Strangers on the Internet
The Dating Professors: What Are Dating App Operators Thinking?
In this episode, Irina and Michelle explore why dating app providers behave the way they do and why they don't do more to protect their users. Irina talks about her legal research into this area and what has happened when victims have tried to hold providers accountable via the courts (spoiler: not much). The Dating Professors also examine the cultural implications of bad behavior on apps, such as the high frequency at which users lie on them. Michelle and Irina discuss how this relates not only to the anonymity of the Internet but also a sadly common general societal willingness to endanger other people's health and wellbeing. Last, you won't believe Michelle's story about how the app The League tried pushing her to communicate again with a man after she had unmatched him (and what Michelle had to say to The League in response)!
33. Guest Chat: Bisexual Erasure and Polyamory Rights with Prof. Nancy Marcus01:05:09On this episode with guest law professor Nancy Marcus from the California Western School of Law, the personal is the political. Nancy tells Irina and Michelle about her own life as an out bisexual and polyamorous person, as well as about about her public writings and advocacy on these topics. While bisexuality has increasingly become more accepted, the same is less true for the various forms of ethical non-monogamy. Nancy discusses how to communicate about difficult issues such as jealousy in poly relationships, but also describes the legal battles that continue to plague the LGBTQIA+ community. Come find out how Nancy has found happiness in unexpected ways and continues fighting for the right of others to do the same!Nancy Marcus academic profileNancy’s “Legally Bi” columnNancy’s article “Bridging Bisexual Erasure in LGBT-Rights Discourse and Litigation”BiLaw informational page and Facebook groupPolyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition (PLAC)Chosen Family Law CenterAndie Nordgren on Relationship AnarchyKenji Yoshino, “The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure”SOTI ep. 11 with Nancy’s colleague Prof. Erin Sheley (Dating As a Criminal Law Professor)
32. Special: Exclusive Interview with Ex-Wives Undercover Amber & Athena and Prof. Brenner Fissell01:05:35This episode provides a special interview with the top 1% podcast (over a million downloads!) "Ex-Wives Undercover: Liars, Cheaters & Love Cons" hosts Amber Rasmussen and Athena Klingerman about how their ex-husband Brandon continued freely harming women and children despite seventeen protective orders in three states against him. After law enforcement in the state of Washington and elsewhere didn't stop him, it is only his eventual near-murderous attack on a woman in California that put him in jail for ten years. Criminal law scholar and Villanova University professor Brenner Fissell provides expert commentary on what went wrong and what the difficulties are in changing the system. Irina and Michelle take you through a journey involving not only criminal matters but also the family court framework and the misunderstanding of conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder. Strap on your seatbelts for a wild ride with TikTok sensations Amber and Athena that covers Brandon's repeat manipulation of police officers and judges, a myriad of falsified documents, and ankle monitor escapes!Amber & Athena's "Ex-Wives Undercover: Liars, Cheaters & Love Cons" websiteBrenner Fissell's faculty profileEx-Wives Undercover YouTube interview with Irina & Michelle on "How to Navigate Online Dating"Sacramento Bee article about "Brandon's last con" by Pulitzer Prize winner Melinda Henneberger (paywalled)Daily Dot article about how Amber & Athena exposed Brandon on TikTokEx-Wives Undercover TikTokSOTI "Special: Exclusive Interview with Tinder Swindler Star Victim Cecilie Fjellhøy" Part 1 and Part 2 (ep. 15 & 16)SOTI "Guest Chat: Catfishing Beyond the Tinder Swindler with Anna Rowe and Jennifer" Part 1 and Part 2 (ep. 5 & 6)
31. Guest Chat: The Art of Dating and of Survival with Dr. Robin Rogers01:05:04For this episode that will leave you breathless, Irina and Michelle get to speak with NYC-based sociologist Dr. Robin Rogers. She tells the tale of how she escaped her marriage after her then-husband developed severe schizophrenia, became violent, and killed the family pets. Robin not only got through the six-year court fight to maintain sole custody of her two sons but in fact managed to thrive despite it all. Her dating goal became all about having life-affirming fun, whether an interaction would lead to a long-term relationship or not. From a spontaneous trip to a wedding in Brazil to an invitation to attend a presidential inaugural ball, Robin got to enjoy many lovely adventures. In early 2020, her existence was turned upside down when she was involuntarily committed to a terrifying hospital after a family member falsely claimed she had attempted to commit suicide. While her seriously ill ex-husband was never committed at all, Robin was now surrounded by patients who were hitting on her and threatening to rape her. Come find out how she survived even this experience and what life looks like on the other side!Dr. Robin Rogers' websiteRobin's article about her divorce "When He Died"Robin's piece "In Praise of Dating Too Soon and Too Often"Robin's article "It's Easier To Get Locked Up Than You Think"Rosenhan experiment (1973)
30. Guest Chat: Finding Romance in Online Communities with Jane-Ashe and Damon39:57Dating apps are not the only place where strangers meet on the Internet! On this episode, Irina and Michelle have the chance to host couple Jane-Ashe and Damon who met in a Facebook group tied to a nerdy fandom podcast (Binge Mode). Damon hadn't had much luck with dating apps, while Jane-Ashe got tired enough of people wasting her time that she became a sugar baby to at least be paid for her efforts. In the Facebook group, Jane-Ashe attracted Damon's attention via her "high thoughts" upon first watching Star Wars. They started chatting privately and one visit by Damon--complete with a first date at Potterworld--was enough to convince them that he should move from Louisiana to Florida to live with her. We explore how a lot of people, including neurodivergent folks, feel more comfortable meeting online and what might be the future for dating via online communities. Come meet a quirky couple that found love in the cyber-galaxy despite being far, far away from each other!
29. Guest Chat: The Sex Robot in the Closet with Dr. Kate Devlin42:28Irina and Michelle welcome international sex robots expert Dr. Kate Devlin, who explains the current state of technology and her views on the moral panic surrounding parasocial relationships with robots. Kate believes that most of people's fears about sex robots or AI replacing human relationships are overblown in a world in which even carrying around and finding a place to store a robot (the closet?) are challenges. In the second half of the episode, Kate also shares about her personal life, be it her search for balance with bipolar disorder, her polyamorous and dating app-related experiences, or the loving relationship with her younger (second) husband she found on Twitter. You will not want to miss our conversation with this Northern Irish powerhouse! Dr. Kate Devlin's academic profileKate's book "Turned On" and general websiteKate's first TED talkKate's second TED talk
28. Special: Exclusive Interview with VulgaDrawings Cartoonist Lily O'Farrell01:04:08On this special episode, Irina and Michelle sit down with popular feminist cartoonist and writer Lily O'Farrell, who has amassed over 300K followers on her VulgaDrawings Instagram account. We talk about the British artist's earlier days in the comedy world, encounters with the incel community, recent book "Kyle Theory," and love-hate relationship with dating apps. Why did Instagram try to shut down her cartoon response to the "not all men" trope? How can we speak with boys who fall prey to manosphere influencers such as Andrew Tate? And what are the dangers of meeting trolls with "himpathy"? Lily talks gender differences in worst-date stories, the murder of Sarah Everard, and the mass distribution of VulgaDrawings cartoons as educational materials. Come check out why Lily keeps going viral!Lily O'Farrell websiteLily's VulgaDrawings IG accountLily's book "Kyle Theory"Lily's cartoon "Wifey Material Complex"Lily's cartoon on 10 years of dating appsWhy Lily has hidden her IG fame while datingThe "not all men" IG controversyWhat is himpathy?The murder of Sarah Everard
27. Guest Chat: "Cripfished" with Anna Pakman, Bree Klauser, and Melissa Jennifer Gonzalez01:08:31This episode features director Anna Pakman and actors Bree Klauser and Melissa Jennifer Gonzalez, who are all part of short film "Cripfished" (an entrant in the 2023 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge). This romantic comedy tells the fictional story of Logan, who fakes being blind on a queer date with visually impaired Amy because the latter only wants to go out with disabled people. On the podcast, we discuss not only the film but also dating with a disability in real life; come hear about Melissa's journey to love with autism, the questions Anna has to answer about her wheelchair use, and the way Bree has felt more accepted for being legally blind than neurodivergent. Bree also talks about the COVID-caused challenges of adapting her career from acting alongside Jason Momoa in AppleTV+ show "See" to mastering a variety of recording skills, and Anna discusses what the pandemic has done to dating for vulnerable folks in NYC. Join us for some stereotype-shattering fun and learning!"Cripfished" short filmAnna Pakman’s IGMelissa Jennifer Gonzalez’s websiteBree Klauser’s website
26. Guest Chat: A Jeopardy Champion Seeking Answers with Nick47:09In this episode, Irina and Michelle have the pleasure of talking to Nick (a pseudonym), a Jeopardy champion in his late 30s whose work has taken him from academia to the policy world. Originally from NYC, he has tried his luck at dating all across the country and abroad. Nick talks about the difficulties with finding a significant other who shares his interests and values, as well as with staving off his family's old-fashioned requirements for his future partner. Does Nick think that his identity as an Asian-American man has led to being stereotyped and devalued on dating apps (including via not receiving a right-swipe from even one woman during a stay in Denver)? Would he have an easier time if he earned more money, or if he didn't label himself politically moderate? Come hear about this brainy dater's quest for love!
25. Special: Exclusive Interview with Writer Aimee Lutkin46:25On this special episode, Irina and Michelle talk to writer, director, and performer Aimee Lutkin. Her memoir "The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken" has made waves through its poignant account of how society treats the perpetually single. Aimee discusses how the world is structured around couples and how marriage has morphed over time in ways that can leave people feeling more isolated than ever. What are some of the best and worst parts of being single? How have dating apps affected the ability to find love? Do many people who want to remain coupled engage in compromises that lead to unhappiness? Aimee shares her frank opinions with the Dating Professors in an episode you're not going to want to miss!Aimee Lutkin's websiteAimee's IGAimee's memoir “The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken”Aimee’s viral Jezebel pieceAimee’s essay on doing all she was told and still being aloneAimee’s essay on how to get comfortable dating again