Our Star Maxine ⭐ is a 26 year old bartender in Richmond, Virginia looking for a date, preferably someone snarky who can match her humor and not someone who chews gum and loves Harry Potter 🧙

She now has six Callers who have one shot to make a first impression in a high stakes seven minute Speed Dial date. To pick her perfect match, she asks how they feel about roller coasters and Pitbull, their favorite Sean Paul song, and if they’ve ever been to therapy.

And in the end, one Caller gets the hang up. ☎️

Thank you to Freesound for many elements in this episode, including:

"vibraslap_small01.wav" by soundbytez; https://freesound.org/s/99240/

"WeddingBells1" by acclivity; https://freesound.org/s/23090/

"Kisses" by dcaval1@towson.edu; https://freesound.org/s/70793/

"Sugar Bag Busting.wav" by Marisca16; https://freesound.org/s/409024/

"dial_tone_and_landline_dial.wav" by mshahen; https://freesound.org/s/185465/

"redial_landline_5_rings.wav" by mshahen; https://freesound.org/s/185473/

"Hawk/Eagle Cry (Distant)" by PRINCEofWORMS; https://freesound.org/s/571273

"record_scratch_short.wav" by Halleck; https://freesound.org/s/29938

"Please Leave Your Message After the Tone" by kwahmah02; https://freesound.org/s/274759


I love reality dating shows.

I love guessing who’s going to end up together.

The drama and jealousy along the way.

Getting to see people at their most vulnerable.

But I’m tired of all the tropes.

It’s almost always a boy and a girl.

They’re usually in their early 20s but act like this is their last chance for love.

And their ultimate goal is to find someone to be with forever.

To get married to this person that they just met.

As much as I love these shows, they’re not anything like my own dating life.

So what if there was a show for people who just want to date, fall in love, and experience romance and connection for their own sake? Even, just for fun.

Well, welcome to Hang Up, a reality dating show with no rings attached.

I’m your host, Zakiya Gibbons.

Here’s how the show works.

There’s one Star, the person everyone is pursuing

Maxine: Life is a nightmare. Dating is no exception.

And six Callers who must break through the static and stand out from the crowd

Callers: Hello!

Every week, our Star goes on a themed date with each Caller. All of these dates happen exclusively over the phone.

Maxine: Have you ever been to therapy?

Osprey: To Jersey?

Maxine: To therapy.

The Star and her Callers never see each other and they can’t describe how they look.

On Hang Up, it’s all about the emotional connection.

Sasha: I’m feeling mad vibes by the way.

And they all change their names so they can’t find each other outside of the show.

Kai: It’s gonna be really weird when this is my cousin.

The Callers only have one date per week to stand out from the crowd and woo the Star.

But if they can’t establish a clear connection, they risk getting the hang up. Eliminating them from the show.

The Star hangs up on a Caller each week until there’s one final Caller remaining.

That’s when the tables are turned: the winning Caller gets to choose their prize:

Will they ride off into the sunset with the star? And take an all-expenses-paid romantic vacation?

Or will they snub the Star and take a cash prize instead? Of one thousand dollars.

Will this unconventional approach to love help them escape their dating hang ups or will they fall back on old habits?

Sabo: What would my most recent ex warn you about? Huh.

Kai: Ooh, I love this question.

June: You probably want a big dramatic reaction.

This season, we’re going to Richmond, Virginia. It’s where our Star and her Callers will be calling in from.

First, let’s meet our Star. She and I will get to know each other just like she’ll get to know her Callers— voice only, no video— I’m in the studio in Brooklyn, and she’s in the studio in Richmond with our producer Caitlin Pierce.

Caitlin: How’s it sound in your headphones?

Maxine: Reasonable, thank you.

Zakiya: Is this our Star?

Maxine: Hello. Yes

Zakiya: Oh my god!

Maxine: How are you?

Zakiya: I’m good, how are you doing?

Maxine: I’m well thanks

Zakiya: So yeah, can you introduce yourself?

Maxine: I'm 26. I bartend, I've lived in Richmond about 7 years. Are we doing like a whole thing right now? Is that a good intro to the basics, right? I'm a Virgo.

