We check in with Maxine and the winning Caller three months later 📆 to see how they feel about the decisions they made… and if they have any regrets. 💭☎️

Transcript:

Spoiler Alert — if you haven’t listened to the rest of the season, go back and listen!

This is Hang Up, a reality dating show with no rings attached.

I’m your host, Zakiya Gibbons.

Here’s everything that’s happened so far.

For six weeks, our Star Maxine went on themed dates with each of her Callers.

June: I have what we call a lot of spicy memories around that.

Osprey: I spritzed it a little bit with with a my favorite cologne.

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

All of these dates were exclusively over the phone.

The Star and her Callers never saw each other and all changed their names so they couldn’t find each other outside of the show.

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

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

Maxine: I think that we’ve liked really vibed thus far.

If they couldn’t establish a clear connection, they risked getting the hang up, and elimination from the show.

June: I understand. I’m more of the pal anyway.

Then, the winning caller revealed their choice: an all expenses paid vacation with Maxine, or hang up on her, and take the cash prize of one thousand dollars.

Charlie: If I’m the winning Caller, I think I’ll pick…

In our season finale, Maxine chose one final Caller to hang up on.

Maxine: The caller, I have very much already decided that I'm going to hang up on is Charlie.

Revealing our winner— Sabo!

Charlie: Congrats Sabo.

Sabo: Thank you.

Sabo then revealed their choice.

Sabo: If Maxine picks me, we're going on vacation.

Maxine: Oh shit, oh my god!

So in today’s episode, Maxine and Sabo cash in on their prize: the anxiously anticipated, all-expenses-paid vacation.

They’ve spent six weeks getting to know each other over the phone, but will their chemistry ring through in real life?

Aaliyah: I recognize, like, the things about them that would make them a cool partner. But I don't know for sure. And I don't know if they would be interested.

Find out this week on Hang Up.

Zakiya: Aaliyah. Hi.

Aaliyah: Zakiya.

Zakiya: It's been so long. More than three months in fact.

Aaliyah: That's it. That is the amount of time.

Zakiya: Now that the competition has ended, and we're back in the real world, I'm going to be using your real name. You are Aaliyah. I am Zakiya.

Aaliyah: We got a fun rhyme thing going on, we sound like nineties, like we could be like, “We like the cars. The cars that go boom.” I can't remember who that is, but.

Zakiya: Yeah, we can be our own little, little Salt N Pepa.

Aaliyah: That could be by Zakiya and Aaliyah.

Zakiya: Yes. Arabic names edition. I love it.

Aaliyah: There it is.

Zakiya: And so in the same vein, we're also going to be using Sabo's real name, which is Hobbes. And of course I'm bringing them up because they won the first season of Hang Up and they chose the vacation, which is coming up pretty soon, right?

Aaliyah: Yeah, like a few weeks.

Zakiya: A few weeks. So where are you going on vacation?

Aaliyah: We're going to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.

Zakiya: Rehoboth? What's Rehoboth all about?

Aaliyah: It's just a fun little gay beach town that's within driving distance.

Zakiya: Cute little queer beach getaway. I love it. Before we get into the vacation, I want to bring us back from when we last heard from you. Decision Day. Hobbes had just won. They chose the vacation. You both were winners. We all went out for drinks. It was a turnt ass time. And this was the beginning of your IRL relationship with Hobbes. So take me back to that night, what was that night like for you two?

Aaliyah: I feel like it was cool. We had a nice time hanging out with everyone, and then towards the end of the night, Hobbes and I got dropped off at my apartment, and then Hobbes came up to, like, use my bathroom, and then we just kicked it for a few hours, and I, like, brought them home. But it was nice to just, like, sit and talk and chill with them. And like, I felt like my decision was validated by getting to spend some time with them because they are like a really genuinely cool and interesting and funny person.

Zakiya: Y’all hung out. Was it kind of trippy? Did it feel natural?

Aaliyah: I don't think it was that weird because we both weren't in a I don't think you know, it wasn't like The Bachelor where we were like, “Oh, we're engaged now. And like, I love you.” Like, it wasn't, like, fake, you know, It was we had connected in a real way, I think, and then just kind of continued to do that. But in a like, “this is crazy” and then kind of like went over like mutual people that we knew and stuff and just like how close we maybe potentially came to like ever meeting, but like, just didn't.

