'Awards For Good Boys' Writer Shelby Lorman Has Trophies For Mediocre Men Shelby Lorman has long been taking note of society's low standards for men on her popular Instagram account, whether they're manspreaders on the subway or Tinder dates who brag about reading feminist literature. Now she's turned those incisive illustrations and vignettes into a book that awards — and lambastes — those men. She sat down with Sam to share some "tales of dating, double standards, and doom" and to explain why rewarding men for doing "the barest of minimums" may not be so great.
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Writer Shelby Lorman Has Plenty Of 'Awards For Good Boys'

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Writer Shelby Lorman Has Plenty Of 'Awards For Good Boys'

Writer Shelby Lorman Has Plenty Of 'Awards For Good Boys'

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  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey, y'all. I'm Sam Sanders. IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. Today, I'm talking to Shelby Lorman. She's an author out with a new book all about good boys. But when Shelby says that phrase - good boys - she means quite possibly the exact opposite of what you're thinking.

SHELBY LORMAN: A man who would never do anything explicitly, quote-unquote, "bad" by his own measure but, consciously or not, uses his goodness as a shield behind which he can get away with still pretty bad behavior on the grounds that it's not outwardly horrific.

SANDERS: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: Yeah, it's a meaty one.

SANDERS: That is Shelby Lorman's definition of a good boy. And her new book all about these problem men is called "Awards For Good Boys: Tales Of Dating, Double Standards And Doom." The book is full of these illustrations of trophies and ribbons - awards - but for bad behavior.

LORMAN: Thinks you'd look really pretty if you lost a few pounds - not, like, too much weight loss, just in the right places.

Responded to your text a cool seven months later to let you know he's playing a gig - it's tonight.

Is ready to talk about what he did wrong, as soon as you calm down.

SANDERS: Today on the show, we talk good boys - what to do about them and why society's standards for men are so low. We also discussed how Shelby got the idea for this whole project, which began on Instagram. All right, let's get to it. Here's our chat. I think you'll like it. It is very good, in the most positive sense of that word. Enjoy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LORMAN: The idea behind a good boy - it's very much informed by my own experiences.

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: Which is basically meeting these people who seemed so great and really, quote-unquote, "got it."

SANDERS: Woke.

LORMAN: Voted the same way - woke.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: Voted the same way as me. Like, would never say anything offensive. Like, you know, they got it. And then, it would just kind of seep out, like, these things that we really disagreed on, whether it was, like, their just blatant misogyny.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Or just kind of subtle disagreements or discrepancies in the way we viewed the world.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And I found that these people who were so sure that they got it were so, so, so much harder to talk to about the nuances of what - how they didn't get it than people who were just completely disagreeing with you.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: So I was like, OK, I got to have - I got to really...

SANDERS: You got to let this out, got to talk about it.

LORMAN: Yeah, I got to let this out, got to talk about it. I started drawing the awards. I was just like, let's make this super literal.

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: I'm going to draw ribbons and laurel leaves and trophies.

SANDERS: Yes. Around these men's bad behavior.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: And, like, it's this - where you - we think of awards as going to people for doing good stuff.

LORMAN: Exactly.

SANDERS: The whole premise of your book is that these dudes get an award for kind of doing bad stuff (laughter).

LORMAN: Exactly.

SANDERS: Which makes it funny.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: There's this line in the book you have that I really like. You say, It's a relief to explore problems we know to be true but might not know how to name quite yet.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: You name the stuff that we feel and see.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: And you crystallize some of the stuff that I'm sure all women go through all the time. And I think that's what's helpful.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: You know, like, even for me, I'm reading this stuff on the train, and I'm like, she got it.

LORMAN: (Laughter).

SANDERS: I've been a good boy. I never thought about it this way. And that's been me.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: And so it's funny, but it's also, like, taking these things that are in the ether and saying...

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Here's a picture about it.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: Here it is now.

LORMAN: Yeah. And I think that ability to recognize yourself in it is exactly what I want to happen.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And I started these with myself and my past relationships in mind. And...

SANDERS: Dating relationships.

LORMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: And also, you know, friendships.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: But most of this has been gleaned from romantic relationships. And to have other people be able to see themselves in it and be able to kind of explore how these themes manifest in their own lives or what they may have been purposefully ignoring or...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: I think it's a - I'm not trying to coddle people, but I do want people to hear these things with empathy and with love.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: I'm not trying to, like, shame anyone.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Which the irony...

