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Why do I like the smell of gasoline? What should I do about my racist boss? What is the clothes fastener technology in Star Wars? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hank: Hello and w- were you just whispering?

Mayim: Yes I was just whispering to nobody - Sorry, I was just whispering that if the cats become a problem he should lock them out, I'm sorry.

H: Okay

[both laughing]

H: Hello, and welcome to Dear Hank and John

M: Or as I prefer to call it - Dear Mayim and Hank

H: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother john but occasionally guest- uh, guest hosts like this weeks Mayim Bialik, answer questions, give you dubious advice and bring you all the weeks news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. Mayim did you bring AFC Wimbledon news?

M: You know, I did and it's big.

H: It's big. I- I actually looked up some and I was like John's gonna be sad he missed this week. How are you?

M: Oh yeah well I- I'm okay but you know, AFC Wimbledon is really-

H: No!

M: in goalkeeper shock.

H: Don't tell anyone yet we have to save it for the end of the pod.

[both laughing]

M: Okay. I'm doing okay.

H: Good. Good. H- Where are you at?

M: I'm in my children's room.

H: [Laughing]

M: and I'm uh- I'm in Los Angeles.

H: Why are you in your children's- is this where your podcast studio set up is?

M: Because- it is- no there's no studio set up to be had here. It's the quietest room in the house as it were because my children are not here.

H: Right, yes I would imagine it's not usually the quietest room in the house.

M: No.

H: No. Um I have a child now-

M: I know!

H: The last time we talked I did not.

M: [laughing] That's right, congratulations again.

H: Now I do and he's uh- he's sleeping inside right now and uh, thus does not need me. So that's- what I've heard is that if a child is sleeping you can just leave, right? And go somewhere?

M: Oh yeah, no they got that. They figure that out.

H: Perfect. Um, yeah thanks this is excellent parenthood advice. Uh I have a parenting question for you.

M: Okay.

H: Am I gonna be okay?

M: [laughing] Are you gonna be okay? Haha! 

H: Haha - is everything-

M: You will be okay- You'll be okay in about four years.

H: Haha alright. Well good.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

H: Uh at least there's a horizon, I appreciate-


H: I appreciate the perspective. Um, uh yeah well it's an absolute pleasure to have you here I've uh, you know- it's very interesting to hear your voice. I assume that people know uh, some things about you but you are um, obviously on some TV shows and have been for a long time.

M: Right.

H: And also you are just sort of a- I don't know, like a professional helpful nerd person on the internet. Is that right?

M: [laughing] Um, I guess? I mean I definitely have um, made a sort of- an active decision to- to find an audience that understands me as I am. Uh, since being an actor means uh, having people like you for what they want you to be, and um, I started a website called Grok Nation and I've started entering the YouTube space, honestly completely inspired by you and your brother, uh, to try and make an impact in positive ways that are helpful and entertaining, and don't necessarily rely on a casting director telling you that you're good enough.

[both laughing]

H: But yeah that's- I have done a little bit of the L.A. thing and I don't really know why anyone would give up what I do for that.

M: Yes.

H: Just 'cause it's so- it's so- it's rough.

M: It's- it's rough. And it's not like "I work in the coal mines" rough. But um, it is a psychologically and spiritually challenging environment to uh, to exist in and you know I was in the industry as a child and I left for twelve years and got my undergraduate and graduate degree, I had two kids, and I've returned and The Big Bang Theory is a very big blessing in my life, it is not what I thought my life would look like so there's a lot of adjustment going on in general, as there is for all of us.

H: I feel that. Well, um, speaking of psychological challenges, we have a question- Oh no wait! You have a short poem for us.

M: I do. I have a stanza of a longer poem, but yes.

H: Okay.

M: Okay. Just like go at it?

H: Do it.



 (04:00) to (06:00)

M: Okay so this is a medieval poet. He was born in the middle of the twelfth century, his name is Peire Vidal, and um, when I read this particular poem, and this stanza, it reminded me of one of my favourite musicians: Morrissey. And you will see from the final line why that is so. This is translated by Paul Blackburn.

Mayim, reading the poem: "Lady, when I was within your hall, it seemed Saint Julian must have been my host. God never made such a perfect day as you formed of that day with your hand. In your making he made no mistake. Such arms were cast only to kill me, sure. I trust your excellence is too good a thing, but even if you killed, me it would be an honour, and if I died, I could only die praising and rejoicing."

H: Mmm.

M: The Morrissey lyric "to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die" is what I thought of when I read that medieval poem.

H: [laughing] Yeah, uh, things have not changed. 

M: Exactly.

H: I mean things have changed but as far as like, overly sacchrine love poetry, we're still goin' at it.

M: Oh yeah, in terms of painful love, not much has changed in the last eight hundred years or so.

H: Well in terms of painful love, or in this case, painful non-love, this question comes at us from Lindsey who asks: "Dear Hank and Mayim, I recently asked one of my friends to prom. She's a year younger than me, and I wanted to carry on my tradition in my friend circle of bringing underclassmen to prom a year early so they can experience it. Unfortunately, she took my prom-posal to mean that I had a romantic interest in her which I don't. She has confessed that she likes me too and I don't know how to deal with this. Do I tell her that I'm not interested and have the most awkward prom ever? Or do I just not break the facade and let her down later? Dubious advice is much appreciated. With much uncertainty, Lindsey."

 (06:00) to (08:00)

H: Aye aye aye. I don't know I felt like you were gonna have the answer Mayim-

M: Oh I have the answer, is it my turn to say it?

H: Yeah!

M: I uh, I'm always going to advocate for honest and sincere conversations-

H: Yeah.

M: Even if it hurts other people. And it's never to young to start doing that kindly and lovingly.

H: Yeah. Yeah, so how do you do this kindly and lovingly? Is it sort of like, okay, here, Lindsey, I uh- asked this question to a podcast, they have answered it, and I would like you to- I would like you to listen to the podcast so that we don't have to have this awkward conversation? That seems like a good way to do it. 

[both laughing]

M: Yeah I- Yeah no I think that that's pretty much they way you have to do it. There's no way to soften the blow of reality in this case.

H: Mhm.

M: And it's going to hurt her and I think a lot of people avoid having honest and sincere conversations because they're trying to take care of other people's feelings, and I feel like it creates an environment where no one is able to be honest or deal with their feelings, so this gets to be the first experience where uh, that's the conversation. It seems that my prom-posal - fancy word - it seems that my prom-posal may have introduced a conversation that's really hard to have, but I really want to go to prom with you, but I'm not romantically interested in you and I hope that we can still go and have a good time, and if you don't want to, I'll understand.

H: Yeah. Yeah, and uh, and I don't know if there's a good hug that can come along with it that isn't awkward but it does seem like a moment that requires a hug. Uh, what a bummer.

M: Sure

H: What a bummer! What a like- Oh man.

M: I wouldn't want a hug in that situation.

H: [laughing] Okay, well that's good to note.

M: Yeah. "Dear Hank and Mayim, I'm currently in the middle of getting divorced. For the most part everything is amicable, and we have both moved on with our lives over this past year. We do have a wonderful 3-year-old son together."

 (08:00) to (10:00)

M: "My ex-husband's birthday is usually the same week as Father's day, and I'm not sure what, if anything, I should do. I would like my son to be able to give his Dad a gift but I can't just give a 3-year-old cash and send him to the store. [Hank laughing] Should I buy a gift for my ex-husband? Or invest time in a craft with my son to give him? Is this my job at all now that we are separated? Should I just assume his new significant other will take this over? As always, dubious advice is appreciated. Thankyou, Cat."

H: Oh yeah-

M: Cat, I have- I have been in this exact situation.

H: [laughing] I mean I-

M: That's why I like this question.

H: I had a feeling it seems like you ended this amicably and you're still friends, so like, he's still a father and it's still his birthday and he's still a part of your life.

M: Right and I would say- my ex's birthday is not the same week as Father's Day but there are other holidays that fall around my ex's birthday so this is something that has been in my head a lot. Um, here's my thing: we get to teach children how to behave, separate from our relationships and resentments or issues. The fact that it's the same week as Father's Day, I think it would be really nice to show your child whether the father has a new life, to show the child: "this is how we celebrate Dad on Father's Day and his birthday."

And you don't need to go over the top. I think the first year after we were divorced I was like "Let's buy him a computer!'

[Both laughing]

And my therapist was like "No, you don't need to buy him a computer." But I think um, I think making cards, having the child decorate a card is always a nice thing. When I had children that age and I was just divorced I would have my child say nice things about Daddy. Like, I would say "What's something you like about Daddy?" and I would sort of transcribe um, you know like, "Daddy whatever... gives me candy" or whatever it is and then have them decorate the card. I think that's nice. And if there's something small, as a gesture that the child can participate in, wrapping, I think it's important to show we give important people gifts. And it really is- it's the ultimate gift to teach that child that while giving the ex-husband a gift.


 (10:00) to (12:00)

H: Boom. You're really good at this. You're better at advice than John and Hank Green are.

M: Hey thanks!

H: For sure!

M: [laughing]

H: I mean uh, I feel like we are dispensing actual good advice on this episode of Dear Hank and John - it's super off brand.

M: Sorry! [laughing]

H: Well so to turn things around I'm gonna hit a question from Steven who asks: "Dear Hank and Mayim,
Something I have been wondering for years: what is the clothes fastener technology in Star Wars? Do they have zippers or velcro or did all species use the same? Pimento in your eye, Steven in Cincinnati." So-

M: I'm gonna let you take this one first.

H: Are you a star wars fan? I can't imagine you're not a Star Wars fan.

M: I am, I am. I am a Star Wars fan.

H: But did you, upon reading this question, go and Google like every costume design from all of Star Wars? 'Cause that's what I did.

M: Oh! No, no. I didn't do prep. I don't know if that's what I was supposed to do. No I didn't do prep I just used my brain, like thought about it. 

H: Yeah I-, so I did a little bit of prep and I'll say that they use- they seem to use everything.

M: Yes.

H: They seem to have velcro, they seem to have uh, even magnetic fasteners, it looks like on a couple of uniforms. Some- you know those belts, like the straps on like backpacks. A couple of those show up.

M: Right.

H: But then you have zippers and you have buttons all over the place, lots of zippers and buttons. 

M: I think, you know- I think but-

H: Just like normal life.

M: But not- But unlike normal life, I think there's a lot of hidden zippers.

H: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well that's a costume design thing in general- is like you don't necessarily want a zipper pop up like sh- So I think there's a lot of like the fabric goes over where the zipper is 'cause otherwise there's no way to put that shirt on.

M: Correct.

H: So you know there's a zipper in but you can't see-

M: No and it doesn't- it doesn't- it just doesn't look as nice.

H: I mean then you can't use a Mickey Mouse zipper pull, which is what used to be on one of my favourite jackets.