Zakiya: Wow. Oh, that's so cute. You know, I'm remembering that night. It was so fun. And I remember being like, one of those annoying people chatting to other people and being like, “Oh my God, look at Hobbes and Aaliyah, they're vibing. They're vibing.” The chemistry was like, undeniable. So you'd say that was like an inaccurate read.

Aaliyah: Yeah, I think so. Hobbes is really cool.

Zakiya: So there was, there was no goodbye kiss.

Aaliyah: No, not that night.

Zakiya: Not that night. Oh, okay. So let's get into it a little bit more. How did your relationship unfold from there?

Aaliyah: One day we went and got lunch. Another time we went and had like, some drinks and some appetizers at, like, this cute little spot, and then we went to like a brewery and had, like, some more beers and went back to Hobbes' place, Hobbes' house is, like, sick as fuck, by the way. So we went over there and hung out. I think they cooked a steak.

Zakiya: Oh.

Aaliyah: And we were, like, smoking weed. And we had… it was funny. I don't know if anyone remembers that I have, like, an affinity for High Noons, but…

Zakiya: I remember.

Aaliyah: Hobbes was like, my neighbor gave me these, like, kind of shitty drinks so I think we're going to have to go to the convenience store. And then they pulled some High Noons out and I was like, “Yo, I'm content where we are. I'll drink all of those for you. You got it, buddy.” So drank a little bit. Smoked a little bit. We, like went and kicked it in their hammock because they have a hammock in their beautiful little yard. It's like, it’s perfect there.

Zakiya: This sounds like heaven.

Aaliyah: Yeah. And then later in the evening, they dropped me off at my apartment and they asked if they could kiss me and we kissed, and it was like one of those fireworks kisses. You know what I mean? Like, you only get a few of those, I feel like.

Zakiya: I'm trying not to scream so fucking loud and, like, burst your eardrums.

Aaliyah: That's nice of you.

Zakiya: If you could feel my heart right now. Wait. The fact that you said. Wait. There's so much to unpack. First of all, we know that you are a very particular person, Aaliyah. And that's something I love about you. You don't, you don't fuck around. You know what you like. Hobbes's house is great. They had the High Noons. You all had a cute moment in the hammock. Sounds like you spent, like, hours together. You had, like, a, one of those rare fireworks kisses. So when you said kisses like that only happen a few times in a lifetime. What? What do you mean by that, “it only happens every so often”?

Aaliyah: I don't. I don't know how other people feel feelings. So I guess I shouldn't say that for certain, but I feel like I have. I've had a lot of kisses, a lot of first kisses. And, you know, sometimes it's cool, sometimes it's great. And then sometimes it's like, takes your breath away like, you know, and you can just, like, feel it in all of your, all of the places that you feel things. I don't know. You don't know what I'm talking about?

Zakiya: No, I do. And I think the reason why it's so hard for you to articulate speaks to the beauty of it. What do you think it is about Hobbes or that kiss that made you feel that way?

Aaliyah: They're just, they're very great. Like, I just think they're great. And then I think that, I don't know, maybe potentially the, like, leading up of this being like a thing that was pretty drawn out due to the fact that we spent a few months kind of communicating before we actually met each other. And then even like we did, like, meet and hang out a few times before we kissed. It was, you know, I don't know. I think it just maybe the lead up is the important part. Maybe I'm kissing people too soon, depriving myself of those fireworks. Am I learning a lesson about adulthood and promiscuity right now?

Zakiya: Did y'all like, have another kiss or start holding hands or snuggling, like did y'all like, start to, you know, start to build a physical connection?

Aaliyah: That was the only time that we we I guess built a physical connection.

Zakiya: Really? Despite the fireworks, I would have been like, “Yo, give me more of that.”

Aaliyah: Yeah I think um Hobbes, you know, did like tell me pretty clearly in advance that they're not like a super, you know, like sexual, physical, kind of individual, and that they kind of take their time with that stuff. So I didn't like take it personally or anything. I just, you know, we just continued to hang out, and I like hanging out with them. So I wasn't like upset that we weren't, like, boning.

