just realizing that the thing moves at breakneck speed. I remember when I woke up yesterday and the first headline I read was how Trump said that Ted Cruz's dad had killed JFK.

Ann: Oh my god.

Aminatou: I just sat there and laughed for five minutes, right? Then the next thing I knew Ted Cruz did a press conference addressing the fact that his dad did not kill JFK. Then five hours later it turned out to be his last press conference was about that and he dropped out of the race. I was like I can't be involved in all these emotionally-charged politics.

Ann: But it does make sense that your campaign's death rattle would be making a statement about how your dad was not affiliated with JFK's killer. That's like the end is nigh.

Aminatou: I know. I was like let me get this right, the Zodiac killer's dad . . . [Laughs]

Ann: I'm hanging up on you now.


Aminatou: I can't handle this. But you know it was just one of those mega absurd days, and I'm just like yeah, you've just got to ride this wave. This is not . . . it's like life is trolling right now. It's . . .

Ann: Take refuge in the Met Gala, etc.

Aminatou: Oh my god.


Aminatou: We both listened to this really, really cool interview with Terry Gross where she talks about not having children on the Longest, Shortest Time podcast but it was really great. It was one of the most honest conversations about the topic of just being child-free and I thought it was a real gem. She talked about not being able to imagine having a career and a child because she didn't have -- so no evidence of it being done. And I don't know, I really identified that in a deep, deep, deep way.

Ann: Yeah, this is something that I think about a lot when I think about some -- not all, some of my friends who have been very eager and unconflicted about having kids. They've been the friends whose parents have most closely modeled the kind of relationship that they want themselves. Pretty equitable childcare, both parents making career sacrifices, like that kind of thing. For people whose parents have arrangements that they would not want for themselves, those people tend to be the ones who are conflicted or leaning towards not wanting kids that I know.

Aminatou: Yeah. You know, just one part of the semantics of it that I thought was interesting is the interviewer and people at large always say childless women. That has such a negative association to me, and just always bringing it back to saying child free because for some people it's a choice.

Ann: Oh, totally.


Aminatou: You know? It's not like some sort of deficiency that they have. So the semantics of that are just wildly interesting to me.

Ann: Oh, yeah. All our word choices around this are so loaded, right? Like you would never be child free. It could never be a liberating thing. 

Aminatou: I know.

Ann: It could never be an affirmative choice that you've made based on what you want out of your life. No, no.

Aminatou: Yeah, no, it's so ridiculous. But this interview's great. I think everybody should listen to it if only because Terry Gross is a great interviewee. And she talks about her recurring nightmare about having a baby. [Laughs] We just don't have a ton of stories about women that model this thing, right? Like women who don't have children and are happy about it.

Ann: Right.

Aminatou: And there's nothing wrong with that.

Ann: Right, or it wasn't even an either/or. They were just like on the list of things I really wanted to do with my life this wasn't on it. And it wasn't because I was choosing between kids and something else; it's just like not interested. There's a way to be neutrally child free that is so rarely in these discussions.

Aminatou: Yeah, I know, but it's because we talk about this so little. Terry Gross, she's a feminist pioneer. She paved the way for women to have careers whether they were moms or not and it's still such a charged topic that people will project their own feelings and expectations on her and she's just very clear about the personal choice that she made and it wasn't some activist stance, you know? And it's her living the life that she wanted which is beautiful.

Ann: Totally. And so that whole shame cycle about it starts so young. I met a woman who was in her early 20s recently who was saying to me that she felt like her friends were kind of upset with her or turned off when she made comments about not eventually wanting kids, or when she didn't want to participate in conversations about that. I'm like oh my god, you're in your early 20s. This is not just something we ask of women who are older; it starts so young.


Aminatou: Because it's on the checklist of like . . . Rebecca talks about this so well, with marriage being the way that women enter adulthood, you know? Then the next part of that checkbox is having kids. These are the steps that you're supposed to take and it's engrained in you from a really young age. It's like what does it say about you if you don't have the milestone or the accomplishment? People have a lot of agita around that which is crazy.

Ann: Right. But it's also not crazy because it's really difficult to set your own expectations that are aside or separate from or maybe in some ways parallel but in a lot of ways not parallel to cultural expectations for what those milestones should be.

Aminatou: Agreed. Agreed. Yeah, no, everybody should listen to this interview. If anything just click on the link to see pictures of babe town Terry Gross.

Ann: It's true, in multiple eras.

Aminatou: I know, multiple eras of being an independent babe.

Ann: It's true. Also I have to say, you know, this has been noted before but she got her start on a radio show called Woman Power. It's the first time ever I had a moment where I was like hmm, reconsidering the name of this podcast. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Chose wrong. Chose wrong.

Ann: It's true.

Aminatou: Somebody needs to bring back Woman Power.

Ann: Woman Power.


Aminatou: Okay, the last thing before I leave you Ann, I know you said you caught up on all of your New Yorker reading. Did you catch the Susan Sarandon piece in the primaries postcard?

Ann: I did but I will pretend that I did not just because I want you to tell me about it again, that's how good it was.

