Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Poison of Fear

Hi. How are you today? I hope you are well. I am too; it's hot and bright as fuck and my eyes have had it. They demand less sunlight and laptop time or they're giving me a headache. Well, I ain't trying to leave the house but there's only so much I can do about the laptop time. So I'm resigned to a constant ache in my temples.
Life is great.
No, really it is. Cadbury's has a chocolate that contains rum and raisin. Proteins, vitamins and minerals y'all. Also, I'm working on my porch because it's the coolest room in or adjacent to the house AND it has the best view. I wish you could see it; it's quiet and breezy, the sky is blue, the hot sun is out there, the grass is not so green. It could use some water but the view is still great. I live on a hill so I can see real far.
You don't care.
Okay, let's get to it. I've just seen the CNN townhall with the students from the latest school shooting in the USA. Even as tears were running down my eyes as I watched these children the same age as my son talking about their dead friends, I was also, in the back of my mind wondering; where was the town hall for Black Lives Matter?
I didn't want to but I couldn't help it.

It didn't help that the audience and the participants were a sea of white, repeating many of the things same things people marching for Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Philando Castile were saying. But while the latter were labeled as terrorists, the former were given a town hall broadcast worldwide. And I'm not even trying to hate or diminish their loss. I support their efforts 100%. CNN handled the death of Philando Castile with extensive coverage.
I'm more disillusioned at Obama. I mean even this buffoon in the White House met with the parents and the students even though or probably because of the conspiracy theories about them. Why didn't Obama meet BLM people? Because he didn't want to appear partisan? It just emphasized so much how little those lives really mattered. It didn't help that Oprah showed open support for these students after her loud silence about BLM. I felt the slap in the face and I'm not even personally involved.
You know things are really bad though because white people are on the streets. The white people are the ones shouting, "Stop Killing Our Children!"
I did tell you so.
I TOLD YOU it would come to this.

You cannot let people take lives with impunity and not expect that that impunity won't touch you one day. You cannot let hatred permeate society and not expect that hatred to turn on you and yours. And I mean that worldwide.
Chadwick Boseman said an interesting thing on the view. He said that slavery (and colonialism) does not just enslave the African. It enslaves everyone who is involved in it because you are imprisoned in a certain paradigm unable to step out of whatever role the situation has given you. The results are racism and misogyny which are just symptoms of the problem. Not of hate, but of fear. Fear of taking a step away from the paradigm and having to face who you are and what you have done and been without the protections of those paradigms.
I used to follow Mark Pellegrino on twitter before I watched Black Panther and realized such people are a waste of time. Anyway, the last "discussion" me and him and his followers got into had me thinking about what the reluctance is to ban assault weapons. It seems such a no-brainer that it's difficult to understand why anyone would oppose it. But speaking to these people trying to promote Islamophobia in the guise of intellectual discourse and then trying to support the perpetuation of assault rifles to 'defend themselves' I realized one thing.
These people are mortally afraid.
Of black people.

They're stockpiling for whatever revolution they're expecting to not be televised.
And my initial reaction was burst out laughing at how ridiculous they are. But then it just hit me about how impossible the situation is. You cannot reason with fear. You cannot discuss with fear. These people will say whatever they have to or do whatever they have to, to keep their guns.
These are the fruits of slavery. This is what happens when you try to subjugate a people. Your legacy is a constant fear of them rising up and destroying you.
The hope though is that the new generation is free of the burden of fear. And if they are, they can begin to heal the nation. That is if they don't grow up to be their parents.
Speaking of fearless, fierce forces of Queen, Rihanna had her birthday yesterday. Let us all wish her many happy returns of the day and remember;

In other worse news, two hundred people have been killed in Ghouta in Syria in just the last week. There is a twitter campaign to raise awareness today, 22/2/2018 at 7pm GMT. Tweet #saveGhouta at that time.
People are so focused on the buffoon in Washington that they ignore the real threat to peace, freedom and democracy around the world. Vladimir Putin. He's Adolf Hitler in the making. Just more stealthy about it. You heard it here first.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Black Panther - A Review or Tales from a Fangirl