Zakiya: Yeah, yeah. No, I'm remembering now that they said they like to take things slow, and I think that's cool because that does sound again, like kind of like the inverse of how you usually go about things.

Aaliyah: Yeah.

Zakiya: So what does your relationship with Hobbes look like today? Like that was the past few months, where are we at now?

Aaliyah: Today, currently, Hobbes and I are just friends.

Zakiya: Okay. So how did we go from no complaints, fireworks kisses to just friends?

Aaliyah: Well, I uh started seeing someone else. We’re calling him Sam. He just wasn't really into this whole, like, polyamorous thing. And I had to make a choice, basically, and I decided to stay with him.

Zakiya: Whoa, wait. So you're having a great time with Hobbes. You meet this other person. They're like, I don't feel comfortable with you being with us, being poly, like it's either monogamy or nothing. Tell me about that moment when you had to make that decision.

Aaliyah: We matched on Tinder and I, we went out on a date, and then we had sex that night. And so it was just like someone that I wasn't really thinking was going to be like, a serious fixture in my stuff. So I and I think it was maybe like the week that we did the final hang up this happened. So it was like to me, I wasn't in the headspace of like, “okay, this is a person that is going to be like around for things.” You know, he's just like, I'm sorry, but he's just like a man, you know? So.

Zakiya: Right, right.

Aaliyah: So then we continued, like, hooking up and seeing each other, and then there's just like a bunch of crazy shit that happened in, like, those few months after Hang Up that, like, kind of bonded us, I think.

Zakiya: What were those wild things that happened that bonded y'all? If you feel comfortable, if you don't, that's totally fine.

Aaliyah: Yeah. So, like a month maybe into us seeing each other, I, I got this stalker dude started following me. I like was walking down the street one day going to meet Sam and.

Zakiya: Sam, your boyfriend.

Aaliyah: Yeah, and I passed this dude on the street. We made eye contact, and I was like, it wasn't good eye contact, so I continued on a few blocks and he followed me for a few blocks. And then I turned around and looked at him. I crossed the street. He crossed the street right behind me.

Zakiya: Oh, my God.

Aaliyah: And I, like, looped around and went and met Sam. And then we were walking. And then we ran into him again on the street. And he, like, stopped for a moment and then like, continued on. So less than two days later, I…Sam was coming over to my house and he came upstairs and he was like, “Hey, that guy is in the alley.”

Zakiya: What?

Aaliyah: So and he just standing like, right at the edge of mine and it's just out of view. So from my window, like I can't see him. So Sam went downstairs and was just like, Hey, man, like, you got to get the fuck out of here. Like, I don't know why you're here or what you're doing, but, like, you cannot be here. He, like, told him it was his apartment and was like, You got to go. And the dude was just like, super indignant, threatened him with a flashlight, yeah, it was a whole bunch of shit. And then this just continued. We continued to have these interactions and I would like when I was leaving for work in the morning, I would see him, like camped out there and then like when I would come home. So then Sam started spending just every single night at my apartment because, like, I didn't… and I would often just go to his house until he was off work and hang out because I… I'm sorry. I was just so scared. And it's just like, I'm a woman who's like lived by myself for a lot of years, and I've always, you know, felt good taking care of myself, and he just completely took away, like, my sense of safety. And I just, like, I just broke, you know, and I needed him to be there all the time with me.

Zakiya: Of course.

Aaliyah: And he was, you know, like, I can't, like, express, like, how amazing and, like, perfect he's just been, like, as just a person in my life who just, like, cares for me and makes me feel so safe and secure and loved and just like, no problem was just like, head on, had no issue just like dealing with this with me. Like we had basically just met. So yeah. So there was that and then, at the beginning of July, I started to get like these really intense headaches and my head is like messed up already. I had what's called hydrocephalus a few years ago, so there was like a spinal fluid overflow into the ventricles in my brain. But like in the beginning of July, it just, like, got so intense. I couldn't really be outside. Like I was like, hard for me. I was just like, going to work and then going home and, like, sitting in the dark. And he was just also like, completely there with me. Like through all of that, just like the entire summer, we just, like, spent inside, like, hanging out together.

