It is a brutal time to be single — even before Valentine’s Day showed up. The spontaneous whimsy of a regular dating life has been replaced by rolling restrictions, questionable adherence to social-distance protocols and a whole new meaning to “getting tested.” And if you have been in a relationship throughout the past year, you may be wondering if you would even still be together if you weren’t quarantining together.
So whether your love life is on life support or you haven’t been touched in way too long, here are four podcasts that know exactly how you feel and are ready to provide advice, consolation and a humorous escape.
‘Why Won’t You Date Me?’
Let’s get this out of the way: Nicole Byer is a national treasure. Her impeccable timing and unfailing cheer make her a delightful host of Netflix’s “Nailed It!” bake-off reality show and co-host of the “Best Friends” podcast with Sasheer Zamata. So why she is — despite her best efforts — perpetually, painfully single is indeed a valid question to investigate for 171 episodes and counting. Byer is joined by fellow comedians, friends, therapists, drag queens and sometimes ex-lovers to get to the bottom of her predicament. She asks guests such as Ego Nwodim, Margaret Cho and Tiffany Haddish if they would date her and solicits their advice as to what she’s doing wrong. And because it’s Byer, the conversation is always unabashedly raunchy, intimate and hilarious.
‘Alone: A Love Story’
This is a redemption story. After journalist and radio producer Michelle Parise’s seemingly happy marriage explodes because of infidelity, she finds herself piecing together what happened: not just to the relationship but to the person she thought she was supposed to be. How did she end up nearly 40, a single mother, binge drinking and overwhelmingly lonely, now forced to navigate dating and sex with strangers for the first time in her life? Parise’s narrative vignettes unfurl her path to self-acceptance over three seasons, pulling you with her through heartbreaking despair, bleak humor and sexual discovery, but ultimately compose a tale of resilience and the beauty of new beginnings. Start with the first episode of this memoir podcast and you will be hooked on Parise’s homage to second chances.
‘Dateable: Your insider’s look into modern dating’
Every Wednesday, dating coach Yue Xu and producer Julie Krafchick, both “active daters turned dating sociologists,” explore a different angle of dating, be it virtual sex, ghosting, the #MeToo era or fetishes like puppy play. For five years, Xu and Krafchick have interviewed experts, therapists and daters to not only document modern dating but also find the healthiest and happiest way to just be yourself in your quest to connect. Xu and Krafchick also go above and beyond the average advice podcast hosting duties to make you feel less alone in your current dating quandaries: Recent episodes include “Socially Distant Yet Emotionally Available, ” and their Facebook group has become a private support community for listeners navigating “Love in the Time of Corona.” With special livestream events tailored to the community and members-only personalized dating advice, these hosts are devoted to the message that every single listener is, indeed, deserving and datable.
‘Food 4 Thot’
Just in case you can’t tell from the title, this podcast is thirsty. Its four queer hosts open each episode with mile-a-minute dirty jokes and the sort of breezily ribald conversation (from illicit hookups to, more recently, sex-toy purchases in pandemic times) that immediately cause the listener to lean right in. But this is not merely a hookup-story swap meet among funny friends. The hosts, all writers from differing backgrounds, bring a literary perspective to subjects like sex, identity and culture, delivering serious critique without taking themselves too seriously. Come for the desperately relatable tales of navigating quarantine while horny, stay for the thoughtful analysis and surprising perspectives on the world.