Before I say anything, let me first say thank you to all the readers who reached out to me and wished me a happy birthday. I appreciate the love you all have for me and I definitely love you all back.
That being said, this weekend was a long one, filled with plenty of good times. As a result, I’m tired and kind of don’t feel well, which is why I’m so happy to do today’s “Poppin’ The Questions”. It’s been a couple of weeks since the last one, so let’s get right into it. And for those who do ask me a question I don’t answer, I apologize. Some of them are repeat questions I’ve answered already or maybe there’s another reason. Even so, I’m going to try and develop a way to answer those questions off site.
Oh, and just a reminder, these are all real questions from real people who are really anonymous via my formspring.
It happens all the time.
A female friend of mine hits me on chat or texts me or emails me and says, “I don’t know what to get my boyfriend for his birthday, what should I do?” Now, in defense of the women who ask me this question, their ignorance can usually be attributed to their man’s apathy when it comes to receiving gifts. They ask their man what he wants for his birthday, he says he doesn’t care. Or sometimes, he buys what he wants on his own. I know I have been guilty of both in the past.
But the older I get, the more reciprocity I demand. Women always know exactly what they want for their birthday and if they don’t, they still expect something. Well, it’s time for men to start expecting and demanding the same from their women.
Even if I don’t know what I want, don’t let that be an excuse to show up empty handed on my birthday, ladies. Today, for the last post I write before my birthday on Sunday (hint, hint), a helpful how-to for all the women out there who don’t know how to buy their man a gift or what to get him when he asks for nothing.
Men think about this sort of thing too. You know, the kid stuff. A lot of it is hi-fiving each other on father’s day with roars of congratulations on making it another year without the burden of having a kid. A lot of it is fronting like we’re relieved to not have the stress of raising a family, when deep down inside, we know some of this young man’s life is getting old.
Make no mistake about it, I love my life as a bachelor, but I love it because it’s the life given. No reason to wish it looked any different, not when it’s as blessed as mine. But I would be lying if I told you I always knew 28 going on 29 would look like this because the truth is, when I was 18 going on 19, I could have sworn 28 going on 29 was going to include a family to call my own.
In five days, I’m turning 29-years-old. Or should I say, 2030 years old, that’s 20 and 30 combined, because every time you tell people you’re turning 29, they just start rounding up. They say things like, “Oh wow, you’re about to be 30.” Well, actually, I’m pretty sure I said I’m about to be 29, but okay, we’ll just say 2030-years-old instead.
Anyway, to celebrate my upcoming grown man day, the next couple of days will be posts related to my turning a year older or my birthday. Today, I begin with a story about birthday parties.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a woman who can’t take a compliment. Whether it’s in passing or in private, if I pay a compliment to a woman and she is demure or even worse, ignores my kind words, I am going to assume she has self-esteem issues.
Wait. Let me not be so judgmental.
Maybe she’s not used to hearing the things I tell her. Maybe she’s heard them all day from other guys and they haven’t sounded as nice as mine, so she can’t distinguish. Or maybe they come from someone she doesn’t want to be complimented by. Whatever the reason, I understand how women can get bogged down in a sea of compliments to the point where it all begins to sound like a bunch of vuvuzelas buzzing in their ear.
Today though, I list five compliments women should learn to appreciate so long as they are expressed in a respectful manner and by a person they like. Ladies, the next time a man says something nice, whether it’s coming from the nameless joker on the corner or the man you love, the next time he says any of these things, say “thank you” or smile, but definitely do not shrug it off. Are these all superficial? Kind of. Still, they’re compliments. Appreciate them, ladies.
Two girls — one an ex, the other I dated in that gray area where the history feels like an ex but the title of boyfriend/girlfriend never existed — hit me with some news recently. They are getting married. Their circumstances, completely different from one another, but there is something in common between the two of them. Both of them are getting married to the guys they began to see immediately after me.
I’m happy for them, just like I am for my other ex who is expecting her first child with the man she began to see after me. It’s good to see women I was once with move on and find men who are right for them. But to say any of this is easy to swallow would be the understatement of the year.
Nowadays, we have options. There are all kinds of ways to stay in touch with someone, and some might even say, with so many various forms of communication at our disposal, something like a request for a phone number is slightly intrusive.
Considering at any given moment someone can hit me on my office phone, cell phone, BBM on my cell phone, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Google Talk, or AIM, I don’t mind being asked for something other than my digits. At times, I may even prefer something like my email address over my phone number. Others disagree and long for the days when one’s math was all we needed.
What it all comes down to is circumstance. When and why should I ask for one form of contact information over another form? Well, let’s break it down, shall we?
A few years ago, there was this woman I was pursuing. When we first started hanging out, it was easy because she was on a mini-vacation from work, so she had a lot of time on her hands. But then when she went back to work, we hung out less and less because her job had her working crazy hours.
Being the man that I was (or am), I scaled back my efforts by at least 50 percent. I went from calling her twice a day, to only once a day. When she asked me why I was calling her less, I told her the first reason was because she was working more and the second reason was, I didn’t want to be that guy; the pressed man. She said she understood the first reason, but the second one was stupid. “Jozen, you call me once a day. That’s not pressed,” she said.
Who knew? All I knew was if there was one guy I didn’t want to be it was the guy who looked thirsty for the attention of another woman no matter how much I was feeling her. But looking back on episodes like that, I realize something: Men who play it cool may not look bad, but at some point, they never get looked for either.
The other day, I read a pretty good piece over at Clutch Magazine by my friend Jamilah Lemieux. The article, entitled, “A Case For The Homeboy” is exactly as the title implies, a case for platonic friendships with people of the opposite sex. What I appreciated most about Jamilah’s piece is the way she moved past the rather stale debate as to whether or not men and women can just be friends.
Like her, I think the only people still struggling with being platonic friends with the opposite sex are the same people whose voices are still cracking. So how about we just agree mature men and women can definitely be friends, but these friendships are not a monolith and thus, each friendship is unique.
Take me for instance. I most definitely can be friends with females, but it’s not easy. Here are five things every female should know about being friends with Jozen.
I just arrived back from my annual trip to New Orleans, where for the last three years, my boys and I have chosen to spend our Fourth of July. And in case anyone was wondering, I did not get laid.
Without saying too much, I am a little surprised as well. In years past, Essence Fest, for me, was like Freaknik, except we can swap out Freaknik’s booty-shaking bounce music for soul-stirring R&B. The whole idea has always been for me to go down there, mack, mack, mack, mack, mack, and then wake up in someone else’s hotel room, but this year I woke up in my own hotel room. Every morning. By myself. And guess what?
This year I had more fun than ever before.