Zakiya: Well, first of all, I am so sorry that happened to you. That is horrifying and extremely fucked up. And I'm just so grateful that you did have someone in your life that could be there, like literally there with you whenever you needed them.

Aaliyah: Yeah. Thank you.

Zakiya: Yeah. And thank you. Thank you for sharing. Like, that is so scary. I'm sure that was really hard to talk about. But, you know, we can lighten things up and we can get a little superficial. Like, what does he look like? Is he hot? I bet he's hot.

Aaliyah: He's so hot. Zakiya.

Zakiya: Tell me. Tell me everything.

Aaliyah: He's like, 6’4”.

Zakiya: Oh,

Aaliyah: He's a personal trainer is one of his jobs. So he's, like, just all big and jacked and handsome. He's got a beard.

Zakiya: Yes. Oh, yeah. Sounds hot. Okay, so by the end of the competition, it seemed like you were really clear about what you wanted and didn't want out of a relationship. Do you feel like that clarity is what guided you into this relationship with Sam?

Aaliyah: I, I think it was helpful to… Well one have had to set my standards in a way that could be like played back to me at any point in time. Like I can't, now that I've like, put it out there that like, I expect more of myself, I have to, like, actually expect more of myself.

Zakiya: We changing lives and shit up in here. That's so, oh, you sound so happy.

Aaliyah: Yeah, I feel good about the place that I am now. I feel like guilty about kind of like, ruining this experiment and experience for everyone. But I do feel really good about the relationship I'm currently in in a way that I don't think I've experienced before.

Zakiya: You know what? I will admit that when you dropped the bomb that you have a boyfriend and you and Hobbes are just friends, the fan part of me, the fan of the show and of Hobbes and this, I was like, “No, I'm Team Hobbes.” But Sam sounds so great. I'm just I'm Team Aaliyah. So, like, honestly, whatever makes you happy and is what you deserve, I'm a fan of and it's not like anything was supposed to happen, you know what I mean? Like, literally, this was just like, What happens? Well, wow, I'm about to, like, rip off Real World. I it's going to be like, what happens when you take six strangers, put them on a hotline, But like, for real, I think if anything, if anything were to be, quote unquote, ruined or a disappointment is, if you like, kind of like kept dating bummy ass dudes. That's more than any of us could have asked for. Not that we were even asking anything.

Aaliyah: Thanks, Hang Up.

Zakiya: And so, yeah, you didn't, like, ruin this vacation. Because even if you and Hobbes were still dating, we don't know how that vacation would go, you know?

Aaliyah: Yeah we don't.

Zakiya: If anything, I think it's cool that you all are still going on this vacation, which could be seen as romantic, even though y'all are just friends. But, yeah, now you have a new boo, and our producer Caitlin is going to be recording y’all. That’s kinda a lot going on.. So, yeah, tell me about that. Do you feel like weird? Do you think you'll be awkward? Normal?

Aaliyah: I think it's going to be fun. I think that, like, Caitlin and Hobbes are both very fun, and we have hung out like the three of us together previously. Not for several days, but we've done it, and we've had, like, a pretty cool time. Like, I think it's going to go smooth. I hope.

Zakiya: Yeah I'm sure it will.

Aaliyah: Maybe I'll come back and I'll have a whole different tale of a tell all of why I stopped being friends with Hobbes and how Caitlin got that scar.

Zakiya: The reunion episode would be so lit. But my messy ass has to ask this question. I was going to ask, was that the only reason why you ended things with Hobbes because you wanted to be monogamous with Sam?

Aaliyah: Yes.

Zakiya: Okay. So if you hadn't met Sam or if Sam were poly and was like, “Yeah, do whatever you want.” Would you still be dating Hobbes?

Aaliyah: I think so. Although that's, you know, it's partially up to them, so I don't, I don't want to be like, “Yeah, 100%, whether they like it or not.” But yeah, I think in my head, like, probably we would have continued to see each other and like, probably would still be seeing each other. That makes sense to me. I do like Hobbes. And I recognize, like, the things about them that would make them a cool partner. I do think that probably if… like if Sam and I didn't work out that, yeah, there would be the chance that maybe I would try to, like, take Hobbes out on a date. But I don't know for sure. And I don't know if they would be interested, you know?

Zakiya: Right. Well, how does, how does Sam feel about you going on this vacation with your former almost lover?

Aaliyah: I mean, he's not psyched, but he's he's fine with it. You know, I think that he trusts me to not do something that would hurt his feelings.

Zakiya: Do you think you and Hobbes will be friends after this vacation?

Aaliyah: I sure hope so. I think they're neat.

Zakiya: So, I literally cannot reiterate enough that so much has happened.

Aaliyah: Yeah.

Zakiya: And I am reeling in the best way. You have this new love in your life. You're going on this dope ass vacation. You still have Hobbes in your life. Seems like everything has, like, worked out.

Aaliyah: You really can have it all.

Zakiya: You really can.

Aaliyah: I have an MRI this afternoon. I'm getting mine Zakiya.

Coming up, Aaliyah and Hobbes go on this totally not romantic, completely platonic vacation. Stay on the line!

Alright, gather ‘round, children, as I play the part of the omniscient narrator of this modern day, queer, almost-love story that culminated in this long-awaited vacation.

Now, most people may feel a bit awkward going on a platonic vacay that was supposed to be romantic with someone that they were previously getting hot and heavy with, but no one knows how to stay friends with an ex or former-almost-lover better than queers. And producer Caitlin has a front row seat. She’s in the driver’s seat, to be exact. She pulls up to Aaliyah’s house to pick her up in a sleek Dodge Charger

Aaliyah: Hello. This thing is sweet, and it has four doors just like I asked.

Then they pick up Hobbes and set out for Delaware… but first, an obligatory road trip stop at Starbucks along the way.

Cashier: How many pumps of peppermint did you say you wanted?

Hobbes: Two please.

Cashier: Two pumps of peppermint.

Finally they make it, and pull in to Rehoboth Beach, known for its poppin’ queer scene.

Aaliyah: We made it to Rehoboth Beach. We’re ready to get all in its ass.

Caitlin: The bong rips make it official.

And party they do… at a place called the Purple Parrot.

People singing “Don’t Stop Believing”

Over the next few days they do a lot of hanging out on the beach.

Caitlin: Shoes off

And sleeping on the beach.

Aaliyah: Am I the only one who brought a towel?

Caitlin: I brought a cloth.

Hobbes: I wasn’t thinking.

On the last day, Caitlin catches up with Aaliyah as they stroll along the beach.

Caitlin: Well are you glad they picked the vacation even though obviously it’s a different kind of vacation than we all thought?

Aaliyah: I’m having a good time. I would be happy that they picked the vacation if they’re also happy they picked the vacation. If they feel like, “man I would rather really have a thousand dollars,” then I would wish that too. I don’t know I hope we’ve had a thousand dollars worth of fun.

Caitlin: But you think it was pretty easy to switch back into friendship mode?

Aaliyah: I think so, I think if I’m being very honest with myself, Hobbes was probably more ready to switch back into friendship mode before I was even fully aware of it so I think that everything turned out the way that it was going to.

Caitlin: So you think if y’all had been able to ride it out, it would have rid out into this eventually anyway?

Aaliyah: I feel like potentially yeah. Not as much drama as you would have liked I guess, I’m sorry.

Caitlin: I know I’m gonna have to push you into this ocean so we get some screaming.

The next day, they drive home…

Caitlin: Alright what was your favorite part of the trip?

Aaliyah: The Chinese buffet.

Hobbes: I knew you were gonna say that. I think layin on the beach, chillin’.

Aaliyah: Hobbes did a lot of sleeping on the beach. It was very peaceful.

Hobbes: I did yeah.

Aaliyah: It was good to see you, thanks for doing this vacation with me. You guys have fun, be safe, don’t get any trouble in the Charger.

Then Caitlin takes Hobbes straight to the studio.

Zakiya: Hobbes. Hello?

Hobbes: Hi.

Just kidding, this was like a week later. We’re not that brutal.

Zakiya: Oh, my God. It's been so long since I've heard your voice. I missed it.

Hobbes: A season at least. Yeah. Wow. It has been a minute.

Zakiya: I know.

Hobbes: How are you?

Zakiya: I'm good. I said I missed your voice. You didn't say you missed my voice.

Hobbes: I did miss your voice.

Zakiya: OK I'm just saying, you gonna leave me high and dry.

Hobbes: I did. I was being shy. I was shy. I'm so sorry. No I did miss it. I did. Thank God. We're back.

Zakiya: There we go.

Hobbes: Thank you. Thank you for calling me out. Yes, cause it was a thought. Absolutely busted.

Zakiya: Well, you just got back from vacation, right?

Hobbes: I did, well rested. Yeah.

Zakiya: Oh, that's so good. Yeah. Tell me, how was it?

Hobbes: It was so chill. You know, You never know what you're getting into. Getting in the car with a couple of new folks in your life going off 4 hours away up north to a gay beach town, but it was so like it was just very chill. Like, that's the only word that really comes to my mind. Like a cool shower after laying in the sun. Just easy breezy.

Zakiya: Oh, that sounds so nice. So what was like the vibe of the town you felt like at home? You felt chill?

Hobbes: Oh, it was wonderful. We were literally, like, packing out, like the trunk, and some dude comes up to me and is, like, aggressively complimenting my outfit. And then he's like, “What do you do?” I'm like, “I'm a bartender.” He's like, “Oh, I'm a cop.” I’m like, “this conversation is over.” But it was nice. It was still nice, you know? Like it was yeah, like I said, everyone's just like, like saying hello. Everyone's just happier.

Caitlin: Hobbes was getting hit on a lot.

Zakiya: Oh, OK Hobbes. Why must you bury the lede? Whomst was flirting with you?

Hobbes: I don't know if it's flirting or if service people were just really happy to be there, you know. OK Caitlin's shaking her head but I don't want to assume that.

Zakiya: This is a safe space for hyper confidence and being a little into oneself. So just admit it, people are hitting on you.

Hobbes: Ezekiel wanted it for sure.

Zakiya: Ooh Ezekiel. Was it weird getting hit on in front of Aaliyah?

Hobbes: No. Why would it be weird?

Zakiya: Well, let's get into that, because… Thank you for that great segue. So your prize was supposed to be a romantic vacation, but obviously it wasn't that. So how was that, going on this vacation that was supposed to be romantic, but in the end, it turned out to be platonic?

Hobbes: I think this was best case scenario. Because it just took the edge off. It took the pressure off. I don't feel like the gas or the accelerator, or at least on my end was like so revved up where I could see like a romantic getaway, like popping off so aggressively. And like, I was kind of grateful for it to just be a bit more demure.

Zakiya: Wait, so you're saying that what happened was the best case scenario, like, better than if Aaliyah never got in a relationship and it was an explicitly romantic getaway?

Hobbes: Yeah, because at the end of the day, I'm a demisexual bro. Like, this dating show, like, has really just highlighted that in a very, like, more aggressive way for myself. Like, yah boy needs time. I need so much time. Yeah. So just yeah, it took all the pressure off and I felt like at the end of the day, I'm always looking for a friend. If you're going to date someone they should really like be your friend. I mean, you can date people for a multitude of reasons, but that's my desire. And so I feel like this kind of set us up to just kind of genuinely see about that thing.

Zakiya: So do you have any regrets taking the vacation? Was there a part of you that wished you had taken the money when you found out that there wasn't a romantic possibility with Aaliyah?

Hobbes: That would make me sound so bad. Yeah if I couldn't fuck her.

Zakiya: I don't think it would make you sound bad. It means you're, like, prioritizing yourself, like…

Hobbes: Yeah, but I don't…she doesn't owe me anything, you know? I don't owe her anything at the end of the day. So it's just for me to, like, think that way would be so, I guess, in my mind, hypocritical towards, like, my own self of like, how I view, like, relationships and like, I think everyone has done exactly what they've wanted to do and I celebrate that.

Zakiya: OK so it sounds like you had a really cute vacation. Yeah, but I want to take us back to Decision Day. I have to say that. There was like definitely some chemistry between you and Aaliyah that day. Would you agree?

