Charles DeVeaux

Social Theorist | Cultural Creative

Writing, producing, and facilitating works & conversations about love, modernity, and humanity.

Filtering by Category: Love

LoveRules on Madame Noire's "Ask A Black Man"

Yours truly was selected to be on Madame Noire's new season of Ask A Black Man!  The series will begin next week, Monday, April 13th.  I'll be in Episode 1, so tune in early!

Here's the trailer below, but if you want to see even more of what Madame Noire has to offer, click here and follow along in your social media of choice.

Want to know how men feel about love & relationships? Fatherhood and more? We have answers! VISIT OUR SITE: Ask a Black Man is back with even more men and more real responses on everything from what they were taught about manhood to what they want to teach you in bed.

Why is it so hard connecting with men in 2015?

A lovely woman in a Facebook conversation asked me about friendzones and why it's so hard to connect with men in 2015.  I'm thinking, "... because it's still 2014."  :-)

Okay, enough about being in the moment, let's get a jump on the New Year.  Here are some answers to the questions from that FB convo.

Everyone has challenges

Men are being forced to change everything we thought we knew as men, thanks in part to the wonderful changes of powerful women, genders, pluralistic ideas, globalism, and all things dynamic happening in the world.  Oh, plus, for some, their last partner broke their heart, and uh, video games and porn are overstimulating us while simultaneously causing us to emotionally withdraw.  Not to mention, we're as unsure as anyone else these days about the value of relationships.  But, hey, it's not a lost cause.  It's good!  Men have to adapt too!  Women can't be the only ones having to change.  Respectfully, though, as with all life's challenges, when talking about connecting, we begin an outward conversation from our center.

Talk about pet peeves

From what I have observed, women and men, of all types, want their future partner to be a complete person already.  No one wants to have to go through growing pains with someone.  Shit, we don’t want to go through it ourselves!  So why tolerate someone else?!  It’s inconvenient.  Fit the perfect picture of my love, for crying out loud.  Additionally, folks got pet peeves they are talking about way before dating.  No judgement, just perspective.  I've got pet peeves too.  In fact, I've got a wife of 20 years who I didn't know until too late, had mastered a couple of my pet peeves.  Go fig.  Do I wish I had known upfront?  Nope!  Get this, because it's her doing them, they are no longer my pet peeves!  How the hell did that happen?!  Rigidity is not our friend, good people.

I'm not saying we let go of our standards, but we gotta loosen up.  I once had a woman lick my face while making out on our first date.  (Some of you got stuck on "lick my face."  Others are stuck on "making out on our first date."  Let that be your gauge.)  Yes, licked, like Scooby-Doo, licked my face.  Not for me.  For her!  She liked the feeling of stubble on her tongue, but obviously liked me enough to share that.  Now, that's agentic!  And weird.  But after all was said and done, I don't remember complaining.  No, she did not become my wife.  I'm just saying don't knock it 'til you try it.  And as far as "complete people" go, neither my wife nor I are there yet.  Well, I'm definitely not.  I didn't foresee this state of "incompletion."  I thought we'd be there by now, wherever that is.  But I kind of like that there is something new and undiscovered to contend with each day.  It let's us know how well we handle change.

The Truths

The truth is women and men, particularly heterosexual women and men, whether we like it or not, hold each other to traditional social expectations.   Don't use cute emoticons, boys, it's unmanly!  I agree, if someone likes you they should be calling to TALK to you.  In fact, they should be in a hurry to meet up with you again (in a calm, cool way of course).  Call me crazy.  Unless you are skyping to a loved one cross country or overseas, digital time is playtime.  I don't think that's a traditional thing, I think it's a human thing.  Speaking of digital, while I wasn't necessarily a fan of the digital interface, I have been witnessing some good things with online dating.  After all, it's just further exposure to an available network, with a precision tool.  Truth is nothing changes, you still have to negotiate your needs and your relations.

The third truth, here, is that women, men, and all genders are socializing, and being socialized, somewhat differently than they were 50 years ago.  That statement alone says so much.  The combo of old and new makes things tricky.  We are acting in new ways, but in our minds, collectively, we are expecting/desiring some of those old traditional notions.  Especially heterosexual women and men.  Again, I say rigidity is not our friend.

What to do?

