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0:00:00.9 Speaker 1: Welcome to Dear Romance Writer, your home for the questionable advice for the bewildered and the befuddled, random pop culture recommendations, and conversations about, ew, feelings. Be sure to send in your letters seeking advice on our anonymous forum at


0:00:20.7 Speaker 2: Dear Romance Writer is part of the Frolic Podcast Network, a podcast community of everything romance and romance-related. If you're into romance fiction of any flavor, the Frolic Podcast Network includes shows that feature book-club-style discussions, author interviews, comedy, critique, and fantastic conversations as well.


0:00:39.2 Speaker 3: Includes some of the most innovative, interesting, and entertaining podcasts, including Kinda Dating, Crappy Friends, My Imaginary Friends, Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, and Jeff and Will's Big Gay Fiction Podcast. What does this mean for you, the listener? More shows to enjoy and more opportunities for us to introduce you to great episodes and new podcasts you'll love. Find new shows to add to your podcast subscriptions at Now on to this week's show.




0:01:22.4 Speaker 1: Hey everybody, thank you so much for joining us on another fabulous episode of Dear Romance Writer. We have an amazing couple of letters this week, I mean, I don't think it's Talking Vagina amazing, but you can't have that every week. We are super excited also to have the fabulous and pink-haired RL Merrill, Ro, you can call her Ro, here with us today. Ro, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you write and where the good folks can find you.


0:01:55.2 Speaker 4: Can only the good folks or any folks? 'Cause...


0:01:57.3 S1: We only have good folks.


[overlapping conversation]


0:01:58.8 Speaker 4: I'm down with the good folks the, yeah, the naughty folks whoever.




0:02:02.6 S1: Those are still good folks.




0:02:04.4 S4: Yeah, that's true, that's true. I'm RL Merrill, I write contemporary, paranormal, horror, all kinds of stuff. Always something with music, always hope, always love, always happily ever after, even in horror it can be done. And I've been doing this for a while, I write both straight stories and queer stories and I love to tell all kinds of stories.


0:02:37.6 Speaker 2: You're a great storyteller.


[overlapping conversation]


0:02:39.2 S1: And am I remembering correctly that you are a huge metalhead?


0:02:42.9 S4: Yes.


0:02:43.6 S1: Yes.




0:02:43.7 S4: Yes metal...


[overlapping conversation]


0:02:45.4 S1: I love that about you.


0:02:47.4 S4: Yeah, thank you, thank you. 'Cause, a lot of people just kind of, "Aww." They just tap me on the head when it comes to that, but no, I am a huge music fan in general but absolutely I love metal. Although, I've been working on a co-author project for the last few months and my whole playlist... Spotify will not know what to do with me this year 'cause it's like all Reggaeton and Salsa, so I have no idea...


0:03:11.8 S1: Fun.


0:03:12.0 S2: Nice.


[overlapping conversation]


0:03:13.5 S4: How that's gonna happen. Yeah, yeah, very exciting but I have to shift gears totally with the next project so it's... Spotify is gonna be like, "What is this now?"




0:03:25.1 Speaker 3: What's your favorite metal band or current favorite? I know the favorites are hard.


0:03:29.9 S4: Well, favorite is always Metallica, the trifecta: Metallica, Korn, Slipknot, but... Well, no, that's not true either, because there's always Judas Priest and Black Sabbath so, anyway. Currently actually, one of my favorite recent bands is Light the Torch and they just put out an album last week that is phenomenal, so highly recommend that.


0:04:00.5 S2: We talk music all the time.


0:04:01.8 S4: Yes, yes.




0:04:06.4 S2: So shall we dive into our letter?


0:04:09.0 S4: Sure.


0:04:10.4 S2: It's from Emma, and it says, "Dear Romance Writer, Happy Pride Month... " because we're recording this actually the day after end of pride, but it's always pride.


0:04:18.1 S1: It's always pride.


[overlapping conversation]


0:04:20.0 S2: It's always pride. "This is the first pride that I'm celebrating as a member of the community instead of just an ally, though I still definitely figuring out where I fit in. Last year, I came out as bi to my husband and a few close friends, I'm in my mid-30s and it wasn't until more recently that I even felt like I found the words to describe my sexuality. It felt like a light finally went off and I was like, 'Oh yeah, that totally... ' Anyway, my little support system has been very supportive especially my husband, we've been together and married for a little over 10 years, I've never been in any non-hetero relationships and a few months ago, my husband asked if that was something I would like to try. At first, the idea threw me for a loop but the more I've thought about it, the more interested I'm becoming. The two of us have talked about it a lot, our current relationship is great and I don't wanna blow that up."


0:05:06.5 S2: "We've both shared some possibilities for what opening up our relationship could look like and we try to talk through some of the potential pitfalls and issues that could arise. I don't know anyone else who's ever been in this position, am I crazy for even considering changing what I have now or would it be good to explore what's all out there, if I can make that work with my husband? It feels like a bit of a minefield, we plan to keep talking through our feelings on the matter, we're both fairly introverted and awkward at the best of times, so it's not like I'm racing out to the club to find a date tonight." Club, Is that even where you meet people these days? "As we keep exploring the possibilities, does anyone have any advice for me, any ideas or things I may not have yet considered. Thanks sincerely. What if three is not a crowd?" Wow.


0:05:47.1 S4: I know.




0:05:49.5 S2: Anyone wanna jump on that?


0:05:57.6 S1: I have lots of feelings about it.




0:06:00.5 S2: Go.


0:06:00.6 S1: Go, girlfriend.


0:06:00.7 S4: I have lots of feelings about it as somebody who is bisexual and who... However, my husband kind of knew 'cause we've known each other since I was 13, so he's known me forever. He knew this about me, married me anyway but I've... And even though I didn't necessarily have a word for it back then, 'cause we've been together... We've been together for 25 years, so. But it's come up, it's come up in our relationship, the... But I had to kind of think of it a few ways, and this is where I think we can ask questions that maybe they haven't asked, and one is... Well, the first thing is you can plan for everything, you can talk and talk and talk and talk and talk, but you're not gonna know how it's going to impact your relationship until you take that step.


0:06:57.8 S4: And so, knowing that, knowing that you've done all the preparation in the world, are you still willing to take that step, even though you know that it could have... Like you said, a minefield? So there's no predicting what's gonna happen. There are... What about opening your relationship appeals to you? Do you feel like you need it in order to be fulfilled? Do you and your husband ever plan to have children? And if so, how do you think that will be impacted, or you may already have kids. So again, how will that impact your parenting choices and things like that if you choose to take that step with your relationship? So I had a lot of questions and maybe those were the questions that they have already asked. But the biggest thing was, you won't know, you can't know until you do it, and so knowing that, is that still something that you wanna do?


0:08:01.9 S1: Well, and I would also throw in that making a decision, one way or another, in this situation, doesn't have to be forever. You really can... You could say, "Okay, let's take like a month to get used to this, and really kind of focus and think through all those questions and things that don't pop up when we are immediately in the thick of things." Or, if you're like, "Yeah, we wanna try a more open relationship, but let's do it sort of a trial basis, to a certain extent." You can say, and how long that is, and how thorough that is, is also there because there's a lot of different ways to do an open relationship. It could be open only for you, it could be open for both of you, it could be open for, "Hey, only if I want to explore this side of my sexuality, but not that side of my sexuality."