M: I mean I think zipper pulls are s- like we need a solution to the zipper pull crisis.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

H: Zipper pulls have gotten so boring. All my hoodies have normal zipper pulls and they're just like- they're from you know YKK which is the- the biggest you know they make 90% of the zippers in the world. And I think that there- like there should be a way for me to replace my YKK zipper pulls with something a little more interesting. And I like-
M: Well I just like attach things to the zipper, is my solution. 
H: You attach- so you like put something onto the end of the zipper pull?
M: Yeah, so like I used to have a - this is not an advertisement for Mickey Mouse or Disney - but I used to have a Mickey Mouse thing. It would clip onto your zipper so that you could grab Mickey's face and pull that up. So I took to doing that, because that's what people like me do. I would attach a cute little tie or something like that and it's easier to do then, and cuter. 
H: Yeah but I think the whole- the whole assembly, there should be a way to replace it. If you can't hear me well it's because I'm examining my hoodie zipper right now. Um, I did a bunch of research on the company, on YKK the company that makes every zipper in the world and it's amazing. It's an amazing company with a fascinating history. Uh, but anyway, do that yourself that's not what this podcast is about. But I do, I have had this thought several times in the last couple of years that like zip- I feel like zipper pulls are an opportunity that we're missing, is all.
M: Agreed
H: Like belt buckles had this for a little while, socks are having it right now, where people are expressing themselves through their socks in a way they hadn't previously. 
M: That's true
H: Of course, enamel pins are happening but I think- I'm going to predict right now that zipper pulls are the next bit thing for- for self-expression for nerds like us. 
M: You heard it here first folks. 
H: Hank Green, fashion expert. Um. So yeah, uh I think this is a- obviously this is a galaxy that is very far away, it was a long time ago, and I think this is a case of just convergent evolution of fastening technology.

 (14:00) to (16:00)

H: Like it's just gonna happen that these are the things that work well: velcro, um, you know, straps, and belts, and uh zippers, and buttons, and magnetic snaps. 
M: Absolutely 
H: Alright. Do- Do you have another one for us?
M: Yes, and actually if you're uh, here's a little hint as to which one I'm gonna ask: if you're having a cold, you may want to eat something spicy. "Dear Hank and Mayim, My boss keeps asking me things like, 'Are you Kim Jung Un's cousin?' or 'Did you bring dog meat for lunch?'"
H: Oh no. Oh God.
M: "This is obviously a harmless joke, but I hate it"
H: Is it?? Is it a harmless joke??
M: Wait, well let's see what the question is. "I'm the only Asian working at a build of about 200 white people"
H: Ahhhh
M: "So when I first started, I cracked some jokes about being Asian to make everyone feel comfortable with me. But now, my boss's daily racially-centered banter is getting old, annoying, and at times mean. Should I stop her? I feel like if I do, she won't know how else to communicate with me. Also- Also I feel like it's kind of my fault for starting it. Any advice? Kim chi and vegemite, Sam"
H: Oi-oi-oi. First of all, uh uh, so I'm understanding this, you've got 200 white people in this building, your direct report boss is- uhh thinks that- thinks that your race is a thing to comment upon like the color of your shirt. Um, uh, but worst than that- way worse than that- um uh I don't. So the thing is, this boss is obviously not the top boss at your company. With 200 people you have an HR department, and this is what the HR department is for. When you have a problem with your boss that doesn't have anything to do with your job, that's who you're supposed to talk to and that is the exact kind of problem that they want to hear about because it is a huge- like it is a pretty big deal. 

 (16:00) to (18:00)

M: Mmhmm and also what I think is really interesting, the "I feel like it's kind of my fault for starting it" um, yeah let's not go down that road. There is no excuse for what's going on. It is not your fault for starting it, unless by "starting it" you mean "being Asian." 
H: Yeah. I mean it's interesting that coming into a place where you are different there's- there's often a psychological desire to be like "hey, I know, I'm aware that I'm different and here it is. I'm Asian, and here's my joke about how I'm a different person" and like, alleviate the tension of the difference that's there. 
M: I have- and right- as a Jewish person I've absolutely done this. I've absolutely when I'm in a situation where um it is clear that people are either unfamiliar with Jewish people or um have not had a lot of interaction with Jewish people, there is a little bit of almost social ice-breaking you do as it were. I mean I would never say like, "How do ya like my hook nose?" or anything like that. And um anything I would say would um would- would not- it would not be acceptable to open the door to people saying, "Oh, are you never gonna buy lunch?" or anything like that, so yeah.
H: Yeah, I mean there has a huge difference between those two things. Uh calling it out and being like "I"m aware that I'm different" and someone else being like "Yes, you are. Let me re-emphasize that every day for the rest of the time that you work here. Uh, beacuse that was fun when you did it." Ughhhhh oh man.
M: No, not okay. And, you know a um really really important 21st-century realization: these kinds of things don't have to be brushed under the rug anymore. Um you know, a lot of sort of the explosion of you know the notion of equality, of liberalism, a lot of that sometimes is taken too far but my thought is let's air on the side of being sensitive, cautious, and respectful. 

 (18:00) to (20:00)

H: Yeah! Oh man. It's- it's- it's very weird when people are like "Oh God, I have to think about that now?" and you're like "You know, if- if you wanna be nice. If you want to respect other humans who are different from you, sure. I'm so sorry that it's inconvenient?" 
M: Right. Don't put a question mark!
H: Um yeah. I have- I have- I deal with this a lot in my professional life because I have a science show on YouTube where people are like, are uh, are familiar with people who are like them mostly
M: Right
H: And they are, the vast majority of SciShow viewers are white dudes and they, you know, it's difficult to understand the experience of other people and maybe they're not experienced at it and maybe when they're like "why did you talk that way?" I'm like because I have trans friends who are like, it's better- it's less troubling for me when you talk a certain way when you don't connect biological sex and gender and I'm oh, okay well then I won't do that. And then people- and then somebody who this doesn't affect at all starts screaming at me like I have just caused the greatest unjustice in human history by acknowledging the existence of trans people. And I'm like- I just- I don't know where to go from here. Like, why are you so mad? I didn't tell you how to talk. 
M: Right
H: I talked in the way that I thought was respectful to the people who have talked to me about this issue and uh yeah. Totally lost on that and I wanted to say it out like because I've been- I've been experiencing it for the last, uh, two years and I didn't really talk about it until recently. 

 (20:00) to (22:00)

H: And I talked about it to the SciShow audience and I feel like it's been a little better for everybody to, uh, to have it out in the open so-
M: Agreed
H: Anyhow. This question is from Rachel who asks, "Dear brothers from a mother with the last name of another color," - that's a reference to a song I wrote a long time ago, but unfortunately is not applicable in this situation unless Bialik is a color
M: Actually
H: Is it?!
M: It is from the root of the word white. Yes, from the Bialik region of Russia/Ukraine/Poland
H: *laughs* Hey! Yeah, but we're unfortunately 
M: Amazing, amazing
H: We're not *wheeze* perfect, excellent. We're not siblings at least. Um, Rachel- Rachel asks: "I was playing a game of French Toast online with friends and- that I met at Nerdcon: Nerdfighteria - thanks for that by the way - and we stumbled upon a problem that is threatening to rip us apart. Is a neck tie a type of scarf?" 
M: In all caps
H: I mean like I don't- I don't even wanna look at the rest of this question I- it's very long. There's a substantial amount of uh of- of discussion of what a scarf is that continues here. Can we just get beyond needing to label everything? To know what things go in what category and people being like "Poptarts are sandwiches!" and I'm like quit it, just go away!
M: Okay but Rachel wants to know! I want you to tell her.
H: Mayim, is a poptart a sandwich? Because it's basically it's two pieces of bread with something in the middle. 
M: No. 
H: You're not ready to accept that?
M: No. It's not. 
H: What makes it not a sandwich then?
M: I mean like, you and me hugging someone in the middle of us doesn't make us a sandwich either.
H: *Laughs* But it's, but it's food. It's two pieces of bread-
M: No, but this is like the transitive property of our existence. 

 (22:00) to (24:00)

H: *laughs* Okay. Well- M: We're food to someone... or some animal. H: *laughs* That'd be good. A shark- to a shark, three people hugging is a sandwich. Perfect.M: Done. H: It's- M: *inaudible* That shark is going to call it a poptart. It's what their going to call it. H: Now if a poptart is not a sandwich, then a neck tie is not a scarf. K-M: My feeling is, the fact that the word tie is in the name of it, means it's not a scarf. It's got the word tie. That's like a verb. It's a thing you do with it.H: But... but oh god, now we're in the rabbit hole, because you could tie a scarf. I've done it.M: You could-H: No, I do it.M: But it's not called a scarf tie.H: *laughs* But I...M: You could also knot... wait... you could also knot it. H: But you can... you can, you can knot a tie.M: You can wear a scarf as a hat. You can't wear a necktie as a hat. H: *laughs* Oh my God.... That's...That's... That's not.... That's not helpful. That is... that is not...M: My Mother used to make me wear headbands made out of vintage ties. It was like a thing.H: *laughs* I think I can picture Blossom doing that.M: Exactly. She also would give me... ummm... I would wear... ummm... wear neck ties as belts, and when I be like, 'Mom, I don't think this is cool.' She'd be like, "Gene Kelly did it."H: *laughs* M: That's a true story. H: Uhhh so is a necktie a belt? Is uhhh the next question?M: Everything is everything. H: Ohhh wow. Okay. Yes. I-M: K-H: Well. You know what. I think it's up in the air. Honestly, Rachel, I think, I think we're not going to get there. I think that, I think that, we... there comes a point at which things blend, and there is no definition for what a sandwich is, or what a scarf is, and we're just going to have to accept that there... that there are these areas where there will be disagreement. Like some people will say that color is orange, and some people will say that color is red because it's right between red and orange. And that's just... that's just part of life. And you're going to have-

 (24:00) to (26:00)

M: And also this is... this is... going to vary culturally, as well... right?H: Sure.M: We have a culture with a language that has names for ascots, and ties, and bow ties, and scarfs.... and.... I'm sure there are other things I don't know the names for that are related to things that go around your neck. But we only have one word for snow, right?H: *laughs* No.... you clearly don't live in Montana. We have lots of words for snow.M: *laughs" Alright. I stand corrected.H: Ahhhhh oh man. Well.... *laughs* I feel like I asked that question just to get mad at Rachel. But I'm not really-M: Clearly H: mad at Rachel. I'm mad at Rachel for letting this come between her and her friends. Like... don't let this tear you apart. M: *laughs* Like you could tear apart a neck tie after tying it. H: Right... Just rip it off. Just rip the whole controversy apart. And say, we share values. And we share... uhh.. we share... uhhh...we share a connection and we share experiences... and that's what ties us together. Not this stupid piece of silk, or other kind of fabric.M: *laughs* Okay. H: You want to hit me with another question?M: I'm very.... I do.... I'm really excited about this one. Both for you and for me.H: Okay.M: Thomas says: "Did Mayim and Hank," M: Uhhhh I love this question so much - M: "At the time of writing this, I've just arrived at my favorite place to go and relax - my local library. While the library is awesome for my de-stressification needs - being quiet, peaceful - it is currently packed with shouting babies and their equally loud mothers, on account of it being, according to the website - "Baby Time."H: *laughs*

 (26:00) to (28:00)

M: HA. Wait... wait for it... I'm going to ask it, the way I would ask it: "How is this a thing???!" "If there is one thing everyone learns about libraries, it's that they're suppose to be quiet. How do you two feel about this? Should baby time be a thing? Also should I get another quiet place during the weekly shouting match between the tiny humans that seems to be taking place. Coffee and rage - Thomas." M: Thomas - Are you single? Because you are absolutely the person for me. I am mother. I am a mother of two children. And this stuff makes me bonkers. H: *laughs*M: Makes me bonkers. H: I - uhhh- I-M: I- Go ahead.H: I live in a town that is very baby, baby and child friendly. And like uhhh... the owner's of businesses are aware, that, in order to fill out their clientele, they have to appeal to parents, and get them out of the house, and get them going to places. And so, in my pre-baby life - like I haven't gotten to the point where I can do this yet, because my child sleeps every 30 seconds, and uhh like we don't want to mess with it. uhhh it's just like... at this age, at 6 months, they're all like... it's always, they're about... they're just getting up or they're about to go to sleep. There's like, 30 minutes during which you can do stuff. It's very frustrating. But eventually I will imagine this will happen. Uhhh... But before in my pre-baby life, I would show up at a bar, and then suddenly it would be like a person would be on the stage singing children's music, and a thousand uhh children would be running around, screaming, and it would be all - and I would be like - I CAME TO A BAR?! I came to a bar to do bar things. And suddenly I have found myself, in what is apparently like a bar-gymboree. Like. It's, it's, it's like... it's as if the Mcdonald's play pin-M: It's a barboree.H: Yeah... got, got it on... with uhhh, with like a regular dive bar in Missoula Montana that smells like cigarettes, and like, and like... a century of beer poured across the floor boards. This is not normal. M: No. But it is a thing.

 (28:00) to (30:00)

H: But, I mean like, its great, I'm happy now that there will be a future I can take my 3 year old screaming pile of annoyance to a bar and have a beer. 
M: Okay, so I literally could probably do an hour podcast by myself about this very topic because I think, here's the thing, and I live in Los Angeles which is the ultimate in accommidating the baby culture. Umm. I think that there's a couple things that are going on, and one of the things and you know, as a person who advocates for natural birth and I'm a lactation educator-counsler and a lot of my world kind of revolves around people honoring the natural rhythms of babies and childen. I think that there's this notion that, you know, life shouldn't change, or can't change and we have all of these activities and things that you can do to try and prove to yourself, you know,that life doesn't have to change just cus you have kids. So you can take your baby to yoga and they have movie theaters where they turn the lights down, but not all the way and everyone's encouraged to bring their children, so their children can run around the theater and you can all go to the movies with your children still there. There's a restaurant here, and you know, no judgement against people who want to use it, the restaurant has a seperate back room with hired babysitters, and you drop your children off so you can have a fancy Beverly Hills lunch while a stranger watches your children. 
H: Well, qualified stranger theoretically. 
M: Sure, but again for me the overarching notion here is how can you get back to your life as soon as possible, and for a lot of people I understand thats a valuable priority, but as a person who, again, advocates for really living in rhythm with the small mammal that you have ricochetted out of your body, it is also okay to aknowlegde that your life is going to change, and that tension is what makes us human, and it's what makes us able to accommodate the changes in our body, the changes in our culture. It doesn't all have to be the same.

 (30:00) to (32:00)

M: So, obviously, Thomas may have to find another tim. He's welcome to gently tell the head of the library or the HR department at the library that this seems an odd choice of a place to do "Baby Time", but I'm the kind of person, I love my kids, not so keen on other people's kids cus I can't control them and I can't control the way people parent them. When I go to grown-up restaurants with my children, I always go at the earliest reservation time, I ask to be seated quickly, I order quickly, and I get out of there because not everybody has to like being with my childen in a grown-up restaurant. And there were about 2 years when my ex and I didn't really go out to restaurants. We cooked, we ordered in, we had people bring us food. Because we didn't feel like it was other people's responsibility to tolerate us wanting to feel normal again. We made a decision to have a baby. We dealt with it the way we felt was most appropriate for society at large. And so Thomas, I share your rage, and I absolutely am holding your hand through this whole thing.
H: So I think that your arguments here are completely valid for like the barber-y, movie theater, restaurant with a nursery in the back kind of situation where people are like "I had children, but I don't want to have had children and so I want to have my normal life, how, and I have a lot of money to spend trying to pretend for a moment that I, that it's jut me and my wife again" and that's like, I understand that and I can understand like wanting to do that sometimes, but I think that there's a difference between that and like, what I'm struggling with right now is like, I would like to meet some people who have 6 month old babies so that we can talk about what they're doing and comiserate and be like, "you're doing great" and umm and just like be like they're kids will maybe go to school together. And I think that that's what's the purpose of "Baby Time" at the library. Like it's not like, these parents would be going to the library, they're not going to the library to use the library while their babies are there. They're, it's like an event for parents to meet each other.

 (32:00) to (34:00)

H: And libraries are, in addition to being providing the service of ya know, available media for you to uh acquire temporarily, um they're also community organizing and event spaces.
M: True.
H: And it would be nice if we had more different kinds of community organizing and event spaces, but we kind of just have the library. And libraries want to be a useful thing in the world, and since this is a useful thing, so so, if you think about it that way maybe it's, it causes a little bit less rage, uhh, that it's providing a service for your community, but I understand, and it is hard to find other quiet places, and I hope that this doesn't start happening to like coffee shops, like places where oh just give me a place where it can be quiet and we can do our thing. And I think there will always be places for you. 
M: But in short, yes Thomas this is a thing.
H: It is a thing. It is a thing. I have another question Mayim. It's from Ben who asks, "Dear Hank and Mayim, I was opening some boxes at work today and one smelled a little bit like gasoline. I brought up the fact that I enjoy the smell of gasoline with a coworker, and we began talking about how it does seem to be a smell that a lot of people like. Why is that? I understand why evolution would shape our brains to enjoy sweet smells because that indicates sugar or food. I understand why we might dislike the smell of rotting meat or poo because it contains things that could kill us, but why gasoline? If you brought gasoline back to the time that our ancestors lived in Africa 2 million years ago, would they appreciate the smell too? Like this is a dangerous thing -this is me talking now- Why like, do not, gasoline is just, it's like cancer in a bottle, like do not, like if you huff it you will die eventually. If you drink it you will die, but I think this, and its clearly not just me because Ben thinks it to, that gasoline kinda smells good.

