top of page


0:00:00.0 Roan Parrish: Relationship on the rocks?


0:00:02.6 Xio Axelrod: Crushing on your best friend?


0:00:04.5 Avery Flynn: Not sure how to tell your partner a secret?


0:00:07.9 RP: Luckily, you found Dear Romance Writer, an advice podcast from people who write happily ever afters for a living.


0:00:14.8 XA: We are Xio Axelrod.


0:00:17.0 AF: Avery Flynn.


0:00:18.9 RP: And Roan Parrish.


0:00:20.5 XA: You have questions.


0:00:21.6 AF: And we have questionable answers.


0:00:24.6 RP: Let's get to it.




0:00:41.5 AF: Our first letter for this episode is from Penny. Penny says, "I am a 35-year-old, never-been-kissed virgin, knitting librarian, with three cats. Add in glasses and a tendency to wear a bun, and if that's not a stereotype, I don't know what is." [chuckle] "I find myself wavering daily from wanting to find someone to share a life with and realizing that I am so settled in my routines, my life, my job, that having someone knock that off kilter might not be the ideal. It would certainly have to be someone worthwhile to open my life up to. The few times before I let myself be open to something, I got knocked down hard. I know I'm not a beauty queen, and tend to be slightly overweight, and can be a little difficult to get along with. But does that mean that I'm worth passing over? At this point, should I embrace single-dom and enjoy the days where I can sleep until noon and have full control over my calendar? Thankfully, I have lots of literature to keep me company and keep my fantasy life fresh."




0:01:49.9 XA: I love you Penny.


0:01:51.1 AF: Oh Penny. Penny, you're awesome. Number one... And number two, real quick. No, that doesn't mean you're worth passing over, ever. Yeah. Don't talk about my friend like that.


0:02:03.2 XA: I'm questioning a lot of that description, that self-description in there. [chuckle]


0:02:07.0 RP: Yeah.


0:02:07.3 XA: There was a lot of disclaimers going on in there, but... Go ahead. I really didn't want to interrupt what you were saying.


0:02:12.5 AF: No, no, no. That's kind of where I wanted to start with was, no, that doesn't make you worth passing over, oh my goodness. Who wants to go first? Go, grab it.


0:02:25.0 XA: I feel like there's two strong sides to your personality, Penny. There's the, "I'm very settled and comfortable with who I am, and what I like, and what I do." And then there was the, "I'm not good enough to put out there." "I'm not a beauty queen." "I'm slightly overweight." All those little disclaimers of self-deprecation that you need to just get rid of those right away. Let's just trash those, okay? I feel like there are a lot of people out there in the same boat with the same... Like you said, stuck in your ways, or set in your ways. I won't say stuck, you're set in your ways. You know what you like.


0:03:03.1 AF: And for those of you listening, Roan just raised her hand.




0:03:09.8 RP: Keep going Xio.


0:03:10.7 XA: No, but you know what you want, you know what you like. You're not willing to compromise those things to a degree, and I think that that's a healthy place to start any sort of search for friendship, or romantic love, or anything, from... So you're already in a good place. And then the other side of that, about not being a beauty queen and all that stuff like that. But who cares? You're your own beauty, you're beautiful in your own way. And obviously, I don't know you, I haven't seen you, but I'm gonna tell you you're beautiful in your own way, and you have something to offer someone out there. So let's just get rid of that thinking because all of that self-deprecating negative stuff... And I'm saying this because I do this myself, even though I'm married [chuckle] But I can tell you not to do it maybe because I do it.


0:03:55.0 RP: Yeah. [chuckle]


0:03:56.4 XA: Just own your positives, own your beauty, own your what you have to offer. And don't put yourself down like that 'cause that really... Yeah. Anyway. I'm rambling. But you know what I mean. You guys know what I'm saying.


0:04:08.8 RP: Yeah, yeah. Oh totally. I know what you mean. I think I really identified with this letter, except, unfortunately, I'm not a librarian. So I don't have that going for me, but I...


0:04:20.0 XA: Librarians are awesome first of all.


0:04:22.0 AF: But wasn't that really all of us are like, "Man, she's a librarian."


0:04:24.2 XA: Librarians are super heroes like...


