For many women in their twenties, the main focus is to find someone to settle down with and build that happily ever after story. So much so to the point where we can become serial daters and bounce from one relationship to the next. That was the case for producer extraordinaire, Krystal Franklin.

In November of 2020, Krystal decided to make a decision for herself: start dating multiple people at once. She began to record and post some of her experiences with different men on social media. The feedback she received from men and women was so welcoming, that she decided to begin a new series on her Instagram called “With A Boy.”



Read as Krystal opens up about her experiences dating multiple men and all of the lessons she learned throughout. She also talks how she battles stereotypes that box women in regarding their femininity.

Zayna Allen: Let’s just start off with your original decision towards the end of 2020, when you decided to date multiple people at once. Did you think that you would create something that would resonate with so many women?

Krystal Franklin: No, I didn’t. I absolutely had no idea. It was something that I literally thought of in the middle of being… with a boy. I was like, this would be so much fun if I just document this for myself and the guy at the time was like, “Oh, that would be so dope. You could be like a black Carrie Bradshaw in LA.”

At the time it was literally just me documenting it for myself. I had no intentions of sharing it. Then, one day I just decided to just use it. I posted it and was like, I need a cute name. You know, the producer in me, I always want a cute name for something. So “With a Boy” randomly came up, I posted it and the response was insane.

Most of it was just like “Oh my God, what is this? Who is that? Is that your man?” People were just being cute and nosy. I found myself explaining why I decided to start this journey. I just got to LA June 2020, moved into my apartment September 2020, and then started this in November of 2020. We didn’t have a lot going on, we were in the house. So I just wanted to do something fun.

ZA: What are some of the reactions you get from other men that you dated? I know you said the first one was the one that kind of gave you that push to really do it when you thought of it. But what do these other men say when you tell them “I’m going to record this, I’m going to post this?”

KF: You know what, that’s the thing. I think people assume that I record every single date that I’ve ever been on with a guy and that I’m posting every single thing. I’m actually not, you probably got to make it to maybe date four-ish before I even think about adding you to this whole “With A Boy” thing. So it’s never a situation where they feel weird about it. And honestly, I’m not like holding the phone for hours and hours. Even when I’m just out kicking it with my friends, I get my little two, three minutes in and then I put the phone down and I enjoy whatever is happening in real time.

So they don’t actually care. No one has ever been like, no, I don’t want this. I don’t really ask because there’s also not a situation where I am like literally putting the phone in their face.  I think it just really depends on the man first, but in the last two years, no one has ever had an adverse reaction to it. They all think it’s fun and it’s cool. And they all go into it knowing that I am dating multiple people and that I do have this series. So my thing is if you know that already about me, then if we get to this point where I am documenting it, it shouldn’t be an issue, right? And if it is, you are more than welcome to say something. 

ZA: When you officially first introduced your series on Instagram, you mentioned that this was the first time in 35 years that you made the decision to date, essentially, for fun. This has been about almost two years now, how do you think this experience has liberated your thoughts on romantic relationships?

KF: I’ll be 36 soon and about six years ago when I turned 30 — I know it’s so cliché, but– something happened inside of me and I do think sometimes it happens inside of most women. It was just something about the word, “no.” I felt liberated to just say no. No without guilt, no without question, no, without an explanation and that liberation turned into liberation in other areas of my life.  I wanted for the first time to actually be happy in life. I wanted to not feel bad about my desires and my thoughts when it came to dating and sex. I wanted to be honest and it took me a while to get to that.

I’ve always been booed up even before I moved. When I was in Dallas, I had a boyfriend like every three months. What does Gucci say? “Miss one, next 15, one coming.” That was me. I was hopping from relationship to relationship, not dealing with my own stuff. I wasn’t properly healing. I wasn’t properly understanding what was happening. I was just going from guy to guy to guy. I was never taking the time to figure out, “Okay, why did this end like this? What did you contribute to this ending?” I would just go to the next guy. Finally I was like, you know what? I think what I wanna do for the first time ever is actually date.

That was so exciting for me, that was so important to me as well, because I never had that experience in my adult life ever. That was just never part of my experience. I feel like I’m arriving at dating much later in life, but I also am glad that it happened at this time and in this way.

ZA: Alternatively, I’m sure that you have a few haters as well. Knowing you and the badass you are, I’m sure that, if anything, receiving backlash may have pushed you to show the beauty behind dating several people at once, even more.  Although we know that everything isn’t for everyone,  how did their views against what you’re doing help you understand the boxes people tend to put themselves in while they’re dating?

KF: It made me think of specifically Black women. I can remember growing up, hearing things in music, hearing things in movies and film and TV, hearing things at church, hearing things at your grand mama house. They’re likely just repeating things that they’ve heard over the last few decades. And it doesn’t matter if they don’t agree with it or not. Women are supposed to be seen and not heard, not going to ever get a man doing this, wearing this and saying that. The Bible says women should be meek and mild. All these rules and these standards. Everybody was always talking about what women should do to get a man. You very rarely hear about what men need to bring to the table as well.

So it just, it brought me back to thinking about how the white girls in high school dated so much differently than the Black girls. They were dating 35 different people at one time when we were like 15 and they married at 25. Let a black girl do it, you know, that’s frowned upon.