SANDERS: Yeah. You don't name names.

LORMAN: I don't name names.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: I mean, it's a fascinating litmus test on the Instagram page because I never name names, but people, they're tagging up a storm.

SANDERS: Right.

LORMAN: They're like, is this about Beto? It's Biden. And I'm like, you know what? If the shoe fits, it's all of them.

SANDERS: Come on.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: Like, keep on naming. But yeah, it's really interesting how much people want to attribute it to a specific person. And I deliberately don't because it's not a specific person; it's everyone.

SANDERS: It's all the boys.

LORMAN: It's everyone.

SANDERS: Read me some more out of here.

LORMAN: OK.

SANDERS: I want to really give listeners a feel for this stuff, and I'm going to look for some, too.

LORMAN: OK.

SANDERS: Go ahead.

LORMAN: (Reading) I got the very non-Oberlin request, coincidentally, when I returned to said school, home of many an indie darling, in the face of coddled, liberal political correctness, according to conservative think pieces, for graduation. It came in the humid Ohioan night, just a few hours before I would walk the stage and panic for the millionth time about what I would do with an English major after leaving college - lots of things; writing is good for lots of things.

It was a text from a dude I had met weeks earlier in what was a rare instance of me briefly shrugging off the mood of, is it my depression or chronic illness or social anxiety or general distaste for humans that keeps me indoors like the house cat I was in a past life?

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: (Reading) And venturing out to socialize in public. At a party hosted by some very cool Chilean poets, we found out we had so much in common. We spoke the same language. He lived in the same building as one of my best friends. He had also gone to Oberlin many years before I did. We exchanged numbers because the coincidences were uncanny. I mean, wow. I didn't hear from him. And then I did. He texted me to ask for drinks weeks later. I responded saying, you'll never believe it; I'm not in New York but at our alma mater. My God, we should get married. Can you believe how many coincidences?

And then I received the non-Oberlin request, and it reads like this.

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: (Reading) Also, I have a very non-Oberlin request; let me know if you want it. Go to the bathroom and take a hot selfie. Idea - dash, dash - tits out.

SANDERS: This really happened?

LORMAN: This really happened. I have a photo of it.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: You meet this super nice guy.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: Who seems to be super nice.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: Oberlin connection.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: He's Oberlin woke.

LORMAN: Yeah (laughter), that was the best part.

SANDERS: Yeah. And there's something really specific about the not-Oberlin-request-ness of it all...

LORMAN: Yup.

SANDERS: ...That really gets into this idea of the performance of goodness.

LORMAN: Right. Among people who already consider themselves good...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...And are seen broadly as being, quote-unquote, "good."

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: And I think that's what I'm really trying to get at, is that this is not just - my experience, my lens is coming from this as, oh, these are people who move through the world with people thinking that they really, really understand, and they consider themselves to be people who really, really understand. And I consider myself to be someone who really, really understands.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And I know better than to know - I really don't.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And, like, there's a lot, a lot of gaps in my learning.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And I found that there's a mixture of what I would say, what is usually male confidence...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...With that, I get it, people think that I get it, where there isn't as much openness to being wrong.

SANDERS: Yeah. Or in this case with the not-Oberlin request, this guy knows that he performs goodness on a regular basis.

LORMAN: Right.

SANDERS: But he says to you, basically, I know that because I'm usually always good...

LORMAN: Right.

SANDERS: ...I can do this bad thing.

LORMAN: I mean...

SANDERS: Which is almost even worse.

LORMAN: It's the most Oberlin thing ever.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: Like, it really is. Like, it becomes the most Oberlin thing in the entire world.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Where not only is nudity extremely friendly at Oberlin, like, everyone's naked all - so, like, he got that part extremely wrong.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah.

LORMAN: It would be like, I have an on-brand request.

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: Free the nipple.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Exactly.

LORMAN: And I would be like, absolutely - woo (ph).

SANDERS: Let's do it.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: But it just becomes this, oh, my gosh, this sensitive, liberal arts boy has such a specific brand of goodness, and I really wanted to capture that for people.

SANDERS: Yeah. And, like, shatter that.

LORMAN: Yeah. And be like, yeah, no.

SANDERS: No one's all the way good.

LORMAN: No.

SANDERS: And you're better off just owning up to it.

