This ESSENCE TALK is taken from the February 2012 edition where writer Jeannine Amber (who’s fabulous, by the way) takes on a group of single and happily married bloggers for a heated discussion about the romance rules we’ve been told never to break. There are three men and three women.

Although I’ve been incarcerated for a while, I feel I haven’t lost my sense for being social. And while prison is a society within a society it’s very detached from the real world in many sense. There has to be a practice and a discipline in place to maintain a “normal” behavior pattern. I’m thankful to correspond regularly with activists, poets, teachers, parents and just everyday people. So, I feel I’ve kept up with the times and still possess some fly-cool-fresh-hip-ness.
I’m going to cite the taboo subject and the verdict that ESSENCE came up with about the topic. Then I’m going to add my 2 cents to the conversation. Afterall, sometimes I just imagine myself sitting inbetween these groups participating in the discussion. Practice! I have to make sure I can keep up with the crowd when I get out. So, let’s get to it.


Taboo Topic: If he’s dated your friend, he’s off-limits.
Essence’s Verdict: “If your friend and her ex are officially broken up, he’s up for grab. But be a woman and talk to your friend before making a move.”


Kenneth’s Verdict: Hell no! I understand the whole concept of “sparks” and “connections.” HOWEVER, this is my bottom line view- if your friend had eyes for him afterwards she probably had eyes for him beforehand. In today’s society there’s enough going on to where your friend should be out finding someone for herself. Afterall, what’s the comfort level going to be if she hooks up with your ex and yall want to have card night or double date? It’s going to be awkward and at some point— you better believe it— something is going to come up about it. Why take the risk? Be a friend and befriend someone else!


Taboo Topic: Never tell a man how many men you’ve been with before him.
Essence’s Verdict: “If he asks for your magic number, evade, challenge, deflect and redirect. Change the subject, then tell him he shouldn’t be asking in the first place”


Kenneth’s Verdict: Never say never! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. This depends on a few things: the maturity of the people involved, how serious the relationship is and if it’s a mutual topic. One, if you’re that concerned about it you must either be too obsessed about it or you’re too immature for a relationship. However, if she’s asking, you’re entitled to know too. If the relationship is young, it’s not an appropriate question. If that question comes early in the relationship that’s a sign to the man or woman of their partner’s maturity. Start assessing the behaviors. You could save yourself some stress. But, if the relationship is solid and has endured- so what? It’s the past. If your partner can’t accept the number then I’d say that’s a sign of lack of maturity. To me, this is a small question, but it carries serious revelations of the person you’re with. It’s case by case, so don’t deflect it, explore it.


Taboo Topic: if you want a relationship, don’t have sex too soon.
Essence’s Verdict: “Some men don’t care how quickly you have sex. Others will hold it against you. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, proceed with caution until you know what kind of man you’re dealing with.


Kenneth’s Verdict: I couldn’t have said it better!


Taboo Topic: To keep your man from cheating, try new things in the bedroom.
Essence’s Verdict: “Keeping it spicy in the bedroom is good for your relationship. DO it for you, not to keep a cheater from cheating.”


Kenneth’s Verdict: Yes and No! It’s all about “the line.” What is “the line”? The line is the measure of comfort and safeness. Let me tell it better with a joke:

“What is the difference between freaky and perverted? Freaky is tickling you with a feather. Perverted is tickling you with the whole chicken!”


WHOA! You should know if you’re with a freak or a pervert. If you know what you got your hands on then don’t be afraid to pep it up. If it’s understood that you’re a plain and simple type of girl then he should know if he should be locking in with you or not. It’s all about what you are or what you are not. You may not start off on some S&M type stuff, but if it’s in you, and you KNOW he likes it, go ahead and deliver the goods and keep it hot, spicy and lasting. Don’t hold out because you think you’re living up to some feminist requirement.


Taboo Topic: Constantly broadcasting how independent you are can keep you from finding love.
Essence’s Verdict: Handle your business but beware of using your strength as a way to barricade yourself against intimacy.”


Kenneth’s Verdict: I second that motion!


That’s my 2 cents on the matter. But, I’d like to close this off with a poem of mine (since we’re exploring the elements of love).



ahhh…u see
that is a very long story
and one that i probably cannot fully tell as
it is still unfolding w/
every day, every thought, every breath.
i just know that
she appeared
out of the blue-
for one reason or another,
that which i am unaware of
and can’t seem to grasp, but
really don’t care to, because
it is and
it feels good and
since when do people question good?
u don’t-
or at least shouldn’t
coz it is
and u should just let it be
and do what it do.
i’m getting off track
and she seems to do that to me sometimes.
we be like roller coasters-
up and down. up and down.
u know?
but it’s a thrill!
so anywayz
as i was saying-
she floated to me
kind of like an enigma.
she was like a
rubix cube
and i shifted this way
and that way-
was trying to line it all up, but
it wasn’t so easy.
the connections were so incredible :
numbers, past, words, books;
and so i seemed to
naturally feel
the feelings felt
by one who was open to emotions.
she tsunamied me-
in other words
flooded me
and many times
i thought she was
purposely trying to drown me,
but maybe i was just forgetting how to swim.
i don’t know yet,
because that’s one of those things
i have yet to pinpoint.
she’s so damn rebellious
and she’s always fighting me,
but it’s kind of like the story of
what it means when a
little girl teases
the little boy.
we all know that story
and what it means
though she refuses to tell me
but swears she is.
it’s like
peek-a-boo with her.
i think
we was something in a past life
coz in this one
we clash too much,
but that’s what’s so beautiful coz
opposites attract.
and yea…
i’m drawn to her;
and as you know
when magnets get close
they kinda resist before they lock.
it’s called energy
and she pours it on me.
i was saying how we met.
i don’t know, because it’s like we already knew each other.
it was like-
and it was like
“that sounds familiar”
and we went from a
hop, skip, to a jump and
we was just in it then.
in the thick of it!
but we just sat there
looking at each other
kinda lost in each other’s eyes
like dazed or something.
hell- i mean we both had been through
umm- hell,
but face to face
it was all innocent again-
giggles and stuff;
like childhood crushes.
i really can’t say how it all started-
just know it begun.
it’s like trying to trace where the ocean started-
just one day
it all came together/
i’m just saying
i can’t figure it out.
why should i?
it’s like
being on a cloud w/ her
sometimes it got a lil’rain and thunder in it.
we’re still open to the sun.
it’s like
holding hands when we write.
it’s like
hitting the funny bone-
it’s so crazy
the way things work.
i wish u hadn’t asked me to tell this story
coz now i’m thinking about her again
and she sorta sticks in my mind
and won’t leave.
she’s just there
massaging, massaging, massaging
my temples.
think, think, think
and u’ll figure out that
the answer and the problem
is all the same-
just let it be because
there’s nothing we do
when this thing bites us
called love.

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