You’re Doing It Wrong: The Foolproof Five-Point Relationship Plan

There is a growing class of con men who have shifted their hustle from hocking prayer cloths, weight loss pills and waist trainers to the ubiquitous and most timeless product of them all:


These new millennium snake-oil salesmen have convinced millions of intelligent, educated men and women that there is a foolproof template for building a relationship. Steve Harvey, T.D. Jakes, Iyanla Vanzant, Reverend Run, Tyrese and anyone else with an IMDB page and semi-celebrity standing have all made millions wading into the murky waters of peddling bullshit relationship advice to unwitting marks longing for love, companionship, a “help-meet” or simply a nigga who will take out the trash.

Well, why can’t I?

Like those comedians, preachers and pseudo experts, I, too make a living bullshitting people by convincing anyone willing to listen to me that I know what I am talking about. Unlike them, however, I am willing to admit it. If there are people willing to take relationship cues from a thrice-married comedian, a rapper-turned reality star, or a divorced, Yoruba priestess, “New Thought” minister who claims she can “Fix your life,” then the fact that I never went to my prom, sucked at dating and once bought a woman a weight-loss DVD for Valentines Day should not disqualify me from giving love advice. I guarantee you that I am as qualified as all the other people swindling black people out of $19.95 selling books and promoting TV shows about love.

Instead of creating a catchy new phrase to hock my how-to series, I thought that I would tell you how not to find love. After years of research in some of the nation’s top University’s (Talking to some people at Devry and The Massachusetts Institute of Air Conditioning Technology) I have developed a foolproof system devised by debunking the preposterous schemes that people have already bought into.

The NegusWhoRead 5-Point Plan to a Failed Relationship

1. The Checklist – All of the flim-flam plans have their own version of this mantra: You need a mate who is financially stable. Check his credit score. Make sure she brings something to the table. Your mate should at least have your level of education, professional goals, etc. The checklist boils down to one thing–Find someone who has their shit together. There’s only one problem: Who has their shit together? Does anyone? I know I don’t. We all know men who won’t date women who can’t cook, so they sit home eating Bojangles and souse meat sandwiches every night, or women who have been taking nursing classes at the local community college for the past 11 years who want “an educated man with a good FICO score.” The idea of finding a mate who fulfills some foolhardy list of criteria is doomed to fail because the handsome, driven, successful guys have already been snatched up by the light-skinned AKA they went to college with, and all the woman who have their lives together would never date a guy who spends his valuable time reading a semi-woke internet blog when he could be out there earning money. All dating checklists should only contain 3 questions:
1. Will my mama like her/him?
2. Is there a chance they will stab me in my sleep?
3. Did I come?

That’s it. That’s the list.

2. A Real Woman/Man Will… – Tell his woman she is beautiful every day. Put her man before her friends. Love her kids like they were his own. Text “Good morning, beautiful” every morning, Love you at your worst so they can deserve you at your best. Follow her man’s lead because she knows he is a King. Let the world know that she is his Queen. Love you when you can’t love yourself. Hide her heart so far in God that a man has to seek Christ to find her. Pay your bills. Cut the crust off your bologna sandwiches. Show the fleshy part of her thigh to her husband only. Pray together. Marry you after 11 dates or 1.2 years (whichever comes first)…

Here’s exactly what a Real man or woman would never do: Make their personal mantra out of trite catchphrases from semi-literate charlatans. Follow stupid Instagram quotes laid over pictures of Will Smith and Maya Angelou. Take love advice from someone who neither knows them nor has any particular expertise besides a high Amazon ranking, a big enough TV audience or a priest collar.

3. Wait for your Soul Mate – This concept, too, comes in various forms. The swindlers will convince you that somewhere out there is the perfect love waiting for you–the universe is just preparing you for it, and the only way to be prepared is to read their book. You preacher says you need to wait on your “Boaz” because Jesus has something in store for you. Man, listen–Jesus be tripping, and the Universe is so fucking slow. This is the perfect con because if you never fall in love, it’s because you haven’t waited long enough. Aside from your menstruation period or an unemployment check have you ever received anything by sitting around waiting for it to happen?

They say you have to kiss a thousand frogs before you find one who turns into a princess, so maybe you should get out there and start kissing. Be careful, though, because 1,000 is a lot, and there are all kinds of diseases out there. You know what they say:

These toads ain’t loyal

4. Dating with purpose – This is the opposite of waiting for your soul mate. We’ve all met people who believe in the tenets of the numerous “dating with purpose” principle–The woman who asks if you’re ready for marriage before the appetizers come on your first date, or the dude who tries to “wife you” because your peach cobbler is sweet and delicious (and you know what I mean by “peach cobbler”). Dating with purpose comes with stupid precepts like waiting for 90 days before you can have sex or visiting each other’s church to make sure you worship the same God.I have never dated “with purpose, ”  but I have gone to the mall determined to buy a suit, I always came home with some hideous ill-fitting Steve Harvey, 12-button, double-breasted monstrosity that the salesperson convinced me looked good because she could tell I was too steadfast in my determination to buy a suit. I was shopping “with purpose.”  Dating with purpose is like that. If you’re not careful you’ll end up in a boring marriage with a husband who comes out of the closet on your 7th-year anniversary and now wants you to call him “Wilheminia,” or with a woman who leaves you for her college boyfriend and you find out during a preliminary divorce custody hearing that your two youngest children share none of your DNA.

If you want to take her to court, I have a suit you can borrow.


5. Act Like a ____ Think Like a… – If you’ve read this book, I’m sorry. If you’ve read this book and think it has any truth or relevance, I have some waist-trainers and diet pills for sale. Steve Harvey didn’t pioneer the territory of this evil franchise, however. Bunco artists have long preyed on the vulnerable and feeble-minded by making them believe that they don’t have what they want because they act a certain way or think a certain way.  No man wants a woman who thinks like a man and vice versa. T.D. Jakes will tell you if you want a “saved” man, then you should act like a “woman of God.” This is a derivation of the age-old premise of “acting” a certain way and thinking a certain way will get you what you want, because, in their premise, dating, relationships and life are all about fishing, and the goal is to make yourself desirable bait. Here’s who you should think like:


In conclusion, if you follow these concepts, you won’t have to worry about a mate–because you will never have one. Unlike all the other, hucksters, I offer a guarantee:

If you follow any of these rules, I  assure you that you will not build a relationship or find long lasting companionship. I’m sure you want me to reveal the key to finding true love, but…

How the hell should I know?

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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