LORMAN: Right. And they get away with a lot more because of this assumption.

SANDERS: Presumed goodness.

LORMAN: Yeah, exactly.

SANDERS: Yeah. What do the good boys say to you? They're always in your DMs, I'm sure.

LORMAN: Oh, they are - they really...

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: They really are. I mean, I have a good portion of just, like, actual trolls who are just mad at what they - I would say that they conceive of my work as, like, this specter of, like, feminist mayhem. Most...

SANDERS: Which sounds fun.

LORMAN: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: It's a blast; we have a great time.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: One person called my page a vacuous, echoing, man-hating chamber. And I was like, I love that.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: This is incredible. It's not wrong. Like, I'll take it.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: I get some really, really specific commentary...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...I would call it, on my work. My favorite maybe ever was an email I got to my personal email, which is not that hard to find. But I say that just to say, like...

SANDERS: He looked.

LORMAN: ...It was my email.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And it was just, thank you for ruining my dog's name. His name is Good Boy.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: Now every time I look at my dog, I think of you and your negative movement.

SANDERS: Wow.

LORMAN: And I just could not stop laughing. It was just...

SANDERS: Get over yourself, neck-beard.

LORMAN: It was the most beautiful thing I've ever read. I was like, he named his dog Good Boy. And now I've ruined the dog's name.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Oh, my God.

LORMAN: And karma.

SANDERS: Oh, my God.

LORMAN: But anyways, yeah. I get, I would say - a third of them are very bizarre and weird, and I like to kind of repost them and be like, look at how self-fulfilling this prophecy is that we're sitting in here.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Like, the more I talk about this, the more they continually prove...

SANDERS: To show your ass.

LORMAN: ...Exactly my point.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

LORMAN: And, like, this is great.

SANDERS: All right, time for a break. When we come back, Shelby tells me how she sometimes works on awards for good white ladies. B-R-B.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: There's this really interesting idea you get at in the book where you talk about how women can be involved in the good boy-ness.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: You write, My work implicates women like me, cis women, many of whom are straight and white, because of the ways we form ourselves around and in relation to good-boy-dom (ph).

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's like, there is a social reward for women who support the good boy-ness of our culture.

LORMAN: Yep.

SANDERS: And so this makes women complicit often in things that they know are allowing trash - men the trash...

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Continually.

LORMAN: Yep.

SANDERS: How do you...

LORMAN: Proximity to patriarchy is a hell of a drug.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: And...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: They - I mean, and I've absolutely been there also. And I think that it's - the tone that I was trying to take in the book is not of someone looking down from this platform of, like, I have freed myself, and I figured it out. It's, like, holy shit - I'm still in this. And I'm trying to reconcile how to live my life and also be aware of this but also, like, allow room for growth...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...And for change.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And so I really tried to approach it as if I was just talking to a friend about it, which I do, which we're...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Like, oh, my gosh. I've made some really bad decisions.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And, like, how do I uphold this? And what can I do to change? And ultimately, like, even though all of my work is so centered on men - which is...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...So funny when people look at me as, like, this feminist icon...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: Like, have you seen my work? Like, it 100% centers men. Like...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: I'm not doing it.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.

LORMAN: But at the end of the day, I'm trying to get everyone - men included, but women and non-binary folks, too - to be, like, hey, how - what have we - how have we been, and what have we done?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: What have we done...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And how can we extract ourselves...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...In a way that is meaningful for us?

SANDERS: One of the ideas that I found quite fascinating was when you wrote that it's not just that men have to clear a lower bar. It's that men get to choose where the bar goes.

LORMAN: (Laughter) Yeah. It's a terrible game of limbo.

SANDERS: Right.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: And so your work is implicating the lowness of the bar. But what work needs to happen to open up that network of bar-setters (laughter)? Like, how does that - I don't know, how does the - how does particularly Internet culture get there?

LORMAN: Yeah. It's such an interesting and complicating - complicated situation because, on the one hand, I don't think anyone, let alone me, should be acting as a gatekeeper for what constitutes the good or the bad bar. I think that is something that's just constantly changing.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: But I do think, especially in the last few years, with the rise of such, such publicly vehement behavior from men - in a way, it's made the bar even lower for men to clear because now...

SANDERS: I didn't #MeToo anybody (laughter).

