7 Ways To Have An Incredible First Date
Food prostitution. Lawd, have mercy! As I was doing my daily check-in on YouTube recently, this was one of the video topics that popped up on my list of suggestions. Being that I'm pretty familiar with Tonya TKO's channel and content, I decided to check it out. The overall gist was a woman decided to social-media-humiliate a man she went out on a date with because he took her out for pizza. Tonya's overall point is there is some sort of breakdown in the woman's character to want to be so mean to the poor guy; that we shouldn't be out here acting like "food prostitutes".
For the most part, I agree. Although I must say that I think part of the reason why there is so much unnecessary-ness that happens on the dating scene is either because 1) we need to spend more time understanding the differences between dating and courting along with what actually makes for a good date (I'll take manners over money any day!) and/or 2) we jump to go on a date with someone before determining, ahead of time, if there is enough of a connection to even go on a date with said person in the first place (more on that in a second). I personally believe that if both of these points were taken to heart more often, dates would be so much smoother.
If you've got a hot date coming up, but you're a little anxious because you can't remember the last time you actually went on a good one, I've got a few suggestions that can make time before, during and even after the date so much less stressful on your mind, body and spirit. Tips that will keep you and your date from feeling like you both had anything less than a good time.
1.Get Your Mind Right
A couple of days ago, I checked out a video by a YouTuber named Asha C. The title of it was "5 Guaranteed Ways to Emotionally Detach!" It basically provided tips for how single women can navigate through the dating scene. Although I recommend watching all of it, if you want the bottom line, the tips are as follows:
- Think with your head and not with heart!
- Don't just date one person.
- Keep yourself busy.
- Reflect on times of premature attachment.
- Associate emotions with surrender until a commitment is in place.
Whether you 100 percent agree with where Asha is coming from or not, what her advice does serve as a good reminder of is the fact that when you have your own mental strategy in place, that makes it so much easier to handle whatever happens on your date with another person. So yeah, take a moment to see where she's coming from, hold on to the gems that you can get on board with and then tweak where you want. A cool and confident woman is someone who is ready for whatever a date night brings her. And she's ready because she prepared herself before ever going on it.
2.Have a Couple of Phone Conversations—Ahead of Time
One reason why I think a lot of dates fail to go very smoothly is because, unless two people already know each other pretty well beforehand, trying to establish a connection while sitting in a crowded restaurant can be awkward, to say the least. One way to avoid that is by talking on the phone before actually meeting up. You can even use that as an opportunity to get some of the "standard dating questions" out of the way. If you need a bit of a nudge, there are 137 first date questions to inspire you here.
By the way, if he refuses to talk on the phone or only wants to text, I'd take that as a bit of a red flag. Texting is about convenience, not establishing a true connection. A man who's really into you is gonna care more about the latter than the former.
3.Avoid Movies. Oh, and Drinks.
While the two of you are on the phone discussing likes and dislikes, it's perfectly fine to slide in that you're not the biggest fan of going to the movies on a first (second or third) date. I mean, how can you truly get to know someone if both of you are sitting in the dark and staring at a movie screen? The only exception in this case is if it's a movie and then something else. But still, on a first date, I'd suggest recommending something with low noise and not a ton of crowds, if at all possible.
As far as drinks go, although having a glass of wine with dinner is cool, tipsy is the last thing you need to be—or should want to see—on a first date. Not only will a sober mind give you both a greater sense of each other's personality, it can also help you to make wise decisions (if you know what I mean).
4.Pay Attention to Your Body Language. And His.
Most of us have heard that 80 percent of communication consists of body language (from the research I've done, it's actually somewhere between 75-90 percent). What this is a blaring reminder of is actions are truly louder than words. This is something to definitely keep in mind once you and your date are finally face to face.
I've got a friend who used to tell me that I needed to work on developing a better "screen saver". What he meant by that is my face has a tendency to reveal just about everything that I'm thinking (especially the rolling of my eyes). As I've worked on that, I've discovered that other not-so-positive forms of body language are crossing arms (it puts you on the defensive); tapping fingers or feet (it conveys impatience); slouching or slumping (it expresses boredom); not making eye contact (it communicates disinterest) and staring at your phone (it's just plain rude).
If you are or he is doing any of these things, that's sending the not-so-subtle message that the date isn't going very well, whether either of you are verbally saying that or not. If you're the one doing any of this, ask yourself if it's a bad date or your body language is a bad habit. If he's doing it, it's OK to make a joke about reading what certain types of body language indicate and then seeing what he says in response. Hey, truth in all humor…right?
5.Be a Good Communicator
If someone were to ask me for the top reason why the first three dates tend to be a total letdown, I wouldn't say it has anything to do with attraction or chemistry. I'd say it has to do with poor communication (which is a top reason for why marriages end too). Y'all, there can be all of the physical sparks in the world, but if the two of you are not actually connecting, you're basically wasting your time.
What exactly does it take to be a winner in the communication department? You need to be able to listen (this includes letting others finish their sentences and thinking about what they said before responding). You need to ask questions (for clarification's sake) rather than going on the defensive when it comes to things that you don't necessarily agree with. You need to be tone-sensitive (if you don't want to be yelled at, don't yell). You need to embrace one another's individuality (they are not you, so they are not gonna think or act just like you do). You need to be warm and inviting (who wants to engage a person who gives one-word answers and doesn't have a pleasant attitude?). And, more than anything, you need to have fun. It's not a job interview; it's a date (which is a bit of an interview only, less stressful…if you let it be!).
6.Don’t “Fake” It
I've got a friend who, unfortunately, is going through a divorce right now. He didn't file; his wife did (actually, 70 percent of all divorces are filed by women). As we were discussing what ultimately got things to that point, one thing he said that I wish the entire world could hear is, "I don't know what makes people think that they truly know someone in a year. So many of us are bringing who we think someone wants to see on a date rather than who they are. Then, once you marry them, you're like 'Who the hell is this?!'"
He's not the only individual who thinks that way. I can't recall if it's Chris Rock or Bishop T.D. Jakes, but one of them said that the individual who typically shows up on a date is not us but our representative. The "best" part of us.
I'm not saying to present the worst side of you when you're out on a date (that's not wise at all). What I am recommending is if you want to start from a real place, begin with acting like a real person. Don't fake a persona, just because you think that's what he'll want to see. By the way, some signs of being fake is agreeing to things that you actually disagree with, pretending to like/enjoy things that you don't or even saying that you'll go on a second date when you know nothing is really going to come from it…ever.
We as women are always talking about chivalry, but it's important that as guys are holding doors open for us that we say "thank you" whenever they do. One of my male friends tells me all of the time that he doesn't care how good a woman looks if her energy is wack. And a person who is impolite definitely gives off bad vibes.
Unfortunately, politeness is a topic that doesn't get discussed nearly as much as it should so, just in case you were wondering what it looks like, polite people—are kind, they respect personal space, they speak the way they want to be spoken to, they don't force their opinions or perspectives on others, they are patient, they say "please" and "thank you" and they try and make others feel comfortable in their space.
We as women can set the tone for how well a date goes, just on the energy we put out alone. Be polite, require chivalry and watch how far this combo takes you—from the beginning of the date until the end.
Featured image by Getty Images
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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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood