Ask @jozenc:

I date single moms all the time. It's so easy. All I gotta do is treat them better than their baby daddies do. Some folk on twitter say I'm taking advantage of those women, but the way I look at it is I found my niche. What do you think?

There's so much wrong in your question that I don't even know where to begin.
You're not as smart about this as you want to believe, pimp. You're treating single mothers like they're some sort of sub-culture, which, c'mon fam. I was always open to dating all women much like you seem to be. That included single mothers. But at no point was I doing that because it seemed easier. They were women that I liked who just so happened to have a child. It was never a dating ponzi scheme.
But, since you have attached some harebrained ethos to your dating preference, let's talk about
this idea of treatment you have created in your head. Treating a single mother better than her baby’s father is not just the least you can do, it's less than that. The bar for treatment of any woman, with child or not, should be as high as you can possibly make it for yourself. Stop assuming that the person who hurt her most or mattered most in her life is her baby's father. The reality could be some of her deepest, most life-changing relationships were not with him. You need to be better than all the men who came before you, not just the father of her child. That is of course if you actually care about not meeting the same fate as those men, and judging from this question, I doubt that.
Something about your question tells me that these days you're only dating for sport. That's perfectly fine, but you can do that without making the type of women you like to date feel like you're doing them a favor. No one would say you're wrong for being willing and even preferring to date single mothers. The issue is, you think when a woman has a baby and ends up single, she’s lowered her standards, and what’s even more sad is, you have somehow convinced yourself that you are this lower rung of man she is seeking.
People that tell you you're taking advantage of single mothers may be right, but for the wrong reasons. Any time you try to put your dating preferences on a pedestal as a way to make yourself look like a hero, you look like a clown. Some women may not see the jig, so in that sense, you've successfully made yourself out to be this noble guy when really you're being selfish as fuck. You're like the white person who wants black friends to show they're not racist. If you want to date a single mother, do it for the same reasons you would date a woman who doesn’t have a child: You dig her company, she turns you on, and you enjoy being with her more than anyone else.
You think you’re the only guy in the world who is willing to date a single mother, Christopher Columbus? You’re not. Plenty of men don’t care that a woman they’re dating has a child, but the smart ones know better than to act like this is a niche that's easy to exploit. That's the ironic thing. Smart men know that dating women, whether they're single mothers or not, is never easy.

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How did you know Gina was the one?

I get this question a lot. I answer differently every time because as deep as I am in this relationship I still very much look at her sometimes and think, "Wow, how did this happen?"
There's a story I'm saving of a moment on our first date when I knew whatever happened that night, I had to see her again. I am trying to save that story for my book I'm working on. But in the year and some change that I've been in this relationship, this is what I learned about the idea of knowing when someone is the one.
We have the power of choice. I'm sure you've heard people say that everyday they wake up with their partner and whether they know it or not, they're choosing to be with them. Well, everyday since our first date, I have chosen to be with Gina, but in the beginning I wasn't thinking she's the one. I've told Gina this before, that I've been in love and I know what love feels like. That wasn't to make Gina less special, I just wanted her to understand that she wasn't the first girl I thought I would be with forever.
But I have never been more certain about who I want to spend the rest of my life with as I have been with Gina. That thought also never occurred to me through some specific incident. It's an accumulation of everyday her and I have spent together and everyday we have not. To this day, Gina does some thing, sometimes it's small, sometimes it's grand, that reminds me she is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. I can recall conversations we had and there is one line she said in the conversation that reinforced the conviction I have in choosing to be with her.
I really don't think one reason is enough to know someone is the one. The one is going to give you one reason, and then another, and then another. That's what Gina does for me all the time.

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Been dating a guy for 4 yrs. A few wks ago we had a serious talk about marriage/future. A week later I found text mgs to other females on his phone. They were flirtatious but not condemnable. We talked and he apologized. Now he's saying he needs space. I'm devastated. How do I handle this?

Let him take his space. In that time, think about what you want too.
I get a lot of questions like this from women, and I always notice they tell me what the man said to them about marriage and the future, but they don't ever tell me how they felt about the man. You )and women like you) need to stop letting a man's words make decisions for you. I know it's nice to hear that a man wants to marry you and have a future with you, but is that what you want with that man? You have to think about that like he's thinking about that in regards to you. Now 's the time to do it.

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Mixed, triracial, whatever the preferred term - the question remains. In one question, you said you identified as black. In your response to the question about you referring to your relationship as interracial, you did not explicitly. 1. Does your self-identification depend on context?

You know, I've been dealing with people who are curious about my background and how I identify pretty much my whole life. So your question doesn't bother me, but what does bother me is your insensitivity to my facts and the way you're using the anonymity of this platform to get away with it. You labeled me as biracial. I am not. You knew that and yet you still insisted on being a lazy idiot who thought it would be okay to not get the facts right. Now you want to dismiss it in this question as though labels don't matter to me. As though I say "mixed" for the convenience of others and it's not a term I've put a lot of thought into giving myself.
The whole issue I have with your questions is that you expect me to label myself the way you want to label me. You don't seem to understand how a person YOU don't see as black can identify as black even though they are biologically mixed with black. And what makes this whole thing even funnier is you can't even tell me what YOU think I am. At least the folks who have the courage to ask me what I am to my face will keep it real with me and once I give them the answer tell me something like, "Oh, I thought you were Filipino."
But let me answer your question: I. DO. NOT. GIVE. A. FUCK. ABOUT. CONTEXT.
I am Black EVERYWHERE. I am black in Harlem. I am black in Seaside, California. I am Black at my Japanese grandmother's house. I am black at my Puerto Rican grandfather's house. I am black at your mother's house. If you ever see me, introduce yourself, and I will be black in your face.
I hope we're clear on that. Now let me get to your next question.

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Curious - You are Japanese (1/2?) and Gina is (100%?) Filipino and you consider this an interracial relationship. Why so?

For the record, I'm 1/4 Japanese and correct, Gina is full Filipino. Here is why we're in an interracial relationship.
Filipinos are their own race. They're not Asian. The Philippines have a long history of colonialism by other groups. For 300 years, they were Spanish occupied. They have their own language, they have their own culture, they are their own country made up of 7,000 islands. Gina has never identified as Asian mostly because it would be shortchanging the fullness of her people. Filipinos may be descendants of the Asian diaspora, but like black people from the Caribbean wouldn't identify as African-American even though they are of African descent, Filipinos like Gina don't label themselves Asian-American because it does a disservice to their own history and experience.
Since I am mixed, it's very easy for me to claim I'm in an interracial relationship with just about every woman I've ever dated. It's sort of like a loophole I can joke about, but I don't use the term interracial relationship lightly here. I identify in some way or another with all my ethnicities within the context of my nationality (American), so for me, race weighs heavy. Luckily, Gina has a sense of that because like me, she ain't white.
Both of us have and continue to do work to get a better understanding of who we are and the worlds from which we come because it's important for us. Perhaps the only cultural commonality between our races is a mutual love and appreciation for rice.

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in person you will speak or have long convos with me but on sm i've noticed you will never @ or congratulate me. i've known you for mad yrs. youre corny for that shit. ive heard this is not unusual behavior for u though. just letting u know shit's lame.

What's funny is I've felt this way about certain people I know in real life. They don't really acknowledge me on social media, and I too can get in my feelings about that. But seeing them in real life almost always makes me realize what little it matters that they don't @ me on social media. For me, genuine, in-person relationships mean more than the ones I have on a screen, but obviously you measure your relationships differently.
So, how about this? If social media recognition from me means this much to you (and, by the way, I'm sincerely flattered that it does), how about you tell me this the next time we have one of these long, in person convos you speak of. I'd much rather be told I'm corny and the way I act on social media is lame in person.

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What certifies you to be a love doctor?

Your mother said I was one...nah, I'm kidding. I just always want an excuse to use a "your mom" response. I never not laugh when someone does it to me.
But yeah, no certification here, I just care, a lot about helping other people figure this stuff out. When people reach out to me, I don't think they feel like I have any answers, I just think they know I will care about what they have to say and that's what matters to me. I care. I care. I care.

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what's the best question you received on here?

