Man Up

Man Up

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.... Show More

Episodes

April 17, 2020 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 how much he’s changed since the show began almost a year ago, and Aymann shares the most common complaint he's heard from listeners.  Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and ...
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April 8, 2020 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 friends and family. Now, David says he should’ve been much more cautious, and he urges other men to learn from his mistakes. Then Aymann talks to Dr. Michael Smith, an internal medic...
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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 finally, a very socially active man named Dan explains how he’s been able to stay connected to friends all over the country and satisfy his need for close personal bonds.  How has ...
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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 checks in with Jeremy Cohn, a man who flirted with his neighbor via drone. Then Andrew Kahn joins the show to talk about men who are still trying to meet up through Grindr right now...
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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 with him in Canada, and you don’t even live together? Aymann explores these questions, and many more, and tries to figure out how this crisis may change how we see each other in the...
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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 symptoms of a cold or flu. Then, Aymann talks to Mieke Beth Thomeer, associate professor of sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, about why men in particular are so bad...
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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 Warrior. Choi was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 27, but now he’s in his 40’s, and he’s managed to thrive in spite of his chronic illness.  What makes you a work in progress? D...
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February 28, 2020 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, Man Up host Aymann Ismail turns to Dr. Emily Rothman, a professor and researcher who helped develop a program to teach teenage students about porn. She explains how porn actually af...
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February 19, 2020 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 the show to explain the origin of gender separation in mosques and how the various ways to interpret scripture and cultural teachings can offer a solution. What makes you a ...
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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 Gottlieb about the common mistakes couples make on Valentine’s Day and how to avoid them.  What makes you a work in progress? Do you want to talk through something you can’t quite crac...
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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 of the “Gaybros” subreddit, which was originally a forum for gay men who felt like they didn’t identify with mainstream gay culture. These days, Alex is critical of the mindset th...
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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 people bring to the workplace. For help, Aymann and Jason turn to Ari Joseph, the head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Vimeo. Ari talks about all the ways men of color hold ...
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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 help from others and offers a simple technique for people who have trouble admitting weakness or inexperience. What makes you a work in progress? Do you want to talk through s...
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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 Maria turn to Shehnaz, a New Jersey mother and restaurant owner who raised two sons that she couldn’t be more proud of. Shehnaz offers parenting tips and explains the importance of c...
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January 8, 2020 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 military social events and why the social politics of drinking are so different for men and women. Then Claire and Aymann hear from Heather King, who used to be in the Air Force a...
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January 1, 2020 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 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 he’d learned growing up. For this episode, ...
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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 video was proof that traditional masculinity is under attack. This week on Man Up, Burøe talks to Aymann Ismail about how unexpected it was for the video to blow up and what the reacti...
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December 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 to Avi Klein, a therapist who specializes in helping men get in touch with their feelings.  What makes you a work in progress? Do you want to talk through something you can’t quite...
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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 differently about their fashion choices and shows them how to incorporate new items without looking too flashy.  What makes you a work in progress? Do you want to talk through someth...
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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 daughter to the gynecologist every year to get her hymen checked. Also joining the show is Adam’s daughter, MG, who offers her dad some tips. Plus, sex educator Desiree Caro explains wh...
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