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Prologue

NPR reporter David Kestenbaum tells host Ira Glass about the time, when he was doing graduate work in physics, he and his other single friends decided to figure out the mathematical probability that they'd find girlfriends. They wanted to know what the chances were that there was more than one person in the world for them.

Act One: It’s Not Over Til The Fat Man Sings

When Eric Hayot was 23, he went on an exchange program to China one summer. He took an opera class on a lark, and before he knew it, he was on stage, singing the part of a famous judge.

Act One: Before And After

Richard Bausch reads his story "Letter to the Lady of the House" from his book, Selected Stories of Richard Bausch. His latest book is called Thanksgiving Night.

Act Three: Istanbul

Ian Brown of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on the normal struggle most people experience when they try to stay monogamous. Parts of Ian's story are excerpted from his book, Man Medium Rare.

Act Two: The Over-Protective Kind

Veronica Chater's mother wants to go to a resort in Mexico with a friend. Her father, a former cop with an extravagant sense of security, prepares as if she's headed for a war zone.

Act One: A Good Year For Grand Gestures

Miriam and her husband were development workers in Afghanistan. They'd hada whirlwind romance themselves, so when they heard that their driver wasin love, but didn't have enough money to propose to the girl, they made agrand romantic gesture: They gave him $10,000 to pay for the dowry and thewedding.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Lauren Waterman, who's in the middle of a break-up right now and grappling with totally contradictory feelings. She wants her boyfriend to call, but also—maybe a little bit—doesn't want him to call.

Act One: Dr. Phil

In the wake of a break-up, writer Starlee Kine finds so much comfort in break-up songs that she decides to try and write one herself—even though she has no musical ability whatsoever. For some help, she goes to a rather surprising expert on the subject: Phil Collins.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Chicago Tribune newspaper columnist Amy Dickinson ("Ask Amy"), the heir to Ann Landers, as she reads letters from those readers who don't yet know their love is doomed.

Act One: Prisoner Of Love

Shant Kenderian reads from his memoir 1001 Nights In the Iraqi Army: The True Story of a Chicago Student Held as a POW By the Americans During Desert Storm. During the first Persian Gulf war, Shant (reluctantly) fought for Saddam Hussein.

Act Two: The Diary Of Mrs. Sam Horrigan.

Sixteen-year-old Catalina Puente, one of WNYC's Radio Rookies, gets caught up in a complete and total obsession when a student shows up at her high school looking just like Sam Horrigan, a little-known TV actor she likes. This story was produced by Czerina Patel at Radio Rookies.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader about an anonymous love letter that turned out to be very different than it seemed.

Prologue

We hear Billie Holliday, Keely Smith and Leo Reisman (with Anita Boyer) asking the musical question, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" And, reporter Sean Cole talks about love with Joe and Helen Garland, who fell in love during World War II, but married other people. Thirty years later they met again, felt the same love they felt when they were young, divorced their respective spouses, and finally married each other.

Act One: Inside The Romance Industry

Robin Epstein visits people who define this thing called love—for a living. She attends the annual convention of the Romance Writers of America.

Act Two: View From The Other Half

An act named after two TV shows, one where women sit around and talk, the other where men sit around and talk. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, when you switch from one planet to another, what do you need to know about love? We hear from several transsexual men who've done exactly that.

Act Three: A Love Story

Sarah Vowell tells "The Greatest Love Story of the 20th Century," Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.