All that to say, I just realized through this process that women are often taught at a very young age, what we should and shouldn’t do with our bodies, with our minds, with everything. It was something about turning 30, I was just like, f*ck this. I really just want to be me. I have lied to myself and lied to everybody else, my entire life about who I am. I finally wanna have control of my thoughts and my body, and I wanna do this my way now. It took some time to get there for sure.

I don’t get a lot of negative feedback. It just reminded me that we live in such a very small and, and horrible bubble, honestly. It’s not fun to live your life based on what everyone else thinks you should be doing. I get it, like there’s, there’s so many opinions floating around that. Sometimes it can be very hard to actually hear your own thoughts. That’s what the pandemic did for me; it forced me to slow down, but it also forced me to really just hear myself. 

I get things done because I am a woman.

ZA: Taking a step back on people’s views on women and what women should be doing, you’ve always been very transparent about your sexuality on social media, which is something that many women wouldn’t even, even consider. How do you think that you may have pushed the agenda to end the stigma that it’s, unladylike to flaunt your sexuality outside of the bedroom?

KF: For my entire life, I’d always heard that I was a distraction. So growing up in the black church, you know, you put the little cloth over your, your knees, so you don’t distract the man, you don’t dress a certain way because you don’t wanna distract a man and all these things about distracting men. And of course you do it because you’re growing up in the church and that’s just what you’ve been taught to do.

Then, I just got to thinking, “Why is everything about men?” How come we don’t talk about men turning their heads and looking away if a woman does come into an environment and she may not be dressed appropriately?

All of those experiences hit me at around 25 and I was so tired of hearing about women in the way that they should be dressing. It is possible for a woman to be smart and sexy.

I just wanted to make sure that if I was gonna push any narrative, it was just that women do not have to choose between being smart and sexy. We do not ever question men if they walk into somewhere with a little chest out or licking their lips in a nice suit. You don’t ever question if they are qualified or if they know what they’re talking about.

I’m tired of the antiquated views around women and dress code. Are there moments when, you know, you may need to pull back on some of the femininity and sexuality? Sure. But my favorite thing about myself is my femininity. I lean into my femininity. It’s never in an inappropriate way. There are just certain lanes that I don’t cross, but there is also joy in my femininity.

I get things done because I am a woman. Like there’s just a softer touch of things that I offer. So I never wanna shy away from my femininity and then my sexuality. Cause I think it’s very important that women own their agency, whatever your sexuality is, however you like to identify it. I think it’s very important that you own that.

ZA: Going back into dating there is a possibility of course, of heartbreak, right? How do you navigate those moments when a romance does end?

KF: I don’t think everything does has to be romantic. I do think that sometimes we think we look as dating as a gateway to a romantic situation. Sometimes dating is literally just for fun. You hook up every now and then you have a good time, but no one is super invested romantically. 

I also never wanted to rush to a ring or marriage or babies or anything else that society told me I probably should be looking forward to at almost 36 years old. So, I’m very clear about that in the beginning.  Do I want a relationship? Absolutely. But right now I’m open to just dating a few people at once. If those feelings grow, then we have a conversation about it.

There are times that the feelings have grown and at that point you do have to be very honest. Also, if a situation has to end because you’re not on the same page or life is happening and it’s just not happening for y’all together at the time, you again, have to be honest. I had a very recent situation with a guy was dating where we did decide to be exclusive. After about three and a half months, we called it quits. It was a mutual decision, but it still hurt like hell. We had to have the very tough conversation about why this wasn’t working, if it could possibly work again in the future, and would we be open to spinning the block and doing this again.

 

That’s where I think a lot of us get our feelings hurt because we don’t like what we’re hearing and we’re trying to defend it. We also just can’t accept the fact that sometimes things do end but it’s okay for something to end. If anything, I would love that it didn’t go 2, 3, 4, 5 years in versus something that could have ended in three months and we saved the friendship.

 

That’s always important. Even if this doesn’t work out, I still wanna be cordial. I still wanna be able to hang out or see you across the room and come hug you, say what’s up and move around with no bad feelings, because ultimately, unless you’ve done something super extreme, I’m typically okay with still having a friendship afterwards.

ZA: To round out our chat here, we know you’re a producer and as a producer myself, I know oftentimes I don’t know how to turn it off properly. I think of like my life and the things that I encounter and think that this would be some nice content. So, with that being said, do you plan on taking “With A Boy” and turning it into something greater than a mini Instagram series that you have now?

KF: [Laughs] Absolutely not. I have no plans on it honestly, because it’s my real life. It’d be different if it was something that I made up that I really wasn’t super connected to but everybody else liked. It’s easier to sell that kind of stuff and make that a brand, but this is my real life.

I do want to make sure that I am enjoying it first. I want to  make sure I’m not monetizing every single thing. There are some things that are just for me and for joy. Oftentimes, because we do work in the fields that we do, we want to turn things into, you know, books, movies, films, documentaries, podcasts. All that is fine, but then I’m likely not going to enjoy it as much because now it’s work.

This is not something that happened 5, 6, 7 years ago. I’m actually living this in real time. I want to keep it as safe and, and sweet and cute and cool and aspiring, inspiring as possible.

So many people tell me this could be like a TV show and I get it. But, let me have it for a little bit. You know, I ain’t had it that long. Until I meet that someone then by that time it’s gonna be “With My Man” I have to change a little bit. Right now I’m enjoying it. Just being fun and, and cute and simple and cool.

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