0:09:00.6 S1: Is it something that I can do on my own, and as long as it doesn't come into your partner's view, then they're okay with it? Or is this something where it's only... They're only gonna be okay with it if they are knowledgeable, and they know what's going on? Is it something that can happen locally, or is it something that has to happen, "Hey, if you're on a business trip... " or whatever it may be? There are a lot of in-between, a completely 100% close relationship and a completely 100%, "anything goes", open relationship. There's a lot to negotiate here, and there's a lot to think about. And you don't have to say, "I'm gonna make this decision now, and it's gonna be forever." It could be, "Let's sort of baby-step this in, if you wanna go that way, and try it and see what happens," but going... Do what Roan always says and talk your face off.


0:10:05.3 S2: Yeah.


0:10:08.3 S1: Talk your face off, do not assume that what you are thinking an open relationship means actually is what your partner thinks.


0:10:18.6 S2: Yeah. Don't assume anything.


[overlapping conversation]


0:10:18.9 S1: You have to use [0:10:20.0] ____ words.


0:10:20.4 S2: Yeah. Yeah.


0:10:22.9 S3: Yeah, totally agree. And I think that there's all that negotiation that has to happen, and I think one thing that would be super useful to know, either before the negotiation or maybe that's something that comes out as part of it is, what is your goal? Because I think that in this letter, the piece that I was sort of wondering about was figuring out that you're bisexual, once you already have a partner who you love and are happy with. That can mean something just for you, it can be how you identify, it can re-contextualize things that have happened in your past, and it won't necessarily have to mean anything about your relationship with your primary partner or with your current partner. There are lots of people who are... So like if you've known you are bisexual all along, and had ended up with someone, would you decide to have an open relationship so that you could potentially figure things out with other people?


0:11:23.0 S3: Maybe, maybe not, but I do think that there's a... I don't mean to put this on the letter writer at all, I think this is a cultural thing, not a "them" thing, but I do think there's this cultural idea that what being bisexual means is that you like men and you like women and that those are like two different categories of people. And so if you've ended up with a man, what you need to do is to fully explore your bisexuality, you need to go see what it's like to be with a woman. But male and female are, first of all, not really categories, they're certainly not binary categories, we all know. And what does that mean? Why would it be different to go explore your sexuality with women, when you love your partner and have been happy, why is that different than like going to explore what it would be like to have a different male partner?


0:12:16.3 S2: That was my question too.


0:12:19.2 S3: Yeah, so I think that it doesn't sound like what you're saying is... Again, that's why I don't think that this letter writer is suggesting that binary, but I do say... I do wanna advise, be careful in thinking through what is it about culture sort of clumsy, ham-handed description of bisexuality have you internalized that might be making you feel like discovering this about yourself has recast your current relationship because that doesn't have to be the case. It could be the case that you suddenly are realizing that you think having sex with women would be different than having sex with men for some reason, that your desires about women are different than your desires about your partner and then that's a different issue, that's something that's like...


0:13:11.1 S3: There are a lot of people whose partner and their sexual needs overlap, like a Venn diagram style, but each person has that little crescent they don't fulfill and they choose to have other partners that are more compatible for certain types of desires, and that's all fine, like bottom line, it's all fine, but I do think be very thoughtful and dig deep and figure out, is it that you feel like you missed out on a category of things? Is it that you... There is something about your current relationship that you feel is fundamentally not satisfying a need, and is that something that you wanna talk about, about that relationship? Because opening up a relationship, I think oftentimes that... Yeah, like Ro said it brings up a lot of things that you can't predict. And I don't think that they're always the things that you think.


0:14:13.7 S2: Yeah. No matter how many times you plan and jot down a list, there's always something that pops up that you didn't consider just in general with anything, any kind of planning, not just this, but any kind of planning. But the thing that I was worried about was that not necessarily for Emma, but for anyone who discovers our sexuality late in life, is that there's this pressure from inside and outside the community that if you don't have experiences in the label that you choose, then you're not really that label, if you're bisexual and you've only ever been with men or only ever been with women then you're not really bisexual, so I hope there's no internal pressure here that's all like, "Oh, I have to have that experience, or I'm not legit." You know what I mean?


0:14:55.4 S4: Yeah.


0:14:57.4 S3: Definitely.


0:14:57.8 S4: Well, and so...


0:15:00.1 S1: I... Oh, go ahead.


0:15:01.4 S4: Sorry. Also, I think it's all fine like Roan said. It's fine, whatever. But again, do you trust that your partner is being completely honest with you about how they feel about it, or are they like, "Anything you want, babe," because maybe they're having some insecurities, like "if I don't let them do this, then they're gonna leave me, or if I don't... " Do you trust that your partner is 100% gung-ho with this as well? And if the tables were turned, how would you feel about that? If this was your... If is a male-female relationship and your husband came to you and said, "I wanna be with a man," would you feel the same about it? And I think some people have some different feelings about that, right, wrong, or whatever. It's not... Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are, right? But again, all the talking, awesome, that's great. Ask the questions, make the list, whatever, but human beings are not easily...




0:16:05.0 S1: Yeah. Messy, messy things. Absolutely, and I would sort of to build off of that, what you're also looking at is if you open up the relationship so that you can explore your side of... Your new... It's not a new situation, but I guess a newly accepted situation, put it that way, I think. And that's okay, you have... The question becomes, does that become a dual project for both of you, whether he is exploring a different side of his sexuality or if he is exploring the same side of his sexuality just with more people. So you've got all of that situation to deal with too and even if you are not somebody who's a jealous person, you have to really... I mean number one, God bless you. I don't know how you do that, but, mwah, But you've gotta sit down and really think about how you would react in certain situations and prepare for the absolute worst. I am a big prepare-for-the-absolute-worst person, and I think you would have to do that with this, number one, and I totally just blanked on number two because I'm like that, and so you know there was a number three right after that as well, but it has been a day, and a half.


0:17:29.8 S1: But, Emma, I would say really what I would recommend that you do, sit down, communicate your face off, number one. Number two, go through all the worst-case scenarios, personally, inside your head, so that you are not trying to be someone for the other person, you are able to feel your feelings, whether they're right or wrong without anything else, so be honest with yourself, number two. And then number three, also realize that there are... I think there are some experiences, whether sexual or non-sexual that we think about having, and we're like, "Oh my God, that would be awesome, I am totally on board for that, it turns me on, it flips my trigger, it does all of these things," but to actually get in that situation may not be what you were expecting or what you wanted. Sometimes that really awesome chocolate mousse pie in the bakery window tastes like cardboard, okay. And so you've also got to deal with that too because you can build up a situation to think that it's going to be something that it's not, and I think they're... When you've got a long-term partnership, that's involved in this, you have to think about those factors as well.


0:18:56.0 S2: That's risk assessment, right? 'cause it's like...


0:18:57.5 S1: Yeah.


0:18:58.6 S2: Am I willing to lose everything I have with this person in order to explore this thing. You know what I mean? So yeah, and that's the question that only Emma and Emma's partner can answer, so. Basically, sit down and have that conversation.


0:19:16.6 S3: Yeah, and I think it would be great to find other people who've been through what you're talking about and see what the kind of spectrum of experience that people have had has been. You might be able to glean some useful answers or advice from folks who... 'cause I'm sure you would find people who are like, "I discovered that I was bisexual in my 30s, and I left my partner and decided to start playing the field." All the way to, "And then we never talked about it again," and everything in between.