Be autonomous.  This works for anybody.  To get out of the friendzone life that I had unnintentionally mastered so many years ago, I had "to learn" to be a "bad boy."  Why? Because no heterosexual woman I was trying to talk to responded to Mr. Sensitive Nice Guy.  I didn't have to stay a "bad boy" as much fun as that was, I just had to learn a new mode of interaction.  I know many guys still stuck in that badboy place because someone hurt their feelings.  True story.  But that's not being autonomous.   Being the bad boy or the "bad bitch" (I hate that term) are the same.  Entice and withdraw.   It's like trying to catch a wild animal.  When you imagine how any date night plays out, it should be something like this,

We had fun, I like you, I want you, but I don’t need you. I got another date. Talk to you later?

Wha??  Sorry.  I just turned myself on.  Can you imagine the desire that kind of interaction creates?  Imagine being able to deliver that kind of an experience to the person you just dated.  How does someone not get drawn in on that??  And by the way, you can still be autonomous and considerate.  Don't weaponize this tactic.

Mystery and Playfulness

Agentic.  That's my new favorite word.  It seems modern women especially are about being more agentic.  I agree with it.  Flirtier, sexier, more fun, and less forced expectation.  In my experience, fun, free-hearted people get called back, even if just to hang out or to be matched up with a friend.  Get a couple of your friends, go out and do that.  Act like you want to make 100 friends instead of finding "The One."  Most likely, you'll get both.  100 friends.  50.  Shoot, 15!  That's about rapport, openness, and trust.  If you can do that over the next couple months, you'll be amazed at the changes that will occur.

But... You'd Better

You had better know the 3 non-negotiable things you are looking for in your partner.  Qualities, not possessions. For example "Person has to be resourceful," rather than "Person has to be rich."  Don't include the obvious.  If you are a comedienne and know it only makes sense you'll have a partner with a good sense of humor, then don't include it.  Think of another quality.  If you don't know the important qualities you value, you will never even notice them when that person goes right past you.  Even if you get your hands on them.  Also, please don't let your 3 things sound like every other person's 3 things.  They should be based on your particular experience.  You want to know yourself better?  Me-di-tate.  And that's no platitude; take it to heart.

Make room for more.

LoveRules at the Eric Garner Rally - Foley Square, NYC

After multiple cases of exonerating police who have committed blatant acts of misconduct, unchecked violence, and ultimately manslaughter and murder, I lent a voice to the efforts of awareness against systemic police brutality and the disproportionately wholesale criminalization of men of color.   Can you please do the same?

Things must change.  This doesn't call for a back and forth discourse in knee-jerk reactions or the projection of useless stereotypes and culturally controlling images.  It doesn't call for institutional racist apologetics, or conservative-bashing.  It requires an open minded and qualitative examination of the historical and current evidence in the spirit of coming together in understanding. 

When I hear sensationalist rhetoric that police brutality is somehow legitimized because 90% of all black murders are committed by black people, without the accompanying statistic that roughly 90% of all racial incidents are committed by people of their own race, it is clear that the non-nuanced view of statistics alone isn't any more appropriate than using a broad sword for delicate surgery.

Innocent until proven guilty, right?  The right to a fair trial?  We're clearly still working on the basics of democracy.  I have another well used NYC saying for you: If you see something, say something, right?  Well, we should all be able to see this now. Let's talk about it. 

Charity (Love) begins at home.  Let love rule.

Check out the full coverage here.

I heard my heart sing and it was like this

Something strong and feminine... Like subway commuters, waiting, looking longingly down rails receding into the dark that still promises a swiftly approaching glowing light, like songs through the fire, like old women waiting on Jesus, humming spirituals enraptured in the strength of the moment that the longing provides, like ride or die, like I'll be waiting when ur heart decides to stay, I'll be waiting when ur love comes my way. In the right season, that's not a foolish love. Strong love. For the right reason. 

A human chose to love himself, and then...

Most of us are impatient with ourselves and impatient with Love.  Individually and all together, we are impatient in loving ourselves.  If you want to love yourself, yes, spend some time with yourself.  Get comfortable being quietly with yourself.  Additionally, if you want to love yourself, admit to yourself the things you want, then go get 'em.

Give yourself permission to be the person you want to be, as long as you're not causing injury.  That person will not magically materialize one day from a flash of light and insight. That person must be lived.  If you could meet your fulfilled future self, would you mostly judge them, or honor them? If you say you will honor them, then don't spend most of your time judging yourself now.

All of us are layered, textered, complex people who most times don't set out to do things which are wrong.  Understand that most people want to live doing what in our clearest mind we think is right.  That is an undeniably lovable quality in human beings.  At the same time, understand that none of us is always 100% clear sighted.  There is always more to learn, and be mindful of.  Still, individually and together, let's give ourselves a chance.

