Demetria “Belle” Lucas D’Oyley is my hero–kind of like Harriet Tubman except the “underground railroad” is plethora of straightforward advice that will “set you free” from the headaches of dating, marriage, and life in general.
I “discovered” Demetria’s award-winning blog Abelleinbrooklyn.com, that used to chronicle her personal dating experiences, when I was interning at Glam Media (now Mode Media) in 2008. The intern that I was training to take over my position before I left was raving about her blog, so I bookmarked it for later. Once I was able to catch some air after my internship ended, I sat down for an ENTIRE day and read every post she ever wrote and I’ve been following her every since.
Dubbed the “Black” Carrie Bradshaw, Demetria has turned her blog into a brand. She’s a certified life coach (Coached by Belle), star on a hit TV show (Bravo TV’s “Blood, Sweat and Heels”), writer of popular relationship column (“Ask Demetria” on TheRoot.com) and appears regularly as a pop culture critic on cable new shows and programs. Yes, her resume is better than your favorite (male) relationship “expert” with no credentials.
It all started from a blog and now she’s…saving the hearts and minds of Belleionaires (#BWO) one book and AskFm.com question at at time (oh, she’s answered over 38,000 plus on her popular page).
She wrote her first book “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” while she was the relationship editor at Essence (random: I once borrowed her tape recorder while I was interning there; didn’t have the “guts” to ask anything else). Her first book is filled with “essays,” some that were once blog posts on her site. Its format is written like Gordon Livingston’s Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart (great read as well; I’ve read it a few times). It’s an easy, fun read that makes the reader figure out their own lesson from her dating “mistakes.”
Her most recent book “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” is more similar to her popular AskFM.com page. It’s written in Q&A format with longer answers to the most popular questions that were submitted on the anonymous forum.
“Don’t Waste Your Pretty,” which was published by her own publishing company, is an easy, addictive, fun, thought-provoking read. It is a great conversation starter for you and your girls if you want to start a book club. She’s describes “your pretty” as: “‘.. a cover-all euphemism for describing your resources in the dating marketplace: your energy, emotional investment, time, listening, hand-holding, confidence, and more.’” These ‘resources’ are often given away by women (including me once upon a time) to the wrong person for too damn long. Demetria’s advice helped me fly–thus, giving me “Superpowers.”
Here are a few “superpowers” I have acquired/enhanced from reading her new book:
Superpower #1: The ability to wear your best curve and do a “cutie run.”
Her words: “..when you see a man you might be interested in, you smile,…your goal is to be noticed and appear friendly and approachable.”
My “Pretty”: I have that bitch rest face so I know that I have to make my “inside smile external” when I am trying to be noticed. Every time I was ever approached for my number, I always appeared happy and/or was laughing with a relative or friend. Demetria also states to walk up to him and pay a compliment or ask a question if you’ve haven’t caught his eye. “If he’s remotely interested, he’ll pick up the conversation from here,” she advises.
Superpower #2: The ability to understand that interested men call. Period.
Her Words: “Men are not dumb. They know they’re supposed to call and they have no problem doing it for a woman they really want to talk to. …It’s more personal than a text…..interested men call even when they don’t want anything because they want to hear your voice or tell you something funny/crazy that happened or just to “check-in.”
My “Pretty”: I remember having a huge crush on this guy back when AIM was on fleek (I was dying to that phrase. Sorry.) and Facebook was this fairly new addictive site. We discussed going out, but (because of him) it always fell through. He had my number. He texted–never first–and never called. Flirted, expressed “like,” but again, never called. He wasn’t interested, and I’m still me. Rejection is a part of life and has nothing to do with your self-worth. I understood that then wish I would have got the “not interested” part sooner. When people’s ego’s are being stroked, you’ll be sitting in a SMS inbox as long as you accept it. Plus, also consider how people (read: you) are often attracted to what “they can’t have.” I honestly didn’t know him that well “to like him.” I liked the idea that I made of him in my head.
SuperPower #3: The ability to trust your gut.
