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‘Sucking D in the Locker Room (w/ Laganja Estranja) – from Why Won’t You Date Me? with Nicole Byer

This week, our rrramblers get into the nitty-gritty of love and relationships with the help of comedy & relationship podcast Why Won’t You Date Me?, hosted by the internet’s favourite singleton, Nicole Byer.

Why Won’t You Date Me is known for being bold, unapologetic, fabulous, and blessed with an abundance of star-studded guests. But what did our writers think?

The promotional image for podcast 'Why Won't You Date Me?' with Nicole Byer, produced by Team Coco. A bright purple background with an illustration of Nicole Byer - a black woman with dark brown hair, wearing red lipstick and a purple cheetah-print top with furry neckline. She is smiling at the camera. Behind her head is a multi-coloured arch shape, made of green, orange, blue, and purple. There are pink hearts next to her.
Do we really live in a universe where no-one wants to date Nicole Byer? We’re shocked!

Becca

This isn’t the first podcast that I’ve reviewed for rrramble, and so it isn’t the first time that I’ve expressed my undying love for the medium of podcasts. I pretty much always have one on at any available waking moment, and am not too picky with my genres. I do have some specifications for my ideal podcast, however. Something thought provoking, even if only in a trivial way; something that knows what it is – carefully structured, or deliberately unstructured; and honestly, preferably not American hosts.

So how does Nicole Byer’s comedy and relationship podcast Why Won’t You Date Me hold up to my exacting standards? A quick Google tells me that it debuted in 2017 with guest comedian Will Hines, and has continued to run in a guest-a-show format with episodes being released weekly. I am, of course, a conscientious reviewer, so have dipped my toe into a few episodes; but, for the purposes of word counts, it is August 27th’s episode ‘Sucking D in the Locker Room (w/ Laganja Estranja)’ that I’m particularly putting under the microscope.

The trials and tribulations of modern dating is just the kind of lighthearted entertainment that I like to get out of a podcast as I’m getting ready in the morning. So far, so good. I enjoyed Laganja’s guest presence and the carefree authenticity that she brought. Discussions of the fluidity of sexuality, the thrill and often discomfort of novel teenage sexual experiences, and the individualistic nature of dating apps (and how that’s not always a bad thing), I found an engaging listen. Byer ends each episode with the slightly pointed question, ‘would you date me?’, and while Nicole makes a down-to-earth host on the whole, I did find the second pause before Laganja’s response (of ‘no’) deafeningly loud. Followed by one of the most unconvincing ‘okays’ that I’ve heard, I have to say this feels like a strange question to ask when it seems that Byer is after a specific response. Laganja, in her honesty, perhaps didn’t answer correctly.

Unfortunately, I’m unconvinced that Why Won’t You Date Me knows what it wants to achieve. Maybe I’m taking the name too literally, but I’m unsure how Byer’s podcast differs in content from other informal, millennial lifestyle shows. I love the plethora of podcast choice on offer now, but it is consequentially increasingly difficult to find a niche. To be honest, I think the crux of it is that I’m unconvinced that ‘modern dating’ is fruitful enough to exclusively carry an entire series. 

Admittedly, I have a strange prejudice against American hosts. It’s nothing personal, just a frustratingly specific personal preference. I should have been all over the mysterious Lore, but only managed a couple of episodes; I managed a few more of Witch, Please, but not many more;.You’re Wrong About is a bit of an exception, but only in careful doses. Perhaps I’m just too painfully and judgmentally British, but it’s a pattern I can’t ignore in my listening habits.

Having said all of that, Why Won’t You Date Me has made it on to my carefully curated list of subscribed podcasts. It might not be my absolute go-to, and it’s probably a show that I’ll skim for guests that take my fancy (rather than loyally listening to every episode), but it does make good company when you want something easy to listen to.

Laganja Estranja, a white woman wearing a harsh blonde & green bob wig with blunt fringe, is smiling at the camera. Her eye make up is green, sparkly and flawless, and she wears bright pink lipstick.
Laganja Estranja… The gorgeous guest herself!

Jayne

This podcast may just have performed the biggest plot twist in the history of my media consumption.

I have mentioned in previous podcast reviews that I am, in fact, rather picky about types of podcast  I listen to. I have my favourite three or four, and I very rarely stray away from that. Why Won’t You Date Me doesn’t fall into my carefully constructed boxes of ‘things I like to listen to on my commute’.

For the first fifteen minutes, I knew why it didn’t. Why Won’t You Date Me is a crass, truthful, bare-all look at the existence of humans. Nicole Byer holds nothing back, and her guests don’t either. Within five minutes, they’re making jokes about ejaculating into contact lens solution.

It was a bit much for me – or really, was it? Around halfway through, as I was wondering how on earth I was going to get through the rest of the podcast, Laganja Estranja (this episode’s guest) begins talking about confidence, self love, and they/them pronouns. I won’t quote her word for word, but the essence of the conversation was that the root to loving yourself is realising that you will probably almost always be a work in progress. That everyday is a chance to be a better person than the day before, and to allow yourself the privilege and breathing room to be that work in progress. 

I hate to be the type of person that assigns romantic notions to a podcast and say it changed my life… but, in some small way, it did. I reevaluated why I had thus far not enjoyed this podcast, the crassness and the TMI-level openness. I started to cross reference with the podcasts I already listened to, and realised what the difference was: this podcast is the only one I listen to that is hosted by a woman, and the guest is LGBTQ+.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I was suddenly so ashamed of myself – especially considering the other podcasts I listen to, hosted by men, are usually just as crass. The internalised misogyny was real.

But, in that moment of realisation, I think maybe I did exactly what Nicole & Laganja were talking about. I identified how I could be a better person than I was yesterday, or even an hour ago. I found real humour in their conversations going forward, and in the crassness, because I do have a dark and crass sense of humour in the first place (I had simply been locked in the mindset that only men can joke like that). 

Following this episode I listened to three more.

Podcasts aren’t always going to be a journey of self discovery, often they’re just something to make the journey to work a little easier on the soul. Truthfully, I didn’t have any other moments of self awakening in the other episodes I listened to. But the important thing is that I had that one.

Why Won’t You Date Me is unashamed of what it is. It’s real, and it’s current. It’s a digital space that can be the home of activism for the LGBTQ+ community, while also being the same place that guests share stories about the first time they gave blowjobs. It’s an incredible balance of hilarity and tackling the serious issues our generation currently faces earnestly. I’d even say that Why Won’t You Date Me isn’t at all a podcast about dating (though it does come up), but instead that it’s a podcast about identity, self-love and the journey that all of us are on to be better than we were the day before.

Eve

To say the first minute of this podcast is god-awful would be putting it lightly. Once the (irritating) intro song fades, Nicole Buyer begins the episode – ‘Sucking D in the Locker Room (w/ Laganja Estranja)’ – by making a series of vulgar jokes involving contact lens solution and cum (not for the faint-stomached, and to be honest, I feel a bit sick remembering it).

However, I can confirm that if you manage to make it past these first few moments of thinking “oh God, what the hell am I listening to?” you might actually find something quite enjoyable. Nicole and Laganja quickly move on into a conversation of Laganja’s lifelong interest in dance, her experience as recently coming out as trans, and her love of glittery heels.

Quite quickly, Nicole is able to move the conversation onto very personal matters, which is where I first began to understand the depth of where this conversation was headed. When she asked Laganja “did you feel pressure to come out as trans or did you want to share that with the world?”, Nicole’s deft interview skills are greatly benefitted by Laganja’s willingness to enter honestly into any conversation, immediately delving into her previous experience ‘coming out’ as an alcoholic, her position as a public figure and activist, and the consequential pressure this put on her to be a trans activist (when really she would just like to be trans first). I do wonder whether this conversation be as affecting with another interviewee who wasn’t as open as Laganja is willing to be, especially when so many celebrities and public figures are PR-trained extensively, to the detriment of any personality they may have. Would many others be willing to lower their walls to the extent that Laganja is?

Another part of me wonders whether the podcast ever actually achieves its goal of getting into why Nicole is still single. While Nicole is never afraid to share her own experiences or to answer her own questions, there is far more time and attention spent on her guests. Nicole’s final question to every guest is “would you date me?” but, after having spent an hour listening to them both talk about the guest, it feels rushed and tacked on.

For those of you looking for a podcast where the hosts do seem willing to get into their own personal experiences with life, love, and dating (as well as anything and everything else under the sun), then I highly recommend The Receipts Podcast. The three hosts are funny, chatty, and such clearly good friends that each episode feels genuine, honest, and a little bit naughty too. When they have a guest, their interview style is similar to Nicole’s in that there is no rock left unturned or any personal question left unasked (although occasionally, the guest does leave them unanswered). In fact, I’d probably be able to learn more about Nicole from an interview on The Receipts Podcast than I would in several episodes of Why Won’t You Date Me? . Do you reckon, if we ask nicely enough, they’ll get her on the show?

You can listen to Why Won’t You Date Me on all good Podcast streaming platforms.

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