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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read "The Romantic Agenda" by Claire Kann and talk asexuality, aromanticism, heteronormative conditioning, love bombing, and balancing platonic and romantic relationships.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: Hey. Kenrya is smiling. Hey y'all. Welcome to-
Kenrya: I am. I muted myself.
Kenrya: Yeah, I had muted myself. I was like, "Oh, you want me to say hey [crosstalk 00:00:30]," right?
Erica: So hey, welcome to the penultimate episode of season five of The Turn On. Your lovely co-hosts, Erica and Kenrya are here, and cohost Kenrya, is about to read an excerpt from “The Main Agenda.”
Kenrya: “The Romantic Agenda.”
Erica: Fuck. “The Romantic Agenda.”
Kenrya: I like how you were sliding into that though. That was nice.
Erica: I thought you were going to join me in chorus.
Erica: Okay, “The Romantic Agenda” written by Claire Kann in 2021. Sit back, relax, get your wine, weed, whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: “The Romantic Agenda,” by Claire Kann.
Kenrya: Being asexual wasn't a choice for Joy. Deciding to have sex would be. There are too many things to consider, so many potential outcomes like pregnancy and STIs that could change your life forever. She doesn't see it as fun like Malcolm, and she doesn't feel the desire to have sex with another person. The cons simply outweigh the pros. If she ever decides to have sex, she wants it to be an informed and active choice, and she wants to feel safe.
Kenrya: Joy continues, "I need someone who will be okay with me laughing, asking too many questions, being weird and cracking jokes, someone that can calmly explain things to me in the moment without getting frustrated or overwhelmed. One of my worst nightmares is having sex with someone, and then they get mad at me because they think I'm not taking it seriously, or because I don't automatically turn into a puddle of moaning mush, when if they knew me at all, they would know that I am taking it seriously. It's a big deal to me. I just express it differently because I want to understand what's happening while it's happening."
Kenrya: "I can do that," Fox says too quickly. "You can trust me." Joy manages not to laugh. "Let's think with our big brains, not our little brains." She places her hands on his neck, stroking his jaw with her thumbs. "You're a great person, Fox. I really do like you, but I also met you three days ago. I don't know you well enough to trust you like that. I'm not having sex with you tonight." "Hm, that's exactly what I wanted to hear," she whispers, mouth near his. "I can see you thinking." "I am." He gives her a quick peck and rests his forehead against her chest. "Big brain needs a minute to catch up."
Kenrya: Joy holds him there, rubbing his back. "Cool. I'll wait here." He laughs and mutters, "God." His expression is solemn when he says, "I really like you too, Joy." "Okay," she inhales, holding it to prepare herself to be disappointed. It always ends like this. "I'm very attracted to you." He lifts his head. "I know." Her gaze flicks downward and up again. "I can tell." That made him smile. "I hear you. I understand what you're saying." "But?" "No buts," he says, "I understand." "No buts? No questions? Nothing?" "Nah, I said I understand. Is there something else you need to tell me?" "No, that's it." Fox kisses her again, softly at first, and then harder and with more urgency.
Kenrya: She's not overwhelmed, but she gets close when he squeezes her thighs. Her hands are on his wrists in record time, holding him firmly. He breaks their kiss and looks her in the eyes, still soft, still understanding. He asked, "Can I touch you?" Touching makes it intentional. Kissing, combined with touching, creates a shift from kissing to arousal, to sex. Joy only wanted the first part, maybe not forever, but certainly for right now. "Depends where." He thinks about it, and answers, voice low and earnest, "Is everywhere too much?" Joy laughs, wrapping her arms around his neck, and repeatedly kissing his cheeks. "It might be, so let's start slow."
Kenrya: "What are you doing?" She pauses, holding the hem of her sweatshirt. "I'm taking off my clothes. I'm okay with some touching. Unless you want me to keep them on." "Hm," Fox squeezes his eyes shut for a second, shaking his head, "Can I just..." he touches her at the waist, "Maybe I should do that." "Oh," she says, understanding him. "Panties stay on unless I say otherwise." "I understand. Lift your arms." His voice is firm, a rumbling command. She does, and he slides her sweatshirt off with one hand, and unclasps her bra with the other. "That's... skillful." Fox kisses up her neck and ends with nibbling her earlobe as his fingers trace the outline of her shoulder blades.
Kenrya: Joy places her hands on his shoulders, trying to concentrate on how each sensation feels, so she can remember what she likes, but it blurs together. Everything is sending signals to her brain at once. He stops, moving to kiss her chin. "You don't like being on your back." Joy bites her lip in surprise. When did he figure that out? He said it like he already knew the answer, so she just nods to confirm. "If I'm next to you, would that work? Not on top or over, just right next to you, like we're side by side." "I never tried that." "Do you want to? You can say a flower if you want to stop." Joy kisses his forehead. "Let's try it."
Kenrya: She lies back in the bed, head propped up by pillows. True to his word, he stays next to her, completely to one side as he kisses her. He creates a path, touching, and kissing, and tasting down her body. Her neck, her shoulders, each of her arms, and all her fingers. Her chest, down, down, down, down, down. When she laughs because it tickles, he does too. When he takes off her shorts, lifting her legs in the air and kissing down the length of them, she holds his gaze. On the way back up, he paid special attention to all the spots he missed on the way down, like the backs of her knees, her elbows, and her waist.