I said to myself, I said, “Girl, you are not going to write a word about Wakanda until,
a.       You stop being so high on life about it.
b.      You’ve had time to reflect on the deeper themes
c.       And you’ve watched it at least twice.
I wasn’t expecting to have seen it twice by today already, but I guess that’s just how the universe works when you’re TOTALLY OBSESSED with something.
So first things first. Oscar awards. The following people should get one:
1.      The person who decided that Okoye was gonna snatch her own wig and fling it in a fight.
2.      The guy with the mouth ornament which was decorated to match his clothes.
3.      Wardrobe design guys.
4.      EVERYONE else.
I kid you not. Even the other Jabari whose job was just to bark…by the way from now on, if anyone comes for me before I send for them…I am totally barking at them. In fact I’m downloading a barking app on my phone to have on standby.
There’s so much to talk about so we’re gonna try to be systematic about it. From here on out, there be spoilers.

Meta Stuff

Okay, there were some things which were just taken straight from real life and inserted seamlessly into the script and made me wish it had really happened like that. We start with #bringbackourgirls when Nakea was off rescuing Nigerian girls and boys kidnapped by Boko Haram. Some girls did actually come back, right? As in, in real life. That was fun to watch in a poignant, wish-it-really-happened-like-that kind of way.
Then there was the reference to Kenya when they were getting into the gambling den. I tell you a huge cheer went around the theatre when Nakea said these are my friends from Kenya (according to the subtitles. But what she actually said was Nairobi). And the fact that T’Challa was mocking her about being a “Kenyan Princess” which she very kind of is, because her dad is a governor…that was very fun. And it’s not that this was the first time Kenya has been mentioned in cinema. It has in several movies from Inception to Eye in the Sky. But this was different somehow. Maybe because the person saying it actually knew where the fuck she was talking about. It wasn’t just a name on a map.
And then the trouble that she’d had with ivory poachers. It’s a real big deal in Kenya and Zimbabwe because these poachers are paying people extremely tempting amounts of money to get them the ivory from elephants and rhinos, and they’re doing so in a most inhumane way. So that’s another real problem that we’re actually dealing with and one would wish there was a Nakea to go kick their asses.

The Hero is not Infallible

When T’Challa went to the ancestors and he told his father, “I’m not ready to be without you.” He made us see him as human, weak, just one of us. In Civil War, he was so super badass, like this huge cat who lets nothing get in the way of his mission. But now, in the beginning of Black Panther he is presented to us as very human. A son missing his father. A lovesick boy still in love with a girl. A big brother with a pain in the ass lil sister. A first born son to a loving mother. He is an all round human being rather than a sort of demi god. It was very clever. It got us invested. It made us worry about him. And then just after that, he’s drained of his power. And he is truly just a man. That’s when he really shows us who he is.
A man who doesn’t give up.
A man who shows mercy.
If you weren’t already in love with him, then this is the point when you realize, you are.
And then Shuri…
Oh my God, such a little sister. Such a last born. You can’t help but recognize either yourself or your youngest sibling in her. That time she recorded T’Challa flying in the air after he kicked his suit…typical sibling gold. She’s my new fave.

Erik Killmonger

The boy who was left behind. I see on social media that this is the guy most African Americans identified with in the movie. I mean but of course. And Michael B. Jordan did an exemplary job of being an Angry Black Man while simultaneously being a vulnerable little boy who got left behind and just wants to know why. He’s the problem that needs solving. He’s the sins of the father that have been visited upon the children. He’s a metaphor.
See, long ago, our ancestors made a decision to start selling people. Slave TRADERS came and BOUGHT slaves from locals. From chiefs, from middle men. The point is, as Africans, our ancestors were also complicit in the slave trade. So T’Chaka, and Zuri together, made a decision and now the chickens have come home to roost. Just like the chickens of slavery are still coming home to roost even today. The children are still paying for the sins of the fathers. The children being white America, trying so hard to hide from its own history of slavery and oppression, brush it under the carpet. It needs a T’Challa to stand up and say “You know what YOU ARE WRONG.”
We all need to admit that we were wrong and then do as Nakea said and not let the sins of the fathers dictate the future of our children.
This message isn’t just for Americans. Look at Jomo Kenyatta so called leader of the Mau Mau. But was he, or did he denounce the mau mau and was thus handed the leadership by colonialists? What lie have we maintained there? And the legacy of that is Uhuru Kenyatta and his Kikuyu supremacists. Germany is still paying for the sins of Adolf Hitler.
The question is, when will we learn to do better?
Is there a possibility of a better, happier ending for the Erik Killmongers?

