Jun 08, 2020
maude team

As a part of our maudern people series, we asked New York-based writer Shanika Hillocks for insights on modern intimacy. Shanika has written for publications like Condé Nast Traveller and Healthyish and runs influencer marketing for E&J Gallo Winery.

What is your relationship status?


In your day to day life, how do you make time for intimacy?
Since shelter in place, I've been intentional about appeasing my senses regularly. For smell, that's palo santo in the morning and fresh eucalyptus in the shower. With touch, daily self-massage. For sight and taste, a thoughtfully-plated meal. Recently, I've started sending voice notes as a new way to touch base with friends and hear their voices. Most importantly, I'm holding space to love on my Black friends on the daily.

You feel the most loved when ____
I'm surrounded by family and friends. In our absence from one another, FaceTime calls and safe, social-distanced hangs that have no time limit are key.

How do you meet people?
As I've gotten older, I've invested my energy in friends who have my best interest at heart and reciprocate care. Quality over quantity. In turn, they show up for me in several ways, one of which is introductions to amazing people.

What is your stance on dating apps? What is a turn-off or something you look for?
I'm not a fan of dating apps as I find them to be disingenuous. Similar to how many of us are feeling with video communication, there's a fatigue that I experience in romantic engagement through an app, especially since so much of my work is done digitally. Most of my relationships started out as pleasant surprises and led to courtship. I'm a bit old-fashioned in that way. At this point in my life, I look for emotional, intellectual, and spiritual balance. A great smile and anti-racist intelligence are non-negotiables.


Nora Varcho

Theodore Samuels

A favorite literary or on-screen romance: Nola Darling with all her suitors in "She's Gotta Have It"

Unexpected turn-on: Pillow talk

The perfect date: Jazz lounge, a one-of-everything-on-the-menu dinner, then ending with a long walk in the park.

Your in the mood food: Fresh Malfadine pasta with a garlic, tomato and basil sauce topped with quality EVOO

Drink of choice: Rye Manhattan served up (cocktail) or a glass of Franciacorta (wine).

A sexy or intimate song you love: Bad Habits by Maxwell

Dating advice to your younger self: Let him take the lead.

What your parents said about love and relationships: "It takes work."

Favorite scent: "Ground Yourself" roll-on by I See You