Kenrya: Joy shivers, and gasps, back arching. There's a slight tremble low in her abdomen, the same kind she gets when she masturbates. "You okay?" "Kiss me again, right there." He does, and the same thing happens. She laughs this time, absolutely delighted by the sensation. "Ah," he says, "I think you have a spot." "What's that?" She giggles, and feels stupid for doing it, but can't stop. "Think of it like a cheat code," he says, laughing too. Fox lifts himself up, and she holds her arms open for him, bringing him close. He kisses her mouth and says, "You're too beautiful. I almost can't believe you're real." "Fox, no. Don't say that." She buries her face in his neck, practically her new favorite spot. "It's so cheesy, and I love it."
Erica: Hey, we're back.
Erica: Okay y'all, so thank you for that lovely rendition, Kenrya, that lovely rendition of a scene from this book. Okay, you have to give the synopsis.
Kenrya: Okay. This book stars Joy, who-
Erica: Joy... and pain. Sunshine and rain. Sorry.
Kenrya: Yes, Joy. Huh, that made me think of some stuff. So, Joy is in love with her best friend, Malcolm, which we find out right in the beginning, and they work together, which makes it interesting. As the book opens, Malcolm tells Joy that he needs her to go with him on a trip that weekend, and because she's got these feelings for him, she thinks that the trip is where he's finally going to tell her that he loves her, and they whatever.
Kenrya: None of this is a spoiler, because you find out right away. Oh, that's pretty. You find out right away that he actually has planned this weekend to introduce her to his about-to-be girlfriend, Summer. She absolutely feels ambushed. She's like, "You ain't never mentioned this bitch before, and now all of a sudden we're supposed to be going away on a weekend?" So she decides to go, and then she finds out that Summer has brought her best friend, Fox.
Erica: Wait, wait, wait, they knew from the beginning that Summer was bringing her friend, because that's why he invited her.
Kenrya: Oh yes, but she didn't know who it was, or anything like that.
Erica: Yeah, he was just like, "She's bringing her friend. I'm bringing you."
Kenrya: "Can you run interference?" Kind of a deal.
Erica: Yeah, exactly.
Kenrya: Yeah, so not only is she not going away on this romantic whatever with her best friend who she loves, but she's also expected to entertain this nigga she ain't never met before in order to help them be able to have time? The fuck? That's how Joy feels about this whole scenario. But she says yes, and the four of them go away and hijinks ensue.
Erica: Dot, dot, dot. Okay, so I was struggling with how to talk about this, how to structure this, because there are a few themes that I want to discuss, but then I also want to discuss sexuality. What you want to do, themes or sexuality?
Kenrya: Let's start with the sex.
Erica: Here's the thing. It's clear in this book, they say it multiple times, she talks about it a lot, Joy is asexual, as is Malcolm. But it presents itself in different ways, because like everything, like sexuality, asexuality is on a spectrum.
Kenrya: Yeah, folks are not monoliths.
Erica: Yes, so to prepare for this, I wanted to look for some good definitions and ways to wrap our head around asexuality. I'll be very honest... First, asexuality is just you have no sexual attraction, like you don't want to have sex. Well no, I'm sorry, see, already fucked it up. It's a lack of sexual attraction. That's it. That is it. I think it is difficult for us to think about that because we have been programmed, conditionalized, institutionalized to believe one, sexual attraction and romantic attraction go together, and also to believe that both sexual attraction and romantic attraction is what we want, the highest thing-
Kenrya: The end-all-be-all.
Erica: Even from kids, we were programmed that not only liking someone... Liking someone also is coupled with wanting to have sex with them. Okay, maybe not, but like-
Kenrya: Which is gross. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Erica: That's what it is, you like somebody, you do it. That is why I think it is so difficult for everyone-
Kenrya: Allosexuals to wrap their heads around asexuality.
Erica: Exactly, because it's like, hand in hand and that kind of thing. Also, I learned that there are asexual people and there are aromantic people. You know who actually does a really good job of explaining this shit, and I was mad that I fell down a rabbit hole?
Erica: They have a whole YouTube channel and they talk about demisexual, asexual, sapiosexual. They talk about all of that, and then they have actual people that are, that identify as that, to talk about their experiences. This is where a lot of the information I got came from, because it was multiple people talking about their experiences and there were people of color in there talking about their experiences.
Erica: So, I like to ask the people without making them... If you're in a space where you're like, "I'm going to teach," great. But I ain't trying to just-
Kenrya: Put your ass under a microscope, yeah.
Erica: Exactly. So, there is asexual and aromantic. Some people are asexual and aromantic. That is like, "I ain't trying to be romantic. I ain't trying to be sexual." In the clip there was this woman, and she was asexual and aromantic. She was like, "I am not going to marry. I am not going to date. I have no desire for that. It kind of looks weird to me.”
Erica: But there are also people that are asexual, and I forgot the term, but they do have romantic attraction. That presents itself in, "I have a boyfriend. I want a boyfriend. I want a girlfriend. I want a partner. And we may get married. It's just I don't really have a desire to have sex with you." But also, having a desire to have sex is still very different from actually enjoying fucking, which is what Malcolm is.
Erica: Malcolm is asexual, but he also enjoys the act of having sex, because-
Kenrya: It's the closeness, the-
Erica: It's a dick. Yes, but to me, it's-
Kenrya: Nerve endings?
Erica: It just is. I think we have to... In my mind, I slide it in... I know you're playing Wordle, right?
Kenrya: Oh, of course I'm playing Wordle.
Erica: I don't even fucking understand it, so this is probably a really bad explanation, but you know how on Wordle they have the two squares, there's a square and a square, and a square and a square, and a square and a square, is that Wordle, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Erica: If you think of two squares as a person, top square is sexual, bottom square is romantic, you might be asexual and aromantic. You might be sexual and aromantic. It's possible for one light to be on-
Kenrya: To be one and not the other.
Erica: ... and not the other.
Erica: People can live that way and have joy-filled lives. It's difficult for some asexual people to even recognize that they are asexual, and then identify as such because they're like, they can see people and see that people are attractive, they're like, "Oh my God, that person is fucking gorgeous." I saw a TikTok. It was this chick, she was like, "I'm asexual. Wow, that chick is hot." And then she turns around and she's like, "Wow, that chick is hot. Am I sexual?" Then she looks at a bookshelf, "Wow, that bookshelf is hot."
Erica: No, I'm not. So, that kind of thing. Also, if you're interested in this, #asexual. Do not do #ace on TikTok because motherfuckers just abuse everything.
Kenrya: Oh, wow.
Erica: [inaudible 00:18:14]. You'll find yourself-
Kenrya: It's just people use it for a lot of other shit.
Erica: [crosstalk 00:18:18], but #asexual on TikTok, man you're going to find... I love TikTok because people, they not only teach, but they teach with levity. Then other folks be like, "Man, I identify," and that kind of thing.
Kenrya: That's what's up.
Erica: Yeah, TikTok will teach you a lot. I'll be honest-
Kenrya: Can I give another resource?
Erica: TikTok, no. TikTok-
Kenrya: No, I'm saying, can I give another resource?
Erica: Oh, no. No, yeah.
Erica: I'm just playing with you. Give another resource.
Kenrya: I just started, and I'm not very far into, but already really dig it, “ACE: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex” by Angela Chen, which has given me some definitions and somewhat-
Erica: No, I'm like ain't nobody going to read that. Well, your people will. Niggas that listen for Erica go to TikTok or YouTube.
Kenrya: It's a book show, bitch.
Erica: I know.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:19:20].
Erica: And I have tons of books.
Kenrya: But you can do both, right?
Erica: You can do both.
Erica: Just get the book, and use it as reference.
Kenrya: We'll link to it.
Erica: Or listen to it. As a sex educator, I know this is... I was going to say it’s kind of fucked up, but no, this is who the fuck I am. When it comes to sexuality, I recognize that that shit is a fucking spectrum. Not only is a spectrum that goes this way, horizontally, it's a spectrum that's up and down, inside, outside. It is a fucking sphere.
Kenrya: Sphere, yeah.
Erica: Sphere. There are so many parts of it that makes one person who they are. Again, it's been difficult for me to even wrap my head around these things, because I have been conditioned that one and the other goes in hand, and you can't uncouple them. But I feel like this book has done a really good job of showing that one, asexual people are just fucking people with issues and da-da-da-da, but also-
Kenrya: Just like the rest of us, yeah.
Erica: It presents itself in so many different ways that even if someone says they're asexual, that could mean a million different things.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. That's what's up.
Erica: You got anything?
Kenrya: Just that, so Claire... This is Claire's fourth book, and I have read them all. I am a huge fan. The first one that I read from her is called “Let's Talk About Love,” and it stars an asexual character. Claire does a really good job in that book of explaining what you were just explaining with the TikTok where the woman was like, "That woman's hot. Oh, that bookcase is hot." Her character in that book has a color-coded system, and they check in with their friends like, "Is that hot? Is this what y'all think is sexy?"
Kenrya: She calls it her "squee score," like does it make her squee, does it give her joy and delight to look at something, or whatever. As another resource for understanding, I thought “Let's Talk About Love” was a really great place to start in the fictional realm to kind of get into the head of a character who identifies-
Erica: And it's a YA novel, right?
Kenrya: It's a YA, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Which is also really great-
Kenrya: It's excellent.
Erica: ... because it helps young people understand, and understand the differences in people. I'm not even sure if I finished that thought, going back to younger people identifying as asexual, because we are conditioned that love, attraction, sex looks a certain way, a lot of young people find themselves confused about whether or not they're asexual because they're like, "Well, I like this. I don't like that." Again, it's a sphere.
Kenrya: Yeah, even in the book, Joy realizes that she identifies that way because there's a fair and Malcolm is there at a booth by himself, with a handout that's like "Are you asexual?" She's like, "Oh, shit."
Erica: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Kenrya: "Maybe I am."
Erica: Actually, there was this chick I found on YouTube, a white chick, and she is asexual and aromantic, and married, and happy. So, I didn't go down... She's got a whole ass channel about her and her partner, da-da-da-da-da.
Kenrya: That's the thing. We always talk about how you build the life that you want. You don't have to have a romantic partner to have a partner. You could just have someone who you care about be your person that you live with and grow with. That's what it sounds like is her situation.
Erica: Not to sound too hotep-y, but I do think that society favors people that are monogamous and married.
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't think that's hotep-y. I think it's [crosstalk 00:24:01]-
Erica: The man wants us to procreate.
Kenrya: You didn't say that that's how it should be. You just said that that's how it is, and I think unfortunately it's true.
