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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to author D.L. White about avoiding the crutch of stereotypes, the perks of being petty, not being precious about virginity and using Pinterest to shape memorable characters.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Kenrya: Welcome, welcome, welcome to this week's episode of The Turn On. This week, we are joined by D.L. White, pronouns she and her. Atlanta-based author D.L. White began seriously pursuing a writing career in 2011. She has a legendary love for coffee, fried chicken, and brunch, especially on the patio. Her true obsession though is water: lakes, rivers, oceans, waterfalls. You know what this just makes me think of? TLC. On the weekend-
Erica: Atlanta, waterfall.
Kenrya: On the weekend, you'll probably find her near water, and if she's lucky, on an ocean beach. While not writing books, she devours them. She blogs reviews and thoughts on writing and books at BooksbyDLWhite.com and Goodreads. Grab a book by D.L. White and put it in your face. I love that you have your hashtag. And, yes, put it in your face, always.
Erica: Put it in your face.
D.L. White: I do.
Kenrya: That's what she said.
D.L. White: I say that all the time. Your face wants books. Put it in your face.
Kenrya: And other things.
Erica: I do too.
Kenrya: Thank you so much for coming on.
D.L. White: Thank you for having me, I'm so excited to be here. When a podcast that I listen to a lot asks me to be on, I'm just fangirling and I'm just very excited.
Kenrya: Oh my gosh. It's so dope that you listen.
Erica: To who?
Kenrya: Thank you for listening and thank you more for coming on.
Erica: Yes, thank you for agreeing. So, what did you want to be when you grew up?
D.L. White: I wanted to be a teacher. And I got all the way to college, and I went to declare my major, and I went to those education classes, and I was like, "No. These look boring. What looks interesting?" So, I went through the course catalog until I found classes that looked fun, and I landed on communications. So, I have a degree in comm studies, and I do have a minor in teaching English as a second or foreign language, so I am kind of an English teacher, but I'm mostly in communications.
Kenrya: So how did you come to be a writer?
D.L. White: I think I just was always a writer. I'm an introvert, I'm not shy, but I'm very insular, I love being alone, I just sit in my room and read and read and read, and the stories just started building in my head. My earliest memory is when you would be in school and you'd have to do the spelling words, and the teacher says, "Use each word in a sentence" because they need to make sure that you understand what this word means, and I would take my sentences and write a whole story-
D.L. White: So, if it was 25 words, my story would be a 25-sentence story because the assignment was boring, so I was just trying to jazz it up. I was just entertaining me. And my teacher really liked it, and my mom was pleased with it that my teacher liked it. I was like, "You guys like that? Well, I'm going to keep doing it." And so I started doing it, and maybe I'm a people-pleaser, but I liked that I was doing something that other people seemed to really enjoy, and so I just kept doing it. And as I got older, I started writing longer stories and poetry and getting more involved. And then when I was in high school, our local college used to have an essay contest every year, and I would enter every year, and I won twice, I was like, "I think I might actually be good at this, so I should keep doing it." And so that's where it started.
Erica: Well, that's really dope. Who or what inspires you to write?
D.L. White: I don't know if I have one inspiration. A lot of times, I just hear something, and it clicks in my mind. Definitely, current events or the state of relationships between Black men and women are a definite inspiration. For me, there was a point in time where every news story was "Black women are unlovable," "48% of Black women will never marry," "Black men and Asian men are the most undesirable," and I just felt bombarded by that.
D.L. White: And to combat that, I needed to write something that was encouraging and uplifting and made me feel like I could love and be loved and I was lovable. In my stories, Black men love Black women; and in my stories, the Black women don't have to be thin and beautiful and Beyoncé-like; and in my stories, the men and the women, the couples, can't get enough of each other, they want more of each other. So, I think maybe my books are my way of talking back to whatever that stigma or that stereotype is that is still prevalent today; if you are anywhere on social media, you see it all day every day about how Black men hate Black women. And that just doesn't exist in my books.
Erica: When we talked about your book on the last episode, I clearly said, "They had lots of sex," but it's like good, delicious. You can tell, and now that you're saying that, it totally makes sense, but everyone's in good relationships, and-
Kenrya: They actually like each other.
Erica: It's a breath of fresh air. What'd you say, Kenrya?
Kenrya: And they actually like each other mostly.
D.L. White: Yes.
Erica: Yes. And it's just like ... it feels good.
D.L. White: Yeah. Enamored with each other. And I just feel like it's healthy for people to have good relationships with their parents. It's normal for Black people to be upwardly mobile, and upper to middle-class, and to have money. I think that it's easy to pile a bunch of struggle on top of people, and then write your way out of it. For me, it's more of a challenge to write your Black woman and your Black man, your mama's good and your daddy's good, but he's an asshole. Why? What's his story? What's his deal? What happened in his life? What made him that way? I want to write my way out of that because ... I don't mean that it's "easy," but I think it can be a little bit of a crutch to drop in some drama or something stereotypical and roll that into your story. And I just want normal, regular-ass Black people in love. That's what I want.
Kenrya: Yeah. And it gives you an opportunity to do something that I think you do really well, which is to go inside. Their struggles are so very internal in the ways that they react to the people around them and the ways that they navigate through their relationships are very much informed by the shit that they're dealing with inside, and that's just like all of us. That's the shit that makes it hard for us to be vulnerable. That's the shit that makes it hard for us to say what we really mean instead of what we think we're supposed to say.
D.L. White: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Kenrya: And that's hard to do. It's hard to do in real life.
D.L. White: And a lot of times, you'll see in the reviews, "I just don't understand why it took so long for her to say this and do that," and I'm like, "Because you're perfect? Because you've never been ..."
Erica: "Because it didn't take you six months?"
D.L. White: Listen, I am the pettiest, most immature person I know. I really am. I will do wrong for 12 years in order to avoid having to say, "I'm sorry," and if you want to read a book about perfect people, Disney has a whole line of books over here, but my books are about real people, and my people are petty, they're a little bit bitchy, they got stuff going on, they might have some other issues, and that all is all wrapped up in your relationships and how you relate to other people.
Kenrya: I know you got a day job. How do you balance writing with a day job?
D.L. White: I think that a lot of authors that have day jobs treat their writing like it's another job, and I can't do that. I call it a "lucrative side gig," and it pays for shiny things and vacations; on occasion, it can pay a bill and put some gas in the car. And I do okay. I'm not balling out of control over here, but I do okay. All my energy and my effort has to go to the day job because that's what makes it possible for me to write.
D.L. White: I could never write full-time because I would have an ulcer, worrying about how to pay these bills with this Amazon paycheck. I need security and stability, and that day job provides that. And then, typically, from Thursday night through Sunday is when I will spend time writing or reading or planning out stories. But if I'm not secure in my day job, I can't write. I can't. I just don't have that security and that stability for me to be able to dream. And for me to be able to step out of reality, I got to fix reality first before I can even start in the fictional world.
Kenrya: You writing somebody else's.
D.L. White: Yeah. I write "when I feel like it," and I just happen to "feel like it" a lot. So, a couple hours here or there, I'll start with 1k/one hour, one thousand words or one hour, whichever comes first. And once I get started, it's like a lawnmower, where it just goes until you shut it off, like sometimes I'm just literally falling asleep, typing, "One more word and we're done with this scene, and now we can go to sleep," otherwise, it'll wake me up at 3:00 a.m. So, it just sits in my head until I put it on paper.
D.L. White: I think really one of the other things that compels me to write is that the stories write themselves in my head, and they don't leave me alone until I write them down. And so I have to get to a point where I can concentrate on my writing, which means fixing my day job and fixing my day life so I can actually sit down and put time towards getting words on the page. But that typically comes on the weekends, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night's a good time for me to write, and then usually all-day Sunday I'm either reading or writing.
Kenrya: You have a system.
Erica: Yeah. And I think that's good because we do talk to a lot of people, and we're like, "Fuck the day job, let's ..." well, not "fuck the day job," but we're like, "I'm going to pour my energy into this passion." And my sister always says, "I'm not horny if my bills ain't paid." She's like, "I'm not a gold digger, but don't think you're going to come and try to make me feel good when my bills ain't paid."
D.L. White: Right, exactly.
Erica: And so you got to have everything in order before going to the next.
D.L. White: So much. And I used to know people that would be like, "My power is off" or "My gas bill is $400." What about that dude you're sleeping with?" "I can't ask him." Like, "Girl, he been all up and through you, and you can't ask him for $400? Child."
Erica: You have to push it.
Kenrya: I literally had to say that to somebody who called me and said their electricity was off. I was like, "But that nigga is up in your house. What are you talking about? How is it two grown folks in this house, including that one, and you all ain't got no damn electricity?"
Erica: You got to sell a kidney.
D.L. White: Eating your food, using your electricity, watching your TV, got his butt print your couch, but you can't ask him to go half on the electric? You're better than me because I would have been, "Hand me money now. If you want some of this, I need some of that." And I'm not a gold digger either, but you're not going to come up in here and use up all my stuff, and then leave me out in the cold.
Erica: Nope, not at all. So, tell us about your latest work, “The Never List”? I loved “A Thin Line.” When you said that they talk to you in your sleep, I found myself reading before bed, and then I'd wake up in the middle of the night, like, "Well, damn, I got to figure out, what's about to happen?" So, now I want to know about the next book.
D.L. White: “The Never List,” I started this book maybe 2016, and it's been so long that I do not know why I started writing this story. I think I just had an idea for something different. I can't write the same thing over and over. There are a lot of authors out there that are just writing the same book with different characters, their names are different and they live in a different city, but it's the same book over and over, and a lot of readers love that-
Kenrya: You are not lying.
D.L. White: I can't do it. I can't. I'm like, "I wrote this book already."
Kenrya: I space them out. If they're well-written, I'll still read them, I'm thinking of one particular series that I've been working my way through, and it's the same every time, but it's well-written and it's pleasurable, but I got to space them shits out because-
D.L. White: Those are the books that I save for the end of the year when I'm behind on my Goodreads challenge.
Kenrya: And you're trying to catch up.
D.L. White: Right. I'm like, "Let me read that" because I know it's going to be good, but I know it's like the previous 15 that this person has written. But it's good, I don't need to concentrate, it's not a new experience. So, I think I just had an idea for a different story, and I wanted to write a modern virgin heroine who wasn't shy and wasn't precious about her virginity, but she wanted it to be special. And the thing about this story was it was a little bit, a lot a bit, autobiographical in that I waited a long time to take that step because I wanted it to mean something to me.
D.L. White: And the longer that I held out, the easier it became to say no, until I was meeting men that were like, "When you going to let me hit that?" And I would be like, "No, that's just not going to work for me because I just feel like my vibrator's going to do a better job. I just don't feel like you're going to care if I cum. I feel like you're going to ... and then be like, "All right, I'm out," and that's just not going to get it from me. I want you to care about my experience, I want you to care about if I have a good time."
D.L. White: And so I think that in this book, Esme Whitaker is my heroine, she has really already had her glow-up. She's nearing 40, she went and got her MBA, she's got a new job, she's bought a house; life is great, except she's still a virgin. And it's not that she's precious about it, it's that she is waiting for that opportunity to meet someone great who's going to show her a good time and who's going to make sure that she has a good time. Because he's already had sex, so what's going to be important in this situation is that she has a good time, that she gets to explore, that it's a good experience for her.
