For those fortunate enough to have experienced a serious love jones, chances are you revel in the before-and-afterglow of Valentine's Day. But before you succumb to Cupid's ethereal sting, author and relationship expert Big Boom, a.k.a. the Bodyguard of Women's Hearts, offers some practical advice when it comes to the rules of engagement on Valentine's Day. Essence.com caught up with the burly Texan to discuss bedroom politics, gift-giving and avoiding the Holiday Sucka.
Essence.com: Welcome back Mr. Boombastic! Your last interview riled up enough folk who believe that your checkered past makes your advice less valid. Do you agree?
Big Boom: For some reason, some women have a difficult time accepting my advice because of my past and can't see that a man with my history is now trying to help women. There are some women who can appreciate it. I never professed to be a saint, but God gives people second chances and that's what my books are all about. If you're a woman who's had a bad relationship with one man, it doesn't mean you have to with the next man. I am only trying to offer insight into the how men think and act, when it comes to the dating game. I can also appreciate that everyone not be willing to accept that advice from me and that's their right, but my past is just that-my past and nothing more.
Essence.com: Understood. Well, Cupid is here pointing that bow and arrow at the unsuspecting. When it comes to Cupid's holiday do you think it's wise for a woman to go on a first date on Valentine's Day?
B.B.: I don't think so because Valentine's Day is too special for a first date. A woman might start thinking she's in love with him and that he's The One. All that red might cloud her judgment (laughs). She might think she's been struck by Cupid's arrow when it's a little red devil with his pitchfork jabbing her in the heart because she has hooked up with a sucka! (laughs)
Essence.com: What if she's been dating him for a month or two?
B.B.: If he wants to share that day with you and you've been talking for nearly a month, depending on what he chooses to do he will let you know how special you are in his life or whether you're not the only one in his life.
Essence.com : What can women do for their man on V-Day to show him she loves him unconditionally?
B.B.: Women stop thinking Valentine's Day is just for you. You're mad at your man because he didn't get you anything but you didn't get him a doggone thing. Where's his stuff? And whatever you do, don't get him any socks or ties because he still hasn't worn the socks and ties you gave him for Christmas. Seriously, a man doesn't ask for much. A nice candlelight dinner will do.
Essence.com: How does a woman determine if her man is worthy of special treatment on V-Day?
B.B.: Well, you never can be a 100 percent certain whether or not he's worthy. There's a chance that he could be exactly who he's shown you he is up to that point in your relationship. If he isn't, it's not your fault that you don't know any better than what he's chosen to show and share with you. No one should make a habit of living your life based on "what ifs" because what if the relationship is what you think it ain't? In other words, women shouldn't repress their feelings for a man because they are thinking, What if he's a bad person and I don't know it? Then it's best to keep moving forward because his love could be true. I don't ever want women to think that there are no good men left because there are. Matter of fact, I've seen good men with bad women.
Essence.com: Is there ever a time a woman shouldn't be upset if her man forgets this special day?
B.B.: A woman shouldn't be mad at her man if he treats her like every day like it's Valentine's Day, but very few women get that. If you're fortunate enough to have that man, you better thank God every day for him.
Essence.com: If a woman has to remind her man that he should be treating her special on V-Day, is he worth keeping?
B.B.: (Laughs) He's probably not your man or you've hooked up with a fool. Even if he doesn't have money he can say, "Happy Valentine's Day!"
Essence.com: What's a non-confrontational approach would you recommend that women take who want to remind their man about Cupid's day?
B.B.: It's never what you say, but how you say it. She could say, ‘Honey, what's today's date?' or "Today, there were so many flowers delivered at my office it was pitiful."
Essence.com: So if your man forgets that day, should a woman duck that sucka?
B.B.: If your man is taking care of you and treats you with respect but he doesn't acknowledge Valentine's Day, then don't let that day mess up the rest of your year or life together. Maybe something traumatic happened to him and he's scared of the color red and doesn't like to celebrate that holiday, who knows?
Essence.com: Are there certain gifts that should cause a woman to ring the alarm and alert her that this man doesn't take their relationship seriously?
B.B.: When he gives you the box with the lil' heart and gold chain and it doesn't have Tiffany's on it and it has your local drug store's name on the box, that's cause for alarm. They say it's the thought that counts, but after he gives you a cheap gift, trust me, his thought won't count.
Essence.com: When it comes to the rules of engagement on V-Day should a woman pull out all the stops in the bedroom or ration out her love?
B.B.: If that's your man, then you shouldn't ration out your love. I'm a true believer that a married couple should not have sex everyday because it takes away from the marriage. Think about it-"for the rest of your life" is a long time. I think at some point the man might be like, Not this again.
Essence.com: So is that the reason some couple's sex lives become non-existent after marriage?
B.B.: Like I said, "for the rest of your life" is a long time. If a woman wants to give me sex every day for the rest of my days it's like feeling as if I have to go to work every day. Be sure to put some time in-between because that makes a man feel like he has to make up for the days he missed and when y'all come together it will be like you just met.
Essence.com: (Laughs) Now, Boom is that old age talking because you can't hang anymore?
B.B.: No, I've always been that way, but back then I had different women. But when you talk about a married couple, I think you should make it special rather than doing it everyday simply because somebody's there sharing your bed. It takes away from the love and romance that goes along with the foreplay.
Essence.com: So for single women are you advocating abstinence?
B.B.: I would be wrong to ask women to stop having sex, but what I am asking women is that they at least put something in front of sex like God, your family, you career and then sex, when you're single. I think it will make your life well-rounded and men will look at you in a different light.
Essence.com: You speak a lot about your belief in God. Do you believe you can love God and sex?
B.B.: Since when did people start acting like having premarital sex is not in the Bible? Nowadays, we're so selfish that we only focus on what we want rather than what God wants us to have. Think about it: there are preachers sleeping around and doing a lot of everything else when they should be focused on leading the church. Now, I'm certainly not judging or trying to come off holier-than-thou because I did a lot of wrong in my past as well, but I want to open women's eyes that maybe we all need to go back to the basics like courtship.
Essence.com: What is your definition of a "courtship"?
B.B.: Every trial must have jurors, right? Well, whhen you are entering a courtship, it's important that you assemble your own jury to assist you in examining that person who you plan to bring into you and your family's life; and the "ship" portion of the "courting" is the journey that you're going on with that person, so together that's a "courtship." It's always a good idea to have folks other than yourself to check out that person you are inviting on this journey to become an integral part of your life.
Essence.com: (Laughs) Break it down, Big Boom, and let it forever be broken! So would you say that is the foundation of most problems in relationships, a man's lack of courting?
B.B.: The real problem is that there are no rules anymore because babies are having babies and there's no one to teach them the respect and rules of life. You have 10-year-old girls having babies. What in the world can a 10-year-old girl teach a baby? You know how many stupid mistakes kids make and that's what they are teaching their babies!
Essence.com: Unfortunately, there are some grown folks that make just as many childish mistakes as some of our youth. Back to V-Day, what kind of sucka should a sister try to duck on this day?
B.B.: The Holiday Sucka goes M.I.A. during the holidays. Either he disappears quickly so he doesn't have to buy anything or he's married and has to spend time with his wife so he breaks up with you for a couple of days. Beware of that fool.
Essence.com: And what advice do you have for two-timing women?
B.B.: A warning for the ladies who ain't quite right: Beware of the flowers without any name. If you're cheating on your boyfriend, then it's in your best interest to wait on a phone call from the man who sent you the flowers and asks whether or not you received them. Don't make assumptions and call to thank the wrong man for the arrangement.
Essence.com: What advice do you have for single women who are celebrating the holiday alone?
B.B.: I don't want women to think that they have to have someone. Learn to enjoy loving yourself and thank God for having a heart open enough to loving yourself. You should put more focus on your life than you do on that holiday. Simply remember that Valentine's Day is once a year.
Photo Credit: Gerald Grimes