Women of Wakanda

All the women of Wakanda would have snatched my wig if I ever wore one of those. I saw a tweet about Nakea talking about how for once the love interest was a dark skinned woman. You know what, fuck that shit. For once, the love interest wasn’t just there to BE a love interest. For once, the love interest chose herself over the possibility of being with a man. For once, her career and her life purpose came first. For once, it was the man forgetting his own name when in the presence of the woman. For once…it was the man who rearranged his life to accommodate the needs of the woman. Black Panther showed that women can be loving, nurturing caring beings who nevertheless do their own thing, and slay; and that in doing so, they take away nothing from the man. In fact, they make his life better.
When Okoye told ‘her love’ to put down his weapon or she would kill him…I died of joy and exhilaration. Just because she was in love did not mean her integrity had to be compromised. Did not mean that she had to bend over backwards to accommodate the man’s point of view. I noticed that the theatre became very quiet at this point. I was clapping by myself.  I can’t wait to hear what the misogynists are going to say about Okoye in the coming days.
Did you see how she stopped that Rhino and saved M’mbaku’s life?


There were two breakout stars in Black Panther, Shuri and M’mbaku.
I just love love love everyone’s integrity in this film. Well…apart from Killmonger and them of course. M’mbaku could have killed T’Challa. Nobody would have been any the wiser. But he saved his life instead. He could have taken the purple fruit from Nakea, consumed it and become a Super. Instead, he led them to their fallen king.
He barked at Agent Cross or Ross, whatever his name was.
And he was like, “We shall not have it – oh.” Like seriously. He said it right, he said it correct, and the context was A1. I just wanted to cry tears of extreme and utter joy and happiness and I was seriously like high.
He’s my new fave.

The Concept of Redemption

When T’Challa took Erik to see the sunset did your heart squeeze into tiny pieces and disintegrate? I wished for some way, some way to undo all of it. To truly make it right. To have both of them walk off that cliff and take their rightful place as cousins. As family.
“But how?” I asked myself, “How do we get from here to there?” so much water under the bridge, so much damage had been done by generations. T’Challa offered for him to live, but Erik chose to die. Which would have been the better choice? I don’t know. It just brought home to me the dilemma we currently face as people. We are living with the consequences of things done in the past. How do we get a happy ending? Is a happy ending even possible? Or do we just settle for offering the choice of bondage, or death?
Excuse me while I go burst into tears.


The scene where the car explodes and Okoye goes bobsledding down the hill on the car bonnet and Nakea comes to a stop with just her car seat and steering wheel.

the guy who choreographed these car chases should get a prize and a permanent place in any car chase movie.

Monday, 12 February 2018

If You're Reading This It's Not Too Late the time you read this you might have seen me on local television. That's if you live in East Africa. If you don't, never fear, I'll post it on YouTube for you. Y'all know I have a YouTube channel right? Probably not.
Never mind.
So yeah, my first TV spot.

One would think I'd be a bit more excited about that...but I think my excitement meter was broken a long time ago. I just go straight to looking for potential problems; it's sad. When I finished writing Child of Destiny I had this fantasy going where Oprah would read it and invite me on her show to ask me, "So Annemarie, where on earth did you get the idea for this absolutely unique and fascinating book?"
And I would smile modestly and tell her, "Oprah, I don't know. It just came to me, and demanded to be written."
And she would be so fascinated by me and want to know my entire story.
It was an epic fantasy fam.
But Oprah's not doing Oprah no more so...Life and Style on KTN is not at all a bad start. Don't get me wrong. But when it comes to my work I realize that I am Kanye West.
So there is giveaway related to this appearance. First two people to subscribe to my newsletter win the Child of Destiny boxset.
So here are the trigger warnings that you need to have; #majorcharacterdeath for book one, In The Shadow of the Styx, #HIV and #Incest for book two, The Swamp is Full of Mystery, #NonCon for book three, Child of Destiny and #slavery for book 4, Requiscant in Pace. The series runs the gamut from #Romance to #Horror.
You still with me?
Okay then, if this rocks your boat then click that subscribe.
Also if you don't mind, come back and give me a review?
Also if you're wondering why In Search of Paradise goes unmentioned in the interview, well...This is Kenya. We don't talk about gays in the morning!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Tackling the Disconnect between Art and Recognition