D.L. White: When I was an older modern virgin, I would read a lot about first-time experiences and people would be like, "I wish I would have waited longer" or "I didn't even cum." I didn't want that, and so I didn't want that for Esme. And so this is just the story of her. The book opens with her meeting a guy that she met off of a dating website, and he ends up ghosting her, but she gets in a little snap fight with the dude at the table next door, and through the magic of fiction, ends up meeting up with him later, and they end up in a situation where they're on either side of a negotiation table, and they have to work together to bring this deal to a close.
D.L. White: And so he decides that in order to make this deal work, that he should help her satisfy items on her Never List. She ends up dropping her list, and he's reading it, and she's like, "Give me that" because she doesn't want to see that number one on the list is "have sex." And so he decides that he's going to help her satisfy items on her list, and for every item that he helps her cross off, she goes back to the dude who's trying to sell this company to say, "Okay, let's negotiate this item on the contract and that item on the contract" because they're in a little bit of a contract negotiation. I'm not explaining this very well.
Kenrya: You are. I just bought it.
Erica: No, this is great.
Kenrya: I literally just bought it.
Erica: I'm like, "Yo, this needs to be a movie." I mean a book, but you need to screen-write.
D.L. White: Awesome.
Kenrya: Yeah, totally just bought that shit, I'm going to read it.
D.L. White: So, the book is basically Esme and Trey working through her items on the Never List. Also, Esme and Trey working through this contract because Trey is trying to buy this little company. Trey is working through some things with his father, and his dad doesn't trust him and treats him like a little pup. The thing about this book is that, of course, she's a virgin, so the book is not going to open with them banging, so how do I create intimacy between these characters without writing sex?
D.L. White: And so that was the fun part. So, what can they do and how do they get closer? And how do you create intimacy with conversation and flirting and touching and oral sex and heavy petting? Until you get to the last quarter of the book and you're like, "All right, you're really going to do it" because they do, obviously, it's a romance, it's an adult romance, so they are obviously going to be having copious sex in the book, but that's not going to come until later, but I still want the reader to feel good and to get the good stuff while they're reading this book.
D.L. White: And I wanted it to be kind of funny and down-to-earth, and so there are some funny parts in this book. Trey and Esme really snap at each other. I'm a very sarcastic person, and so I can't write a book without a heroine that is ... I don't really write syrupy, sweet heroines; they're always a little bit snappy, a little bit sarcastic. She's always got something smart to say. And so they kind of bite at each other here and there, but it's not really mean, it's more lovingly. So, I had a lot of fun putting these characters together, putting them in rooms together, putting them in situations where you can tell that they really, really, really want to have sex.
D.L. White: But, first, they can't because there's a contract between them, it can't look like Esme slept with Trey to get concessions on this contract. Also, she's a virgin, and he don't know, so she got to figure out, first, how to tell him she's a virgin, and then convince him that he needs to be the one to take her over the rainbow, and then Trey has to agree that that's what he wants to do, and then they got to do it. And so that's “The Never List.” Totally, totally fun to write.
Erica: You sold me on this book.
D.L. White: I hope it's fun to read.
Kenrya: Listen, I'm going to read it. It's interesting, you were talking about she wants to make sure that she'll be able to cum, and you're saying you were reading and a lot of folks were talking about that, but I feel like most people probably don't come the first time they have sex no matter how old they are. I know I didn't. It was quite some time before I learned enough about my body to be able to direct somebody or take matters into my own hands in the middle of a couple situation to be able to cum. So, that's a high bar.
D.L. White: I know I didn't.
Erica: Yeah, I didn't.
D.L. White: And the dudes didn't care either.
Erica: And I think that it's great that you ... Because here's the thing, I feel like virginity, we have hang ups about it, and I like the way that you look at it, like it's not like it's this precious gem, it's that I want to make sure that the person I'm doing it with gives a damn and wants to make sure it's special for me, or not even want to make sure it's special, just make sure I cum.
D.L. White: It's supposed to be a fun, erotic, intimate experience, it's not supposed to be "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. Can I have some water? I'm out." We are both supposed to have a good time. And, really, I feel like by the time you're in your mid to late 30s, you know what sex is about, and I would always tell the people, "I may have never milked a cow, but I know everything about the pasture. I know what I'm doing. I just need to go over that rainbow. Are you down or not?" And really by the time I had sex, I was like, "Let's just do it. I just don't even fucking care. Just go, do it. Do it!"
Kenrya: "Let's break the seal."
D.L. White: Because I just wanted to be able to say that I did it. I didn't cum, he didn't care, I didn't care, I was like, "Get out."
Erica: "Bring me some water on your way out."
D.L. White: "Bring me some water."
Kenrya: "I'm parched." Word. So, we know that you listen to podcasts like ours, but we also know that you sometimes produce your own bookcast that showcase your work. Can you tell us about that experience? Where'd the idea come from? What did you love about it? All of that.
D.L. White: So, I was listening to ... Christina C. Jones does what she calls Storytime. And she had a story that she wrote specifically for the podcast, and I was like, "That is such a good idea." And I had been thinking about doing it because I also write fan fiction, I'm a huge NSYNC fan, and I run an NSYNC fan site, and I was like, "I should record some of my stories and put them out in audio because I think people would really like to listen to them." But then I was like, "I can't make no money off of that." I was like, "Well, maybe I should write a book, and then release it via audio," because recording an audiobook is expensive when you're the author, like thousands of dollars.
D.L. White: But I could produce a bookcast and read it via podcast for little to no money. So, I decided to go ahead and do that. I had time and a microphone. This was right as COVID got started, and I just needed something to take my mind off of COVID and to keep me from looking at numbers and all of that, like let me just get real, real busy. So, I finished “A Thin Line,” and I put another book out in audio, and then I finished “The Never List.” And to practice, I took some of my holiday shorts, and because those are too short to be recorded in audio, I just recorded them for the bookcast so that I could practice reading out loud and being up and smile and awake and make this sound engaging and not like I am reading from a piece of paper.
D.L. White: I am really terrible about checking numbers and subscriptions, so I do not know how many people listened to it. I know I got one review from a person that reviews everything that I do. But I just don't ever check. I wanted to do it for the experience, just so that I could say it's out there. And I had the time. I do know that some people have listened to it, my cousin said that she listened to it; that's how she read the book, through the bookcast. It was fun. It was a lot of work.
Kenrya: Yeah, I was going to ask you, what was surprising about that process of reading?
D.L. White: I really thought it was going to be easier than it was. Just the editing ... After producing that bookcast, my sentences are going to be much simpler because reading the words that I write on the page out loud is a lot. I just would be reading like mess you, mess up, mess up, like, "Why can't I read this word?" Mess up, mess up. And then I would have to mark where my mistakes were so I could cut that out, and then download Audacity and then go back and just edit, and then find an opener and then close, and then find a really good way to open each episode and close each episode. It was a lot.
D.L. White: I think I probably will never do a full-length novel again on the bookcast, but I do want to do short fiction/fiction. My holiday shorts, I, of course, will probably always do on the bookcast. But this was 31 chapters. That book is 97,000 words. Probably never again. It was a lot. It was just a lot. I frustrated myself a lot. It was fun. It definitely took up the time that I wanted it to take. It was just a lot of work.
Kenrya: Yeah, makes sense.
Erica: So, thank you again for letting us read an excerpt from “A Thin Line.” I think I opened this, I was like, "I never not like a character," but Preston was irking my damn nerves. I was like, "You're an asshole."
D.L. White: Don't you want to punch him in the forehead?
Erica: Oh my God, he's such an asshole. I think you've heard, we talk about guys being mean because they like you. Preston's just an asshole, period. He's just a jerk all around. And one of the things that stood out to me in the book was your opening, where you were like, "Look, I wrote this a while back, I had to revisit it." So, tell me about that process and what pushed you to revisit it.
D.L. White: This book was originally a long fan fiction story, and after reading it, some of my readers said, "You should really un-fan fic this and publish it because it's good." And I was like-
Kenrya: What was it based on?
Erica: Yeah, what was it based on?
D.L. White: It was based on JC from NSYNC, and it's an AU, so alternate universe, so it's like this person, but if he was a lawyer. And I think that when I write JC, I write him as a sarcastic asshole, and I had been writing him so sweet and loving in previous stories that I was like, "You know what?" I called up my beta, I have a beta just for fan fiction, and we are huge, huge, huge fans, I said, "I really want to write JC as an ass, like a total ass." And she's like, "You should do that." She never tells me not to write a story.
Erica: Mission accomplished.
D.L. White: And so I started writing this, and I said, "So, the story should be that he's just this dude that is just pining after this woman, and they broke up a long time ago for a super, super petty reason, probably should have never broke up, and he's just been kind of trying to get her back, but kind of not, just really on her nerves. And I just want to work the situation to where they have to work together in order to accomplish a goal, and while working together, they just happen to realize that they still love each other." And the fan fic story turned out great. I don't think I ever finished it, actually. But I got that story to a point where I was like, "I think I'm ready to turn this into fiction." So, I made Preston Black and Angie Black and all their friends Black.
Erica: I was just about to say, it's amazing that you started with NSYNC and ended here-
Kenrya: Because it's such a Black-ass book."
Erica: It is a Blackity, Black-ass book.
D.L. White: It's Black.
Erica: Yeah. We keep saying we're going to visit fan fiction on this show, but that right there is just an example of how ... I mean, wow. I feel like you just made macaroni and cheese, like you took Velveeta and made it into some Black-ass, thick-ass-
D.L. White: Soul food.
Erica: With the crusty corner macaroni and cheese.
D.L. White: So, the original iteration of the story ended much earlier, when they're out at the banks of the river together on Christmas, that's where the original story ended. And I was just reading some authors, like Alexandria House. And for me, sometimes the story ends when they're like, "I love you," "I love you too," happily ever after, and the end. And when I read her stories, she goes all the way past that, to them together as a couple and ins and outs and day-to-day, and I was like, "You know what? I kind of want to take Preston and Angie past the "I love you" moment. Let's get real. Let's get down."
D.L. White: Because, really, they've been in love with each other since they were teenagers, so there's so much more to the story than they love each other, it's also that their friends can't know that they're back together, it's also that they have two separate lives that they have to bring back together, it's also that Angie's concerned about her dad because he has Parkinson's, and how Preston falls into the family, and how everybody in the friend group groups up together and they've left Preston and Angie out. I love big groups of couple friends, that kind of thing. So, it was just a meld of everything that I wanted in a story. And this is a long book, but it turned out exactly the way that I wanted it when I went back and redid it.
D.L. White: Originally, it didn't sell very well because there was so much build up, and then it ended at "I love you. Let's be together," and I just felt like the story should just go well past that. I took that story down, there were two books that I wrote that used to be fan fiction that just didn't sell well, and so I took them down. But this story just kept knocking at my door. It kept waking me up and thought, "You could do this and you could do that, and you could extend the story, and it could be about this, and you could add that," and I could not stop thinking about it. And so I started rewriting it in 2019, and then I finished it right as COVID hit, and I was like, "This is perfect. This is just perfect. Now I have a whole new book for you all to read. Go buy it and take your mind off of this infection thing that's going around." So, that really took me through, I think I re-released this the end of March 2020, right as COVID-
Erica: Just in time.
D.L. White: Yeah. And so I really needed that distraction. And then I went right from that into “The Never List,” and so it really helped me fill those hours because work sent us home early March and said, "Don't come back here," and so I just had so much time on my hands, I needed something to do. That was it.
Erica: Okay, so in the scene that we read, Angie refuses to tell Preston that she loves him, and he tried to persuade her to say it, that kind of thing, but it seemed like that, that little scene right there, perfectly summed up their whole relationship. If you had to just do a this-scene-is-the-root-of-the-book, this is what it is. How did you dream that up?
D.L. White: I am trying to think of where that came from. I haven't heard the episode that you're referring to. Is this when they're at the elevator at the hotel?
Kenrya: Mm-mmm (negative). It's when they're in the bed, and he's trying to make her ... they took a bath, and then he's trying to make her say it, and so he's edging too ... Yeah, yeah, yeah.
D.L. White: I mean I just really like writing sex. I mean I don't like writing sex, but I like writing sex where it's fun and it's banter and it's not all hot, sweaty porn utterings. And I do feel like that's their relationship, like they push and they pull. And Preston is really aggressive-
Erica: Can you tell Preston frustrates me?
Kenrya: She was so angry at him.
D.L. White: Preston, he's aggressive. But so is Angie. And Angie is very headstrong, she's going to do what she wants to do because she wants to do it, and not because Preston wants her to. But I think they also needed to come to a point where they give in to each other because it would make the other person happy. And I think that Angie, at a point, knows that it's going to make him happy to hear her say "I love you," but she also wants him to work for it.
D.L. White: I think the whole thing about this book was that it's one thing to have a character that has a redemption arc, where you know, at the end of this book, they're going to end up together, but how they get together is the story. I wanted Preston to work for it. I didn't want it to be easy. And a lot of people said, "Angie spent way too long being mad, and she was just so petty for so long."
D.L. White: And I was like, so, they broke up in high school, and he never went away. It's like just having something in your ear all the time for 15 years, never leaving you alone, he just never shut the fuck up, he just never went away. And after a while, that's annoying. "I don't want you around me. Go away." And she's there because her dad is sick, because she doesn't want to move away, but Preston never left. And so it's been so many years of this.
D.L. White: And after he's like, "Okay, fine, I love you," she's supposed to just lay down and spread her legs? It's been so many years of him just being a total ass to her, but she should just immediately go, "Okay, I love you too"? No. No. She knows how she feels, or she thinks she knows how she feels, and so I wanted Preston to have to work for it. I wanted Preston to have to win Angie back over. I wanted Preston to have to eat a little bit of crow. I wanted Preston-
Erica: And a little bit of puss.
D.L. White: And I really wanted Preston to have to work for it, and I wanted Angie to come to that realization that it wasn't all him, and that she played a huge part in, A, them breaking up, and, B, them being apart for so long because she could have just said, "You know what? You said what you said, and you lied, but it's a really dumb reason to break up, and let's just not break up," but she stood her ground because she's stubborn and she's petty, and now it's been 15 years and they're just now getting back together.
D.L. White: But I think that just is another situation where I wanted them to have to work for it, and I didn't want it to be a flowery, sweet, "I love you so much, my darling. I love you," I can't, I can't do that. That's not either one of them. They have those sweet moments, but that's not either one of them. They push and they pull each other, and they're abrasive and they're both very aggressive and headstrong people, and I wanted that to carry throughout the entire book.
Kenrya: I think that, ultimately, both Angie and Preston had a really hard time being vulnerable, from when they were teens to now, and it almost cost them what they wanted. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation, where you had to force yourself to be vulnerable in a way that felt really uncomfortable?
D.L. White: All the time. I don't do vulnerability very easily. It's really hard for me-
Erica: Wow, Kenrya, look at your mirror.
Kenrya: Okay, first of all, bitch, I've gotten much better at it.
Erica: You have.
D.L. White: She called you out.
Kenrya: I worked at it. I worked on it really hard.
Erica: Yes, really hard. And I'm proud of you.
D.L. White: Yeah. I will admit to just not being very good at it. I'm not good at vulnerability because I feel like when I lower that wall, then people go, "Bam, you shouldn't have done that," and so I can't do it right now. Maybe I need therapy, I don't know, but I can't-
Kenrya: You know how we feel about therapy.
D.L. White: I can't do it. And so I feel like maybe that comes out in a lot of my characters, to where it takes them a while to come to the point where they really let all their defenses down, and they put their trust in this person that says, "I am going to take care of your heart, and I am not going to hurt you, at least on purpose, and we are going to have a happy life together." Sometimes, I look at relationships and I just look at these two people and I'm like, "How you know he's going to be there in 10 years? How do you know? How do you trust that?"
Kenrya: You don't.
D.L. White: When I date somebody, I'm like, "I might not know this dude in September." I just don't know that it's going to work out because I can't bring myself to that vulnerable place of hoping. It just takes a lot to wear down my walls, and I haven't met someone that's willing to do that work, and I haven't been willing to do that work for myself. So, I really can't remember the last time I was vulnerable. I mean I'm sure it's happened, but I don't remember the last time that I really put myself out there. It's probably been years.
Erica: So, that kind of leads into our next question. Which of the characters do you most identify with in the story?
D.L. White: In this story? (silence). I don't know that I identify with any of them. Jackie and Morgan are really happy-go-lucky people that just really lucked into great relationships, and Brandis and Keith found each other in college. But I don't think that I'm anything like Angie. Maybe Preston? And I really try not to write myself because that's very what they call "Mary Sue," but I really try not to write myself in stories, and I try not to put too many of my own characteristics into a story. Sometimes, some things do seep through and it does become a little bit of therapy while working my character through the situation, "This could be something that I could apply to my life," but I don't know that I identify with anybody. It would be Angie, if anybody, but I think she's stronger than I am. And I don't think that I would have ever given in to Preston, to be honest.
Kenrya: It would have been fucking forever.
Erica: And I think it's important that you note that that is strength, like being able to give in to Preston. Opening up can also be ...
D.L. White: Yeah, it is the ultimate. I do see vulnerability as a strength, and really being able to put your fear aside and put down all of your assumptions and your things that you're afraid of and just step out in faith. I don't have that. I don't have it.
Erica: Okay. Do you have a favorite line or passage from “A Thin Line” that you want to share?
D.L. White: One line that always makes me laugh, I don't know why, when she talks about, when Preston is talking, and she says, "I rolled my eyes so hard I could see yesterday." I don't know if you ever just rolled your eyes so hard at somebody because he's just such a blow-hard, like shut up. Oh my God. That line always cracks me up. Also, after Jackie has her baby and they're in the kitchen, and they're talking about how Preston has said, he's like, "I've never seen a fresh baby before." And she turns around and he's like, "Do you mean a newborn?"
D.L. White: Like, he is so smart and so accomplished, but he really just said "fresh baby." And then he's like, "Have you ever thought about having children?" And she's like, "I was never with a guy that made me think about having kids before." And he asks her, "Well, are you now with a man that makes you think about having kids?" She's like, "Well, your dick's in my ass," so ... I just love coming up with snappy little sayings like that.
Erica: Yeah, your dialogue is great.
Kenrya: Yes, always realistic.
D.L. White: I really love that. I love banter. I love writing a fight. I will write all of the fights before I will write any sweet nothings because I just love ... I don't know that I love conflict, but I love that tearing apart so that they can come back together. So, I'm sure there are others, but those are lines that make me laugh every time I read it.
Kenrya: Word. What are you reading right now?
D.L. White: Right now, I am reading a book called “Until Death,” it's by Delaney Diamond, who I think you had her on the show before.
Kenrya: Yes. We did “Queen of Barrakesch.”
D.L. White: Yes. Absolutely love her. Love her, love her, love her. So, I'm reading that because I just spent my weekend trying to catch up on everything that was coming out today. So, this weekend-
Kenrya: Tuesday. I love Tuesdays.
D.L. White: Okay. This weekend, I read “Mrs. Wiggins,” by Mary Monroe; and “Careless Whisper,” by Synithia Williams; and “Wild Women and the Blues,” by Denny S. Bryce. And all of them were absolutely fabulous. So, this one's not on any list that I have to read because I agreed to read it for a review or anything, I just love Delaney. I just started reading it, I'm at like 20% in. It's fabulous, it's absolutely fabulous.
Erica: Cool. Okay, so one of the themes in this book are young love, and so we like to have a few interesting questions, fun questions. So, describe your first crush.
Kenrya: My first crush? Let me think of who that was, besides Michael Jackson. I loved me some Michael Jackson.
Kenrya: Why your face look like ...
Erica: Because I like ...
Kenrya: Little Michael Jackson?
Erica: Yeah, I think of the Michael Jackson I knew, and I feel like we're about the same age, and so I'm like, "That Michael Jackson?"
D.L. White: Oh my gosh, like "Bad" Michael Jackson? I was into it.
Erica: I mean I would sing Jackson 5, but, okay, all right.
D.L. White: I think I was like junior high-ish when I was into Michael. I had posters and everything. I'm trying to remember my crushes. To be honest, I don't remember. I wasn't really all that into boys when I was younger. I was not a pretty child, so boys were kind of mean to me, so they weren't ever people that I would dream about.
Kenrya: Aww, fuck them.
Erica: Yeah, fuck them.
D.L. White: I think when I was in high school, I had a crush on a guy. He was Asian American. He sang, super smart. But I also, at one point, heard him talk some shit about me, and so then I was like, "Yeah, well, that's over."
Erica: "Well, there's that."
D.L. White: Yeah. I don't know that I really had a lot of crushes. I'm a very boring person.
Erica: Girl, honey-
D.L. White: The excitement in my life is in the books.
Erica: Look, whatever it takes to keep putting out those books, I'm fine with it.
D.L. White: Yeah, that's where it comes.
Erica: Okay, so tell us about your prom.
D.L. White: Prom? My mom's friend made my dress, it's a big pink, silky, satin thing. I went with a friend. It was fun. I remember we couldn't find a ride because our car broke down, so my dad couldn't drive us, so it was just a mad dash to find somebody to take us. And at the last minute, my friend, Alex, said, "Hey, we're riding right by your house, me and my date, we'll come pick you up." So, we went, we had a great time. It wasn't a romantic thing, we just went as friends. He ended up meeting the woman that he married, the next day.
D.L. White: I just had a really good time, went to prom, and then the tradition was to go to Shari's after prom. Shari's is like a Perkins, Denny's type of place. And so we went and, I don't know, had coffee and pancakes or something like that. It was so long ago. I just turned 47, so that's a lot of remembering. It was fun. I don't know that I would ever do it again, but I definitely am glad that I did it the one time.
Erica: Yeah. Okay, moving on, last fun question, not-so-fun, describe your first heartbreak.