Aminatou: Ann, it's so good, I wish I had time to just read the whole thing out loud to you even though you've read it because very few things have been this funny to me this year. I think we've discussed here, or maybe on another round, like Susan Sarandon and how she's lost in the sauce about politics right now. I don't remember where we discussed that.

Ann: Maybe just in our private lives. Who knows? [Laughs]

Aminatou: Or maybe in our private lives. But you know I will say Susan Sarandon, I love her work. If you haven't seen The Meddler you should see it. It's great. Her political opinions I'm like please hold. I don't need you telling me about anything. She's a Nader booster, she boosted for John Edwards, but all of a sudden it's like Hillary and she's like "I don't know. I'm disappointed for her vote in the war." And I was like you know John Kerry that you love also voted for the war.

Ann: That stuff is less problematic -- problematic, I just said it -- to me than her saying that what this country really needs is a full-on revolution and Donald Trump will bring that on so maybe he's not so bad.

Aminatou: I know.


Ann: Aside from her feelings about Democratic candidates, that point-of-view which is such an insulated, rich person point-of-view is what truly makes me need to put my head between my knees and breathe deeply.

Aminatou: So she goes to this Blossom Ball and then on the way back she's like hearing about the election. It was the New York primary. "She had heard of reports of voters being turned away in Brooklyn. It's very frustrating for people who worked so hard phone banking, LOL, she began before getting distracted by red carpet photos on her phone. Seeing one of herself she put a hand to her hair. She talked about Clinton whom she had earlier described as a good Republican candidate. 'I hold women to a very high moral standard,' she said. 'I was very disappointed when she voted for the war so easily, especially as I was suffering so much and my family was suffering, pilloried for their opposition to the war.' [Laughs] Back in Tribeca she watched the last minutes of the movie. When Angel of the Morning played over the teary climax she rocked out, a little chin forward. After a Q&A there was a little party at a nearby club. Susan said that she couldn't imagine becoming reconciled to a Clinton candidacy. Her son texted to say that nobody was dancing at the ball." Her son was DJing this other party that she was at. 'This is when I die,' she said. 'I want to rescue my son. I should go and dance,' she typed. 'I'm coming.'" I both love that she's such a great mom to her son and this profile is essentially making fun of her so hard.


Ann: It's really pretty, because the thing is if you've ever done an interview like this or spent any amount of time with someone while they're going about their daily life you realize pretty quickly that if you quote everything you can make them look pretty terrible. And obviously she says some things here that yeah, you would look terrible no matter what. But kind of the ways you quote the little things like putting her hand to her hair, like you really do have a lot of power when you write about someone if you think that they're kind of a ridiculous figure. It's typically not that hard to make that come across.

Aminatou: Yeah, no. It was so funny to me. The first time I read it I thought it was a parody. I was like oh my god, this is so well-written. Then I was like no, no.

Ann: It's not Shouts and Murmurs.

Aminatou: It is not Shouts and Murmurs, shout out to Shouts and Murmurs. [Laughs] It was really funny, but I don't know, that was a delightful New Yorker read. When The New Yorker brings it, they really bring it.

Ann: It's true. And I have to say this obviously was not dealing directly with her views about that, but I'm like if you really are into some kind of negatively spurred revolution where Donald Trump prompts things to get so bad that people all rise up against the government then you are on some special drugs. Like you are really in a special, insulated place from the realities of the world.

Aminatou: Right? It's like when it's the rich people that are bringing the revolution I don't even know what to do. But also I like the idea that she suffered the most from the war in Iraq. Like that was really funny to me.

Ann: I know. I mean . . .

Aminatou: I'm going to balance it out by saying again how much I like The Meddler and everybody should see it. [Laughs]

Ann: Right. Great. Thank you for that.

Aminatou: Oh my god, Suze Sarandon. Get it together.

Ann: Did you call her Sue? That's such a good nag.

Aminatou: No, I called her Suze. 

Ann: Suze. [Laughs]

Aminatou: Suze Sarandon.

Ann: I mean you of all people know that a nickname is a nag because when I say Gwennie Paltrow you get so mad.

Aminatou: Oh my god, Gwennie is totally a nag. Suze is a power nickname for Susan.

Ann: Hmm, I don't know.

Aminatou: Ann, it just sounds strong.

Ann: Suze?

Aminatou: Gwennie does not sound strong. Speaking of, tomorrow friend of the podcast Natasha Tiku is taking me to a Goop shopping event.

Ann: I obviously got the email about this from Goop and was like thanks for not only emailing your San Francisco mailing list about this, not relevant to L.A.

Aminatou: Oh my god, it's going to be fantastic. I'm doing all my Christmas shopping tomorrow. [Laughs]

Ann: Please send me lots of photos of $800 robes.

Aminatou: Oh my god. Ugh, it's going to be the best. Okay, booboo, I still have conditioner in my hair because that's the kind of day I'm having so I've gots to go.

Ann: I support that. All right, you can find us on the Internet at so many places, on, on Twitter at @callyrgf, on Facebook -- just search for it -- and you can send us an email at Lastly you can even leave us a voicemail if you so desire at 714-681-CYGF.

Aminatou: See you on the Internet, booboo.

Ann: See you on the Internet. Oh wait, wait, this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.

Aminatou: By Gina Delvac.

Ann: Okay, for real, see you on the Internet.