How about that Quincy Jones huh? Dropping truth bombs like only someone with zero fucks left to give can. I can totally relate. I laughed out loud when the interviewer asked him about MJ, about his 'sad life' vis a vis his 'success'. And Quincy goes like, "At the end, his main problem was propofol."
No prevarication. No sugar coating. Straight and simple. Such a rare trait. Especially among Americans. I loved it.
Of course, I would love to read or hear the uncondensed version, old man ramblings and all. When he said that about rap, how it doesn't provide variety for the ear, I wanted to stand up and cheer. And then go to my son's school, knock on the gate and say I have something urgent to discuss with him...just so I could show him that. I been telling him that all the songs he listens to sound the same. Anyway, like Erykah says, they're vibrating at a different frequency and this is what they appreciate. However, it wouldn't hurt to vary the beat a bit. My ear does not recognize Migos, or them other...tings. Chris Brown has been singing the same song since 2013 if you ask my ear...
On the other side of that equation are people like Kendrick and Rihanna and Hov. I specifically mention those three because well, its self-explanatory no?
Nuff Said.
Speaking of Kendrick, have you seen his music video with Sza? He seriously makes me want to make love to his brain. The visuals are...well, what can I say? I bow down. The song isn't bad either. It's made me curious about Sza; I just might go look for her music. She seems to have mastered the art of making love to my ear too. Perhaps we'll put her on the list.
We'll see.

Speaking of music and creativity. I saw some posts on twitter and tumblr attempting to slag Ed Sheeran's music because they wanted Kesha to win that particular Grammy.
Ed Sheeran makes epic music. Just because he's a man and we're all #grammyssomale right now does not mean he did not deserve to win. Let me tell you whose win I did not understand. #AOTY featuring Bruno Mars when both Damn and 4:44 were nominated.
Like...what? How Sway?
But as I think it was Billboard or Rolling Stone explained it; it's never the best album that wins and it's high time we stopped expecting it to. They will choose the most politically palatable for white people album every time.
Remember that.
And just keep playing those songs, streaming them, buying the album, because the best revenge is your paper right?
Speaking of revenge and reviews, today I want to tackle a difficult topic. And that's when a random reviewer tells lies about your work or gives you a one star or two stars without explanation. I finally had it happen to me and of course, I wanted to be all over that like white on rice. One reviewer actually started her review with 'Dear Annemarie' and proceeded to ask me questions like, "why did you use Adolf Hitler when someone else would have been easier?"
Now you know you can't ask me something like that without an answer. So I had to ask her, "Easier for who?"
The book she was talking about was In The Shadow of the Styx by the way.
She then went on to state how it was self-published in a hurry etc blah blah. Well, first of all, In the Shadow of the Styx was actually my first traditionally published book, it went through two editors, plus my beta reader. So I felt like, I can't let this stand. I gotta at least let her readers know that she's full of shit. There was one thing she pointed out that was an actual mistake and that was a paragraph where the name, Armand was replaced with Marcus - I might have told you that In The Shadow of the Styx was written while in the middle of writing Marcus Devereux because Phil and Lillian were just begging for their own story? Well, that was a genuine mistake that no one caught or corrected so thanks for that. Other than that, it was all nitpicking. Why did you use voodoo? Voodoo's not that well was borderline prejudiced.
The general consensus is that you don't reply to reviews of your books, but I think that's bullshit. Every other industry keeps an eye on reviews and if there's a problem, they actually reply to the reviewer and ask for more info or clarify the issue. So why not authors? Why we gotta stand by and let the bullshit stand unchallenged? It gives readers of those reviews a very one-sided view of your product. And when what the person is saying is lies, why not rebut it? I'm not saying stalk your reviewers and pounce on every bad review like a crazed banshee. But if you see an obvious lie, you can point it out.
One review I read said, "I was looking for a nice horror story but this isn't that."
I had to double check my amazon categories in case I'd made a mistake but no, the book was still categorized as a 'thriller' and no, there was nowhere indicated that it was a horror. So...*raises eyebrow*.
I think that the people who want you to shut up and sit down are the same people who write these janky ass reviews.
Now please note that I am not saying every bad review is a janky ass review. I once got a two-star review that I really appreciated because it was written from a place of truth. I just...I can't stand lies and prejudice. I really..can't.
The rule that I live by when writing or marketing or generally living is to march to the beat of my own drum. It's good to hear what other people have to say, but at the end of the day, it's your life, your decisions. Do what feels right for you.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Various and Sundry Author Life Snippets