D.L. White: Oh my goodness. I was older, I want to say in my 30s, and I had met a great guy off a dating website, and we just clicked. And I fell for him pretty early on, and he understood about the whole virginity thing and didn't really pressure me at all. We just instantly had a great time together. And I remember that I had decided I was going to tell him that I loved him. And it took a lot to work up the nerve. And I remember that we were laying there, and I was like, "I got something to tell you." And he's like, "Okay." And I said, "I love you." And he was like, "How do you know?" And I was like, "Because I know." And he's like, "Okay." Like, not at all-
Erica: "Well, shit, there goes that vulnerability thing."
D.L. White: Right. Like, not at all like I thought it would be.
Erica: "I tried." Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry.
D.L. White: And I was like, "Well, this was a bad idea. Also, two, keep your mouth shut and don't ever say nothing ever again. Wait until he says it first." So, we broke up soon after that because I think he wasn't ready for that, he didn't want what I wanted, and I think he just wasn't ready for that, and I don't think that he expected to hear that. I think it was about maybe three-ish months in. But I was older and mature enough to know how I felt, and I wanted to say it. I don't think that I regret saying it, maybe it was too early or I didn't read his body language or whatnot, but that one was a lot.
D.L. White: It took me a long time to get over that, to get over him. And he did try to come back later. And I wanted to give another shot, but we just never made that same connection again. But that was my first real heartbreak. I had a really hard time getting over him. It was like my first love, really, my first time falling in love and just feeling that warm fuzzy feeling. Really, after that, I think is when I just had a hard time really letting down that wall and just feeling like I could put my heart in the hands of someone again. And I don't know that I have ever really truly felt that for another person.
Kenrya: Thank you for sharing that.
Erica: Thank you for sharing that.
D.L. White: Yeah.
Kenrya: What's turning you on today, if anything?
D.L. White: What's turning me on right now is I have a new job.
D.L. White: Stability and security, and so now I can turn my focus back to the two books I'm trying to write to get out before the end of the year. This book I'm reading by Delaney Diamond is fantastic. She writes some of the best sex that I have ever read, so that's turning me on. Candles are turning me on. And really just spring, being in love with life, feeling the winter doldrums lift. I got my first COVID vaccine shot, so that's making me feel good. So, it's all coming up roses over here.
Kenrya: That's awesome. I think my next question is where can people find you? We know your website is BooksByDLWhite.com, right?
D.L. White: Yes.
Kenrya: And where else are you?
D.L. White: I'm also on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook as @AuthorDLWhite. I'm also on Pinterest as @AuthorDLWhite. I don't use it much, but I do a lot of storyboarding, so I will create a board just for a book, and so I will use that board to give me an aesthetic. “A Thin Line” has a board, where there's a model that I used to give me a feel for Preston and for Angie, what do they read, what do they eat, what do they drive, where do they live, what's their style, what kind of perfume does she wear, what kind of suits does he like? A lot of times, I'll just collect information, and that's what informs my characters. And so I'll see something, like, "That is so Preston. Let me save that," and so I'll throw it into Pinterest. And then, while I'm writing, I will use that as a reference.
D.L. White: Like, if I'm writing Preston's house, I'm looking at the image of his house that I have saved, and so then I can see the patio and the fire pit and the lake and the house and the furniture, and I can see Angie's apartment, and I'm looking at the bar that they always meet at, and Angie's parents house. I need that visual in my mind, so that's what I use Pinterest for. So, if anybody is ever interested in getting a visual of what I see in my mind when I write my characters, you can always follow me on Pinterest. And I can't think of anything else. I'm also on TikTok as @AuthorDLWhite. I don't post very much. But if I'm anywhere, I'm @AuthorDLWhite, so you're welcome to follow me wherever you find me.
Kenrya: That's awesome. And I love that. And I think that the fact that you put that level of energy and specificity into those boards really comes through in the books. Like, I can see your characters, I can see the restaurant where they have the drinks all the time.
Erica: I saw the house.
Kenrya: Yes. The fire pit, the lake. I could see all of it. Legit.
D.L. White: That's the idea. I like to be vivid. And if I can't see it in my mind, if I can't hear that character saying those words, then it's not authentic to me, so I want the imagery to be vivid.
Kenrya: That's awesome.
Erica: Well, I just followed you on Pinterest because ...
D.L. White: Awesome.
Erica: I love it.
D.L. White: I'm building one for the couple of stories that I'm working on, so those are kind of in flux, so it'll be interesting to see how they turn out.
Kenrya: And you said you're aiming to release two more projects before the end of this year?
D.L. White: Yeah.
Kenrya: That's awesome. And if you all want to know more about those and find out when they come out, follow her on IG and Twitter, and head over to her website, BooksByDLWhite.com. And that brings us to the end of this week's episode. We made it.
D.L. White: Yay.
Kenrya: Thank you so much for coming on. It was our pleasure.
Erica: Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming on.
D.L. White: Thank you for having me, it was a pure joy.
Kenrya: Yay. Same. And thanks to all of you for listening, we appreciate you all for stopping by, and we'll see you all next week. Take care.
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.
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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read D.L. White's "A Thin Line," talk about what we owe ourselves, setting healthy boundaries in friendships, teaching our kids about gaslighting, holding grudges, abolishing the idea of "losing your virginity" and how making unilateral decisions can bite you in the ass.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: Hey, y'all. So welcome to this week's episode of The Turn On. First, this is Erica, your lovely copilot. And we also have with us Killa Kenrya.
Kenrya: That's me.
Erica: And today we are reading, “A Thin Line,” by the author D.L. White who is a good friend of the show. She found us and has been-
Kenrya: Reached out. Yeah.
Erica: It's dope when we actually have people saying, "Hey, consider me," as opposed to us begging people. Even though she's worthy of begging. Yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah, and a testament to the fact that when people reach out and say, "Hey, read my stuff," we do. We read it.
Erica: Yes, we do.
Kenrya: And sometimes, yeah, folks make it on the show. So, excited to talk about this one. It's great.
Erica: Yes. So this is “A Thin Line.” It was written by her in 2016, initially. But then she was kind of feeling some things about the characters and the stories so she just went back to it, ripped it apart, and rewrote it, kind of maintaining the same characters. So the rewrite was in 2020.
Kenrya: So this is the second edition.
Erica: Yes, second edition.
Kenrya: I think what it's denoted as, yeah.
Erica: Sit back, relax, get your wine, your weed, whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: You look very fancy in those glasses.
Erica: Girl, it hides the dark circles.
Kenrya: “A Thin Line” by D.L. White. "Preston gathers the used towel and caps the oil, delivering them back to the bathroom. I crawl into bed, absolutely sated and fully relaxed. When Preston returns to the bedroom, he picks up the remote and skips the song forward until the husky, silky voice of Leon Bridges croons his hit, Beyond, over the surround speakers. 'Preston, you're adorable when you're trying.' 'I'm into setting the mood.' 'I appreciate it, but I'm a sure thing, baby. Get in the bed.' He crawls into his side, scoots to the middle, grabs me up and pulls me close to him. 'I love you.' He dips his head to mine and kisses me long and slow. Hypnotic. Just how I like it. I sigh when the kiss ends and he raises his head. 'That's all you got? Air?' 'I said I love you.' 'I heard you.' 'And?' He huffs and mocks frustration and grabs my face, manipulating my chin. 'I love you, too, Preston.' I laugh until he lets me go.
Kenrya: 'Let's try it again.' 'I love you, Angie.' 'I know,' I said and burst out laughing and rolled away from him. 'Nah-uh, I've been waiting too long for this.' He reaches for me and trying to land his hand on any piece of my body. He settles of a thigh and drags me back across the bed. I scream, laughing as he rolls over and settles himself on top of me, clasp our hands together, pinning them above my head. 'We don't move until you say it.' 'Then we don't move, Preston.' 'You're so stubborn, Evangeline.' I grunt. He knows what it does to me to hear him say my full name. Especially when he's naked on top of me, so hard and hot. I want to wrap myself around him.
Kenrya: 'Payback is a total bitch.' He opens his mouth to respond, then closed it. 'Ah, asshole Preston wants to come out and play, doesn't he?' His eyes narrow as he glares at me. I'm still pinned, but he frees one hand to play with me. Flicking at one nipple and then the other. Then bending to suck, lick, nuzzle one, before moving on to another. 'Baby,' he mumbles, while licking the valley between my breasts, 'Asshole Preston is already in play.' 'Oh, I'm so scared.' 'You should be.' He dips to kiss me. His tongue moving in ways its never moved before. He runs his hand down my body and parts my legs, fluttering the tips of his fingers over my clit. My hips roll up toward him, but he moves his hand away. When I relax, his fingers return to a slow, light stroke.
Kenrya: Down and then up again, gaining rhythm at a leisurely pace. My hands are freed. I want to hug him close to me, feel his weight on me, but he moves away. Scooting down in the bed. His mouth closes over a nipple and very gently nips at it. I squirm, I squeal, I rock my hips. He inserts a thick finger into me, working it in and out, while his thumb strokes me and his mouth is sucking and biting. It's a trifecta of nerve-endings and if I weren't being held down, I'd have worked my way up to the headboard by now. It's the feeling when it's so good you love it, but so intense you have to get away from it, except I don't want to. I want him to keep going until I explode.
Kenrya: He releases my breast from suction and scoots further down the bed. I like to watch, so I sit up, resting on one elbow. I reach for him with my free hand and dig my fingers into his hair. I know what he's doing and I don't care, because giving in at the right moment is going to make mountains move. He nibbles at the insides of each thigh. Teasing me. Bringing his lips closer and closer. He inserts another finger and pumps it in and out. And then, so lightly, he gently drags the tip of his tongue down the length of my clit. His pace speeds, but not the pressure. It's still so light that it's almost not there. Except it is, and the sensation its building is driving me wild.
Kenrya: I clutch his head, his curls tangled in my fist, and push his face into me. He resists, flicking his eyes up to me. 'Please,' I'm panting and gyrating, vibrating with intensity. 'I'm so close.' 'Say it.' 'Let me cum and I'll say it.' 'Say it and I'll make you cum so hard you see stars.' I angle my hips up, trying to make contact with him, but he dodges out of the way. 'Fuck. Finish damn it.' 'Say it and I'll finish.' 'You wouldn't let me say it and now you're holding me hostage until I do?' 'You're stubborn.' He snakes his tongue out and swirls it around my clit before he stops again. I groan and fall back, collapsing into my pillow. I want to cum so bad I could scream. And I can fix that, but I want to drag it out a few seconds longer.
Kenrya: 'You say it first.' 'I been saying it,' he responds, his voice calm. I know this is driving him crazy. 'Today I told you that you could say it and you haven't said it enough to my liking. So I want to hear you tell me that you love me. Now.' 'And if I don't?' 'It'll be your loss, again. Because you never win against me.' 'Unless I quit,' I laugh. Twitching almost uncontrollably. 'Asshole.' 'I'm your asshole and you love me.' It's time. It's passed time. I want this. I want him. Now. 'I do love you, so much right now.' Preston groans, bucking his hips like he wishes he was sinking into me. He goes to work, tightening his grip on my thighs and attacking me with fury. It doesn't take more than a few strokes of his tongue before I'm screaming, before my ass is up in the air, and my toes have curled to tightly that my entire calf cramps. My body is on high alert, writhing and convulsing. It's better than I thought it would be. This man, oh, this man is the best I've ever had.
Kenrya: Before I can come down, he moves up and slides into me, stroking long and hard. I lock my heels behind his thighs and my hands around his biceps, hanging on for dear life. He grunts in rhythm to his strokes. The volume rising the longer and harder he pumps. Watching him reach his orgasm sends me over the edge a second time. The return trip is just as nice. Preston is moaning, shaking as he comes down. He lowers himself to me and I accept the weight of his body, of his sweat mixing with mine. His head rests beside mine as he pants hot air onto my neck. With the last of his strength he cups my head and turns my head toward him so our lips meet. 'I love you,' he whispers against my lips."
Erica: Okay, y'all. So welcome back. Thank you, Kenrya, for reading that sexy scene. This story had a lot of good sex in it. There was just lots of fucking in it. But some of the scenes weren't super descriptive, but you can tell. Like, at one point, one of her girlfriend's in the story's like, "Bitch, you got a freshly fucked face." This book was like, "Oh, this girl's having some good sex." So a little bit of background on this story. It features these two people, Preston and Evangeline. And she goes by Angie.
Erica: Well, she goes by Evangeline, but she only-
Kenrya: No, she goes by Angie. But she only let's him-
Erica: Him call her Evangeline, okay.
Kenrya: Evangeline. Yeah.
Erica: Okay, so I should have this better because everyone gets a nickname around me, but anyway.
Kenrya: That's true.
Erica: So they were high school sweethearts, they dated in high school. They were part of a large friend group that has been friends forever. Their families lived down the street from one another and they broke up.
Kenrya: And still do, which I thought was really cute.
Erica: I know. Broke up in high school and it's just been shit ever since.
Erica: It has been shit ever since. But so then their two best friends decide to get married. They're like, "Hey, I don't want to plan my wedding. Y'all plan it together." This is their way of trying to get them back together, but also a really dope way of being like, "Look, you know me."
Kenrya: I'll do this shit.
Erica: "Make this shit happen." And it also helped that their parents were pretty wealthy. So it was just kind of like, "We'll pick a spot and everybody fly there. They'll take care of all that."
Kenrya: Yeah, well I thought they paid for it, but they're very well-paid.
Erica: I thought the parents... oh, shit. I probably should have figured that.
Kenrya: Uh-uh (negative).
Erica: I thought the parents were going to pay for the-
Kenrya: No, they paid for it. They're like, "Wherever you want to go, our gift to you is that we're paying for it."
Erica: All right, well anyway.
Kenrya: Yeah, either way, they had money.
Erica: The end up-
Kenrya: And their families had money too, because Jeeps and all these vehicles.
Erica: Dad owned a dealership.
Kenrya: ... they had in high school. And I was like, "Y'all niggas, okay."
Erica: "Y'all niggas doing-"
Kenrya: That's a whole other tax bracket.
Erica: "Y'all doing it."
Kenrya: And everybody's attorneys and doctors.
Erica: Everyone's attorneys, doctors.
Kenrya: It's very much that.
Erica: Chefs. All of that. It was just great. Also because the friend group felt very good. I don't have a mixed friend group of girls and guys, just because. Like, I have a few guy friends, but they're not a part of my friend group. But it felt good having normal relationships with these people. And you can tell it was just one of those, we were little, grew up together, and just kind of stuck together, which is great. So yeah, we used to do couple, hanging out. And I don't mind it. I genuinely like the people that my people are with. And the guys have kind of formed their own little brotherhood.
Kenrya: They did.
Erica: So much so that when we divorced they're like, "Can we talk to them?" "Nah, nigga, no."
Kenrya: No. We shut that shit down. But remember a bunch of them were angry at my ex, like, "Really nigga?"
Erica: Yeah, so it was more my ex that they were like, "Can we talk to him?"
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, you're right.
Erica: Your ex, it was like, "Fuck that."
Kenrya: "Fuck that nigga. He got us in trouble."
Erica: "We'll invite him to jump him." Yeah. So, yeah. I don't mind couples' stuff. I mean, I do think that it's important for couples to have lives outside of one another. Think it's so important for that. But I definitely like mixed company groups. But again, most of my friends that I'm kicking it with, when it's in a mixed gender space is just partners, so.
Kenrya: Partners, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. But I mean, I don't mind it. What about you?
Kenrya: No, I don't mind it. We used to have little dinner parties and game nights and shit.
Erica: See, this was in our late 20s, early 30s.
Kenrya: Early 30s. Before everybody had kids.
Erica: When kids came,
Erica: ... and we were just on some like, Oh, we're going to live the life."
Kenrya: We used to get together and drink and eat.
Erica: And then kids came and it was just over.
Kenrya: And then we started having kids.
Erica: Yeah. And I mean, the thing is I think now, going through COVID, we're so much more intent on... Do you know what I was doing today in the kitchen?
Erica: I was standing in the kitchen... I don't know when this going to air, so this might be obsolete. I was standing in the kitchen, and we eat off paper plates and out of plastic cups, because ain't nobody got time for that. I took two plates and held them in my hand. I had a cup. And then I went and got a beer from the fridge and I put a cup in my mouth, and I was walking around the kitchen, training for the summer. Training for cookouts. I was like, "Oh, oh." Pouring water.
Kenrya: You're ridiculous.
Erica: I miss the streets.
Erica: I was practicing for the streets. Because I don't want to get out there and be rusty, spilling Henny on my shirt. So yeah, I definitely was in that bitch, practicing for being out in the streets. Okay, so speaking of friends, I'm kind of jumping around, chronologically. I mean, yeah, chronologically in the story. But since we're on the friends thing, one of the people in the friend group just got married. Well, I don't know if she just got married. She's married and is pregnant. But it was kind of a surprise seeing her around, because she's the friend of the friend group that drops out when she gets a man.
Erica: Ugh. I was that person for a minute.
Kenrya: You have been that person before. I think we all have at certain points.
Erica: I was definitely that person. And then I think coming out of that, I wanted to be super intentional about not being that person. Because when I came out of that bullshit, who was there for me? The bitches that I had dropped to be with that nigga, right? So even now, as I pursue relationships first, niggas with no friends, y'all niggas scary. If you ain't got not friends, something wrong with you. But two, you need to be doing something outside of me, because I will be out there doing hoodrat shit with my girlfriends. And your hoodrat shit could be sitting at home building Lego set, but I'm going to be doing some shit with my girls.
Kenrya: Have some other interest.
Erica: Because I do not want to be that person. And what's interesting is... what were you going to say?
Kenrya: No, go ahead. I'll say after.
Erica: So my dad died when I was young. My mom was, like, 33, 34 when my dad died. She had four kids under the age of 10. But one of the things she told me when I got married, that always stuck with me, was like, don't let your life keep living without you, or something along those lines. Because when my dad died, my mom looked up and her close friends were still there, still rallied around her. But I think, looking back, I could tell that she felt like they... There was a 10 year gap where they just weren't the way... I know things change when you're in a marriage or serious with someone. But there was like, 10 years that they kept growing as a unit and she kept growing. And it wasn't as easy to... not that it's ever easy to fall back, but it wasn't as easy to fall back into that relationship.
Erica: And so I think about, maybe I swing a little too hard on it, because I recognize that one of the ways that I was being manipulated was being kept from my friends, right?
Kenrya: Isolated. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, so what were you going to say?
Kenrya: Same, actually. Well, I was going to say, I think that there's kind of levels to it, right? There's the cocooning that happens when you first get into a situation. And when I was reading it, to me it felt kind of like they were in their cocoon. I think they were maybe six months in or something like that. So they were still really new to married life. And then they got pregnant. So it felt to me like they had kind of pulled back, because they were kind of trying to figure out how to navigate this new normal of what it meant for them to be together. And then, I do think that there's a balance you have to strike. Sometimes I do good at that balance, sometimes I don't. Yeah.
Erica: Bitch, I'll say something. I will say something.
Kenrya: If I'm not... yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: But so, y'all will be downstairs and then you'll show... Bitch, remember you showed up at my door and was like, "Such and such is on the floor, she can't get up. We need you." Nevermind I was on my way down.
Erica: But still.
Kenrya: I had just finished eating and was about to come down.
Erica: It was taking too long.
Kenrya: Because I knew I couldn't eat what y'all had to eat. So I had to eat upstairs.
Erica: It was taking too long. It was taking too long.
Kenrya: Because I don't eat meat, but yeah. You will put me-
Erica: But even, I think about our relationship, especially when I first... So, I think y'all know, Kenrya and I live in a same unit home.
Kenrya: A two-family house.
Erica: Two-family house. In St. Louis we call them two-family flats. But anyway, so we live in a two-family house.
Erica: Kenrya lives upstairs, I live downstairs. That makes it sound like I'm a basement dweller. Not a basement dweller. I live on the first level.
Kenrya: You're on a first floor and you have the basement. And I live on the second floor.
Erica: Yeah, so and it was interesting, because when I moved in, first, Kenrya started getting serious with her man-friend, right before we started moving in. And this was right when “Tuca & Bertie” came out. And I was like, "This is going to be ‘Tuca & Bertie’," because I was definitely like the friend like, "Come on, let's go get lice today." And Tuca's husband was like, "Can you stay at home a little bit?" Now, I am waiting for the episode where I go out with your partner and we go to my rich aunt's house and play with architecture, but anyway.
Kenrya: That shit's crazy.
Erica: So it was weird, because soon as I moved in it was kind of getting everything set up, getting used to transitioning and the transition of being in a new neighborhood and all that. And then I immediately got cancer. And so then you transitioned into caretaker, making sure everything was okay. And I missed having my friend, but at the same time, I felt like I couldn't take too much of you, because I was already... It was already like Kenrya scheduled all her work stuff around my appointments and taking me here and taking me there. And so it was business, business, business. And then the podcast. So then I'm just like, "I just want to see my friend and talk bullshit." But I felt bad, because I'm like, "I've already monopolized all your time."
Erica: I remember talking to my therapist about this and she was like, "Just say something." And so I did and I remember one day you came down and was just like, "We're about to go out, but I want to come sit with you and talk shit for a little bit before we go out." And I was just like, "She loves me."
Kenrya: Of course I love you. And I listened when you said something.
Erica: Yeah, so.
Kenrya: But it's tough. I mean, this is a whole other topic, but this kind of goes back to a running theme on our show, which is vulnerability and being able to ask for what we want and not feeling like we're asking for too much from the people who we love and who love us and who care for us. It's definitely something that I struggle with all the time and I know that it's something that you struggled with, when you were in the midst of it.
Erica: I used to. So, I still do from some people. From you I don't.
Erica: I ask and I am 1000% sure that if you can do it, you can. If you can't, you'll say no. And it's just that simple. And I love that about you. I do have friends that I know, like they've said to me, "It's hard for me to say no to people." And so I feel bad even asking them to do something, because I know, even if they want to, I don't need you inconveniencing yourself for me, because I have a whole binge of people. Girl, I stay getting cut on. About to be immobilized for a while, so I have this whole list of appointments and I'm spreading the love to each different friend like, "Hey, can you take me here? Can you take me there?" And I don't need you... if you can't do it, don't feel like you got to move some stuff. It's just I thought you'd be cool. It'd be cool to sit around with you while I get my cast cut off.