Her words: “What’s best is to skip the confrontation and just break up with him with no explanation. You can avoid additional drama, and if you’re seeking some sort of payback, it’s also the best way to screw with a person’s head.”
My “Pretty”: I trusted my gut plenty of times, violated somebody’s privacy, got my feelings hurt and caused drama. I also trusted my gut bounced with no “real explanation.” No drama. Which time do you think I felt the most powerful? Demetria be knowin’.
Superpower #4: Knowing that being a girlfriend and being a wife are two COMPLETELY different things.
Her words: She spewed out some old advice “Don’t act like a wife if you’re not a wife.” You have to purchase the book to get a list of what she considers wife duties what girlfriends need to avoid. My words: please know if you are a girlfriend. Per Demetria, if you haven’t had that conversation then…
My “Pretty:” Being with an ex “off and on” for years can cause some grey areas. Some really grey areas. That’s why conversations are important and being honest, especially with yourself, is very important. It was easy for me to slide back into the role of girlfriend without really being girlfriend but getting upset about girlfriend ish then hearing “but you’re not my girlfriend.” Ouch. It happened the over way around as well. He didn’t cry though. Today, I’m wiser. So, don’t act like a girlfriend when you’re not a girlfriend, and don’t act like a wife when you’re not a wife.
Superpower #5: The ability to communicate effectively with your significant other…or anyone really.
Her Words: She shares, “I have a tongue that I can wield like a weapon. Knowing this, I make a conscious effort not to have difficult conversations when I don’t have a level head.”
My “Pretty:” I’ve had my share of screaming matches and would just be accused of being too emotional. Just a bunch of noise and no problem solving. I’ve learned to actually communicate like an adult now. It’s scary how many people who are as old as your grandma still aren’t adults emotionally. I’ve never heard anyone say “eh..we just yelled and then we finally came to an agreement…solution.”
SuperPower #6: The ability to to put an X on the Ex. Carrie and Big ain’t real.
Her Words: Exes love to “pop up” with “I miss you texts” and “I’ve changed” promises. Demetria says, “Go ahead and live your life, and if the ex shows up as a changed person WITH ACTIONS to back up his (or her) words, then hear him (or her) out’” unless abuse was involved before…and if you want.
My “Pretty:” The actions are important. That’s when s**t gets real. Because my Ex and I have known each other for years, we always started “where we left off” which obviously doesn’t make no damn sense because where we “left off” was with problems we couldn’t stay together to solve. I guess we were blinded by “love.” Save yourself the heartache and time, and let him/her prove it by starting from the very beginning (like when you first started dating). Sometimes they don’t really know what they really want until they have to actually put it real effort, so don’t take it personal. It’s just ego.
SuperPower #7: Knowing that getting tested regularly and f***king, making love, or humping safely is non-negotiable.
Her Words: “I want you to be/stay/remain healthy,” don’t have sex unless you “both have been tested,” she insists.
My “Pretty:” Getting tested is a “theme” throughout the book, and I highlighted and clapped every time. These HIV/AIDS rates are no joke. Knowing is power. I get tested once a year when I’m sexually active on top of using condoms. Every 3 months is recommended though. There are at-home HIV tests now like OraQuick. No excuses. It’s not always sexy but being in good health is so…
There is so many more “superpowers” you can gain from this book no matter your sexual orientation or your relationship “status” or non-relationship status. Demetria has also answered questions about dealing with babymamas, the aftermath of sexual assault, the good ol’ “friends with benefits” scenarios, long distance romances, the “new” headaches of dating in the age of social media (hint: refer to Superpower #2), and much more.
Buy her book here on Amazon.com. Catch her insightful 40-character reactions to pop culture happenings on Twitter. Ask for quick advice her AskFM page (you might end up in her next book). You can also go where it all started ABelleinBrooklyn.com.
*Note: This is not a paid ad. Anything sponsored on the site will be obviously noted. I am in no way affiliated with “A Belle in Brooklyn” brand. This is an honest review of a person whose work I love and followed for years.