LORMAN: No, truly. It's, like, well, I haven't issued an apology apologizing for my apology. Like...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: I'm doing it. I'm doing amazing.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.

LORMAN: And it's just so bizarre to watch that still continue to happen and watch the kind of media coverage that public women are getting. And just - it's not the same.

SANDERS: Yeah. I want to go back to what we talked about a bit earlier about how this - how women can be complicit in...

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Good boy-ness.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: And you point out that, and you do a really good job of doing that. Is there ever a book that is awards for good women or - I don't know, awards for good white ladies? I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: So I actually - I make awards for good white women with a friend of mine, Rachel Cargle, who's...

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: ...An amazing educator and teacher. And we have been collaborating on those for a little while.

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: It's so interesting. The response is...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...Really, really fascinating.

SANDERS: Give me an example of a few before we go to response.

LORMAN: Yeah. So the most recent one we did - it really is just getting at this sort of - same sort of performative woke-ness. And so it's, like, finds it extremely empowering to leave the 3,000th comment about, like, why so-and-so media is empowering...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: ...But has a really hard time talking to her husband about his blatant racism.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: So it's this, like...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: What are you...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: What are you willing to do? What's the level of discomfort that you're willing to...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...To actually get into?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: So that has been an amazing collaboration, and I'm really looking forward to doing more of that. And, yeah, I absolutely want to keep exploring my own role in this. And it's really split. A lot of people are extremely, extremely supportive - almost obsessively so in this way where it's, like...

SANDERS: Performatively so.

LORMAN: (Laughter) Yeah.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: Where it's, like, OK. I get it.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And then there's, of course, the people who are, like, this is divisive. Why are you doing this? This is, like, we need to come together. And that's not a bad thing. It's important to, like, have empathy and retain empathy throughout all of this process. But also, that can't be equated to not allowed to be angry.

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: And that that can't be...

SANDERS: Or disagree.

LORMAN: Right. Right. And it's, like, OK. It's cool if you're selling positivity. But also, if your brand of positivity asserts that no one else can have another method, that's a problem. And I've really found kind of a visceral reaction to a lot of people online in the last few months as I've kind of started to crystallize this in my own mind where I'm, like, oh, this sort of, like, quote-unquote, "authenticity and awareness and positivity" is often more harmful than I think people realize.

SANDERS: Because it papers over and covers over a bunch of stuff that needs to be handled.

LORMAN: Yeah. And it also, I think, often inadvertently implicates people who are doing something else as being, like, inherently rude or mad...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...Or this or that. And I'm hyper-aware of the fact that I get away with so much more being a white person online. And so, like, me being angry is, like, yes. Get them. Woo-hoo.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: And, like, I'm not - you know...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: I don't get racialized slurs thrown at me. Although when people found out I was Jewish, that was a fun...

SANDERS: Whee.

LORMAN: That was a fun few days.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Oh, I bet.

LORMAN: Woo-hoo.

SANDERS: Oh, man.

LORMAN: Yeah. But it is - it's just this really fine line of, you know, you can't really push back on someone who is preaching positivity without being seen like an asshole.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And it's, like, look; I do hate most things. I will own that in myself.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: Like, I'm 100%...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...Like, really bitter...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And I hate most things.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: I'm also extremely optimistic about the world even though it's horrifying.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: But I also am extremely angry.

SANDERS: Yeah. And you can be both of those at the same time.

LORMAN: Yeah, exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: All right, one more break. Coming up, Shelby talks about one award for a good boy that she retracted. She tells me why after the break.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: Was there ever an award for a good boy that you drafted or published and then regretted?

LORMAN: Oh, yeah. Oh, my gosh. I made one about Aziz Ansari that I ended up deleting.

SANDERS: Oh. What did it say?

LORMAN: It said, isn't defending Aziz Ansari merely playing devil's advocate?

SANDERS: Defending Aziz Ansari.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: You know, it was kind of an impulsive take. It was, like, in the, you know, immediate pushback...

SANDERS: Well, when that story came back...

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...Which was bonkers.

LORMAN: The story was really intense. And I think that my visceral reaction was, oh, my God. Another big, famous comedy man has done a bad thing. And it is, like, my duty as like - which is so complicated...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: ...As, like, a woman in comedy to address this.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And what I lost in that process was, hey, I'm allowed to have my own standards of, like, journalistic questioning. And I'm allowed to wait a few days...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...Before I decide how to respond to this. And also, I don't need to address everything at all. So I drew this, and I put it up, and it got shared a bunch of times. It was, like, on Twitter. Everyone was, you know, really into it. And I just, you know, was thinking, what have I done?