It's tough to say, considering I've answered hundreds of questions. I really like upbeat, lighthearted questions that don't require me to think mentally or emotionally. But I can't front: I appreciate when people ask me the deep questions and decide to let me in their lives on a personal level, even if they are anonymous.
As a writer who has shared so much of himself, I really appreciate when people decide to give that back to me. I'm not a doctor or a therapist or even an expert. I just care a lot about people, and I'd like to think that's why people reach out to me with such serious questions.

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I'm a 30 yr old woman. I live with my sister and 3 nephews all under 6. The nephews are my brother's kids that my sister took in so they would not be in foster care. My sis needed help which is why I moved in. This has been an issue for me in dating. Is this a deterrent for men?

It could be, but it also should be. Here's what I mean:
I know it's not easy to see a guy walk away because he thinks your situation is too much for him to handle, especially when that situation is beyond your control, but look at it like this: The bar you've set is incredibly high. Your actions and your current situation speak to your value system, and the fact that you put family over everything. You don't want someone who just says, "Oh, okay, that's cool." You want someone who sees that what you're doing speaks to the woman you are.
I am pretty sure that you never wanted this to be your life at 30-years-old, but it is and if no one has told you yet, that is fucking awesome. Any man who walks away from your situation, let him. He can't handle it and you don't want someone who can't handle that. You want someone who sees your life as it is now and appreciates what that means in the long term, who sees what you're doing now as maybe an indication of what type of woman they can have in the future.
In defense of the men who walk away when they find out what you're dealing with, some people can be intimidated by a person who comes from a strong family. Not everyone would do what you're doing, and to see that level of care, that level of selfless love, it can be scary for some because they know that's the bar. You're not about to accept being any less loved, any less loyal, any less devoted than you are to your family. Some people know they can't match that, and therefore have to bow out before things get too heavy.

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If you were to teach a class about yourself, what album would be on your syllabus?

Daniel Warhol
John Coltrane's "Blue Train" if I have to choose one album. I listened to it in 6th grade and it is my first memory of truly loving and being fascinated by music. Up until then there were songs I liked, and I would listen to on repeat, but Coltrane's "Blue Train" album made me want to learn so much more about jazz, which was my musical first love.

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Why do you believe we (Black folk) have such a large disparity in dating and marriage from other cultures (white folk). Why is it that my white girl friends have had many more bfs and relationships than my blk friends and I, get married sooner, see commitment faster. Whatsup with that?

This is a question that has been given a ton of research, and there are a lot of studies out there that can give you an answer. None of it is pretty, and all of it confirms what you have written in your question. Black women have a harder time dating than white women. That's what the media wants you to believe, and you bring up an example in your life to validate this.
The question you should be asking yourself is if this at all is your story too. Me, personally, I see more white women who come into my office open to the idea of participating in my blind date column than black women. And whenever I hear white women talk about their dating issues, they sound remarkably similar to what black women go through. In my case, my friends who are married are black men who married black women. Every wedding I've been to has been with a black couple. I don't think I've ever been to a white wedding lol
My point is, this is the world I've lived in and kind of chosen to immerse myself in. I don't know what world you exist in, but you don't have to let the media tell your story. You don't have to live the story the media tells you. So when you ask me why do I believe there's a large disparity between blacks and whites when it comes to successful dating and marriage, I don't because I simply don't see that in my world. Don't let these white folks fool you. It's hard out here for them too. And though it may be hard for you right now, that has nothing to do with them or with the statistics.

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2. How does the fact that you do not look black and are therefore not experiencing the same interactions with the world influence how you do/do not identify? There's a privilege there - how do you navigate that?

I don't know if you know this about black people, but we are not a monolith. We do not experience the world the same way. Every single time I have been followed by cops and pulled over for no reason, or the times I have been stopped and frisked, I have never come away from that experience feeling more black.
Now of course, you are right, my complexion does come with its privileges. For instance, when nobody knows how to identify you, they will put you in a box anyway. That is so much fun. You have no idea. Another privilege is I save money on lotion because as someone who is light skinned, ash isn't really noticeable unless you're standing really close to the exact location of the ash. I don't have to be good at sports since something about the way I look makes me appear like I don't play them.
But the greatest privilege I have ever experienced is when I signed up to be a part of OkCupid. There's a section where you have to check off your Ethnicity and can you believe it? The geniuses over there let me check more than one box, which means I got to check off three! Later, I was working with OkCupid on a project, and they were assessing the most viewed profile of male members in NYC. I fell into the top one percent! And the proof was in my inbox, which had so many types of women, you would think I was at a Pitbull concert.
Of all the privileges that has come with being an ambiguous looking mixed-race man, that is probably the greatest one ever.

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Wow. Ok. Thx for taking my question. I didn't expect you'd call me a dumb, selfish clown, but the way you break it down... Ugh. I don't know what to say. I'm gonna think all of this over for a bit.

Just be a little bit more thoughtful, man and try really hard not to put any woman you date in a box. Women hate feeling like they're a part of some agenda and I too had to learn this the hard way. I was dating one woman who I really liked, not a single mother, but older than me. The minute I told her I have always been into older women, she stopped messing with me because I made her feel old.
Try to appreciate a woman for who she is as an individual without putting her in a box.

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Have you ever wrote a script before? I think Until I Get Married could be an amazing pilot on HBO or something. You should definitely consider writing & pitching it one day.

I've dabbled and I have some things in the works that hopefully will make that dream a reality. Be on the lookout.

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I have been a faithful follower of your blog, "Until I Get Married" since early 2010. You have inspired me to be personal and transparent on my blog, "Scribbles & Tostitos" also. How do you balance the rope of being true to yourself and your readers while still maintaining some bit of privacy?

My blog is not intended to be a place where I confess my sins to the world. At the same time, as therapeutic as it may be for me to write about things and get them out of my head or heart, I have to remember that my whole point of having a blog, of posting my work and asking people to read it, is to engage the reader. So when you talk about being honest with my reader, it's important but only if it benefits them.
I don't lie on my blog, but I will omit, and that's because some stuff just doesn't need to be said, some stuff may take away from a post or take the post in a direction I don't need it to go, so I leave it out. Some stuff just isn't the reader's damn business lol...Being open and honest about your writing is a scary thing, and it takes a certain amount of fearlessness but that isn't an excuse for carelessness. Being honest is only one part of that, the other part is protecting yourself and the people you write about. The reader doesn't necessarily deserve all of you.

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Biggest regret?

I don't have a list of regrets, it's more like a group, a collection of regrets. I acknowledge them to inform my decision making in the future, but I try not to dwell on them.

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Favorite podcasts? One rule, can't say Serial.

Lol, Serial would never make my list.
I just mentioned The Moment with Brian Koppelman.
I have a lot of podcasts I listen to so I'll break this up.
Let's get the niche ones out of the way:
I'm a wrestling nerd so I listen to a few of those: Stone Cold Steve Austin's Podcast, Chris Jericho's podcast, Cheap Heat with Peter Rosenberg and The Masked Man and The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Food and drink podcasts include The Speakeasy (about booze) with Damon Boilte, Chef's Story and Word of Mouth, all which can be found on the Heritage Radio Network
Health fitness stuff, I subscribe to Onnit's Total Human Optimization Podcast and The Mike Dolce Show
Human interest includes Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know, NWAP
Sports is The Fighter and The Kid with Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen, PTI, Highly Questionable, Bill Simmons
Financial stuff, Planet Money and The Dave Ramsey Show
Comedy/Entertainment shows, Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor of All Time, Ten Minute Podcast, The Champs, WTF with marc Maron, Alias Smith Lerio, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Adam Carolla show, Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler, You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, Juan Epstein, Combat Jack Show
Also, some of my friends have great podcasts
Erika Ramirez's The Juice Podcast for Billboard
The Poplife Podcast
PNC Radio The Commission
Of course, I don't listen to all of them in one day or even one week, but these are the ones I keep a look out for and subscribe to. What can I say? I'm an information hoarder.

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Like a lot of black men do/have done-do you ever bad mouth black women to your non black girlfriend to justify you dating choice or make her feel superior?

