By Erickka Sy Savané

We were set up by a friend the summer before high school. In those days of living in different neighborhoods and going to different schools, pre-cellphone and internet, it was common to develop a relationship over the phone, without meeting first. It was great because it meant spending hours talking, and getting to know each other. He loved basketball, his friends, and Sade, and once sang her entire album to me one night in an attempt to put me to sleep. Actually, I wasn’t really asleep, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t like Sade. He was just the sweetest guy ever.

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Finally, the day came when we were to meet. It was our first official date to the movies, and his mom was to be our chaperone. My stomach was in knots all day because what if I didn’t like him, when I already liked him? We’d invested so much time.

He knocked on my door and when I came to open it his back was turned. My first impression was that dude was a freakin’ giant! He was like 7 feet tall. When he turned around I saw the most beautiful brown eyes, thick black hair, and the best smile. What a cutie!

From then on he’d come see me once a week, pedaling his way across town on his bicycle. We’d spend hours talking on my front porch, joking around, and dodging the stalking eyes of my mom who was making sure he didn’t try to steal a kiss. I liked him, and he liked me.

One day, during one of his visits, my favorite Aunt stopped by. I was excited for her to meet him and happy when we all sat on the porch chatting away. Once he was pedaling his way back home, and was out of earshot, I asked her what she thought of him.

“He’s cute,” she said, “but he sure does have a big schnauzer!”

Schnauzer?

“His nose; it’s huge!”

I hadn’t noticed. But she was right. Now it’s all I could think about. And like an annoying pimple, it got bigger and bigger with each visit. I became shy about introducing him to my friends for fear of what they might think, and little things started bothering me. One day when he did something I didn’t like, instead of trying to work it out, I screamed, “We’re through!” And just like that I broke up with him. He was crushed, but the way I saw it, it just wasn’t meant to be.

That should be the end of the story, but it’s not.

Remember when I said he liked basketball? He was just joining the basketball team around the time we broke up, and turns out; he was a very good player. He became a staple on TV, breaking all kinds of high school records, and ended up getting a full scholarship to college where his popularity grew even more. From there he finished college early and signed a multi-million dollar contract (I believe it was 80 mil, but who's counting?) with the NBA. My head was spinning. It was like someone had played a cruel joke on me where the frog really did turn into a prince. At one point, even my Aunt circled back, asking, ‘what happened?!’ Let’s just say, I was glad there were no knives around.

Sometimes I would think about it and feel so dumb. It wasn’t just that he became so rich and successful; it was also that he was a really nice guy who treated me with nothing but respect. And it’s not like the relationship had to last forever, first ones rarely do, but I can only imagine what he could have taught me about discipline. Sadly, things ended so badly that it was hard to even be friends.

So what did I ultimately learn? Sometimes there’s a lot of beauty in that beast; and sometimes, other people’s opinions, even those who love you, can talk you right out of a good thing. Perhaps if there had been a star like Beyonce around, professing love for her man’s ‘Jackson 5 nostrils,’ things might have turned out different. I do know that with two young daughters I will be teaching them that how a man treats you is more important than simply how he looks.

How important are looks to you when dating?
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

By Erma BreAnn

Whoever said getting to know someone was fun, glossed over the beginning stages. Getting to know someone is a long term process. In fact, it is never ending. The first few dates are like making it to Wednesday, we’re just trying to get over the hump. As a young woman feeling stuck in ‘forever single’ status, dating becomes boring. I’ve gone on unoriginal dates just to answer the same questions over and over like a trash song on repeat. I know some questions need to be asked because there are important things we should know about someone, but we could get to the point quicker by asking more direct questions and leaving some irrelevant ones in the past. So to keep you from beating a dead horse on your next date, here are 7 Questions To Leave At Home.

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1. Closed-ended questions
If you can answer the question with “yes” or “no” I would suggest leaving those questions at home. You are trying to get to know someone, so stop scratching the surface. Closed-ended questions leave room for misinterpretation, and the issue with most is the assumption that we have the same level of understanding and meaning of certain words. I’ve learned my version of clingy is not the same as others. Make your questions clear and leave little room for misunderstanding. Be creative by using scales, hypothetical situations, descriptions, anything to get the answer you want and need.

2. How many relationships have you had?
I would place this in the closed-ended question category. I would also place this question in the shredder. The answer is irrelevant and doesn’t tell you if this person is going to be a good partner. If you are curious about their level of commitment then ask. I would suggest, “How do you define a relationship?" This way you know how they view relationships, which is more important than a number.

3. When was your last relationship?
Much like question #2, I think it’s pointless. I know we like to regulate how much time it takes to get over an ex but that isn’t for you to decide. We like to assume if it has been a short period of time, then they can’t be over their ex and most likely are still involved with them. Television and media has brainwashed us to dictate someone’s emotions. This question says a lot about your insecurities and trust issues. The better question is “How do you feel about your exes?” This is a simple question because how someone views an ex, in my book, is more important than how long they’ve been single.

4. How many sexual partners have you had?
I think this question should be laid to rest. It opens the door for slut shaming or prude shaming, which benefits no one. What is a good number anyways? I’m sure it is somewhere between slut and prude but that’s relative. It doesn’t matter if someone is on number 53 or number 2, their sexual history doesn’t inform you on whether or not they practice safe sex.

“When was the last time you have been tested?” is an extremely important question rarely getting her time in the limelight. I might be more willing to provide my number of sexual partners, I have no shame, if I wasn’t the only one concerned with sexual responsibility.

5. Have you ever cheated?

You know, I’m tired of this one. I have yet to hear a person say they wouldn’t date someone who has cheated and followed through. There are too many women who think they can change a person so why do we stress over this question? Maybe, I’m tired of hearing it because my answer isn’t interesting and I’m not interested in theirs. A better question would be to ask, “What do you consider cheating?”  Know the rules of engagement with each person you date because no two people are alike.

6. Do you want kids?

I may be the only person who hates this question. The word ‘want’ makes children sound like an accessory. Wanting kids doesn’t mean you should have them. I have dated multiple people with kids and some without, learning from those experiences I could not have kids with just anyone.  It sounds simple to just be on the same page of wanting them. I instantly want to know why they want kids because bringing a child into the world is a great responsibility. We should be asking, “What kind of parent do you envision yourself to be?” If a person doesn’t envision themselves as a parent then they will tell you and of course don’t stay around trying to change their mind if you know you want kids.

7. What are you looking for in a partner?
This isn’t a question I ask or want to answer with too much detail. Never tell someone what you are looking for past communication and honesty. Giving a list of your perfect partner or ideal relationship can lead to the other person trying to be what you want until you're hooked. Then you get surprised when they switch up and become their real authentic self. Leave this question at home. If you are asked this question, keep your answer simple.

Good luck!

What do you consider good date questions?

Erma BreAnn is a queer writer and poet based in Chicago. She is the creator of the blog Basic, Bad, & Bitchie at ermabreann.com, focusing on her journey through life. Follow her on Instagram: instagram.com/ermabreann
Marc C. Nappy.co
By Erickka Sy Savané

“I've been friendzoned,” said my friend L.
“Oh, no, how did that happen?” I ask.
“When we first met I wasn't really ready for anything so I didn't step to her in time,” he explains. “Now she's all booed up with a new man.”
“That's too bad,” I say.
“But I could get out of it if I want to,” he says, confidently.
“How?”
“Patience,” he says. "First, you have to believe there's a chance, and then you have to be willing to be her friend despite the new man. Then when there's an opening, you pounce."
Hmmm...I want to be optimistic, but this is tricky. Past experience says once you've been friendzoned, that's it.


Most women know within seconds of meeting a guy if he can get it. So I'm not sure that L. ever really had a chance. Women don't throw a good guy with potentially good D in the friendzone. And what if patience doesn't work? He sits around waiting for a time in the future when she and her man break up so he can wiggle his way in, just to realize that she wanted nothing but friendship all along.

