Have You Ever Wondered What Qualifies As A REAL Date?
I like dates. That's why I try and write about them as much as possible (check out "15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language", "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)" and "When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?"). Here's the tripped out thing, though—when I talk to single women about dating and their expectations, it's kind of amazing—and by "amazing", I mean unfortunate—how few have a real standard to go on. What I mean by that is, how few seem to even get what qualifies as a real date (or they seem to manipulate the basis for dating which is another article altogether).
While I do think that there are different levels and even purposes to dating (for instance, even though I think married couples should date as well, their reason for doing so is a bit different than someone who is on their fourth or fifth date with someone new), a good date is something we all are deserving of. And if you're single and not in an exclusive long-term situation—which is who I am writing this particular piece for—you definitely should have some clear expectations of what a real date entails.
Yes, this is all my personal opinion and I'm certainly open to your own hot takes in the comment session. Still, I think that if you take even half of these into consideration the next time you decide to go out with someone, you'll be able to return home feeling confident that a date is exactly what you experienced. Ready to see what's on my list?
1. There’s a Plan in Place
If there is no other takeaway from this particular article, please keep this one in your psyche for the rest of your dating life. When two people are on a date, the date should come as the result of some sort of plan. Am I saying that there can't be spontaneous moments between two people that are wonderful, memorable and quality time-filled? Of course, there can be. Yet when someone wants to spend precious time with another individual, it's my personal opinion that some forethought should be put into that, especially during the beginning stages of a relationship.
Otherwise, it kinda comes off as, "I mean, I didn't really have anything better to do. Meet me at the [insert name here] restaurant real quick." We make plans for work. We make plans for the weekend. We make plans to hang with our homies. So, hell yeah, a date should also have a plan. Otherwise, it's more like a random get together or hangout. Which again, is cool. It's not a real date—in the traditional sense—qualifier, though.
2. You’re Not in Either Person's Home
I've had dates in my house. I've experienced dates at a man's place. You know what, though? Neither happened during the first several weeks of dating. And while some a couple of months might seem like for-e-ver to some of y'all, it really isn't if you're someone who is intentional about honoring your personal space and the kind of energy that comes into it. While I'm all about cooking a meal in my kitchen for that special boo thang, you don't get to "boo status" during the first three dates.
Besides, although I semi-loathe the Lifetime channel, I've seen enough of its movies to not want to end up in someone's closet for three weeks because I went to their house before I knew their character well enough to know what they're capable of. Another point? Many of my male friends have told me that a man who is quick to want to bring you home is someone who is less interested in what is happening from the neck up, if you know what I mean.
Bottom line, house space should be seen as a great privilege more than a mere convenience. Don't be so quick to let someone in yours until they have earned the "honor" of being able to do so.
3. Money Is Spent
I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I can't remember which one I heard a particular phrase on. All I know is, when I did, it tripped me right on out. Someone said that there's an epidemic of women who ONLY go on dates in order to get a free meal. They are not interested in the guy. They don't plan on seeing him more than once. Yet if they can get a man to take them to some place they've always wanted to go, they will "sacrifice" their time and go because it's not on their time. What these kinds of "dates" are called are "foodie calls". While that is hilarious to me, it also causes me to roll my eyes in disappointment because that's a form of using someone and if you don't want to be used, you shouldn't create your own karma in that way. So, when I say that money should be spent, I am not cosigning on using a man. Not at all.
This point pretty much connects to the last one that I just made. And really, when you stop to think about it, the point before that one too. Here's why—I'm not sure how much planning you can do, outside of your home, without spending a single dime. Even if the date is an outdoor picnic, you've probably got to pick up some ice for a cooler, some fresh flowers or something. My main point here is a date should be seen as an investment and oftentimes, when we think of investing, money is the first thing that comes to mind. The amount is irrelevant. How it was spent into creating a memorable date, though? That very much is a valid point.
4. Chivalry’s Displayed
If ever there was a subject that causes me to chuckle at how double standards tend to play out between men and women, it's chivalry. The reason why I say that is because, some of the main women who say that "chivalry is dead" are also the ones who claim that they want patriarchy, in all of its forms, to go away. Umm, you do know that chivalry is birthed out of patriarchy, right?
Although patriarchy has been taken to disturbing extremes, at the end of the day, it's about male leadership/authority and if you want a man to ask you out, open doors, pay for meals…someday propose—that's him leading. I hope it goes without saying that pretty much anything that's taken to the extreme is going to prove to be problematic AF. Still, to say that you hate "all things patriarchy", you're basically saying that you want chivalry to go out of the door along with it. Perhaps as collateral damage yet out nonetheless. Just something to think about.
As a complementarian myself (a belief that men and women have equal value with different purposes that complement one another), I am all about some good ole' chivalry. When a man is naturally a gentleman, it reveals a lot about how he's been raised, how he thinks a woman should be treated and how he will provide for and protect her should things go to another level in the future. And since, to me, dates are a lot like a job interview—not in the sense of interrogating people (please don't do that) but in the sense of really seeing if you're a good fit—chivalry should show up. If it's a real date, that is.
5. Meaningful Conversation Is Had
Technically, dinner and a movie are a date. It's not my favorite thing on the planet because it's super predictable and something that I like to see show up on a date is creativity. Another reason why it's not my favorite thing—especially during the first 3-5 dates—is oftentimes restaurants are loud (either because of the other people or the music) and you definitely can't bond in a movie theater over all of the noise on the screen.
So, unless the date is gonna consist of eating outside on a porch or taking a long walk after a film, encourage your dates to be elsewhere—at least for a little while. The main reason why is because, more than anything, what should be transpiring on a date, is open and honest communication. You need to be able to look at each other, make eye contact and feel comfortable asking and answering questions. A date that's designed to cultivate good communication is definitely something that qualifies as a real date in my book.
6. Distractions Are Removed
I don't know why in the world folks would go on a date and keep their phone on (unless you have kids or are on-call) or they would go on a date that has televisions everywhere or music that is booming. OK, so what about a concert? Is that a real date? It is. Especially if someone takes you to hear a favorite artist or something. Again, because of things that we've already discussed, it shouldn't be the "end all" of that date, though. Either some quiet time needs to happen prior to walking in or after walking out. Bottom line with this point is a real date is when both people are all about the other person. The focus is on them and solely them. If one or both of you are all over the place when it comes to where you're placing your attention, what are you on the date for in the first place?
7. Sex Isn’t Involved
I know. Some folks have sex on first dates. Noted. Remember, this article isn't about sex; it's about what constitutes as a real date and I can't tell you how many people I've talked to, over the course of my lifetime, who aren't sure if they've ever been on an actual date because so many of their experiences have consisted of some variation of "Netflix and Chill". Ugh. That's why Jeremih's "Birthday Sex" kinda irks me. Floating on your waterbed is my birthday present? No sir. Don't even try it (LOL).
Sex is great. Full stop. Still, when you're in the beginning stages of a relationship, to call that a "date" is kind of a lazy approach. And don't even get me started on how it can muddle your thinking because far too many of us have fallen victim to confusing good sex with a great relationship (check out "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner").
If anything, sex should culminate a date not be something that constitutes being one—and even then, not all of the time. Shoot, even when you go on sex dates, there should be some effort put into it (a hotel room, rose petals on the bed and floor, etc.). Anyway, if this has you totally thrown because you can't remember the last time you were swept off of your feet without there being a bed beneath you, I'm glad you're reading this. Require some non-sex dates. You're worth it.
8. You Feel Special
To be special is to be set apart. Synonyms for this word include exceptional, different, rare, unique and exclusive. Keeping this in mind, when you're done going on a date with someone and one of your friends hits you up and ask how it went, if something along the lines of these words doesn't come out of your mouth, I don't think it should count as a real date.
Again, it can't be emphasized enough that this isn't about how much money was spent. It's about you walking away and thinking, "Man, this guy really put some time, effort and energy into making sure that I believed him when he said that he wanted to spend some quality time with me." When it's a real date, it's special—exceptional, different, rare, unique and exclusive—because you are all of those things. And a special date is the only date you should be going on. Straight up.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
I believe I’ve shared before that whenever someone tells me that they’re getting married, the first thing that I will say isn’t “congrats.” Nah, the counselor in me automatically goes to “Why?” And why is that? Basically, it’s because you’d be amazed how many people haven’t thought about it beyond they love someone and/or they’re tired of being alone and/or he asked, and/or their clock is ticking. And I mean that literally.
Listen, I don’t want to spend a ton of time in the intro addressing the fact that “knowing your why” is the one-millionth reason why you should get yourself into some pretty thorough premarital counseling prior to jumping anybody’s broom. That said, if you’re engaged, let me do you a solid by providing a link (here) to 200 random questions that you and your fiancé should ask each other beforehand.
Because as you’re about to see, thanks to the insightfulness and candidness of the 12 Black wives, no matter how much you love a person, in order to keep a marriage going long, strong, and healthy as possible, it requires a lot — and I do mean A LOT — more than emotional sentiments. And the more that you’re prepared on the front end? Sis, the far better. I can guarantee you that.
That said, here is what some wives (middle or maiden names were used) told me they wished they either knew or took more seriously before saying, “I do.”
1. Naima. 27. Married Two Years.
“I wish I knew how much I would grieve my single life. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my husband, and marriage has some strong perks, but there are certain things about being single that are incomparable: sleeping on your entire bed, doing whatever whenever without running it by someone else, not having to compromise holidays due to extended family members, making purchases whenever I feel like it, talking to my girls all hours of the night, changing my mind on a whim without worrying if I’m going to piss somebody off — yeah, those were the days. If you are single, don’t let anyone tell you that marriage is better. Nah, marriage is just…different.”
2. Rowan. 33. Married Five Years.
“Don’t make light of differing spiritual views. I do data research for a living, so I know that interfaith marriages are on the rise, but I’m here to tell you that it can make your life complicated in ways that you wouldn’t expect — even when you and your husband are the same religion but a different denomination. It can cause issues when it comes to ‘simple’ things like where to go to church to bigger things like how you interpret Scripture, your approach to certain holidays, and definitely child-rearing. I’m not saying don’t do it; all I’m saying is don’t make light of it. It’s bigger than you probably think.”
3. Wilson (Maiden Name). 40. Married 12 Years.
“I wish I realized how much how you live your life was such a big deal. Something as simple as how he loads the dishwasher vs. how you do it can cause you to want to divorce a ninja after about six months, and I’m not exaggerating."
"Marriage isn’t just about loving someone; it’s about doing life with another person for a really long time. Hell, even if you stay together for only 10 years, 10 years of the bed not being made a certain way or the tub not being cleaned in the way that you like, it is low-key Chinese water torture. Definitely discuss daily life things and your approach to them. If more did, they would probably stay out of divorce court.”
4. Rayhel. 25. Married Six Months.
“Sex changes after marriage. I’ve only been married for a few months, and I’ve noticed this. When you live with someone, and you learn more than you ever have, it can take a while to adjust, so that sex can stay sexy. The intimacy level gets better, it's just that…s-it gets real after saying ‘I do.’ Just doing his laundry and him adjusting to your period alone. Whew."
5. Anderson (Maiden Name). 30. Married Four Years.
“Mood swings. Look, they always talk about how we have them, and we do, but men can be moody as hell too. And it’s really bad when both of you are ‘feeling some type of way’ at the same time. When we’ve got an attitude, we will want to talk. When men do, they will give you the silent treatment. All that does is trigger us — and now everybody is BIG mad. You know how they say that the first few months of dating, you are dating the representative? It’s more like it’s not until you come home from your honeymoon that you both ‘loosen your belt’ and let it all hang out — nastiness and all. Be prepared for that.”
