Tag Archives: engagement

Where Should I Go for My Honeymoon? #SupportBlackLove

[dc]B[/dc]y the time you read this I will have already jumped the broom, leaving behind my life as a single man forever. Unfortunately, three days in to wedded bliss and I’m already back on the grind. Tonight—January 17, 2012—yours truly will be speaking alongside author/dating coach Tionna Smalls (What Chilli Wants) on a panel entitled The Young & the Restless: A Survival Guide to Dating, Mating, & Exploring NYC. Presented by the New York Urban League of Young Professionals, the discussion takes place from 6:30-8:30pm at NYU. CLICK HERE for more info. Then right after that I’ll be on air on PNCRadio.fm from 10pm-12am for another edition of the Naked Radio Show (click here to subscribe to the show’s official podcast). Tune in tonight as we have an extra special guest—my wife, as the tables get turned and my co-host Amy “AimStar” Andrieux and show producer Chad Scott interview myself and my new bride about the wedding and our new life together. #Awwww

So why the hell am I doing all of the above and not off enjoying my honeymoon somewhere exotic? Well, with the cost of the ring, a short engagement, and the recession, we just couldn’t do it right now. Instead, my wife and I (still got to get used to that) opted to do an extended weekend “mini-moon” for now and aim for a summer getaway in a few months. However, we still have wedding-related bills to pay off, so rather than a traditional gift registry we went with a HoneyFund, which is basically a way for friends and family to contribute to portions of your honeymoon rather than waste money on gifts you really don’t need.

My wife has always dreamed of going to Japan and I’ve always pictured myself enjoying the Hawaiian beaches with my then-unknown bride. With that said, we’re aiming big and trying to hit both destinations this summer, but that all depends on how much we’re able to raise on our HoneyFund over the next few months. I’ve never been the type to ask anyone for anything but a closed mouth don’t get fed, so if any faithful Sock Heads reading this is down to #SupportBlackLove feel free to CLICK HERE to make a contribution to our HoneyFund or spread the word to someone else you might know who would be interested in supporting our dream honeymoon. Thanks in advance either way.

We’re still waiting for pictures from the wedding but for those that missed the engagement shoot we did at the end of the summer, you can peep our pictures on Essence.com and on BlackBridalBliss.com.

What do you think about the idea of doing a HoneyFund instead of a traditional wedding registry? Would you consider doing that for your own wedding? Where would you want to go for your dream honeymoon? Can you believe that your favorite blogger is now married? If we don’t raise enough funds to make it to Japan or Hawaii, where do you think we should consider as an alternate destination? Do you #SupportBlackLove?

Speak your piece…

REMINDER: Tonight January 17, 2012, yours truly will be speaking alongside author/dating coach Tionna Smalls (What Chilli Wants) on a panel entitled The Young & the Restless: A Survival Guide to Dating, Mating, & Exploring NYC. Presented by the New York Urban League of Young Professionals, the discussion takes place from 6:30-8:30pm at NYU. CLICK HERE for more info.

NWSO PRESS: Be sure to pick up the February 2012 issue of Essence magazine (Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade), which features NWSO as part of a round table discussion on the new relationship rules (pgs. 78-82).

DON’T FORGET: Tune in to the Naked Radio Show tonight and each and every Tuesday night at 10pm EST on PNCRadio.fm. If you miss the live broadcast you can always subscribe to the podcasts, which can be found at NakedRadioShow.Podomatic.com, iTunes, or here on Naked With Socks On tomorrow. Also, be sure to follow the show’s official Twitter account @NakedRadioShow and “like” the Naked Radio Show fan page to keep abreast of what we’re doing, send suggestions for topics and questions. Most of y’all should already be following me @NakedWithSocks, but should also add my co-host Amy Andrieux @MissAimstar and her company @_theStarkLife as well. If you have a question you want answered live on the show hit us on the Twitter or shoot me an email at NWSO@NWSO.net.

What Do You Need to Know Before Getting Married?