 (34:00) to (36:00)

M: Mmhm, oh I love gasoline smell. 
H: So I mean, I don't know, like , I, I did a little bit of research. There's some thought that, oh it's just like it connects you back to your past and it's a nostalgia thing, but there's also some indication that you like the smell of gasoline more, like you rate it more highly on the pleasantness scale if you are currently hungery, which makes me think that since it's similar molecule to a lot of aromatic molecules, the things that give like fruits their like fun smells and good smells and in this question, Ben talks about sweet smells, but there are no, we can't smell sugar, so yeah, like there are smells that are associated with sweetness because they come along with sweetness and they tend to be these aromatic hydrocarbons that benzene, which is like the primary thing in gasoline is sort of shaped similarly to. So I'm guessing that there's like kinda some similarity there. You know about the brain some right?
M: Well, yeah, and I mean I think that umm, ya know I think that for some people, a lot of sort of the gasoline research out there, in terms of why people  like it says that "Oh, oh you're feeling a small high, you're getting a small high" and even if it's not a concious high, meaning you're not conciouslly processing like woah this feels you know whatever, that you are associating it um you know, on an unconcious level, with some sort of euphoria. Um, I know this one person when answering this question on the Interwebs said "I like gasoline because I associate it with fun, like boats, like jet skis". I don't think for me thats it, but I really um you know I don't think that I have a death wish, but I like any nox, like noxious smell. I like you know, those Magic Markers or like the really thick markers that we used to make poster boards for science experiments.
H: Right.
M: That's just like, I don't know why that's my jam, but it is. I've never passed out from it.

 (36:00) to (38:00)

M: Um, I have 2 children, 1 of whom really likes that smell and he's sort of my mini me genetically, and the other one who's more his dad genetically, does not like the smell. So I will continue to do the experiment. I'm not having any more children, but wouldn't that have been a great experiment? 
H: Well now you are, you are obligated by science.
M: To have more babies.
H: To just pop a few more out, yeah. It's how it works.
M: Yes.
H: Uh, so basically we don't know, but apparently it is a common thing. I , like I didn't realize until I read that question that it wasn't just me. Like I've been kind of quiet about it, experiencing shame.
M: Right.
H: I've got this weird thing about me.
M: No. Say it loud. You love gasoline and you're proud. 
H: Okay. Um, well lets just throw it in a perfume then.
M: Yeah. 
H: Coming next year: Motocross: The Scent. 
M: Oh yeah, thats uhh, that's pheremonic for sure. 
H: Uh, all right lets answer another question.
M: Okay.
H: This one's from Liza 
M: It was my turn!
H: Okay.
M: No?
H: It is, and I said her name wrong anyway so you go
M: Um, this is kind of a rough one, but I really want to ask Darcy's question. "Dear Hank and Mayim, I would like to preface this email by saying that I am not xenophobic or disciminatory towards religions. I just don't understand the tradition of Islam of women covering themselves. My question is this: How should I feel about headscarves and do you feel differently about hijabs niquabs, and burquas? To me they seem oppressive. I know in many countries, especially in the Middle East, these are used to oppress women as shown in society and law. However, I can appreciate that some people wear them to respect God, but if God made people perfect, and so on, why do we need to cover ourselves like that? Why don't men have to cover heads and faces, specifically in Islam, but in some societies women are demonized and even killed for not wearing a burqua? Again, not a xenophobe, Darcy. P.S. Is there a term that means discriminatory towards religious beliefs as I know I used xenophobic incorrectly throughout this email?"

 (38:00) to (40:00)

M: That's several questions Darcy.
H: Uh, that is  a bunch of questions, and a bunch of hard questions.
M: Yes. Let's tackle them all. Or a couple.
H: Uh, yeah
M: So the reason this question, um, is so interesting to me is that I come from a religious tradition where women do cover their heads, and also parts of their bodies that, um, that often men don't have to cover. And so obviously, Islam is different than religious Judaism, but I think one of the main things that sort of, um, strikes me about people's often misunderstandings of religion and also about the restrictions specifically on women, um, is that ya know, we, we are the interpreters of religious traditions as human beings, and uh, the notion that God has passed down ways for me to cover myself or restrict my freedoms. To me those really need to be understood in the context of history and the anthropology of parts of the world where these religions originated. So, you know, the laws that we impose on ourselves and on other people are exactly that. They are made by humans and in most cases they are made by men. So the ntion that women have been restricted in Islam or even in Judaism, the fact is for pretty much all of human history women have been restricted in a lot of ways, and part of that is biology, you know as Freud told us right, biology is destiny, and to some sense that's true, but I think it's important to realize that our interpretation is what's important and the way we understand it in terms of history is important as well. There are restrictions for men, for example, in religious Judaism in terms of modesty and how they dress, but historically there have always been differences in the way men and women are treated.

 (40:00) to (42:00)

M:  Now, I'm not saying that burquas is the way to go, for me that doesn't work, or the notion that when girls are, you know, of the age that they, um, start their menstrual cycle that we cover their heads. In religious Judaism, head covering is seen as a change in status from unmarried to married. And that's sort of how I grown up framing it. It is very upsetting to see women completely covered, and a lot of women who claim that they're happy that way are also growing up and living in a culture of religious patriarchy so a lot of times we don't know things are not okay until we see more of the world and understand, sort of more of how history is moving foward. So I don't know that there's an easy answer to this. I will say though that we shouldn't just demonize religions because honestly it's culture in general that has distinguished men and women because of their biology and because then of how culture interpets that. But blaming God is really not the place to go here because, you know, God as far as I'm concerned, God's in charge of creating the world and then we're in charge of being the human beings that try to interpret that and then bring meaning to the world in a way that God cannot commnicate directly with us. 
H: I feel tremendously unqualified to, uh, to answer this question so I'm glad that you were here today to help with that. Um, like the thing that I generally try to remember is that we all do things based on our culture that don't, that we think make perfect sense. But if you think about them they don't really. Like it would be very weird for me to go,uh, leave my house in a sundress and, uh, people would comment upon that and many people would, you know, if I did that in the wrong place I would be in a lot of trouble. Like I would potentially not make it home unscathed, in America. And so we have like, but I can also say that I prefer to not wear sundresses, why is that? Probaly not because I wouldn't be comfortable in them if I had been raised wearing sundresses. I'd probably be super down with it , and I'd probably look pretty cute. 

 (42:00) to (44:00)

H: But if like, but the fact that I have grown up in a culture where that is the norm, like, I would never be like, this is like we need to restructure society to, even force people to dress a certain way when they have had their life, when they have been told their whole life that you should cover your head and that is a thing that happens, you know, in lots of different traditions for both genders. You know, Sikhs for example in public always have their heads covered, uh, so like, I get very weirded out when it's like yes we should understand that this is a tool of culture and it is a system that comes out of men trying to control women, or suceeding in controlling women, but at the same time I don't, you can't jump in and tell people that they can't dress a certain way anymore because you're trying to free them because that is the opposite of freeing them. 
M: Absolutely. 
H: It's a hard one though, but it is very important. 
M: Between the two of us, I think we did well. 
H: Yeah. I think it's very important to seperate the idea of culture and the idea of religion and know that there are many relgious people who do things differently and many people who feel very free and very liberated and also wear headscarves. And I have those friends and they are, it doesn't even occur to me that their headscarf is, uh, like a result of, you know, their heritage coming from a patriarchal place because, first of all, all of our hertiage does and even now it does, but  they are now having their experience of their worldview, their religion, their connection, their American-ness all the things that inform who they are, uh like, their continuing desire to have, to dress in the way that they like to dress is a thing, and that's dope.

 (44:00) to (46:00)

H: All right, Mayim, I have one more question before we get to the all important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. This one's from Louisa who asks, "Dear Hank and Mayim, I'm 15 years old and I want to get a summer job, the thing is I have no idea how to describe myself in a CV. I'm a very awkward and shy person. How did you describe yourself when you were looking for your first job? Dubious advice is welome. Yours, Liza". I'll be honest, you just walk into Walmart and you're like, I would like to stock your shelves, and they'll be like, okay here's 7 dollars an hour, or whatever it is. Like it's, if you're getting that kind of job they're happy to give it.
M: I actually have a, um, by CV I usually think that means sort of like an academic resume of, like, you don't always have to describe yourself in a CV but I guess maybe she's talking about if there's like a application it says, decribe yourself, and she's confused as to how you describe yourself as an awkward, shy person. Yeah, so, um I mean I happen to be an introverted person, um, and to me I like that term more than awkward and shy. I don't typically say to people I'm a little bit on the spectrum. I usually say, I'm an extroverted introvert, here are the things that I excel at, um, some of these things are challenges for me and I'm very, you know, excited slash motivated slash interested in being able to find a place at your, you know, place where I would like to work. 
H: Yeah. And also I think it's important to know that there are a lot of things you aren't going to be good at because you've never had a job. So you don't exactly know what people want, like what this job is and how it works and what you will be doing and what's required of you but I do think focusing on strengths, obviouslt is the thing that you do in job applications.

 (46:00) to (48:00)

H: Can you work when you're 15, is that allowed?
M: And being, honest.
H: Is that allowed, I mean what is the age when you can start working?
M: Clearly 15. I think 15 in some places, yeah.
H: 14 minimum age for employment in specified occupations outside school hours. 16 basic minimum age for employment. So I don't even know if you can. You gotta be careful Liza.
M: Maybe she, maybe she's on the cusp, come on now. Let's not get caught up on the details. Answering the question, she's awkward and shy, how should she describe herself?
H: Liza did the right thing by not saying I'm 15 and 3/4 years old because that is intolerable. So.
M: She can't win with you. She can't win.
H: So I appreciate Liza,you having done it the way that you have done it. Because obviously summer is coming up and you may be 16 by then. But yeah, I think it's a great thing to get a job a that age and get a little bit of responsibility and learn what it is to, and maybe even become a little less awkward and shy as you connect with folks. I'm not saying, like, "stop being introverted" but you know, being able, everything gets better with practice.
M: Well and also finding out what you don't like is often as important as finding out what you do. And a very close friend of mine who's a very strong introvert and really really struggles in social situations, you know she actually likes working in an office filing things because her actual interaction with people is minimal. She's got the things that she does, she knows how to do them, and she does them on time, and she goes home. That works for her. So you will also find what works and doesn't work for you as the person that you are and the person that you're supposed to be.

 (48:00) to (50:00)

H: And the person that you will be, because of course remeber that we all continue to change.
M: True.
H: I, I'm 36 years old, oh my gosh I'm going to be 37 really soon, by the time this podcast comes out I'm going to be 37. 
M: Are you 36 and 3/4 ?
H: Oh, I feel the burn. Somebody get a salve.
M: Does it smell like gasoline or burning rubber? Because I know you like it.
H: Oh man, whoah. This podcast is brought to you by sick burns, just don't do it, don't put yourself in a situation where Mayim Bialik's gonna get you because she will. 
M: Says every man I've ever dated. This podcast has been brought to you by shark sandwich, also known as 3 people hugging. 
H: Oh, delicious. Everything is a sandwich, if there's three things and you put them next to each other, if you could concieveably think of a situation in which something might consume those things, it's a sandwich. This podcast is also brought to you by Mickey Mouse zipper pulls, absolutely adorable on yound Mayim Bialik who is also wearing a necktie as a belt like Gene Kelly. 
M: This podcast is brought to ou by child labor laws. Helping you figure out how far through a year you are allowed to apply for a job.
H: You show up and you're like, "Hello I'm 15 and 3/4 and I would like a job here at Walmart. And they'll be like, "Absolutely, absolutely let's begin the application process". Uh, well now it is time for the all important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. Did you? I have heard that there is news from AFC Wimbledon and I want to hear it. 

 (50:00) to (52:00)

M: Oh man. Goalkeeper shock is what's happening, yeah
H: What is?
M: A legend midfielder has been let go.
H: Ahh
M: Yeah. 
H: Both a goalkeeper, so what's the goalkeeper shock? 
M: So first James Shay is leaving, but now Danny Pullman (?) and Chris Roberston are also leaving Kingsmeadow 
H: Oh my gosh 
M: I know 
H: Oh man
M: And ya know there are tough decisions to make, um, and have been over a hundred appearances in competitions for this club between Pullman and Shay. You know unfortunately what Neil Ardley has said, he is the boss, he said we reached a point where finances and different things go on and with a heavy heart we have to let Danny go. 
H: It is such a bummer when finances and different things go on. 
M: And especially with a player like Danny because they have such strong allegiances with him. He has never let them down, never let them down, but finances and things, um, you know have really gotten in the way. Uh, people are going to miss him, and, uh,he's really been a step up kind of player, his attitude they say is a model. Sounds like the perfect guy but as I said, finances and different things. 
H: Oh, that's a bummer I mean, uh, John is going to be so sad that he wasn't here to deliver that news. Probably sad enough that he's going to deliverit again next week.
M: Oh yeah. Tragic. I mean shock, palpable shock.
H: I am pleased that you were here to give that news because, uh, I think I enjoyed it more than I would have if John had delivered it. 
M: I am still reeling, I am just reeling. 
H: Um, well I mean aren't we all. I'm sure that everybody out there listening to the pod is you know, gently weeping into their car steering wheels or wherever you happen to be. Uh, drive safe everyone and don't forget, if you put something in the oven, it's probably on fire by now because we did such a good job of distracting you. 

 (52:00) to (54:00)

H: The news from Mars is, uh, good and bad Mayim, the next, uh, right now we have 9 operating missions on or around Mars. So, we've got rovers, we've got orbiters, it's a lot, a lot happening all at the same time, it's more than ever. But in 2020 we're gonna have 9 more missions. We're gonna double the number of missions that are headed to Mars. We've got SpaceX, we've got, um, I lost it, we've got SpaceX, we've got the Mars 2020 rover, we've got the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission, we've got China's thing, we've got the United Arab Emarite's Hope Orbiter, we've got India's Mars Orbiter 2, um, so yeah there's a lot happening, and this is great, this is very exciting, but we only have like one way to communicate between Mars and Earth. We've got this deep space network that NASA set up and it let's, uh, all other you know, space agencies piggyback on it, but it can only handle so much data and you need a lot of data not just for sending back pretty pictures and spectroscopy stuff, but also, like, just to figure out telemetry and know where everything is and keep things in the right orbit and make sure they land in the right place and keeping them moving around on the surface of the planet. And it's gonna start getting overloaded to the point where people are legitimately concerned about whether we will have too many Mars missions, if they all make it, which we're all hoping they do, that we won't have enough bandwidth to manage the amount of data that we need just to keep the operations running. Not even including sending back, you know, beautiful, high resolution images and videos. So, uh, caution to the world. We need a more robust deep space network.
M: This sounds like something someone should have thought about before you and me, but you're absolutely right. 
H: All these missions happened really quick, like, they're happening faster. People are designing the missions more quickly, you know, SpaceX is like "we're going to land a lander on Mars in 2020" and you're like "what it's 2017 you guys", like that's not long from now.

 (54:00) to (56:00)

H: So we're getting better at doing it fast and, uh, yeah, so this is a thing we need to think about. And thankfully people are starting to think about it, and I'm sure they'll, you know, that's the thing about NASA. They see problems coming a pretty long way away. They're going to figure it out.
M: I'm hopeful. 
H: They're going to figure it out. I'm hopeful. We're all hopeful. Mayim this has been an absolute joy.
M: Uh, I 
H: You're good at this.
M: Oh, thank you. I learn most things I know from you so thank you.
H: Oh, that is definitely not the case.
M: At least in this arena that is 
H: Uh, right, sure, maybe. In terms of advice podcasts, but I appreciate you taking the time out ofyour day to spend time, and, uh, if you want to check out Mayim
M: Thank you, thank you for the faith in me to allow me to participate in this and this was awesome.
H: If you want to check out some of the other stuff Mayim is doing, her webite is Groknation and uh, if you want to check out more of what's going on with Dear Hank and John, you can check out our Patreon at We're not doing a This Week in Ryans because Mayim doesn't have any idea what that is and I don't want to throw her that deep into the deep end, but there will be another one next week when John comes back. So, we appreciate all of you hanging out. This podcast is editted by Nicholas Jenkins. Roseanna Hols Rohas and Sharadon Gibson are our producers. Victoria Bonjourno is our social media manager. Theme music is from Gunnarolla and I think I said all the things, I usually write it down beforehand, and honestly John handles this part so I forget how it goes. You can email us your questions at

 (56:00) to (56:05)

H: And as we say in our home town,
H&M: Don't Forget To Be Awesome.