horizontal is Slow Radio about intimacies of all kinds. It is entirely recorded while reclining. I think of it as consensual eavesdropping— we’re lying down, wearing robes, sharing secrets, in your ears.
In this episode, I lie down with Dr. Alexandra Solomon: clinical psychologist, author of books, Northwestern University Professor, and creator of the internationally-renowned undergrad course “Marriage 101,” which I wish was taught to every incoming freshman in college (and ideally, every outgoing senior in high school) and really, to every adult everywhere who didn’t take that class— across the world.
I read about the course a few years back, long before I met Alexandra in person, in an article in The Atlantic, titled “The First Lesson of Marriage 101: There Are No Soul Mates.” In Marriage 101, she guides students, through both book-learning and experiential means, towards relational self-awareness, guiding them through an understanding of attraction, conflict, sex, and forgiveness. Who doesn’t need this class?! We all need this class! I need this class!
Alexandra’s entire body of work, it seems, is devoted to guiding us to make heathy, conscious choices in love.
Her 2017 book Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want, is an ongoing dose of compassion, and I imagine that her forthcoming book, Taking Sexy Back: How to Own Your Sexuality and Create the Relationship You Want will be a guide to undoing the shame that most of us were indoctrinated with by religion and our sex-negative society.
You can do a deep dive into her work on dralexandrasolomon.com
Each horizontal conversation is between two and five hours long, and divided into two parts (except for the 5 hour-long one, which was divided into 4).
Part one, like this episode, is available in all the podcast places, and part two is available exclusively to patrons of the horizontal arts.
Patreon is like the love child of crowdfunding and a subscription service. A great big Happy Dance welcome to my newest patrons — Jacob, Hannah, & Michael. Elisa, Amanda, Becca, & Dominique. Helena, Matt, Farah, Bob, Eric, & Joe. And an extra excited Happy Dance to Rex, for doubling their pledge this month!
Here’s the deal with the Happy Dance:
I come from anxious and depressive stock. I’m also a recovering perfectionist. No accomplishment was ever big enough. I would look at celebrities and compare and despair. Nothing I achieved felt like success. I felt good about it for perhaps half a second, and then re-commenced thinking about other people who had accomplished so much more. Now I’m in the process of rewiring my nervous system for celebration and joy. I decided approximately a year ago to celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, no matter how big, with comparable enthusiasm. Hence: the Happy Dance.
Every time I get notified of a new patron, I stop what I’m doing, wherever I am (literally: on the subway, in the hot tub, at the podcast conference) and do an elaborate Happy Dance that lasts for a solid 15 seconds at least, long enough for me to bypass any bit of embarrassment and to viscerally feel the joy rush through my body.
This is what one looks like.
I made a pact with myself when I was in college. I determined that the compliments I think in my head don’t belong to me. And if they don’t belong to me, I need to return them to their rightful owners: the people I think them about. Having this philosophy has spread a lot of joy that would otherwise have never been actualized. So, in much the same way, I think that Happy Dance belongs to my patron. And I’m now making a Happy Dance video for each and every new patron!
Become a Patron!
So for access to The Full Horizontal, all the part twos going back to the beginning, including next week’s episode with Dr. Alexandra Solomon — as well as for your very own Happy Dance video — become a patron of the horizontal arts.
In this, part one of my conversation with Dr. Alexandra Solomon, I talk a lot. It’s just so lovely to have a capaciously compassionate, therapeutic ear. I’ve missed that.
We talk about:
Now come lie down with us in Midtown Manhattan, New York, New York.
This episode was mixed and mastered by Irving Gadhoury. You can find him for all your audio needs — including recording live music — at IGrecording.com. My lovely intro music was composed by Alan Markley, @plasticcannons on Instagram, and my lovely logo was illustrated by Shana Shay, whom you can hire on 99 designs.
One of my key takeaways from the — phenomenal — Podcast Movement conference in Orlando was the realization that I haven’t been asking you to subscribe!
If you enjoy this episode, would you please take a moment and hit the SUBSCRIBE BUTTON in your podcast player of choice? It makes a difference. Every subscriber helps me toward my mission of making the world a more intimate place.
And if you found this episode with Dr. Alexandra Solomon powerful, would you share it with someone who could use a compassionate voice in their ear?
In next week’s episode, part two of my conversation with Dr. Solomon, we discuss marriage, navigating mismatched libidos, the difficulty of being an academic in the field of sexuality, the faculty Greek chorus in her head, taking sexy back, teaching college kids how to communicate with their lovers, and the societal pressure for women to be beautiful while brilliant.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for getting horizontal.