Erica: So, people try to fit themselves in boxes that aren't necessarily for them in order to gain those privileges. This also applies to just nonmonogamy. Just everything, I think we are conditioned from the very beginning that we are supposed to be sex, love, romance are all packed into one. When you pull those apart, you're the devil. It's a million things, and that's not it. It is very possible to want to fuck somebody and not fucking like them, not want to spend the rest of your life with them, and not even fucking be attracted to them.
Erica: It's also possible to be attracted to someone and not want to fuck them. There are so many things, so many parts and bits of it that do not fit into that first comes love, marriage, baby carriage type shit.
Erica: Yeah, that's what I've got on that. You got anything else to add?
Kenrya: Uh-uh (negative), no that's good.
Erica: Okay, so we've got the sex out the way. Now, at the very beginning of the book, Joy notes that her friend Malcolm is a hopeless romantic and a serial monogamist, which made me think about love bombing. I'm not saying that he's a love bomber, but she did say-
Kenrya: Yeah, because I don't think he is.
Erica: ... but she did say he has been known to make these sweeping gestures.
Kenrya: Like Toby on fucking “This Is Us,” which is why I don't like Toby, and I'm glad... Have you been watching “This Is Us”?
Erica: Girl, I stopped a long time ago.
Kenrya: Oh, you got to come back. Anyway, go ahead. That's why I don't like Toby.
Erica: Yeah, and-
Kenrya: It's all love bombing.
Erica: Okay, so love bombing is essentially... You describe it, because it's my definition that always fucks... We literally have 20 minutes of me-
Kenrya: That's not true.
Erica: ... doing one definition.
Kenrya: I don't know. Do I have a compact definition of love bombing? I guess when I think of it, I think of it as where people basically use the trappings of expressing their love as manipulation. We talk about how love is an action and a verb, and blah-blah-blah, well these are people who kind of weaponize that. They use it to make you think that they are the only person in the world who can love you in this way, and oftentimes it goes hand in hand with isolating you from the other people who you love. But not always.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's a form of manipulation, and a form of "I love you so much, girl, can't you see?"
Kenrya: I'm sure there's a much better definition.
Erica: No, I think that's good. It's just, you know, niggas showing up at your job with a fucking-
Kenrya: Yeah, that grand gesture shit that's not earned, and out-sized for the relationship.
Erica: If you need a compact definition, that is it, grand gestures that are not earned and are out-sized of where we are. Like, "Nigga, you are expressing love on a 10, and we are only at two." You know what it made me think of?
Erica: Nard dog. Andy Bernard from “The Office.”
Kenrya: Lord, have mercy. That whole character is a fucking mess.
Erica: He's a fucking mess, but is love bombing, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Now, with the exception of Erin, because I do think that with Erin, his love bombing was definitely a weapon, but with Angela, that motherfucker just didn't know. You know, who did he do the 12 Days of Christmas with? Was it Erin or Angela? Where she came out and there was 12 drummers drumming, six lords leaping. Whatever, I don't know.
Kenrya: I want to say that was Angela, but I don't know, and I'm sure-
Erica: No, you know what, Angela liked “Little Drummer Boy,” and so they said they were going to walk down the aisle to that.
Kenrya: To “Little Drummer Boy.” But see, in his case with her, I always felt like it was over-compensation because he knew that she wasn't fully present for him.
Erica: Yes. Yeah.
Kenrya: Which is still love bombing.
Erica: Yeah, and I saw the episode the other day where he proposed to her. In “The Office” carnival, there're fireworks in the loopty-loo, the Ferris wheel. Then he's like, "Angela, can I have your tiny little hand in marriage?" "Okay."
Kenrya: She was never there for him.
Erica: But yeah, that's what love bombing looks like, like this motherfucker is going all out and you're like... And, what I feel like what happens a lot, for at least Black women, and I'm about to make a sweeping statement, Kenrya, cuss me out, but I feel like for Black women a lot of times we're not used to being loved out loud.
Kenrya: When it happens [crosstalk 00:30:02]-
Erica: When it happens, it's just like [crosstalk 00:30:04]-
Kenrya: It feels really good.
Erica: ... you get caught up in it, caught up in the rapture of love bombing.
Kenrya: I would agree with you. I don't know that this is exclusive to Black women, but you're for damn sure right that we are often not loved out loud, yeah. So, when we do, and we've been taught that we don't really deserve that, that we don't warrant that, we don't get those big things in media, which is why romance is so great because we get those happily ever afters where we don't get them in other places in media, when Black folks write us. It feels good.
Kenrya: We had a book this season where that was an issue, where dude kept making these big ole' things and showing up, and we were like-
Erica: This is a problem.
Kenrya: This feels like a precursor to abuse.
Erica: Yeah, yeah. Yep, and I think about... Was that this season?
Kenrya: What, that book?
Erica: It was this season. Okay, yeah, yeah.
Erica: I think also social media has a lot... Because we see on social media a fucking rapper buying his girlfriend a room full of roses and a Bentley, we think that a nigga buying a room full of roses and a Bentley is extravagant, but it's love.
Kenrya: Even though there was a news story two weeks ago that this nigga had another baby on her.
Erica: Oh, shit. I don't know who we're talking about.
Kenrya: Oh, I'm just saying in general. I'm thinking of one particular couple, where he's always buying her some shit, but it's always usually we just heard that he did some other shit, that he cheated with somebody else. Cardi.
Erica: Oh, okay.
Kenrya: It's always preceded by some fuck shit that he just did, and now he's making some big gesture, buying her this truck, or this car, or whatever the fuck. We got to look at this shit wholistically, fam.
Erica: Yeah, and also these motherfuckers are like a car is a fucking day of [crosstalk 00:32:13]. I'm just saying, love bombing is a thing, and although it feels good, it's not always good. It's not good.
Kenrya: And it usually only feels good in the short term.
Erica: Yeah, because if you were-
Kenrya: He's usually covering something up.
Erica: If somebody's doing some shit, and you're like, "Oh my gosh, this is fucking amazing, but I don't even know this nigga's middle name..." oh my goodness, oh wait a minute. I'm watching “90 Day Fiancé.” I just started it. There's this guy on there. He was on last season. His name is Usman, also known as " Sojaboy," and he is a Nigerian superstar rapper-singer.
Erica: Last season, he had this white woman. Of course, she had leather skin, hair, and a voice like this. Got married. Didn't go well. They divorced. So guess what, Usman is back with another white woman.
Kenrya: Is Michael still with old girl?
Kenrya: Michael, ain't that the other Nigerian?
Erica: Michael and Angela? Yes. They're still there. Poor Michael, they just ain't letting his ass in the States. They just can't let him in the States. Anyway-
Erica: Uh-uh (negative), I don't think he got in the States.
Kenrya: Oh, shit.
Erica: I don't think [crosstalk 00:33:40]. This made me think. Usman, I feel so bad that we're on this tangent, but Usman told this chick... She was like, "I met him. We talk online. He's my boo. He told me I'm his potential girlfriend." So, she flies to fucking Zanzibar to meet him, as he's preparing for this video shoot. He's like, "We need separate rooms," and so she gets the fucking presidential suite, because she's like, "We're going to be together, and we need-" so she got the fucking presidential suite in this fucking resort in Zanzibar.
Erica: Then, the first night they're together, he comes to her room because of course, they're not staying together because he's like, "Last white bitch was crazy. This white bitch maybe going to be crazy, and you need to earn your way into girlfriend-hood." This bitch bought this nigga a fucking MacBook Pro and a PS5.
Kenrya: Oh, boy.
Erica: He's hype. He starts kissing on it. Then he was like, "Okay, I'm going to go back to my room," and he takes his shit and goes back to his room. It was horrible. Love bombing.
Kenrya: Then this is her trying to buy his affection, right? Like-
Erica: He was like, "Aha. Aha. It's going to take more, but I appreciate that." If someone had just bought a new MacBook Pro, them hoes ain't cheap. I was just like, "Oh." Even if he got the basic model, that's about $2,500.00.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:35:33].
Erica: So yeah, anyway. Whew, have fun. By the time this airs, we'll see if Usman and the girl, who also is a huge Michael Jackson fan, has a Michael Jackson tattoo on her... It was just so cringey. I'm watching it like, "Ew." Okay. Also, we learn that Malcolm had hopeless romantic serial monogamist. He had a girlfriend before, and they broke up because the girlfriend was like, "You got this homegirl, Joy. You're in love." Did she say that he was in love with her?
Kenrya: She felt like he always chose Joy over her, that her concerns, her needs always came before hers, and she had a problem with that.
Erica: Which, as a woman who has really strong female friendships, yeah nigga, to a point. I just feel like if you come in my life, you need to recognize that until you earn spot number one, nigga you at spot like number 25.
Kenrya: Yeah, I think that's true. You're a stranger. I don't know, it sounded like in their situation, they had been together for a little while, but it felt like it was more that she felt threatened... She just felt threatened by their relationship in general, and she probably also had an inkling that Joy was in love with him too. I'm sure that didn't fucking help.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's different when you know that there's nothing there but friendship. Then if you're insecure-
Erica: Because yeah, I just can't imagine in bed with this nigga like, "Your best friend in love with you." "No, no she ain't. No, she ain't." That kind of shit, that shit... Don't gaslight me.
Erica: I cannot believe that niggas don't see when they have friends in love with them.
Kenrya: I can. I think that sometimes niggas are oblivious, and I ain't going to front, I've been oblivious too. I have been in relationships where dudes have definitely been like, "Oh, he loves you," about a friend. I'll be like, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Erica: Yeah, but I told you.
Kenrya: Yeah. Yeah, again, I don't think it's true. That's what I'm saying, if I can be oblivious, other people can be oblivious too, is my point. There's a difference between just genuinely not seeing it and not getting it, because there's no vibe, and knowing that is true, and acting like it's not. Do you know what I'm saying? Like gas lighting, like you were just saying.
Erica: I am about to be embarrassingly honest and share something with my listeners.
Erica: I had a friend, and they were... It started off we were dating, and then we stopped dating for whatever reasons. We just became really, really good friends, like the homie, one of my closest guy friends. But as I started moving on to dating, and he moved on to dating, I realized I can't do this shit because I still like this motherfucker. I recently had to cut the shit off. It sucks. It really sucks, because that was my homie. We genuinely had a friendship, but I also think if I was a chick with him I'd be like, "That hoe Erica ain't coming around. This bitch is crazy."
Erica: Well also, I got probably fucked up. I got too much pride to be putting myself out there looking crazy, but if you were around us you knew that there was something. We had conversations, like "Would you be comfortable being around a friend," that kind of thing. He was like, "I want to be happy. I'd love to meet a guy," like it was serious. I'm like, "No, fuck that. I'm crazy. I'm going to burn this shit. I'm going to show her sex tapes of us."
Erica: I know, it's wrong. Because I had to be honest with myself, like I like you, and although there are reasons that we're not together, I don't need to be front row of some bullshit that you guys... Not bullshit. But front row.
Kenrya: You meant that.
Erica: Of some bullshit you got going on. It fucking sucks. Particularly, as we've had all these snow days, and I've been just going through shit. I'm like, "Man, I want to call my friend." We were such good friends, that our friend group started getting kind of meshed, and so... Yeah.
Kenrya: I'm sorry, I just realized who you were talking about.
Erica: Exactly. Even when I told my friends, "Yo, we had to dead it," they were like, "Wait, we can't go hang out with him no more? You bitches." Because again, he was the homie, I was a homie, we had a great relationship, but it just couldn't go any further. Okay, I spilled my shit.
Kenrya: I'm sorry. That sucks.
Erica: What'd you say?
Kenrya: I said, I'm sorry, that sucks.
Kenrya: You know, I was never a fan of that whole situation, but-
Erica: I know you weren't.
Kenrya: I understand.
Erica: I know you weren't, which is crazy. That was my [inaudible 00:42:10]. That was my-
Kenrya: I know, but it always felt like it wasn't going to go where you might want it to go.
Kenrya: I think I just wanted you to not get sucked into something that couldn't go the way you wanted it to go.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah. What was interesting is, once we shed the whole, "Okay, we're not dating," I got to see his ain't shitness, and he got to see my ain't shitness, and we were both in the middle of doing ain't shit shit, and being like, "You know what, we can do this ain't shit shit together, and we'd be good. We'd be fun having doing this ain't shit shit together."
Erica: Okay, so Malcolm bought Joy to run interference and be the wing man to Summer and Fox. I kept calling this man Wolf.
Kenrya: Calling him Wolf.
Erica: I kept calling this man Wolf. I knew it was a-
Kenrya: It was a wild animal.
Erica: It was a wild animal that my son would want on a T-shirt. I remember when Cracker Barrel, you know the white people shirts of the wolf howling at the moon with sparkles and shit? You know what I'm talking about, right?
Kenrya: I do. I do.
Erica: We're in Cracker Barrel, as my son calls "Crackerberry," and this man had on this shirt. He came up, and he was like, "Look at his shirt." I was like, "Bro." He was like, "That shirt is so cool. I want one like that for Christmas." I said, "Not on my watch," and insert Iyanla Vanzant GIF.
Kenrya: GIF. Why you do him like that?
Erica: He don't want it no more, so that's fine.
Kenrya: That shirt was going to bring him some joy.
Erica: And how he has... I bought him this jacket for Christmas. When I tell you he wore this motherfucker every single day, I was like, "Bro-"
Kenrya: Well good.
Erica: "You got to wash this shit before you wear it again." The only time he washed a load and got it done quickly, because I was like, "Bro, you can't wear this shit to school." He was like, "Okay, fine," and he washed that shit quick. Okay, anyway, so Malcolm brought Joy to run interference between Fox so he could love up on some Summer. It was actually interesting because Joy was initially like, "This some bullshit. I ain't going to be a part of it," but in her willingness to appease her best friend, which we don't have to go into that, her willingness to appease her best friend, she entertained Fox.
Erica: And he wasn't a bad guy, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Erica: Have you ever been... Me and Kenrya met in college, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: In my mind, if we were friends in junior high/high school, one, we would have had matching outfits, two, we would have been at the mall.
Kenrya: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Erica: Three, I would have been like, "Girl, you got to come, because my friend brought a friend." We would have totally been in the car like, "You got a friend for my girlfriend?"
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), absolutely. That was-
Erica: So, I started meeting niggas at the mall, or Northwest Plaza, like, "How you been?"
Kenrya: I was like, that was my high school experience with my cousin. That was how we went out with dudes. First of all, we would get dropped off at the strip mall, and then meet dudes at the mall, and walk around outside because it was a strip mall. Or we'd go to the mall-mall, but you had to buy something because you ain't want to look lame without a bag.
Erica: Oh, yeah.
Kenrya: So, you would buy something cheap and then just-
Kenrya: ... you would just walk around.
Erica: Claire's maybe.
Kenrya: Go to Claire's, exactly. Get something cheap, and then walk around and collect numbers for your pager.
Erica: Do you remember collecting numbers?
Kenrya: Yes, ma'am.
Erica: I remember, I think I mentioned this, Saint Louis, we had a skating rink called The Palace. I remember-
Kenrya: Which was in a Children's Palace, which is so wild to me.
Erica: Yes. I remember going to The Palace, and I would always go with my cousins, and we would be getting dressed in the mirror, practicing dances and shit, and we'd be ready to walk out and be like, "Oh, make sure you get a piece of paper and a pencil."
Kenrya: That's right, something small enough to fit in your shit so you could get numbers. That's right.
Erica: Oh my God.
Kenrya: Yeah, so that was like we would go to Randall Park Mall, or we would go to Southgate, depending on what we were trying to get into and who were trying to meet. So, if my cousin was over, then I would have whatever dude I had bring somebody for her. So, she would always have a boyfriend that lived on my side of town, and I would have somebody on her side of town. That was when we hung out. We would have... Some of them, it's so funny, I can't remember names.
