Lessons From Sleeping Next to an Engaged Woman

June 24th, 2013 9 comments

Nothing happened, but I was still wrong.

I am at that age when I know better fluently. I have perfect command over doing the right thing, so when I do the wrong thing, the choice is made to find a deeper truth. I guess you can say it’s like the use of foul language. There’s always a more appropriate word than “fuck” but sometimes that word says it all.

I fucked up and I knew it from the moment I said yes to her request. She was going to be in New York City for an overnight business trip and wanted to stay with me. This was absolutely unnecessary.

For one, I know for a fact if it was business for which she was in town, the company was more than willing to pay for a hotel. She is an attorney at one of those big law firms where money is spent like water. A hotel room for business-related trips is standard.

But the other reason she should have never asked to stay with me, and I should have never said yes to her request, is because she was engaged to be married. and had the rock on her finger to prove it.

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Categories: Life Tags:

Don’t be That Guy Who Complains About What She Wears

June 5th, 2013 4 comments

Ed Note: The following story is no indictment on my step-dad who is a great man.

While home from college for the holidays, my mother asked me to go with her to the local Macy’s. She wanted to do some shopping for herself. Of course I said yes because it’s the only time of year I’m home and any chance to spend time with Ms. Rita is always welcome. Also, everyone knows when you’re home visiting parents, any run to a store for themselves eventually turns into them going on a shopping spree for you.

We parked the car and walked into Macy’s. I’m ready to see mom ball out on her son, because where I’m from Macy’s is pretty much the tippy-top of the line. Everyone bought their nice things from the local Macy’s and we’ve been shopping there for me to get fly since my 8th grade promotional ceremony.

The two of us walked in the entrance where the men’s clothing section was, so of course I made a right in the direction of the leather jackets. I needed a new one, but my mom kept walking straight ahead. Maybe she was going to another part of the men’s section? I started following her, and to my surprise she was walking past the men’s clothes, past the cologne area, past the men’s shoes, past every single section that applied to me. Instead, she was taking the escalator, up to the women’s section. What was she doing? Did she need to use the bathroom? Was she going to return something she bought, get some store credit, and then come back down?

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Categories: guys Tags:

The Lesson I Learned After a Year of Being a Dating Reporter

June 4th, 2013 No comments

Today marks my one year anniversary as The New York Post dating reporter in charge of their weekly blind date column, Meet Market. On occasions such as this one, people often say the year went by so fast. But the past year for me has been the exact opposite.

I love my job, but it’s challenging, exhausting, and stressful in its own unique way. I am fortunate enough to have a specific duty when I report to work, and it never changes. My job is to get people, set them up on dates, and report on what happened on those dates. Then, with the help of my editors, photographers, and designers, we create the two pages people readers see every Sunday.

On the surface, it all seems so simple, but there have been weeks where it is the most difficult thing I’ve had to do because this job has less to do with the words I wrote and more to do with people.

When I interviewed for the position, I of course touted my resume. Over 90 percent of the people who have come in to take their photo in order to participate ask me how I managed to get my job. The first thing I tell them is, I went to school for journalism. I know that may seem pompous, and I indeed give them more details, but I begin my answer with that statement for two reasons: 1) I’m still paying for my Howard University education. 2) I am indeed a journalist; obviously not of the Bob Woodward variety, but still, resume don’t lie and it’s important people know that.

But more important than all the education and experience I acquired before I started at the New York Post, is the social skills I’ve needed to rely on in order to make it this far.

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Hey Girl, Talk to me About Street Harrassment

May 30th, 2013 12 comments

I need a prayer to get in her book and it looks rather dry
I guess a twinkle in her eye is just a twinkle in her eye
Although she’s crazy steppin, I’ll try to stop her stride
Cause I won’t have no more of this passin me by

– Slimkid3 of The Pharcyde from “Passin’ Me By”

 

Several years ago, me and my boys Ace and Hugh were walking down Canal street in New Orleans. We were there for the Essence Music Festival, Fourth of July Weekend. For those who have never been or read my previous posts about it, it’s essentially a weekend of nothing but great music, excellent cuisine, lots of liquor, and for a man, so much eye candy they’re bound to leave with optical diabetes.

Such a piece walked right past the three of us as we were discussing which direction we were going in. The girl was flanked by two others on her right and left side. They were all walking quickly, but Ace and Hugh and I noticed the woman in the middle. This was day two at the festival, a festival we had been to previous years, so by now we were well trained in the art of patience. We were no longer running after pretty face who walked by, and put a premium on good conversation with strangers instead of just aesthetics. But this girl in the middle couldn’t be ignored, at least not by me.

