Queen of Hearts: Two Years of Dating in NYC.
In numerology, the number two symbolizes the divine feminine, creating peace, and maintaining softness while creating confidence in each and every stride. For Jourdan Ash, who has been spearheading conversations about the ins and outs of romance with her podcast Dating in NYC, her softness shows in her vulnerability while discussing ghosting and grey areas in relationships. Her confidence breaks through in her steadfastness of ensuring that the stories of her creative friends and peers are authentically told. On the second year of Jourdan’s podcast, we talk growth and reflection.
photos by Shanté Carlan
FLASH: Dating in NYC turned two years old recently, how do you feel the podcast has grown in that time?
Jourdan: I feel like the podcast has grown because I feel more organized—it’s not an organized chaos. I really feel more dedicated this year than I have been. With me freelancing full-time now, I have a lot more energy and emotional space to dedicate to my podcast which I couldn’t do when I was working. I would have all of these ideas that I would write down and hope that I wasn’t too tired to push them out. Now, I have nothing but time, so there’s no reason for me not to implement something.
FLASH: What’s been your favorite episode so far? And why?
Jourdan: I really liked The Girlfriend Experience when I had sex workers come on, I really learned so much. They got to tell their stories, which I can tell nobody has ever sat down and said, “Hey, so how do you feel about this? How do you love? How do you separate your work from your relationships? What are your boundaries with your clients, and boundaries in your relationships?” People don’t necessarily think about that, so that was super important for me. They’re all great women too. That’s probably my favorite so far.
F: Speaking of experiences: Do you feel that the podcast is helping to change dialogue in dating and specifically, how we give and receive love?
J: I would hope so! I try not to take topic requests because I let people know that they can have these conversations on their own and you don’t need me to have them. I feel like people ask me out of curiosity because they’re afraid of having these conversations. I encourage people with every topic to have conversations on their own, so I would hope that people are more open to having dialogue with their homie/lover/friends and even their family members.
F: There was an episode you’ve done where you spent a good amount of time talking about love languages, do you mind sharing what your love language is?
J: That was Love me in my Language; my love language is physical touch. I go through long periods of time without physical touch and it’s often misconstrued with just sex. So it’s like, “I’m celibate, but also I’m not a fan of people touching me—period.” I know I like someone when I want them to touch me or I want to be physical or intimate with them in some sort of way.
Also, quality time. I’m big on making time for things — even if I don’t have time just because that’s how I was raised. That’s how my mother showed love to me. She would make things happen—even if it was tight we made it happen. She has always raised me with the sense of “You make time for things you want to do.” So if my friend has a show, and I don’t really feel like going, I’m going to try to show up. I know that’s important, that’s how I can show I love them. Even my friends are like, “Oh you don’t wanna hug?” and I’m like “No, but I’m here. I’m trying to show up for you and that’s how I show my love.”
F: How do you think self care ties into love?
J: You can’t have one without the other. When I was younger, I wasn’t loving myself and I expected my partner to compensate for the love that I wasn’t giving me. So at my “big age,” I can’t date someone who doesn’t know how to love or who doesn’t love himself. I can’t date someone and teach them how to love themselves. So, self-love and romantic love [and even platonic love] go hand in hand.
F: How have you seen the dating scene amongst your friends and your peers change from the time you been doing the podcast, has it made you more cognizant of things?
J: I don't know. I feel like in the beginning when I first moved back to New York from school I noticed a lot of people pretending to be someone they weren’t. People were just outwardly portraying these caricatures of what they thought was poppin’ and what they thought would get them women. Now, I don't think people are pretending but I do kind of notice what people are attracted to versus what they end up dating. A lot of people will say, “Oh, I love this and I love that,” but they only show up with one type of woman. The words and the actions are not matching and so I don’t know if that’s lying so much or if it’s just—
F: Settling, maybe?
J: No, not even that. I just don’t think people are realizing what they're doing.
F: How do you navigate the creative roadblocks that you may have when dealing with the podcast?
J: For me, if it doesn’t flow or if it feels hard, I leave it alone. A good friend of mine on the love languages episode said “Don’t force it.” I’ve been moving with that energy since. When it’s for your own show, I think it’s easy for you to get overwhelmed because you have higher standards than everybody else. If the sound quality isn’t right or if the topic sounds one way in my head and it sounds a different way out loud. Shit like that. So, I like to step away. I also ask for help —that’s something I am getting accustomed to . I’ve got a lot of great creative people around me and they always offer help. I’m not always good at receiving it or asking for it. So lately, when there’s something that happens with the show that I can’t do or I can’t fix and there’s not a YouTube video that’s explaining it, I ask for help. And I get it.
F: What are you curious about right now in terms of dating and love in particular?
J: I don’t know. That’s such a broad question what do you mean?
F: I’ll give an example. For me, in regards to dating and love, I’m curious about how my parents handled love when they were my age and how they navigated through their own romantic relationships. Just seeing how the two compare to how I live my life now and how I engage with others romantically.
J: I guess I would say I’m curious about when my — not long term partner— ,but someone whose going to be around is going to enter my life. I guess that’s what I’m more curious about. I’d like to say that I’m open to love and what it brings, but that changes day by day. One day , I’m super open and the next day I’m like, “Fuck em.” I’m very curious about what love holds for me romantically, because I want more romance in my life.
F: And while we’re on that trajectory, what is your unpopular opinion about dating?
J: If you ask me on a date, you have to pay. If you ask of me out of my house, I don’t expect to split the bill unless I don’t like you and don’t want to see you afterwards. If I ask you out of your home, I have full intention to pay. It just goes both ways for me. I don’t really go on dates with people that I know I don’t like because I can’t control my face. How ever I’m feeling is going to read on my face so I don’t really do the whole, “I’m going out with this dude because it’s a meal.”
My thing is: “Why are you asking for my time if I could do this by myself?” If you’re asking for my time, value it. Don’t just waste it. I think a lot of people can’t go out to eat by themselves or are uncomfortable to go out by themselves so they’ll ask you. “Hey do you want to go out to eat?” Then it’s like, “We’re spilling the bill,” and now I’m thinking, “then why the fuck did you ask me out of my house?” I have no issues eating by myself. I don’t need someone who I can almost tolerate to go out to eat. Especially with the way I eat. I like good things—we’re going to restaurants, we’re trying new restaurants, you have to get something different from me. We are sharing plates but not sharing one plate. This is a meal. I’m always going to have money for myself to pay, of course and I’m never going to rely on anyone to pay for my food. But, don’t ask me out of my house and then expect me to pay, and I won’t do the same to you.
F: What has been your biggest victory with the podcast so far?
J: I had a job interview a couple weeks ago and they asked me how I measured success, and I’ve been thinking about that lately. The amount of people listening doesn’t mean I’m successful or a victory for me. The fact that I was in Vogue and Essence wasn't necessarily a victory for me. I just think the fact that I’m consistent with it is one of the things I treasure most. It’s not that I’m not consistent with a lot of things ,but it's easy for me to move on to other things. I feel like I’m always evolving into the next “creative-esque” thing and trying to figure out what my thing is. With the podcast, I know that this is something I’m passionate about. Knowing 100 percent for certain that I’m passionate about this, is a victory to me.
F: Amen. Think back to the person that you were at 16: What would you tell yourself about love given all that you know and experienced now?
J: I think at 16, I was searching for what I thought love was, and what I thought love looked like. From shows I watched on TV to the trashy books I read, and conversations with my friends, I thought love was supposed to look like a certain thing and I was chasing it for a while. I didn’t date too much in high school, but from there to college it felt like for the first couple of relationships I was chasing this idea and it wasn't reality. I think now, knowing that one, I love myself and two, I’m deserving of love that suits me; I think I’m a way better person now. I don't have these large grandiose ideas of what love or romance should look like. I honestly think that romance should be thoughtful.
When I was 16, I was thinking: pick me up in a limo. Roses on the bed. I need this and that. Now at 26, that’s not what it looks like to me anymore. Love is realistic, love is thoughtful and patient for sure. Love is patient. A lot of the men I have met in my 20’s have been extremely patient. I didn't realize how much I needed that because I’m not patient with anyone—not even myself.
That’s super important to me — especially with love. You try to rush love… I think that’s why I said I was curious about love and what’s to come right now, because I am learning how to be patient with it. Whatever happens with it happens. I would definitely tell 16 year old Jourdan to be patient and figure yourself out first. I feel like I’ve ran into a few people who assumed that because they think that you know yourself, that its now your job to help them love themselves too. It's not supposed to feel like school. Love is not supposed to feel like this hard, deep lesson. This is what I would tell myself, love is not supposed to be painful.
F: What’s next for Dating in NYC?
J: Threesomes! I’m talking threesomes on Valentine’s Day! Every Valentine’s Day, I talk about something outwardly sexual. I haven’t really spoken about sex this season because:
1. I haven’t been getting any.
2. I keep getting these weird people in my DM whenever I mention sex on the show. I’ll get a couple DMs with men throwin’ it and I’ll be like, “Yeah whatever.” But, I’ve been getting really weird DMs lately so I lay off the sex topics. I’ve been curious about threesomes. I’m not sure if it’s for me, but that’s why were going to have the episode— so we can get these questions off and figure it out.
F: Talk to us about your merch!
J: The thing about merch, right? It’s expensive to make. With everything I do via the podcast or in general, I want to make sure it’s something that I would want to attend or buy. So, I’m not doing t-shirts, hoodies and shit. There’s some people who are like “Yo! I just want a t-shirt,” and you’re not going to get that from me. I have Valentine’s Day cards that I came out with someone I’ve been trying to work with for a long time [@instagrandmaw] and I had always admired her work. I sent her mood boards and she created these cards that are super fucking beautiful and hopefully they sell out!
F: Flipping the script, what’s the one thing you’d change about dating?
J: I would change the time frames that everything is in. I noticed that I’m an impatient person and once I like someone, I expect everything to fall in line. I’m working on being patient, slow and intentional. That’s another thing I want to change. I feel like if you're dealing with me, you need to know that— not that it can’t be casual—but you have to be intentional about me. Especially in the wintertime. When I leave my house, I leave for a reason and it's not just because you’re cute. I’m leaving my house to support you, to see you, to be intimate, or whatever it may be.
I think more people need to be more intentional with dating. I think as women, our whole bodies are on a clock. We've been on clock since we had periods then when you hit your mid 20’s, people ask you about kids and marriage. There’s a lot of pressure to figure out what you want, but I don’t think rushing through it makes it easier. I think we need to take our time with dating and not just falling for one person because of our clock. I’m almost 30 and lately, I’ve been thinking about if I want kids or not. When you rush, you end up settling and then it’s like, “I actually don’t know this person” or “This is actually not the kind of person I want to have children or a life with.” That could be alleviated if we all just slow down. Slow it down.
You can listen to the podcast, including the Valentine’s Day episode*, on everything including Spotify [but not Tidal, not yet]. You can find everything Dating in NYC related on Instagram and Facebook; you can use the hashtag #datinginnycpod to find us on Twitter.
For all things involving Jourdan, you can follow her @lifewithjrdn on everything.