What’s Good, Jozen? Batch One/Vol. 1
On January 2, I decided to re-open my Ask.fm account after letting it sit idle for over two years. I can’t say this was entirely my idea. It was more like easily influenced. My friend Jamilah Lemieux started it and looked like she was having fun with it, so I thought, what the hell? Let me open mine back up and see what comes out of it.
What has transpired since is more than I ever expected. For long time readers of this site, you will recall I had a Formspring (the original Ask.FM), in which I took questions from readers who wanted some dating advice. My approach this time was just to have some fun, but what’s that thing Jay-Z once said about “you was who you was before you got here”? As it turns out, a lot of people still want my advice when it comes to dating and relationships, so I’ve been spending every single day, answering all these questions.
In addition to people wanting my insight on their personal situations and issues, I’ve also received a fair amount of questions about my relationship and other lighthearted topics, such as my favorite TV shows or what my last meal would be. I’ve loved every minute of it.
I never expected for these questions to come as frequently as they do, nor did I expect them to have the effect that they have on my writing. Since opening up my Ask.FM, I’ve been more inspired than I can remember. As my friend Maya tweeted to me yesterday, “A good question can be a great writing prompt.”
That’s exactly what these questions have become, which is why I’m sharing them on this site. I can’t just be giving all my good stuff away to Ask.FM. I realized very quickly, if I wanted to keep this going, I would have to find a way to make it work for me, so here is my first in what might be many Ask.FM related posts. Before we get into them, let me break it down.
Every day, I am going to answer the questions I receive on Ask.FM. Each batch is basically all the questions I received within that day. So for all these questions I have below, they all came to me from sometime before 12:00 AM today. Tomorrow, I will post all the questions that came to me before 12:00 AM on Thursday. After I’m done answering them, I will cut and paste the questions (all of which are anonymous) and my answers here on the blog. This allows for some readers who may not want to visit my Ask.FM page or sift through them all, to read the questions and answers in one specific place.
As some of you may have noticed, content has not been what it was when I first started blogging. What can I say? Life happens. Posting five times a week got tiring. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to that pace, but I know that doing things this way allows me to give this site some much-needed fresh content. But don’t worry, this blog isn’t just going to be post after post of people’s questions and my answers. You should also know that each of my answers, even the shortest ones, have been answered with genuine care for the person asking. I appreciate all of the questions and I don’t want to make anyone feel foolish for asking me anything. But as serious as I take the questions, I don’t necessarily take myself that seriously.
I am not a therapist; I am not a life coach. I am a writer, and as much as I care about helping every one of you, I also am using these questions as an exercise in developing my voice. Some of you may need real professional help and my words just won’t be enough. My number one goal in answering any question concerning somebody’s personal life or dilemma is to give you a framework for thinking things through. I don’t claim to have all the answers or the solutions. What I have is an idea and a take on how you might want to approach a situation. Ultimately, you should always do your thing over whatever thing I told you to do.
Full disclosure: Questions are left unedited and can be found written exactly the way they came to me via Ask.FM mostly because I can’t edit them on the platform. To be fair, I too have maintained the same standard on my answers. They are as I wrote them on Ask.FM. Exceptions will be rare, an asterisks next to my answer indicates I added that portion when transferring it over to the blog.
I’m listening and I’m answering your questions, even when they’re offensive. So, in the words of DMX, hit me with the question and the answer gonna be there.
How many countries have you visited?
Seven, this includes Canada and Mexico by the way.
I’m pissed: my boyfriends female friend who he dated several years ago asked him to help her move and he spent a Saturday doing so even though I objected, I think moving is too intimate for someone else’s man to do. Give me a guys perspective on this please!
This shouldn’t be about moving. Moving isn’t an intimate experience. I hate helping women move. I hate it. The last thing I’m even thinking about is how romantic it is.
What your issue should be is that he did something you asked him not to do. Go on and fix that, because whether it was moving or some other thing, if you asked your man not to do it, he should have been more considerate of your feelings.
My bf is still good friends with an ex but I’m not ok with this. Am I within bounds to shut this down?
You can try, as long as you’re ready for the outcome. If he chooses not to then you have to be ready to make your own decision. But I would also encourage you giving some time to let this thing play out.
When Gina and I first got together, I made it clear I had no intention of no longer being friends with my exes just because I was in a relationship with her. She had to trust me. But eventually, those exes faded from the picture, naturally. People grow apart, and your man and his ex are not exempt from this. So just see what happens over time. If you get fed up, you have to let him know and put the ball in his court.
Is it possible to be friends with and ex if u both have new partners? Is it a good idea?
It’s possible. But if you’re asking if it’s a good idea then I would say no because you’re only asking out of fear that you have some bad ideas. For me, I can be friends with any woman, they’re not going to ever jeopardize what I have with my woman. Ever.
I don’t have any.
How long is to long to wait for a man to propose?
That’s for you to decide. When his time is up, let him know. A lot of folks really seem to have an issue when I say I’m waiting five years to marry my girlfriend. Luckily for me, she’s not one of them. We’re not in a rush, and she’s not in a rush mostly because we know that we are who we want. If you think that you can get another man like the one you have, only he will propose to you, then when you’re tired of waiting move on and go find another guy. There’s plenty of men, a lot more than you want to believe, who are ready to settle down and get married. I hope they’re who you want though and not just the guy that gives you what you want when you want it.
Live with my bf and he now wants his mom to come live with us even tho we discussed that this would by be ok. What do I do?
I assume you mean it would not be okay. I’m sorry you feel like you got duped into this but if this is a man you want to spend the rest of your life with, maybe reconsider while also letting him know you don’t approve. Don’t make a man choose between you and his mother, you may be disappointed by his decision or he may not be able to live down a decision he makes in favor of you. Find a way to compromise in that situation rather than outside of it.
Big age gaps an issue when it comes to dating?
What can I say to my parents to let them know that I’m considering HU over Stanford and Morehouse. They are a little more ok with Morehouse but not too much. They think I’m crazy, but this will be my college experience and there’s always grad school. Also did you ever consider pledging a frat?
This is a tough one because there’s different ways to measure the value of different educational experiences. I mean, I’m not about to say Stanford University isn’t better than Howard University. That isn’t true for a variety of reasons, but one way I know it would be true for me is that socially, Howard might be a better fit for you, and to be honest, that’s as good of a reason to go to a school as any. A good social fit is important because for the next four years that’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life.
One thing you have to consider is an environment beyond the college campus. What are you trying to get into? If it’s the tech world/Silicon Valley, man you might want to consider Stanford since the campus is ground zero for a career in that world. But are you thinking about pursuing media/communications, government, law, you might want to consider HU because it’s in D.C. As for Morehouse/Atlanta, I have nothing bad to say about them. I’ve never been to the campus nor the city, but I can say some of my friends who went to Morehouse are good guys.
I personally would have never considered Stanford. I grew up an hour away from there and it really just never appealed to me, nor was it far enough. I have deep, personal reasons why I ended up at Howard, but to this day it remains the smartest decision of my life. People can tout an in-classroom educational experience, a star-studded faculty, endless resources, and a star-studded alumni at all three of these places. But for me, I can’t imagine me being able to get a college experience better than the one I had at Howard. It was the best, most fun four years of my life, and introduced me to some of the most important people in my life.
Unfortunately, your parents might not understand this, but you honestly have the right outlook not only because you’re considering your ENTIRE college experience. You’re also aware that grad school is an option for you and you’re absolutely right. It is. One of my best friends at Howard received his bachelor’s in engineering there and then went to Stanford for grad school. He’s doing very well for himself.
As for pledging a frat. Of course I considered it because when I walked on campus, a young, wide-eyed, impressionable kid from California who wasn’t really exposed to that world, it looked cool. But it takes a strong commitment, and I wasn’t willing to commit the time, money, and energy to joining a frat. about 3 hours ago
What do you think about zodiac compatibility?
I don’t, to be honest.
What do you look for in a barber? One barber I go to is on point with the cut, but I don’t see him spray the clippers with clippercide. Another barber I go to is very clean, the cut is also good but sometimes inconsistent and he’s somewhat impersonal. Waiting for the city to grade barbershops.
There’s two things I look for, one is the barber and one is the shop. To be honest, I’ve never considered the cleanliness of my barber and his maintenance of his tools but now lol, you have me thinking that’s what I need to do.
As for personalities, I’ve had two barbers since I’ve lived in New York, and both of them were probably the most quiet ones in the shop. My barber now is definitely the most quiet one, and for me, that’s a bonus. I see the other guys cutting hair with the big personality, and notice that they always take a few minutes longer because they’re too damn busy talking about whatever it is they’re talking about. But my barber and I are very cool, and we chat it up for a couple of minutes before he gets to work. That’s all I need. The rest of the shop, which is a great one, is live enough that I can chat with others or just take it all in.
By the way, if you’re in NYC and in Harlem, give the shop I go to a try. It’s Fresh Cuts and it’s on Frederick Douglass right off W. 149th st. about 3 hours ago
What are your thoughts on ppl being closed off to new friendships after a certain age/period in life? It seems like ppl aren’t open/capable of forming new friendships bc they have a circle already, work, married, kids etc. Can you form genuine tight friendships that seem to only be made in college?
It’s one of the more unfortunate byproducts of adulthood. I used to be closed off to new friendships, but in a weird way, I outgrew that. I think for me, a lot of my attitude started to change when I was single. Not having one person in my life allowed me to appreciate my relationship with others and it woke me up to the idea that life is longer than we think, and people are better than we give them credit for, so I wanted to appreciate that more and forge true friendships.
In doing this, I honestly can say it’s made life a lot better. Whether or not some of these friendships stick isn’t my concern. I have already grown out of many friendships that I forged in high school and college, and I’m sure it can happen again in adulthood. But honestly, the idea that no new friends for the rest of my life sounds so sad so I try to keep myself open to this. about 3 hours ago1 person likes this
Rain or snow?
Snow. It’s nicer to look at.
Which super power would you pick?
I used to ask this question for everyone who filled out the questionnaire to participate in my blind date column. The number one answer was to teleport. I think for me, it would be super-healing powers like Wolverine because then I could be “Fuck health insurance.” Or it would be to be able to fly. I like the idea of flying better than teleporting, since the former doesn’t require me to disintegrate into little particles.
I’m a native New Yorker so an unlimited Metrocard means more to me than a driver’s license. This girl I’m seeing drives and I feel corny getting in the passenger seat of her car. Any advice on a grown man now looking forward to learning how to drive? I feel like it’s gonna take a minute to learn.
Hey bruh, I actually feel you because even though I am a licensed driver, I can’t drive a stick. As it turns out, my woman has a car and it’s a stick, so I’ve been the guy on the passenger side of his girlfriend’s ride for a good year. We’ve been meaning to get me squared away, but haven’t taken the time to do so. Still, learning is a top priority for me this year because I feel like you feel. The idea of not having control in getting us from point A to point B does something weird to my pride.
Honestly, learning how to drive is not difficult, at least learning how to drive well enough to get a license. There’s a reason they allow it at 16, it’s because it’s pretty easy. Sign up for driving school and get those hours in so you can get your permit. Then study up on a written test (assuming they have this in NYC) and make sure you’re ready to pass that. When I was getting my license in Cali, the written test was harder than the actual driving test.
Also, hopefully this woman of yours is cool with it and is willing to help you. It’s just the culture of New York. People get their licenses late, my brother didn’t get his until he was 28. But get yours and learn how to drive, it’s a great skill to have.
Have you ever wrote a script before? I think Until I Get Married could be an amazing pilot on HBO or something. You should definitely consider writing and pitching it one day.
I’ve dabbled and I have some things in the works that hopefully will make that dream a reality. Be on the lookout.
Would you be willing to share your career story on this site: www.inventingheron.com. The site is intended for college students to expose them to a variety of professions out there. I think you’d be an awesome addition!
I’ll consider it. Thank you for thinking of me. I’m definitely interested in it, but I only have so much time so it may be a while.
I have been a faithful follower of your blog, “Until I Get Married” since early 2010. You have inspired me to be personal and transparent on my blog, “Scribbles & Tostitos” also. How do you balance the rope of being true to yourself and your readers while still maintaining some bit of privacy?
My blog is not intended to be a place where I confess my sins to the world. At the same time, as therapeutic as it may be for me to write about things and get them out of my head or heart, I have to remember that my whole point of having a blog, of posting my work and asking people to read it, is to engage the reader. So when you talk about being honest with my reader, it’s important but only if it benefits them.
I don’t lie on my blog, but I will omit, and that’s because some stuff just doesn’t need to be said, some stuff may take away from a post or take the post in a direction I don’t need it to go, so I leave it out. Some stuff just isn’t the reader’s damn business lol…Being open and honest about your writing is a scary thing, and it takes a certain amount of fearlessness but that isn’t an excuse for carelessness. Being honest is only one part of that, the other part is protecting yourself and the people you write about. The reader doesn’t necessarily deserve all of you.
A cashier gives you back more change than they should. Do you keep it or give it back?
It depends on the amount. If it’s $5 or less, I’m keeping it. If it’s more than $10, I’ll give it back.
You seem to know a lot about NYC culture and the ins and outs of city life. What advice do you have for a recent transplant? For a 30 YO who wants to meet new people, where would you recommend to go? Best neighborhoods to hang and/or live? (I know, more than one question!)
My advice is to have patience with the city. I think people believe that in a city of 8 million people, it’s going to be so easy and quick to meet others, but it takes time to forge relationships and to adjust to life in this city on your own. You’ll be lucky if you come away with 8 strong friendships in this city. That being said, that’s all you really need.
When people ask me where to go, I think the best answer is go to the places that look interesting to you. For the most part, I would stay away from Midtown, unless you’re doing an after-work thing, but other than that, bar hop or club hop in a few different neighborhoods and catch a vibe. I go to many different places for many different vibes, and even after living here for 10 years, I am always discovering a new place I like to hang out, and for different reasons.
As for the best neighborhood to hang or live in, I’m biased to central Harlem. I’ve lived uptown my entire time here in New York City and I’ve been to a lot of neighborhoods, but nothing beats Harlem to me. Nothing.
How does one go about making new opposite sex friends when in a relationship? Or is that a bad idea?
It’s not a bad idea, you just have to make sure it’s done openly and honestly. Make sure your partner is fully up on what’s going on with you and a person of the opposite sex. Transparency is key here but also compromise. Understand not every friendship is worth fighting for, so sometimes if your partner doesn’t have a good feeling about a new friend, listen to your partner and give them the benefit of the doubt, rather than the other way around.
Guys who almost exclusively text (as opposed to call)…are they interested? Also the texts are pretty steady and somewhat flirty and he does initiate conversation often, but he doesn’t really ask to hang out, though we have several times. I have no idea how to read this.
You have to embrace the idea that texts these days are the new phone call. I used to text constantly and contrary to what people will tell you, my texts did indicate interests. A phone call was something I did if I was either bored out of my mind and got tired of texting or I wanted to make sure the tone of what I was saying was understood.
In your defense, if you prefer a phone call, at least occasionally, you can probably ask him to do that since you two have been hanging out. But don’t fall for the old communication rules in a relationship that if he cares he calls. If he doesn’t care he doesn’t call but he damn sure doesn’t text either.
What’s a great place to go on a date in the city? I want to take my husband. He recently moved to NYC and is very picky. He prefers Latin food but I want to take him somewhere american/ very NY.
ABC Kitchen in Flatiron
Minetta Tavern in the West Village
Beauty and Essex in the Lower East Side
Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Soho
HS sweetheart returns at age 28 but we live on 2 diff coasts. We FaceTime/txt weekly until the holidays when he’s in town but both times he’s not really around. He moves hm for 4 months, see him 4xs before taking cruise gig. Still don’t feel a deep connection. Returns in Feb… keep around or pass? “Still don’t feel a deep connection.”
The answer is in your question. Pass.
If everyone in the world had an ask.fm and they answered every question asked, whose would you read?
I have no idea. I’m interested in the lives of a lot of people, but not necessarily interested in the questions people ask, so that might be a problem for me.
Did you listen to Louis CK on Marc Maron’s podcast? Apparently the #1 podcast episode of all time. I dunno if I’d go that far but it was pretty fucking good.
I did listen to that episode, and it definitely was a game-changer for me in regards to podcasts. That isn’t my personal number one, but I feel you, it was great and a standout podcast episode.
Any advice on working with someone whom you dated? Im currently in the phase where I’m putting pieces back together, but I’ll now be working with this person on a project.
Don’t take anything about your personal relationship into the workplace. Try your best to compartmentalize because you have business to handle. Once the project is done, if there are things you have to or want to get off your chest, go to dinner or drinks and address them, but not a moment before that project is done.
Why didn’t you pledge at howard? you seem like the fraternity type.
I will admit, I wanted to pledge when I was at Howard, but I will also admit, I wasn’t cut out for the pledging process. Or, rather, I didn’t want to be a part of anything so bad that I would have to do what it took to be a member of a fraternity. My father told me he was a Kappa, so I probably would have wanted to do that if they were on campus while I was there, but they weren’t and once I graduated, I never had the desire to do grad chapter. Once again, I just don’t have the passion for any organization to do what it takes to be a part of them. But I have a lot of respect for any member of the divine nine.
Curious – You are Japanese (1/2?) and Gina is (100%?) Filipino and you consider this an interracial relationship. Why so?
For the record, I’m 1/4 Japanese and correct, Gina is full Filipino. Here is why we’re in an interracial relationship.
Filipinos are their own race. They’re not Asian. The Philippines have a long history of colonialism by other groups. For 300 years, they were Spanish occupied. They have their own language, they have their own culture, they are their own country made up of 7,000 islands. Gina has never identified as Asian mostly because it would be shortchanging the fullness of her people. Filipinos may be descendants of the Asian diaspora, but like black people from the Caribbean wouldn’t identify as African-American even though they are of African descent, Filipinos like Gina don’t label themselves Asian-American because it does a disservice to their own history and experience.
Since I am mixed, it’s very easy for me to claim I’m in an interracial relationship with just about every woman I’ve ever dated. It’s sort of like a loophole I can joke about, but I don’t use the term interracial relationship lightly here. I identify in some way or another with all my ethnicities within the context of my nationality (American), so for me, race weighs heavy. Luckily, Gina has a sense of that because like me, she ain’t white.
Both of us have and continue to do work to get a better understanding of who we are and the worlds from which we come because it’s important for us. Perhaps the only cultural commonality between our races is a mutual love and appreciation for rice.
I’m a 29 year old Black female, works full time but still lives at home and has virtually no dating experience. Men never approach me and I don’t have many friends. Is dating hopeless for me?
No, it isn’t hopeless. I know it may be something you’ve heard before or something you’re even doing already, but please consider giving online dating a shot. Don’t sign up for a bunch of sites, just one, two at the most.
In real life, you should understand, you don’t need a lot of friends to have an active dating life. You really only need one or maybe two who can not only give you support and encouragement. These women can also set you up with people they may know, or at the very least, push you to get out there more. I don’t know where you live, but consider taking weekend road trips or getting on a plane and traveling at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be international, it can be domestic. Just see a different city and meet different people.
As for you still living at home but working full time. That’s cool. It probably is about you being more of a family woman. I mean, shit, if I didn’t live so far from my family, I’d probably be all up in my mom’s refrigerator too. But that should free you up to do some of the traveling I suggested. about 6 hours ago1 person likes this
Stop you are not waiting another 5 yrs to propose to your girl.
Unless I am on the receiving end of a huge amount of money that will erase my debt and allow me to be in the market to at least save to buy a home with my woman, yes I am.
5 years for a proposal? How old are you both? I’m 34. Known bf for 3 years, together for 1.5. I’m getting antsy. My biological clock is ticking like this!! *stomps foot like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny*
Yep, five years. I’m 33, she’s 27, so that buys me some time. But I find questions like yours amusing if only because since when did proposing to someone and getting married become this easy thing to do? Gina and I got off to a fast start. She moved in pretty much a year to the day we went on our first date. Now we’re concentrating on getting our stuff together as a unit and building a good foundation. Besides that, her older sister is getting married this year and her oldest sister is married, so luckily, there’s no family pressure for us to walk down the aisle.
Do you have any prospects/goals/aspirations that have been exciting you lately?
Whether they’re in the long term or short term? I want to get my book proposal done so I can get this book deal in 2015. A lot of my peers keep telling me that a book is going to have a domino effect on my career, so that’s kind of what I’m focused on. There’s something else, a podcast, in its very early stages that I’m hoping to get off the ground by Spring.
Every woman swears she’s not like other women when we know- women are a lot more alike than different. But wondering: have u ever dated a woman who you really felt was very different than others you knew? Or would u say women are women.
I always say, outside of the box is the new box. I’ve noticed this going on for years, mostly with people in their 20s. There is a preoccupation we have with wanting to be different, and it’s such a widespread trait among us that it basically makes us all the same. Embracing similarities to others is more different than trying to distance yourself from them.
To answer your question, every woman I have dated is different than the other women I’ve dated. There may be some areas in which circles touch, but for the most part, I’ve always ended up with women who uniquely themselves. Even if there was something about a woman that really, really stood out, I tried not to praise it as being this thing. Like OH! SHE IS SO DIFFERENT!
I also never tried to find a woman who was different than other women. Like, for me, that was always a huge turn-off when a woman tried to claim her differences and say “she wasn’t like other women.” To me, that made her exactly like other women. Any woman who was completely comfortable with herself usually stood out to me.
Recently engaged and my fiances ex calls and goes HAM crying and asking why; Insisting she still loves him and I’ll never know his heart Or him the way she does (they dated on/off 8 yrs). He blocked her but I can’t help but now I wonder why an ex would be so emotional. Fishy or am I reading into this?
I’m not going to justify any of the actions demonstrated by this ex, but I think it makes perfect sense why she would be so emotional. If they dated on and off for eight years, and not only is there nothing left to show for it but he’s now getting engaged to someone else, it is reasonable believe the ex would be hurt. I mean, there’s bound to be some type of reaction. One phone call is no reason to be suspicious because it’s well within the range of reasonably crazy things a person in her shoes would do. Incessant stalking, endless phone calls, showing up at the office, etc, those are all signs of something much deeper, much crazier going on. Luckily you’re not dealing with that and luckily for you, your fiance has put a stop to all that by blocking her.
My fiancé broke my trust (didn’t cheat but used bad judgment on some things involving othr women) I can’t seem to get past it even tho I really love him and he is a good guy to me. How do you move past someone making a mistake and hurting you especially where trust is involved?
Unfortunately, it’s really hard to answer your question because I’ve never been in your shoes but I’ve been your fiance. I’ve never cheated on my woman but I made some bad judgement calls involving other women and she discovered them. Every now and then, I can tell she’s thinking about it because she’s quiet or short with me, and sometimes it just seems so random. Like, really? Where doing this now? That was months ago!
But, she’s still here and I’ve learned from her that you have to believe the person for you while not perfect, can be better than they were before. That’s what she sees in me and I don’t want to prove her wrong. We continue to move along and put the mistakes I’ve made in the past, and honestly that’s the only thing I’ve seen that works. You want to move past this, well, the keyword here is move. You have to keep moving all the while having faith that your fiance made a mistake that was out of character.
Why is everything race with black people? Every conversation or question is about race or someone discriminating or being mistreated.
I wouldn’t say that, but what I will say is consider our more than unfortunate history of this country being caused by the inherent racism of others. Doesn’t it makes sense that race is so pervasive topic in black life? We have to call it out whenever we see it, and unfortunately we see a lot of it.