Erica: So I love that you do that, because it makes it so much easier to just be like, "Girl, can you?" You be like, "No, I can't." "Okay, cool." And we know that's not-
Kenrya: That's the beauty of boundaries. And it's not a reflection of our relationship.
Erica: ... the end of our relationship.
Kenrya: Or how much I care for you.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: It's just that I be busy sometimes.
Erica: It's just like, bitch can't make it, you know?
Erica: And so I definitely love that about what we have.
Erica: How did I even... how'd we even get here?
Kenrya: We were talking about isolating ourselves when we get in relationships.
Erica: Oh, isolating ourselves.
Kenrya: But then the other part of that is being isolated by other motherfuckers. And I, too, have experienced that. And it's one of the key ways that-
Kenrya: ... manipulators, manipulative people, try to... it's a form of emotional abuse, quite honestly, try to separate you from your people so you feel as if you don't have a support system. It makes you more likely to put up with the things they do and they say to you, because you feel as if no one is there for you, other than them. And they'll often tell you that. "I'm the only one who really cares. You'll never find nobody that'll do as much for you as I do."
Erica: Yeah. I remember dating a guy who told me that. He's like, "They don't care about you like that." And at the time, I believed it. And not that I didn't believe that my people didn't care about me. It was just that I believed that everyone was just too busy to be worried about me. And again, I realize nah, dawg that ain't how it goes. At least with my friend group.
Erica: And when I'm starting dating guys in the beginning I'm like, "Look, my bitches deep, we strong, and we crazy." But yeah.
Kenrya: There's a reason that my name is Killa, is what I always come back to.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. But yeah, I think-
Kenrya: It's interesting. I was going to say, kind of along the lines of this whole manipulation and isolation. So the other day, the little person who lives up here came into the living room, really upset and she was like, "My best friend keeps calling when I tell her that she can't call because I'm doing work. And I told her don't call until such and such a time and she does it anyway. And then when I say something to her she says, 'Oh yeah, I forgot. You did say that. But actually, you didn't really say it.' And she was like, 'She keeps doing that and denying and saying that I didn't say it and that she didn't agree.'" And I was like, "Okay," so I told her about the movie “Gaslight” and explained to her what gaslighting is.
Erica: Okay, so I need you to do that with my son, because he asked me, "What's gaslighting?" And I was like, "Something you won't do as a man!" But yeah, okay, I need you to help with that one. Okay.
Kenrya: So I explained it basically by... well, I didn't pull it up, but I did later. I was telling her about the movie, which I think the version everyone knows, I think, came out in 1944. And I just know this because I just looked that part up. But essentially, it features this man who is a criminal and he is with this woman because he's trying to get at her auntie's jewelry. And the way that he wants to do it is basically get her committed. And so he tries to make her feel as if she is "crazy", so that she could be committed so that he could get control of her estate and get this priceless jewelry that she inherited from her aunt. And he originally tried to get it from her aunt and was unsuccessful. And a generation later is trying to do the same shit. He is a committed criminal.
Kenrya: And so, one of the ways he does that is that he is in the attic, fucking with the light. This is back when they had gas lights. And it changes the light level in the rooms where she is. And when she remarks that it's dark he's like, "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."
Kenrya: "It's bright in here. I can see. You can't see? Maybe you should go lay down. I think you're wrong. I don't see what you're seeing. You're making it up." And that is essentially what gas lighting is. It's creating doubt it your mind on purpose, that what you are experiencing as reality is not a reality. And it is frustrating. And I have been gaslit by a whole bunch of people, from the time that I was a child. And so it was really important for me to use that as a moment to explain to her what that is, because it doesn't only happen in romantic relationships. And I told her, "Look, if one of my friend's was gas lighting me, I wouldn't be friends with them anymore." I was like, "But this is a great opportunity for you to draw boundaries around what you'll accept from your people and what you won't. And if you have I conversation with her using 'I' language and tell her how this makes you feel and she is not receptive and doesn't change her behavior, then you may want to consider stepping back from that friendship."
Kenrya: Like, the things that I wish someone had said to me, but my family was too busy gaslighting me to have those conversations.
Erica: Yeah, so you know what. So thank you for that simpler explanation. Because we talked about it, but it just took a lot for me to get him to explain. I'm like, "It's like when you know something's right, they tell you it's wrong, but you know it's right and then they make you seem like you don't know what you're talking about." So I think he got it, but you know what I'm saying.
Erica: You describing gaslighting, reminds me of when I first divorced. Well, when my ex-husband and I first began the process of divorcing, separating. There was a lot of discussion on how much to share with our son. And a therapist told me kids know and they see what's happening. And so, you acting like everything's okay when it's not, teaches them not to trust their instincts, not to trust their gut, all of that. And so I tried to hold onto that when everything's going on in the house. Like, if I'm having a really bad day and he's like, "You okay?" "No, I'm not. I'm just having a rough day, it's something to do with work." I want him to trust his gut, so.
Kenrya: For sure, because we learn really young, from things like gaslighting or from people trying to protect us from things we don't actually need protection from. Not to trust our guts, the things that our body is screaming at us. And so then we grow up to be adults who, when we know that something is wrong, when we know that our partner is cheating on us, when we know that this bitch in the next cubicle is plotting and scheming on us, we don't listen.
Erica: Because we want to be nice.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Because we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. You don't owe these niggas nothing.
Kenrya: You owe yourself so much more.
Erica: Ain't nobody going to look out for you but you, so.
Kenrya: That's right. And that's not an endorsement for being selfish, it's an endorsement for self-care.
Erica: At all. Exactly. Okay, so they started dating as kids, right? And there was this scene in the book where Preston talked about how his dad found out that they were having... was it his dad or his mom?
Kenrya: Oh, it was his dad.
Erica: Found out that they were having sex, because he found a bunch of condoms in the back of the car.
Kenrya: Yeah, like a whole bag.
Erica: His dad was like, "Damn, how much fucking y'all doing?"
Kenrya: "How much fucking you doing?" Yes.
Erica: Because this is like a trough of condoms in the car.
Erica: Which I thought was hilarious, because I have a friend who said she got caught by her sister, having sex at home. To which I was like, "I think the fuck not. I've never had sex in my parents' home." In my parents' home? In my Granny's home?
Kenrya: No, never?
Kenrya: Oh, I have.
Erica: First, there's always somebody. There was always somebody at my granny's house.
Erica: I was 37 years old the first time I was in my granny's house absolutely alone, and it freaked me the fuck out. So let's just put that out there.
Erica: But second, there was always someone home. And then, even if there wasn't someone home, like, "No." My Granny put the fear of God in me. The fear of God. There's no fucking way that I would have sex in the house, so. I'm not getting caught in the house. But did you get caught having sex?
Kenrya: No, I've never been caught. No, I never been caught. But that whole moment with... So the condoms belong to Angie, because she was like, "I got a future. I got things to do. This is not... I'm not. I'm not going there." And that was me. And I think I told this story.
Kenrya: I had been collecting condoms. I went to Finest, which was the grocery store in my town back then, next door to the CVS where I worked, because the condoms were cheaper. Everything was cheaper at Finest.
Erica: It was probably like 30 cents cheaper.
Kenrya: But you know CVS be expensive.
Kenrya: So I went over there.
Erica: You didn't get an employee discount?
Kenrya: I don't remember. I don't think so.
Erica: All right, sorry.
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't think we had... maybe 10... listen, I don't know. Don't get me to lyin’. But I remember, or maybe I was just embarrassed. I don't know. But I know that I went over there and I bought some nonoxynol-9, or whatever the hell it's called. The spermicidal KY Jelly, because I was like, "Just in case this, I need to make sure that anything that gets through will die." And I was ready, ready. I was not playing around. So we used all of that the first time, and that's how I discovered I was allergic to spermicide and so that was the end of that. And I had to throw all of that shit away.
Erica: You're like, "Well-
Kenrya: And I had condoms that had spermicidal lubricant. Like, literally-
Erica: Oh my gosh.
Kenrya: ... every layer was protected.
Erica: Is Durex the one that has spermicidal lubricant?
Kenrya: I don't remember. I just remember that I was allergic.
Erica: I remember I had a summer where I was allergic to a condom that I was using with this dude. My vagina was on fire.
Kenrya: Fire. Yeah, it's really bad.
Erica: And I went to my doctor like, "We been using rubbers and he gave me something." And she was like, "You're having an allergic reaction." I was like, "Oh, okay."
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't remember how I figured out it was an allergic reaction, but I figured it out pretty quickly. I mean, we were obviously very careful, so I knew he hadn't given me anything, although he did end up giving me something.
Kenrya: In a hot tub, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). On some, "Come here, come sit on my lap." Oh God.
Erica: Were you in the... I mean, it was a hot tub.
Kenrya: We were in the hot tub alone, and-
Erica: It was a hot tub, though. Can’t blame it on him, can't just say it was the crust in the hot tub.
Kenrya: I was 18. No, it was not the crust in the hot tub.
Erica: Okay. All right.
Kenrya: I was 18 and he pulled me on his lap and did a little rub-rub. And then I ended up with trichomoniasis? Was that what I ended up with? Oh, it was bad. It was disgusting. But I survived.
Erica: Pussies are like little pockets. They are warm and damp creatures. They need care and attending.
Kenrya: That trich just climbed on up in there-
Erica: But nobody don't be putting them pussy pearls into their pussy. Sorry.
Kenrya: ... and I was like, "But I didn't even have no..."
Erica: Sorry, sorry. Instagram. Niggas will be selling everything to put up your hooha.
Kenrya: Oh, you don't have to put anything in there.
Kenrya: Unless you want to, but all right. But so, yeah. It wasn't even actual intercourse. And that's how I ended up with my very first STD. Oh, we should do STD stories. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, we should.
Kenrya: We got to normalize it. Everybody gets them.
Erica: We got to de-stigmatize it, yeah.
Kenrya: I mean, I don't have any shame over it. I didn't do anything. It was what it was. But yeah, but somehow I did still discover that it was that I was allergic and that was the end of that. I had to throw all that shit away. All my hard-earned CVS money.
Erica: So you mentioning the spermicidal lubricant made me think about, there's this new birth control, have you seen the ads for it?
Kenrya: Yes, but it took me a minute to realize what they were advertising.
Erica: I literally had to Google it, because I was like, "What is this shit?" So it's like some gel you shoot up your pussy, it changes the PH.
Kenrya: I figured, it kills, it makes it an inhospitable environment?
Erica: Yeah, but the biggest-
Kenrya: Side effect?
Erica: Side effect, they're like, "Yeah, you might get BV." I'm sorry?
Kenrya: Yeah, so literally my partner and I are watching TV and that commercial came on and he was like, "What the fuck is that?"
Erica: Yeah, it was to the point where I'm like-
Kenrya: I think it kills, yeah.
Erica: And they kept saying it was a non-hormonal birth control. And I can't do the IUD. I have to use rubbers. And so, I was like, "Oh, this is something interesting."
Kenrya: Until you saw.
Erica: Yeah, I just feel like we do so much jangling our pussies in order to accommodate men. In the ecosystem of sex and reproduction, people with vaginas and uteruses and all that shit, we do so much jangling to avoid the person with the sperm having to do any fucking thing about his own reproductive health. And that shit bothers the fuck out of me.
Kenrya: That's true.
Erica: I was reading in a magazine, or maybe it was another Instagram post. And they sell this little thing, it looks like a little plunger. You go-
Kenrya: The thing that sucks the... oh yeah.
Erica: And it's like, "You don't want to have a spill after having sex."
Kenrya: Make the nigga pull out.
Erica: That's what the fuck it is.
Kenrya: Or a condom.
Erica: It just bothers the hell out of me. And I'm mad that... I mean, this option probably works for some people.
Kenrya: It wouldn't be one that good for you.
Erica: I was excited about it for a little bit.
Kenrya: But it is not great.
Erica: And then I'm thinking logistically, does it taste bad? Because you going to eat before you treat.
Kenrya: Right. So then, do you have to use it beforehand or can you use it after? I was wondering about that.
Erica: You have to use it before.
Kenrya: Oh, so then it's premeditated. You got to like-
Erica: Yeah. Anyway, it's just, I [crosstalk 00:40:55]-
Kenrya: Oh, they don't make... I was just thinking about the sponge episode of “Seinfeld”-
Erica: They don't do the sponge anymore/
Kenrya: ... about the sponge. No, remember they were discontinuing it and Elaine... have you ever seen that episode? Elaine was all upset because they were discontinuing it and that was her preferred birth control method. Diaphragms, I guess, do the same thing, but none of those protect against STDs.
Kenrya: So, yeah.
Erica: Okay, so yeah, parents caught kids having sex. I don't think I was ever caught having sex. Now, I definitely was kissing, making out, him fondling my titty.
Kenrya: And got caught?
Erica: And no dry humping, because that's too much like sex. And I got caught by my uncle.
Erica: But it was my cool uncle. So he was like, "What y'all doing?" I was like, "Nothing! We going to go walk to the park. We going to go walk to the park." So yeah, that's what we did.
Kenrya: That's funny. I ain't never get caught by nobody, but I was real on the low with mine always, so.
Erica: Kenrya, you would have been possessed with the spirit of your best friend in 10 years if you were to get caught. That's funny.
Erica: Okay. Looking at my notes. We're going to get to the anger in a minute, because that's a huge part of this story. But you know how we went through that period where everybody was getting married? You were already married then, right? You were the first in the crew to get married. But do you think... Well, I will be... I felt like, not that there was pressure from my friends or family, but I just felt like, "It's time to get married." And so I did.
Kenrya: That's one of the worse reasons to get married.
Erica: Right? I mean, I thought at the time-
Kenrya: At the time, yes.
Erica: ... I thought we was forever.
Kenrya: Yeah. Listen, I helped plan your engagement.
Erica: Oh, you did. Thanks. Yeah, so but-
Kenrya: Got your ass dressed and everything.
Erica: Girl. Honey, oh, child. Okay, so. So, I do think that, and I say this to young people now. You're going through a period where everybody getting married and having babies. Don't do that shit if it ain't for you. And everybody say, "Nah, I'm going to wait until I'm..." No, nigga. Because you going to be on somebody's beach in Jamaica, watching your homegirl walk down the aisle to, (singing). And then you going to look over at your boo and be like, "Let's do this."
Erica: Don't get swept up in that emotion, because it's strong. And you know what's funner?
Kenrya: That's just one expensive day.
Erica: Yeah, you know what's funner? Breaking up with a nigga and it being easy and not having to figure out how y'all going to untie bank accounts and insurance and mortgages and things.
Kenrya: Changing the name and yeah.
Erica: So, you know? Okay, so there was an incident-
Kenrya: That's so funny. Our message is not “Wait to have sex.” Our message is “Wait to get married, if you ever.”
Erica: Fuck yeah. Marriage is eternal. Sex is for a second. Okay, so the big theme in the book, there was an incident that happened between Angie and Preston. I'm not going to talk about what it was, but it was, I think... and because of that incident they were just not fucking with each other. And on top of not fucking with each other, because I generally like all the characters we come across in our books, because I don't think we read any Tyler Perry, dark-skin nigga with braids to the back, hurting women books. But yeah, this was the first character that I was like-
Kenrya: Yeah, the evil characterization. Yeah, we don't do that.
Erica: "This nigga a jerk." Like, I couldn't not fucking stand Preston. He's a fucking jerk. But I think there were two things at play. One, his natural, just his baseline is always jerk, right? And then, two, his anger at Angie, stemmed from a misunderstanding. Or maybe not a misunderstanding, but he sees it as a misunderstanding, right? He believes that-
Kenrya: There was an all-around lack of grace.
Erica: And so I think that's why he was so angry. And so bitter and bitey and snipey towards her.
Kenrya: I think it was deeper than that. I think he was genuinely hurt.
Erica: I do, too. I do, too.
Kenrya: Yeah. Well, I think that they both were genuinely hurt and neither of them knew what to do with it.
Kenrya: Because they were super young, but then they grew and continued to be hurt and angry, rather than have a conversation like an adult.
Erica: And girl, I was like, "This bitch is an Aries, because this hoe know how to hold on to a fucking grudge." I was like, "Girl, ain't you tired of this shit?"
Kenrya: Even I felt that and you know I hold a grudge.
Erica: I was like, girl.
Kenrya: I hold a grudge so long I forget what I held the grudge for in the first fucking place.
Erica: I was like, "You? I don't know, but I don't like your ass." Yeah, I was like, "For real girlfriend, you are a fucking Aries."
Kenrya: Relax. Yeah.
Erica: She held onto the grudge forever. But yeah, I do think-
Kenrya: She lived in that grudge. She made that grudge her whole fucking personality, like.
Erica: She was like, "Hey guys, I got a new address. 123 Grudge Lane."
Kenrya: Yes. It was bad.
Erica: "Fucking Florida, 22222." Yeah. But I think he grudge came out of some for real betrayal, how could you do this to me? But I also think, I'm debating if-
Kenrya: She's mad at the wrong person.
Erica: Okay, so look. Spoiler alert, spoiler alert, spoiler alert.
Kenrya: We don't want to spoil too much.
Erica: But I have to in order to get-
Kenrya: Okay. Until y'all read it, don't listen to this part.
Erica: Right. So, I think the reason that she felt so betrayed is part of society's pressure on how important virginity is.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: If virginity was just the first time you had sex, like the first time I had a tuna sandwich. Fucking love a tuna sandwich. I don't remember the first time, but I know I like that motherfucker. And I can remember special tuna sandwiches. And I think that our society's pressure on, "This is special, Smeagol. This is your special jewel. Don't share any."
Kenrya: Your flower.
Erica: What'd you say?
Kenrya: Your flower.
Erica: Yeah, "Your special flower."
Erica: I just feel like that also just perpetuated her anger. Like, "This was my virginity and I gave it to you." And it was just like...
Erica: So yeah, we tie all this back to what? Patriarchy.
Kenrya: Patriarchy and this weird fucking fascination with children and their genitals and what they do with them and, ugh, God. It's really disgusting to me.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: It is. So yeah, now that I'm thinking about it, I definitely think that that was what it is. Just her feeling so betrayed because your first time having sex is supposed to be so special. Whereas, it could have just been really special because that was your first love, you know? Y'all had a really good relationship. Because I'm telling you, my first time, only reason it still registers because it was so fucking awkward and funny. Other than that.
Kenrya: Yeah, mine wasn't... I mean, it was just a thing that happened.
Kenrya: That I prepared very, very much for.
Erica: I can tell you about the first time I had an orgasm.
Kenrya: I can't remember the first time I had an orgasm.
Erica: Bitch, I saw stars. We'll get to that when we do our whatchamacallit. Yeah, so Preston was an asshole by nature, and then on top of him feeling hurt and feeling like he didn't get... you know what? Yes. At first, I was like, "Maybe not so much hurt." But yeah, he feels like, "Dawg, we loved each other and you won't even give me a chance. You won't hear me out," right?
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. He's thought there was a lack of justice, I think, in that situation.
Kenrya: And he could admit what he had done wrong.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative), Mm-hmm (affirmative). So I think all of it just, I think that's why I hated Preston so fucking much in this book. I mean, after a while-
Kenrya: Did you? I didn't hate him.
Erica: First, Preston fine.
Kenrya: But he had issues. He needed to go to therapy.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah.
Erica: They definitely need some therapy between-
Kenrya: So did she, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, they need couples therapy, too.
Kenrya: Couples, yes.
Erica: But it was such a good story. And girl, the sex that them people was having.
Kenrya: It took a while, because I remember you started it before I did and you were like, "Okay? Where's the sex?"
Erica: Yes, "Where he at?"
Kenrya: And then it came and it was like, "Hey."
Erica: Yeah, but once they started fucking, they didn't stop. They was fucking here, there, everywhere.
Erica: Fuck a little here, fuck a little there.
Kenrya: I was like, "This is-"
Erica: Here, there, there, there, fuck a little everywhere. Preston, Angie were fucking (singing).
Erica: Okay. Speaking of you, grudge-holder for life. Have you had a misunderstanding with a boo or a past somebody that after having a conversation you're like, "Oh, shit. This is what happened."
Kenrya: I mean, yeah. My current partner and I almost weren't together.
Erica: Oh yeah. You was like, "This nigga just said fuck me."
Kenrya: Yeah, so on our second date, we were having dessert. Pre-pandemic, he used to do these elaborate, three-part dates. Like, we'd go do live music, then we'd go somewhere else and have dinner, and then we'd go somewhere else for dessert, or whatever. And we were on a third part of our second date, which was having dessert. And he basically wanted to have a conversation about what we wanted. And his whole thing, this is why I love this man.
Erica: Because, wait. I was there the whole time, counseling Kenrya on the wrong shit. I will take an L on that one. I was like, "Fuck this, don't do it, be out." Continue your story, please.
Kenrya: So he basically wanted to have a conversation about kids, because I'm a few years older than him, like three, four, I don't know. And so, in his mind, his understanding, from being on the apps, was he thought I wanted... because I said I wanted to have a kid and I was filtering, at that point, filtering out folks who didn't want children. And he was like, "I know that you want to have another kid. And I got to tell you I'm not really ready for that." And I was like, "Okay." And to me... and there was a lot of other conversation, but ultimately, what I thought that he meant was that he didn't want children. And I was like, "Well, I already got a kid. So it ain't nothing that we can really do here." And what he meant, I found out later, was that he just needed a few years. He felt like he needed to get some things established before he could feel... because he's a Capricorn and everything is about logic and finances. And he wanted to get to a certain place-
Erica: I do the logic part, not the finance part for me. Continue.
Kenrya: ... before he was ready to bring another kid into the situation. But all I heard was that wasn't what he wanted. And so that was also the night that I told him I still wanted to fuck him. And then that was going to be that. And we had decided to go out for New Year's that night. He asked me and I was like, "I was going to ask you." And so we went out with you and some of our other friends and had a great time.
Erica: As "just friends."
Kenrya: Yes, as just friends, because we had decided... and this was all within the span of days. So we went out to dinner before we met y'all. And he kept making little comments about how great it could be, but I had decided that I didn't want it to go-
Erica: This could be us, but you tripping.