Zakiya: I kid you not the next question, I wrote down is “What's your sign?” Okay so, because Richmond is so small, you and each of the Callers are all using different names so that it's less likely for y'all to find each other. So what name are you going to be using?

Maxine: Oh my goodness. I don't, I'm all stressed out about it. I've had plenty of time to give it some thought and I haven't come to a solid conclusion.

Zakiya: I mean it’s a big decision, it’s like your identity. What names are you tossing around?

Maxine: So, okay, I thought maybe Maxine would be good from like Living Single.

Zakiya: That is literally my idol.

Maxine Shaw: "You'd think after God created dogs she'd know creating men was redundant"

Maxine: Your excitement right there. That's it. That's the answer, the other cons don't matter. That's it. We're doing it. It's Maxine

Zakiya: Right here and now you're Maxine

Maxine: Right here. And now it's, that's me. Now, I'm going to get a pantsuit. I’m gonna get a lot of pantsuits.

Zakiya: Maxine. Where did you grow up?

Maxine: So I grew up in Maine. I lived there until I was like 19 or 20.

Zakiya: Oh, okay, what was Maine like, and what was it like for you growing up there?

Maxine: So I'm mixed race. And then I was the only like black kid that went to my high school. So, it's weird, you know, like, all of the standards of beauty were very different and stuff. They were not trying to buy what I was selling. Now it's like constantly just like dealing with men out in public is like a whole thing all the time which is like not my favorite objectively, hot take strange men in public not the best usually.

Zakiya: Yeah down vote.

Maxine: I've had like, maybe a dude that like looked all right, come up to me like in the parking lot of a gas station and I just, it's never a good approach. I’m never like this guy me and him, we’re gonna make it happen.

Zakiya: Absolutely not.

Maxine: I like the way that he shouted across the parking lot at me and made a comment about how fat my ass was, now it’s me and him forever.

Zakiya: The trials and tribulations of having a fat ass like truly. So yeah, so you went from like no one really checking for you growing up to now everyone's checking for you…

Maxine: I don't know if I would go that far. But you know.

Zakiya: Well I'm just going to assume you sound very sexy and sounds like you have a fat ass and sounds like people are fawning over you.

Maxine: Those are the qualifiers so my bad, very sexy over here.

Zakiya: You know, you're a hot girl and now you're like The Star of this brand new dating show. So you're in Richmond Virginia right now as are all of our callers who we will meet soon. But first before we do that, I want to know what is the dating scene like in Richmond?

Maxine: It's a cesspool. This place is awful.

Zakiya: Oh no. How?

Maxine: I just, I am trying to think of the last bad date I went on. Within the first 5 minutes, he brought up two of his exes and told me that he was a huge Louie C.K. fan. “Still!” as he put it, not me I didn't say that. He said “Yes, still.”

Zakiya: What? That's so funny that that's what it's like for you in Richmond, because I'm in Brooklyn and it's the same here.

Maxine: I don't know that there's a city in the United States where women are, like, “Man. Dating is sick. I love it.”

Zakiya: So tell me what is Richmond like and like what is something that you would be like “That is so Richmond.”

Maxine: So I know that this isn't supposed to be like a physical thing, so I don't want this to just sound like purely shallow, but I feel like there is a big archetype of like, you see? Like the schlubbiest loudest not job-havingest guy like of all time and he’s like not cool you know and then this like angel woman like she's like, smart and beautiful. She's like, I don't know, working toward her PhD and also like volunteering at the children's hospital. She's like making shit happen and she's also like an eleven out of ten. Like that’s so Richmond.

Zakiya: Do you do you ever date these eleven out of ten women?

Maxine: I would like to but I think like the queer scene in Richmond one is like, I feel like there's some sort of like card you need or something that I don't have. I've dated, like, exclusively men. I've been with women and, like, casually dated women, but like, in my long-term relationship I’ve exclusively been with men, so maybe it's just like, kind of a little mythical to me. It seems like such a far away thing, to like have like, a healthy relationship with a woman that I'm just like, oh, they must be keeping some secrets.

Zakiya: Oh my god no that is so real. I date all types of people, all types of genders, and when I am, dating cis het dudes. The bar is low, like in hell, but I’m like at least I know the script, I was raised on it. I can recite it backwards upside down in my sleep so sometimes like the comfort of knowing the script…

Maxine: Of mediocrity?

Zakiya: Yes, unfortunately, and then sometimes the comfort of like knowing the script and knowing what I'm signing up for, or even though it's horrible, sometimes the familiarity is more comfortable than being on a date with like a hot girl, who’s gorgeous and cool, cause then I get to my head I’m like fuck am I out of my league?

Maxine: Like, what am I doing here?

Zakiya: Exactly.

Maxine: Yeah. Life is a nightmare.

Zakiya: Life is a nightmare.

Maxine: Dating is no exception.

Zakiya: I have a good feeling with you though, with this show. I really do.

Maxine: That's nice.

Zakiya: You're really easy to talk to. You have a hot voice. Seems like if anyone signed up to do this, they're probably really excited. I'm curious. What's your type? Especially when you're on this show you’re listening to the Callers, what are the green flags?

Maxine: Green flags are like communicative, open, funny, definitely. And then also someone who thinks I'm funny. And I definitely like it when they’re snarky.

Zakiya: That is so real. Like when they’re snarky but they also have emotional intelligence.

Maxine: Yeah. Someone who's not too uptight but maybe also has like some up uptightness about weird stuff. Someone who just kind of has fun with the things that disgruntle them maybe.

Zakiya: I love that. That is so specific and yeah, I get it. Can you give me an example?

Maxine: Okay. So I recently was on a first date and I hate like this is one of my weird things that we're just going to talk about right now openly. I hate mouth stuff. Like I walked up to meet this gentleman for our first date and he was handsome, tall, but I noticed instantly. He was chewing gum, which I hate. And then the appetizer comes, and he went to go wrap the gum in like a straw wrapper on the table, and I just lost it. And I was like, “Oh, you have to go wash your hands.” But that is like a thing like, I can't have like a long-term partner that loves to chew gum is like not someone that I'm I'm going to be able to be with. No.

Zakiya: Any other deal breakers?

Maxine: Um anyone who's like way too into Harry Potter is gonna be like a hard pass. Like if you like like Harry Potter, that's cool, but if you like have a Harry Potter tattoo, I just can't see a reality in which we're going to make it happen. I’m not even trying to make a whole thing It's not like political or anything. It's just like, I'm not going to watch those movies and I'm not going to compromise on watching those movies and people who like, really fuck with Harry Potter, are going to want to have one of those marathons at least once a year. And I'm just not going to do it. So.

Zakiya: I love how your second red flag, deal-breaker is another like super niche hyper-specific one that you're adamant about and I respect that. OK so you're dating, is there, do you have an end in sight with dating? Like are you wanting to get married and have kids? Are you wanting to stay single forever? Like, what kind of life are you wanting?

Maxine: I don't want children. I, I don't think that I want to get married but I mean, if it was like fiscally worth it for both of us and I feel like I could really trust them then I'd be like down for that probably. But otherwise I don't think it's a priority. I think that primarily because I don't want to have children, that there is no harm in just letting relationships rock for like as long as they do and then when it stops being like serving and productive for one or both of us, we can just move on.

Zakiya: So the next step is you actually starting the damn thing and meeting the Callers. So, are you ready?

Maxine: Sure. Yeah, let's get it.

After the break, we’ll meet Maxine’s six Callers… and find out which one gets the hang up. Stay on the line!

Robot voice: Welcome to the Hang Up Hotline. Our Star Maxine and all Callers are already on the line. To enter, please say the password.

Zakiya: You’re a wizard, Harry.

Robot voice: You may enter.

Zakiya: Okay. Oh my God. This is so exciting. Sorry, let me just gather myself. I'm very excited. OK, hey everyone, and welcome to the Hang Up Hotline! We have all six of our callers on the hotline. So Callers, how are you feeling today?

Callers: Ooh nervous. A whole lot of things.

Zakiya: Okay. So are y'all excited to meet your potential new love?

Callers: Woo!

Maxine: Hi everyone.

Callers: Hi. Hey there. Hello.

Maxine: I'm excited to see how effectively you all toe the line between charming and creepy through this experience.

Caller: Me too. God help us all.

Zakiya: Remember, there is no caller ID here. Maxine's not her real name. Everyone has chosen a different name to use during the show, so that's to take away the temptation of trying to find out more about each other than you learned during your phone dates together. So, over the next six weeks, y'all will get to know each other exclusively through phone calls. So let's hear a little bit from each of our callers. Our first caller is Kai. He grew up in Richmond and moved back after college.

Kai: Hey Maxine. I love cooking, anything near the water, and I love going to happy hours with my friends.

Zakiya: Our next caller is June. They've been living in Richmond for a little over a year.

June: Hey I'm June. I love 80s pop music and making people laugh, especially on stage with a microphone and I'm really excited to meet you Maxine.

Zakiya: Next up Sabo, they've lived in and around Richmond their whole life.

Sabo: Hey Maxine. I love karaoke, playing outside, and getting in trouble. Very excited to meet you.

Zakiya: And then we have Osprey. They've lived in Richmond for six years.

Osprey: Hey there, I'm Osprey. I love to spend my time outdoors. I love to bird watch and learn new things.

Zakiya: OK Caller number five is Charlie. He moved to Richmond less than a year ago.

Charlie: Hi Maxine, I'm Charlie. I love board games, walking around the city kind of exploring everything cause I’m new here, and making playlists for like, literally, everything including walking around and board games.

Maxine: Do you have board game nights with your friends, like scheduled?

Charlie: I do yes, the next one is for Friday, so absolutely .

Maxine: Wow, I'm impressed.

Zakiya: And finally, Sasha. She's lived in Richmond for most of her life.

Sasha: Hey, save the best for last, Sasha, I love art. I love learning new things, and I love traveling. Hey Maxine.

Zakiya: So it's really nice to all be together for the first time because dun dun dun. Today will be our last time all together that's because after your first dates today Maxine will choose one Caller to hang up on and eliminate from the show but if you make it through to the end and are the final winning Caller, the power will be in your hands to make the final choice of either taking an all-expenses-paid vacation with Maxine or walking away from her and taking a cash prize instead of $1,000.

Maxine: Holy shit.

Zakiya: That's a lot

Maxine: I'm just now getting comfortable with the idea of there being like a price that I'm worth potentially and like what that... fun, this is gonna be fun you guys.

Zakiya: The pressure is on. OK so without further Ado, let's find out about this week's date. Our first date's theme is Speed Dial. In a lot of dating, you only have one shot to make a first impression and this show will be no exception. You will only have seven minutes for this first date. The time starts as soon as you get on the phone and you’ll be notified when your time is running low. Maxine has a spinner with all of y'all's names on it to see who will go first. So Maxine. Please spin the wheel now.

Callers: Oh, there goes.

Maxine: Osprey

Osprey: So it's going to be me.

Charlie: "It's gonna be me"

Let’s dial in and hear a bit from each of Maxine’s dates.

Maxine: Hi, how are you?

Osprey: Hey. How's it going?

Maxine: I'm well, thanks. Man okay, so I guess I have like a list prepared so I guess I don't need to even bother with like small little chatter that I'm doing right now. Okay. When is the last time you sanitized your phone?

Osprey: Probably been a week or so. I work in a kitchen and I'll get some sauce or whatever else on my clothes, I’m very cognizant of washing my hands but working at a kitchen in a fast-paced environment. I'm going to forget it from time to time and touch my phone. So I try every once in a while to clean my phone.

Maxine: So you work in a kitchen, I'm a bartender, so that's cool.

Maxine: On a scale of 1 to 10, how clean is your home right now?

Osprey: My home. I would say it's probably about an eight, my room on the other hand probably closer to a five, I’ve got some laundry I need to do this afternoon. There’s a bit of clutter on my side table.

Maxine: Do you have roommates?

Osprey: Yes, I have four roommates.

Maxine: I'm realizing now that I should have put these in some sort of order but I just spent like an hour rattling off anything I can think of and now here we are so I’m sorry.