[dc]I[/dc]n preparation for my wedding—which is just days away—I reached out to some folks that have already walked down the aisle to share their sage advice on Episode 005 of the Naked Radio Show, the first of 2012. Charles De Veaux of LoveRules.us [@LoveRulesNow] and Juicy magazine’s senior editor Taiia Smart Young [@TaiiaSmartYoung] answered the call and dropped some gems on the show for a groom about to jump the broom. Also, this week’s Dear NWSO letter tackles a woman’s query about her friend who’s had four kids in four years by the same man but he’s yet to make a commitment to marry her. Yeah, this one’s going to be good. Enjoy the podcast below.

Tune in to the Naked Radio Show every Tuesday night at 10pm EST on PNCRadio.fm. If you miss the live broadcast you can always subscribe to the podcasts, which can be found at NakedRadioShow.Podomatic.com, iTunes, or here on Naked With Socks On. Also, be sure to follow the show’s official Twitter account @NakedRadioShow and “like” the Naked Radio Show fan page to keep abreast of what we’re doing, send suggestions for topics and questions. Most of y’all should already be following me @NakedWithSocks, but should also add my co-host Amy Andrieux @MissAimstar and her company @_theStarkLife as well. If you have a question you want answered live on the show hit us on the Twitter or shoot me an email at NWSO@NWSO.net.

Should I Forgive My Father for Abandoning Me?

[dc]I'[/dc]ve been getting calls from a blocked number for the past few weeks. I haven’t answered, not because I don’t know who it is but because I was scared of having the conversation.

It’s my father.

He typically calls from a blocked number. I usually answer and half-listen to whatever it is he’s saying because he’s caught me in the middle of doing something I deem more important. Sleeping, working, writing, living life without him… Take your pick. But ever since I told him about my engagement and upcoming wedding, he’s been calling more often, inquiring about the date. Meanwhile, I don’t know how I feel about that.

I’ve wrestled with the decision of whether or not to invite my father to my wedding since my fiancée and I set the date and started putting together our guest list. I feel conflicted about the whole thing. Part of me feels like it’s a common courtesy to extend an invite to my father, while the other feels as if he wasn’t there for much of my life why should he be honored with an invitation to one of the most special and intimate days of my life.

When I wrote about it HERE, a lot of people chimed in with their thoughts on the topic. Some felt if I really wanted reconciliation I should invite him, while others felt he could just kick rocks. Ultimately, it is my decision to make and one I’ll have to live with.

My phone rang.

There was no name attached but a number I didn’t recognize. The area code, however, was the same as my father’s so I knew it had to be him or his latest estranged wife (but that’s a whole other topic I won’t and can’t get into). As I looked at the seven digits on the screen and felt the phone vibrate in my hand, I felt nervous and unsure. All I wanted was for the ringing to stop so I could go on avoiding making a decision until…

The phone stopped.

My wish came true and I went on with life—for now. My fiancée and I discussed the issue of my father and while she had perspective and her own estranged relationship with the paternal figure in her life, it was still my decision to make—mines alone.

A week and a half went by and that same number called a few times, and I let each call vibrate into voice mail purgatory. Although the caller never left a message, I knew who it was and why he was calling.

My phone rang again.

As usual the call came while I was right in the middle of something. It was a Sunday and my fiancée and I were steps away from meeting with a potential caterer, the last thing I wanted to do was have a long drawn out convo about something I didn’t even want to talk about when I was dealing with a major part of my wedding

Still, I answered.

I was right; it was my father. He explained how he’d been trying to reach me and I countered with the point about calling from blocked numbers. Before he could get into anything else, I informed him that I was in the middle of a meeting. If this was his new number I’d save it and call him back at a more convenient time. He agreed and I went on with my life—for now.

I finally made a decision.

It was the one I knew I was going to make from the beginning; I was just too scared to verbalize it. So I avoided two more calls over the course of the next week before finally picking up the phone and dialing the man I call father.