0:04:26.7 RP: I know it's awesome. No. I, for a very, very long time, was extremely set in my ways, loved being single, had no interest whatsoever in uprooting my routine or my ability to have complete autonomy and control over my own life. All of the things that you say, that is how I felt, and I... Okay. At the risk of projecting myself on to you, this is my thought when I read your letter. The combination that Xio and Avery both pointed out, the combination of all these kickass things that you do and like about your life, paired with the subtle ways that you cut yourself down, what it seems to me like you believe, is that if you were a beauty queen, if you were skinny and conventionally attractive, then all of your little habits, and desires, and the way that you want your routine, you would believe that someone should just accept those things about you.


0:05:39.8 RP: But because you don't think that you are conventionally attractive, you think that you have to earn someone accepting those things instead of just deserving it. And that is a shitty way to feel. We are so inundated by the type of culture that says if you are a thin, beautiful, White woman in her 20s, then no matter how much of a mess you are, no matter how hard your mental health, no matter how difficult you are as a person, your hotness will draw enough people to you, that you will find love and it won't matter. But if you are outside of any of those categories, then all of those same qualities. Make you unlovable, not worthy, and you have to change those things before you can ask for someone's time and understanding. And that is a poisonous mindset.


0:06:44.0 XA: Yeah, it's like those films, like what's the one... Is it She's All That or whatever, where there's the nerdy girl who reads and is like super smart, an honor student wears glasses and they're like, "Oh, all those things are so boring and nerdy, but if she was hot, it would be okay." And it's like, what? You know, that...


0:07:01.4 RP: Yeah.


0:07:01.4 XA: You're right, we've been conditioned to feel that way, and it's craptastic.


0:07:05.7 RP: It is. I think that the two parts of your letter where you're like, "Should I have this other person and look for love, or should I enjoy my single-hood, sleep till noon, read books?" Yes, to all of it. You should enjoy being single while you're single. You should abso-fucking-lutely sleep until noon, read all the books, wear your hair in a bun. Buns are hot, you don't need to worry about it. You should do all those things and you should deep, deep, deep in your heart, know that all of those things are fine and good, and none of them are things that you should have to sacrifice in order to have love. And if you meet someone who loves you for who you are, they will not want you to change those things.


0:07:54.7 XA: All of those things are like someone's ideal.


0:07:57.1 RP: Exactly.


0:07:57.8 AF: Yeah.


0:07:58.7 AF: And I would also say, none of those things are mutually exclusive.


0:08:02.2 RP: Exactly.


0:08:03.0 AF: You know, none of those things are mutually exclusive, number one. So none of one thing means that you can't have Column B. Column A and Column B do this. Alright, they mix together. So that's number one. Number two... Okay, and I don't mean this to sound as downer-ish as I'm about to say it, but just because you put yourself out there in a dating space doesn't mean you're gonna find forever. And I don't mean that to sound as bad as it does, but it's basically, put yourself out there, be open. See what happens. You know the first person you match with or that you get set up with or you say yes to when they ask you out or you ask out, doesn't necessarily mean that that person has to be your forever person. That's so much pressure to put on yourself.


0:08:53.4 XA: We talk about this all the time. I feel like...


0:08:56.0 AF: Yeah.


0:08:57.3 XA: There's so much pressure to find the one or that...


0:09:00.0 AF: Yes.


0:09:00.7 XA: You can meet friends, you get to meet partners in crime, you could meet whatever. It doesn't have to be... But it sounds like this person... That Penny is sort of like closing themselves off from any sort of thing because they feel like, "I'm this way, and nobody's gonna wanna be with me while I'm this way." And it's like that's not the way to think.


0:09:20.4 AF: Yeah, don't take yourself to those extremes. As somebody who loves extremes like nobody's business, you know, I am that person that on Monday, I'm gonna start this... It's always on a Monday, it's never any other day of the week. [chuckle] And it's a complete 180 on some part of my life, I completely identify with you on this. But remember, Column A and Column B mix, number one. Number two, give yourself the space and give the people you're gonna meet the space to be whoever they are going to be in your life as opposed to expecting them to be your forever person. So baby steps, take baby steps into that new world.


0:10:00.1 XA: And relationships, particularly, romantic relationships are about compromise. There is some compromise, and if you know yourself, you're so set in your ways that you're uncompromising, that's maybe something to examine as well. Maybe that's the reason why you feel like you haven't put yourself out there, or won't put yourself out there. So that's something to think about as well.


0:10:17.7 RP: It is. And I think sometimes the self-identifying as uncompromising is just an excuse because you're afraid. But you say I'm uncompromising, which means that if I were to find love, I would have to become something I'm not.


