My title

How To Take an L Like a Man

December 16th, 2018 Comments off

Nothing will make you feel more desperate than a sad song that speaks to your soul.

For me, that was “Streetlights” by Kanye West. It was 2008 and his groundbreaking album 808s and Heartbreaks released right as I was going through the most significant breakup of my adult life. Before I even played one song, I knew by the title alone the album was going to smack me upside my head. And it did, but not in a way that put some sense into me.

At this point, we had been exes for about a month and I was doing a pretty good job of respecting boundaries. No calls, no texts, no pop-ups; give her the space and time to miss me was my strategy. The only problem was, I had no idea if it was working. She too was not calling, not texting, and she damn sure wasn’t showing up anywhere I was at, at least not on purpose. This caused me to question my approach, no matter how dignified it was, because at this point, dignity was not what I was going for, I needed to be effective.

After about my 100th listen to “Streetlights,” I decided to step up my win-back efforts with a bold move.

Read more…

Categories: Break ups Tags:

All The Things Nathan Did Right With Issa

September 3rd, 2018 Comments off

It’s only been one episode, but in episode 4 of Insecure, something amazing happened. Issa went on a date with a guy who wasn’t as polarizing as Lawrence or Daniel. Suspicious, yes, that’s an accurate way to describe the character named Nathan. He does after all have what many women say is the don’t-trust-him-face — fair-skinned, green eyes — and by the end of the episode we don’t know very much about what he does for a living or what he did in his past. But as the season goes on, I’m sure we’ll learn more about Nathan. For now, what I can appreciate about our new guy is how perfect he played his position when he runs into Issa while she’s on her lunch break.

Some of you may want to believe that what happened in last night’s episode of Insecure is something only Hollywood could make happen. But even the most cynical people should be ready for kismet to strike at any moment and seize the moment much like Nathan did. This is why I found it important to break down all the things Nathan did to position himself as the hero Issa may not deserve but probably needs.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

What Took Me So Long To Propose

November 27th, 2017 4 comments

A post shared by Jozen Cummings (@jozenc) on

Before this happened on Friday night, the questions about when I was going to propose to Gina started being asked before her and I even crossed our one-year mark as boyfriend and girlfriend. Most often the questions were asked half-jokingly, but I cannot stress that half enough. Perhaps it was because I was 32-years-old and in many people’s eyes, that is the age men should be dating strictly to marry. There was also the fact that early in our relationship, Gina’s older sister was engaged to be married, so naturally people would ask if we were next.

Either way, my answer was always the same: No time soon.

For a long time, there was a very simple reason why I wasn’t ready to propose to Gina: Money. When I say money, I don’t mean a simple lack of funds to buy a ring. (As a matter of fact, the ring I gave to Gina is my late grandmother’s ring, a precious, priceless way to keep her with us always.) My money problems ran much deeper than that. In our first year together, I was evicted from my apartment and Gina was making three times more than me. Many women before Gina had left me the minute they discovered just how bad my money issues were, but Gina did not and even though today I am still cleaning up a lot of the financial mess I accumulated through years of unemployment and underemployment, I’m way better off than I used to be and a path to financial freedom is much clearer.

A lack of income coming in stopped becoming a reason not to propose after about a year-and-a-half into our relationship. So what else was I waiting on? I wish I had some sort of good answer, but the fact is I don’t other than I was lucky enough to be with someone who was not in a hurry. When we met, Gina was 25 going on 26. People would joke how lucky I was that I was dating someone so young, but I had dated plenty of women who were Gina’s age that had their heart set on marriage and if I’m being real, I too was one of those people.

I started this blog when I was 28-years-old, and I always thought the title made my intentions clear. I wanted to be a husband one day, and I was actively searching for that. I had many, many, many distractions throughout my journey, but as often as my path zigged and zagged, the destination remained the same: Marriage. And even if I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was, the point is I thought I was ready and dating with that intent. Trust me, no one was more surprised than me that by the end of my 20s, I was not somebody’s permanent boo.

But hindsight is 20/20 and that was especially true for me once I began life as a single man in his 30s.

It didn’t take me long to reconcile with the fact that my 20s were meant to be my learning decade, and though I soaked up a lot of game during that time, I put very little of it into practice. All that time I spent trying to find the perfect woman for me and trying to be a desirable man to many women wore on me. It got to a point where the only woman with whom I felt comfortable enough to be honest about the man I had become was my mother.

I vividly remember a phone conversation I had with her outside of the office building where I was making less than $30K a year at 32-years-old. It was yet another frustrating day at the job and very often, that would cause me to spiral into a whirlwind of negativity. I said to her, “Mom, why would anyone want to marry a guy like me? I have nothing to offer anybody.”

When Gina met me she was meeting a man who was very uncomfortable with who he was. I knew how to exude confidence, but it was only a shell of protection from the truth that inside my confidence was running on fumes.

Why Gina stuck with me through my own maturation process is a question only she can answer. But if there is one thing I am certain of, Gina never looked at me like a project, and never treated me as such. She has never let me off the hook for my imperfections and she definitely did not sign up to be with me so she could rebuild me. All Gina has done is love me consistently and thoroughly. With her I have learned, marriage is not the point, forever with the right person is the point.