But at the same time, I'm reminded of an earlier relationship...
He was a wealthy banker, and I was modeling. He wanted to date, I didn't really see him that way. Maybe it was the Michael Jackson Beat It jacket in his closet. I began dating someone else, and he acted fine. He even listened when my man and I were having problems. But all the while, he was wining and dining me and my girlfriends at fancy NYC restaurants. He turned up the heat when my boyfriend and I broke up. Eventually, my girls started asking me if I was crazy, and out of fear that one of them would snag him, I decided to give it a go.

It was wonderful. We toured Le Louvre museum in Paris, gained 10 pounds in Jamaica and listened to the most beautiful ocean waves outside of our bedroom window in the British Virgin Islands all in one year. Yet I was still not physically attracted to him. Sex was always a chore, and we eventually broke up. No amount of money or fun could pull him out of the friendzone. In the end, his patience won me, but did he ever really win?

In what could be perhaps the worst case of #friendzoneship ever recorded, is my friend who I recently discovered friendzoned her husband for the past 10 years. She said she realized less than six months into their marriage that he was not a lover, but her best friend. They talk, laugh and kee-kee like nobody's business, and she trust him with her life, yet he is in the #friendzone. Sometimes I think about the fact that he can't get none from his own wife, and I wonder if he's being patient? #nowinsituation

But then again, I can't act like there aren't any cases where the #friendzoneban was lifted. In fact, one of my besties married a man who had #multiplefriendzone bans going against him. To explain, he was that dude who would come to all the get-togethers by himself- no date. After a while, we all assumed something was wrong with him- nobody wants the guy nobody wants. Well, it just so happened that he was there for this friend when her mom died, giving her the most solid rock to stand on. From there, a deep friendship developed, and the next thing you know we were all at their wedding. And let her tell it, their sex life is the best, made even better by the closeness of their friendship.

Come to think about it, there’s even my own case where my husband was put into a temporary #friendshipholdingzone when we first met. By that I mean, I was always attracted to him, but I had to put that aside to see if there was a real friendship. I had grown weary of dating dudes who would come and go. So, I got to know him, he got to know me, and before long a friendship developed that brought us close. That friendship has sustained us through 10 years of marriage and I have no complaints in the bedroom or otherwise. It's kind of  backwards the way may of us view the friendzone. We blame it for killing a potential relationship when it's really the best shot we have for a relationship to actually work. Think about it, she's not putting on a show for you and since you've already been zoned the pressure is off of you too. You can actually be yourselves. We should start calling the friendzone the #inzone because that's where all the real moves are made. 

So in this case, L. is right. He just might make it out of the zone after all. 

 Have you ever gotten out of the friendzone? 

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  

By Vince L.
It can be difficult to date, maintain a social life, and balance your career in your early-to-mid-thirties, in New York city. For most New Yorkers, besides family, work comes first and everything else falls into line. I had two jobs. I was a certified personal trainer and designer. My time was limited, so I started online dating. It saved me a lot of time. Most of the women I met had great careers and like myself, their time was limited too. Then I met her. A Virginia transplant living in the New York area for the past five years.

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 Our first date was funny. It was the beginning of winter, but it wasn’t cold. We met in the city at a Thai restaurant in Union Square. I positioned myself in the restaurant where I could see her, but she couldn’t see me. This way I could make a smooth getaway if her online pictures didn't match up. I noticed her as soon as she entered. She looked better than her pictures. She texted me to see where I was and I replied, ‘I’m holding my hat in the air as a marker.”

“Why are you sitting all the way over here?” she asked. I told her I didn’t want to wait at the bar.

She laughed and said, “Nah, you were waiting to see if I was ugly.” We took our seats and had drinks before we ordered our food, and conversed about our personal and professional lives. “What’s your real occupation? Your profile read you put out fires?” I asked.

She said that she’s a corporate finance lawyer. (Hence the fire reference) In short, she takes care of her firm’s client’s legal issues and business details. As I started to tell her what my occupation was, she interrupted, “You’re a designer, I know. I know your history too.” From the look on my face, she explained herself. She did a background check on me. After everything read clean, she agreed to have dinner. I didn’t know whether to be turned on or scared. I never dealt with a woman like her before. A background check, for a date? Who does this?

“What are you looking for then, since you work a lot?” I asked her.
“Someone understanding, who will make time for me,” she answered. That’s code word for friends with benefits, I thought. After finishing our food, I asked for the check then excused myself from the table to use the restroom. Once I returned, she was ready to go. “I need a moment to take care of the check,” I told her. “No worries, I took care of it,“ she said, and grabbed my arm leading me to the exit. “And the tip?” “I said I took care it,” she replied. I felt like she b*tched me.

As we walked towards the train station, she mentioned she had a few meetings in the morning, but she needed this evening out. She’d been working extremely hard lately. Once we got to the station, she asked me for directions to the bus terminal on 42nd street. I was heading in that direction, so I took her there. Her bus wasn’t coming for another thirty minutes. Turned out she lived in West New York, New Jersey, but worked in the city. She asked if I could stay with her until the bus came. I agreed.

In between time she treated me to a few shots at a bar inside the terminal. When her bus was about to arrive, she asked me to come home with her. “Are you serious? I asked her. “Dead serious. I’ll pay for your cab back into the city.” I couldn’t believe what was taking place.

Once at her place, we drank some more. I was completely drunk. Next thing I know, we were rolling around on her cream rug kissing. She was aggressive, as she started to undress me. I told her to slow down. We were in our underwear when I reached for my wallet for protection. She asked me what I was doing. I told her, “I’m drunk, but I’m not stupid.” She snatched the condom from me, placed it on me and went to work. My blackberry alarm woke me up at 7am. I walked out of her bedroom to the smell of coffee. As I picked up my clothes, and got dressed, I looked over at the countertop to a note that read, “I have a 7am meeting. Let yourself out. Here’s the cash for your cab. Help yourself to coffee.”  I felt like Marcus from Boomerang.
'Marcus' from 'Boomerang'
The whole morning at work, she was on my mind. Around noon, I got a call from the front desk. There was a delivery for me. I went to sign for it and a note attached read, “Sorry about this morning. I hope this makes up for it…P.S. Thank you for last night.”

It was lunch from the restaurant last night. This can’t be real, I got myself a beautiful, smart, sexy black woman. A boss! 


Or was I jumping the gun?

As we dated, I noticed she drank a lot, was aggressive and controlling, and rude when she interacted with people. She would snap at me sometimes, then apologize after. She was used to things her way or no way at all. I told her she shouldn’t treat people the way she does, but instead of arguing with her, I’d let it go. Before things became worse, I confronted her about her attitude. She blew me off and told me to stay in my lane, then apologized after, acknowledging that her job was stressful and maybe she was dealing with it the wrong way.


As the relationship grew, I compensated myself to cater to her attitude. After meeting her family, I understood her temperament. Her parents groomed her this way. She was the successful one out of her siblings. Her family depended on her, especially her mother. I thought her behavior was an ego thing, but it wasn’t. She was drained by her job and family. She was tired of always being strong. She didn’t have to express this to me. I knew it. She didn’t need me for financial reasons, what she needed me for was an escape. Once I figured out how to be her escape, her attitude changed. I found ways for her to communicate her feelings. In her previous relationships, she wore the pants. Our relationship was the opposite. She used gifts and money to fix relationship issues. There was no need for that with me. I appreciated her as a person, and not for what she could do for me. She didn’t know how to give, emotionally. With time she changed, and I Iearned how to be the man she needed, not the man she wanted.
           

Can you date a guy who earns less money than you?
 

Renaissance man from The Bronx, NY, Vincent "VJ" Lake creative career started in fashion, and expand through fitness and the military. Vincent is also an entrepreneur with his own active-wear lifestyle apparel brand; "PURESPORT ATHLETIC aka PSA". Currently, he is finishing up his first non-fiction book of short stories titled,"I've Had My Share". The book is scheduled for release in early 2018.

      

What Happens When You Only Use Aphrodisiac Products

There's this really great passage in one of my favorite stories—"Pet Milk," by Stuart Dybek—about aphrodisiacs. The narrator goes out with his girlfriend to celebrate his 22nd birthday, orders a dozen oysters and a bottle of champagne, and they proceed to slurp it all down. The story isn't smutty (far from it), and I don't know much about aphrodisiacs, but the rest of it is enough to make you only want to eat oysters and sip champagne for the rest of your life. Maybe it doesn't help that my college boyfriend was the one to introduce me to Dybek's book The Coast of Chicago. Whatever it is, I still really like oysters.

As for my personal experience with aphrodisiacs, I usually just spray on some Tom Ford Santal Blush and go out to dinner. (Have you ever woken up smelling that scent on your pillows? Magic, I'm telling you.) But a recent meeting got me thinking—perhaps I could be doing a little more to service the...mood when I go out with le boyfriend. Said meeting was with some PR reps (as many of my meetings are), and they introduced me to what they jokingly referred to as "date night lotion." It was Neil's Yard Jasmine and Ylang-Ylang Body Cream, both scents of which are considered sexy mood stimulators. "It works," one of the reps told me. Hey, why not? I figured. I'm going to moisturize regardless, so why not do it with something that might make me alluring. Excuse me—more alluring.

For the purpose of literary effect, I didn't just stop at the lotion, so herein lies what I hope can turn into the perfect date night (or any night, really) routine for when you're feeling a little randy. I can't say that I can share any of the concrete results of this experiment right here, right now, but I certainly felt good using all the products. And that's probably half the battle. At least.

Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs de Jasmin: Starting off strong with this one because, man, it is good. Pay no attention to whatever hair type this mask is meant for—just use it and discover the soft hair you were meant to have. That's part of the sexiness right there: nice hair. Secondly, the scent—jasmine isn't particularly girly, but it is a bit mysterious (especially to the untrained nose). And as we learned, hair has the best scent sillage. So let it flow, friends.

Nars Monoï Body Glow II: I've read a good deal about how straight-up, non-branded monoï oil smells incredible and makes you want to take your clothes off immediately. If I were more egalitarian in my product selection, I'd jump on Amazon and buy it right now. But if packaging makes you feel all warm and tingly on the inside, then the Nars version it is. Just don't get too excited when applying. The bottle is definitely not kid-proof, so overzealous application to you and your loved ones may happen on accident.

Moon Juice Sex Dust: This one I can't really speak for (tried it but can't say my night went any better or worse than usual), but Gwyneth Paltrow endorses it, and she's living her best divorce of all time. That's enough for me.

Tata Harper Love Potion: If I've learned anything from a) dating men and b) articles like this, it's that perfume in its fanciest form is irrelevant when it comes to attraction. It's one of those things (like all things) that you buy and keep and love for yourself. But Tata Harper's Love Potion is not particularly fancy. It comes in a tiny little rollerball—like her Be Well: Aromatic Mood Therapy Collection—and packs what claims to be 10 of the world's most powerful aphrodisiacs in one convenient essential oil formula. So I'm assuming it's things like free rent and home-cooked chicken piccata on Sunday nights. Either way, it's sort of a nice, personal scent for when you want a break from your big, bad atomizer.

Fuchsia lipstick: Years ago, Tom Ford released what was possibly the most perfect fuchsia lipstick...called Aphrodisiac. Like all good things, it was limited edition and can now only be found on the back-est of Amazon back channels. For those unwilling to compromise the brand (and health code) integrity of their lipstick, there are a number of dupes out there. Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in L'Exubérante is my favorite. Just enough comes off when you make out to make it really worth your while.

—Emily Ferber

Image via Getty. Now that you've got your aphrodisiacs on, set the right mood music.

The post What Happens When You Only Use Aphrodisiac Products appeared first on Into The Gloss.