What's funny about your question is, just a few days ago, someone asked me if my girlfriend is ever bothered about how fondly I speak of my ex-girlfriends, all of whom are black. To answer your question, no. My woman has never ever been a statement against black women.
The thing is, there are still so many black women in my life, from my family to my very close circle of friends. Outside of my mother, sister, and grandmother, the majority of the most important women in my life are black women. So why would I ever bad mouth black women when many of the women I care about most are black women? Why would I bad mouth a group who get the short end of the stick throughout much of society? I know too many great black women to ever be down on them.
Lastly, I don't know if you're aware of this, but some of the worst attitudes I have seen about black women come from black men who date them. There are plenty of men who are dating a black woman and believe they are exceptional to other black women, that their black woman is superior to all the others they've dated in the past. But that's not my story, and it never will be whether my woman and I stay together for the rest of my life, or I end up with someone else.

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How can your woman care so deeply about movieS like Selma and 12 yrs a slave when she's not black and non blk people of color have totally difference experiences in America. How do you kno she's never made fun of black people, snubbed black women, told racist jokes or used the N word?

The idea that you need to live an experience in order to have empathy for it is a fallacy of the highest degree. Both of those movies depict these horrible moments in this country's history. They hurt to watch. Now we didn't see 12 Years together, but I can tell you that in the year and some months we've been together, I never ever saw her cry until we watched Selma.
But what difference does it make for you to know that?
You sound like the type who would be unconvinced anyway, who is cynical about non-black people, and gives too much credit to our own people. To answer your second question, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt, that she's never made fun of the black race, never snubbed a black woman, and never told racist jokes or used the N word. Just like I have given the benefit of the doubt to black women I've dated in the past, and believe they have never made fun of a non-black race of people, that they've never snubbed another black woman, that they've never told racist jokes or used racial slurs in referring to others.
I believe every woman I have dated is good to all people. My family is too diverse for me to tolerate anything less than respect for people of all backgrounds, not just their own.

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when i look at you i don't see a black person so you're insistence that you're black is weird

The cool thing about facts is you don't have to see them in order for them to exist. Label me the way you want, it doesn't change the truth.

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Do you think it's a requirement for anyone whose not married to wear condoms even if you are in a committed relationship?

This is a great question, because it kind of allows me to talk about this in a way that doesn't seem so arbitrary.
I'm of the Lil Wayne school of thought which is "safe sex is great sex." I still wear condoms in my relationship and plan to until I get married (no pun intended). I know this isn't a popular thing to do when you're in a committed relationship, and I don't judge anyone who feels differently about this. After all, sex with one person is a form of protected sex, but for me, this is about protecting my woman and I from an accident that can change our life forever. I understand condoms don't prevent pregnancy 100%, but when it comes to birth control, I'd rather do my part than have her do something like take birth control that can have long lasting negative effects on her body.
I say all that to say, this is a conversation for the people in a relationship to have with one another. I think what is a requirement is for both parties to be comfortable with their decision on wearing condoms or not.

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What does a guy really think of a girl who had sex on the first date?

I hope he still respects her, but I know there are plenty of dudes who want to shame women for deciding to sleep with them on the first date. That's never made sense to me, unless a guy was willing to admit he too wasn't shit for giving it up on the first date.
I also wish women would stop worrying about what a man thinks of her decision to have sex. Don't put a handicap on your sex life. Do what you want when you want, when it feels right and comfortable to you because that's what men are doing, and they're doing it with no regard for what women think of them.

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Does your lady have a problem with the fact that you're very female friendly

I just asked her and she said no, for the most part. She has called me out for being flirtacious, which is fair, but we've been together for over a year, of course there were some road bumps. But one thing my lady has learned about me is that I don't change up how I am with women and men. When I was hosting my trivia nights, she saw me give the same smile and the same greeting to men and women who came through.
I think a lot of men don't care about women beyond the ones in their family or who they're in a relationship with because they see that as trouble. My woman knows I don't see women that way and therefore I am not anymore friendly towards them than I am men. She knows the women who I am friends with matter to me as much as some of my male friendships.

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Do you think that because of the way men are socialized a sexually aggressive woman is a turn-off, even if that women is his significant other?

Every man is different, but since you're asking this man, I'm going to tell you HELL NO it is not a turn-off if a woman is sexually-aggressive. ESPECIALLY when that woman is his significant other.

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