The moment that became clear to me, I started moving on from my past mistakes and stopped feeling sorry for myself. If I was going to ask Gina to marry me, I knew I could not be uncomfortable any longer with the man that I had become. I knew I couldn’t look at Gina and wonder what she saw in me, that I had to see a little bit of what she saw in myself. If she believed I was the man with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life, I knew I had to believe I was that man too.

In the eyes of many people, I did a grown man thing when I proposed to Gina, but I was a grown man before any of this happened. I was not, however, together and it took me four years to get there. Proposing to Gina was not about me being the man, or a man, it was about being ready to be her man forever and I believe that’s what anybody should want, a partner who is ready to be theirs. And when you find that person, you will realize there’s no reason to hurry, but you cannot wait to get married.

Categories: Marriage Tags:

Lemonade: A cautionary tale for men like you

April 26th, 2016 5 comments

Screen shot 2016-04-26 at 11.19.55 PM

Ever since Beyoncé premiered her new album Lemonade on Saturday evening, people have been diving in with their theories on who she is singing about. Is it her husband, Jay Z? Her father, Matthew Knowles? Perhaps an amalgam of both? All this sleuthing is fun and makes for good gossip fodder, but who Lemonade is about isn’t as important as what the album is about.

In the very first sentence of the first song, “Pray You Catch Me,” Beyoncé sings about tasting dishonesty and that is the trigger warning not because of the words alone but the way she sings them. The delivery is technically confident but emotionally shaky, which let me know the woman has been through something (or at the very least seen things happen to people around her), and she’s ready to talk about it.

I don’t need art to speak to me on a personal level to enjoy it, but the art I have always dug the most has been the work that looks or sounds the most familiar. In Lemonade I hear a woman singing about a man who sounds a lot like the man I used to be, and the man I sometimes am afraid I can become again.

Read more…

Categories: on something Tags:

Writing about love during times of hate

December 30th, 2015 8 comments

Love is a battle.
Love is a war.

— James Baldwin


Love is a difficult thing to write about.

It doesn’t seem this way at first. We think there’s so much to say because there’s so much we feel in the moment, but then when we put fingers to keys, it just becomes incoherent mush. That is why the popular thing to do these days when it’s time to express joy is to do this a;npogifhaptgag

or this: !!!!!!!!!!!!

or this: Yaaaaaaaaasssss

or we write out a bunch of emojis. (My personal favorite is the flame emoji.)

Another reason love is probably more difficult than ever to write about is because in 2015, it seemed like we saw less of it playing out on the news and in social media. In his annual Who Won the Year bracket, Rembert Browne writing for New York Magazine crowned “Hate” as the unfortunate champion of 2015. Granted that’s only one man’s opinion, but if you read the whole article (which you should do after finishing this one) how he got there makes sense. There is not one group of people that exists today who doesn’t feel like someone is hating on them. Black people. White people. Men. Women. LGBT. Muslims. Christians. Americans. Foreigners. Democrats. Republicans. Everyone swears everyone hates them.

Some of these groups have a much stronger, more legitimate case for this feeling than others, but you get the point. This was the year everyone felt at some point like society was out to kill them or against them. This was the year when I often woke up, checked my phone, and saw a news alert that crushed me. All I could do was turn around and hold Gina, then pray for the strength to make it through the day.

Read more…

I Didn’t Fight the Guy who Disrespected me in Front of my Girlfriend, Here’s Why

August 13th, 2015 13 comments

There has never been a moment when I stepped out with my girlfriend to a party and regretted it. We have nothing but good times. But whenever we hit the town, I feel an extra amount of pressure to be aware of our surroundings at all times and keep her out of any uncomfortable situations.

This is not because of how she acts. Anyone who has been around her knows she doesn’t call attention to herself. This comes with the territory of being a man.

From the days I was a young boy with an even younger sister for whom to look out, I have understood my duty to always be on notice when with a woman. My cues came from following my mom and pop’s walk alongside each other in public spaces. Even if they had just been arguing with each other, once out in the world, around others pop’s always stayed close to my mother, allowing very little space between him and her and sending a clear message to any man who may have been staring at her from afar.

Now I’m doing the same thing with my girlfriend and with good reason.

Without fail, the minute I put some space between us at a party, there is usually some guy sizing her up and approaching her. Luckily most of the time, she and I can find a way to diffuse it without any awkwardness or problems. Our go-to move is me coming up to her and showing her some affection, nothing too brazen or imposing. Since she knows exactly what I’m doing, she’s receptive and follows along, letting the guy who’s trying to ask what her interests are know that we are together. Most guys play this off with ease. I’ve seen them introduce themselves to me then back off. Others, fully aware of what is happening, humbly back away without saying a word.

This is not what happened at a Fourth of July party we attended.

Read more…

Categories: Relationship Facts Tags:

Eleven Lessons Learned After Living In New York City For 11 Years

July 9th, 2015 2 comments

Eleven years ago today, I stepped off a plane at JFK International Airport. It wasn’t my first time visiting New York City. I had been here enough times to not be in awe of the city skyline as my plane was touching down. I even lived here once, albeit temporarily for a three-month summer residence between my junior year and senior year at Howard University. I lived with my brother in Astoria Queens and interned at Vibe magazine in Manhattan. Instead of awe and excitement, my feeling was firmly one of anxiety as I loaded up a cart with my luggage. Unlike my previous visits, this was a one-way trip. I was here to stay and I had no idea when I would leave.

All these years later, I still don’t know when I’m buying a one-way ticket out of here. These days whenever I’m asked if I see myself staying (and as long as you tell people you’re from somewhere else, they will always ask you when you’re leaving) I shrug because I don’t know if that day will ever come. I’m not a New Yorker but New York City has become home, and that is a very bittersweet thing for me to say. Outside of Seaside, California, the city where I was raised, I have spent more time living in New York than I have anywhere else. And while I always grew up with a dream of one day living in the Empire State, I don’t know if that dream ever entailed me staying this long.

But here I am with no exit strategy in mind. This puts me in the unique position of being able to help those who are either thinking about moving to the city or packing their bags to do so. As long as I have been here, I still identify more with the wide-eyed newcomers than the natives. I was once you, but didn’t have very many people who I could talk to not just about living here but trying to figure out how to call this place home. These are the lessons I’ve learned in my quest to get comfortable in New York, New York, big city of dreams.

Read more…

Categories: Life Tags:

Three Things You Need To Do Since Your Girl Is Going To See ‘Magic Mike’ And Magic Mike XXL

July 2nd, 2015 17 comments

What’s up, folks!? A quick note for those who are seeing this post for the first time. I originally wrote it back when the first “Magic Mike” hit theaters. But now, with the release of the sequel, I thought it would be a good idea to repost it. I haven’t edited anything largely because judging from the trailer, it seems to be the same movie. So fellas, read and share this with your boys because I wrote it for us, the men whose women are going to see Magic Mike XXL.

Fellas, today your girl is not thinking about you. She isn’t worried about you and unless your real name is Mike, she doesn’t know your name. Why? “Magic Mike” comes out today, and if you haven’t heard about it, go to Google and get ready to shut your laptop within the first 30 seconds of that trailer.

Yep. That was Channing Tatum dancing half naked on your screen. I’m sorry, man but I had to put you onto game, because the fact is, women are out here buying two tickets for this movie. They’re buying one for themselves to see at lunch and the other to see after work.

Women are excited for this movie about male strippers, which is not to say they like male strippers. Most women I know say they actually loathe male strippers in real life, which I totally get because like, I’ve lusted for p0rn stars on my screen, but in real life? I don’t know if I’m going to date one, except for Michelle Tucker. Michelle Tucker gets all my forgiveness for her past, but that’s neither here nor there, moving on…

Very rarely does a movie come out with the sole intent of getting every woman in the audience to cross their legs multiple times throughout the film. Women never get treated to SCENES that appeal to their carnal side, let alone whole movies, so when something like “Magic Mike” comes out, they’re all in.

Meanwhile, because you might not have heard about this movie, you’ve just been chilling when you should’ve been in the gym or on the floor of your residence, knocking out pushups. If this is or was you, bravo sir. You knew better than to let yourself go as the promotional blitz for “Magic Mike” was heating up to today’s release. You can live comfortably knowing your woman will go see a movie with half naked men but come hot for YOU because you look like those dudes on the screen.

As for the rest of you guys, there’s still some things you can do to ensure your woman will not carry over some residual heat from the theater, because if she is hot, it’s certainly not for you. Here are my tips for the men who must endure their women going to see “Magic Mike” once or twice.

Read more…

Categories: guys Tags:

Warning To A Young Man: You’re About To Go Through It

June 10th, 2015 4 comments

It’s been far too long since I wrote my last post. Usually I wouldn’t kick off a new post by acknowledging this. I’d just blog like I never left. But this latest hiatus has been eating at me to the point where I’ve lost sleep over it.

I don’t know when or why it became difficult for me to write a post. Long time readers remember the days when I was on here publishing posts five days a week. Now it’s a good month if I do five posts in 30 or 31 days. I could blame life or a career that already requires me to write. It could be both of those things, one of those things, or none of the things. In other words, the reasons I haven’t been writing on this blog as frequently as I once did are far too complicated for me to understand. I just know things aren’t what they used to be.

Luckily the anecdote for this is a simple one: Just write.

So I’m going to make an honest attempt to do more work here on this blog. I don’t know if ti will be all about relationships anymore. Honestly, that’s one of the things that held me back. But it doesn’t matter what I write about nearly as much as it matters that I write period.

Now that we got all that out of the way, I return with my response to a question a young man recently sent me. Here is his question in full, and my response is below.

Read more…

Categories: Break ups Tags:

How To Pour A Woman A Drink In 2015

April 9th, 2015 1 comment

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but after a recent visit there, I learned a valuable lesson that I took back home with me: We have to improve the way we get women drinks at parties.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: