The Engagement Game

One of my friends makes fun of me because I literally send her IG pics of birds. It’s funny when you realize how much male birds have to do Just for a chance to get chose by a female bird. He has to bring his A-game or he’ll risk being alone and single forever. That’s how it is in the animal kingdom. In the human world it’s not like that at all.

Photo by @joepetersburger / @thephotosociety // THE GIFT // Bee eater male (left) offers a dragonfly to his mate. This ceremony is part of the behavior called "courtship feeding", when male feeds the female hoping to get mating opportunity. Female bee eaters are not digging the nesting hole and rarely hunt during a certain period. Male does the hard job, but it is rational: females need to produce 5-7 eggs within a short time. Moreover, female is counting! It depends on regions how much, but where I was shooting, male had to produce 8-10 gifts for each mating… Please #followme at @joepetersburger to keep up-to-date with my images! @natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel @natgeofineart @thephotosociety @canonusa @canonuk 
#joepetersburger #natgeo #moment #canon #educateandinspire #findbeautyeveryday

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Women have to wait for a proposal…. Doesn’t matter how amazing they are or how much of a suitable companion they are… She has to wait for her beau to pop that question. God forbid she wants to take initiative and proposes to her bae!!!

I thank Joi-Marie McKenzie for her first novel, The Engagement Game. Although many of the names have been changed, her novel is based on a lot of her of own personal experiences that she has chronicled in her private journals and e-mails. We didn’t have to sneak and read her diary while she wasn’t looking, she put it all out there! I believe this is what really makes this novel amazing, she’s honest and relate-able! The book reads like a 90s-2000s Black Movie with an all-star cast: she’ll probably be played by Sanaa Lathan and there will be appearances by the likes of Idris Elba, Mekhi Phifer, and Regina Hall. Like seriously when you read it, you will be wondering when the movie will come out.

Let me ask you this question, why is there a stigma associated with women who are not married and why are women told to be on their best behaviors at all times so their beau can possibly see them as marriage material? This is why the book is called the Engagement Game, as you go through her personal testimony, there’s a common thread; having to sacrifice a little bit of herself and values just to hope that she will be deemed worthy for someone to pop the question.

The Engagement Game – Joi-Marie McKenzie Bio

She writes “But neither one of us wanted to let go because we didn’t see the shift happening. They were so gradual and so slow- like tectonic plates- that we ddin’t realize we weren’t in the same place anymore until a crash, an explosion, and earthquake happened……. No wonder Adam was burned out. He was tired of this dance we tried to choreograph. BUT NOW I WANTED TO RECLAIM MYSELF. I HAD TO RECLAIM MYSELF.”

Lordttttt…… how many of us have felt like this…. we lost a little bit of ourselves in our quest to find that life-long love and companionship. Joi-Marie allows us into her world which makes her seem so familiar, like a best-friend in our heads! But seriously we see the sisterhood she has formed with her friends, the close relationship she has with her family; how she can go from a red carpet event at the Grammy’s, to travelling to DC with her bank account flat lined, from the Joi who’s in thriving poppin relationships to her being single sad at home with her dog watching Say Yes to the Dress…. She’s not a fictional character who’s life just falls into place and by the end of the film she’s married to Morris Chestnut. So its hard not to relate to her and this is coming from a guy!

The Engagement Game spoke so much life into me.  I literally couldn’t put the book down, so I took off the book cover (so nobody knew I was reading a ‘girlie book’) and read it everyday on the train. I gotta say this! Miscommunication ruins nations; if you’re with somebody that you have no plans on being more than just boyfriend/girlfriend who share an apartment, you need to make that clear. Be impeccable with your words! Being in a relationship, single, or married doesn’t validate your existence! So many of us (especially women) are in that phase where it’s like “I’m going to ignore certain things because I want that ring! But sacrificing your beliefs and values will only make you lose that commitment you made to yourself! I love how she incorporates a lot of advice from many different people. Joi-Marie’s tribe really holds her down through her novel! From her aunt to her parents, to her girlfriends to Jill Scott, to her ex-boyfriends to her overseas travel ,to Engagement Chicken (that’s a real thing lol); Joi-Marie is able to find herself and have a strong stance on what she wants in her relationships! Just like the title says “Why I said ‘I Don’t’ to marriage, and ‘I do’ to myself! Remember in a game there are winners and losers….. Love ain’t a game! Reclaim yourself …. compromise in your relationships…. but don’t Sacrifice your Values!


*Joi-Marie McKenzie is an entertainment and lifestyle writer for ABC News. She is also the author of The Engagement Game: Why I Said ‘I Don’t’ to Marriage and ‘I Do’ to Me, out March 21, 2017. Previously, McKenzie has contributed to ABC Radio, NBC New York and NBC Washington. McKenzie is an in-demand panelist and workshop facilitator. She has spoken about a range of digital media topics at Columbia University, University of Maryland, Blogger Week, and Blogalicious. McKenzie is a graduate from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and University of Maryland, College Park.


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