0:10:31.3 XA: Yeah, yeah.


0:10:31.7 RP: Which is compromising. But I think as we've all been saying, those columns can mix. And if you find someone who has similar desires to yours, you won't have to compromise in those ways. I want you also to look at the first, how you started the letter, which is, I am a 35-year-old, never-been kissed virgin, knitting librarian with three cats. Number one, it's like the greatest self-description ever.


0:11:00.3 XA: You're right.


0:11:00.4 RP: Fantastic. Don't change ever. But while I know that you're writing for artistic effect there, and I approve, those are things that... Those are just things about you, that's not who you are. And I wonder if the over-emphasis on those things in your story about yourself, especially being a virgin at 35, I understand why you would feel a lot of nervousness and anxiety about that particular part of your story. Because in our culture, people... It's rare for people to be virgins at the age of 35. And that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it whatsoever, and you should stay a virgin forever if you want to. But if it's something that you don't want, like if you have the desire to have sex with other people and you're thinking, "Oh, that's just one more kind of unusual thing about me, or strike against me or something." If that's the way you're holding it to yourself, that's the way it's gonna come off to other people. But if you can change your thoughts about that and think like, "I am a virgin, because I want to wait until I'm exactly ready and positive that this is the person that I wanna have sex with. And that just means you better fucking impress me." If that's the attitude...


0:12:22.2 AF: I love that. Yes.


0:12:23.7 RP: You know, like why... And I still think of the line from Clueless, which I'm really picky about my shoes and those only go on my feet.


0:12:32.3 AF: Yeah.


0:12:32.8 RP: But sure, it's about being a virgin. I feel like being really clear about how you wanna schedule your life, being set in your ways, having a set routine, all of those things really go along with having pretty serious, particular desires about what you want in your life. And it seems like that governs your sex life as well. Ad I think that's awesome. I feel like who among us would not go back to a time and erase a sexual encounter that we had when we didn't really super want to just because we were going with the flow, or it seemed right at the time, or whatever. I think being particular about that is lovely. You just have to see it as a strength and not a weakness. And I'm not saying that you do see it as a weakness, but the fact that you identified it so strongly at the beginning makes me wonder. So maybe that's just some food for thought for you of like "How strongly am I leaning on this?" As a thing I tell myself about myself.


0:13:32.5 XA: Yeah, there's that line in the letter about, "The few times that I let myself open to something I got knocked down hard." Which is, that's horrible, rejection is never fun, but there're two people or more in that situation, and it's not always about you. It could be about where that person was in their life, it could be about something that they had dealt with and weren't open to you or whatever, like don't take that... And it's hard to say don't take that personally because it's happening to you, but you can't let that form your... Help you form your opinion about yourself, if that makes sense.


0:14:11.7 RP: Yeah.


0:14:12.1 AF: Yeah.


0:14:15.0 XA: Well, good luck, Penny.


0:14:15.9 RP: Overall, Penny...


0:14:17.4 XA: And you're awesome.


0:14:18.5 RP: You sound amazing.


0:14:20.3 XA: You're awesome.


0:14:22.0 AF: Also next time, tell us what your cat's names are.


0:14:24.5 XA: Right?


0:14:24.9 RP: Send us…


0:14:25.9 AF: We have needs, damn it.


0:16:27.4 RP: Our second letter is from Amelia, and this letter uses some abbreviations that not everyone might be familiar with, so as I read the question, I'm just gonna do a little bit of editorializing, "Dear romance writer, I have a friendship question for you. I'm a multi-ethnic, white, Gen X, cisgender dyke." Cisgender means that you identify as the gender that you were born as, "With a cis hat, white, Jewish guy friend, Andy, who has seen me through some hard times and has been an ally to gays and lesbians for decades before I met him. In the past couple of years, Andy has become very interested in transgender issues and takes a very conservative approach to them, following some sensationalist anti-trans authors, as well as trans activists who want to keep a very narrow, medical, transsexual definition of who gets to be trans and exclude transgender folks and non-binary folks." So that's called transmedicalism, this is me editorializing, which are people who believe that the only people who get to identify as trans are people who experience gender dysphoria and people who actively seek a medical transition, so gender affirming surgery or hormone replacement therapy. So that kicks non-binary folks and transgender folks out of that umbrella.


0:17:50.6 RP: "Because our positions on the subject are so divergent, I am very vocally anti-TERF." TERF stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, which are a faction of feminists, you could debate whether they're feminists, who believe that transwomen should not be included in the category of women. "Because our positions on the subject are so divergent, I am very vocally anti-TERF, and I get so emotional about it, Andy suggested we not talk about it in order to save our friendship. However, my world is so integrated that it comes up all the time. My twin, my God kid, my friends, co-workers, and health providers are non-binary and trans. One of my kiddos closest friends transitioned in Kindergarten. Across the board, my peeps have experienced hardship, discrimination, insensitivity and threats that hurt my heart. Andy's got no skin in this game, he doesn't know a single non-binary or trans person irl. The pattern of our friendship is I ask Andy to do things, which also became tiresome, so we've only seen each other once in the past year since I stopped asking him to do things. I haven't ghosted Andy.


0:18:58.9 RP: I supported his book, Kickstarter, and I respond when he texts me. Recently he asked to follow me on Instagram and after agonizing about it for a while, I accepted because I thought I shouldn't turn away from such a long-term close friend, but I find myself not posting on Instagram now because I basically don't feel the level of trust that I'd like to. I know I need to face this directly with him, but I've been under stress and it feels like a lot to take on when I don't know what to say. I would appreciate your feedback on both baby steps I could take to move myself towards talking about this with him and also how to best approach it with him. Thanks so very much."


0:19:37.0 RP: Wow.


0:19:37.6 AF: Thank you, Amelia. That is such an important and relevant question.


0:19:41.8 RP: Yeah. Wow.


0:19:44.2 AF: This is so incredibly hard. So number one, hugs, I mean like a million hugs because this is really hard. It's hard I think when a friendship ends, whether it's a friendship break up or it just fades or whatever it is, I mean, those are difficult already, but when you add in...


0:20:07.8 XA: This is a shock divergence from...


0:20:10.6 AF: Yeah, this...


0:20:10.6 XA: You're not the same...


0:20:12.0 AF: Yeah, this is much harder. So I think the first question you need to ask yourself before anything else is, is this a friendship deal breaker for you? Right? If this is a friendship deal breaker for you and only you can answer that, then you need... That then your path moves. That's a yes, no, maybe. And you've got to do your little what happens next chart from there. And that's really... That's a very hard question to answer, honestly, even when you're just talking to yourself, because like you said, you've got years invested in this friendship and this person, and so it becomes not just a... If I were to meet this person right now, today, I would be like, "Buddy, bye bye." That would be an easy question.


0:21:14.0 AF: It becomes much more difficult when you have stark diverging views and there's history involved. So the first thing you need to do is to decide, for you, not what other people expect, but for you, is this a deal breaker for your friendship? If it is, then that answers your question right there, you don't have to approach or do anything else. If it is not a deal breaker for you, then I think you have to have an honest conversation. I mean, "Yes, we just don't talk about it." Is an option, it's not the healthiest option, it's not a great option, because then it becomes egg shells, and I think that's what you're experiencing now, that's what I hear from your letter, is that it's egg shells. It's like walking on eggshells. And it's not working for you. So...


0:22:13.0 RP: Yeah, I think that's right. I think that that is the first question is, is it a relationship deal breaker? And to me, I don't know if this is helpful for you or not, but that's a very easy question for me, which is, that's absolutely a relationship deal breaker, because sub in any other category of people for tran people, and if you had a friend, who no matter how long you've been friends, was like, "Hey, I hate women, hey, I hate black people, hey, I hate gay people." Or even if they didn't say that explicitly, but was like, "Hey, I follow a bunch of people on Twitter who hate black people, or I follow a bunch of people on Instagram who are homophobic." That's not someone who... If you have trans people in your life or non-binary people in your life, that's someone you do not want to invite into a space where any of those people will be because it's not safe for them, that's someone who you don't wanna include in any group gathering where there might be people who you just don't know are trans or non-binary, so essentially that's a friend that you can only hang out with one-on-one, or have an online relationship with. At this point...


0:23:21.6 XA: And on their terms.


0:23:23.1 RP: On their terms.


0:23:24.0 XA: Andy's terms.


0:23:24.9 RP: Yeah, yeah.


0:23:25.6 XA: Andy said, "Let's not talk about it."


0:23:27.8 RP: Right.


0:23:28.5 XA: Right. And so, yeah, this letter made me so angry, on Amelia's behalf, because it feels like Amelia is doing all the work to try to save the friendship, and Andy is expecting her to come to...


