Man Up

Man Up

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On Man Up, host Aymann Ismail invites men and women to tell embarrassing, funny, and sometimes disturbing stories about their lives as they try to figure out what they still have to learn—and unlearn—about being a man. They’ll talk relationships, family, sex, and identity, trying to understand their experiences to help listeners make more sense of their own.


The Angry Email I Get Over and Over
Apr 17 • 39 min
For the final episode, Aymann convenes four friends to talk about the hashtag #MenAreTrash and to debate whether it’s possible to critique manhood and masculinity without bashing men as a group. Then, Aymann’s colleagues ask him questions to figure out…
A COVID-19 Survivor Warns Other Men
Apr 8 • 29 min
Aymann tries to make sense of new polling data that shows men aren’t taking the outbreak of COVID-19 as seriously as women. First he talks to David Vega, a medical student who contracted the virus in early March after attending multiple gatherings with…
It’s a Tough Time for Men Without Friends
Apr 2 • 32 min
This week, Aymann talks to Shuheng, a self-described extrovert who wishes he had more friends to talk to and commiserate with. Then Aymann hears from Slate podcast producer Ben Frisch, who talks about how he’s able to make the most of his alone time. And…
Single Guys Are Really Going for It Right Now
Mar 26 • 25 min
As people continue to self-quarantine, single men are still out there trying to date and, in some cases, have sex. First Aymann talks to his coworker Katie Rayford, who was hit on by two men on the same day when she was stocking up on groceries. Then he…
What Women Are Learning About Men During Self-Quarantine
Mar 20 • 40 min
This week, Man Up host Aymann Ismail learns how the outbreak of COVID-19 is changing how men’s partners see them at home. What happens when a husband and wife have very different crisis modes? What do you do if your new boyfriend wants you to quarantine…
Why Men Who Are Sick Insist on Going to Work
Mar 11 • 31 min
Man Up editor Lowen Liu explains why he’s so bad about taking sick days, even when a serious epidemic is dominating the news. But first, Slate’s culture editor Forrest Wickman lays out why he desperately wants his co-workers to go home when they show…
Being an American Ninja Warrior with Parkinson’s
Mar 4 • 33 min
Vivek, a man with Parkinson’s disease, tries to get back the confidence he had before his diagnosis at age 38. To help him out, Man Up host Aymann Ismail recruits Jimmy Choi, a husband, father, ultra-marathoner, and competitor on NBC’s American Ninja…
The Secret to a Healthy Porn Habit
Feb 28 • 32 min
A young man wonders whether his habitual porn use has negatively affected the way he thinks about sex and relationships. Can porn cause erectile dysfunction? Is it even possible to have a healthy relationship to porn? To answer those questions and more,…
Why Can’t My Wife and I Pray Together?
Feb 19 • 31 min
After years of praying in mosques that treat women’s spaces as an afterthought, Aymann tries to find an alternative. First he talks to his wife Mira about the difference between men’s spaces and women’s spaces during prayer. Then Imam Khalid Latif joins…
Why Valentine’s Day is a Scramble for So Many Men
Feb 12 • 27 min
This week on the show, a Texas man who struggles with romance tries to plan the perfect Valentine’s Day. But first, Aymann gets the cold hard truth about his past Valentine’s Day performances from his wife, Mira. Then he talks to psychotherapist Lori…
Why Straight Bros Are So Important to Gay Guys
Feb 5 • 30 min
A gay man in Maine tries to figure out how to develop closer friendships with straight men. But first, Aymann tries to understand why Sam has his heart set on those friendships in the first place. For additional help, the guys turn to Alex DeLuca, founder…
A Black Man’s Fears About Managing White Women
Jan 29 • 35 min
A tech company executive named Jason feels nervous about being the only black manager in an office made up mostly of white women. He wants to create a space where people feel comfortable talking about race and gender, but he’s worried about all the biases…
Why Men Would Rather Suffer Than Ask for Help
Jan 22 • 32 min
Aymann wonders why he has so much trouble asking for help. First he sits down with his wife Mira, who paints a more detailed picture of the problem. Then Aymann turns to Dan Doty, co-founder of the men’s group Evryman, who shares the benefits of accepting…
How to Raise Sons Who Won’t Send Dick Pics
Jan 15 • 29 min
Aymann hears from Maria, a mother in Norway who’s worried about raising her two young boys in the #MeToo era. She admits that she originally wanted girls and now wants to make sure her boys grow up to be respectful, empathetic men. For help, Aymann and…
What You Lose When You Don’t Drink
Jan 8 • 31 min
This week Aymann learns about the military’s machismo drinking culture through the eyes of Claire, a young Air Force officer who’s trying to earn the trust of her peers while also giving up alcohol. First Claire talks about why drinking is so prevalent at…
Why Some Men Refuse to Do Yoga
