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Season 1: Episode 4 - Dating and The Cost of Love with Nichi Hodgson

Updated: Apr 1

The history of dating from the Bridgerton era till today. How the rules of courtship have shaped the way we love.


Journalist, author and dating expert Nichi Hodgson has a lot to teach us about the forces controlling how we date.



Episode Summary

This is the fourth ever episode of The Cost of Love with Haley McGee. Welcome!


Haley McGee is a love idiot. She’s also an actor and the author of the forthcoming book, 'The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale'. On The Cost of Love Podcast she’s talking to a wide range of experts to try to figure out if the cost of love is worth it.


Each episode features a conversation between Haley and someone in the know, and they dig into that strange juicy place where love and money collide.


This episode is all about the cost of love and dating with author, journalist and host of the Bi-Sexual Brunch Podcast, Nichi Hodgson.


In part one, ‘Everyone’s a Love Idiot’, Haley grills Nichi with a series of questions that range from the number of times she's been in love to the ratio of fun:misery in her most significant relationship.


In part two, ‘Brains Over Braun’, we apply Nichi's experiences and expertise to the concept of the cost of love.


Our discussion covers:

  • What led Nichi to write The Curious History of Dating, and the impressive research process for the book

  • Nichi's experience working as a matchmaker and relationship coach and what it taught her about how to game the dating apps

  • Fascinating tidbits from the book including the advent of "Lonely Hearts ads" in 1662

  • Love in the Regency period and the historical accuracy of shows like Netflix's Bridgerton.

  • The ins and outs of "Settlements" and when they were used

  • A cost-benefit analysis of having a mistress in the Regency period

  • Where the idea of romantic love comes from, when it was popularised and the role of Queen Victoria in all of it

  • Romantic love and the concept's danger to women historically and now

  • The Married Women's Property Act (1870) and how it changed dating for women from the 1870s onwards

  • Queer and interracial love in the colonies and the intricacies and violences of colonial power imbalances

  • Feminism and the relationship between "votes for women" and "chastity for men"

  • The spread of venereal disease and the effect of World War I

  • How 37-year-old virgin Marie Stopes worked to spread knowledge and understanding about development, sex and sexuality

  • What being a professional Dominatrix illuminated about Nichi's understanding of boundaries and how we might need a code of conduct for our present dating lives generally


In part three, ‘Free Hugs’, Haley answers listener questions on love and money, ranging from how to broach financial conversations with a new partner with a bad relationship to money, to working out the right spending ratio between partners with different incomes - avoiding that scary term, dependent.


Before signing off, Haley talks about how this conversation with Nichi was an important reminder to stay vigilant and alert when it comes to accepting things for "the way they are" particularly when it comes to being a woman.


We end with a taste of John Taverner's piece Missa Gloria tibi trinitas (IV. Agnus Dei I, II, III) performed by Contrapunctus, Choir of The Queen's College Oxford & Owen Rees, which is something Nichi listened to on repeat when going through a big heartbreak.


About Nichi Hodgson

Nichi was born and raised in Wakefield, UK. She studied English and Literature at the University of York, specialising in feminist theory, literary censorship, neo-Platonism and Petrachan love poetry, before going on to gain her NCTJ Magazine Journalism diploma from Harlow College.


Her work since then has spanned matchmaking and relationship coaching in California to court-reporting via Twitter covering R v Peacock. Nichi has worked extensively as a journalist in print with publications from GQ to The New Statesmen, produced radio documentaries for BBC Radio 4 (Can porn be ethical?) and The World Service (Being Bisexual) and now broadcasts regularly for BBC, Sky News, BBC Radio 2, 4 and 5 Live.


Her first book, Bound To You, an erotic memoir, is published by Hodder & Stoughton and has been translated into three languages. Her second book, containing all those incredible anecdotes talked about in this episode - The Curious History of Dating: from Jane Austen to Tinder - is published by Little, Brown Book Group.


Nichi is also the co-host of Bisexual Brunch, with Lewis Oakley and Ashley Byrne - a unique podcast for people who identify as bi to come together and celebrate their sexuality.



Books and Some of the Other Things Mentioned


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Follow The Cost of Love on Instagram @thecostof_love, Twitter @thecostof_love and Facebook

Follow Haley McGee on Instagram @yeshaleymcgee, Twitter @yeshaleymcgee and Facebook


Submit a Question about Love and Money

Email costoflovequestion@haleymcgee.ca and give us some context while you're at it! We'll try to answer it on a future episode.