0:23:45.4 RP: All the way.


0:23:45.9 XA: Do you know what I mean? Like all the way.


0:23:46.5 RP: Yeah, all the way.


0:23:47.8 XA: And also, this is not about what kind of coffee you like or whether her versus rom com, this is people's lives, human rights issue, and like Roan said, substitute any other category in there. And it reminds me of a lot of the conversations that I've seen over the last four and a half years about this dude we just got out of the White House, right?


0:24:09.5 RP: Yeah.


0:24:10.5 XA: Talking about family members, people they went to high school with, spouses, there were divorces from people who just refused to see the truth, or refused to not believe conspiracy theories, or whatever it was, and it was like, "Woah, we've been together so long and we've been friends for so long, and all of a sudden, they wanna wave Confederate flags, and what do I do?" Is like, "Dude, if you feel strongly about it, then this is not something that you wanna have in your life." And I don't wanna tell Amelia, "Okay, just cut the cord." Because obviously there's some deep, deep connection and love there, but like Roan said, if this person makes you feel unsafe in your own space, in your own Instagram, to not post what you wanna post because you're afraid of offending or kicking off a conversation that Andy doesn't wanna have, this is not a friendship. This is not a friendship.


0:25:00.7 AF: No.


0:25:01.1 XA: Not a friendship. It's a memory that you're holding on to and not a present.


0:25:07.6 RP: Yeah, I agree, and I think that the hardest part of that is, basically, if you end this friendship now and you have those memories, it's sort of like thinking Andy died, and you have to... You can still hold on to the good memories that you had of your friendship with him, in the same way that you would if someone were actually gone, but it's... They're not the same person.


0:25:31.5 XA: Or even a divorce. That if...


0:25:32.7 RP: Like I think what you said is that in the last few years, he suddenly started both being interested in trans issues and having a view of those issues that is really harmful and dehumanizing, and you decide that that is a deal breaker for you, that he's changed as a person, because the person that you knew, the person who supported groups of people who needed his support, is now doing the opposite of that. And that's a fundamental personality change that, sure, it's easy to say, "Well, it's just about this one category." But the fact to me remains that if you've had... As a person, if you've decided that there is a group of people who suddenly you don't think are human and deserve human rights, then.


0:26:18.4 RP: I don't know what hope there is for our future friendship, like do I want your opinion you who don't believe that people deserve human rights? Do I want your opinion on anything in my life? Do I want your feedback on problems that I have? Do I want you to be celebrating my successes and helping me more in my failures? No, because the fundamental fact is that you are a person who doesn't believe that other human beings should have equal rights and I find it difficult to... Of course, this is my perspective and this is how I would feel if it were my friend but I do think that if you play out the scenarios to their logical conclusion, when one person's personality changes so that suddenly one group of people doesn't deserve rights, I would bet that other groups of people are not too terribly far behind. And if that's the direction that this person's personality is changing to, I would be pretty concerned.


0:27:15.6 XA: Also it seems like Andy is getting their information from other places you said, from authors or whatever that they follow and stuff and you guys have this friendship. And instead of him listening to you and your thoughts and feelings and your experience, he's going elsewhere. That's a red flag. But relationships end for whatever reason, like marriages end, romantic relationships end, friendships end. People who are in your life for the time that they're supposed to be there and then you can grow apart and move on and it seems like you've come to that fork in the road where this is a pretty fundamental issue that's very, very important to your life and you guys are on the opposite sides of the fence on this and I don't see...


0:28:00.2 XA: Unless Andy makes a 180 and says, "You know what, let me... " If you guys sit down and talk and say, "You know what, I don't think we can continue this friendship because our opinion on this is too divergent." And if Andy says, "Oh, crap okay, well, let's talk. Tell me or something," then that's one thing if he's willing to move. But it doesn't sound like that that's a conversation that he's even willing to have if he's saying, let's just not talk about it.


0:28:28.6 AF: And yeah, one other thing that sticks out to me reading this letter is, there's a saying, in relationships, there's gardeners and there's flowers. The gardener puts in the work, he does all the stuff and the flower just grows and sucks it all up, basically it's givers and takers. Looking at this letter, it sounds to me like your relationship, at least based on this letter, you are the giver in this relationship. And so I just want a word, just a word of advice from the advice podcast is, don't feel that your job as the giver in this friendship, even if that's a role that you heartily embrace, includes sticking with somebody and trying to educate somebody and it's not your responsibility to do that. It is awesome if you do, it is awesome if Andy is willing to listen but if part of what's holding you onto this friendship is because you're like "Well, if I just put it the right way, he'd understand and if he understood then all of this would be fixed."


0:29:41.9 AF: It's magical thinking, magical thinking doesn't work in real life. So what you can do is you've got to... I don't wanna tell you to pull back, my advice again is look at this, is this a deal breaker for you, for your friendship and then make your decision from there because it does sound to me like, in this letter, that it is and that you feel responsible still to try and educate or convince or persuade or however you wanna put it Andy and you don't have to.


0:30:22.5 RP: No.


0:30:23.4 AF: You can walk away from toxic shit and you should.


0:30:26.3 XA: I mean, it sounds like I just caught a line in the letter, Amelia is doing the chasing in the friendship in every way. But there's a line and the pattern of our friendship is that I asked Andy to do things which also became tiresome so we've only seen each other once in the past year since I stopped asking him to do things. He doesn't even approach you to say, "Hey, let's do something." So yeah, I don't wanna tell you what to do but I'm gonna tell you what you do. This is not a healthy relationship for you and I think you should take the happy memories that you have and move on.


0:30:56.9 RP: Yeah, I also do wanna tell you what to do because I think that you are of course under no obligation as a reason to educate this person but I do think that if this is a long-term friend and you're gonna end the friendship and you have two major reasons, one of which is that you were always the propulsion behind the friendship and he was always just responding. And two, that he has developed beliefs, anti-trans beliefs that you think are unconscionable, that it would be doing a lot of people a service to let him know that having anti-trans beliefs is reason enough for someone to end a friendship with you.


0:31:44.0 RP: Because even if you don't do educating, if what you say is you've developed these turvy beliefs that I think are dehumanizing and awful. And I can't be a friend to someone like that and I can't count you as a friend then that could be enough to make him take a look at the people that he's trusting, the people that he's believing and say "Well, if my dear trusted friend of years and years and years thinks that this is so abhorrent as to end the friendship on it maybe I should take a minute to think about."


0:32:17.7 XA: Let me look here.


0:32:17.8 XA: Yeah.


0:32:18.5 RP: Yeah.


0:32:19.2 AF: Andy is not gonna do that.


0:32:22.0 XA: I hope Andy does.


0:32:23.0 AF: I'm sorry, he's not, he's not.


0:32:28.4 RP: Fuck you, Andy.


0:32:28.5 XA: Bye, Andy.


0:32:28.5 S23: Bye, Andy. Fuck you, Andy.


0:32:28.8 XA: Bye, Andy so long.


0:32:28.9 AF: Yeah, bye.




0:32:37.9 XA: So, this week's playlist,"The Skin I'm In", can you believe this is our fourth playlist? I'm having fun with you. This one has Lizzo, truth hurts, kicks off.


0:32:47.8 RP: Oh my God.


0:32:48.2 XA: 'Cause that's such a perfect song about owning your own... Amazingness. I mean she's got a bunch of them, but that one was the one that's like, that opening line "I'm 100% that bitch." [chuckle] Like that is just like... But anyway I've got Jessie J on here, Janelle Monae with Erykah Badu, got Lady Gaga's Born This Way. St. Teresa from Joan Osborne, which is a real throwback. I've got Supergrass, Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, Meghan Trainor, Paramore, Garbage. It's a good one. So hopefully you guys will like it. Let me know what you think in the comments, and if anybody wants to make a request sometime, feel free I might even do a shout-out on our Patreon or something, if you wanna do make a request.


0:33:32.3 AF: I like that. [chuckle]


0:33:34.1 RP: That sounds amazing, and I will listen to it while I make our recipe for the week, which is...


0:33:40.0 XA: What are we making? What are we making?


0:33:40.9 RP: I'm kind of inspired by our first letter from Penny, I was trying to think of like what is the food that encapsulates for me being an amazing librarian in a cozy library on a rainy day. And that to me is the perfect chocolate chip cookie.


0:33:58.5 AF: Coming fresh from the oven?


0:34:02.0 RP: Classic, you can eat it baked or raw because chocolate chip cookie dough is the best cookie dough.


0:34:09.9 AF: It is, fuck you CDC.