CLICK HERE to continue reading…

The No. 1 Reason Men Don’t Get Married

[dc]G[/dc]etting engaged has a weird effect on men. It’s like a wake-up call for other guys in your circle. Ever since I popped the question I’ve found myself in various introspective conversations with guys I didn’t even know were introspective. Questions like, “How did you know she was the one?” and “Were you scared?” come up often now. There are also statements like, “I didn’t think you’d ever do it” or “Damn, I’m the last one left.”

For some people having someone they know get engaged or married puts their own relationship status into perspective. They have an epiphany like, I’m not a kid anymore and adult things are happening around me, WTF am I doing? While women generally think about marriage right out of the womb since they were little girls playing house, having a homie turn in his player card is when most men start thinking about marriage seriously. The woman they’re with starts to get analyzed a bit harder and even if she (or the fifth one after her) turns out to be the mythical “one” for him that still doesn’t mean he’ll ask her to marry him. Why, you ask? Because of one simple thing: the ring.

Whether it’s a guy that’s just starting to think about marriage or one that’s been ready, the common hold up I see is the price tag for the fairy tale diamond engagement ring. I remember a few years back bumping into my boy and somehow or other we started talking about his girl, who he’d been with forever and he was like, “She’s the one, B, and I want to marry her I’m just saving up for this ring. I put her through too much to get her some Crackerjack box ring. I been saving up here and there the past year or so and I’m like a year away.”

In case you missed that he was basically ready to marry this woman over a year-and-a-half ago but she’ll have to wait a whole ’nother year before she even knows how he feels because he can’t afford the ring. SMH! That’s not even adding on how long it’ll take them to actually plan the wedding (at least a year on average) and how long it’ll take him to pay for the ring. If this is the normal course of proposals in the 21st century then the average woman has at least three years of waiting from when a man realizes she’s the one to actually becoming his one legally. Most women aren’t that patient.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to go through all that BS. While my fiancée was unaware of my intentions of proposing, we had conversations in the past where she revealed that she never wanted a diamond. She’s an untraditional woman in every sense of the word and always imagined a red ruby ring adorning her finger. While that did lower the ostentatious price of the cliché diamond sparkler I still had to take a respectable slice out of my savings to cop the most beautfullest ring in the world for my girl.

Message to the fellas: At the end of the day all that matters is that the woman loves this symbol of your love. The price doesn’t matter, the components don’t either; it’s just a matter of the ring fitting her personal tastes. I designed my fiancée’s ring with that in mind and it shows in the final product. But the thing most guys don’t realize is that if a woman truly loves you and wants to be with you forever she won’t care if it’s a blow pop ring, she’ll say, “Yes.” Now, the standards and expectations of her girls and outside forces is a topic for a whole other blog.

Still, many men feel this pressure to go all out for the bling-bling when they don’t have to. I’m not saying be cheap, because I could have easily saved a few thousand at any time but I spent within my means for what I knew would make my girl (and my pockets) happy. But thanks to the decades-old marketing campaign from De Beers being engraved into the American psyche everyone thinks only a diamond says I love you and “every kiss begins with Kay.”

Sorry, that’s not the case and I won’t allow anyone to tell me different. If a woman refuses a man’s proposal simply because of the stone in the ring, then chances are she really isn’t that into the him and she’s definitely not the one. I understand that every woman has a right to receive a ring that she actually loves since she’s the one that has to wear it for life, but falling into the trap of what the diamond industry says an engagement ring should look like is something different altogether.

While there are those women who probably have a specific dream ring in mind and would be disappointed in anything less, I believe that the average woman would not only accept a “lesser” ring but cherish it if she truly loved the man. Problem is most guys don’t understand that. We get caught up in the fantasy of the industry standard of “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” when I’d much rather more people just marry their best friend.

