Hey Prizms! In the midst of this craziness that has been going on with DT in office during his first damn week (UGH) we got a bit of relief in the form of a new movie that came out tonight on Lifetime! It's called Love By The 10th Date and stars Meagan Good, Keri Hilson, Kelly Rowland, Kellee Stewart, and Brandon T. Jackson. Now Lifetime usually fucks movies up but mostly when it comes to biopics; their original movies are actually pretty decent and this one was no different. Directed by the fabulous Nzingha Stewart, the movie follows Gabby (Meagan Good's character) as she embarks on a journey (partially for money but mostly for real love) to find the man who she can make it to 10 dates with. The idea (according to her 3 closest girlfriends) is that if you can make it that far with a man without sex, then that's probably the person you should be in a relationship with. When I first heard about this movie a couple of weeks ago, I was a bit discouraged because I heard Steve Harvey's irritable voice in my head pushing that damn 90 day rule. I thought, "here we go again with the strict rules on dating that are supposed to be one size fits all". However, this movie actually worked hard to dis-spell that notion of the one size fits all dating life. Through the exploration of the relationships that her friends also had with their men/dating adventures, it was nice to see different perspective and a little bit of yourself in each character and their dating lives. If you haven't seen the movie, please don't read any further until you do because I will ruin it for you. Sorry.... :-) So here's what I got from the movie:
We first meet Ms. Billie in a steamy sex scene with her husband (on the stairs at her office, I think). They are hot and in love and it's pretty dope to see them being sexually free in a marriage. Especially when society makes it seem that marriage is the beginning of the end when it comes to sex. We then see WHY they are so "free" as it turns out that Billie and her husband are in an open marriage. Open relationships/marriages have always been a wild card for me because there are so many questions. What if he keeps a lover a secret? What if the threesomes we have are only involving other women but I want to explore the option of having two male lovers at the same time? So many what if's and ultimately, this is what drives people away from the thought of an open relationship in the first place. Interestingly enough, Billie runs into these same issues in her relationship. In one of their next scenes together, you see Billie sauntering down her foyer in this sexy lingerie and robe to open the front door for a man named Enzo. She leads him upstairs and you get the sense that this is the next lover up for them. He's upstairs getting ready in the bathroom and when he sees Billie getting things started with Enzo he flips out because he says he thought Enzo was a woman and did not sign up to be having threesomes with a man. Again, clearly this was misunderstood and open relationships really don't stand a chance if both parties involved are not setting rules and communicating with each other. Then later on in the movie we see her coming home to find him in their bed with another woman and, judging by her shock, she clearly had no idea he was doing this. Breaking rules left and right here. Her husband wasn't really a fan of the open marriage thing but it seemed like Billie found comfort in not feeling "tied down". Even in a marriage, she still feared commitment.
Again, I think that the idea that married and monogamous couples are boring and their sex life will take a sharp decline eventually is something that worried Billie and made her feel like she needed to have this open marriage in order to combat that. However, her husband said he would rather have just her and no one else. They've clearly got a lot to work out and their story line was oddly left open-ended.
Nell is a fun, sexy, confident woman who exudes sensuality. Even to the point where it's over the top. She starts the movie off single but then we see her spring into action on a girls night out with Gabby and Margot. She does the typical eye-flirting when she catches the gaze of a cutie across the club but then kicks up a notch (or three!) by licking her glass seductively and trying to be sexy while eating olives off her toothpick in her martini glass. And homeboy is PLAYING ALONG WITH HER! I mean, licking his straw, flicking his tongue LMAO! This is the part where if that was me, I'd probably be like okay game over because that's a little weird that he's doing it back to me. But they keep going and eventually he walks over to her and sparks up conversation. Now, as soon as he opened that mouth honey, I knew it was some sugar in that tank! The problem is Nell didn't catch it AT ALL. Now here's where it gets interesting (Issa Rae, you opened up this can of worms and I can't say I'm hating it at all lol!): in a later scene as they're in her car, he tells her that she is the first girl he ever felt such a strong attraction to. I could literally hear the record scratching in my head (and hers). The man said he was bisexual and I immediately thought about Jared from Insecure. The big question is WOULD YOU, AS A WOMAN, DATE A BISEXUAL MAN??
Again, plenty of questions here. Might he cheat on me with a man because I can't give him everything he needs? Is he evenly bisexual? Just so many questions. So obviously, Nell struggles to tell her girls about this little uh, speed bump, because how?? Another societal double standard about the limits of bisexuality in men vs. women. Personally, I think men should be allowed to explore that if they want to and be given the same respect and courtesy as the women of the world who decide to do the same. Nell then begins to worry that him being with her is not enough and maybe he is longing for the touch of a man, which is something she could never give him. She plays herself and breaks up with him due to her insecurities about something he never gave her reason to be insecure about. She puts him in the box of being "gay" even though he clearly told her he was "bisexual", which brought him back to thoughts about having to deal with that distinction from both gay and straight lovers he has had in the past. In the end, she talks to Gabby (who gives her sound advice) and decides to try and win him back. She lucky he took her back though...
Before I get into Margot's character...can I just say I LIVED for this hair on Kelly Rowland? I mean, it was light and swinging and just real boss-like, so shoutout to her for having this dope chin-length bob. Don't be surprised if I turn up with this look soon.
Anyways, Margot works at the same magazine company that Gabby works at and actually came up with the 10 date idea for Gabby to write about in the magazine. Margot is a strong, quiet, but curious sort of woman and we can tell that in her first few scenes. She sits down to interview an up and coming artist for the magazine and him (being interested in her) tries to shoot his shot and she shuts him down (although she doesn't really want to). He then proceeds to read her mind and guess at how long it's been since she's been touched (which is kind of annoying in my opinion). She reveals that she has been celibate for a year....and 11 months. I think Margot sort of fell into the whole "I won't sleep with anyone unless he's my to-be husband" and it kept her away from men intimately for a long time. I think celibacy is awesome, if you're up for it, and it definitely promotes a sense of clarity when it comes to dating men. You don't get caught up in unstable emotions built on a foundation of sex. There have been wayyyy too many times in my life where I've put sex at the forefront of a relationship and it actually made me believe the person was a better match for me than they actually were. So, I definitely understand the draw with being celibate. However, a woman still has her needs and we see that in one particular scene where Kelly puts away the book that she is reading in bed and switches it out for a vibrator as a nightcap! Yep, sometimes it be like that. She eventually gives in to him and begins to develop a relationship with him and then he introduces himself to her friends as her man at Gabby's party.
Now last but not least, we have my girl Gabby. She is the friend that feels as though she has done everything right in life, she doesn't have any weird hangups and doesn't understand why she doesn't have a man right now. In her opening scenes (one of my favorite parts) we see her running around her house disheveled and trying to get ready for work after a long night prior. She throws on an outfit and her hair isn't done (that leave out was flapping in the wind), she tries to start her ancient Mercedes and it gives out on her so her last option is to take the bus, and when she finally gets on the bus, a pregnant lady gives her the stare down for her seat and because she pretends like she's asleep so she doesn't have to get up (I'm guilty of this!), the pregnant lady throws her milkshake at her as she leaves the bus! Whew! She started off a hot mess so immediately I knew her love life was just as unpredictable. I won't go into all the details about her story (because we'd be here all day) but we definitely get a little bit of everything with the men in her life. Gabby tries dating apps (and ends up on some weird dates because of it) and ends up sort of reuniting with a pop-up ex boyfriend Chris (hate that shit!). I definitely was thinking "the devil is a lie" as I watched Chris' smooth talking ass saunter in her office in his perfectly tailored suit and pocket square. Those exes sure put their persuasion skills to work, don't they?
I was definitely thinking "the devil is a lie" as I watched Chris' smooth talking ass saunter in her office in his perfectly tailored suit and pocket square. Those exes sure put their persuasion skills to work, don't they? And of course, Gabby falls for it because for her this is the ex that is was supposed to WORK with. Meanwhile, we find out that he was simply trying to see "if there was anything left" between them before he left her alone for good. Apparently, men tend to do this just as a final check. Either way, Gabby is thinking he is back for good so she puts all of her energy into getting to 10 dates with him. This extra pressure doesn't exactly go too well for her as he can feel how much importance she is placing on everything, ultimately scaring him away. Which...I mean, duh. I feel so many of us women run men away by trying too hard and I could just feel my anxiety building for Gabby in that scene. In one of the best parts of the movie (as far as comedy goes), she loses her mind and trashes his entire apartment after he tells her he wasn't necessarily coming back for a relationship and the 10 dates were not important to him like they were to her. She broke glasses, dishes, ripped up a couch pillow and threw feathers all over the place, and took his pink cake afterwards sort of as an edible trophy. Boss shit that only happens in movies lol. But it was a good laugh for sure.
All the while, as she is putting so much emphasis on her relationship with Chris (because she really wants this to work, she is missing the man who she is supposed to be with right before her eyes. Yes, corny, I know, but stay with me. That man is Donte, played by Brandon T. Jackson. I mean, the whole time you knew this man who was her best friend, always there for her, was supposed to be her love. But she ignored it because she did the typical thing in thinking love was out there "somewhere else". I understand both sides of the spectrum. On one hand, dating a friend can be great because you know them so well and it just works. On the other hand, if it doesn't work then you've just lost an amazing friendship that you can never get back. So I understand the hesistation but...Donte was fine and I honestly would have given in a long time ago, jus' sayin.
In the end, Gabby finally realizes that Donte is the one and now it's happily ever after (hopefully). She looks at a note she wrote on her hand (which she does a few times throughout the movie) and the note says "I am enough". I breathed a sigh of relief for her, until Chris then shows up at her front door with a ring (presumably) and a post-it note that says "10??". He freakin tried it. And the movie ends just like that. So I'm guessing they're coming up with a part two to this. Geez.
Anyways, I walked away from this movie feeling good because again, we had a set of rules that were supposed to be followed and love came in and debunked everything. I think it's meant to spark hope in the hearts of Black lovers to say that there is no rule book. One date, ten dates, no dates and just friendship, open relationships, relationships with bisexual men, and breaking celibacy are just SOME of the different paths you can take to find love. The key to Gabby's, Margot's, Nell's, and Billie's happiness was to just be open and let it flow and FUCK all the rules. The only rule in love is TO love and to do it freely. Also, to always keep in mind that you are enough. Even if it didn't work out with someone else, there is someone out there that it WILL work with, you just have to continue being yourself. I think this movie portrayed that perfectly. So, if you haven't seen it, please do (if I haven't fully ruined it for you) or if you have seen it, see it again with your girlfriends and some champagne or Chardonnay and make it a girls' night. Maybe y'all can even have a fun discussion afterwards. I know I would!