The trouble with having a life is that sometimes,  you do not have time to do the things you want to. Take this January and February for example. I've had lots of stuff going on in my real life, as a result, I haven't been a very good blogger nor updater of social media. I'm usually a hermit but this year seems to want me to go out and interact with the world.
But you don't care about that right?
Let's get right to it then.
It's a new year, a new paradigm. Old habits still die hard and new ones are difficult to maintain...yet it's possible to do so. For example, my new year's resolution to exercise more and eat less bad things? Still holding. I mean it's slow. I've been trying to swim twice a week but only managed once so far, like I said, life is hectic.
Also, a lot of stuff has been happening in the world that's got me concerned or annoyed or simply amused. I keep meaning to come here and write about it but...time, it's such a problem. I wish it could be stretched to as long as you need, so I could sleep for twelve hours and still have twenty-four hours to finish everything I need to. A day should be thirty-six hours seriously. But then again, thirty-six hour days means the months last longer and ain't nobody got time.
Are you excited for Black Panther? I already put my coins aside for the uber that's taking me to the theatre, the exercise I'll do before so I can hot dog and coke, my outfit...the only thing is y'all uncivilized heffers are going to be shouting and commenting in the cinema hall, jostling me in my seat (coz I know the theatre will be at capacity), chewing loudly...ugh, I hate humans. I know you will ruin my experience. But never mind, I'll still enjoy it because Africans. Speaking of, are you seeing how Lupita and Michael B. Jordan be looking at each other in these press photos? couple alert. You heard it here first.
I recently got an Amazon Fire and it brought home to me in a very real way as opposed to the abstract theoretical way from before, just how many books there are on Amazon. And how difficult it might be for random people to find your book unless it's well positioned. When I open my Kindle Fire there's always a book there on offer because someone is doing a full-time job advertising and of course, KDP customers are a priority for Amazon. It was at once rather demoralizing and also invigorating to realize. Yes, it's difficult to fight your way to the front of the line. But it's also good to know what the problem is so you can tackle it.
My way of tackling it has been to be on the lookout for posts on twitter or facebook that talk about someone looking for a book featuring a storyline/character/emotion/genre that one or more of my books cover and then I reply with a link or a promo pic.
I've also continued the tradition of having a theme for every month. And February's is 'Short Stories for a Short month.' I think I enjoy designing the posts just as much as I enjoy writing the books.
Kylie Jenner did her own creating, of a baby, continuing the Kardashian streak of turning their next generation black. I'm curious for what the future of the brand will look like but I guess they're just adhering to the trend that by 2050 most Americans will look like North West. The new 'All-American' look. I guess that's why white supremacists are panicked.
Speaking of supremacists, our so-called president is going from bad to worse. I went from thinking, 'well at least he isn't as bad as Trump' to wishing he was Trump. Who'da thunk someone would overtake Trump in the total asshole race? Certainly not me.
Anyway, let me stop before I get arrested.
This post has been all over the place.
I think it accurately represents my mental state.
Pray for me.
And get one of my short stories!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

And Another Thing...