Hobbes: Yeah, of course. Yeah, there was. There was a lot of feelings that day.

Zakiya: Palpable. Very palpable. Yeah. Y'all were really cute and vibing, and I was just like, Oh my God, did we really make this love story happen? So. So, yeah, that night, I remember we were out. Y'all were, like, kekeing in little corners, being a little cute and, you know, whatnot. So take me back from that moment, how did y'all's relationship unfold from there?

Hobbes: That is the tea isn't it?

Zakiya: Yeah. Spill it.

Hobbes: All right. Alright, alright. OK so, let me think back. Decision day happens, yes. I think the next day I texted I'm glad we met and she said "I'm glad we met too." I think after that point. We hung out for a night and I think the conversation was like, pretty chill, you know, whatever and of course, we're talking about relationship stuff like the dynamics I think that we were exploring or wanted or whatever and I remember Aaliyah telling me like, you know, she was seeing someone else and she wanted to be able to explore that while also exploring this and just kind of see where things were going to go and like wanted to like fully be in that experience of exploring both. I remember that being like a point that was made and I also have been and was seeing someone else at the time and that dynamic was stated. And just something in the conversation just kind of like clued me into like I feel like I'm hearing like, cause whenever I ask people like "do you feel like you're polyamorous or like maybe just open?" Like, there's a lot that, you can tell a lot energetically in the answer and before the answer and after the answer of that cause there's so much work, so much work that goes into polyamory that like when I meet people that are and like our about that thing, it's like it comes across a very like, certain way versus... and there's no like right or wrong, right? It's just like how people are in their shit. And I feel like somewhere in that conversation, I kind of like received the information energetically of like, you want to see where things go, but ultimately, like, will probably end up in a monogamous thing. And I know for me, that's not what I'm doing, like, it's just not in my cards, and granted she may not have said this in like with so many words by energetically like, that's what I picked up. That was kind of, the only time we ended up talking about relationship dynamics in regards to each other. Really. So that was a chill time and I drove her home, and then we kissed and it was great.

Zakiya: Wait so take me back to the kiss. Who initiated, how long, was there tongue, was it hot, were there fireworks?

Hobbes: You're so silly. I remember like I was thinking and again, I can’t remember if this is like the first time we hung out of this some other time but I remember at one point I was just driving her home and I was like I feel like I should ask. So I drove her home and I just asked her I was like “hey can I kiss you?” you know, we're a consent king, we do all that and she was like yeah, and then we kissed, it was maybe like 5 seconds I would say.

Zakiya: That's a good amount of time. 3, 4, 5…

Hobbes: Shut up. Oh my god Zakiya please. Please. You're killing me bro.

Zakiya: That's a long time.

Hobbes: Maybe 3 seconds, I don't know, shit, it sounded long when you set it all slow, but there is...

Zakiya: I'm just probably projecting my own desires on this porno in my head.

Hobbes: Clearly.

Zakiya: Well how did the kiss make you feel like in your body?

Hobbes: Excited, yeah it was good, there was, it was some tension you know, so it definitely released some of that tension, and added more in a different way. So I was like, yeah, this is kiss, it's it's doing a thing. And then I texted her after was like dayummmm. I love to follow up.

Zakiya: Ooh that y'all have like the sexiest energy. Let me stop being messy because she's in a relationship. OK let me just rewind.

Hobbes: I forgot too.

Zakiya: I know, shit.

Hobbes: Aw shit yeah I mean, I did intend to come into this, you know, with some juice. I was like, let's let's spice it up today.

Zakiya: Yes and you're giving and you're giving and I'm thirsty.

Hobbes: Yeah I can feel it.

Zakiya: Quench my thirst.

Hobbes: Yes ma'am.

Zakiya: Okay. Ummmmm so it's been a few months since you won Hang Up and your relationship with the Star has run its course, where do you go from here in your romantic life? What do you want dating to look like for you in the next few years?

Hobbes: Um more along the path of what I've been doing. I feel like I'm, you know, I've been seeing someone. I've been seen two people actually, like, one of them is, like, one of my best friends and like it's been such a wild trip in like how that came to be. And like, how we were negotiating on our own terms, like, what solo polyamory was going to look like for us, like, as individuals and then, like, coming together, like, seeing like the mesh of like similarities in our lifestyles and like how compatible we had been for each other. It’s just been so easy, I feel fulfilled to some degree, but I also just feel like, I know there's so much more like that's yet to come through, like, I'm just in like year two of actually living like my authentic like desired dating structure and like to see what can happen. Like, I don't really know how to predict that, but I'm just yeah, I'm so open to what can happen.

Zakiya: You said that. This is only year two in structuring your dating life like this, solo poly, is that how you would describe your dating style?

Hobbes: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I think for a while like the first year or I guess up until like a few months ago I really just don't fuck with partner. Like I don't feel like I want to be someone's partner and like, and I kind of had to investigate for a long time ago what I was actually like getting at with that, and I think it just came back to, like, I just don't have to ask for permission from anyone else but myself.

Zakiya: Yes. I would describe myself as solo poly as well. It's funny how a lot of people like, when I talk about it, they're always just like, I couldn't handle it. I'd be so jealous and so this and so that, and it's not to say that those feelings don't exist, cause we're humans. But it's like, yeah, I actually feel more secure.

Hobbes: Absolutely. I like having choices and making those choices and it really is like a build-your-own like structure kind of thing and like when it works out. Holy shit.

Zakiya: Yeah.

Hobbes: Definitely agree with the security thing. I’m like I don't need someone to tell me, oh I think I might have feelings for blah blah blah as like a warning to me, I'm just like live your life and come back to me with stories about your life and all I can do is like celebrate that as I'm doing that with myself and as like we come together and hang out and just have a good time anyway.

Zakiya: I love that. You know in talking to you and just your approach to love and dating and also just life it's pretty different from the image of love and romance that we're sold growing up in the in the U.S. Is this how you've always imagined your romantic life, and like what did it take for you to get to this point?

Hobbes: I mean I watched a lot of rom coms growing up, I was always fascinated with heterosexual like romance and love. I watched The Bachelor for a long time, watched a lot of reality TV, and I think it wasn't until I think yeah you kinda have to be the dog who has to stuff their own nose into their own shit. My last relationship that was serious for like three years like was me stuffing in my own nose into my own shit of like, “Is this what you want? You think you want a girlfriend bro?” Like really having a come to Jesus moment of like I'm not happy in this and why isn't this working? What role am I taking on by like projecting onto this, this human of like, “you're my partner,” and, like, somehow we've landed into this thing but like, did it feel like a choice? And like, taking that same urgency towards like, I want to feel good in a relationship, but what is a relationship and like, what do I actually want? And like, I've always pictured myself as one of those people that kind of comes and goes on their own terms. at first, I thought it was, oh it's because you have abandonment issues that you want to be able to leave, and I'm like, no, it's just, I think it's a symbol of how much freedom I truly desire and just need to be around people that can, like, respect that and encourage that and not feel threatened by that and can celebrate that. And I have.

Zakiya: Uh wow, wow. I am so shook, I don't have anything to say. I want to, like, sit with that. But I know, this isn't my own personal living room where I can just sit with my feelings. What would you say to someone who wants to reimagine their own romantic life, or wants to explore other possibilities of what love can look like?

Hobbes: Ahh, first step, date yourself. See what that's about. Cause then I think yeah you find out what you want from other people. Cause then you're not negotiating with somebody finally for the first time. God, feel the freedom of that. If you want to find a genuine relationship, there's definitely one with you first and then after that, only good things will come.

Zakiya: Okay, so we have date yourself, smell your own shit, get to know yourself.

Hobbes: Smell your own shit, yes. Metaphorically not literally.

Zakiya: Or if you're into shit play, you know, go for it.

Hobbes: You know who am I to kink shame?

Zakiya: You know yeah, smell your shit, literally and figuratively. Is that the last thing that'll be said on Hang Up? And roll credits. Smell yo shit.

Hold up. You didn’t think that would really be it?!

Because what would a reality dating show be without a REUNION. We’ve got that coming up next— so stay on the line!

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.

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.

Thank you to Freesound for many elements in this episode.

S1 Episode 8: Three Months Later