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Why Having A 'Frozen Five' Is The Ultimate Dating Game-Changer

The new standard of standards.

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The older I get, the more I am realizing that dating isn't for the faint of heart, or the ill-equipped. Despite swearing off dating to go on sabbatical, I ended up waving my Hot Girl Summer freak flag pretty proudly as I found myself going on quite a few first dates. The song and dance was the same. Girl meets boy over dating app by swiping right, we converse for about a week, and decide to go on a date. Sparks fly for one party but I'm left slightly underwhelmed. And the connection is started and stopped there.

I was today-years-old when I realized that the root of my dating issues and hot and cold feelings towards people I felt lukewarm about was, in essence, a result of not knowing what I want because of standards that were too easily met by any human walking this earth with a job and some coins to rub together. Sure, I know that I'd love to be married one day, but in order to get to that destination, I have to at least be headed in the right direction.

The problem was I had no real direction.

Shannon Boodram, who commonly goes by "Shan Boody", is on a mission to empower those willing to learn with the tools to acquire anything they want. In the world according to Shan, the power to have the life you desire is by playing the game effectively, and you can't do that without work or knowledge. In her new book, The Game of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating with Dominance--and Getting What You Want, Shannon presents us with a relationship self-help book like no other that walks us through the different layers of how to level up and operate as our best selves in the digital dating era.

Dating with dominance is about taking your pleasure into your own hands and Shannon teaches us how to do this by passing on knowledge she's acquired about seduction, influence, connection, and flirting based off of 13 years of studying love and relationships as a sex/love expert. "Through that work and some of the books that I read, I was really able to transform my dating life," she shares exclusively with xoNecole. "From 30 until I got married, my love life, my ability to connect, the quality connections I was making had completely done a 180 and the Game of Desire is basically the same thought-child of all of these great books about psychology that really did help transform me."

Bottom line, you can do all the dating in the world, but if you let the wrong players stay in the game when you know they should be on the bench or dropped completely when their stats don't match up to your requirements, you are doing you, your time, and your players a huge disservice.

To remedy that issue, one of the many aspects of connection The Game of Desire touches on is the concept of a Frozen Five, the new standard for standards, which by all accounts is an absolute dating game-changer.

Here's why:

WTF is a Frozen Five?

Shannon defines a "Frozen Five" as the five standards a person must meet in order to qualify in your life as a potential long-term connection. The concept acts as a marker for what you allow in your space and what you deem deserving of your effort and energy. Shannon likened the fact that the "five" are deemed "frozen" due to the fact that they are non-negotiable and therefore should be regarded as basic requirements.

"Basic requirements means, 'Do not apply if you don't have this shit,'" she explains. "This is what you are going to require at minimum to be eligible to be considered for this opportunity [of dating me], and your Frozen Five is exactly that. Here's what is required of you at minimum to partner with me."

An Effective Frozen Five vs. Ineffective Frozen Five 

The difference between an effective Frozen Five and an ineffective Frozen Five sometimes are "ideals". Therefore, Shannon believes an effective Frozen Five summarizes what you need in order to be successful with you, meaning choosing a partner that makes you proud to be you, while an ineffective Frozen Five means choosing a partner that you would be proud to be with.

"Idealistically, sure I would like a partner who makes seven figures. But if I really think about what satisfies me in a relationship and what makes me my best self—the version of me that I love being when I go to bed at night and I'm like, 'Today was a great day. I love to being me today'—the way that somebody looks and how much money they make could be cool things, but actually they're not that important to me."

She continues, "What's more important is that I'm with a partner who uplifts and supports me, and just part of my Frozen Five is I need somebody who's supportive of my work and of my good news; somebody who makes me feel proud of the accomplishments I made. I also need somebody who is securely attached because I'm a very flirtatious person and if I'm in a relationship with somebody who is helicoptering over, and you're telling me what not to do, it really gets my defenses up and it makes me very angsty; I can't enjoy my life or be my full expression of me in that kind of relationship. So as much as yes, it would be great to have somebody who makes a ton of money and looks really great and is going to be a handyman around the house, in truth, those things are bonuses versus integral."

How to Create Your Frozen Five

The Frozen Five's origin stems from The Science of Happily Ever After by Dr. Ty Tashiro, a book that inspired Shannon to compile a list of 26 traits that are essential to any romantic bond. What constitutes as your Frozen Five might vastly differ from person to person, but the purpose is to define your personal five by arranging the list of 26 things from most important to least important. To narrow your list down to your Frozen Five, play around with the order by writing them down on a piece of paper or on index cards and shuffle them around.

The list is as follows:

  • Agreeable (easy to get along with)
  • Emotionally stable
  • Securely attached
  • High novelty-seeking
  • Supportive/happy for good news
  • Intelligent
  • Physically attractive
  • Takes responsibility for self
  • Unlikely to withdraw
  • Has similar interests
  • Has similar values
  • Speaks my love language
  • Good life skills (cooking, cleaning, budgeting, etc.)
  • Wants children
  • Sexually compatible
  • Financially well-off
  • Charming/humorous
  • Trustworthy
  • Faithful
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Follows directions/allows others to take the lead
  • Highly ambitious
  • Independent thinker
  • Compatible with my friends and family
  • Excellent conflict-resolution skills
  • Has good relationships with others
  • Speaks my apology language

Of note, there is always freedom to move things around, to shift, and make adjustments as you see fit while you get out there and explore. You can potentially value one thing more in this phase of your life than you do another in the next two months. So although the term is "Frozen Five", don't feel like your values are immovable.

Just like love languages, apology languages, and attachment styles, these things are subject to change as you learn, grow, and experience more life and love. "You're not making a solid set in stone list. This is not the 10 commandments that cannot change. This is going to evolve as you evolve and you can do this as many times as you want to," Shannon echoed.

What I found interesting is that before reading this book, I had been doing my standards all the way wrong. Whereas I thought things like my partner having a good job, having a car, being able to afford to date me were all important things to me, or standards if you will, I realized through reading Shannon's breakdown that it wasn't specific enough and could essentially be a one-size-fits-all where any guy that applied could have an opportunity to be with me. Furthermore, when I did my own list, "financially well-off" was way down the list.

In order to gain clarity about my direction in dating and finding meaningful connections and partnerships was to think about the things that established a foundation for a relationship and thereby relational happiness for me. Those things are as follows:

  • Faithfulness
  • Sexual compatibility
  • Speaks my love language
  • Supportive/happy for my good news
  • High novelty-seeking

All other applicants need not apply.

If you want to find out more about Frozen Five and how to create the second step of this exercise, be sure to cop Shannon's bookThe Game of Desire, out now. And follow her on Instagram.

Featured image by Maya Washington for Shan Boodram/Instagram

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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