When my sisters and I were growing up, my mother used to give us lectures about men. She told us that once a man gets into your pants, that's it. You'll never see him again. She told us to expect men to attempt to break your heart. Expect them to treat you badly. Have your own money and your own shit because even if you're married to a man, he'll give you the bare minimum and expect you to perform miracles with it. Do not even think about getting married unless you have your own shit. (well she didn't say shit, she said money but you get my meanin').
So growing up I had all these notions embedded in my mind and when I met a guy, I expected him to 1) Try his best to get in my pants. 2) Leave as soon as he managed to get in my pants.
Now for number one, my mother was right on the money. Haven't met a guy who didn't try to get in my pants. I never used to think about it though, the automatic answer was no. In my teens and twenties, it got kind of ridiculous because of the sheer volume.There was no chance to even think about it, the answer was just no because 'I know what you're after.'
Now for the ones who did get in my pants, I totally expected them to not call the next day. Like, to this day, I'm still surprised when they do call. (And they all call). That message was so ingrained. What experience taught me was that no, a guy would not fail to call after he'd had some. He'd keep coming back as long as you let him. Which does not mean he's after anything serious or sincere. He just wants to have sex. For a long time, I suffered cognitive dissonance because I didn't understand why these men were not sticking to the script. It took a while for the understanding to take root. To think that my mother might have been wrong about something.
When I got pregnant, I expected that my baby daddy would also follow the script. Claim it wasn't his, accuse me of sleeping around, like in the movies right? I was cynical from the jump when it came to relationships. The fact that he didn't say those things just made me frown with puzzlement. The fact that he blew hot and cold from one day to the next was just confusing.
I am still on the topic of #metoo by the way. That was just a bit of background to provide context. Just like The Swamp is Full of Mystery and In the Shadow of the Styx provide context for Child of Destiny even as they are complete stories on their own.
I have a son, and I teach him to listen if a girl says no. To listen and back the motherfucking hell off. However...
Y'all people with girl children need to teach them what my mother taught me. Never go to a guy's house unless you want to find yourself fighting him off. (Did my mom teach me that one or did I learn it by experience? I guess we'll never know). Always know how you're getting home if you go out with a guy. Learn to say no early and loudly.
Scream if you can.
Scratch, bite and kick him in the nuts if he still can't hear.
Again, did I learn this by experience or at my mother's knee? Doesn't matter. You can learn it from me.
Now that the scene is set, let's see how our menfolk are doing...
The thing with menfolk though, is that they talk a good game don't they? Take the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. for instance. Yesterday was his birthday and my timeline was chock full of quotes from him. And I was just trying to reconcile this guy talking about being judged for the content of your character with the man who habitually cheated on his wife. And I wondered to myself, is it compartmentalizing? You're a pastor, you're all about integrity, but you're also all about infidelity. Which is the real you?
Bob Marley talking about One Love and sharing his single bed and he's busy fathering children left and right with random women.
And their wives.
Their wives are left behind to pick up the pieces, preserve the legacies, keep his good name alive; when all the while, he was fucking around behind your back. I just don't get it.
Is that little thing between their legs so powerful that they are literally led around by their dicks? Have you seen that drawing where a guy's balls are his brains?
Because I gotta tell you, not even as a woman but as a control freak, if something controlled me that much to the extent that it overrides my so-called morals, my integrity, my way of life...I'd cut it off. No one part of your body should have so much power over you.
As I was doing my morning (okay afternoon) walk today I was listening to some 4:44 and there's this song where Hov talks about his dad being a preacher on Sunday and something else during the week. Something opposite of what he was preaching. And it not only taught Hov about hypocrisy and paying lip service to things, it also led him to study other religions which helped him in self-discovery. And he mused on what a blessing and a curse pain is.
And here you have evidence that men can be deeply thoughtful and maybe also self-aware. It is possible. Which just contributes more to the question of why.
Why do you have all these deep and meaningful thoughts on one day and fail to live up to them for the rest of time? I'm not just talking about making a mistake. I'm talking about making the mistake over and over until it's a way of life.
Reminds me also of Tupac, talking on one hand about women's empowerment and on the other about seeing the same ho in all these videos.
He was a wise one though.
Which leads me to women and ho's.
We're in the age where ho's no longer exist, aren't we? Whatever behavior men display, it's totally and 100% their fault.
The truth is, that Hov didn't have to go looking for Becky, she probably pursued him. MLK probably had the so-called church women congregating around him and ready to do whatever he wanted. Same with Bob Marley. The Karueches of the world are quite willing to get ahead on their backs. So how is a man, a powerful man with women throwing themselves at him day and night (see Aziz Ansari) supposed to tell that, no, this one isn't like the others.
I'll tell you how.
See above.
Say no loudly and continuously.
Scream if you have to.
Kick his balls if you must.
Make him hear you.
Doesn't mean he still won't try to force you. But don't make it ambiguous. Did she want it, didn't she want it?
I saw somewhere on twitter that there is now a contract that you can sign giving your consent for sexual intercourse. They should add a checklist of do's and don'ts so that you can check off whatever you're not willing to do and what you are. Everyone signs, it's all nice and legal.
Of course, that takes the romance away from dating. And women, we are so contrary, will probably get annoyed that they have to sign contracts instead of being wined and dined and wooed.
I don't understand women much either.