This Is Risky Business

In yesterday's post I made a statement about the "risk" that society characterizes Love to be.   Like any subject, we find mixed messages in the national conversation.  On one hand there are the traditional institutions like religion and family, even friends, saying it's essential to do.  "Go fall in love; get married."  That's the side that the guilt trip comes from if you are having challenges in your love life.

At the same time you have economics dictating your actions too.  Certainly living with someone can help reduce costs, but what about all the costs associated with broken relationships.  Costs of residence change, possible shared debt, dividing belongings, dividing friends, and also, perhaps, what it will take to support children, if any were had.  Add to that the lost time.  Hey, time is money.

In yesterday's post I said,

"I've made risks for money, and have lost money.  I have made risks with false pride and lost friendships.  I have made risks for conditional "it-needs-to-be-done-this-way-to-work" kind of love and subsequently experienced MAJOR heartache and loss.  I have made risks for lust and, eh, you win some you lose some.  Be careful.  But my risks in Love have delivered nothing but huge payoffs.  Working toward a union of ideas and practices which make the relationship feel full, yet selfless, has been worthwhile in spite of the the scary and unfamiliar experiences that came with it."

EVERYTHING is risky when you don't know what you're doing.  It stays that way until you learn how things work.  And, even then, you'll still learn new lessons.  But when you learn, at least you minimize the risks.  And that's all we can ask for.  I took a risk with my life just by getting out of bed this morning.  Folks who are good with money, tend to gain it, not lose it.  The same is the case with love, even though it is seen as an emotional practice,  rather than a logical one.  The more practice you get handling emotional challenges, the more likely you can manage all the crazy quirks of a love life.  So, on this blog, I hope to share some things that maybe inspire you to go take some risks with love.

Like money, love doesn't grow if you do nothing.  Right now, if you are in a relationship with someone, let them know they've been worth the risk.  If they haven't, then have a good talk - maybe 'ultratalk.'  And if you're not in a relationship, I recommend stretching out and making some more good friends.  Good friends are absolutely invaluable.

Journey of the Lonely

Before Love, there is, frequently, loneliness.  Loneliness and impatience.  Daily, we find ourselves rushing to attain "that" dream, that vision of happiness that fits all our little checkboxes of love-list requirements.  We might have friends, we might date, we might even have relations, and although we find might ourselves surrounded, perhaps, by people having a good time, we are still filled with loneliness.  Loneliness perhaps is not so much our hearts being alone, but our hearts being still.  We look around at others, measure and compare.  Why not me?  What am I doing wrong that I don't find love, or keep love?  When is my turn??  I want my turn.

This is part of the human condition.  When I'm not careful, I do the same thing myself.  I don't do it so much in my love life, at this point, but I certainly extend these feelings of uncertainty to other areas of my life.  When, when, when?  If I'm not careful, I too "lose" or give-up the available moments of love currently present in my life.

"When" is a frequently misused concept of space and time.  I don't want to come off like a time management wonk; that would only add one more thing to our list of things to worry about.  For example, "As soon as I better manage my time, I will be able to etc, etc, etc."  No, let's not do that to ourselves.  When it comes to giving time to love, "now" is the best time.  At the same time, I have folks ask me, "How?  How do I do that?  How do I find love?"

The are many ways to find love.  The most radical, and sensible, thing for me to do when I feel rushed and impatient is to let go.  I let go of all the concerns that are accumulating in my mind, because in that frame of mind, I cannot possibly clear the list of mounting concerns faster than my mind is adding on to it.  Instead, I clear my thoughts, examine what it is I claim to love, (ideas, activities, & interests) and I give them some time.  Or, I just clear my thoughts.  Period.  I sit down, visually let the thoughts pass overhead, and don't attach myself to any of them by pulling them down to ponder.  I spend some time in that silence.  I know in time my heart will "speak."  Yours will too.  In this sense, it's more about opening up the way so love reveals itself to you from "inside-out."

Don't let a day go by without finding, creating, or cherishing something that stirs your heart, or that whispers deep from your soul (from within yourself).  There is something special about the heart's song.  It resonates and harmonizes with others.  It creates a call to which other hearts can respond.  Heart stirring efforts create a work of their own making, not work that is intended to primarily satisfy or impress others; yet it will beneficially impact others.  This kind of work in action creates feelings of inner worth and satisfaction not at the discretion of your boss, family, or friends.

The call of the heart is an inner vision, the steps leading up possibly to some of the same images you have dreamed or fantasized about.  Actions of the heart might be collecting the materials you need to design your product idea, it could be going out with friends with a more open attitude to accept people as they are, it could be the work you put into starting your day with exercise, whole foods, and affirmations. Actions of the heart are expressions of spirit, whether, aspirational or inspirational. And if they are going to be worthwhile, then at some point they will cause you to be perspirational. (Ha!  Get it?)

The call of the heart is the courage to act differently than you have up to now, to not walk in the same pattern you have for the last few days, weeks, months, years, not because someone wants you to, but because you want to.  Love in your heart leads you to consider a different set of values in your mind, a different way of looking at yourself; not neccessarily what your religious institution promotes, not necessarily what your social group thinks.  In fact, the stirring of your heart enables you to face your worst fear, facing yourself.  You might need to open your mind to new or different ideas or perspectives, or make new friends and associations.  Or you might realize you need to better cherish the older relationships you have.  Still, you might find yourself unavailable to the same people who expect you in your usual place, obliged to their assessments on your life.  That's a good thing.

Life can feel filled with difficulty and we can take ourselves way too seriously.  We often prioritize all other needs before our own (because "we have to") and spend only imaginary hours anticipating the life and love we want.  For some reason when we place "finding love" first on our priority list, we feel like we are potentially risking everything else.  That, right there, is the rub.  Society makes us absolutely fearful of risking making a living in this world.  Somehow the primitive mind didn't have that to worry about.  Love and connection improved civilization.  We are absolutely afraid to:

  1. risk being able to support ourselves financially to pursue notions of love.
  2. risk looking like we don't have all the answers.
  3. risk looking like we don't fit "the mold."
  4. risk looking like a fraud if we ruin the image we want others to have of us.
  5. risk looking weak from being vulnerable.
  6. risk being in our little, safe comfortable spaces.
  7. risk being held responsible for our actions, and errors.
  8. risk feeling in control.
  9. risk being a sucker for love.
  10. risk being hurt.

I have felt these same turbulent emotions along the way, but I can't think of a single incident in my life where I made a risk for Love and it caused my world to crash around me.  I've made risks for money, and have lost money.  I have made risks with false pride and lost friendships.  I have made risks for the conditional "it-needs-to-be-done-this-way-to-work" kind of love and subsequently experienced MAJOR heartache and loss.  I have made risks for lust and, eh, you win some you lose some.  Be careful.  But my risks in Love have delivered nothing but huge payoffs.  Working toward a union of ideas and practices which make the relationship feel full, yet selfless, has been worthwhile in spite of the the scary and unfamiliar experiences that came with it.  I want more of that, not so much for the material gains but for the whole, healthy way it makes me, and others, feel.

Loneliness is an insecurity and a stillness of the heart.  We can try to romance or sex ourselves into the heart.  There's nothing like stirring it up below the waist to get hearts beating.  That practice easily mimics the feeling of a love connection.  We can try to spend our way into the heart.  It gives us the achievement and security fix we crave.  We can try to feed happiness into our hearts because it equates the loving feeling of nourishment, and there are still more, other, manipulations.  Or we can try to ignore loneliness altogether.  But the only way to overcome the loneliness, the fears, and the life associated with it is to listen to the heart, follow it, and be nonjudgemental of what it prompts us to do.  Mostly, we need to be patient with our hearts (ourselves) as we walk out its fulfillment.  Before love - and sometimes again - is loneliness.  Be quiet, be patient, and listen to your heart stir.  It's making Love.  And there is no time like the present for making Love.

PARADOX Review: Ma'at and the Victory Run

Welcome to the PARADOX Review Webisode #1 - [LoveRules segment]

My guest this episode is Ma'at Petrova of The Refinement Group. We sit down after her vigorous weekly, open, psychophysical fitness training session, The Victory Run, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  We talk about love, personal growth and transformation, sex, and naked yoga!  Don't ask, just watch.  And fellas, she makes a series of comments starting at 16:47 that I'm sure will get a reaction out of you or at least stir your thoughts.  Check it out, and make room for more!

Part 3 Fin. LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined

This is the last, somewhat delayed, part of LoveRules #9, for now...  ;o) (re-read the others if you need to...  found in the previous blog posts.)

Shoot for the ideal ! Some people call this "starting with the end in mind."  I realize "IDEAL" can be a tricky word. Here, I mean it in the sense of best case scenario.  Holding yourself, best as possible, to imagining a person who would meet your personal quality standard. This is not meant in the sense of absolute perfection, or in terms of flawless looks and gobs of cash. You can desire those things if you would like. But those ideals can be fleeting, temporal. I don't suggest focussing on them.  But rather, aim for the ideal in terms of your lifestyle (activities), your values, your ideals in terms of personal substance.

If you are a traveler, don't think you can't find someone just because up until now, you never felt long distance relationships could work. Life is short.  Change your mind.  Know there is someone out there who likes to travel, or, someone who understands people sometimes need to travel for work for significant amounts of time, and is okay with it. Perhaps it gives them personal time they don't mind having every now and again. This is a new world ready for people with courage and daring to create new relationship arrangements.  How creative can you get in the name of Love? There is at least one person, or two, out there for each of us. Someone who fits well with what we do, complements our life. Instead of looking for someone who seems money rich, set in mind that you desire a person who is industrious and business savvy.  You might find someone who is temporarily cash rich, with no fundamental idea how he or she acquired his or her wealth, later to lose that wealth. But desiring someone who is industrious and business savvy is a little more descriptive of a person's characteristic or substance.  Finding that person would be finding someone who, if parted from his or her wealth, would know how to acquire it again. Now isn't that real wealth?

Remember. Desire in another, that which you would desire and are willing to work for, in yourself.  Make room for more...

Part 3. LoveRules #9 - Be careful what you define, you will get it!

I feel like sharing music today to paint a picture.  Thinking of Lauren (my wife) helped me select a couple of songs.  When defining the picture of what your love looks like, do not try to focus on the idea of "perfection."  After all, if you were to find Mr. or Mrs. Perfect, they would turn you down.  Point being, no one is perfect in the absolute sense.  It's more about being aware of who is perfect for you, a good fit, a complement.  In fact, rather than defining what your loving relationship looks like, visualize how it behaves.  That's the real deal.  Real substance. Raheem DeVaughn – You

Whenever I see people in the early stages of love, I notice they begin to have some concerns. Now feeling happy, confident, and good about themselves they start to run into other individuals they find attractive. They start attracting other people.  Then they start flipping out.  "OMG, what if that other person is an even BETTER match for me?"  Really? You just found someone good and that's where you're going with it?  Looking for someone else already? Please understand, you can be attracted to that which is attractive - a good sense of humor in another, keen intelligence, athleticism, a sharp wit, a kind personality, dashing good looks, or a generous heart. But just because another person has attractive qualities doesn't mean they are going to be a better fit.  These qualities in and of themselves do not necessarily create a natural or easy chemistry or love. Someone who makes you fall over from laughter might not make you laugh in the innocent and light-hearted way you enjoy most.  Relax with who you have.  A few attractive qualities alone won't pull you away from your love.

B.o.B – Nothin' On You [feat. Bruno Mars]

There are multiple love possibilities. You are not limited to once in a lifetime love, although love is a "once in a lifetime" kind of feeling. Love becomes normalized and feels like easy joy with normal daily challenges. Don't worry.  You will know love when it comes. Be ready for it.  More so, be ready to not betray what you have asked for, prayed for, and worked on yourself for, by longing for something else at the first sign of a challenge.

Be careful what you wish for, you will get it.  Better yet, be the kind of person you wish for.

To be continued...

Part 3 again. LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined

Continuing with "Love, Self Defined"... If you have ever played sports, you know that you cannot play the other team's game. They play to their strengths.  Each of us must learn to understand and use ours.  This means we have to define our own visions of love.  Define the relationship of your dreams, your vision, with real qualities, characteristics of substance. You should hold these qualities firmly in mind, able to call them out, if asked.  In that way, you can say you know what you want. I recommend they are not material or superficial, if you can help it. Once you know these qualities, leave them in the back of your mind. Don't go calling them out, showing off in front of your friends.  That's tacky.  And don't go referring to the mental shopping wish-list to compare each person you meet on each date.  Chill.  I repeat, do not go searching and hunting for the person with these characteristics. Simply ask the universe, or God (your choice) and keep your eyes open. To hunt is to repel, to scare away. But to ask is really to acknowledge, to know this desire is a real possibility, and to attract it. Be ready to respond quickly when you see a person demonstrate the qualities you desire.

Really.  Be yourself, but be cool. Don't rush the heat. I know that is a challenge for most of us.  Do your best.  I don't mean "play cool," I mean stay cool.  As you get to know this person that meets your needs, just be there for them, be present. Don't let them feel that you are hard-pressed to get in their life.  You've never seen a fisherman dive in the water to grab the fish have you? It's not often successful.  To be rushed and in a hurry is to repel. Let the connection happen naturally. Enjoy the dance. You know, entice and withdraw... entice, and withdraw.  But continue to move forward. When dealing with that person, be honest. Be honest in all your dealings with anybody. Period. Always. But especially with this possible love match because you might be tempted to act a little more than your natural self, just to please that person.  Chill. Be yourself, let people see you for who you truly are. That is to be genuine and whole.  That is what attracts.  And as you get to know this person, if they ever ask anything of you, still be honest. Don't go overboard trying to please.  If they ever ask you for input about themselves, tell them truthfully.  Don't be brutal. Don't be hurtful. But be plain. True love can handle the truth, even if it does hurt a little.  Support them.  They have challenges too.

Did you see that?  I know, that was fast.  I just took you from first encounter to the first month of relationship in like 30 seconds.  Trust me, these connections happen quickly. And LoveRules is like a pocket guide-book to help you quickly in a pinch.

To be continued...

Part 3. LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined

Here we are with part 3 of LoveRules #9.  Have you found it funny that I haven't covered LoveRules #2-8 yet?  Remember, these aren't levels or steps, but more like principles and phases.  Besides, what the spirit or "trend" of the moment asks for, is what I share. So let's talk about how we define our loves.  What's important to us?  What does that important stuff look like, really?  Oh, but wait.  The trend was that everyone was talking about a certain woman celebrity, and being influenced by the abrupt ending of her ruse of a marriage.  It had everyone in knots, demanding marriage to prove to us that it is still worthwhile in 2011. While it created some good conversations about marriage, I think it's important to remember that we don't really know why this "celebrity" decided to get married in the first place. [On The Table of Truth Podcast, you might have heard me say, "marriage is what happens, it's not what you do." That's from LoveRules #7 - What is Love?  More on that later.]  Also, we don't know her definitions of love.  I can tell you this. She came to media prominence via sex tape.  Media stunt. Ruse. I'm not judging, but neither am I losing sleep over her actions.  I thought the following was the greatest quote I saw on Twitter last week:

"Kim K made a huge profit on her nuptials, then dumped the stock early and brought down the value of marriage. #occupykimkadashian."

Sad, but true.  But who knows? Maybe she is having a tough time shaping her definition of love, too. Or maybe she's just not ready for love, right now.  It's all good.  She's famous, but she's human.  If you know her, go ahead and share LoveRules with her.  She'll thank you.  ;)

To be continued...

LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined. Part 2

LoveRules #9 is all about defining the love you seek. Today, we are continuing from Part 1. The love you want cannot be what others want.  It might have some things that are similar to others but YOUR love must be self-defined.  And if you have ever held any doubts that what you are looking for truly exists, then read on. The internet is an amazing tool.  As most of you might have long noticed, you can find just about any and everything online.  Discussions, answers, people, services, products. What is a turn-on for women, or men?  Why is the sky blue?  Where can I find a notary public? Have you ever heard of a green rabbit?  Where can I find a last-minute costume for a Halloween party?

So much information is on the internet already; and if it's not there yet, it will be posted up there very soon.  All of our current conditions and concerns get shared directly online now. But know this. While it helps us to be in touch with more people faster, the internet is not really connecting us. Rather, it is showing us we were connected all along.  I like to record instances that demonstrate how life is interconnected, that people are interconnected.  I like notating personal examples where life moved as I needed it to move, presented me with the solutions I was looking for.  I see that life is ordered.  Recording these things from day-to-day helps me not lose sight that anything is possible.  So here, like in Part One, I have another example illustrating how what we think or imagine about love's possibilities can be more than idle daydreaming or fantasy. It can be real.  Don't give up on the love you want for yourself.

Back to the internet.  Recently, I happened upon an interesting write-up by Robin Shamburg on Truthdig. She was reviewing a book about human desire and sexuality called "A Billion Wicked Thoughts" by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam.  The book shares observations of data gathered from what people search for on the internet.  [Those who read my post "Was It Good For You?" should at least check out the article, if not the book.] But here was Robin's closing paragraph:

"Ultimately, Ogas and Gaddam’s ambitious and thought-provoking book delivers a message of hope. If there’s one thing their exhaustive research reveals, it is this: No matter who you are, slender or obese, young or old, there is a group of people out there who will find you attractive. All you have to do is go online. And for a person who is looking for instant gratification—no matter how exotic or debased—the news is just as good. For this, the authors cite what has become known as Internet Rule No. 34: If you can imagine it, it exists as Internet porn."

Looks like someone else is outlining some rules, too! But you get my point.  And shit, if it's online, it can also be found in real life, right?!  And obviously it doesn't have to be porn.

Are you going to wait around for the computer to show you everything about your own life?  Keep believing. Keep knowing.  If you can define it, you can find it.  Define the love you want!  Put some energy into it!  I have some more tips coming in the part 3 of LoveRules #9.

Make room for more.

LoveRules on BetsyIce!

Hey Lovers - BetsyIce is one of my colleagues/mentors/most ardent supporters, and on her personal site, she has asked me to fill in the blanks to her thoughts below on why I married a Black woman, and share a little bit of LoveRules.

[The lady I know as BetsyIce has been a travel & culture writer for years, and has been featured in top magazines such as Essence & Uptown, among others.  She will be releasing a book of anecdotes/memoirs, soon, and has an amazing sense of humor.  So stay tuned!]

As the varying success of marriages between Black men & women seems to find its way into the press in dramatic fashion these days, she does ask me how I got together with my wife, and to share some ideas that Black folks (African-Americans, Caribbean, West Indian, African, et al) might want to know if they are determined to find love within "their race."  How could I say no?  So here are a couple LITTLE bits that I think are overlooked in a BIG way.

Why did I marry a Black woman?  My reasons didn’t have anything to do with not choosing white Black or White. More on that later.  But I came to understand that there were thousands of Black women who could potentially complement me, hundreds who were within network reach, but one who was best aligned with me at the time.

Now, let's dispel some myths!

A "good" Black man is the same as any “good” man.  He can be found anywhere, working hard right now. He takes care of his responsibilities, is kind, generous, and seeks to improve his life. He is at his best when “good” Black women believe he exists. Does any other race even wonder whether their men are good?

Men should know that "sisters" are more than just strong-willed. Contrary to media impressions, sisters are extremely giving and accommodating to men’s egos once they are being treated properly. For the right man, they will go through fire.

"Brothers" are getting a lot of attention today for marrying outside their race because Black people allow and perpetuate that conversation instead of how we can heal the challenges of our history. Black men choose to marry outside their race for various reasons.  Sometimes they live predominantly among other cultural groups. They may marry for love and shared values regardless of color. Other times they marry outside their race because it seems like less history of shaming, blaming, or gaming within the relationship. It may feel like a clean slate.

There are Black men who love and marry Black women.  Should you one day become a Black man and woman joined in matrimony, you will run into dozens of other happy Black couples. In fact, a bunch of us are having a party over at my house later. Everyone’s invited.

I knew my wife, a Black woman, was "the one" because when we had our first conversation, it was the most genuine conversation I’d ever had. Ever.  No pretense, no judgment, no posturing, no-nonsense, no over compensating, no seeking to impress, just being herself.  And that’s what impressed me. Permanently.

A sister who holds out to marry a brother will have a doubly happy life if she is first and foremost keeping her eyes open for the man who complements who she is.

Now a little LoveRules! Before we talk about marriage, let's talk about what happens in the dating stages. Try to date in a selfless manner, but inquire about what your potential partner values. Seek first to understand then be understood. Be the person you want to one day marry.  Date and treat the person with the same regard you would give your spouse.

Selflessness and consistent communication are crucial to the success of a relationship.  Sync your actions with your words to empower your partner as well as yourself.  Empowerment creates trust and security, which allows people to weather emotional storms.  The other days—the good ones—are a joy.

Love is not color blind. To be blind is to disregard or be unaware. Real love is unconditional. To love is to be aware of what is, to see reality, see the differences that exist, the challenges they might pose, and choose to love anyway.

At the end of the day, marriage is not something you do, it’s something that happens. People that truly connect cannot be kept apart. For marriages that do not last, there is no shame if both parties naturally grew apart, provided they understood each other, gave each other separate space to grow, and respect each other.

Make room for more.

The Love Interviews in conjunction with acclaimed choreographer Nathan Trice’s Strange Love, will be hosting a series of in-depth, personal, and soul baring interviews designed to create a conversation about love.  Specifically, we seek to identify what couples have found to be the attracting and unifying elements of love, and how to navigate the confusing, messy, or confounding challenges of being in love.  We anticipate that the results of this conversation will inform and encourage people toward "Discovering Love, Being in Love, and Maintaining Love.” By October 31st, 2011, we are looking for 8-9 couples of all types to participate in a 1-hour interview and potentially a small group discussion. The couples can be:

  • peer relationships
  • "traditional" couples
  • "non-traditional" couples

We would also like to have a varied representation of relationship length:

  • short-term = 6 months to 6 years (pre-7-year itch)
  • intermediate term = 6-15 years
  • long-term = 15+ years

The Love Interviews are open to everyone. For this series, there will be no additional qualifying criteria regarding age, nationality, gender, faith, whether previously divorced, or with children.