SANDERS: Did you begin to second guess Aziz's - I don't know. Culpability's the wrong word.

LORMAN: I mean, I still thought that the way he handled it was not awesome. And I still think that the tour - and I think any of these people who are, you know, put in the public spotlight for doing something, and then they go immediately on tour and address it, is really complicated because, on the one hand, I want people to be - I want men to be addressing this.

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: I want men to be talking to other men.

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: But also, what does it mean if you're going on tour, and you're profiting off of this situation...

SANDERS: Yes.

LORMAN: ...That potentially really hurt someone?

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And that's really icky. But yeah. It was this kind of situation where I still felt really strongly about the situation, but I didn't know enough about it to actually speak on it.

SANDERS: And offer a verdict.

LORMAN: Yeah. And the weird part about, you know, firing opinions into the void all day long is that people are really quick to see them as fact. And I would like to have faith in my audience to say, look; these are very clearly comics. They're very clearly comedy. You have to be a critical consumer and understand that this is commentary and not journalism. People don't really understand that. And so I've been a lot - that was, like, the last time that I ever named...

SANDERS: Really?

LORMAN: ...Anyone deliberately - where I was, like, you know what? It's not worth it.

SANDERS: I found myself wondering while reading the book if your writing and illustrating about awards for good boys has changed the way you date or the way that men who you date interact with you.

LORMAN: Oh, yes. It has been so fascinating.

SANDERS: OK. Tell me all of it.

LORMAN: So, as you probably know, in the very beginning of the book, it talks about taking a Tinder date back to my apartment while I was in the middle of drafting this book. And my room was - I work from home, I work in my room, and my room was an absolute mess. There was awards on my walls. There were strings piecing things together. It was, like, absolutely "True Detective" trope. Like...

SANDERS: So all of these drawings calling out good boy culture were all over your room.

LORMAN: I mean, there was, like, a huge corner dedicated to - like, to male fear of vibrators.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: There was, like, a corner about mansplaining. There was...

SANDERS: Oh, my God.

LORMAN: ...This instant next that I talk about where someone left me on a date after, you know, 30 seconds. I mean, it was just, like, the history of my life with good boys...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...Exposed...

SANDERS: In your bedroom.

LORMAN: ...On the wall in my bedroom. And I was, like - well, you were - you know, it was, like, a flirty fun - like, come back to my apartment.

SANDERS: It was a Tinder date.

LORMAN: Yeah. And I just totally didn't - I don't know, I didn't remember what my walls looked like.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: But I, like, brought him back, and he was just, like, what in the world is going on? Like, what do you do? And I, you know, was not telling people what I did. I was just, like, I'm a writer...

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: ...Which was true. And then was, like, laughing, and we were laughing about it. And it ended up being, like, a good litmus test. But it was...

SANDERS: Did he stay?

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: Yeah, I was like - and then it just becomes this hilarious, self-fulfilling prophecy where it's like, oh, my gosh, he stayed. We're going to get married now. And it's like, well, he's not that great. He just...

SANDERS: (Laughter) You lowered the bar for him.

LORMAN: Yeah. I was just like, wait - he - did he just, you know, accept that this is my job and keep moving? Yes, he did.

SANDERS: Yeah. No award for that (laughter).

LORMAN: Yeah, exactly. But it's been really, really interesting to find how the people in my life respond to it. Tinder is not the same anymore; people recognize me, which is horrifying - and cool.

SANDERS: Oh. Yeah.

LORMAN: I mean, I would be terrified to date me, and I think that that's the general consensus among other men.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah.

LORMAN: I just - I got a DM recently that said, you'd be a welcome nightmare of a girlfriend. And I was like, thank you so much. That's so sweet.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Yes. I want to talk - because, like, one of the things I was wondering is, like, I'm guessing that, hashtag, all women experience the good boy realities of our culture, but not all of them write books about them and devote kind of their life's work to them.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: I want to get into, like, your backstory and your upbringing and see how you think that, like, this and that led to the book.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: You - so you're from LA.

LORMAN: I'm from LA.

SANDERS: West side.

LORMAN: Born and raised, west side, LA.