Osprey: Don't you worry about it just fire ‘em off in whatever order you want. If they're connected or not, I think I can handle it.

Maxine: Have you ever been to therapy?

Osprey: To Jersey?

Maxine: To therapy

Osprey: Oh to therapy yes I went to therapy for the first time as a child when my parents had been separated for a bit. And then over the years, checked back in.

Maxine: So would you describe yourself as emotionally intelligent?

Osprey: I would, yeah, I definitely like, in a relationship, appreciate, like, communication, open nuanced dialogue and really trying to understand somebody's feelings and where they're coming from whether or not, if that's informed by trauma or anything like that. So, I would like to think I'm fairly emotionally intelligent.

Producer: Ten seconds.

Maxine: OK well thank you Osprey that was informative.

One date down, 5 to go! And I might just have to start using “Jersey” as code for “therapy” now.

Maxine: All right. [wheel spin] Kai.

Maxine: Hi. How are you?

Kai: Good, How are you doing?

Maxine: I'm well thanks. How close and warm is your family?

Kai: I have a big fat Italian family basically. We’re actually super super close. I'm one of four just within my family and then my mom was like one of five. So we all get together and like have a lot of fun when we're all together. There's no like family drama or anything like that. Yeah. With all that being said we're definitely really close.

Maxine: OK right on. So how do you feel about rollercoasters?

Kai: So used to be deathly afraid of them like so badly because I was emotionally scarred by the Scooby Doo ride and was crying by the end of it didn’t get back on a rollercoaster til I was like 15 or 16 years old. And now I love it, I love making a fun day out of like a Wednesday or a Thursday or something like take the day off, go have like a random fun day you don’t have to wait for the weekend, it’s like playing hooky from school back when you were a kid.

Maxine: OK right on. If you're watching TV with someone, is it appropriate to start watching a video with sound on your phone?

Kai: That is such a debatable topic, cause is it really depends. A, the volume can't be over like two if you do do it. And B, I feel like you have to share, if you are going to watch it, but you're just going to sit there and scroll through tiktoks on like 10. That is a big no for me.

Producer: Ten seconds

Maxine: That is good to know, well it was really nice talking to you Kai.

Kai: Yeah it was really nice to talk to you too Maxine, have a good one.

If you’re on TikTok while we’re watching TV, no need to share with me— cause you won’t be around too long. Let’s see who’s next.

Maxine: Spin the wheel [wheel spin] Charlie.

Maxine: Hi Charlie.

Charlie: Hi.

Maxine: Okay, so I am I'm supposed to like ask you questions from this list but honestly like the idea of regimented fun with your friends and this giant wall of board games has me like really excited. So I want you to tell me a little bit about the last board game that you had with your friends, please.

Charlie: Yeah. So The last one I had was actually last weekend, I live in this great building that has a beautiful view and the point is, we always do that at my place because we have all the space and everything and because of all the hype we ended up having like eight people. So we ended up doing something like a party game, and we played Code Names.

Maxine: I don't know what that is.

Charlie: Oh, okay. So you and I are on a team. Okay. Maxine and Charlie. And um

Yeah he talked about this game for way too long. So we’re gonna skip all that.

Charlie: You might say "beak." And then we would just go oh well you know eagles, ospreys and birds have beaks. And so we would pick those three.

Maxine: I'm sorry I've taken us so far off track and we have such a limited amount of time but this is a conversation I would like to pick up later. OK I feel like I've got to do a more serious one now to make up for how much we just talked about board games. On a scale of 1 to 10, how emotionally intelligent are you?

Charlie: Gosh, that's a tough one. Maybe like a six or seven. I do take a lot of time to reflect on how I think and feel about things and then kind of connecting with people. My job has a lot of connecting with people as well so…

Maxine: What do you do for work?

Charlie: I’m a dentist.

Maxine: You're a dentist, OK.

Charlie: I am a dentist yeah.

Maxine: That's so funny. OK so how do you feel about chewing gum? This is actually on the list.

Charlie: I like chewing gum a lot.

Maxine: Okay.

Charlie: I chew gum all day. I even chew gum when I'm filling teeth when I'm drilling and filling.

Maxine: Wow

Charlie: Yeah I know it's like blasphemy.

Maxine: Yeah, I just feel like I don't even really know how to respond to that. I feel like I just learned so much.

Charlie: That's probably not good.

Maxine: I'm just processing.

Charlie: Okay. Side question. What kind of gum do you like to chew?

Maxine: I hate gum, I hate chewing gum, I think it's disgusting and awful.

Charlie: Yowch. Oh my god. Well, if it makes it any better, I don't chew that much gum, I chew gum mainly because I'm in a chair focusing on doing fillings for like two hour blocks at a time and it just kinda…

Maxine: I mean you're the professional you don't have to justify your behavior to me

Charlie: Well no I gotta, what if my boss hears this or anything?

Maxine: Oh man OK.

Charlie: Gotta justify myself.

Uh oh Maxine, looks like you’ve stumbled head first into a major hang up. Let’s see if our next caller has better luck.

Maxine: Hi June.

June: Hey

Maxine: How are you?

June: I'm doing, well, how are you?

Maxine: I'm well thanks. How do you feel about routine?

June: I have like a love-hate relationship with routine. Like any other neurodivergent person, I always want to have it. It doesn't always stick but not for lack of trying so I do have my morning routine, I wake up and I feed my cat and I get back in bed and you know, night time routines, unwinding, but during the day, I find outside of work. I try to be a little bit more spontaneous.

Maxine: Okay, how do you feel about Pitbull?

June: Pitbull, like the musical artist?

Maxine: That's interesting that we both chose a weird way to say...

June: The musical artist Pitbull, yes, I am familiar with a few of his works, I would say. I know the um, doesn't he sing like the Hotel Motel Holiday Inn song?

Pitbull: Hotel motel holiday inn. We at the hotel motel holiday inn.

Maxine: Yeah.

June: That's about, my, my range. Is he your favorite musical artist?

Maxine: No, I was just listening to him while I was writing these and I like Pitbull a lot so I figured worth the ask.

June: Yeah, definitely I think this is where I out myself as a dad because I mostly listen to like 80s rock.

Maxine: I'm cool with that, that's not the worst thing. How easy is it to discuss and/or describe your relationship with your parents?

June: Ooh I have, what we call a lot of spicy memories around that. So maybe not the easiest.

Maxine: Respect.

Hell yeah June, who needs dads when you can have dad rock?!

Four dates in, let’s check on our star.

Caitlin: Alright, two more to go, still holding strong?

Maxine: Do you mind if I take a bong hit?

Hold up hold up cut the music. Caitlin, is that allowed?

Caitlin: You do you.

Maxine: Okay, I'm going to do that and I guess you can just listen if you'd like or do your own moment of whatever you would like in this time.

Y’know, that’s not a bad idea. Let’s maybe take an ad break?

[bong hit sound]


Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time for Maxine’s next date. With…

Maxine: Sasha.

Sasha: Hello.

Maxine: How are you?

Sasha: Good. How you doing?

Maxine: I'm well thanks. Do you have a favorite Sean Paul song?

Sasha: Oh, “Get Busy.”

Sean Paul: Shake dat thing…

Maxine: OK “Get Busy” and then in reverse do you have a favorite Led Zeppelin song?

Sasha: Do I have a favorite Led Zeppelin song? Huh. What's that one is like that “dun nuh nuh, duh nuh nuh?” Oh man.

Maxine: That's OK we can just move on, it's like a high pressure question, I only have one of these on the list. And it's not a test. This isn't a make or break.

Sasha: OK OK.

Maxine: OK. What is something a partner would have to put up with about like in your eyes and then something you've been told?

Sasha: I have very dry humor and I'm pretty sarcastic. It's really hard to tell when I'm kidding and when I'm not.

Maxine: Okay.

Sasha: So do I get to ask you like, can you answer these questions too?

Maxine: No one has asked me any questions back, is that allowed Caitlin?

Caitlin: Yeah for sure.

Maxine: OK um something that someone would have to put up with about me is that I am very loud. And something that I've been told that I have, yeah I'm really harsh, I can be super harsh and sometimes I'm being funny I'm just being, I don't realize how rude I’m being and sometimes I do realize how rude I’m being. But that is something I've been told and I'm working on.