0:19:43.7 S1: So do you guys have recommendations, 'cause Emma does say she doesn't know anybody else in this situation?


0:19:52.7 S3: I mean Reddit for sure has lots of fora for such things. I think it's like you might... I feel like there are some subreddits that are tender and sweet little corners of the world that you could totally find people on who aren't gonna ruin your life or [0:20:12.8] ____. I think there could be a tender, sweet corner of...


[overlapping conversation]


0:20:18.0 S1: It could happen.


0:20:18.7 S2: There's a tender, sweet corner of Tumblr as well.


0:20:21.1 S3: Oh yeah, there you go.


0:20:21.6 S2: Especially in the queer community, there's a lot of... That's true. Yeah.


[overlapping conversation]


0:20:24.2 S4: Or TikTok. Honestly, like I had, I've had a few videos that have come across my feed, actually more on Instagram, and then I went over to TikTok and watched and just people talking about their experiences being bi or being queer, and what people assume about them as a result and what their experiences are, and some of those would be good to know because you may think, again, that you've covered all the bases, but when you talk to somebody or listen to somebody who's actually been through it and you see what's happened to their life, like you may decide, "Okay, maybe things are good the way they are," and maybe that's, you know... And again, is it the actual sexual experience that defines you as a person, or is it your relationship with your partner that has more of an impact on who you are as a person? I mean, neither one should be who you are as a whole person, I guess.


0:21:22.9 S3: Right.


0:21:23.3 S2: Yeah. Is it an issue of curiosity or is it an issue of fulfillment?


0:21:27.3 S1: Ooh, I love that. That is a great way to put it.


0:21:31.3 S3: It is and that's what...


[overlapping conversation]


0:21:31.7 S1: And that's not to say that open relationships don't work.


0:21:35.3 S2: Oh yeah, no.


[overlapping conversation]


0:21:35.4 S1: There are people that have open relationships, they're fabulous, they work out great, but it is also not something that works for everyone or 100% of the time.


0:21:45.1 S3: Yeah, I love that formulation, Xio, of curiosity versus feeling fulfilled or satisfied, and there's also the... In general, I think that I would hate to suggest that old chestnut of bisexuality as a gateway to realizing that you're just 100% queer because of course, that is a real thing for some people, but it's such a stereotype and I do not wanna reinforce it, but having said that if what you're feeling is like... If your gut response to the question "is it just curiosity or is it fulfillment" is like, "No, this is about fulfillment," then I do think like, think about what it means to be... And this has nothing to do with not loving your partner, I'm sure you do, but think about what it means to realize that you also are attracted to women like when you think about your past is what you're realizing that you've actually had a number of women in your life who you really, really loved with your whole heart, who were close, close friends who you wanted to spend a lot of time with, who you kept thinking like, "If only I were sexually attracted to you, this would be so perfect because then we could be together forever and never have to deal with anybody else."


0:22:57.8 S3: And if that's what you find yourself thinking and suddenly now you've just realized that you also wanna have sex with women, I would just think about what that might mean and think about is what you would actually like to give yourself a chance at dating and finding love in this new category of people, and again, that has nothing to do with how much you love your current partner, I'm sure that you do. There are tons of people who mainly are attracted to X category of people, but then there are exceptions to every rule, but if you do find yourself thinking like, "Uh oh, what's gonna happen when I finally have sex with a woman, and then I realize that I've fallen in love with her, and how is that gonna go down?" You know, just think about it.


0:23:51.8 S1: We don't get to choose who we fall in love with it.


0:23:56.3 S2: Right.


[overlapping conversation]


0:23:56.3 S1: Even if we're already in love with somebody.


[overlapping conversation]


0:23:57.6 S1: That's [0:23:57.8] ____, all the planning and what if her partner falls in love with someone in this open situation? So it's just... Yeah.


0:24:04.7 S4: And be safe and take precautions and all that stuff, because again, it's fair to the person you're with, but it's fair to your partner, and it's just being safe.


0:24:15.4 S2: And once you do, if you do decide to open things up, stay... Keep that line of communication open. Like you said it. Like Avery said, it's not one and done, just like keep talking, so that you guys know, okay, this is not working, we need to... You know, yeah.


0:24:31.9 S3: And make sure you're open with whoever you start dating too so that it's very clear what you're looking for and that can change of course, but I feel like the best rule of thumb that I have is the moment that you have the thought, "Ooh, maybe I shouldn't tell X person Y thing," that's the really important thing that you should tell them both.


0:24:56.7 S1: And this reminds me, I came across a TikTok the other day, and it completely remind me of you, Roan, because it was a woman and she was talking about how she and her partner, I think they've been together like seven years, and she's like, "We have basically job evaluations."


0:25:13.9 S3: I saw that one.


[overlapping conversation]


0:25:16.0 S1: You saw it? Like every six months, they sit down and go through the same little list of questions, and it's such... It would take the pressure off saying, "Hey, we have to sit down and have a discussion about our relationship."


[overlapping conversation]


0:25:30.9 S2: Performance evaluation.


0:25:32.4 S1: Yeah, it's a performance evaluation.


0:25:35.9 S4: I love it.


[overlapping conversation]


0:25:36.0 S2: [0:25:36.1] ____ I would fail that.




0:25:37.8 S1: Yeah, so if it just becomes ingrained part of it, then it's not about, "Oh God, first I have to stress out about bringing this up. And then I gotta figure out how to approach them, and then I gotta find the perfect time, so they're not in a mood, so they won't feel attacked. And then I gotta... " If it's just part of your thing then... Yeah. And I love that you saw that, 'cause I immediately thought of you, 'cause I went, "Oh, talk your face off, talk your face off."


[overlapping conversation]


0:26:04.6 S3: I did see it on TikTok, and I actually almost sent it to my girlfriend, except that she's never on TikTok, so she would find it months later. But no, I love that idea because it's this... I feel like there's a myth about talking in relationships, that it is supposed to be romantic in and of itself, and I'm like, no, I mean any functioning partnership, whether it's a romantic relationship, a sibling relationship, a business, a co-writer or whatever...


0:26:30.2 S4: Roommate. Yeah.


0:26:31.8 S3: A roommate, any of that stuff. It is essential to do these kinds of check-ins because why would we think... It's not as if when your washing machine starts acting up, you're like, "Well, I guess I'll just hope that maybe someone who repairs washing machines is at the next dinner party that I attend, so that there's a perfect moment for me to be like, 'Gosh, could I just pick your brain about something really quickly?'" That's nonsensical, so...


0:26:58.3 S1: Appliance repair people everywhere right now are going, "Don't do that shit. Just don't do that shit. I am off."


0:27:06.8 S3: Exactly. And exactly. It's like, no, you want to make an appointment, explain exactly what's going on, do it at a time when both of you are consensually engaged in solving this problem together, and I think that it's so silly that we don't translate that into a romantic relationship as well, especially because making something business-like it sounds un-romantic, but it also takes so much emotional pressure off of turning a conversation that is already, maybe, difficult to have. Not if it's... Not just 'cause it's bad, but because it's like feelings-y and pressure-ful. I mean that's sort of...


[overlapping conversation]


0:27:40.5 S1: [0:27:43.0] ____ feelings-y, [0:27:43.1] ____ gross.


0:27:45.6 S3: I know. Squirmy, feelings-y but yeah, it's so... It is a relief and a gift to give someone a non-pressure-filled, non-emotional way to tell you things that are important to them, and I feel like that is the gift that we should all be giving our partners and ourselves. So... Yeah. Monthly review, six-month checklist, whatever, performance review, I'm all about it.