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: I had just a exceedingly normal and privileged upbringing...

SANDERS: OK.

LORMAN: ...On the west side of LA. I was always really interested in writing and drawing and making art. I was also just a huge nerd. Like, I just...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: I was not interested in, like - and this is not like a, I'm not like other girls, because to each their own - but I was just not interested in boys or dating or any of that until years after my friends were. But...

SANDERS: Do you think that's part of it? This - so, like, if you come to dating and boys later...

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...You're missing all of those years that teenage girls have...

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...To shield themselves against the world of good boy-ness.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: Like, was your first encounter with the good boy-ness even more abrupt because you got there later, maybe?

LORMAN: That's interesting. I mean, I spent the first few years of, like, my friends becoming interested in their - you know, romance and discovering their sexuality and all this, I was just, like, so, so, so shy and so committed to my schoolwork and really, really funny, and I used humor as a defense mechanism. And I was, like, the girl who hung out with all of the dudes while, like, one of their friends was, like, kissing one of my friends.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: So I was, like, never the one being kissed. I was just the one...

SANDERS: But you made them laugh.

LORMAN: Oh, my God, they loved me.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: And, like, that is something that I'm still, you know, unpacking.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Which was, like, why...

SANDERS: You're like a sister (laughter).

LORMAN: Yeah. I was like, first of all - weird. Also, why did I love that validation from men so much, when I was, like, not being sexualized? And I totally liked that for a long time.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: Where I was like, well, whatever, I don't care. And then in college, I was like, oh, no. Like, I've - my gain has been, you know, kind of putting down other women and, you know, establishing myself as different, and I'm not different. It's just a varying method of...

SANDERS: Yes, of coping with this.

LORMAN: ...Being in the world and of coping in the world.

SANDERS: Yeah.

LORMAN: And now, as someone who kind of wants all of that, it's really interesting to see, like, how we're taught and conditioned to view certain qualities as gendered when it's just not binary in that way at all.

SANDERS: Yes, yes.

LORMAN: At all.

SANDERS: Yeah. It's all complex.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: It's all complex.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: So what would you do if you had all the male privilege for the day? Like, first thing you'd do.

LORMAN: Oouu (ph). Oh, my gosh. I think I'd, like, get on the train and just take up, like, a whole car with just, like, my stuff. But I'd be, like, a film boy. So I'd have, like, all of my film gear, and then I'd be reading, like, "My Struggle" by Karl Ove Swines-whatever (ph).

SANDERS: (Laughter).

LORMAN: And I'd, like, be performatively reading, and I'd have, like, a little beanie on, and everyone would love me.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

LORMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SANDERS: You'd have random people just give you their numbers.

LORMAN: Yes, yes, yes. I would just be like, hm, thanks. And I wouldn't call any of them.

SANDERS: Yeah. No, you would have to actually be reading a Ta-Nehisi Coates' book.

LORMAN: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

SANDERS: Very performatively.

LORMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SANDERS: That's the move in Brooklyn.

LORMAN: That's much better.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LORMAN: I get a lot of stories from people who follow me about men who show them the Instagram page on first dates or, like, send it to them being like, do you follow @awardsforgoodboys?

SANDERS: Because I do.

LORMAN: Yeah. And, like, they'll never like any of the posts that, like, apply to them. But they, like - they reshare the three that I've made about women, and they're like, this is so real.

(LAUGHTER)

LORMAN: You're like, OK.

SANDERS: Oh, the good boys.

LORMAN: We see you.

SANDERS: We see you.

LORMAN: Yeah.

SANDERS: We see you. All of you good boys out there, get this book; it is called "Awards For Good Boys: Tales Of Dating Double Standards And Doom."

LORMAN: Yeah, it's out June 4.

SANDERS: Thank you, Shelby.

LORMAN: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: Thanks again to Shelby Lorman. You can follow her on Instagram for more good boy awards, like every day; that account is @awardsforgoodboys. Also, going to second a request that I first made last Friday in the podcast feed - we are trying something new with the final segment of our Friday shows. We want to talk with you all about the weirdest things that have happened to you all week - this week, last week, next week, whatever weeks - we want that, though, OK? So you can send me that, those stories of weird stuff in your life this week, by sending me a voice memo to samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org. Cannot wait to hear those. Keep it strange.

All right, listeners, back in your feeds on Friday. Talk soon.

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