Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Is A Label Really All That Important?

June 26, 2013  |  

Hi Damon,

I’ve been seeing this man for six months. I really like him and we spend a lot of time together going on dates etc. We’ve even had discussions about being monogamous. We’ve agreed that neither one of us will date or sleep with anyone else. Yet he refuses to give me the title of “girlfriend.” I’ve explicitly told him that the title is important to me because I think it teaches people how to act in the relationship and with others. But he has yet to ask me to be his girlfriend. I’m wondering if I’m being unreasonable. Is a title really all that important? But I’m concerned because he’s said that the next woman he dates he plans on marrying. Which left a bitter taste in my mouth. Should I leave him alone or am I placing more importance on titles than necessary?


Living For A Label

Dear Living for a Label,

It’s not everyday that a question gives me the perfect opportunity to cite my own work. Thanks! But, before I get to that, lemme answer your first question. A title is not important…unless you think it is. Some couples are able to do the titleless thing with no problem. But, if you believe that a title—and your mate’s refusal to give you one—matters, then it does.
Why does it matter? Well, let me take a quote from “Be His Beyonce”—a piece I published at last month

“We (guys) talk a very good game. I know this for a fact, because I am one. We’ll say what we’ll do and won’t do, and we’ll appear to be very insistent, stubborn even, about our relationship mores and principles. But, for 99.9999999% of us, all of those principles are thrown out of the window once we meet someone we really, really, really, really like.The source of much (not all, but much) of the dating and relationship-related angst I’ve witnessed and read about—and the source of the “full of Isht”-ness cited above—stems from the fact that many women find themselves in situations where they’re dating someone who just isn’t very excited about them. Maybe they’re not actually Halle Berry or Kerry Washington or Nia Long or whoever, but if a man is excited enough about a woman, he’ll think of her (and treat her) with the same regard he would with any of them. She would effectively be his Beyonce.”

Basically, if he wanted to be with you bad enough, he’d have no qualms about giving you a label. I’m sure he likes you and I’m sure you all have a good time together, but if he’s not into you enough to “compromise” on a relatively small thing like calling you his girlfriend (and by “compromise” on a relatively small thing like calling you his girlfriend” I mean “grow the Fawk up”), this likely isn’t the type of relationship a presumably marriage-minded person should be in.


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at

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