Sasha: Right on.

Maxine: Okay. What are your top three favorite genres, like your go to if you're sitting down to watch a movie?

Sasha: Number one, comedy for sure, I love to laugh. Number two probably be either thriller or some sort of like TV horror movie and then the third one would definitely be like sci fi, a mind fuck movie.

Maxine: Okay. Mind fuck movie. Like, give me an example.

Sasha: Like Secret Garden, Secret Window, not Secret Garden with Johnny Depp.

Secret Window clip: But some windows should never be opened.

Maxine: OK yeah that movie was really fucked up. I'm gonna write that down, I'm gonna watch it later definitely.

Sasha: Do, please do. I might even too, it's a really good movie.

Maxine: It'll be like we're doing it together. This is going to be kind of like our first date. Well this is our first date I guess.

Sasha: It'll be an extension.

Maxine: This is like if it went well and we went home together and watched a movie.

Sasha: Yeah I'm diggin all of that.

Maxine: OK good I'm glad to hear.

Maxine: Okay. What would your most recent ex praise you for?

Sasha: Besides the obvious, I guess just being supportive.

Maxine: Is the obvious like, meaning the conversation we've had so far?

Sasha: Essentially yeah.

Maxine: OK.

Sasha: Like charm, wit, whatever, what have you, chemistry and all that.

Maxine: OK, it was nice talking to you, have a nice night.

Alright Sasha, talkin’ about extending that first date. I’m feelin’ the vibes! Let’s hear what Maxine thinks of our last Caller, Sabo.

Sabo: Hello.

Maxine: Hi. I've been waiting very patiently to speak to you because you said you were trouble so I saved like the hardest questions for you.

Sabo: Excellent, lay it on me.

Maxine: Yeah perfect. So what would your most recent ex warn me about?

Sabo: What would my most recent ex warn you about? Huh. Probably… I can be a little… I guess if you're like someone who likes to be on the more chill end of things, I'm a bit more high key, I would say. When it comes to just like being in a room with other people, I'm not usually always going to be the quietest one there.

Maxine: Okay, So you're like the center of attention.

Sabo: Well you know in a balanced way I would say though. I have a very group mentality, I'm not trying to be the person who's directing everything going on or whatever but certainly I think with my job, I've gotten a lot of, I got a lot more comfortable, just like, I don't know, being somewhat in the center but not actually in the center.

Maxine: What do you do for work?

Sabo: I'm a bartender.

Maxine: So am I.

Sabo: Oh really?

Maxine: Alright, when is that... No I don't wanna do that one cause you’ve already... Do you think you fit into any subcultures or stereotypes?

Sabo: Do I fit into any subcultures or stereotypes? Um I was kind of contending with that on Tik Tok like what kind of queer I am, I feel like it's probably, like, boy band, kind of queer.

Maxine: Boy band queer, like you have a swoopy haircut? No I'm sorry that's not something I should have asked, that’s not allowed.

Sabo: Oh right, I guess the rules yeah.

Maxine: Ok boy band queer, got it.

Producer: Ten seconds.

Maxine: Okay, well, I guess it was nice talking to you. Thank you.

Sabo: You as well. Thanks Maxine.

Zakiya: Hello Callers. Welcome back to the Hang Up Hotline. So you've all had a chat with our Star, Maxine. Five of you will remain on the line and continue to the next round, but for one of you your call ends with a hang up. So Maxine, have you made your decision?

Maxine: I have.

Zakiya: So you've had these seven minute phone dates with these complete strangers, which Caller are you choosing to hang up on?

Maxine: I just want to say but I feel like everyone did a great job and I enjoyed like this limited time getting to speak to everyone. But this person I just felt like there were just a few key kind of things where we went back and forth where I was like, “oh this is such a friend. This is definitely just someone that I could hang out with, but someone that I don't know if we would get to a romantic place,” so the caller I decided to hang up on is unfortunately, June.

June: I understand I'm more of the pal anyway, but I will think about you every time I hear the “Hotel Motel Holiday Inn” song.

Maxine: Aww that's so nice.

