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Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, a man who secretly never stopped wearing white pants. It's Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. This week, we are getting ready for the summer by reminding ourselves what it is like to enjoy ourselves. It has been a while.

KURTIS: Speak for yourself. My private menagerie is expensive and tough to clean, but it pays off when the monkeys get frisky.

SAGAL: Now, not everyone has a private menagerie with which to impress their friends, but back in 2017, we brought you a story in our Bluff The Listener game about new ways to impress a date. Here it is, featuring panelists Negin Farsad, Mo Rocca and Alonzo Bodden.


ABIGAIL JOHNSON: Hi. This is Abigail from Seattle, Wash.

SAGAL: Hey, Abigail. How are you?

JOHNSON: I'm doing great. How are you?

SAGAL: Oh, we're pretty good here in Salt Lake. So tell me, what do you do there in beautiful Seattle?

JOHNSON: I am a elementary music teacher.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh.


SAGAL: I have been known to make fun of people for their jobs, but never music teachers. You guys are doing God's work, and I appreciate it. You're the best. Abigail, you're going to play our game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Abigail's topic?

KURTIS: Best Date Ever.

SAGAL: All right. Just before we get into this, Abigail, are you single by any chance?

JOHNSON: I sure am.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Well, then this might be of particular interest to you because, as you may know, we often go to great lengths to impress our dates. You get a great reservation. You buy flowers. Or in extreme cases, we look vaguely like our profile picture. This week, we heard about a new way to impress one's date. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick that real one, you'll win our prize, the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?


SAGAL: All right. Your first new dating strategy comes from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Every woman loves a hero. Now you can be one for a fee. First, you invite your date to Hirakata Park in Osaka, Japan. Then, as you stroll around, a group of tough guys approach and insult your lady. You step up to the biggest one and flatten him. Now, if all goes according to plan, your girl is incredibly impressed with your manly courage and you live happily ever after. Admitting to her that this was all a prearranged, paid stunt is up to you. So chivalry is not dead. It's available for a reasonable price.


BODDEN: Hirakata Park sells various hero packages. If she's not into fake violence, you can defuse a bomb and save the masses...


BODDEN: ...Or be the only possible donor of a rare blood type that saves a life. So for a small fee and with small rehearsal, you can be any woman's dream. Let's just hope she doesn't see the ad for the service or the charge on your credit card. And above all, you better hope she doesn't start taunting tough guys outside the park...


BODDEN: ...Saying, my man can take any of you.


SAGAL: A park in Japan where you can pay to be attacked so you can beat up the bad guys and impress your date. Your next story of a new mating strategy is from Negin Farsad.

NEGIN FARSAD: So you're trying to impress a first date, but you really have nothing engaging to say because you have no personality and you've lived an uninteresting, elevator Muzak version of a life.


FARSAD: Don't fret. There's a new service based in Florence, Italy, called Banter for the Boring or, as the Italians call it, (speaking Italian). This service writes stories from a better life than yours that you can casually deliver on those tricky early dates when you're expected to speak.


FARSAD: They'll cook up stories like that one about how you spent a summer building houses for the poor while hunting wild boar in Equatorial Guinea. Their master researchers will even tell you where Equatorial Guinea is.


FARSAD: This Italian company guarantees you'll get a second date. However, they caution that once things get intimate, you're on your own. There are some things even they can't make more impressive.


FARSAD: This is such a mean company (laughter).


SAGAL: An Italian company that will provide you the interesting life stories that you yourself lack. And your last story of an impressive date comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: In Paraguay, chili means love - specifically Hormel chili. Turns out the word hormel in the Indian language of Guarani translates as passion, which is why Hormel has been marketing its chili in new romantic ways to appeal to Paraguay's Indigenous teens. There's a Hormel jewelry line. Quote, "when my boyfriend gave me a locket, I blushed," said 17-year-old Miley Extopapigal (ph). When I opened the locket to find it filled with a scoop of Hormel Chunky, I nearly passed out.


ROCCA: At the Hormel Love Hotel outside of the capital city of Asuncion, you and your squeeze can luxuriate in a heart-shaped tub filled with Hormel's cheese sauce.


ROCCA: And at the Hormel-sponsored 75th wedding anniversary party for Paraguayan grandparents Hume and Jessica Mixticacoquetl (ph)...


ROCCA: ...Family and friends showered them not with confetti, but with ground beef and pinto beans.


SAGAL: All right, Abigail, this is what you heard. This is something that can be contributing to a date perhaps in your future. From Alonzo, a park in Japan which will provide paid people to pretend to be beaten up by you so as to impress your date; from Negin Farsad, a company that will provide you the interesting stories about your life that you don't have because you haven't had one; or from Mo Rocca, how Hormel, the chili brand, is an aphrodisiac among the Indigenous people of Paraguay.


SAGAL: So, Abigail, one of those is something that is real. Which do you think it might be?

JOHNSON: Well, I think I'm just going to have to go with the one that I really would like to be real 'cause I think it would be helpful, and that would be Negin's, making my life more interesting to dates.


SAGAL: Really? All right, so you're going to choose Negin's story of this service in Italy that will provide you with interesting fictional stories about yourself. Well, we spoke - and I'm pleased to say this. We spoke to one of America's foremost experts on relationships and dating to tell us about the real story.

DAN SAVAGE: There's a theme park in Japan where you can arrange to...


SAVAGE: ...Stage this altercation in front of your girlfriend to impress her.

SAGAL: That was Dan Savage himself, the columnist and the host of "Savage Lovecast," telling us, indeed, about this theme park in Japan where, as Alonzo told you, you can arrange to have some guy come up so you can beat him up and impress your date. You didn't win our prize. However, Negin got a wonderful point.


SAGAL: A fabulous point.


FARSAD: Thanks for being wrong.

JOHNSON: You're welcome.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, Abigail.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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