If you and your partner, or a couple you know, would like to participate, please REPLY HERE with your name and contact information so we can provide you with more information.  Selected couples will receive contributing credits in and Nathan Trice's Strange Love, as well as tickets to see Strange Love, live!

"Thanks" from

Rule #1 - Love Yourself

So, now we've met, and I've introduced myself a little.  Let's get into the LoveRules. Rule #1 - Love Yourself One day I was talking with my friend Kristin, a young woman who, at the time, was dating, alternating between two guys.  She couldn't decide which guy she really wanted to spend more time with.

"Okay, which rule applies to me, Charles?" We had a nice little conversation which led me to a realization.  She hadn't healed from her last break-up.

"Ohhh, now I see. You have to start with Rule #1" I said. "I'm not on level one!" she retorted. "I am no beginner!"

Silence. Then we laughed. As we laughed I explained LoveRules are not really hard fast rules, nor are they levels.  They are more like principles and phases.  They are meant to give guidance as we look inward for our truth, our answers.  They are non-linear.  In fact, we can be experiencing multiple LoveRules/phases at any given moment; and where we are today might shift tomorrow based on our experiences and practices.

The best part about Rule #1 (phase 1) is that we need to come back to spruce it up more than once in our lives. We should practice going over it often.  Bad break-up? Criticism at work? Fell short of a personal goal? Not finding any dates as of late? Not in your ideal career? Feeling lonely? LoveRules #1 - Love yourself.

No matter who you are, if you're feeling like "less," but would like "more," I recommend taking a moment to create a personal conversation practicing some of the following or something similar:

* Love Yourself.  Truly, fully. Seek love in your reflection. Love is looking back at you.  Don’t expect to only find love in something that you are not, or only from others.

* Learn to love and accept how you are designed, your strengths and your flaws. You are a unique tapestry, absolutely one-of-a-kind. You are not mass-produced. Understand that people invest much into a one-of-a-kind item. Not everybody, but the right people do, the people who are meant for you.

* Love and praise your skin, your eyes, your hair, your legs, arms, neck, head, face, ears, nose, hands, feet, your back, your tummy, your chest or breasts, your butt, your personal and private places. Be grateful. Love your culture, your lineage, your origins. Then make room for more. You will grow. Be deeper. Love your smile, your odd expressions, your laugh, the way you run and walk, the way you play or do your work. Make room. Go deeper. Love your mind, your heart, your concern, your thought process, your inner strength, your cares, compassion, your courage.

* Love your areas for improvement, but more importantly, love what you have. Some of these areas of improvement can be worked on to suit your liking over time. You can work on the way you walk and the way you speak, if it makes you feel better. But first love and accept what you have. While it's important to look and feel good, try not to recreate the whole creation. It is very good as it is. Take stock and be grateful.

* Realize that while you are these wonderful qualities, you are not these qualities. You are more.  You are not limited to these.  Who you are fundamentally in your "soul," your heart, is boundless, immeasurable. Make room for change. Grow.

Loving yourself in the way I'm describing is not meant to be vain.  It does not include being the person that narcissistically worships her/himself at the expense of others, but rather being the quality of person that loves him/herself in spite of others. Always Love Yourself - to inspire those that don't love themselves enough, and in spite of those who don't show you enough.

Learn to know your worth, stand up strong. Make no apologies for who you are. Don't compromise what you want, but make sure what you want is something worthwhile. Love yourself.

Hit me back: How do you practice showing yourself love?

LoveRules on The Table of Truth! Check it NOW!

Hey Everyone ! I am pleased to announce that the good fellas over at award nominated podcast The Table of Truth have released the second show in their 30+ Series.  It's called Dating Like An Adult, and yours truly is a featured guest.  Known for their comedic, entertaining, and candid style, there is nothing these guys don't discuss, but we take it to the next level in an interesting young men's discussion where I join Anslem Samuel of award-winning blog Naked With Socks On, Cameron "Cam", Pope, Duane, and Anthony "Ant" in a journey through the transformational phases of dating like an adult.  Is laughing and learning at the same time possible?  You bet.  Enjoy!

[tell me how you liked the show & it's content with a reply]

Dating Like An Adult - click to hear podcast


[Note: The conversation evolves, getting deeper in each 30 min section.  The breaks occur at 30:21 and 59:21.  But hear the whole show, don't miss a beat!]