Elgin Lumpkin, better known to pop and R&B music fans around the world as Ginuwine, first hit the airwaves in 1996 with the chart-topping hit single “Pony” from his platinum debut album Ginuwine…The Bachelor. Six albums later, the 40-year-old crooner has transformed from gyrating playboy to devoted husband and father, expanding his horizons at every turn.
In addition to releasing his latest album Elgin on February 15, 2011, Ginuwine also signed on as a spokesman for Adult Chocolate Milk (vodka and creamy chocolate – nothing wrong with that!), and is co-starring in the John Ruffin stage play The Ideal Husband alongside Darrin Dewitt Henson, Clifton Powell, Jackée Harry and Shirley Murdock. The play airs on the GMC network on February 26, with an encore showing on March 5.
In our quest to find new love solutions for our Gen-X fam, UrbLife.com asked Ginuwine to give us his key tips for a successful dating life. We also found out more about his role in The Ideal Husband, how he is still finding ways to connect with longtime fans, and why it really is possible to have fun when you’re married!
Let us know your top do’s and dont’s for dating. How do you keep the magic going?
1. The guy should pay
It’s not anything set in stone; I just think that it’s the gentleman thing to do. Not saying that the woman can’t, but its tradition. It doesn’t matter, whoever asks should pay. If the woman says she wants to take you out, it’s insulting to her if you try to pay.
2. Recommend options!
If I was to call and say that I wanted to take you out, is there a special thing that you have a taste for? What kind of food do you like? It can be anything. I would say that. That’s what I mean by options.
3. Don’t expect the goodies on the first night
If you’re two grown folks, you know what you’re getting into. At the same time for a guy, it’s kind of funny to him sometimes, because he’s like, “Ok, does she do this all of the time?” I guess it’s all on who it is, the vibe, and all that stuff. Me, honestly, if I’m taking somebody out for the first time, I’m not saying that if we did something I wouldn’t be with them. It would make it a little more difficult for me, because the first thing I would think is, “Does she do this all of the time?”
4. Be spontaneous!
You could plan something out, but also something out of the ordinary. If you plan to go out to eat, why don’t you take her for a walk afterwards or to a jazz or comedy club? Don’t end it with food! [laughs]
5. Make conversation
Don’t let long periods of silence happen. It’s like an awkward moment, and then you start to second guess it. Me, I’m not a talker until I might drink something. I would make sure that I’m feeling nice, not drunk but a buzz. That’s a great way to break the ice. I don’t recommend just always drinking, but people tend to hold back when they first meet people and that’s not the actual them. When you get that liquor inside of you, you start getting a little loose and letting people know who you really are.
I don’t mind it because I’m a cool dude. When I was ‘out there’, I really didn’t mind it because I didn’t have any secrets. I was never crazy or cursing all day, I was never that kind of person. I was just more open and talkative with people. If it’s someone who talks too much, then you have your answer if you’re going on a second date or not.
6. Dress appropriately
If a woman comes out half-dressed or showing something she shouldn’t show on the first date, a man would tend to stare at that or be interested in just that. I’m not saying don’t dress great, because you want to feel sexy and do your thing and you want to be attracted to each other. Just don’t overdo it.
Hygiene is a given. If the breath or underarms are stinking or the back of your heels is ashy and crusty, that’s not good at all. Lotion your feet. Always smell good but don’t overdo it.
7. Have good manners
Don’t do it to the point where it’s overly done. I open the door for my wife. I don’t leave her when we’re walking together. I don’t walk in front of her, I walk beside her. I hold her hand. Definitely have manners. Any man that takes a woman out and she see that he doesn’t have any manners, and then she’s gone. If you overdo it, it’s not a part of who you are.
Just do what you normally do as a man. You can’t carry on a lie but for so long. My wife teaches etiquette, and I had to learn that as well. She teaches our daughters that.
What’s the difference for you in dating as a single man and dating as a married man? Have you changed?
Ginuwine: When I was single, I was expecting that thing at night! [laughs]It was just about having fun, and it still is about that, but it’s a different life. When I was single, I was bringing her to my boy’s house and they had girls. We were playing cards, drinking, and having fun.
When you’re married it’s more subtle, it’s not as outgoing. It can be, but you determine that by whom it is that you’re with and how you have grown. I don’t even like to do those things anymore that I used to do, drinking and going to the club. I’m still out here in this world and I do that for my life, so when I don’t have to do that it’s great.
When I take my wife out, we’ll go to the movies. It’s typical, but we actually love doing that. Like, we can’t wait to go to the movies! I’m glad that she’s not that complex where I’m trying to figure out what the hell she likes to do. We both love to go to the restaurants and eat. Those are the two things that people do anyway, but we actually love to do.
How does it feel at this stage in your career to be putting out an album? What are people going to get from this new album?
Ginuwine: It feels great to be putting out an album! This is my seventh CD and I’ve been in this game for 15 years, so needless to say I’m pretty seasoned in this business now. It’s been definitely a blessing that I still do what I do and have people come out to see me do shows, travel and make a living.
My CD came out February 15 and it’s called Elgin. We have Bryan-Michael Cox, Tank, Diane Warren, and a few up and coming producers like Sleepytime and Ali. It’s a great situation for me. I’m looking forward to number 10 – if I can make it to number 10, I’ll be satisfied and hang up my shoes!
Tell us about the play The Ideal Husband and your role in it.
Ginuwine: My role is Reggie, and it’s about me coming home and falling back in love with an old girlfriend, stirring up some old emotions. She already is with someone, and she still likes me so we get back together. Basically it’s about having the ideal husband, but it’s also saying that everybody has secrets.
In order for you to proceed or be happy in life, you must forgive also and cleanse your heart in order for you to be healed. That’s important in life. If you don’t forgive someone, you’re actually hurting yourself, because you’re living in that pain and hurt.
Click HERE to watch the teaser for The Ideal Husband and read more about the play!
Watch Ginuwine’s “Heaven” video, from the Elgin album