It truly never fails. At the turn of every new year, there are dating terms that make their way into cyberspace. Each year, there are always a few whose names tickle me. There are also a couple that end up having me like, "Man, I wish there was a name for that when I was in college." (Like weaseling, which I'll get to in just a sec.)
As far as some of the most popular dating trends for 2020 go, I must admit that they're more cautionary tales than anything. If you're able to recognize them very early on, they can prevent you from becoming so jaded that you find yourself swearing off dating for the rest of the year. Are you ready to see what kind of foolishness folks are plotting in this new decade of ours? Brace yourself. Some of them are real doozies.
2020 Dating Trends To Look Out For
This is one that I've never really understood. I mean, if you're not interested in someone, why give them your number at all? Yet dial-toning is right up there at the top of the list of what will be big dating trends in the new year. It's not when you ghost someone. It's when you give someone your contact info and then never respond to their calls. Not only is this pretty cowardly (because again, if you're not interested, just say that…in a nice way, of course), it also is a huge waste of everyone's time. Better to say, "Thanks, but no thanks" on the front end than to make it harder on the next girl that ole' boy approaches all because he can't shake how you gave him the impression that you were interested when actually…you weren't.
Talk about being passive-freakin'-aggressive. I think that just about any woman can relate to weasels—I mean, weaseling. Picture it: You break up with someone, you take the time that you need to heal (good for you), and right when you've started getting used to going at least a few days without thinking about your ex, here he comes liking your Instagram pics again. Anyone who does this knows exactly what they are doing—trying to get back into your head, heart and, quite possibly your bed.
I don't like weaseling because if we are not together and you want my attention again, you should go with a bolder gesture than commenting on social media. But, that's just me. Anyway, if you happen to notice this going down all of a sudden, before you get too excited, just remember that they don't call it "weaseling" for nothin'.
So, a guy I know once told me that he used to make a habit of having sex with women he wasn't even remotely attracted to. Why would someone do something crazy like that? According to him, the "ugly girl" (his words, not mine) would be so grateful for his, uh, time that she would run and tell all of the women he was interested in how good he was—and that would make "bagging them" (again, his words not mine) so much easier to do. Unfortunately, that's not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, there is a whole word for it: leapfrogging, which is when you connect with one person in order to ultimately connect with someone else.
I will admit that the guy I told you about is partaking in the savage 2.0 version of leapfrogging. Oftentimes, this happens more with online dating than anything else. You know, like when someone sees a group shot and might reach out to you, making you believe they are interested, when really, they want to get to know the woman to your left in the picture. Either way, leapfrogging can be the worse, so make sure to keep your Spidey senses up when meeting someone new—whether it's online or off.
Y'all, please tell me you ain't never been this chick. SMDH. Exoskeletoning is what happens when an ex is semi-stalking. They aren't wasting their time, effort, and cyber skills on their ex but the current partner of their ex. If you're currently seeing someone new and a random friend request pops up from someone you don't know or, all of a sudden, you feel like you are being gaslit by an online troll, it might not be random. It could very well be some bitter woman exoskeletoning you. Proceed with caution. Ask the guy you're seeing if he recognizes ole' girl, too.
I know some of y'all are hyped that Kanye appears to have become this super Christian and everything, but anyone who converts and then says he wants to call himself "Christian Genius Billionaire" is someone I think could stand to take some more Bible classes, especially on humility. (Check Luke 14:11). But I digress. I will say this—no one is as consistently inconsistent as Kanye and, if there's one thing we can be certain of, it's that he doesn't hold his tongue…ever.
That said, can you guess what being "Kanye'd" means? It's literally when you're on a date with someone and you can't get a word in because they are flapping their jaws, non-stop, the entire time. Be careful because this tends to be a sign of a potential narcissist which makes the dating term even more fitting. But again…I digress.
Healthy relationships require compromise. Of course, they do. But if your definition of compromising is acting like you love things that you don't even like, what you may be participating in is a dating trend known as eclipsing.
Yep, it's basically when you start to date someone and, in order to appear as if the two of you are truly compatible, you act like you enjoy the same things that they do, even when you don't.
Remember the old school movieRoxanne (Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah)? When a man gets another man to tell him what to say to win over a woman, you know that doesn't really work in your favor. It's living a lie which is ultimately a total waste of your time—and his. Don't do it. It ain't worth it.
This past fall, I wrote "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner" which fits pretty well when it comes to another dating trend called "white clawing". It's when you stay with someone who you're not mentally, emotionally or spiritually stimulated by but, still, you keep them around because they are physically attractive and appealing. I've done this a few times. The big problem with white clawing is the more you self-evolve, the more you want someone who checks all of your boxes.
Men who can ring your bell in all categories do exist, however, you won't be able to see them if you're holding on too tightly to nothing but looks, though. Just something to think about.