Kenrya: Literally, I was talking to my partner the other day about... He was watching “First 48” or something, and it's in Cleveland, Ohio.
Erica: I hate that I love “First 48” so much. Fuck 12. Fuck the police. Niggas With Attitude.
Kenrya: But you like “First 48.”
Erica: I love “First 48.”
Kenrya: I only really watched it with him, but I used to watch it [crosstalk 00:47:38]-
Erica: Because when the nigga's blurred out, he's not a suspect. He didn't do it.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, so you kind of know what's going to happen. It was something where somebody was wearing boots. It was some shit. I was like, "Boo, what time of year was it?" It was some shit. I was telling him that there was some dude... Because I was like, we only wear Timbs when it's wintertime. I was like, "Wearing Timbs outside of the season is some New York shit." I was telling him that there was some dude that I went out with a few times from New York, who was in Cleveland, and he thought he was cool because he was from New York, but he was wearing his Timbs in the summer and we made fun of him.
Kenrya: I don't remember his name-
Erica: Ole' sweaty foot motherfuckers.
Kenrya: Because we called him "Boots."
Erica: You called him what?
Kenrya: We called that nigga Boots.
Erica: He was Boots before Dora had Boots.
Kenrya: Nigga, all I remember is that we called him Boots, but he was one of the dudes who he had a cousin. He was in town visiting his cousin, so me and him went out, and we brought him and his cousin came, and my cousin came, and we hung out, and that was what we did.
Erica: [crosstalk 00:48:39] from out of town.
Kenrya: Because then you see him for a little while, and then he is gone.
Erica: And you're like, "Hm."
Kenrya: Which is why I can't remember Boots' real name.
Erica: I'm exotic. I got a nigga from New York.
Kenrya: Exactly. Lord.
Erica: Such a summer love. Horrible.
Kenrya: As a teenager, yes. As an adult, I am not the one that usually got pulled into those escapades because I used to be a serial monogamist, so I was never free to do be the friend who came out with the person with the friend. I'm thinking of our friends who are those friends though.
Erica: Actually, one of our friends is married because she was-
Kenrya: One of those friends.
Erica: One of those friends.
Kenrya: That's right.
Erica: And it wasn't even on some... They weren't particularly close. It was just like a girl, "I'm trying to-"
Kenrya: "I'm in town."
Erica: "I'm in town. I'm trying to see this nigga. Come meet us, because he's bringing his friend."
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Now these motherfuckers married, with a kid, a whole fucking established life. It is the craziest thing.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: But also-
Kenrya: We got another friend who met their person like that too.
Erica: Oh, yeah. But they're a little closer, so that makes [crosstalk 00:49:56].
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah but still.
Erica: These are the motherfuckers that give niggas hope.
Kenrya: It's a thing.
Erica: They see that, and they're like, "See, it's possible." Yo, that is wild. Isn't weird that we're of the age where we can be like, "Yo, I was at the party that they met at. I remember-"
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. I ended up being the official photographer for one of our friends at the start of their relationship. When they got to their anniversary, they hit me up like, "You got pictures, right?"
Erica: Oh, I-
Kenrya: From the first time they met.
Erica: I remember, that day was epic. We had a good time that night.
Kenrya: Yeah. Yeah.
Erica: We can literally be like, "That day," the specific day they met.
Kenrya: Literally the day that y'all met.
Erica: And now they're married with kids, living a whole entire life. They've built a life together.
Erica: Goddamn. Dammit. I was going to say, I'm old and complaining about it, but you know what, I am happy that I have been able to live and experience these things.
Erica: I was always one of the... Even to this day, I'll be like, my single ass, "He got a cousin? He got a daddy?" Oh, I got a shirt for Christmas. It says, "If you see me with your daddy, mind your business."
Kenrya: Mind your business, yeah.
Erica: It's like, you knew me. It's so perfect.
Kenrya: It's perfect.
Erica: I think I have always been... I'd bring a friend, and they don't even know. I'm like, "Girl, just come on." They're like, "What the fuck?" Yeah, I mean whatever.
Kenrya: Sometimes it works out.
Erica: Yeah, sometimes it works out. Sometimes it don't. Okay, that's all I got. You got anything else for us, Kenrya, before we move on to our next segment?
Kenrya: I'm trying to think. Yes.
Kenrya: Okay, so we were talking about how previous relationships that Malcolm had been in, chicks had issues with Joy. If you were the chick on the other side of that equation, if you were Summer, because Summer kept trying to talk to Joy. How would you approach the situation if you were the new girlfriend in the scenario, and dude had somebody he was close to in that way? Thinking about how Summer approached it, how would you approach it?
Erica: This reminds me of a story, and this is going to sum up my mother in one story. I was married. I was having all these fucking issues... Not all these issues. I was having... Damn, do I even need to tell that story? Fuck it. So, I was having these issues with my ex-husband and his mother. Let's make it very clear, it was not like some meddling issues. It wasn't that. It was just like, married, blending families, complications.
Erica: So, I called my mom and I'm like, "Mama, this is what's going on. I don't know what to do." Mama was like, "Hm, I only dated niggas whose mamas was dead."
Kenrya: Goddamn it, that's your mama.