0:34:12.4 RP: Oh my God I mean, Hi, I'm 38 years old and I've been eating raw cookie dough since I was old enough to swallow solid food, and I'm fine, so whatever... And a lot of raw cookie dough. Don't be alarmed, but a lot and I'm fine. Anyway, these are a salted, like I put sea salt on the top of them, and they have a little butter scotch situation inside as well, they're ooey and gooey in the middle, but crispy on the outside...


0:34:44.0 XA: That is the perfect cookie. Yeah I have, and they're so good. [chuckle]


0:34:47.6 AF: I'm so hungry now, damn it.


0:34:51.5 RP: Actually cookies I could mail you probably Avery.


0:34:55.0 AF: I think you should try it.


0:34:56.7 XA: Let's have an experiment.


0:35:00.8 RP: Sure. For science.


0:35:00.9 AF: And I'll keep telling you, they're not arriving, do it again. [chuckle]


0:35:05.0 XA: I never got them.


0:35:05.5 RP: I never got them.


0:35:08.3 AF: Yes, as I'm wiping my face. Well, speaking of cooking, I like how we're so connected this way.


0:35:16.2 XA: Segue.


0:35:17.2 AF: Yeah, I am not a cook, I am a horrible cook. So take that for what it's worth. But I am currently obsessed with the Sous vide method of cooking, which is basically you're boiling your food and then you can sear it to get little crust, it is great for steaks and I'm doing chicken tonight, so we'll see how that goes, but it's really easy, number one, [chuckle] I actually basically start it and walk away, so I love that part of it, and you still season like crazy, please do not put a plain chicken breast in a Ziploc baggy in the water.


0:35:54.3 XA: Or use Cheetos.


0:35:56.4 AF: Even, that would make me sad. Okay, don't do that. Don't be a worse cook than me. Alright, so still season it, you put it in your Ziploc baggy you put it in the hot water, you go away, come back, break out that cast iron, skillet, throw it on there and get that nice crispy crunchy, yummy outside. And it's delicious. And it's really hard to mess up. Yeah, I'm not saying I can't mess it up, but I have yet to mess it up.


0:36:24.8 RP: Maybe someday we should do a Patreon extra Avery that is like, you cook along with me, and you can tell me something that you've always wanted to learn how to cook well, and I'll show you.


0:36:37.7 XA: That could be a fun comedic episode. [chuckle]


0:36:39.8 AF: It's like Nailed it! Basically.




0:36:47.0 AF: Alright, so what are your obsessions this week, ladies?


0:36:50.7 XA: I have been obsessed with this person for a while, and I'm really happy... There's a commercial, his name is Moses Sumney, he's a musician, but he's also like a dancer and artist, and he's just one of those renaissance guys, and he's freaking beautiful. I'm using him for character inspiration for this book I'm writing right now, but there's a commercial and you've probably seen it, I don't remember what it's for, but he's singing a version like in a sort of upbeat acoustic-y version of Fleetwood Mac's song, "You can go your own way". I don't know if you've seen that commercial, but he's in the commercial for a hot second, 'cause I heard his voice and I was like, "Oh my God," but he released a double album last year called Grae G-R-A-E, and it is just this sort of oral landscape that he's created of sounds and feelings. There's so much emotion behind what he writes, his lyrics are incredible, his voice is ridiculous, and he's like a multi instrumentalist, he's insane. I'm a little obsessed with him, but his name again is Moses Sumney, so check him out.


0:37:55.8 RP: Did you play that for me Xio in your house?


0:37:58.1 XA: I've played him for you, I played him for Avery when we stayed in... And we were in Florida last year, he's got this incredible false set of tenor voice, but he can also hit some baritone, he's just... He's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous, so yeah, check him out.


0:38:14.0 RP: My obsession this week, it... Well it's been going on for a month now, but this is the week I just wanna tell you about it's called bullet journaling. Years ago, when I lived in New Orleans, five years ago, six years ago, I became fascinated by bullet journaling. I'd never... It was the first time I'd ever heard of it, and I started watching all these YouTube videos about it and was like, "Oh, this is amazing," because I love art stuff, I love organization, I love planners and journals, I love pens. It was the perfect storm of things to make me delighted, and so I ordered this notebook and I was like, "I am going to bullet journal," and then on page two, I messed up like a line went astray, and I was like, "Oh well, fuck this, my life is over, obviously, I can't do this anymore," because that is the tragedy of perfectionism. Anyway, six years went by, [chuckle] six years later, we're in the middle of a pandemic, and in the intervening years, I've always lived in really little one-bedroom apartments, and I have been quite a minimalist, there was just not room for stuff I didn't like... I hate clutter. I don't like having more than one of anything, so I just didn't...


0:39:29.1 AF: Except black t-shirts...


0:39:31.3 RP: Well I mean like a woman.


0:39:33.2 XA: You could never... Have too many black t-shirts.


0:39:37.4 RP: Yeah, well, if I could get away with having only one t-shirt, I would, but yeah, so I... Digitally doing all my calendaring and everything on my computer and went really paperless 'cause it was so much less clutter and easy and good environment but whatever. So now I live in a house for the first time in... Since college and I have a little bit more space and suddenly my online planning wasn't doing it for me, and for the first time in a couple of years I was like, Gosh, I really miss the way I used to always do... Have a physical planner and use different colored markers and write everything down, and as always happens with me, I went from, gosh, wouldn't it be nice to dip my toe into X to I have just spent 127 hours watching YouTube videos Googling images.


0:40:31.2 AF: Oh my God planner nerd.


0:40:34.1 RP: And have ordered $60 worth of stickers and markers and shit...


0:40:39.6 XA: They got you. They got you.


0:40:41.1 AF: I think they got you.


0:40:42.8 RP: It just happened so quickly inside the planner [0:40:46.8] ____ I tell you but I am deeply obsessed now, and I ordered a paper planner and I have some markers and stickers and everything, and I've decided to attempt to circumvent my perfectionism. I've been working on it, I'm getting better. So instead of using a bullet journal for my planner, which I could easily mess up, I have a planner planner for my planner, but I have a bullet journal for other things that I wanna keep track of, so I have a little gratitude log because sometimes I forget to be so fucking grateful for being alive and all the great shit that I have in my life. So I have a gratitude log. I have a place to keep track of books that I'm reading, I have...


0:41:28.7 RP: Oh, And just yesterday, for valentine's day Timmy got us a bunch of haribo candy, a pack of 12 or 13 different ones to try, and I was like, Gosh, you know what we definitely need is a rating scale for these candies, and probably I should make a bullet journal page that would be a good service to humanity. So yeah, I'm using my bullet journal for all of that kind of stuff, and I don't have it next to me, or I would show you my really beautiful gratitude spread, which I 100% copied from someone on the internet, but it's beautiful and I don't care. And I'm obsessed with it, and anyway, send me all your questions, comments and pictures about bullet journaling, planners, pens.


0:42:09.5 XA: Well, now you have to put your haribo ratings on the Patreon...


0:42:12.5 AF: Yeah, no kidding.


0:42:13.5 XA: So that people can see...


0:42:14.5 AF: That is a service to the community.


0:42:16.2 XA: I would... Cause there's some that I've been wanting to try and I'm like, I don't know about that.


0:42:21.0 AF: And also, you send me the cookies, I'll send you the stencils and the stickers and all of the crap, 'cause I keep trying to do this stuff and it never works for me, so we'll have an exchanged goods.


0:42:33.7 XA: Welcome to swap meet the new pod cast by...


0:42:37.0 RP: I love it. Yes send it to me also, we should do... We could do a give away eventually, if we end up all of our own discarded detritus of hobbies like quarantine hobby detritus.


0:42:52.4 XA: That would be awesome would you guys be into that? That would be awesome.


0:42:56.2 RP: Just tell us in the comments if you want our cast-off shit of the hobbies...


0:43:00.5 AF: Think of that...


0:43:01.5 XA: Some extra puzzles I can show... That we've done.


0:43:04.5 AF: No Send the puzzles to me screw that give them to me.


0:43:07.3 XA: You are now a swap meet podcast welcome.


0:43:10.1 AF: We are you know the barter system? It is the best... I'll send you.


0:43:15.1 XA: Welcome to better barter.


0:43:16.7 AF: Better barter, better barter and bitches. There we go the real triple B.


0:43:27.2 RP: Thank you so much for listening. What did you think? Did we get it right? Totally got it wrong? Let us know.


0:43:33.2 XA: And remember to follow us on social media, subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and YouTube, and tell your friends to do the same. Plus, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, at for all the latest and to get access to special Patreon only content.


0:43:49.4 AF: As always... Keep sending in those letters at You have questions. We have questionable answers. See you next time!

bottom of page