Relationship expert Demetria Lucas authored the much-needed and anticpated book of her personal dating tales titled A Belle in Brooklyn: A Single: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. In the post-Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man years, it’s reassuring to have a female pen something very honest and true to navigating the maze of relationships from a woman’s perspective. Flipping through the pages of Belle’s diary (or at least it seems like it), Vixens can find a reflection of themselves in some fashion. VIBE Vixen decided to catch up with DL on her book tour to talk specifics about her journey through the throes of passion, love and lust, as well as get her to drop some dating knowledge on us single girls! –Niki McGloster (@missjournalism)
VIBE VIXEN: What has the ride been like penning your first book?
DEMETRIA LUCAS: It has been whole lot of hard work. This is the most I ever put into doing something in my entire life. When you do features, it’s like 1,500 to 2,500 words and you can knock that out fairly quickly if you need to, but the process to write a book? That’s about 85,000 words. Writing that much and editing at that volume is pretty intense. People always say writing a book is like having a baby, but this is the most intense process. I really feel like I set something into the Earth, but I am super proud of that.
Did you have to force yourself to sit down or did the writing come to you? I know many of these are specific stories of life experiences, so I imagine it would be easier than writing fiction.
No, I didn’t have to force myself to write; it was finding the time to sit down and write. A lot of the book, at least the first draft of it, was written in my Blackberry on the train going to and from work, so I definitely had to make the time. You would think that writing about my life is easy than doing a whole bunch of research, but I put a lot of it out there in the book. I talk about heartbreak, and I talk about some traumatic events; I really wanted people to go there with me [and] that took a lot emotionally out of me.
How did it feel to revisit those emotions especially the night with Dakar and Greg? Did you cry or find yourself shying away from revisiting those emotions as you were writing that part?
I don’t want to give too much away for those who didn’t read the book, but I dealt with that situation in an unconventional way. When I was writing this passage, I realized it was the hardest to write for obvious reasons, [and] I went back to behaving the way I had for so many years before I had the opportunity to confront the issue. In the sense, I usually go out and roam around looking for a party or a club, and if no one wants to go, I’ll go on my own. But I found myself wanting to be around people, wanting to be safe and protected. My mother didn’t think I should include this because she didn’t want me to relive it and people to constantly ask me about it. When I used to tell that story, I never met a woman who didn’t have a story of their own. It’s almost like a very sad and unfortunate rite of womanhood that she had been in a situation where some guy had forced himself on you in varying degrees, so I felt that it was important to talk about. This is a book for women, and this is something women have to deal with.
As a woman, I definitely appreciate your raw honesty. Are there any rules, similar to that common three-month sex rule, that you can offer to women? Some you didn’t include in the book?
You should date men through seasons in order to get to know them. I know a lot of women say, ‘We’ve been dating for three months and he doesn’t know where its going.’ Well, that’s because you don’t know him. In three months, everyone is still in the great representative phase; somewhere around day 91 is when they start to get real. You should try to determine his character and that can be determined during times of adversities. You need to find someone you like, get to know them and see how they are when their money isn’t right or they are having issues with their childrens’ mom. To get to know people, take like six months. Another thing is: Women stop asking men what they do. To ask a man doesn’t say anything about who they are; it’s just what they do. Most men, whether they are broke or a baller, expect to be the breadwinner in a relationship. Now whether that is actually going to happen or not is a whole other story. He expects to be able to bring something to the table and to provide for his spouse or his lady. What your expectations are in a relationship don’t translate to men because that isn’t what they are looking for.
What are your thoughts on a woman being the breadwinner in a relationship, do you believe that it totally switches the gender roles in a sense?
It can. I was just reading another really great book about relationships for an interview I was working on. It was talking about how in black relationships, women are the providers. It makes sense because black women obtain college degrees at a rate much higher than men. It can change gender roles. Money in a lot of relationships equates to control. When women make a little bit of money, they want to run wild, [and] men recognize that they have no control when it comes to money, so they try to clamp down in other ways, so it can get a little ugly. If you do want to be with someone and you make more, do not allow money to be the thing that tears you apart. You have to sit down and discuss the expectations especially if you are married, you have to think in terms of us, our money, we, etcetera.
Have you found that there can be a functional A-B hybrid man? [Ed. note: Demetria’s theory on A and B type of men can be found in the book.]
Yes, they are rare. But like four leaf clovers, they do exist. If I was a woman looking for one, I would not go banking on that very thing because you might be looking for a very long time and not find it. There are some Alpha males out there that can blow your back out, that male that is controlling and domineering that women try to find and can also have a sensitive side at the same time, but they are difficult to find.
Do you think that instant attraction, intense kind of guy is for younger or more immature women, or do you think they come and go throughout any portion of your life?
They can come and go through any portion of your life. There is something to be said about the guy that walks into a room and his swagger is on 100 million and you can’t help but like him. When you talk to him to get butterflies. You think I am a grown woman, and you are like why are my knees weak, but it happens! Be weary of that. You have that chemical reaction; it’s just physical, so don’t play on that physical attraction. He might just be good in bed.
You are impeccably stylish and sophisticated. Are you the type who feels like you have to be lady like at all times or are their times that you can be free and wild out?
I am free and wild out most of times. My boyfriend teases me all of the time and says, ‘You like ruffles and heels and stuff, but you can be just like a dude sometimes.’ [Laughs] To be lady-like, some of the things that mean to be a “lady” are softness and demurness, almost knowing your place. Knowing your place is mainly assigned to children; there is a time or a place for that. To redefine what a lady is: A lady speaks her mind, she knows who she is and knows what she wants and she is not afraid to say that. It’s not being bitchy, its being a woman and I am that all the time.
You’re a boss Vixen too! Has it conflicted in your interactions with any male-dominated industries?
Most of my career, I’ve always worked around a lot of women. I’ve been at Essence for four years, and before that I was editing romance novels at Harlequin and BET. I’ve always had female bosses and worked around a lot of women. When I was freelancing I used to [cover] hardcore hip-hop. I had an exclusive with Beanie Sigel, right when Styles P came out. I went to the studio and spoke about how he punched someone so hard it broke his eye socket. I am just a cool girl. I’m me, and I think guys respect it. I think many guys would be surprised when they read my book because men are presented as being three dimensional even in situations where they don’t act right or correctly when I want them to. They are not presented as these one dimensional characters: a dog, a pig, has a bad relationship with his mother.
You have this situation with Evan that you end up walking away from. Looking back at it now, do you believe love could have been learned and you could have stuck it out?
People would always say good black men are hard to find, and you should stick it out, but I wasn’t happy. I wanted to be with my friends. He was an amazing man, [and] I can’t say anything negative about him, but timing is everything in all aspects of life [and] this includes relationships as well. That’s not where my heart was, and it wasn’t where my head was, I wanted to wild out in Miami with my friends while I was bouncing a baby on my lap. They were talking about cookware and home décor, and it wasn’t what I wanted.
Okay, so let’s do a quick round of “Either Or” with you since you’re the relationship guru!! First up: A girl is going to college and she gets approached by an athlete. Should she date him or run?
[Laughs] Date him. Don’t necessarily try to lock him down, don’t make him your man. Enjoy the parties and the games, just go for it.
A girl falls in love. Her and her boo are about to graduate from college. Should she move in with him or no?
I say no, but I totally get why you would want to move in. I don’t see the logic in playing like a housewife, taking on the responsibilities, if you don’t reap the benefits.
New girl, new city. Date abundantly or don’t juggle the drama?
Date abundantly! Go out, meet people and enjoy as many attractive suitors. Have as many experiences as you possibly can. If you meet somebody that you are really feeling and he is really feeling you by all means be in a relationship.
Become friends with your exes or keep it moving?
It depends on how the relationship ended, and if you are emotionally ready. If you ended badly, and he is trying to be your friend keep it moving because he had the opportunity to.
You can pick up a copy of at Barnes & Noble or order online at Amazon.com!