Sasha Sagan sits down with actors KATIE LOWES and ADAM SHAPIRO to explore a common custom that seems rooted in antiquity but is younger than Cher.

We’ll also hear from author RACHAEL LENNON about the surprising origins of the custom and how we might coax it away from its problematic features and into the 21st century.

Episode excerpt

Adam Shapiro: They said, “Let’s go outside. You want something to drink?” I’m like, yeah, just like all the water. I’m so dry in my mouth cavity right now. So I went out there and sat on these Adirondack chairs that your parents have on the back deck, and your dad sat on the arm of the Adirondack chair that I was on the lower part.

Katie Lowes: Such a move.


Sasha Sagan: That is saying “I am the alpha here.” Such a power move!

Adam: And I felt it. I felt this squeeze. I’m like 40 feet below him. And then I said, “Well, I think you know why I’m here.” And he’s like, “Well, no, you gotta say it.”

Katie: My dad is not like this. He’s such a people-pleaser.

Adam: He really is. You would’ve thought he’d let me off the hook immediately.

Katie: He really does not like conflict and doesn’t like people to feel uncomfortable. He’s such a caretaker in that way. So to know that you were struggling and super nervous and he didn’t come to your aid, I just love it.

Adam: He said, “I’m not going to help you out, pal.”

Author Rachael Lennon

Sasha Sagan: So this seems like it has to be centuries old, but you’re saying it was really a recent invention.

Rachael Lennon: That’s right. In 1939, only ten percent of American brides had them. And by the 60s, it was 80 percent. Then from there, it kind of exploded around the world. So, in Europe, obviously, it took on very quickly as well, then actually East Asia by the 80s, you know, China, Japan. So it seems traditional, but it’s obviously not been for very long.

Listen to the full episode