Zakiya: So June, um how are you feeling right now? What are you feeling?

June: Oh I feel fine. You probably want a big dramatic reaction.

Zakiya: No, I want the truth. No, I only want the truth.

June: I feel fine. I honestly think I had a feeling this was coming and I'm just really excited to have had the opportunity to chat with Maxine and meet the other contestants and have some fun.

Zakiya: Yes. Um. Have you learned anything about love, dating, romance from this unconventional approach to dating? From what you experienced today?

June: What profound experiences am I walking away with? I very much appreciate my buddy vibe, and I just feel affirmed in the fact that everyone truly is my friend. I can make a friend anywhere even with a stranger over the phone.

Zakiya: In seven minutes.

June: In seven minutes.

Zakiya: Maxine, Callers, congrats on acing your first date! Yay! But, stay on the line because we have five more weeks of dating to go. So now that you got the first date jitters out of your system, it's time to get to know each other even deeper. The theme of next week's date is long distance.

Caitlin: Hello! You’ve reached the Hang Up voicemail. Leave a message at the… [beep]

Osprey: This is Osprey. I had a wonderful time on the show this afternoon and I'm really excited to move forward and get to know Maxine some more.

Kai: This is Kai. Maxine already seems really fun just from the seven minutes I got to talk to her and the little bit that we got to do up front and I can't wait for the next date to actually get to ask some of my own questions and really get to see who Maxine is and you know, what she likes and how the two of us would work together.

Charlie: I stand by my gum comment. Here's the thing. I totally get like mashing your gum and doing all this crazy stuff with gum being kind of disgusting but I'm I'm a silent chewer.

Sasha: Hey this is Sasha. Yeah the date with Maxine was I think really good. I loved her questions. She seemed super sweet, and she likes the same stuff as I do. Based on our first interaction I thought it went really well. I have high hopes and hopefully get that vacay at the end.

Sabo: My name is Sabo. I just had my first date with Maxine on Hang Up. Super good time, I'm excited for next week and just to kinda learn more about her and what the connection could and will be.

This season on Hang Up, we’re asking the tough questions:

Maxine: What about you feels hardest to love?

Sasha: Can you squirt?

Charlie: Is it giving?

Zakiya: I need to be clear. Do you or do you not fuck with Harry Potter?

Maxine: Am I learning a lesson about adulthood and promiscuity right now?

And you know it's bound to get messy…

Kai: It becomes a game of telephone where it’s like he said/she said.

Sasha: Some part of me is thinking maybe one of them is playing her.

Maxine: The end of this I think it’s just a little… it’s just stressful. I feel stressed out and I don’t know what to do.

The pressure is on! Kinda...

Sabo: All the sudden, there’s some grinding going on, it’s just a good ol time

Sasha: No worries just don't put it in my butt.

Osprey: Alluring for lack of a better word.

Charlie: They like to smack that ass like a drum. For sureskies.

Maxine: Is that something you like to do?

Who will stay on the line?

Maxine: What if this is my love story?

Whose connection will be dropped?

Sasha: It could all fall apart at the end.

Hang Up is created and produced by me, Caitlin Pierce.

Our host and story editor is Zakiya Gibbons.

This episode was mixed and sound designed by Ben Montoya. Ben is also our story editor.

Music by Jeff Carter and Stephen Pathe of Sandy. Hear more at sandy-sounds.com.

Art by Alex Teschel.

Studio recording by Eric Elterman of Boomtown Studio, Kieran Kaye of Full English Post, and the ICA Community Media Center.

Our sounding board is Allison Behringer, Karla Corrales, Chioke I’Anson, and Grayum Vickers.

Special thanks to Mitra Kaboli, Sean Rameswaram, Sarah Rifky, Jana Khan, Emily Martinez, Anna Stitt, Audrey Mardavich, Yooree Losordo, JT Green, Gina Delvac, Quinn Heraty, Marcelo Lopez, and the ICA Community Media Center.

This episode uses many sounds from Freesound, for the full list check out our show notes.

Hang Up is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a network of independent, creator-owned, listener-supported podcasts. Discover audio with vision at Radiotopia.fm.

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