Erica: Dammit, Judy. Dammit. So, I thought about that as you tell this story, because I'm kind of like, that wouldn't even be my motherfucking problem. Like, "Bro, I got to go." Here's the thing, I recognize how important my friendships are to me, and if you can't keep that separate and keep me out of this shit, then I don't want it. I feel like that would never be me, because either you know my best friend don't fuck with you... It's kind of like you, and I love your partner, but you're not one of those people that "We all going to go on a trip together." That just ain't you.
Erica: So, it's totally fine if I was like, "I don't really fuck with your partner," because all right-
Kenrya: Unless it was a real, like this nigga kicks puppies.
Kenrya: Or pinches babies.
Erica: Exactly, but if you're like, "Okay, fine." And to keep us apart, but it's like that's not where we are. That's not what we do. If you're like me, and if you wanted me to kick it with your people, great. But you're going to kick it with my motherfucking crew. So, if you're like me and you and... I'm thinking of Kelly, and what's Issa's brother?
Kenrya: Oh, fuck. God, they hate each other. That shit is cold. [crosstalk 00:55:22].
Erica: ... attention like that. Generally, no I'm not even going to be a part of that situation.
Erica: What about you?
Kenrya: If I got to talk to her, then it's gone too far. Then I'm not good.
Erica: That's kind of I feel, yeah.
Kenrya: To me, it is the person in the middle's job to set boundaries and hold them. For example, when my partner and I first got together, he had a best friend. I never met her. She lives out of town, but-
Erica: I remember this.
Kenrya: Yeah. She was leaving inappropriate comments on his posts and things like that.
Erica: Calling at inappropriate times.
Kenrya: I didn't like that shit. Yeah, and I was like, "Nah. Nah, this is disrespectful and you need to nip that shit in the bud."
Kenrya: And he didn't-
Erica: Oh, sorry.
Kenrya: Oh, go ahead.
Erica: Keep going.
Kenrya: He didn't necessarily at first think that she was being disrespectful, because it was just the way that they had related for so many years. But he heard that it made me uncomfortable, and he talked to her, and that shit stopped.
Erica: I think that as a friend, you need to know, "Oh shit-"
Kenrya: "This is serious. Oh y'all not just fucking around."
Erica: Yeah, if you come to me and be like, "Hey, my girl-" me in this situation with this dude, I'm always going... The nature of our relationship, in spite of us being friends, there is going to be a level of inappropriateness between us on some friendship shit. Like, nigga I done seen your dick. No, bro. Had I not cut it off-
Kenrya: You would have been-
Erica: I would have been cut off.
Kenrya: You wouldn't have been to cut that.
Kenrya: And that's essentially what happened in my situation.
Erica: I'm fine with it.
Kenrya: Sorry, not sorry. I'm not sorry at all, because he told her, and she did, she backed off, but also I think it changed their relationship. But it needed to because-
Erica: Because you weren't... When the ways of a man [crosstalk 00:57:39] child, and a child in a man. Corinthians 22.
Kenrya: Yes, we are grown-ups now, and he is in a grown-up ass relationship. I didn't have to step in, and I wouldn't have, and that's the thing. If it gets to the point where I feel like I got to say something, then I wish you well.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep. [inaudible 00:57:58].
Erica: Okay, well.
Erica: That is it for the penultimate discussion of season two. We will take a break and be back with our segment.
Kenrya: What's Turning Us On.
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Erica: Okay, we're back. We are going to talk about what is turning me on. Back in episode seven and a half, when we interviewed with Jamila White, she talked about this book “Jambalaya,” because we were talking about crystals and your intuition, and Crystal Pussy Twitter keeps coming up in my head.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah.
Erica: Anyway, this book, “Jambalaya,” is really great. I think I told you, I am re-examining where I am spiritually, like how does this fit in with Christianity, and the shit that I taught. I feel like this is tightly aligned with where I am sexually, my philosophy as a sex educator, and yada-yada-yada. This book, “Jambalaya,” was introduced to me a while back because it has not only... It's not only information about African traditional religion, it talks about reclaiming your magic as a divine being.
Erica: It also has in here rituals. It has in here rituals. It also has little bios of important folks, like Marie Laveau. So, I like this because this is kind of my one stop intro into... I'm sorry, this light is hitting this crazy. This is my one-stop intro as I delve into African traditional religions. Actually, I need to look at this because I need to put a... I have my dog's ashes, and I'm like, "Can I put this on my altar or not?"
Erica: Anyway, this book is great. I guess you can read it from top to bottom, but for me it's just kind of been one of those things where I have been bouncing around-
Kenrya: Dipped in, like a resource. Yeah.
Erica: Yep. This is great. I love it. I think everyone, if you were in a space where you're trying to figure out your relationship to your spirituality and religion, definitely give it a try. It's called “Jambalaya,” and I will include a link in the... I was about to say in the bio. In the show notes.
Kenrya: Go. All right.
Erica: All right, so that's it. Erica and Kenrya, two hoes making it clap.
Kenrya: Okay, bye.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Hit subscribe right now in your favorite podcast app and at YouTube.com/TheTurnOnPodcast, so you'll never miss an episode.
Erica: Then follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. And you can find links to books, transcripts, guest info, what's turning us on, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com.
Kenrya: And don't forget to email us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com with your book recommendations and your pressing sex-and related questions.
Erica: And you can support the show by leaving us a five-star review, buying some merch or becoming a patron of the show. Just head to TheTurnOnPodcast.com to make that happen.
Kenrya: Thanks for listening and we'll see you soon. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.