Kenrya: It was very much those. And I remember meeting y'all and being like, "Yeah, I think I'm going to have to cut this off because he catching feelings." And we had already had sex. And so I felt like, I thought it was because we had sex that he was catching feelings. And he wasn't going to be able to do the arrangement of us just being friends who had sex sometimes. And then his birthday was a few days later and when I met him to take him out for lunch, I gave him a book about codependency, which he will never let me live down.
Erica: You stay giving people that book. She stay giving niggas that book. I mean, it was a life changing book.
Kenrya: Because niggas need it.
Erica: She stay giving men that book.
Kenrya: But he did not need it. He's not codependent at all, but I thought he was. And he thinks books are horrible gifts and to this day he threatens to only give me books. I'm like, "Nigga, I like books. That ain't a punishment for me. Don't threaten me with a good time," but whatever. But so, it took like a month. And I remember being on a date with somebody else, because I was still dating, and the whole time being like, "Damn, I really wish I was with him right now." Like the entire time. Ended the date early. Came home. Called him. Told him we needed to talk. And called you and was like, "I think I fucked up."
Erica: But also, he came to you and was like, "Look, bitch. Don't be thinking for me." He didn't call you a bitch.
Kenrya: Yes, he would never.
Erica: But he said, "Look, you're doing a whole lot of thinking and assuming from me, for me. And you ain't ask me none of this."
Erica: And so I thought that was really dope that he was like, "Look, before we even get down that path, Ms. Aries, with your Gemini ass friend in your ear like 'Freak summer, freak summer, freak summer, freak summer," yeah.
Erica: So I'm glad that it did work out.
Kenrya: Thank God. And I am glad that I was able to humble myself eventually and be vulnerable and tell him that I fucked up and that I was wrong and that he wasn't codependent and that we needed to have a real conversation about what it is. Because he had cleared it up, but I felt like I had already made a decision and blah, blah, blah. And just being an Aries. And so we had a real conversation about it. And I don't know, three years later, here we are. So I almost fucked it up. That nigga's the love of my life and I almost let it go because I made a split decision. As he calls it, he says, "You know, the day that you made that unilateral decision."
Erica: That's exactly what it was. Like, how you going to decide for me?
Kenrya: Yes, it was.
Kenrya: It really was. It was terrible.
Erica: Okay, so something else in this book that I had to laugh at was how Angie was keeping secrets from her bestie. She was like, "We got to keep this," she was like, "We hoe-in' on the low-in'." And I had to laugh because it's like, your friends now you more than you know yourself.
Kenrya: Better than anybody, yup.
Erica: They know you. And her friend was like, "Girl, I knew it. We saw it. That's why I did XYZ." Even when they started.
Kenrya: Right, like she was fooling no one.
Erica: Yeah, fooling absolutely no one. And I just thought it was really cute that she thought she could like, hide something from her bestie. I'm trying to think if there was-
Kenrya: Oh, have you ever tried to hide anything from me?
Erica: I'm trying to think. I don't think so, only because it's like, if I'm trying to hide something from you, it's probably like-
Kenrya: You know you're doing something [inaudible 00:58:32].
Erica: ... in my mind I said, "I ain't going to say shit." And then I see you and I'm like, "I got something to tell you." So it might be hidden for a good 48 hours because I haven't seen you in 48 hours, but yeah. And also, you're not judgy. You're not judgy.
Kenrya: I try not to be.
Kenrya: I try not to be.
Erica: Yeah, you're not judgy. So it's like, it could literally be anything and you're like, "Okay, how we being safe?" Like, she's my fucking Fire Marshall Bill. But other than that, so I don't really feel the need to hide stuff from you, because again, if anything you going to be like-
Kenrya: For what?
Erica: ... "Bitch, really? We doing this? Okay, let's figure out a plan." You're my co-conspirator.
Kenrya: It's true. And I don't think…even when I was hiding things from everyone else, you were the one person who knew everything.
Erica: Yeah, again, my ass was dumb, like, "Okay girl, this fine." Oh, I feel so horrible about that. But you live and you learn.
Kenrya: No, no. And first of all, it's not your responsibility to keep me from lying to myself.
Erica: Yeah, but.
Kenrya: There were moments when, not in that situation, but in situations after that, even before I had got my shit together, where you were like, "I just want you to think about what you're doing."
Kenrya: "I want you to make sure that you're doing this for the right reason." I distinctly remember sitting at Panera and you having that conversation with me.
Erica: Whoa, I remember that one decision that-
Kenrya: Yeah, what?
Erica: ... that didn't play out. Okay.
Kenrya: Wait, I want to know which one you're talking about.
Erica: Woo! We'll discuss it later.
Kenrya: Which one? Okay.
Erica: The one, the one.
Kenrya: Oh! Yeah. The move?
Erica: Okay, I'm sorry. I just got so triggered.
Kenrya: I just got to thank God that didn't happen. Yeah, I thank God that didn't happen.
Erica: Okay, so with that, we're going to take a break. And then we're going to go to our next segment called, Kenrya, you're the-
Kenrya: What's turning us on.
Erica: Damn, God. Okay.
Kenrya: I said it.
Erica: We're going to take a break and then we're going to go to our next segment called,
Kenrya: What's turning us on.
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Erica: And we're back.
Kenrya: Yeah, we are.
Erica: To talk about what's turning us on.
Kenrya: Oh Lordy.
Erica: What's turning you on, Kenrya?
Kenrya: Okay, so for those of you who follow us on Instagram, which should be all of y'all, we're on Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast, we did a 12 days of Christmas thing at the end of 2020 and this is one of the products that I talked about and we wanted to resurface it, because legit, it's good. I love it. Yeah. So this thing came into my life, because I'll be honest, it's not something that I would have thought to just bought, because I was writing for Prevention magazine at the time, and this company reached out and wanted somebody to try their products and possibly do something if we liked them. And the story ended up not happening because the pandemic happened, but the products are awesome.
Erica: The products help you through the pandemic.
Kenrya: Exactly. So the company is called Rosebud Woman. I do not love the name of the company to be quite honest, because women are not the only people who can use these products and I just think it's not expansive enough of a name for the product. But basically, the whole thing behind this company, and this is the kit. Can y'all see that?
Erica: Yeah, yup.
Kenrya: Is that we have these things that we do to take care of ourselves in all these other ways, right? We have wash day where we spend hours taking care of our hair. We have skincare regimens that we do in the morning and the evening. We put lotion on our bodies and oil on our bodies to keep them soft and supple, but we don't really do anything for our genitals that is just kind of about care. Usually it's related to there's something going on down there or you're having sex or whatever. But their whole thing is we should be making time to care for our bodies. So some of the products are preventative and some of them are reactive.
Kenrya: So, in the kit, the Ritual Kit, which is the thing that I just held up, there's four different things. I'll talk about the three that I use. So the first is Honor. Which is basically like a balm that you are supposed to use to keep things soft and supple.
Kenrya: It's like chapstick for your vagina, yes. And so, it does exactly that.
Erica: Vagina, vulva, or everything?
Kenrya: Everything. The vaginal opening and the vulva and actually, you can use it on your anus, as well. Any tissues that may be getting stretched and may not be as moisturized as you would like them to be, you can use this. So even folks who don't have vaginas, I would think... because I use this anally, as well, because that is a tissue that... what?
Erica: No, I'm thinking, yeah, I got to get the kit.
Kenrya: So it really is... You can buy the products individually, as well. I just happen to have the kit. And so, you can see I be using it.
Erica: Using your two fingers like, "Ah!" Sorry.
Kenrya: It's all natural. There's no artificial fragrance. It does smell very faintly of rose, which makes me think of old women, old people. But this does not actually smell that way-
Erica: It ain't a deal breaker-
Kenrya: ... when it's on your body.
Erica: ... to nobody down there, yeah.
Kenrya: And nah, I'm worried about me. I just don't really like the smell of rose, but it dissipates. You don't smell anything. And it's natural. There's no artificial fragrances. And you know I'm super sensitive to literally everything. So I couldn't use it if it were not. But of course you want to test on your own body. And then there's the Soothe calming cream, which is the first thing that I used. And this is really good for those times when you was like, "I'm wet enough, I don't need no lube. It's good, let's go."
Erica: And your pussy was like, "No, no, no. Not in my house."
Kenrya: I fucking love that commercial.
Erica: That's my Dikembe Mutombo.
Kenrya: Yes, I love that. I giggle every time that shit comes on, like a child. It is really good for that after. After you done washed and want to just... it's just like a little, "Ah," for your tissues. Yes.
Erica: That makes it sound like it's Dr. Bronners.
Kenrya: It's really good.
Erica: It's not peppermint cream, which is horrible.
Kenrya: No, there's no peppermint, there's no menthol, it's not going to burn. But it does soothe everything and I find that it's really good after a session when I should have got up and got the lube and decided that I didn't want to. The other thing that I used in here is the Arouse serum. Now, this does have kind of a little tingly situation. You use two to three drops on all your external folds and creases, for about 5 to 10 minutes before. They say on the thing, and I didn't do this, but it's probably good practice, try it out on your lips before you put it on your other lips, to see, yeah.
Kenrya: So you can know what to expect, in terms of how it's going to feel, because if you feel irritated, then don't use it down there. But so, it comes in that little box. It's got this really great book called “The Invitation: Daily Love for Your Intimate Self,” and what I thought about, what's great about this is that, so it kind of plays on that idea of a flower, which we were talking about. It's called Rosebud, blah, blah, blah. But so it has these fantastic drawings that kind of imagine the body as a flower.
Kenrya: But I used it to give my daughter, who is an artist, a really beautiful look at internal anatomy. Yeah.
Erica: Oh, that is beautiful.
Kenrya: Right? It's gorgeous. This is in my little arsenal of things for conversations. And so that is great, too. And it's got little rituals and things to do to encourage you to be in touch with your body in ways that I find that we often are not. So it's got practical uses, as well as larger uses. And if it is something that you are interested in using, especially if you are in menopause or otherwise dealing with dryness in that are, or if hormonal treatments are leaving you dry down there in any way, it's really good for that. And we will put a link to that in our show notes for folks who are interested in getting either the entire kit or the individual pieces that are in it. Kind of love it, been using it for a year. And a little bit goes a long way.
Kenrya: I have literally been using those for a year and you can see that there's still so much in each one of the containers, because it goes a long way.
Erica: And she's got a man, she's fucking fucking.
Kenrya: I am fucking fucking. Although I try to be good about getting up and getting the lube. But the Honor is really good to use every day. And it actually makes it so that you don't need the lube as much, not that there's every anything wrong with using the lube, because I use it 90% of the time. But it really does just make your tissues more supple.
Kenrya: I love your analogy about it being like chapstick, so you don't have ashy ass vulva lips and vaginal opening.
Erica: We don't want an ashy pussy. Not at all.
Erica: All righty. Well, that wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On.
Kenrya: It does.
Erica: This is Erica and Kenrya. Two hoes, making it clap.
Kenrya: Making it clap.
Erica: Bye, girl. Bye, y'all.
Kenrya: I don't even try anymore. I'm not doing that with you. Bye y'all.
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 on 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 rating, 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.