I stepped away from the group to catch up. Of course, I had no idea what to say to get her attention. She was wearing a floral dress, so thinking on my toes I started yelling “Hey, flower girl!” as I speed-walked towards her, hoping to get her to turn around before I had to pass her up, turn around, and get in her way. “Flower girl” wasn’t working, so I started yelling, “Beautiful, beautiful!”

Finally, she turned around, but only for a moment to see if I was talking to her. “Yes, you.” She turned back around and kept walking. “No, you, I’m talking to you!” There was a storefront with mirrors to our immediate left, as they were still walking, I improvised: “Look to your left, in the mirror, I’m talking to you. You!” She looked to her left. “There you go,” I said as she was slowing down, and finally stood at the corner, her girls putting some space between us and them. “Hi,” I said. “I’m sorry for yelling, I just had to stop you. My name is Jozen…”

What happened next isn’t relevant to today’s post, but since I know you all are nosy I will say this much: She ended up visiting me in New York City a few weeks later.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because I want to talk about street harassment. It is close to 90 degrees in New York City today, and the forecast says the weather will be hovering around that temperature for the next few days. That means Summer is here, and it also means women are going to hear the latest in cat call lexicon.

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Categories: guys Tags:

Why is it Wrong For Men to Use Coupons on a Date?

May 29th, 2013 11 comments

Now you can tell from my everday fits I ain’t rich
So cease and desist with them tricks
I’m just another black man caught up in the mix
Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents

— Shock G from “I Get Around”

Every now and then I ask a group of my lady friends the following question:

Is it okay for a man use a coupon deal on his first date with you?

In my unscientific research, very few women say it’s fine. Most women tell me it is not. For those women, I follow up with this question:

Is it okay for a man to take you to a restaurant during Restaurant Week?”

The majority of the responses are some variation of this phrase: “Yes, that’s different.”

So here’s the question I ask all of them, and I’m extending to my readers.

What. Is. The. Difference?

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For the Girl Who Asked You to Write

May 28th, 2013 4 comments

“New faces,” he said finally, “don’t tell me about new faces.” It seemed that the last time he had gone to a party where he had been promised “new faces,” there had been fifteen people in the room, and he had already slept with five of the women and owed money to all but two of the men.

- Joan Didion from “Goodbye to All That”

There is a sea of people in front of the actual sea. You are standing at the bar looking out at both, in a slight daze, waiting on your boy, who is somewhere in this crowd. The music is loud, making the outdoor space feel like an indoor one. The crowd noise is a quiet hum underneath all that bass and treble, and squeaky electronic sounds. How the speakers can take over all of outside is fascinating.

“Hey, you, YOU!” A girl, sitting at a table with friends a good 20 feet away from you stand, is waving her arms in your direction. You make eye contact with her and she confirms it is you she’s waving at. “Yeah, you,” she says. “Where’s my blog? I’m a big fan, you don’t update as much.”

Thank you. I know. I need to get back on it.

“Yeah,” she says. “Get back on it. I used to start my mornings by reading your blog. I need that.”

Thank you. I promise. I will write something this week.

“You better,” she says with a smile on her face.

You have no idea if you’re going to write anything that week, because lately you’ve had no idea what to write about. You built a following by writing personal things, and being honest, but over time you started holding back. It used to be easy, writing five days a week, back when you were actually getting out old feelings about girlfriends in your past. All those thoughts and emotions have been exhumed, and therefore you’ve written less, but there hasn’t been less to write about.

There’s been less you’re willing to share.

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Categories: Stories Tags:

SPONSORED POST: Help People Meet More People with Match.com and Stir

May 21st, 2013 3 comments

Since 80 percent of my job is to meet single people for the purposes of my column, I’ve been to more than my fair share of mix and mingles, etc. Without question, the best ones I’ve been to are Match.com’s one-year-old Stir events.

I know you see the “Sponsored Post” tag on the title of this post and think I’m being paid to say that, but believe me I didn’t have to be paid anything to spread the good word. When I was invited to check out a Stir event last year, I had no idea what to expect, and I was hardly excited to go. But it was a Saturday night, I had no other plans on my calendar, so I thought why not. It was a straightforward night of cocktails at one of my favorite Midtown venues, Lounge 48.

When I walked in that night, I did so by myself; a stranger amongst strangers, which is never comfortable. Two hours later, I was leaving with three girls and two guys who were friends of theirs. We ended up at a karaoke lounge (I sang a Drake song, of course), and then a club on the Lower East Side where a friend of mine was spinning while Adrian Grenier stood off to the side nodding his head in approval with some friends.

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How I got there with people I didn’t know prior to leaving my apartment that night can be credited to the Stir event. Unlike a typical night at any non-descript lounge or social venue, everyone at the Stir event is 1) single 2) there to meet someone they’ve never met before. That’s not something I considered when I walked into the event, but after experiencing it for myself, I can honestly say Stir events are one of the best ways to meet new people, and that includes the next person you might call a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Though that wasn’t the end result with my own Stir experience, I still came away with some good friends and good memories, which is probably more than I would get on a typical Saturday night out at a less formalized gathering.

But that sort of magic isn’t exclusive to the adult playground known as NYC. In just one year Match has hosted 2,850 events – broken down, that’s 14 events each day, 75 events a week, 320 events per month! Match has collaborated with over 1,200 venues and partners, including House of Blues, Banana Republic, Sur la Table and Warrior Dash, along with local gems in each city. Match is throwing singles events in over 80 cities across America – including events in Anchorage and Honolulu! Over 225,000 singles have attended a Stir event to date! In celebration of the Stir anniversary, Match.com is offering the opportunity for singles to create their own Stir event, and if their event is chosen, to work with Match Stir event planners to bring it to life!

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Funerals and Weddings and Life’s Wild Path

April 25th, 2013 9 comments

The last time I flew to Little Rock, Arkansas, it was to be a pallbearer for Enoch “Trey” Tims III. He is the man you see pictured far left. He was buried on February 6, 2010.

Today, I board a plane to Little Rock, Arkansas where I will be a groomsman for Harold “Jhirmack” Eichelberger. He is the man you see pictured in the middle. He is getting married on Saturday.

photo (4)

In August, 2000, I met both these men for the first time at Howard University. We stayed in Drew Hall, the mandated freshman boys-only dorm on campus. Harold moved into the dorm room directly across the hall from me, Trey was in the dorm room right next door. As evidenced by the photo, the three of us would go onto graduate together, and along the way become like brothers not only with each other, but a handful of other men who were pallbearers at Trey’s funeral, who will be groomsmen at Harold’s wedding.

Me, Jhirmack, Trey, Harold, Cliff, Weaf, Antijuan, Hank, Hakim, Zach, and Coop, have done our best to stay close post-college. These days many of us live far apart from one another, some across states, others across oceans. Some of us are in touch with specific people more than others, but we have never forgotten how close we all once were. We still remember the unspoken promises we made that when life gets to be the most real for one of us, as many of us as possible will form together.

I don’t know if it was a funeral or at a wedding where I first heard the saying that it is those two occasions that bring the most amount of people together. But I have learned it’s true in ways that are both sad and joyous.

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Categories: Friends, weddings Tags:

How Do I Deliver the Reading at my Friend’s Wedding?

April 18th, 2013 6 comments

In nine days, one of my best friends, Harold, will be getting married to Christina. Long time readers know their story, and for those who don’t, you can read about it here.

In addition to being one of the groomsmen, I was also asked by the couple if I could do the honor of delivering the reading. Here is what they asked me to read:

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Now I’m not nervous about reading out loud or in front of a bunch of people. I was one of those kids who was always volunteering to read in class because, frankly, I’m damn good at reading. I’m also not afraid of public speaking, especially at emotional ceremonies like this. When our friend Trey was killed in a car accident in 2010, I spoke at his funeral, and many of the same people who were there, will be here at Harold’s wedding, so there will be many familiar faces.

There is nothing for me to worry about, I know I’ll be fine, but I want to make this reading great for my friends. Even though I’m not shy, I don’t know if I’m the most gifted public speaker, so I have some questions I’d like you all to answer.

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Does Race Matter…on a Blind Date?

April 16th, 2013 9 comments

On the questionnaire I give to all my Meet Market applicants, there is one question I immediately skip to upon receiving it.

47. Are race, religion or age important factors regarding who you date? (This won’t be published, but is important so we know who you’re looking for)

Of all the answers I look at on the questionnaire, this is the most important because it’s the most specific. The person’s answer helps me figure out how to group them.

A lot of answers focus on age; they give me a range they either want or don’t want. Every now and then, their response is religion-specific; some will say they don’t want someone who is too religious, or they’d like someone who is the same religion as them. Then there’s race, which is always interesting.

Some people will say they’ve never dated outside of their race, which makes me have to clarify with them, Does that mean you want to keep it that way? Others will be more blunt and say they prefer not to date anyone of a specific race or outside of their own race. The answers never bother me. The way I see it, the more honest they are, the easier my job.

The most problematic answer is the one I probably get the most: Race doesn’t matter.

People like to make a point of saying that, and I assume they’re telling the truth, but how truthful is that truth is the question I find myself asking whenever I get this response.

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Categories: dating, race, Work Tags: