Mind of a bachelor: Jozen Cummings

When you first look at Jozen Cummings, you’ll see a tall male who properly carries himself — a gentleman. However there’s a lot more than that. His blog Until I Get Married has attracted readers across the world with entries that really take you inside the mind of a bachelor.

A journalism graduate from Howard University, Cummings worked his way into the writing world by writing about music for Vibe magazine, Global Grind and The New York Times. He’s won several awards for his blog, but he says what makes his untiligetmarried.com successful is that he talks about matters of the heart. I caught up with the New York resident, and sat down with him at a quiet coffee shop in Union Square to find out what inspires him to write and what he’s looking for in the opposite sex.

So tell me how did Until I Get Married come about?

Well the website came out in August of 09, and I’m a writer by trade. I was working at Vibe magazine as the web editor and ended as an articles editor. In June of 2009, Vibe closed its operations out of the blue. (We were told the day of the closing.) We had to remove our stuff from the offices pretty much the same day. So I found myself out of a job when the recession was really worse. At first, I wanted to do an R&B website. But then I thought If I’m going to freelance, I’m going to get paid to write about music, so I thought about what I could do that wouldn’t cannibalize that.

Jozen Cummings, creator of relationship website untilgetmarried.com.

So I was on the phone with one of my homies talking about this girl. I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but I do remember saying, “Until I get married, this is how it’s going to be.” Then I thought I should start a website explaining how until I get married, this is how it’s going down. I bought the URL and thought that I’m not going to write just about dating and relationships, but it was going to be about my experiences with dating and relationships.

I told myself, “Yeah, you’re going to write about five times, and you’re going to write about every other relationship website.” The only way to avoid that is to talk about myself. And even to put those things that everybody deals with in my own experience, so in that way, it still stands out. I look at the perspective of, everybody has gone through what I’ve gone through. So I’m going to go ahead and lay it out for them and see what they have got to say about it too.

What inspires you to write?

I think that I chose one of the best topics that a person can write about if they want to write every day. Because like I said, you are dealing with matters of the heart. There is not one day that this topic is not on everybody’s mind. The fact that I keep living and keep going through things that will eventually will get written about. My best friend’s death anniversary is coming up; I’m probably going to write about how that made me feel. I just had a niece, and that inspired a couple of posts. I have a date tomorrow night and Saturday night. It’s one of those things where I’m inspired to write, because I write about this aspect of my life that never stops being active.

Out of all of the recognition that the website has received, what type of award/recognition has had the most meaning?

Every week, I get an email. Every day, I get a friend request, a comment. Someone hits me on Twitter. I think the early days, I wasn’t getting it as often. People weren’t just sending me the typical, “I love your writing.” It was really the comments at first. “I cried reading this,” or “I just spit out my drink laughing at this.”

I’ve always been a writer…, but I’ve always written about music, which is what people do enjoy. My own people have never hit me, and then every so once in a while, they were like, “Oh! I loved that, I loved what you wrote here.” When I started writing about matters of the heart, even my own friends were like, “You got me.” It’s that heartfelt, an emotional reaction that people were expressing to me got me motivated to continue the blog.

What do you think is the biggest misconception some readers get from your blog?

The idea that I’m writing just to shock them… I know that it sounds cliché, but I really do write from the heart. And I write from my head. The other misconception is that I live by what I write. I always tell people I control the blog. The blog does not control my life or tell me what to do.

I do know this much. If more people said more things that I write on my blog, less people would be shocked be the things that I say. I get that a lot from men like, “Yo, you gotta stop telling those secrets or like you gotta stop telling those things about us.” But it’s true. Like I said on my Twitter awhile back. Outside of the box is a new box, but people try so hard to be different until they end up being like everybody else. I’m not trying to be different. I’m trying to show you guys like look, guys like me exist.

I would say when dealing with women that they think that they are going to be written about. The girl would be like, “You can’t write about this.” I’m very respectful, and I don’t cross that line… If there is something that sparks me from the conversation, I would tell them that I’m going to write about it just so they don’t feel like they’re part of some research project or something.

Is there anything you’ve personally learned by having untiligetmarried.com?

I think now, I see it different. Like my ex-girlfriend. Some people think that blog came out of the breakup, but it didn’t. It came out of my unemployment. Through the blog, I learned where my feelings were [with her] and how far behind it is for me. I think before I started writing and putting myself out there, I didn’t realize how much of my head or my heart she was still taking.

As a writer, I’ve learned that it’s hard to write every day. It like a muscle. You let it rest too long, it’ll get rusty. If you keep up the momentum, it will stay strong. I think that I’ve learned what self-discipline can do for me. I write every day for the most part. I don’t get paid to do that. If you want It bad enough, it’s true. If you really want to write, you can do whatever you like. I wake up every morning, and this is what I want to do.

What qualities do you seek in a significant other and why?

It’s a tossup between having a sense of humor, (I just can’t see myself ever with someone who can’t laugh more than she does anything else), and an extreme amount of patience. Patient people are the ones who are going to tell you that everything is going to be okay when you don’t feel like it is. It takes a very strong person to be patient, so I would love someone who is patient with me, patient with themselves, patient with our children (if we ever have one), patient with growing as husband and wife.

What do you hope people learn or get from your blog?

I want people to be comfortable to be who they are, flaws and all. There are probably things that I reveal about myself on that blog that don’t make me look good. I’ve written some things that made my sister say, “I can’t believe this is my brother,” and my mom to say, “I can’t believe that this is my son.” I want people to say when they are done reading the blogs, “You know what, I’m going to tell so and so exactly how I feel.” You just got to say how you feel.