Does having someone in your circle get engaged make you think about your own dating status? How many women would date a man for several years without him proposing if she knew it was because he was saving up for a ring? Would most women prefer a “lesser” ring if it meant they could get married earlier? How many women would be disappointed if they didn’t get a diamond engagement ring? Does the size matter when it comes to the ring? Would you let other people’s perception of your engagement ring have an impact on how you felt about it? Do you think a man should go broke paying for an engagement ring? How many people want a diamond ring just because they feel that’s what they’re “supposed” to get?

Speak your piece…

Can You Have a Private Life on Social Media?

[dc]I[/dc] thought getting engaged would be “special,” however, over the course of the past two weeks it’s felt anything but. Before someone gets the wrong idea, let me explain.

I proposed in my motherland of St. Lucia the day before I was supposed to fly back to the States. However, with news of Hurricane Irene barreling up the East Coast, New York airports were shut down and my flight was cancelled. Other than the financial strain, it was no big deal—that just meant two extra days stuck in paradise with my fiancée.

Needless to say, she was excited about us getting engaged and couldn’t wait to share the news but was willing to wait until we got back home. Once we found out that we’d be stuck at the hotel a few extra days the Internet got the best of her and I watched as she left an open-ended status update on her FaceBook page:

I’m stranded in St. Lucia, it’s not a bad place to be. BTW, I said yes. =0)

Despite penning this blog for the past three years, I’m still a relatively private man. I share what I want, when I want. My fiancée knows that but I also know that she wanted to share so the semi-ambiguous “I said yes” message was fine with me. I was sure folks would make the assumption but I didn’t expect what was to come. It started with 48 “likes” and 55 comments, then some chose to take the news from FaceBook to Twitter sending their digital congratulations. Most of this occurred while we were frolicking on the beach far removed from the computer.

By time we got back to the States two days later and turned my phone on after a 10-day hibernation it exploded with 800+ emails, dozens of texts and a handful of BBM messages. As I sorted through the various messages during my six-hour layover between flight No. 2 and No. 3 I saw numerous congratulations or queries about whether or not the news was true. I took it for what it was and replied with my thanks and confirmations.

But then things started to change. One text I received from a good friend as soon as my plane landed in JFK read: “Thanks for the heads up.” As the aircraft taxied into the gate I replied that I was literally just landing and haven’t even been in the country a day yet. The response: “I shouldn’t have to hear from someone else.”

Therein lies the problem. Other than my mother, who I called from St. Lucia the night of the proposal, I’ve only been able to tell less than a handful of people directly. Due to the power of social media, more people have told me about my engagement than I have and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Every time someone I haven’t spoken to in ages hits me up out the blue with congratulations I feel a slight twinge, like, “Thanks, but how did you hear?” Because of a simple FaceBook status that went viral my ability to make a call and surprise someone with the news has been taken from me. That “special” moment was gone. The only folks I had left to “surprise” were you Sock Heads, who probably didn’t even know I’ve been in a serious relationship for the past two years. That all goes back to my private person personality. I planned on telling people in due time at my own pace, but the reality is that folks were told long before I even boarded a plane back to the States.

Sure, I can take it as people being happy for me/us and spreading the news, but it’s disheartening every time I bump in to someone and before I can excitedly tell them the news they respond with, “Yeah, I heard.” Now it’s at a point where I just wait for people to tell me because my business is already in the streets/tweets.

I blame social media.

As much as I’m entrenched in it for business and pleasure, it’s mostly been under my control. I’ve yet to send out one tweet, FaceBook status or whatever digital alert about my engagement. Last week’s post on love vs. in love  was my first public statement about my impending nuptials, but even that was subtle as you’d have to read the post all the way through to hear the news.

Clearly it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do on social media as I can only control myself. I have no say in someone seeing a FaceBook status update and taking it to Twitter where another person RTs it. This is the world we live in: people talk @ you instead of to you. We don’t pick up the phone and call folks with good news (one person did that). Instead, we send texts, tweets, “likes” and emails.

With social media, I don’t even have to be online to have my information out there. This whole experience has reminded me of that. While it may seem like an oxymoron for a public blogger/writer to expect privacy in the digital age of social media, even the groom-to-be wants to feel “special” sometimes.

Do you think social media has taken away our ability to have privacy? Have you ever had a secret or personal information about you spread online? If so, how did it make you feel? Do you think it’s unrealistic for me to expect to be able to tell folks about my engagement when I work in social media? Should my fiancée and I stayed off of FaceBook longer before putting out that pseudo-message? For those that have been engaged before, do you feel like some people start to make everything about them and not the couple? Are you good at keeping other people’s secrets or are you a blabbermouth by nature?

Speak your piece…

She Rejected My Proposal But Should the Relationship End?

Returned Engagement Ring & Key I Hate You

[dc]Confession time:[/dc] I got stuck watching an episode of Sex & the City the other night. While I despise what the show did to the minds of some women, I understand why it worked. But I digress…

Anyway, it was an episode where Carrie was getting cold feet about her engagement to the guy from Northern Exposure (SATC Stans know him as Aiden). I don’t know much about their relationship other than she said, “Yes!” when she really should have said, “No,” or at the very least, “I don’t know yet.”

Coulda, woulda, shoulda, it really doesn’t matter because ol’ boy figured it out when Ms. Bradshaw kept dodging the idea of locking down a wedding date. More than that, she didn’t even wear the ring on her finger, she put it on a necklace and fed him a line about it being “closer to her heart” that way. I don’t know much about Sex & the City, but what woman as fabulous as Carrie Bradshaw doesn’t want to plan her wedding or show off her rock? Yeah, those are two big bright-red flags.

This got me to thinking: Could a relationship survive a rescinded proposal?

I mean, if I got down on bended knee (or whatever) and proposed to the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and she said, “No,” that’s basically the end of the relationship, right? I can’t see a scenario where that wouldn’t just be awkward. How are we supposed to go back to just “dating” when you just said, “No,” to one of the most important questions a man could ever ask in life? I want you to be my wife, you just want to be my girlfriend. Clearly, we have conflicting views on where this relationship is going. It’s the proverbial 600lb gorilla in the room. We both know what I asked and that you declined my offer for marriage, what’s left to discuss? The “ship” in our relationship has sailed. (I just hope I got my ring back and kept the receipt).

Of course there are some circumstances where a woman’s “No” could be acceptable, but for the relationship to continue afterwards there would have to be a lot of conversing and explaining. It’s like being at a company for years, working your way up the ranks, only to learn that there’s no way in hell you’re going to progress any higher than the position you’re currently at. You’ve reached your ceiling, which leaves you with two options: 1) Remain complacent in your current position. 2) Move on. In work or relationships, I’d lean towards door No. 2. There’s nothing left here for me.

As a man I’d say asking a woman for her hand in marriage is a big step and puts us in a vulnerable position. In a perfect world she’s supposed to say, “Yes,” so anything that veers off that plan is a major bruise to the male ego (and I doubt any man would be in a rush to embarrass himself like that again any time soon). That’s not to say a woman should say, “Yes,” just because a man asks. I’d hope she’d be in love with him and both parties would be willing to put the actual work in to make the marriage successful. Carrie would have saved the guy from Northern Exposure a lot of pain, grief and money had she been honest from jump. Still, most of us don’t expect to hear, “No.” That’s got to hurt but being married to someone that doesn’t truly love you has got to hurt a heck of a lot more.

#ChooseWisely

Do you think a relationship could continue successfully after a rejected proposal? What’s worse, a woman saying no or a woman saying yes only to give the ring back or divorce later? Do you think some women say yes just because? Is it weird for you to hear about a woman getting cold feet the same way men do? What’s a valid reason to say no to someone you love? Would you understand if the person who got rejected decided to leave/breakup? Do you agree that proposing puts men in a vulnerable position? Should more women start proposing? If you were the one rejected could you grow to appreciate the person’s honesty or wish they had tried to make it work?

Speak your piece…

[dc]ATTENTION:[/dc] THE 2011 BLACK WEBLOG AWARD nomination ballots are now open until May 7, so feel free to cast your vote for your favorite blogs. [dc]CLICK HERE[/dc] Thanks in advance for your continued support.

 

The Price of Love (Rings & Things)

ring-ball-chain

The other day I found myself involved in an interesting conversation with this girl Shanita, who I met through my friend during brunch. Apparently Shanita and her long-term boyfriend have been together for six years and she’s been waiting for the past two years for her ring. Now, the idea of a woman wanting/expecting an engagement ring after several years of monogamy is not unheard of. In fact, Shanita assured me that her beau is more than ready to make that lifelong commitment to her. The reason for her wait, though, is that she wants a specific ring. A five-figure sparkler that he’s been spending the past 24-plus months saving up for, while also stacking chips for the down payment on their first home once they’re married.

As a homeowner, I know how tough it is to come up with the down payment for a new crib, but to be completely honest I have/had no idea how much a good engagement ring goes for (I don’t wear jewelry, not even a watch, it’s just not my thing). Even still, a 10K ring doesn’t seem too outlandish for the woman you plan to love ’til death do you part, but at the same time, that’s at least a fourth of the down payment you’d need to put down on a decent home. My financial-framed mind can think of a million better ways for newlyweds to spend that kind of money on. Furthermore, I doubt in these tough financial times that the average Joe has an extra 10Gs laying around in his bank account in hopes that his beloved says “I do.” Couldn’t that money go to buying their first home, opening a college fund for their first born, or just something more concrete and sensible than a piece of jewelry that rests solely on your bride’s finger?

That’s not to say I don’t believe the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t deserve the absolute best, it’s just that I don’t think there should be a price tag on your love. Given the costs of weddings, homes, kids, etc., doesn’t a high priced bauble seem a little less significant in the grand scheme of things? No wonder the average couple begins their marriage in a financial hole and it takes them years before they can actually buy their first crib (if at all). You can’t live in or eat a ring, but the money overspent on one could provide so much. To top it all off, it’s a but unfair because the union starts off with the woman getting a bonus, while the guy gets stuck with bill. Of course, marriage isn’t about who gets what and how much (that’s for the divorce lawyers to figure out) but it still seems like a lopsided way to begin a lifelong relationship. The woman demands/expects a pricey token of affection, and if the man doesn’t deliver gets placed in the doghouse forever or gets viewed as less of a man.

While all these thoughts rattled around in my head, I finally asked Shanita one pivotal question: “If your boyfriend gave you a ring that was lesser than the one you dreamed of, would you accept it or walk away?” Thankfully, she gave me hope for the female species by saying that yes she would accept a lesser ring because she truly loves him. She did admit that she would be highly disappointed, though. I can live with that, but if she had said she would have walked away I would’ve given her serious side-eye. Because if a woman is more focused on a ring and its price tag rather than the actual meaning behind it and the love it symbolizes, then that female probably isn’t the right one for me.

I know most little girls dream of their wedding day with all their family, friends and enemies basking in their special day (the man is usually just another accent to her day). And they fantasize about the day their beloved gets down on one knee and pops the big question. After a woman says yes, she’ll walk around for months/years showing off their rock to anyone with eyes. But I’d hope in all the excitement and hoopla that the woman I gave that ring too (no matter the price) would value my love, my presence, my pluses and negatives more than a gold or platinum band with a fossilized piece of coal on her finger. I hope, I pray.

Okay, ladies, same question: If the man you loved got you a ring that was lesser than the one you wanted, would you accept or decline? Why? How important is an engagement ring to you? Would you sacrifice a pricey ring in favor of buying a home or starting a college fund for your kids? Do you think there are some women out there that dream of getting married so badly that they’ll accept a ring from a man they don’t even love just to get hitched? Fellas, how much would you be willing to drop for the love of your life? Is there such a thing as too much?

Speak your piece…

beer-engagementring