6. Kolette. 35. Married Five Years.
“Discuss priorities. As many as possible. When does he want to have kids vs. when you do? How much does he like to have sex vs. how much you do? Which holiday is a bigger deal to him than you? Who prefers to decorate the house vs. who prefers to travel this year? It’s unrealistic to think that just because someone loves you that they’re going to automatically think that what you think is important is important. My husband and I communicate ‘order of importance’ about things on a weekly basis. It has made things a lot easier because our first year was something else.”
7. Vella. 46. Married 17 Years.
“Dr. Myles Munroe used to talk often about how men don’t just want sex, they need it. When you’re married to a Black man, don’t underestimate that because it’s hard enough for them out here. When they come home and want to be with you — the affection, the vulnerability, the acceptance and feeling desired, the intimacy, the stress release…all of these things are paramount for them. Singles are so recreational about sex that when they get married, they can become really self-centered and almost rude with their partner in the bedroom. If you don’t want to prioritize sex on a consistent basis, stay single, where all you have to concern yourself with is yourself.”
8. Aria. 42. Married One Year.
“It might sound weird, but how you define ‘Blackness’ is a big one. It affects how you see things politically, religiously, and even down when it comes to things like what you watch on television or how you approach style and fashion."
"For instance, my man hates reality television because he thinks that a lot of it is anti-Black while I just think it’s entertaining, and he definitely prefers when I wear my natural hair as opposed to wigs. It’s not that big of a deal, but for some women, it could be. Just don’t assume that because the both of you say that you’re ‘pro-Black’ that you’re exactly on the same page about it.”
9. Tabitha. 29. Married Three Years.
“Marriage requires you to grow TF up! Your husband is someone who holds you accountable to your s-it on a daily basis, and honestly, that can get annoying as hell. When you’re single, you can deal with people when you feel like it, and when you know that you’re showing out, being ridiculous, or acting immature, you can just go home and shut your phone off. Hmph. Lucky you because, when I come home, if I’m acting crazy, someone is calling me out on it with the quickness. My husband and I talk about the fact that nothing will mature you like marriage does because it’s like you’ve got a hall monitor who you sleep with living with you 24/7. Someone shoulda prepared me for that damn s-it. S-it.”
10. Davis (Maiden Name). 30. Married Eight Months.
“I wish I had known how much my boundaries were going to have to change after marriage. In just a short amount of time, I’ve realized that if I want my relationship to go the distance, I’ve gotta watch who I say what to. Some single women are jealous. Some family members are bitter. Some church ladies don’t have a clue. Just make sure that you get the right opinions because you don’t want so many voices in your head that you can’t hear your own or the one who you’re actually married to.”
11. Haven. 35. Married Nine Years.
“I wish I knew about how much our purposes needed to be aligned — not that we needed to be in the same fields but that they needed to complement each other. I am a visual artist, and everything from my working random hours, sometimes touring, and income being very ‘feast or famine’ tends to, it can butt heads with my accountant husband, who has a pretty regimented and predictable schedule and payday. Over the years, we’ve figured out how to make it work, but it’s required A LOT of compromise and flexibility on both of your parts. Just make sure that the two of you talk about your purpose and your plans and goals surrounding each of them. You need to be with someone who can support it, or life is going to be very difficult — no matter how much you love them.”
12. Irys. 50. Married 27 Years.
“You better marry your friend because you need to be with someone you like. Someone who makes you laugh. Someone who you trust more than anyone else. Someone who you can have a good time with under any conditions. Y’all are out here looking for a rich man who can turn you out and I’m telling you that after a while, both of those things can get old if you’re not with your bestie. I love my husband, he’s a great provider and the sex is amazing but us being friends is what’s gotten us through and he’ll say the same thing.”
See…I told you. This is great marital insight for days, and hopefully, it’s also a gentle nudge to speak to some healthy (healthy is key!) married folks you know — especially if you are considering getting married in the near future. Because as basically all of these women stated: marriage is a beautiful thing; it’s also no joke and something to be as prepared for as possible. Please take that heed very seriously — for your, your partner, and your marriage’s sake. Amen? Awesome.
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