If any of these dating trends triggered me, I must admit that it's this one right here. There is a particular man from my past who is utterly notorious when it comes to cause-playing. What in the world is that?
It's when you break things off with someone, but they try and find a way back into your good graces by asking for a favor or even to participate in something that appears altruistic like donating to a cause that they are a part of.
To me, it's the nicer form of weaseling because I'm still over here like, "Dude, if you want to reconnect, just say that. Spare me all of these GoFundMe links." It's a new year. I'll probably actually say that if he pulls that stunt again (and knowing him, he will).
Let me just put it right on out there—vampiring is nothing more than a booty call. It's literally all about folks who only hit you up during the "witching hours" (which legend claims is typically somewhere around 3 a.m, though I'm not sure which time zone). Unless a guy is overseas and hours ahead (or behind) you or there's some type of life-altering emergency going down, there really is no reason for a man to hit you up past midnight "just to talk". You're grown, so if booty calls are your thing, do you. But if that's the only time you're getting hit up, please don't romanticize what's going on. He wants to hit or, at the very least, discuss hittin'. Otherwise, he'd call you during normal interaction hours, not when so-called vampires are roaming the streets.
OK, I thought "settling" was enough of a wake-up call, but it seems like some of us require more of a punch to the gut. If you're out here fleabagging, you're dating someone who you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is totally wrong for you. (See "Why We Love Men Who Are Absolutely No Good For Us" and "My Eureka Moment For Why I'm Not Into 'Nice Guys'"). While I'm not totally sure what that has to do with fleabags, I do know that with the definitions of the word using other words like "run-down" and "cheap", that's enough to make me turn up my nose and want to avoid putting myself in a fleabagging dating scenario at all costs. I hope you are on your monitor or smartphone shaking your head and saying, "Same sis. Same."
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Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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The conversation about sex and intimacy often neglects the experiences of individuals with disabilities. Society's misguided notion that individuals with disabilities are devoid of desires for love, intimacy, and sexual fulfillment is not only preposterous but also damaging, but one disability activist is here to challenge that narrative.
"Society's perception of disability has greatly influenced my own understanding and expression of my sexuality," said author and disabled influencer Tylia L. Flores. "The stigma associated with my disability made it difficult for me to express myself freely, leading to self-esteem issues during my teenage years."
Born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Flores refuses to let her condition define her love life or limit her aspirations. As a passionate advocate for her community, she's on a mission to shatter misconceptions and pave the way for a more inclusive understanding of sexuality within the disabled community.
Misconceptions About Sexuality for the Disabled Community
Ableist misconceptions cast shadows over romantic pursuits for disabled individuals. These misunderstandings can lead to assumptions and judgments that hinder their ability to explore and experience love fully.
For instance, Flores revealed that most believe her caregiver, her mother, or another abled-bodied individual has total influence over her decisions with a partner. Contrary to popular belief, Flores wants the world to know she has complete control over her emotions and decisions regarding her dating and sex life.
"By educating others about sexuality and disability, I challenge these stereotypes and break down barriers. By being open about my experiences and advocating for inclusivity, I hope to inspire others to see beyond misconceptions and embrace diverse experiences within the disabled community," Flores stated.
Another misconception is disabled characters in movies, shows, or books cannot be the main character of affection or have sex. Media representations often portray disabled characters as either asexual or objects of pity, reinforcing harmful stereotypes and perpetuating that disabled individuals are not sexual beings.
"The only way we could create a more inclusive world for Black women with disabilities is to have more Black women come out and voice their truths in the mainstream media and literature, and that's my whole goal as an author," said Flores. "I want to see more disabled characters have sex on TV screens and express themselves sexually like abled-bodied characters."
Ignoring The Suggestion of ‘Limited Romance’ in Partners
The stigma surrounding disability and sexuality finds its roots in deeply ingrained societal biases and stereotypes. Throughout history, people with disabilities were systematically marginalized and desexualized, relegated to the fringes of society. This pervasive attitude stems from a misguided belief that disability diminishes one's humanity, erasing desires and needs deemed as "normal" for able-bodied individuals.
"As a Black woman with cerebral palsy, I have faced challenges in navigating intimate relationships. One challenge has been the lingering belief among many that individuals with disabilities should be limited in their romantic choices by only dating or being intimate with other disabled people," Flores explained. "This suggestion is based on assumptions that individuals with physical disabilities are not capable of having fulfilling relationships."
She overcame this by putting herself out there and actively sharing her life and experiences with others. The author also noted that she doesn't have a "type" limited to African Americans or disabled. She prioritized finding love based on shared values, compatibility, and sexual desires. Additionally, she recommended showing yourself without fear of judgment or prejudice when it comes to dating or having a sexual relationship. The right person will value and respect you, disability and all.
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