Lately, I've been trying to be more intentional about my dating life. In the past I've been afraid to voice the things I want and that's resulted in a few experiences I'm not proud of. One of the worst experiences is being "ghosted". For those who aren't familiar with the term, it's when you're dating someone and it seems to be going great, and then, poof, they disappear. Pre-Quarantine, I was actively making an effort to date more and become comfortable with transparency. That process made me wonder about a few mistakes from the past.
There was a guy I dated about a year ago. I always admired his hard-working spirit and honesty. We had a lot in common and always seemed to get along fine. And then one day, he disappeared. There was no argument or monumental moment to cause it, he just stopped communicating. Naturally being the non-confrontational woman that I am (sometimes to a fault), I stopped reaching out. I assumed all sorts of annoying reasons like: he made up with his ex, he wasn't attracted to me, I opened up too much, etc. But instead of confirming any of these things, I simply unfollowed him online, deleted his text thread and moved on. Looking back I feel embarrassed at my reaction; it was pretty childish.
Why did I assume I was at fault? Why didn't I feel comfortable enough to have a conversation? Recently, curiosity and free time got the best of me (blame Quarantine), and I asked.
To my surprise, I learned that around the time we were dating, he had lost his job and became very withdrawn from life. We ended up discussing a few of the hardships he endured and how we really enjoyed each other's company. "I've come to realize I don't do well dating when my life isn't in order," he said. That made sense. Actually, it made perfect sense. But it made me wonder how many times my girlfriends and I had gotten it wrong. Sometimes we assume the best or worst, when really we just need the truth.
So I decided to ask five guys to give me honest feedback on ghosting. Why they do it, and was it the woman's fault. And whew chile, the responses. Check out some of the stories below.
"I ghosted this girl once simply because she wasn't the kind of girl I was genuinely interested in. I could tell from the initial conversation we had. There was a vibe there for sure, but we were simply in two different places in life, and looking for different things. She wanted the house, kids, and a dog. And I just wasn't there yet. Unfortunately I wasn't as embracing of transparent communication then as I am now. So, instead of telling her how I felt, I just stopped talking to her. I'm not proud of it but it happened." - Sharod Virtuoso, 31
"I met a woman at a networking event and we discussed working together. I quickly realized that she was interested in me outside of work. We went to a park, fed ducks, meditated and had a nice time. But our communication was staggered afterwards and we didn't see each other for a while following the park. Weeks later, we ended up going to a Hawks game. I know people who work at the stadium so I greeted a few people, making sure to introduce her. A friend and his girlfriend even met us there. However, she was irritated most of the night and felt as if my attention was too divided. She left upset and didn't seem to enjoy herself. I called the next day to try and talk it out but she was adamant about my time being hers. I thought this was a bit extreme for us to just be building a friendship. So, I deleted her number and never spoke to her again." - Malachy Waco, 29
"I have ghosted a couple times but mostly for the same reason. I was taught 'do not introduce a woman to a lifestyle you can't sustain.' After taking a break from the dating scene, I was eager to get back out there not realizing I needed to take time to get my financial life in order. I went on a few dates but once wants and expectations were brought up, I knew in my heart I couldn't provide the services the particular ladies were requesting and had to bow out. It was nothing personal, just easier to nip it in the bud." - Carson Byrd, 31
Weird Sexual Encounter
"I met a woman online from a dating site. I was laying in her bed while she freshened up, and I remember thinking something smelled strange. I assumed maybe her child peed the bed and the smell was just lingering. Once she came out of the bathroom, everything was cool, things started getting hot and heavy. I'm doing things to her; she's doing things to herself, it was fine. Then she stops and says, 'You wanna see something cool? I can make myself squirt.' She starts playing with herself and boom, she 'squirts'. I wiped myself off and caught a whiff, and realized she peed on me. Needless to say that's not the same thing as squirting. I left and we never spoke again." - Geraud, 33
"There was this woman in Houston that I met at an event. She was gorgeous and the conversation, vibe, and connection were on point! Then, she started asking about how I could big up her business on one of my radio shows. I explained to her how although I was a radio host, there is protocol to mentioning, or shouting out, a business on my show(s). After a week, or two, of getting to know each other, one night she tried to seduce me, hoping that I would make an exception for her. I explained how I could lose my job if I did that and got caught. She still didn't get it and continued to try to get me to give her free publicity on the radio. I was turned off and abruptly stopped communication. I ran into her at another event and she asked why I stopped talking to her. I told her that pressuring me to engage in payola for her business, with no regard to my job or feelings, turned me all the way off, and I realized that she was for herself. I then saw someone I wanted to speak to, wished her well, and went on about my evening." -KG, 41
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Kirby Carroll grew up in VA but now calls Atlanta, GA home. She has a passion for creating content and helping brands grow through storytelling and public relations. When not immersed in work, you can find her sipping a mimosa at brunch or bingeing a new TV drama on Netflix. Keep up with her on social media at @askKirbyCarroll.
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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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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