Jan 1 • 30 min
Happy New Year! To kick off 2020, we’re revisiting an episode we love, where writer Terrell Starr takes Aymann to do yoga for the first time. When Terrell started doing yoga in his 30s, it opened up his mind to new possibilities of what his body could…
Why a Dad Dancing to Frozen is Still a Big Deal
Dec 25, 2019 • 27 min
Early in 2019 Ørjan Burøe had an Instagram video go viral. It showed him and his young son wearing dresses and dancing to the song Let it Go from Disney’s Frozen. The response online was mostly positive, but a handful of louder voices argued that the…
A Man Learns to Cry Again
Dec 18, 2019 • 34 min
Aymann talks to a college student named Sammy, who feels like he should allow himself to cry more. First, they talk about why so many men resist the urge to cry in the first place and why re-learning to cry is so much harder than expected. Then they talk…
Why So Many Men Still Dress Like They’re 16
Dec 11, 2019 • 27 min
A listener named John tries to figure out how to upgrade his wardrobe. First, he and Aymann bond over their fear of taking fashion risks, and then they talk to Israel “Izzy” Bermeo, owner of the clothing shop Zero Kids. Izzy helps John and Aymann think…
A Father Tries to Talk to His Daughter About Sex
Dec 4, 2019 • 26 min
Aymann hears from Adam, a father who wants to talk to his teenage daughter about sex without coming off as weird, overbearing, or inappropriate. In other words, Adam wants to be the opposite of the rapper T.I., who recently said he takes his teenage…
Why Men Won’t Tell You What They Want for Xmas
Nov 27, 2019 • 28 min
Aymann talks to former Man Up producer Danielle Hewitt and her sister to help them think of Christmas gift ideas for their dad. Also joining the show is Micky Onvural, CEO of the menswear company Bonobos. She explains why it’s so hard to shop for men and…
Can a 30-Year-Old Man Change His Worst Habit?
Nov 20, 2019 • 23 min
Aymann makes some adjustments to his life in an effort to stop being late for everything. Joining him as a guide is Brigid Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab and author of “Overwhelmed: Working to change how we work, love and play.” Brigid urges…
A Virgin in His Mid-20s Starts to Worry
Nov 13, 2019 • 31 min
In the first episode of season 2, Aymann talks to a 23-year-old virgin who’s looking for dating tips in all the wrong places. To get him back on the right track, Aymann enlists the help of Andrea Silenzi, host of the hit dating podcast, Why Oh Why. Are…
Help Man Up Help You!
Oct 31, 2019 • 1 min
Ahead of Season 2, Aymann wants listeners to get in touch and share their stories. Give us a call at (805)-626-8707, or email us at manup@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Aftermath of a Public Proposal
Oct 9, 2019 • 30 min
Flashy public proposals are all over social media, but people seem divided over whether they’re adorable or cringeworthy. This week on Man Up, Aymann learns about two different public proposal stories and figures out whether the people involved have any…
About Guys Who Insist on Paying the Bill…
Oct 2, 2019 • 26 min
This week Aymann looks back at some of his dating habits from before he was married, specifically his policy of always paying on the first date. First he talks to Sarah Crow, who wrote a piece for GQ called ‘Why You Should Always Split the Bill.’ Then Mel…
The Joy of Quitting Football
Sep 25, 2019 • 33 min
After his sixth documented concussion, NFL linebacker Joshua Perry decided to retire. He was only 24, but he knew that if his brain suffered anymore trauma, it could impact his cognitive functioning down the line. This week on Man Up, Perry tells Aymann…
How Not to Be a Reply Guy
Sep 18, 2019 • 29 min
This week Aymann talks to several women (and one man) about the phenomenon of “reply guys” where men reply to women on social media in order to pester them, correct them, or to just be noticed. First, three Slate writers compare reply guys to gnats and…
The Real Threat of Video Games
Sep 11, 2019 • 27 min
Video game scholar Megan Condis joins the show to explain why white supremacists have been targeting online gamers. She says there’s a specific subset of men, whose fear of newcomers in the gaming space make them attractive recruits for hate groups. Learn…
How a Drag King Parodies Masculinity
Sep 4, 2019 • 31 min
Pretty Rik E, a DC-based drag king, talks to Aymann about what it means to treat masculinity as a performance. Rik E is part of a group called Pretty Boi Drag, whose drag shows involve lip syncing to hyper masculine songs, dancing confidently, and…
The Fear of Male Birth Control
Aug 28, 2019 • 33 min
Aymann realizes he’s a little squeamish about the current birth control options for men. First he talks to writer Angela Anagnost-Repke, who’s been trying to convince her husband Brad to get a vasectomy. Then Dr. Paul Turek joins the show to explain what…
Becoming “Man of the House” Too Soon
Aug 21, 2019 • 32 min
What exactly was going through Kareem Rahma’s 20-year-old head when he found out his father only had 6 months to live?As he tells it, nothing. He was entirely fixated on how the family dynamic was about to change. As the eldest sibling, as the oldest boy,…
Where Mass Shootings Often Start
Aug 14, 2019 • 28 min
This week on Man Up, Aymann talks with Kim Gandy about the link between mass shootings and domestic violence. Gandy has been an advocate for survivors of domestic violence for over 30 years, so she knows better than most the cost of staying silent on the…
My First Therapy Session, on Tape
Aug 7, 2019 • 29 min
This week on Man Up, Aymann sits down for his first-ever therapy session with psychotherapist and host of the Hey Man podcast, Avi Klein. He learns something about how he copes, and about how some therapists might be pushing men away. Tell us what you…
The Trouble With Being an Asian Guy on Tinder
Jul 31, 2019 • 34 min
This week on Man Up, writer Eddie Kim talks with host Aymann Ismail about sexual racism, why he thinks Asian men are at a disadvantage on dating apps, and how some toxic subcultures react to that. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
Chefs Don’t Have to Be Jerks
Jul 24, 2019 • 25 min
When J. Kenji López-Alt landed a job as a line cook at the elegant No. 9 Park restaurant, he wasn’t expecting to spend his first day standing in the corner with a figurative dunce hat on his head. He was being punished by the chef for incorrectly chopping…
Your Opinions on Her Wardrobe Are Probably Unwelcome
Jul 17, 2019 • 20 min
Noor Tagouri knows better than most what it feels like to have everything she does under a close watch. Her interview in Playboy Magazine caused an international firestorm not for what she said, but for what she wore. This week on Man Up, Noor shares what…
Men Try to Attract Women in All the Wrong Ways
Jul 10, 2019 • 23 min
Nichole Perkins knows what straight women look for in a man. She’s a romance novel enthusiast and former co-host of Thirst Aid Kit, a podcast that focused on sexual desire and celebrity hotness. In this episode, Man Up host Aymann Ismail talks to Nichole…
An Intervention
Jul 3, 2019 • 24 min
Over the weekend, Aymann was going viral on the less savory, right-wing corners of the internet. An admittedly poorly worded tweet had exposed him to an avalanche of criticism, some understandable, others sinister and racist. And when a total stranger…
Why Men Refuse to Do Yoga
Jun 26, 2019 • 32 min
When Terrell Starr started doing yoga in his 30s, it opened up his mind to new possibilities of what his body could do—not to mention what he could do as a man. He realized he’d been restricting himself not only physically but mentally because of what…
What Brown Men Do to Make Others Comfortable
Jun 19, 2019 • 25 min
Simran Jeet Singh has worn a turban his entire life. It’s a requirement of his Sikh faith but it has also made him a target for racist harassment. This week on Man Up, Aymann and Simran share their experiences experiences and discuss how Simran’s Sikh…
A Black Trans Man Meets the Police Again
Jun 12, 2019 • 26 min
Trystan Cotten was not prepared for the way his relationship with law enforcement would change after he transitioned in his late thirties. As he wrote in the Washington Post last year, it all came to a head when a cop pulled his gun on him after he called…
Men Aren’t Doing the Dishes at Work, Either
Jun 5, 2019 • 20 min
In an effort to distribute office tasks evenly, Slate’s New York office implemented a sign-off sheet for loading and unloading dishwasher—when you do it, you cross your name off. After a quick, unscientific study of the list, it’s clear that there’s a…
What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Black Manhood
May 29, 2019 • 25 min
Growing up, Cord Jefferson never really saw himself reflected in the characters on TV. Now, he’s a script editor for shows like Master of None and The Good Place. Aymann talks with Cord about what happens when you don’t relate to the characters you’re…
How Kids Can Change You
May 22, 2019 • 24 min
Aymann talks to his brother, Mohamed, about how they grew up and why he’s chosen a distinctly different parenting style from what they grew up with. Podcast production by Danielle Hewitt and Cameron Drews. Contact us about this and other topics by leaving…
A Ghost Story
May 15, 2019 • 27 min
What happens when you finally meet an absent father who haunted your childhood. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Let’s Talk About Sex
May 8, 2019 • 22 min
Jessica Valladolid is a sex educator in New York city. Her deep friendships with boys during her formative years helped her understand how they start thinking about sex and helped set her on the path she’s on today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit…
When Fighting Comes First
May 1, 2019 • 24 min
Eric Kelly was so successful at fighting off bullies as a kid in Brooklyn, that he grew up to become an Olympic level boxer, until a bar fight ended his career. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Introducing Man Up
Mar 22, 2019 • 1 min
On Man Up, host Aymann Ismail invites men and women to tell embarrassing, funny, and sometimes disturbing stories about their lives as they try to figure out what they still have to learn—and unlearn—about being a man. They’ll talk relationships, family,…