Julie and Yue host the Dateable podcast, an inside look into the world of modern dating. They sat down with Pandora to talk “zumping,” what really makes women eligible for a job, and advice for female podcasters.
Photo credit: Larry Wong
You both have impressive portfolios in everything from tech to teaching to podcasting. Tell us about your journeys—what got you started in each of your roles individually, and how did you meet each other and decide to start the podcast?
Yue: I had moved to SF on a whim after 2 years in Beijing where I was a TV host and dating coach. Prior to that, I lived in NYC for 7 years and a mixed bag of other places. On my first day in SF, I set up a Coffee Meets Bagel date (I wasted no time!). We met at a hip coffee shop in North Beach and just when I thought it was a “normal” first date, he whipped out a folder containing a business plan for a religious Youtube channel he wanted to start. He wanted my advice seeing that I have a background in media and proceeded to show me his growth strategy. That’s when I knew dating was on the cusp of a major shift. I had to throw my dating coach hat out the window and re-learn modern dating. One fateful day, I attended a 500 Brunches event and met Julie…
Julie: When my quarter-life crisis hit, I decided to move cross-country from Boston to San Francisco to pursue a career in tech. Over the years, I experienced my share of first dates, hookups, and heartbreak and challenged my own beliefs about relationships. I became obsessed with dating and human connection. So much that I created a startup called 500 Brunches that helped people meet IRL again – whether it be for dating or to make new connections in general. Fun fact: Yue & I actually first met through this platform, as a mutual friend brought her to one of the events! We started to develop a friendship on our own, which of course led to us talking extensively about dating. One night, after a couple of glasses of wine, we decided that we should start a podcast to document all the craziness of modern dating. And the rest is history!
What was it about podcasting that served as the best medium to tell the story you wanted to tell with the Dateable podcast?
Yue: Dating is one of those topics where you want to hear ALL THE DETAILS. You want to pick up the phone to tell your friends about the crazy date you had last night. That is exactly what we wanted to recreate with a podcast. Having your friends in your ear, telling their stories without leaving out any details…exposing you to their intimate thoughts and revelations, and leaving you space to digest and iterate on your own perspectives.
Julie: Dating is very personal. We always have guests asking ‘will there be video’ as this completely changes the dynamics. Audio allows our guests to express themselves in an anonymous way. We can change their name, change their voice– whatever they need to feel comfortable sharing their story. Even with big-name guests who want to be public, audio enables us to be more relaxed and conversational. It’s like friends catching up and our listeners are along for the ride.
You’ve talked a lot about societal pressure as it relates to dating. What does that mean for women today, and what words of advice do you have for women struggling with that?
Yue: Since the world has discovered women can do anything, we are now expected to do everything. Women feel like we need to do it all, have it all, and somehow enjoy it all. The fact is, dating doesn’t operate on the same wavelength of everything else. The outcome is not guaranteed, no matter how hard you work at it. Dating is a journey and as long as you’re learning from each stepping stone, you are already on the right path. Give yourself a break.
Julie: It’s hard not to play the comparison game with social media. But we have to remember: relationships alone won’t make us happy. We often don’t know the full story when we see a highlight reel of someone’s life. The biggest thing we’ve learned from Dateable is that no one has it completely figured out. Timelines are not always linear. There are no guarantees in life so the best thing we can do is make the most of what we have in our current situation. If the goal of being in a relationship is to be happy, let’s beeline for the happy and do the things we love today. When we’re enjoying life and not putting so much pressure on the future, that’s when the best relationships tend to pop into our lives anyways.
We’re in an unprecedented time for dating with COVID-19. What has that looked like for both of you? What experiences are you hearing about on your podcast?
Yue: This has been a very insightful experience for me and my partner. Spending this amount of focused time and energy on each other has sped up the progress of our relationship. We went from saying the L-word at the very beginning of the lockdown to now, 2 months in, re-evaluating if we want the same things post-lockdown. And this is pretty on par with what we’ve heard on our podcast. We are also hearing about how relationships are being managed virtually. For example, “zumping” is a new term that is born out of COVID-19. It means dumping someone over Zoom.
Julie: I’ve been using this time to figure out a relationship with an ex of mine. It’s been a good time for us to extensively discuss our relationship without the distraction of the physical side of things. We connected pre-Coronavirus, but we’ve heard a lot of stories about exes coming back because of COVID-19. From our podcast, we’ve heard some people embracing this time – doing everything from video dates to virtual sex parties. Others haven’t felt as motivated. Many have said it feels pointless when it doesn’t feel like there’s an end in sight of when they can meet in-person. A lot of people have been using this time to work on themselves and come out as stronger and smarter daters. We do expect an uptick of video dating once there is clearance to meet again. It’s an opportunity to decide it’s not a match without the time, energy, and money spent on the first date. A win-win on both sides!
What advice do you have for women still looking to date right now?
Yue: I think this is really the best time to date. There’s no FOMO, no distractions, no last minute business trips, and no “sorry I didn’t text back, I’ve been so busy.” This is a time of no-excuses-dating. If you met someone before COVID and would like to explore it more, take this time to do exactly just that. And if you are looking to meet someone new at this time, put yourself out there in a way you’ve never been able to do before. Knock down those walls and push aside pride, tell the world who you are and ask for someone to step up to the plate.
Julie: Take a chance! This applies for now and once we resume to more normalcy. With blurred gender lines and changing views on masculinity, men aren’t making the moves they once did. Who cares if you’re the one to ask him out? There’s nothing wrong with telling a man that you had a great time on your date or you’d like to meet him in person if you are via video. It’s giving him the green light – to ask you out again and be forward with his own feelings towards you. The biggest challenge in modern dating is that everyone is half in. It’s a game of me vs. you when it should be about us. Stop viewing your date as an opponent of who is less interested and be authentic in your connection. That’s when real relationships flourish.
What advice would you give to other women trying to get into podcasting?
Yue: Why wait? If you have a desire to be heard, start with one recording a day. Set aside 10 minutes. No need for fancy equipment or a business plan. Or even a podcast name. Just start recording your thoughts. After you’ve done this for 10 days straight, you’ll absolutely have a better idea of what it is that you want to put out there. It took us many iterations to get to where we are today, and we are STILL iterating. Treat podcasting as an evolution of who you are. Accept the fact that your opinions and perspectives will change along the way.
Julie: Just do it! So often as women, we feel we must have every qualification to feel “eligible” for a job. There are studies that show men will apply regardless of the alignment to their qualifications. Yet as women, if we don’t tick all the requirements, we believe we aren’t the right people for the jobs. The same goes for passion projects and side hustles. It’s OK if your first episode sucks. Yue and I knew nothing about podcasting when we started in 2016. We’ve evolved over time and that meant putting in long hours to get better. While we did a lot of this ourselves, we also leveraged our professional network for advice from others that knew about these topics. Don’t be afraid to start but also be realistic that there’s hard work involved.
How will you Pass the Mic?
Yue: Your brain doesn’t look for the truth, it looks for evidence to support your beliefs. If you believe you can’t do something at your stage in your life, your brain will look for stories to support that. Instead, train your brain to be open to believing otherwise. For example, it is very difficult to go from “not many people care about my opinion” to all of a sudden “everyone cares about my opinion!” However, it is much more realistic to go to “I am open to believing many people care about my opinion.” Let your brain simmer in that and slowly break through your limiting beliefs.
Julie: I want women to feel empowered to go after what they want. Whether that’s in a relationship or pursuing a career/hobby/side hustle. We can accept that we are constant works in progress and we don’t have to be 100% before we get started. It’s all about defining what matters to you – not society – and staying open to your evolution along the way.