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Ready To Turn Thanksgiving Into A Romantic Dinner For Two?

2020 is a great year to turn Thanksgiving into a party-of-two occasion.

Love & Relationships

Although I already know that some of y'all are gonna make a traditional Thanksgiving happen, come hell or highwater, pandemic or not, if you're someone who, whether it's due to social distancing preferences, your finances being on the fritz or both, would prefer to be way more low-key this year, a twist that you can put on Thanksgiving festivities, is to stay home with your boo and make a romantic day and night out of it.

It's pretty easy to pull off and doesn't have to cost you much money at all. In fact, you might just check out my 10 tips and then come to the conclusion that you should've been observing Thanksgiving, exactly in this fashion, all along.

1. Prepare the Meal Two Days Before

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Out of all of the romantic tips that I offer in this article, this might be the best one. Thanks (yet no thanks) to how romantic movies typically present things, sometimes we fail to forget that romance can—and should—have a level of practicality to it.

That said, I don't know anyone who would be in the mood to be all lovey-dovey-mushy after spending all day long in the kitchen. That's why my first recommendation would be to prepare your Thanksgiving meal a couple of days before the holiday itself. That way, all you'll have to do on Thursday is heat up the food and set the table. Now how awesome is that?

2. Get Up Late and Have Breakfast in Bed

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Another reason why I highly recommend preparing your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time is so you won't have to get up early on Thanksgiving Day. It takes roughly 13 minutes per pound for a turkey alone to bake, so if you wait until Thursday to cook, you are gonna have to get up early, just to prep your bird alone. But if your food is already basically ready, you and yours can sleep in, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and have something that I recently happened upon that is a definite decadent palate game-changer! What do y'all know about Apple Pie Stuffed French Toast (recipe is here)? You know what they say—the smoother your day begins, the easier your day will go. Some extra zzz's, a late breakfast and perhaps even some morning sex can truly make this Thanksgiving one of the best yet!

3. Go All Out on the Table Décor

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When it comes to having a romantic Thanksgiving dinner, if there's one area where I think you should definitely go all out, it's when it comes to how you decorate your table. Use a linen or lace tablecloth. Pull out your finest plates and wine glasses. How about a couple of linen napkins and a centerpiece for the table (even if it's just some roses in a fishbowl)? Basically, set your table to look like a five-star restaurant. Ambiance is key when you want to be as romantic as possible.

Speaking of ideas for your table, one I saw, that I thought was simply beautiful, featured some champagne flutes that were turned upside down and had a flower (without the stem) underneath the glass. Then, the base of each glass had a tealight candle on the top of it. Easy, inexpensive and very romantic too.

4. Use Nothing but Scented Soy Candles for Your Lighting 

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Did you know that there's a science behind why a lot of us find candlelight to be so wonderful? It's because the flame of the candle is able to reduce stress and put us into a meditative state. Plus, it's sexy as all get out.

So, when you're out making your runs, stop by a local arts and crafts store (avoid Hobby Lobby if you can; they are big time Trump supporters) and get yourself a couple of packets of soy (soy lasts longer and burns cleaner) scented tea lights or even some taper candles (they're the long ones)—or both. Then, once everything is out on the table, light the candles and turn out all of the overhead lighting. Good luck making it through dinner without moving all of the dishes out of the way and getting on the table yourself with that kind of set up.

As far as scents that will totally put you in the romantic mood—rose, vanilla, sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, cinnamon and pumpkin are all great libido-boosting suggestions.

5. Play Some Romantic Music in the Background

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Earlier this year, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life". One of the things I mentioned is the fact that music has the ability to affect us in the same way that food and sex does. Well, since I'm hoping that you'll get plenty of food and coitus before Thanksgiving Day is over, find a music playlist that can serve as the soundtrack for what you have in mind. You can never go wrong with 90s R&B (like…ever) yet whatever you decide, just make sure that it's super soft, sexy and sensual.

6. Dress Way Up or WAY DOWN

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I've been teasing my godchildren's mother because, sometimes when I'm doing a Google Hangout call with my babies, I notice that the youngest one (who is just about a year-and-a-half) oftentimes looks like she's dressed for church. Whenever I ask her mom what the heck is going on, she usually says something along the lines of, "Girl, this pandemic has kept her from being able to wear all of these clothes. She's gonna wear them somewhere."

2020 has caused us all to become more interested in sweatpants and tees than probably ever before. So, why not use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to dress to the nines? I mean going way past dressy casual; look like you're going to a ball—you in a formal dress with your man in his finest suit 'n all. Or, go to the total other extreme and wear barely nothing at all. A married male friend of mine once said to me that he prefers lingerie outside of sex. "When a woman only puts lingerie on right before sex, it feels like she's saying that's the only time we want to see her that way. When it's time to get it in, I want my wife to be naked. Lingerie just to lounge in is what's sexy AF to me." Enjoying dinner in a black lace teddy by candlelight with some Joe playing in the background? C'mon, y'all.

7. Serve Aphrodisiac Appetizers

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Some foods are considered to be aphrodisiacs because they balance out our hormones and/or increase blood circulation to our nether regions and/or they help to keep us in a good mood. While turkey itself is actually a food that can turn you and yours on (due to the zinc that's in it and zinc increases our sex drive), whether you decide to go all out on the menu or you end up ordering some takeout Chinese or a pizza, consider enjoying some appetizers that have an aphrodisiac twist to 'em. The Roasted Root is a site that actually features a whopping 60 recipes that all feature aphrodisiac ingredients. You can check them out here.

8. Offer Up “Why I’m So Thankful for You” Toasts

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As a words of affirmation (and physical touch) person myself, I wasn't shocked in the least when I read that, according to science, receiving affirmations and affirming others are important because they motivate us, encourage us and help us to overcome any negativity that may try and bring us down. Between politics and this pandemic, if anything tried to push us to our absolute breaking point, it was 2020, and if there was ever a time when you may have been more critical towards your partner, this year may have been it. Still, after all is said and done, with only a few more weeks before a new year, you're still together and that is something to truly celebrate.

One way to do that is for you both to think about the things that you are truly grateful for; not "in general" but when it comes to your partner specifically. What do you appreciate when it comes to their approach to the relationship? What do you adore about their personality? What are you attracted to on the physical and sexual tip? What have they done to make you a better person? Why do you still choose them, again and again? After sharing the answers to these kinds of questions, toast one another. Your relationship has withstood a season that other couples did not. BE. GRATEFUL.

9. Have a Romantic Movie Night

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I know it's pretty traditional to watch football on Thanksgiving. Eh, I'm not sure how romantic that move is, though. An alternative can be to watch a romantic movie together instead; something that you both wanna watch (because, even as a woman, some of these Hallmark movies and rom-coms can be a bit…much). It could be a film that you both watched together on your first date, something that brings back feels of nostalgia for you both (Love Jones never gets old for me) or something that you've never seen before, so that the two of you can create some new memories together. It's a great way to wind down, enjoy some pomegranate (which is an aphrodisiac) vodka and cuddle up together.

10. Take Dessert into the Bedroom

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I'm pretty sure there's a peach cobbler, red velvet cake or chocolate brownies somewhere in that kitchen, right? Put it all on a tray and take it into your bedroom, along with some spicy hot chocolate and a few of those candles that were on your table. Whether you eat your dessert off of the plate or each other, it's the perfect way to end a Thanksgiving Day that was full of romance—and then some.

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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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