0:28:12.3 S2: Yelp.


0:28:15.0 S4: Yelp.


0:28:15.1 S1: Yelp. Oh my god. [0:28:19.6] ____ service was horrible. Could you imagine? Oh my God, I'm dying. Alright...


[overlapping conversation]


0:28:25.9 S3: Oh my God, I'm gonna start... I'm gonna like make up a... Like romantic partners' checklists questionnaire sheet.


0:28:31.2 S1: You should.


[overlapping conversation]


0:28:31.3 S3: And like [0:28:32.3] ____ give that to everyone I know.


0:28:34.3 S1: You should.


[overlapping conversation]


0:28:36.2 S4: Google Doc. Make it a Google docs so we can all just like shoot that over to our partner, you can fill it out ahead of time and then you sit down and go over the results.


0:28:44.0 S3: Totally. You schedule...


[overlapping conversation]


0:28:44.9 S2: You just hold up those cards... Like you ask a question and you hold up the card with the answers like the...


[overlapping conversation]


0:28:46.5 S1: Oh like the...


0:28:48.1 S2: Like the dating game or whatever.


0:28:48.7 S4: Or you pull out up the like pie charts like, "Sometimes, never, oh this one has... "


0:28:53.4 S3: It will be a whole thing. You like send a Bumble invite for when you're both able to put it on your calendars and you schedule a Google Meet, then you have an infographic that you feed it all into.




0:29:06.1 S4: Infograph.


0:29:06.2 S1: I'm loving this.


0:29:07.3 S4: Mark yourself busy on your calendar. It's time.


0:29:11.7 S3: In case there is a single moment of doubt that I'm an enormous nerd, can I just tell you all something that has nothing to do with anything? Which is that I went to my first party since getting... Everyone being vaccinated and it was... And don't get too excited because it was a moth party. And what we did is I have these friends who have a house in the Pine Barrens...


[overlapping conversation]


0:29:32.1 S1: Wait. What is a moth party?


0:29:34.5 S3: I'm telling you.


0:29:35.8 S1: Okay, alright, she's explaining. I'm like, "I am not cool enough to know what a moth party is."


0:29:40.3 S3: No, no. You might be too cool. So my friends have this house in the country, it's kind of... It was a trailer thing and a bunch of land and they've been fixing it up, it's really nice. And because they're out in the Pine Barrens, there's no light pollution and bunches of nature. And so they set up this thing where it's like a big white sheet kind of held up, clipped up like a projection screen, and then a big, super-bright light to draw the moths. And then the moths are drawn to the light and then land on the bedsheet. Like on the white sheet, so that you can see them perfectly, so it was like a fucking nature documentary where all these different kinds of moths came... And there were like drinks and snacks and we were all sitting around chatting but instead of a movie screen...


[overlapping conversation]


0:30:26.3 S1: I laughed so hard I snorted.


0:30:28.9 S3: It was a sheet with moths on it, and they were amazing.


[overlapping conversation]


0:30:29.2 S2: That is hardcore.


0:30:30.8 S3: [0:30:30.9] ____ I even put a picture on our Instagram or something, I have these close-up videos. You could pick them up. They would just let you... They were so chill like hanging out and they were so cute with their little fuzzy bodies. Anyways.


0:30:42.2 S4: See, I have that on my...


[overlapping conversation]


0:30:44.2 S1: I love you.


0:30:44.3 S4: I have that on my front porch Roan. I could seriously sit outside and my whole side of my house... Because we have a light and then the rest of the neighborhood is pretty dark and we have a giant huge tree over our yard, so, yeah. That's cool.


[overlapping conversation]


0:30:56.9 S3: I am so jealous. It was so beautiful and I wanted to sit there all night.


0:31:02.0 S2: Moth party.


[overlapping conversation]


0:31:03.4 S4: I would be down for that as long as there's mosquito repellent, 'cause I would get eaten too at the same time.


0:31:09.7 S3: Yeah, you know there was mosquito repellent. There were snacks. There was... It was great.


0:31:14.3 S1: If it took place in a museum rather than in actual nature, I would be there with you.


0:31:19.8 S3: There you go.


[overlapping conversation]


0:31:19.9 S1: But in actual nature, I'm a big nope.


0:31:22.6 S2: Okay.


0:31:24.3 S1: Yeah, I'm a big nope. Okay, and now that we're all laughing and in a good mood, let's puncture that balloon with this... Yeah, with this letter from Reddit.


0:31:37.1 S4: Speaking of Reddit...


[overlapping conversation]


0:31:37.2 S3: Are we all feeling okay to dive into this rather touchy...


0:31:40.8 S1: Mm-hmm. Alright.


0:31:41.3 S2: Okay, so I wanna give a very extreme trigger warning and content warning. We're about to do a What Would You Do segment and this is a question from Reddit, and so this is a content warning for sexual abuse, for dehumanization, and for hyper-sexualized language in a negative context. Does that seem like it covers things?


[overlapping conversation]


0:32:10.0 S2: Yeah. That sounds good.


0:32:11.6 S3: Okay, so...


0:32:12.8 S1: I would say emotional abuse as well.


0:32:16.1 S3: Emotional abuse, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. So I'm gonna read the letter and we will... I'll look at the things so that we can tell you in the show notes when it's over, but the safest thing to do if you wanna skip this little piece is skip ahead to the part where we're done talking as a four-some and lovely Ro leaves us and then we're back with recommendations, just the three of us, and then you will have skipped the entire segment.


0:32:42.2 S1: Basically, when you hear the wonderful music.


0:32:43.0 S3: There you go. When you hear the music. Alright. So this is called, "My boyfriend is using me as a sex doll." And I'll say if I can echo, Xio... What something Xio said off-camera. The reason that we're doing this even though it's a highly... I think it's a potentially triggering letter is that it is a really important one, an important conversation that we wanted to have. So, "My boyfriend is using me as a sex doll. My, 20 F, boyfriend 25, M, have been together two years. I told him I wanted to wait until marriage to lose my virginity. Well, when quarantine happened, he repeatedly asked and begged until one night I took my clothes off to have sex with him. Since we were home all day, he wanted sex several times per day, and I didn't have much choice. Now, when I come home late at night from work, I just wanna eat dinner and go to bed. But he always demands sex before I can sleep. It's not even enjoyable for me. It's actually somewhat painful. Yesterday, I told him I wasn't gonna have sex whenever he wanted, and he started saying things like, 'The only reason I exist is to please men' and how 'I'm only good as a cum dump,' among other things. I'm trying to stand up for myself, but nothing I do changes his mind, and if I leave, he might harass me for doing so."


0:34:07.6 S2: Can I preface this by saying, if you are in this situation, leave. Period. Period. And there's legal issues here, there's... Yeah. Just leave. This is not someone who loves you.


0:34:25.9 S1: No. And I think sometimes especially... I mean, she's 20. Oh my God, she's so young. I mean, at 20, you think you're grown up and can handle anything, and then you get to be an old lady like me, and you're like, "Oh my God, you're a baby." You haven't experienced half of what the world's gonna throw at you yet. But I would say that I think sometimes women, people who are socialized as women are also socialized that this type of situation is okay. Not everyone, but there are some growing-up situations where this would be considered just natural. And I think there's also a huge level of inner deniability that we do as women sometimes to say, "Hey, this person actually loves me, so I'm gonna look past all this horrible, awful stuff that they do to me." It may just be being a jerk, it may be this far. It may be, you know what? I ask every day that he close the shower curtain and he never does. All of those are varying levels on the spectrum of not respecting you. But they are all not respecting you. They're all not okay.


0:35:53.2 S1: This is plain and simple, sexual assault, without any kind of doubt. Just because somebody is your boyfriend, just because somebody is your husband, just because somebody you're in a long-term relationship with, does not mean that this is okay. If you start having sex with somebody and you only do it because you feel pressured, that is also not okay. And it is not okay on you, it is not okay on them if that makes sense. And I would also like to say, I agree with Xio wholeheartedly that you need to leave, wholeheartedly. I would also say though that I understand that can seem daunting. It can seem super scary. It can be one of the hardest things you will ever do is to leave an abusive relationship. So again, baby-step this. Put a backpack together with some of your essential stuff, toss it in your car or maybe down by the mailboxes of your apartment complex or whatever it may be, so you can grab that and leave if you can get to that point. Leave it at a friend's house. Leave it at a co-worker's house, leave it at work. Have that sort of backup thing and start baby-stepping your way into being able to go. It is really hard, completely understand that, but this is only gonna get worse.


0:37:32.7 S2: Yeah, this is an escalating situation.


0:37:36.5 S1: This is only gonna get worse.


[overlapping conversation]


0:37:36.8 S2: Even from these two paragraphs, you can tell that this is on the path to some really bad stuff. I mean, this is bad enough, but...


0:37:44.4 S1: Yeah.


0:37:47.6 S4: Well, I will just say when I was 20 years old, I was in exactly the same situation. I had been living with my boyfriend for two years, thousands of miles away from home. I didn't have anybody because, by two years in, I had been completely isolated from everybody that I cared about, including my family who were angry with me for making the choice to stay. He never hit me. There were plenty of times that I had sex when I didn't wanna have sex because I felt like I had to, and I understand the pain part of it. I understand the... My partner was not of that same mindset. I believe that he loved me in the way that he understood love to be, but he was also an abused child who was neglected and beaten. And so now that it's many years later... How many years? 28 years later. I have a much different perspective on it. I have a much different perspective because I have a daughter who is almost 20 years old, and I raised her because of the things that I went through to the point where she is the exact opposite and doesn't take shit from anybody.


0:39:13.4 S4: Whereas I took it all because I felt like that's what I deserved. I loved this man. He had some serious mental health issues, and I felt like if we can just give him some help, it's gonna be okay. And what finally got me to leave was the night that I came home from class, 'cause we were in college. I came home from class and he was still asleep because he was in that cycle of sleeping all day and staying up all night. And I came in and I told him, "You have messages on the phone. People are trying to get in touch with you. You need to take care of your business." And he got up and he said, "Well, I'm gonna take a shower." And I said, "What? Do you have to look pretty to talk on the phone?" I was so frustrated by that point. And he grabbed the knife that I was using to make a sandwich and he pushed me on the couch and held it over my head, and it was enough to scare both of us to the point where I walked out the door, and he kind of just collapsed like, "I can't believe I just did that."


0:40:24.0 S4: We had been together 24/7 for a long time because of school and over the summer, we had a job where we worked together, and then we came home together. So I was always with him and I didn't have anybody else in town at that point. And so I did have one girl that I sort of knew from one of my classes, and I walked to her house, 'cause I had been there one time before, and I said, "I need help." And she actually knew my boyfriend because they had gone to high school together. And long story short, the part that got me the most about this story was that part at the end that "I'm afraid he'll harass me if I leave" and he likely will. He likely will and... But you can survive that. I did. He stalked my apartment. The only place I could find to move was across the parking lot from where we lived.


0:41:18.6 S1: Oh Jesus.


[overlapping conversation]


0:41:18.6 S4: So he could see in my windows, he could see when I was coming and going, he could see who was coming over to my house. And people were afraid of him, so they wouldn't come to see me. There was a lot of stuff that went on. It went on for a couple of months, and then he finally moved away and went to go live with our friends. And honestly, he's in a much better place now in his life. I still hear about him because we have friends in common, and I'm... I think he finally got help for what he needed to and I'm happy. I think our situation was definitely different than the one you're in in the sense that this was a situational situation in a lot of ways, but I get it. I absolutely get it. I went on to get my master's in counseling and become a school counselor, and I did my internship working with women who were victims of domestic violence, and I heard the stories.


0:42:13.9 S4: I did group therapy. I did individual therapy. I absolutely know how hard it is to leave, and I would say what Xio said and what Avery said, the safety planning is hugely important. Think about anybody that you even... Even if it's somebody that you barely know, but you get a good vibe from them that they would help you, your family... I'm not gonna say every family is accepting, but when I called my mom and said... And I thought in no way would she be supportive, she said, "Find another place to live. Give me a call. I'll send the money to whoever to get you a deposit put down." And I was lucky, and not everybody is that lucky, but you would be surprised at how far your family will be willing to go to make sure that you're safe even if they're pissed at you, even if they think you've made a bad decision by being with this person. And your friends, old friends, they may tell you, "You should've left. You should've left. You should've left." But you have to hear that as "I love you, I love you, I love you. I want something better for you."


0:43:26.7 S4: And again, if you are a friend to somebody who is in this situation, think about the words that are coming out of your mouth when you do talk to them. And if you can make those words, "I love you, I love you. I'm here for you no matter what you decide to do," that will make it a 100 times easier for them to eventually leave. I worked in the police department training police officers how to respond to situations like this, and statistics showed seven times... This was 20 years ago, but seven times was the average of time someone would leave until they left for good. So even if you left before and you went back, it doesn't mean that there's no hope left. And sex should not be painful. It should not be because you feel like you have to do it, and I hope that you are able to take those baby steps. Safety planning. Find that one person, even if it's one person that you think you could possibly connect with, and take those steps and know that there's people here. I will give the phone number for the domestic violence victim hotline you can call. I'll put it in the show notes or have them put it in the show notes. And I've worked those hotlines before. The people are very understanding and they will help you. They will get you resources in the area where you live. The pandemic has seen a huge increase in this.


0:44:56.2 S2: Yeah. I was gonna say that.


[overlapping conversation]


0:44:56.5 S4: Because everybody is stuck home, and there were not a lot of options, but we're coming out of it. So I hope that you don't stay for that reason because there are alternatives for you, and I'm pulling for you. I can tell you, it's... 28 years old later, I'm married, I have two kids, I have a wonderful life and you can have that too. So I hope that you're able to take those baby steps and make yourself safe.


0:45:29.6 S2: I'm so glad you're here with us today for this.


0:45:31.1 S1: I know.


0:45:31.2 S4: Yeah.


0:45:31.7 S3: We couldn't have had a better person.


0:45:34.1 S2: Yeah.


0:45:35.2 S4: Well, when I read it, I said, "Okay. Well, there's a reason why you guys asked me to come this week."




0:45:42.2 S3: Yeah, we didn't even know, but [0:45:44.2] ____...


[overlapping conversation]


0:45:44.3 S2: No.


0:45:46.2 S1: But you know what? I do think that that is a good way to end our episode on... At least this portion of the episode on a level of hope.


[overlapping conversation]


0:45:54.1 S2: We can't really add much to that. That was amazing.


0:45:57.2 S1: Yeah. No, absolutely. So and Ro, since now that we know how amazing you are, not that we didn't before. Can you tell all the good folks where they can keep finding you and how they can read you and all that good stuff?


0:46:11.9 S4: Sure. You can find me at RL Merrill Author, double R, double L, just like from Charlotte's Web. I always think of it that way. The goose and she's everything is "E, double E, double R," like that's... Yeah, you can find me at You can find me on the

socials at the same. I guess probably the thing that I would love for people to pick up is A More Perfect Union, which was an anthology we put together to help voting suppression organizations that are trying to fight against that. And there's queer stories, there's male-female stories, there's all kinds of good stuff in there, and it's all about why you should vote and making sure that we have resources for people in this country is a good reason to vote. So again, it all kind of comes back around. And Xio and I have had some projects together in the past, and hopefully will again in the future.


0:47:13.2 S2: Oh, we will. Absolutely, yeah.


0:47:15.2 S4: And yeah, I would love to connect. So find me. Let's chat about anything. I am pretty much an open book. So if there's stuff you wanna talk about that you've been through, I'm more than happy to connect. So thanks for having me.


0:47:32.2 S2: That's true. Thank you, Ro.


0:47:33.2 S4: Thank you.


[overlapping conversation]


0:47:33.3 S3: Thank you, Ro. That was so nice.




0:47:41.2 S3: So five seconds ago, I said to Xio and Avery the horrible confession that I could not think of a recipe for this week that related. And Xio, always intelligent, was like, "What about a snack that you've really liked lately or it's ice cream season." So here's what I will say. Do you like ice cream? Do you like cookies?


0:48:03.1 S1: Yes. Yes.


[overlapping conversation]


0:48:04.1 S2: Yes. Yes.


0:48:05.2 S3: Me too. Okay, you get your vanilla ice cream, whatever. It doesn't even matter, like decent vanilla ice cream, and you make my oatmeal cookies.


0:48:20.1 S1: Oh yeah.


0:48:20.2 S3: You bake it.


[overlapping conversation]


0:48:21.2 S1: Okay, keep going.


[overlapping conversation]


0:48:22.2 S3: It's so easy. This is a recipe that's been passed down from my grandmother and I always was like, "Oh, it's so nice. I love having these recipes from generations ago." And my mom was like, "It was probably 'passed down.'" As in, she got it off the back of an oats box and like...


0:48:39.2 S2: Like the Toll House recipe that gets passed down.


[overlapping conversation]


0:48:40.7 S3: Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. So anyway, I will spill the family secret, which is probably a Quaker Oats secret. You bake the cookies. I mean, you can bake them like regular cookies if you want, but no need to even bother making them into cookies 'cause you're just gonna mush them up. So you can just spread the dough out, bake them. Once they've cooled enough that they will not melt your ice cream, you take your vanilla ice cream. You take a hunk of your oatmeal cookie, you mush it into the vanilla ice cream, you sprinkle it with cinnamon, and you mix the whole thing together and you top it with coarse salt, and it is the greatest dessert ever. It's like an oatmeal cookie pie, but kind of like a shoofly pie 'cause of the cinnamon and the vanilla. It's so good. Avery's making a face 'cause it sounds gross. I know...


[overlapping conversation]


0:49:30.0 S1: No, no, no, I'm making a face 'cause basic stupid me was like, "Oh yeah, ice cream cookie, ice cream cookie." And then you went somewhere completely different with it.


0:49:40.2 S3: Oh my gosh, it's so good.


[overlapping conversation]


0:49:40.3 S1: And I am really excited for this.


0:49:42.2 S3: Yeah, 'cause here's the problem with cookie sandwiches with ice cream for me, is number one...


[overlapping conversation]


0:49:47.1 S1: They squish out.


0:49:48.2 S3: The ice cream squishes out. Well, that was gonna be my number two. My number one and far more important to me is it hurts like hell to bite into ice cream.


[overlapping conversation]


0:49:54.1 S2: Bite into ice cream.


0:49:55.2 S3: Who are these maniacs out there...


[overlapping conversation]


0:49:56.1 S2: Remember Chip Witches, do they still make those?


0:49:57.2 S3: With like veneers or [0:50:01.2] ____ biting into ice cream. That hurts so much. What...


0:50:04.1 S2: Do they still make Chip Witches?


0:50:06.9 S3: Yeah, I think so.


0:50:08.0 S2: Which is like a hard...


[overlapping conversation]


0:50:08.2 S1: What is that?


0:50:09.1 S2: It's a hard chocolate chip cookie with a hard block of vanilla ice cream... Well, two chocolate chip cookies. And you're supposed to bite into this.


0:50:16.1 S1: Is it sponsored by the American Dental Association?


0:50:18.2 S2: Probably, probably.




0:50:19.9 S3: Seriously, it's like... Yeah, anyway, this is way better. You eat it with a spoon. You just... It's a bunch of mushing, which... Who doesn't like cooking that happens by mushing, and it's so good.


0:50:32.8 S1: [0:50:33.3] ____ cookie.


[overlapping conversation]


0:50:33.7 S3: And these ice cream... Or I mean these oatmeal cookies, the recipe... So here's a fun fact for you, which I only learned because of this recipe, a fun food fact. So these are made with Crisco instead of butter or margarine. Crisco is an ingredient that for me was a very normal baking ingredient growing up, and I assumed that it was so for everyone. And I only learned later that for a lot of people, they think Crisco is like lard or something, like an old fashioned they would never bake with that ingredient, and I never knew this. But Crisco is actually a feature in a huge number of Jewish recipes because it was super, super cheap. And so immigrant Jews coming to America couldn't afford butter, couldn't afford whatever was before margarine in those days. I don't know, and so yeah, Crisco was the shortening that you would use, and it is what you use in these cookies. And I've tried making them with butter and the Crisco is way better.


0:51:28.2 S2: Yeah.


0:51:28.7 S1: I love Crisco.


[overlapping conversation]


0:51:29.1 S2: Grandmothers swear by Crisco, especially during those...


[overlapping conversation]


0:51:30.1 S1: Yeah, Crisco is awesome.


0:51:31.0 S2: Yeah. The high holidays.


[overlapping conversation]


0:51:33.6 S3: Yeah. Crisco also [0:51:33.7] ____.


0:51:36.4 S2: Gotta be.


0:51:37.9 S3: Anyway, that is my recipe. Xio, thank you for saving me from [0:51:40.9] ____.


[overlapping conversation]


0:51:41.0 S2: No. Cookies and ice cream are [0:51:41.2] ____ awesome. We buy this snack called Brownie Brittle. I don't know if you've seen it. It's like a little pouch and they have different flavors and we get the chocolate one. It's basically like someone sliced the top of a brownie off, the crispy top.


0:51:53.5 S1: Oh, okay. Yum.


[overlapping conversation]


0:51:54.6 S2: So, it's like squares of crispy top... Or brownie top. And whenever you get a bag, there's always pieces in the bottom, so we eat... If you pull out maybe four squares and the rest of it's all broken up. So you get the vanilla ice cream, you take those little crispy pieces of brownie, [0:52:10.8] ____ put it in this one like we sit there and do. It's fun.


0:52:12.3 S1: Yum.


0:52:13.7 S2: That sounds delicious though, especially with warm oatmeal raisin cookies or oatmeal cookie.


[overlapping conversation]


0:52:16.3 S3: Yeah. Just a little warm so that they mush in, but not so hot that they'll melt your ice cream. If you wanna live dangerously, and I do, you can also do it with just the oatmeal cookie dough, which I've also done, and it's also delicious.


0:52:31.8 S1: The CDC just paid me a million dollars to say, "Don't do that." And I think you should.




0:52:35.6 S3: I've been eating raw cookie dough for forty years.


0:52:38.5 S1: Oh my god, raw cookie dough is phenomenal. I'm sorry. It is.


[overlapping conversation]


0:52:41.5 S3: I'm fine. I remember once someone said to me in New York like, "Oh, they're opening this cool thing. It's like a restaurant that's just cookie dough that you can eat without baking it." And I was like, "A restaurant? That's called my kitchen." Everybody was all like, "No, but you can't eat raw flour and raw eggs. It'll make you sick." It never made me sick.


0:53:00.5 S2: If you're eating it all day, every day, sure.


0:53:02.4 S1: Yeah. Live dangerously, Louise. Live dangerously.


0:53:04.9 S2: Is that cereal restaurant still around? Is it Cereality?


[overlapping conversation]


0:53:09.6 S3: I don't know. I know what you're talking about.


[overlapping conversation]


0:53:11.6 S2: That was an interesting concept. Anyway, let's get to the music. We talked [0:53:17.8] ____ 'cause I'm hungry now.


0:53:17.9 S1: You can tell we've missed a couple of weeks together.


0:53:19.9 S2: So this playlist is called "Uncomfortably Me," and it's got Cage the Elephant on it, I Don't Know How But They Found Me, which if you haven't heard those guys, they are really interesting. It's got The Police, and it has my rec for this week, which I won't mention, but yeah, so the songs are a little bit all over the place because our letters this week were kind of polar opposite, but I wanted to find a nice balance and put some levity into the situation. So you guys let me know what you think in the comments below.


0:53:58.8 S1: So recommendations this week. I will kick us off. We have... So Schitt's Creek. If you haven't watched it, it's fabulous. Annie Murphy, who was the sister... What was her name? All I'm thinking is, "Ew, David" right now.


[overlapping conversation]


0:54:17.7 S2: Alexis.


0:54:17.9 S1: Alexis, yes. "A Little Bit Alexis." She played Alexis in Schitt's Creek. She has a new show out. It's called...


0:54:26.3 S2: Kevin Can...


0:54:27.8 S1: Yeah, Kevin Can Fuck Himself. They have the U C K blocked out, but I'm a grown-up, so I can say fuck. And I watched the first episode. I have not watched the additional ones. I will be, but I'm gonna recommend it because it is really interesting the way it meshes a real... Your basic multi-camera comedy show.


0:54:56.2 S2: Sitcom.


0:54:57.6 S1: Yeah, your sitcom, versus what happens behind it. And it's really well done how they mix the two together between the drama and the sitcom, number one. I think it's a really interesting and actually kind of plays into some of our letters here today about sort of the expectation of how you are supposed to act, how you are supposed to be according to other people, and what's actually going on behind the scenes of your head. And so it's really an interesting way of having commentary on that. I do not... I have not looked at the writers. I need to, but if the first episode was not written by a woman, I will go into shock. I mean, it just... It reads really true. It reads really true. I don't think it's an easy watch. I would not say that, but it's a really interesting watch, and I think she does a phenomenal job. I mean, If you go in thinking that she's just gonna be silly like Alexis, it is not that. It is not. The sitcom parts are like that, but it also... It's got a ton of depth into it. The characterizations are really, really good, and I just think it's a really unique way of looking at the situation of basically... The situation you find yourself in when you're like, "I'm just going to not... I'm just going to go with the way everybody expects me to be rather than true to yourself."


0:56:39.0 S2: I've only seen the trailer, or whatever for it, and I love... It made me wanna watch it because... I don't know if you've seen it, Roan, but it's like...


0:56:47.9 S3: Yeah, I saw the trailer.


[overlapping conversation]


0:56:49.7 S2: They basically take the Brady Bunch. It's like The Brady Bunch grid or whatever, and it's just... You can just from the music and the way that they zoom in on her and just the expressions that everyone has, you can tell that this is gonna take that whole "our life is perfect" sitcom family situation and topple it over. And so I was like, "I'm in. You got me." So I'm glad to hear that it lives up to...


[overlapping conversation]


0:57:08.4 S3: [0:57:08.4] ____ That's also...


0:57:08.4 S1: Yeah, the first episode is great. I need to watch the rest of them, but yeah, I highly, highly recommend it. Because it also, the other thing is, it goes between the two, so it transitions between the drama and the sitcom back and forth, but it does it so well. And it was really interesting, I read an article about it, and what they were talking about was the set dressing, because it's the same set for both things, but the placement of the camera is different, and the lighting is different, and just sort of that... Again, it's through the looking glass, of how you can twist it just enough to start getting that reflection of reality in it. And it's just... It's fabulous.


0:57:55.6 S2: They did a lot of that with WandaVision.


0:57:58.1 S3: Yeah.


0:57:58.2 S1: Yeah.


0:58:00.2 S2: Where they... That was brilliant.


0:58:00.7 S1: Oh my god.


0:58:02.2 S2: Because they... Every era, they captured the ideal of every era from the '50s on. And then you could... And as the story went on, you saw it starts to morph into... Or you saw the ugliness and stuff. That was really well done. I'm glad that these stories are being told now, that we're seeing stories like this. Cool. Have to check it out.


0:58:22.7 S1: Yep.


0:58:22.8 S2: I guess I'll do my rec since I'm talking a lot.


0:58:25.7 S1: There you go.


0:58:26.4 S2: So my rec this week, we're going back to music, and it is the new album from Garbage. If you're older, a little older, you might remember Garbage.


0:58:35.9 S1: Yes.


0:58:36.0 S2: They were really big in the mid...


0:58:37.1 S1: '90s.


[overlapping conversation]


0:58:37.9 S3: Early, mid-90s. Yeah, something like... Yeah, but they... They didn't break up or anything, I guess they've just been sort of quiet for a while. So this is their first, new album in like... I should've looked this up, I don't know. But it's their first new album in a long time, and their lead singer Shirley Manson said that this is the record that they've always wanted to make. And whenever a legacy artist like this says that I get nervous, 'cause I'm like, okay, so they're trying to break the sound that they are known for and do something edgy or whatever. But this is definitely their best album, I think it's in the running for... My running for one of the best albums of 2021. It's called No Gods No Masters. It's got 19 songs on it. So it's almost an hour and a half long.


0:59:25.3 S1: That's a lot.


0:59:27.5 S2: It's a lot. And if you... Going by what Shirley said about this being the album that they've always wanted to make, the first song is called The Men Who Ruled The World. The second one is The Creeps, Uncomfortably Me, which is what the playlist is this week; Godhead, A Woman Destroyed, No Gods No Masters, This City Will Kill You, which is a fabulous song. It's two discs. They do a cover of David Bowie's Starman, they do a song with Brody Dalle. They do one with Brian Aubert, they do one with Exene Cervenka from X and John Doe. This is like if I wanted Garbage to do an album in 2021, this is the album. So if you...


1:00:06.5 S3: Shirley Manson and Exene Cervenka?


1:00:09.6 S2: Yes.


1:00:10.0 S3: I am creaming.


1:00:11.6 S2: Girls Talk with Brody Dalle is my anthem. I played it on repeat the other day, I was emptying the dishwasher, 'cause I was like, "Oh, my gosh, this song is... " This is such an amazing record. And the last song, it's called Time Will Destroy Everything. Which you can tell a lot of this was written during the pandemic because there's a lot of topical stuff here. The song that she does with Exene is called Destroying Angels, and it is epic. And there's some... You can hear their influences in there, which is kind of cool because they've been around for a while. So you hear some Joy Division on the first couple of tracks, and you hear some other stuff. It's just... It's brilliant, and her voice is so strong and they sound amazing. So, No Gods No Masters from Garbage, it came out like a week or two ago. So yeah, check it out.


1:00:51.4 S3: Oh my god, I'm so excited. Thank you. My recommendation is a sort of like... I've been reinvigorated in it. So my recommendation is Killing Eve. I watched the first season when it first came out, and then for some reason, I fell off in between seasons one and two; this is why I like to only watch things when all the seasons are out because I have a terrible attention span for getting back to things in the middle, but... So recently, Timmy and I have started re-watching them so that I could catch up. And so we started back from the very beginning, even though we'd both already seen it. And there was something about watching it through, starting and watching it in big clumps, I appreciated it, even more, this time than I did the first time. I think that having already seen it, having already known what the genre was, what I was getting into, I was so much more primed to appreciate it. And I just think... So, okay, I'm not a fan of Fleabag; I know it's fine, but I just didn't like it very much. But I think that she is an amazing writer, and her...


1:02:08.2 S1: Yes.


1:02:08.4 S3: Her writing on season one, especially the dialogue, the way she incorporates absurd detail to make even workaday scenes feel alive and captivating. I was so impressed. I was so... Just so in it, and now I'm really right back in it. And I love, I love Eve and Villanelle so much, the secondary characters are amazing. So if there's anyone out there who has not already seen Killing Eve, you need to run, don't walk, to your nearest Blockbuster Video and remedy the situation.




1:02:58.3 S1: Did you... Oh my goodness.


1:02:58.4 S2: You scared yourself.


1:03:01.6 S1: I love that.


1:03:03.1 S3: That was an alarm I forgot I set. I'm so sorry.




1:03:03.5 S1: Well, did you see that Sandra Oh is gonna be in a new show?


1:03:09.3 S3: No.


1:03:10.4 S2: I did see something about that.


1:03:11.1 S1: Yes. I got really excited, it's called The Chair.


[overlapping conversation]


1:03:16.1 S3: But I love her so...


1:03:16.2 S2: I love her.


1:03:16.3 S1: And she is like an academic chair.


1:03:20.6 S2: Oh. Ooh. Okay, I'll have to watch that.


[overlapping conversation]


1:03:20.9 S1: Yeah, 'cause I watched the trailer. I don't remember which streaming service it's on. I wanna say it's Netflix, but I could be lying. I'd probably be lying.


[overlapping conversation]


1:03:23.1 S2: I'll find it, don't worry. I was gonna say...


[overlapping conversation]


1:03:24.4 S1: But I love Sandra Oh. Oh my god. She is phenomenal.


[overlapping conversation]


1:03:30.6 S2: I do too. And I was really, really happy... I watched Killing Eve because she was finally in a lead role. I was like, "Finally, give her a real show." But I didn't know who Eve was, and when she came on screen, I don't know if you've seen her in anything else... When she came on screen, I was like, "Holy crap." because she was in one of my favorite shows from, I dunno, 10 years ago or more, My Mad Fat Diary, which was a British, sort of like a coming-of-age, based on a true story, based on this woman's memoir. But she played one of the kids in that, and she was like a teenager then. A totally, totally different character.


[overlapping conversation]


1:04:05.7 S1: [1:04:05.7] ____ grown up.


1:04:05.8 S2: Yeah, Jodie... Yeah. And I was like, "Oh my gosh." So when she walked on screen, I was like, "Well, how is this gonna... And like what is... " I didn't know what to expect from her.


1:04:13.8 S1: That's awesome.


1:04:14.4 S2: So it was amazing. So I totally fell in love with her portrayal of Eve. I mean her portrayal of Villanelle, and I was like, "Wow." And then the way they play off of each other, the chemistry that they have, and it's just... It's an amazing show, so yeah.


1:04:26.3 S3: It's so good, the soundtrack is amazing.


1:04:26.9 S2: Yeah.


1:04:27.6 S3: But the costumes of Villanelle...


[overlapping conversation]


1:04:31.6 S2: The clothes. I'm not even a fashion horse, and I was just like, "I want everything... " The one scene where she's in Amsterdam sitting at the table by herself in that...


1:04:41.5 S3: Yes.


1:04:41.6 S2: Whatever.




1:04:41.5 S3: Oh, yes.


1:04:41.6 S2: And they're like, "Can I take a pic? You look great, can I take a picture?" And she's like, "No." I loved [1:04:44.6] ____ it so much.


[overlapping conversation]


1:04:46.6 S3: It's so good. And I feel like one of my favorite things is when I'm watching a show and I can really see that everyone is doing their job really well.


1:04:53.9 S2: Yeah.


1:04:54.8 S3: So I feel like...


1:04:58.4 S1: It's not a lazy show.


1:05:00.3 S3: It's not.


[overlapping conversation]


1:05:00.4 S1: They were not lazy in it at all.


1:05:00.5 S3: The costumes communicate character.


1:05:01.6 S2: Yeah.


1:05:03.9 S3: It is a way that Villanelle... It's like a love language of Villanelle's. And then Eve is just this kind of... She has these like dumpy, boring... The scene in the kitchen, when they meet for the first time, we were watching it and Eve was wearing one of those sweaters with a collar attached, and I was like, "Oh my god, is that one of those sweaters with the collar attached?" And one second later, Villanelle was like, "I'm sorry, is that a sweater with a collar attached?" But I feel like there is this... It's a very participatory show, where you watch and engage with the characters, and then the characters engage with one another in that same vein. So it feels very realistic, and, yeah, the writing is just phenomenal. Anyway totally...


1:05:43.6 S2: Yeah.


1:05:48.2 S1: Yes.


1:05:48.6 S2: Like you said, every detail is accounted for. The music, the setting, her apartments, all that stuff is just so on point.


[overlapping conversation]


1:05:56.3 S3: Yeah. Oh my god, her apartment, the production design with the fonts and the colors...


1:06:01.9 S2: Yes, yeah.


1:06:02.1 S3: It's just fucking flawless, and I am so glad to be back in that world.


1:06:06.4 S2: I'll have to re-watch now.


1:06:08.0 S1: Yeah, I know, I'm on board now.


1:06:10.3 S3: Yes, re-watch and please text me every thought and feeling that you have.




1:06:13.4 S2: We'll do live-tweeting of...


1:06:16.0 S1: Talk your face off.


1:06:17.8 S2: Killing Eve.


1:06:18.0 S3: I won't [1:06:19.9] ____ but I have big feelings. I love it.


1:06:24.2 S1: Well, thank you guys so much for coming and joining us for another episode of Dear Romance Writer. Please send in your letters, tell your friends to send in their letters, hit your subscribe button, and all of that good stuff. And yeah, I'm trying to think... You know what? It's summer, all of our brains are starting to melt. But we still love you and we will see you guys at our next episode. Bye.




1:06:55.4 S3: Thank you so much for subscribing to Dear Romance Writer. Remember to keep sending in those letters at We can't wait to tell you what to do. Dear Romance Writer is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more podcasts you'll love,

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