My title


Author Archive

What’s Good, Jozen? Dating Single Mothers and Critiquing Your Woman’s Style

January 19th, 2015 No comments

After my last post, I realized there would be no way for me to republish every single Ask.FM question I get. The volume is just too much, and frankly, I don’t think every question is worth rehashing on here.

What I have decided to do is select a few questions, something around 10, and put them in each batch. These are questions that I feel were the best one for no specific reason. Maybe I liked the question, maybe I liked my answer. Whatever it was, I realized after the last post that I might want to be discerning in my approach to sharing all the questions and answers I get. Here’s hoping you all like this batch of questions as much as you like the last one.

Read more…

Categories: What's Good Tags:

What’s Good, Jozen? Batch One/Vol. 1

January 14th, 2015 2 comments

On January 2, I decided to re-open my 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.

Read more…

Categories: Jozen? Tags:

In Defense of Men Who Don’t Drink On The First Date

January 6th, 2015 6 comments

When I was in college, I went on a date with a girl who I had my eyes on weeks before I got up the nerve to actually ask her out. It was one of those situations where I liked her before I even went on the date. She just had to show up and I would already be into her.

Show up she did. We went out on a Saturday afternoon to a huge Romare Bearden exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. At the time, it was the largest collection of Bearden’s work ever produced, and even though I was familiar with Bearden, I really was just trying to impress the girl by choosing a cultural activity for our date.

We spent two hours there, and by the end of it, I felt like I was actually getting somewhere with her. To keep things going, I suggested we go for a late lunch, and she agreed. I decided on a bar not far from campus that specialized in beer and burgers. We went inside, sat down, and looked over the menu. The waiter came over and, as is customary, asked us what we would like to drink.

My date chose their seasonal ale, I said I would take a water. When the waiter walked away, I turned to my date and saw she was looking at me with horror. “You’re really going to make me drink by myself?” she said. I was taken aback by her question. Not only did I not know I was in violation of some unspoken dating rule, imbibing just wasn’t something I enjoyed doing at that time in my life. I especially didn’t like partaking in it during the day, and though it was late afternoon, the sun was still out, which meant the only beer I would be having, if I had one at all, was root beer.

The reason I didn’t like to drink, is because I have an allergic reaction to alcohol. This doesn’t mean I can’t drink, but what it does mean is even if I take a small sip of alcohol, my face turns beet red and my eyes get bloodshot. A half-drank bottle of beer can make me look like I just downed a whole six-pack. This made me insecure about drinking in public. Whenever I went out, I usually wore a hat low to mask my face. It was the only thing I could think of to detract attention away from the reactions I had and the incessant questions from others about my state of fucked-upness.

I explained why I was having a water instead of a brew, and did so with a laugh because I thought her reaction was in jest. As it turns out, it wasn’t. She still didn’t get it. To her, it was no big deal that my face turned red, and it was rude of me to make her drink by herself. In her defense, when the beer arrived at the table, a top-heavy glass of amber-colored liquid with a frothy head, standing right next to my regular-sized glass of water with a lemon wedge, it did look like one of us was having a harder day than the other.

But rude or not, I had to stick to my guns. This wasn’t a pride thing, it was a comfort issue. I was still trying to make a good impression on our date, and I was convinced whatever points I lost for not joining her for some libations, I made up for them by sticking to my guns.

We never went out again.

Read more…

Categories: dating Tags:

Dating Hacks: A Strategy To Extend The Date

December 10th, 2014 4 comments

For the sake of discussion, let’s say you have proposed taking a woman out for the traditional activity of dinner. The entire time you’re nailing your performance, and when I say that I mean, you’re comfortable, you’re being yourself, you’re making her laugh and she in turn is all these things and doing the same.

The temperature between you two is warm enough to know a second date soon cometh, but you also don’t want this first date to end after the check is paid. The thing is, you’ve already been sitting for 90 or so minutes at the same table in the same restaurant. I don’t care how great the company is, how satiated you two are, a change in environment is necessary if you want to keep the date going.

Gentlemen, for your consideration, I present to you my first dating hack: Suggest to her you two go somewhere else for dessert and coffee.

When you plan your date, having a dinner spot picked out is only half the battle. Make sure you also have a cafe/dessert bar picked out for after dinner. Don’t think of this as Plan B, this is Plan A(2). Your goal here is to extend the good times and warm feelings. Keep these things in mind when doing this.

Read more…

Categories: Date Hacks Tags:

Five Things To Do Before She Goes On That Ladies-Only Vacation

December 8th, 2014 3 comments

Tomorrow, Gina is going on a ladies-only vacation with her friends to some island in the Caribbean. She will be gone for four days.

Now, if this was about five years ago, I would be completely and utterly sick over this. When I was younger, the idea of my woman going on any trip without me had my anxiety levels going up like an airplane. Even if we were in a perfectly good place as she packed her bags, even if I trusted her completely, whenever a woman I was dating said they had a girl’s trip on deck, all I could think about was the possibility that she might meet a Dexter.

Gina’s trip is a little different. She actually invited me to go originally, but for reasons that are I will save for another post, I couldn’t make it. As a matter of fact, I believe the original plan was to make it a co-ed trip, for all parties, and it just so happened things dissolved into what is now a women-only excursion. Besides, I’m not the same guy I used to be, and I’m not really worried about anything happening while she’s sunbathing on the beaches of this island she will be staying at.

But, it took me years to attain this level of calm as she embarks on a great adventure, and for the guys out there who still get knots in their stomach when their girl says she’s going on a trip and you’re not invited, I feel your angst. So for you fellas out there, here are five things you can do to, at the very least, quell your worries.

Read more…

Categories: Gina Tags:

The First Year of Forever

November 26th, 2014 11 comments

One of my boys who is married ribbed me the other day when I mentioned how in awe I was of the speed with which time has passed since Gina and I went out on our first date last year. He said, “When you’re married, that’s nothing.” I laughed it off, and then called him a relationship elitist, reminding him that he was once exactly where I was with the woman who is now his wife.

Today marks one year Gina and I have been together. We decided on this date after a month of dating because it was the day of our first date and neither of us have been on another first date since. We never had a conversation about being what the kids call, “official.” There was no serious talk about transitioning into a relationship, and I never formally asked Gina to be my girlfriend. To us, there were never any questions about our status because from the minute we sat down for our first date, we both kind of knew we were each other’s answers to the question, “What does love look like?”

Read more…

Categories: Gina Tags:

Moving In and Getting Out

November 5th, 2014 No comments

I love my apartment.

In New York City, that is not something very many people can say, so I consider myself fortunate. Here in this city, having a roof over your head that doesn’t leak is a blessing, so having one that you adore, well, that can make even a poor man like myself feel rich. If what they say is true about home being where the heart is, and there being no place like it, then you can find my heart in a one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of a pre-war building deep in Central Harlem. My place is my baby.

When Gina and I first discussed living together, there was no talk of moving elsewhere nor was there talk of moving in with her. The latter discussion wasn’t even on the table because she was the one who lived with two other roommates. Besides, with the amount of money we would be saving if she moved in with me, it just made more sense for me to be the one making extra closet space for her belongings.

She’s now fully arrived, the last of her things retrieved over the weekend. Of course, there is still a lot to do including some clearing out of some of my old stuff, and some buying of new stuff where we can properly store old stuff. We need everything from pens for her dry-erase board, to shoe racks. The adjustments we’re making to this new lifestyle are mostly physical, but as everything around the place with which I’m most familiar begins to look different, so has my feelings towards it.

Gina has just moved into my apartment, but I already want us to move out, together. It’s not a space issue. The square footage of our apartment accommodates both of us just fine. My reasons for wanting us to move and live elsewhere together have more to do with truly feeling like we’re in lock-step towards building a life together.

This desire, to want us to establish ourselves on an equal playing field is shocking to me. Like many feelings I have come to experience since she’s come into my life, I had no idea her moving in would make me feel the ambivalence I now have towards my apartment. If someone were to offer a smaller place than the one we have right now, I don’t know if we would take it, but if we did, the biggest reason would largely be due to the fact that we get to start somewhere anew at the same damn time.

That idea, a fresh start together, is what enchants me these days. I’m absolutely in love with it. It’s like, cohabitation, in this brief time, has been great, but it’s merely scratching the surface of what I’m really trying to do with her. I don’t want to just live with my woman, I want us to create our own world together.

Categories: Gina Tags:

Hey Boo: Five Reasons Halloween is The Best Night to Meet Someone

October 29th, 2014 No comments

Let’s get one thing straight: Of course I’m biased.

I met Gina at a Halloween party so naturally I’m going to think this Friday is perhaps the best day of the year for people to meet that potential special someone. This has nothing to do with cuffing season because in case you didn’t know, I am staunchly against cuffing season. This is more about great environments begetting great opportunity.

Whether it’s life-changing love or a one night stand, Halloween parties are your best bet to get whatever relationship you want. I believe this so much, I don’t even call it Halloween anymore so much as I call it “boo season” because the term more accurately describes the multiple benefits of October 31.

I always believed Halloween parties were great environments to meet someone, even before I met Gina. But meeting her at one certainly helps give me credibility in this niche, and no this guideline isn’t so any of you all can get like me. It’s just to help those who have yet to be truly enlightened as to why fright night is the right night to meet that special someone and here’s how you do it.

Read more…

Categories: guys Tags:

What It Feels Like to Lose a Distant Friend in 2014

September 30th, 2014 5 comments

On Sunday morning, I logged onto Facebook and received terrible news. My friend from Howard University, Shomari Marlon Small died on Friday, September 26 in his native, Jamaica. The cause of his death as of this time is still unclear, and I am waiting to hear more details, which I am sure will come to me similar to the way news of his death came to me: On social media.

Shomari and I met each other as freshmen at Howard University. Coming from California, I wasn’t exposed to too many people like Shomari, which is to say I could probably count on one hand how many true Jamaicans I met prior to arriving at HU. Shomari’s island accent was thick to the point where I chuckled the first time he spoke. I had a lot of growing up to do back then, but Shomari did too because when he heard me speak, he laughed and said, “Yo, where are you from? Why do you talk like that?” I had never been to Jamaica, he had never set foot in California, and both of us were living in D.C., away from our families and all that was familiar for the first time.

Seeing as we were equally alien to not only our surroundings but to each other, we hit it off immediately. Some days, we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. He hipped me to beef patties, I put him up on sushi and raw seaweed my mom would send me in care packages. In those very early days at Howard we became more brothers than friends.

By the beginning of the second semester, Shomari and I still acknowledged one another as close friends, but the dynamic between us wasn’t like the first semester. We grew apart, not in spirit, but socially. By now we adjusted to life at Howard, made more friends who we would be seen with more often, developed other interests that kept us busy. He was a business major, I was a communications major, this meant often times a whole week could by before we ran into each other, since most of our classes were taking place on different parts of campus. Our relationship with one another continued on that path right up until he transferred out of Howard in 2003. We never had a chance to say goodbye to one another.

Read more…

Categories: Life Tags:

The Intimacy of Being a Clumsy Boyfriend

September 26th, 2014 3 comments

When we talk about intimacy, we often conveniently leave out the part about vulnerability. Getting close with our partners requires more than getting naked in front of them, it’s showing imperfections we don’t want anyone to see.

Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time around me knows I’m not nearly as smooth as I appear to be. I know I may come off as someone who is like water because on this blog or on social media, I’m well-spoken, articulate, and quick-witted, but I’m only not clumsy with my words. Physically, in person, I am fidgety, at times unkempt, and have the robotics of a clown. I may sound and at times dress like Stefan, but I move like Urkel.

My clumsiness, my tendency to run into stuff, to break and spill things, to slip and fall without anyone’s help used to not be a big deal. It used to be something I could laugh about and others would too. As a kid, my lack of spatial awareness could be dismissed by older people as cute. Look at Jozen falling over himself, isn’t that adorable?. In high school, I worked as a busboy, and I dropped so many plates as I took them to the dishwasher you would have thought there was a plate-breaking contest happening. Once again, it was laughed off by me and my co-workers.

Like other awkward parts about me, I figured at some point, this would be something I could grow out of. So instead of trying to be a more graceful person, I just worked on other parts of my game. It was social skills over motor skills.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: