Helicopter landings. Vespa guides. Google Translate. All this and more in today's new episode.
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.

Over the weekend, I was reading Why We Can’t Sleep, Ada Calhoun’s bestselling book about structural and existential challenges facing Gen X women in middle age right now. I related. Sort of like when I read Can’t Even, Anne Helen Petersen’s book from last fall about burnout and millennials. I related to that too. Part of that is because I’m on the bubble of so-called “generations,” as a 1980 baby whose life course rode the wave of trends before me while so much underfoot radically changed. 

These books are important in the way that they make you see trends that feel personal, specific and isolated as actually the result of policy and history, with consequences intended and unintended. Of course, they can also get me debating myself about which generational bands of American society have had it tougher and who’s the most vulnerable now. Variations on this same debate show up in our disagreements about how vaccine priorities are set, or who deserves how much COVID relief. Then, I think about the conversations we’ve had recently on the show about the terrain of life after 60 in America right now. I’m reminded how much more interesting it is, and how much more nuanced my understanding of how people’s lives are changing, when I lean into curiosity instead of racing ahead to competitive sorting of who’s got what tougher. Maybe this is one of the graces of middle age? As a new-ish forty year-old, I can still see my hustling, struggling younger self, and can look ahead and appreciate how time compounds the stakes of your choices, which churns up a whole new sense of vulnerability. 

These were some of the deep thoughts I was swimming in during my weekend of reading—and why I so appreciated the diversions of an ambitious cookie-making project, a hike with California newts, and this week’s episode about your one night stand memories. Please enjoy! 

—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team

This Week on Death, Sex & Money
We just got through Valentine’s Day, our annual celebration of romance. Usually of the long-term sort...or if not long, at least, the sort where you’ve committed to be someone’s sweetheart. 

This week, we want to celebrate another important kind of romance: the one night stand. Those moments in your life when someone appeared in a flash, you connected, you enjoyed each other, and then you went your separate ways. And along the way, maybe you learned a little more about what you want or don't want, romantically or sexually. 

These spontaneous, no-strings-attached encounters, for many people, feel like a very remote possibility right now. But your memories of them are potent, as you told us when we asked you to tell us your stories about them. Listen to your one night stand stories in your podcast feed now.
Your Stories: The Bucket List
We heard from quite a few of you about your memorable one night stand experiences, including this story from a listener who put the experience on a bucket list after getting divorced...and found out it didn't go exactly as they'd hoped:
"By the time I was divorced after a 20-year marriage, I had only been intimate with two men: my first boyfriend at 19, and my husband a year later. When I became single at 41, I made a bucket list and added 'one night stand.'
I was about 44 years old at the time, and I saw someone working at a bar. I asked my friend to give him a note that read, 'If you are in your 30s, give me a call.' He did call, and we agreed we would have a one night stand.
I then asked my mom what she thought of one night stands. I think I wanted her approval. My mom, I think, wanted me to get out and explore. I was the only one of my sisters who was not a teen mom, or went out partying. I was the 'responsible one.' My mom is pretty traditional in her mindset, and Catholic, so I thought if she approved, it would be easier. At that time, I made a commitment to ride my bicycle only (this is another story), and my mom offered her car to me so I could go do a one night stand.
We set it up. I drove to his house during the day. I saw where he lived, and he had a mess in his front yard. I sat there, and almost turned around. I got the courage to knock on the door. There he was standing there. We barely talked, and just went to it.

I have to say that I am glad I had that experience because now I know I do not like it. The guy wanted to cuddle and I just wanted to leave. He wanted to keep seeing me, and I never wanted to see him again. I also found out he was only 28 (16 years younger). I learned a lot about myself, and now I know it's not for everyone.

—Anonymous, 49, California

Listen to This: Audio We Love

The podcast art for the show Suave, a black square with a beige border. The Futuro and PRX logos are in the top left and right corners, and a pair of fists in broken handcuffs are highlighted. The word Suave is in script below the fists.
A drawing of a Black girl with a braided bun and beads in her hair blowing on a dandelion. The words "Through the Cracks" are above her head in purple capitalized letters, and the WAMU logo is in the top left corner in black sans serif font.
In the new podcast Suave, we follow the evolution of an almost three decade-long relationship between David Luis “Suave” Gonzalez and journalist Maria Hinojosa (who was on our show last year). The two met in 1993—five years after Suave was found guilty of first degree homicide and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was 17 years old. As we learn about Suave's story, we also learn about how the relationship between a journalist and a source became something like friendship—and what happened when a Supreme Court case made Suave's release from prison a possibility.

18 days after someone last noticed 8-year-old Relisha Rudd at her Washington, D.C. school or at the homeless shelter where she lived with her family, she was declared “missing.” Through the Cracks, a new podcast by WAMU and PRX, investigates the story of her 2014 disappearance. Even though she had a network of family, educators and social workers behind her, authorities called Relisha’s disappearance “unpreventable.” Seven years later, Relisha has not been found, and host Jonquilyn Hill asks the difficult questions about the circumstances that led to her disappearance and the ways in which this 8-year-old Black girl was failed by multiple institutions.
"DSM gives me an opportunity to hear others confirm for me that I’m not out here on my own despite being married and pushing 70."
—Marianne, Connecticut

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