Thursday, January 10, 2008

Relationships 101 part one

With all the political going's on, I thought a diversion was in order in answer to those of you who have inquire about relationships. This week I celebrated my 14th anniversary and let me tell you that it ain't all been a bed of roses. I found this item from our online partner Kuttinedge Associate Editor, Wyatt O. Evans( pictured). In the next few weeks, I plan to offer a few more relationship articles for those forlorned, seeking their next partner or dealing with the one you've got. I know many of you have decided that you will find that special someone in 2008 and we hope to offer you some thoughts and insights on the process. Happy hunting!

Several months ago, one of my buddies (I’ll call him “Emilo;” he’s African-American and Puerto Rican) came to me for relationship advice. At first (because I’m currently single), I didn’t really think I was the “go to guy” for that. However, I decided to give it a shot. Besides, Emilo thought that my short stint on a counselor’s couch would come in handy. (I’m not “touched”--by any stretch. Seriously. Smile.)

Let me tell you about Emilo. He’s an articulate, sensitive, passionate, and fairly communicative man. His significant other, “Tank” (That’s his real nickname; he’s Black), is sort of a “tough guy”--and not as emotionally open.

The two have been a monogamous couple for a little more than three years now. According to Emilo, for about six months or so, Tank just hadn’t been his usual attentive self: infrequent romantic gestures, fewer surprise calls during the day, etc, etc. Tank also had forgotten a couple of important milestones in the relationship. My bud was beginning to feel taken for granted.

And as far as Emilo was concerned, the worst part was that their lovemaking had become less than inspired. He felt that somehow, a lot of the passion, zing, and intensity had been sucked out of the relationship. “Where the hell did it all go? What happened to the romance?” he groaned.

So, our conversation went something like this:

“Emilo, have you sat down with Tank and really talked about how you really feel?

“Uh, yeah. I mean, I’ve tried.”

“C’mon now, E! ‘I’ve tried?’ You need to do more than that!”

“Well, Wyatt, I’ve been afraid to put it all out on the table. What if he’s cheating?”

“Do you know that for sure? Papi, you’ve ‘gotta’ find out what the real deal is.”

(A lengthy silence.)

“Okay. Maybe it’s just work or ‘sumthin’. He does have the boss from hell.”


“But Wyatt, you know how Tank can be. Sometimes, it’s difficult for him to completely open up.”

“But E, you need to know.”

“’You’re right. I’ll sit him down and see ‘wassup.’”

Fortunately, he heeded my counsel. And come to find out, Tank had been severely stressed out at the job for quite awhile. And the good news: he wasn’t being unfaithful.

To “jump start” their “sitation” (situation), the couple saw a relationship counselor for several sessions. Best thing they could’ve done. If they didn’t know it before, they learned that a successful, effective relationship requires work (lots!), nurturing, compromise, patience, understanding…and romance.

Tank and Emilo then began to re-inject the romanceinto their relationship. I’ll share with you some of the “tactics” they employed to accomplish just that.

But first, what exactly is that “thang” called romance? Well, according to
L. A. Hunter, romance expert and author, it “is the creation of an atmosphere where he feels unconditional love and appreciation. You can turn down the lights, turn on the radio, take him by the hand, and ask him to dance in the kitchen. That’s romance.”

Hunter continued. “At that moment, he is the most important person in the world, and feels appreciated and loved.”

The expert added, “The passion and excitement he will be feeling for you not only manifest itself in sex but will also spill over into other aspects of the relationship. Sometimes it takes a few romantic encounters to get the best results—he may not be used to it, he may have been hurt by you and think you’re only doing it for sex. Hang in there, the payoff is within reach.”

Another romance expert, Samuel Stoddard, weighed in. “Being romantic is hard work. Some people think that romance is easy, that anybody can be romantic with very little work. This is not true.”

But hey, my “brothas”—don’t despair! Your man Wyatt is on the case. The following are suggestions from Hunter and Stoddard (some of the ones which Emilo and Tank used) as to how you can get your romantic juices flowing. (Afterwards, I’ll share with you how I flex my “romance muscle.”)

‘Aight.’ Here goes:

Give teddy bears. What a cute romantic gesture!

Turn the lights down low. Stoddard explains, “Candles are romantic. Sunrises and sunsets are romantic. Any kind of low light, you see, is romantic; hence, why dinner dates after dark are more romantic than lunch dates at noon.”

Do it up in RED, baby! Red is romantic because it’s the color of love and passion.

Don’t forget the background music. In order for music to be romantic, it must be too soft to hear.

Offer up some chocolates. “When you give a box of chocolates to your beloved, it says, ‘You could pig out on this tub of lard and bloat out to three tons, but you’d still be the apple of my eye.’ It doesn’t matter if it’s true—it’s the message that counts,” according to Stoddard.

Embrace impracticality. Bottom line—practical “thangs” just aren’t romantic.

Make it personal. It’s kind of romantic to buy a “mooshy” greeting card for your “boo”—but to be really romantic, you’ve gotta sign it.

You must remember birthdays and anniversaries. Need I say more? (Nah. Didn’t think so.)

Hook your boo up with a pet name. Stoddard says, “To be romantic, you have to call each other name carefully crafted to make yourself and everyone around you throw up.

Have an evolved sense of style. Like, try to be as suave and debonair as you can.

And probably most importantly-- Give of your time. One of the required and essential ingredients of romance is your time. Point, blank, period! There just ain’t no “gittin’” around it.

All of the aforementioned are part of the strategy I use to pump up my romance muscle.

Additionally, I’m a strong proponent and believer of effective communication. If the two people experience difficulty articulating their feelings, expectations, hopes and dreams to each other, their so-called “relationship” doesn’t have a ghost of a chance.

Since I’m pretty big on giving and receiving cards, I email/mail that special guy cards. Also, I slip one (always with a personal note and signed, of course!) under his pillow. Too, I might plant one in his briefcase.

And, if I’m really moved, I place a thong, a leather jockstrap, or some other type of sexy under gear somewhere in that very briefcase! (Yo—is it hot in here, or what??? Smile.)

Sometimes, during the work day, I email him an invitation to “get horizontal.” Then, there are my “nastee” voice mails. And, a trip to an “adult” store to check out
(and perhaps purchase) the latest items can definitely “rev up our motors”—if you catch my drift.

Now, let’s not forget just quietly kicking back together in the living room with a fire
burning, discussing the minutiae of our days, reconnecting with one another. This very well might lead to retiring to the candle-lit bedroom, which is of the perfect temperature, with just the right amount of incense wafting through—and with, say, Alicia (Keys), or Luther (Vandross), or Marvin (Gaye) and Tammi (Terrell) very, very softly crooning on and on about “luv.”

So, there you have it. Why not make “upping your romance quotient” one of your top New Year’s resolutions? You’ll be glad you did—on many different levels. The payoff is rich and well worth it. “Mos’ Def.”

Wyatt O’Brian Evans resides in Washington, D.C. and has written for news organizations including the Washington Post, Washington Blade, Imperious Entertainment, and American Politics and Metropolitan Washington magazines. His forthcoming novel is entitled, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart.”

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