Friday, July 31, 2009

Bougie Dating Tips

Disclaimer: I am not saying that Bougie Love is different from everybody else's love. I'm just saying I'm writing what I know about. Along those lines, I'm only discussing heterosexual dating since I'm unfamiliar with homosexual romance (NTTAWWT – not that there's anything wrong with that). Lastly, please recall – bouge knows no color, it's all love ya'll. M'kay? Lovely, let's get started.

Next week we will be working on The Definition of Bouge including the Sliding Scale of Bouge, a new game show called How Bougie Is This? and a series on WBPD – What Bougie People Do (that some people think we shouldn't). So in preface to that, one way to convert oneself to bouge-nificence is by marrying into it. To marry into it, you have to attract it and date it.

I was on a site the other day and all of these guys were telling the ladies to "stay in their lane" while the girls were saying things like, "He has to come with xyz to step to me!" All of that sounds good but truth be told if everyone believed that, no one would marry up. Bill Cosby was a moderately successful comedian from the Philly projects when he rolled up on Camille, a debutante from an upper middle class family. I'm a firm believer in "nothing ventured, nothing gained." So I decided to put together a few tips. Thank you to BougieFriends and BougieFam for pitching in.

First of all, you'll need to hang out where bougie people are (we'll cover next week) and you'll need to be comfortable (next week). Let's say you have accomplished that much. Now what?

Here are our tips below (clearly not comprehensive):

Want to attract a Bougie Male? Tips for the Ladies

Want to attract a Bougie Lady? Tips for the Fellas


Ladies, damn the legend of the evolved male. Men may talk that "mind over matter" yakkity-yak but they all want someone drool-worthy on their arm. If you aren't as fine as you can be, fake it. Get your hair tight, your nails right, your face smiling and your outfit bangin'.

Ladies all like the tall, fit and fine. (read Denzel) But if you lack those attributes you should replace them with something substantive: sense of humor, general niceness, finance (sad but true), personality plus and of course, bring the sexy.

General Grooming Tips

Unless you work in a fish-packing plant or just got off the treadmill there's no reason to ever smell bad in public. I mean it ladies, there's no sexxxy in stank… none.

Gentlemen, I cannot stress the importance of lotion and nail clippers, okay? Also, when all else fails, overdress. No one hates on a nice jacket.

Tips from BougieFolks

BougieMom says a lady never leaves the house without her lipstick or earrings on - I have failed at this more often then I care to admit. Then again, I'm still single… my bad!

BougieMaleFriend is a firm believer of walking around like your shiggity has no odor nor would you care if it did. The world is yours.

Most requested by the opposite sex

Heels. The higher the better. (Le Sigh)

Button-fly jeans that fit. And you know what we mean by fit.


Old School Alert! You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Be nice, friendly, and interested in what he has to say.

I know everyone hates the word "swagger" but fellas, get some. And use it. Also, Aretha sang a tune called R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to us quickly.

Tips from BougieFolks

Intelligence goes a long way, a woman who can make great conversation is halfway home.

Ambition works. So does the flattery from your obvious single-minded determination to catch and keep us. Think on it. And yes, you must "speak well" too.

More Tips from BougieFolks

Dial back the snobberificness. Having taste and standards does not equal keeping your nose up in the stratosphere. Self-confidence good, excessive snobbery bad.

Dial back the arrogance. The rest of the world may think your shiggity don't stink, we know better. Self-confidence good, excessive arrogance bad.


Have some or get some, the more the better.

Have some or get some, the more the better.


Double Standard Alert! A woman's brokeness can be evened out with fineness. (Stop me when I'm lyin'.) A man will overlook some of your financial nonsense if you are off the chains gorgeous. However, my sisters - sooner or later you will need to hold up your end somehow. Your skillz in the kitchen (as well as other rooms in the house) need to be on point if you are bringing no finances to the table.

The days of No Romance without Finance are well... still around for the most part; but if you can show an upwardly mobile plan (that does not involve unrealistic Hoops Dreams), that goes a long way. Women respect the hustle.


Ya'll already knowin' how I feel about the promiscuity. Hold onto it girls, it's not going anywhere. Beyond that, be true to yourself. Pretending to be someone you're not is exhausting and always backfires.

A True Gentleman never goes out of style. Need I say more?

Tips from BougieFolks

Every time I went out, one BougieParent would say, "Act like a Lady," and the other would follow with, "Remember how we raised you!" Still in my head, ya'll.

From BougieMaleFriend: Get some culture about yourself fellas. Learn enough about wines to be able to order. Try the theatre instead of a movie. Musuems exist. Entertain a lady with more than your Xbox skill.

More Tips from BougieFolks

Learn the art of great conversation

Learn the art of listening

Most requested by the opposite sex

Apparently, the fellas wouldn't mind if we at least offered to pick up a tab every now and again. Also about the "cupcakes": do NOT be that girl who has rules about when you parcel it out. (Stop listening to Steve Harvey)

To continue this analogy: gents would like the cupcakes more often and without having to plead for dessert. Assume he always wants dessert.

Have a plan, return a phone call and state your intentions. About the "cupcakes": if we aren't giving them to you, there's a reason. If we are, just enjoy it. Why you always want speciality cupcakes (sprinkles and frosting and whatnot)?

To continue this analogy, if you are terrible at cake-baking, there will be no more dessert for you.


Don't put your friends in the middle of your relationship.

Don't put your friends in the middle of your relationship.

Strategies Tried

The Boomerang

This is the person that keeps coming back even after they have been thrown away, it rarely works unless you have changed the reason you were tossed in the first place

This is the person that keeps coming back even after they have been thrown away, it rarely works unless you have changed the reason you were tossed in the first place

The Ally

Find out which of his boys he's closest to and impress the hell out of him

Find out which family member she's closest to and impress the hell out of them

The Hangaround

This is when a person just hangs around and hangs around as your "friend" and finally one day you say, "Okay, we'll give it a shot." It's been known to work but it's a risky (and time-consuming) strategy

Be sure the Hangaround doesn't turn stalkery

The Freebie

Hate this one. This is when you just give the person whatever they want, whenever they want to get them to stick around. It's a formula tthat can get you taken advantage of… quickly and repeatedly.

Works the same way with woman. It's still a formula that can get you taken advantage of… quickly and repeatedly.

The Dazzle

Similar to the Freebie: You make every day a holiday for your man. You make paella from scratch, take his Mama shopping, you clean his house, take his Armani to the Dry Cleaners, dress up like a French Maid every night. Exhausting but you just might catch him.

You are buying diamonds, running bathwater, taking her on trips to exotic white sandy beaches, filling her closet full of her favorite designer. Expensive but you just might catch her.

TRO (Restraining Order)-worthy

Don't GPS your man. And your impersonation of Saran wrap is why your last man left. Stop clinging. Stalking isn't bougie.

Yes, 25 calls in a day is 23 too many. Cyberstalking is now a crime.

The Keith Sweatt of it all

Whining and begging only works in R&B songs, sometimes not even then.

Whining and begging is even less attractive for men, Keith has the market cornered.

TV as metaphors

If you are playing Jeopardy! you need to know just enough about each category to survive to Final Jeopardy. If BougieMan loves re-runs of HBO's The Wire, you need to get up to speed on Stringer Bell's death, the rise of Marlo and why no one wants to run into Snoop in a dark alley. What I'm saying is - knowing a little bit about everything your man loves puts you way ahead of the game.

Every now and then, you're going to have to sit through a Sex and the City marathon without complaint. You'll have to turn off Still Fast & Still Furious and cede control of the remote. In other words, if you give a little, you'll get a lot.

Clichés to remember

Anything worth doing, is worth doing well

All that glitters isn't gold

Final Tip

That which brings man and woman (bougie or not) together remains a mystery. So these "tips" are chock full of entertainment value only

Okay, audience participation time. Feel free to agree or disagree with this non-scientific list. What's the best dating tip you have received or heard? What the worst?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tough times in Texas, ya’ll

I'm a Texan, born and raised. I don't apologize for it, no matter how many times people expect me to. So what if we hand out the death penalty for jay-walking and hit 100° in May? So what if religion and football sometimes get confused? It's where I'm from and there's no place like home, right?

When they elected GWB to the governorship, I fled to California and did not return for close to ten years. (Actually the two events were not related, but I like to act like they are.) California and Texas have a lot of similarities: they are both huge in population and land mass; the NoCal vs SoCal feud is a carbon copy to the Dallas folks vs. Houston folks battle; and both tend to act that their state is actually a nation unto its self.

However, California was brutally expensive and had a state income tax that was no joke. 1200 square feet in California equals 3000 square feet in the Texas yet the salaries are pretty similar. So I'm back home in Texas. "Why did you go back?" I'm asked repeatedly by my East and West Coast friends. Family and finance were my motivating factors. Most days I'm happy to be back, however; my fellow Texans are making it hard.

Exhibit A: GWB. Nuff said. The fact that he now lives less than 12 miles away from my house makes me a little itchy in the middle of the night sometimes.

Exhibit B: Rick Perry. More concerned with his hair products and political aspirations then the actual health and welfare of his constituents. We've already had to "go override" on him twice for the stimulus dollars. Can you say re-election year, Rick? I know I can.

Exhibit C: John Cornyn – made a complete idiot of himself at the Sotomayor hearings. He should be ashamed… but he's not. Did he really think offending a Hispanic while representing the largest BORDER STATE in the union was a good idea?

Exhibit D: Our sports teams. With the exception of the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Stars, Texas has consistently presented the world with high expectations, overhype and under performance for the last decade. I present to you the Rockets, the Astros, the Texans, the Rangers, the Mavericks and last not least, the Cowboys. And DON'T get me started on the owners. I mean it.

Exhibit E: This mess going on in Azle, Texas. Yes, someone actually posted a "No Hispanics Allowed" sign in public.

Exhibit F: This OTHER mess going on in Paris, Texas. Bad enough ya'll still dragging (literally) bruhs up and down the street. You drop the charges and don't expect a protest? The Nation of Islam and New Black Panthers battling Neo-Nazis and the KKK in the streets. I'm so proud.

I could go on, but that's enough for now. It's been a long time since our glory days of J.R. Ewing, Cowboys' SuperBowl wins and Ann Richards (who didn't love Ann?). The best thing I can say about Texas right now is that the cost of living is still great, the ratio of shops & restaurants per capita in the Dallas Area is still the highest in the nation and of course, I'm here.

Hey, if you don't mind overt racism and love a great steak, come on down! I'll buy the first round of mango margaritas! Comment as you like! ;-)

Thursday Short: Can a Bougie Chick get a sip?

I too would like to have a beer (actually a glass of Chilean Shiraz) with the President and Vice-President. Who do I need to handcuff? Whose civil rights can I violate? I'm just sayin'... how many people in America would kill for this opportunity?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Poly- what?!

I first glimpsed the term two days ago in someone's tweet. A colleague on Twitter let me know that he was attending a lecture on The Rise of Polyamory in the New Millennium. Hmm, I thought. What new psycho-nonsense is this? I ignored it. Then it popped up on one of my news feeds as a new cultural trend and I realized I was going to have to at the very least look it up.

Polyamory (from Wikipedia): is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and free consent of everyone involved.

Polyamory, often abbreviated to poly, is sometimes described as consensual, ethical, or responsible non-monogamy. The word is occasionally used more broadly to refer to any sexual or romantic relationships that are not sexually exclusive, though there is disagreement on how broadly it applies; an emphasis on ethics, honesty, and transparency all around is widely regarded as a crucial defining characteristic.

Uh-huh. So I popped over to Newsweek to read the article (it's the new sexual revolution!) and watch the corresponding video which is chock-full of melanin-challenged folks swapping spit with like-minded others, smiling broadly, and talking earnestly about their "lifestyle." Now supposedly, this is not to be confused with polygamy or communes or "swinging" and truly works because all of the partners are aware and okay with the situation. There is apparently a movement underway to allow "multi-partner marriages."

I am so sorry to have to say this BUT I CALL BULLSHIGGITY! Double BULLSHIGGITY! Here's why:

  1. WTF is ethical, responsible non-monogamy?!!? Isn't that a misnomer, oxymoron, some sort of contradictory statement?
  2. We don't need a new sexual revolution, seriously. We need fewer folks out there passing it around like downloaded 2-for-1 KFC coupons.
  3. I don't know a single gentleman that I have dated who would be okay with me sharing the cupcakes… not a one. And know this… I DON'T SHARE… well not my man anyway and don't tell me it's not all about the sex. It's just as bad to share emotional intimacy all over town. OneChele is so not having it.
  4. What's wrong with a few traditional boundaries and rules? What's so bad about A&B, 1 + 1 = 2?
  5. This is immature but may I say, "Eeeewww! That's nasty ya'll." Hello? Communicable diseases?

I have many questions. Does every partner get to vote on who joins the partnership? If a partner is kicked off Multi-Love Island, do they get alimony/palimony? How are kids in the mix with issues of attachment and discipline and custody? If there is a group schedule (and I assume there must be), what happens when one misses their spot in the rotation? Next batter up to the plate? Where does everybody live? NO one gets jealous? NO one plays favorites? Are you really getting the best of someone if they are spreading it across three, five (or seven) different people? My head hurts.

You know, I can't even come up with a fair and unbiased evaluation of this nonsense. Whoever decided to promote this as an acceptable long-term relationship solution to be emulated and glorified is full of you know what (say it with me now… bullshiggity!). Call me old-fashioned… I can live with that. Here's what I will say… this is SO NOT bougie. The whole concept seems like sanctioned skankery (yes, I made that word up).

I have to ease a race card out of my back pocket now, folks. This does not seem to be a "black thing." Yeah, yeah – I know we're all "post-racialicious" and there is no such thing as a "black" thing and a "white" thing but… I'm sorry, I don't know too many of the brothers co-signing on this one and sisters are notorious for going left (think hot grits and cast-iron pans for reference) on their indiscreet menfolk. Is this something that would be more accepted in other subcultures or even nationalities? I really don't know and look forward to some input. I also look forward to someone submitting a positive spin on this; I couldn't come up with one (clearly).

What does this say about our society that multi-partner relationships are supposedly the new hip trend? Is this another nail in the coffin for marriage? What do you think of the polyamory lifestyle?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quick Post: Hoops & Healthcare

President Obama welcomes the WNBA Champions Detroit Shock to the White House in Washington

Monday, Prez 44 was greeting WNBA champions while flexing his ball handling skills. Today, he is going to have to add some fancy footwork, fast-talking and chin checks to get this healthcare thing done. Here's the email he sent supporters today:

Dear Friend,

If you’re like most Americans, there’s nothing more important to you about health care than peace of mind. Given the status quo, that’s understandable. The current system often denies insurance due to pre-existing conditions, charges steep out-of-pocket fees – and sometimes isn’t there at all if you become seriously ill. It’s time to fix our unsustainable insurance system and create a new foundation for health care security. That means guaranteeing your health care security and stability with eight basic consumer protections:

  • No discrimination for pre-existing conditions
  • No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays
  • No cost-sharing for preventive care
  • No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill
  • No gender discrimination
  • No annual or lifetime caps on coverage
  • Extended coverage for young adults
  • Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid
Learn more about these consumer protections at Over the next month there is going to be an avalanche of misinformation and scare tactics from those seeking to perpetuate the status quo. But we know the cost of doing nothing is too high. Health care costs will double over the next decade, millions more will become uninsured, and state and local governments will go bankrupt. It’s time to act and reform health insurance, drive down costs and guarantee the health care security and stability of every American family. You can help by putting these core principles of reform in the hands of your friends, your family, and the rest of your social network.

Thank you,
Barack Obama

What do you think of the heathcare package as proposed? What do you think the chances are they'll get it passed before September?

Tuesday Reality Check – is your friend really your friend?

Editorial Vote: Don't start in on me about the picture. These two are the definition of "frenemy" if ever I saw one.

There was a time in third grade when Nanette Albaum yanked out my ponytail holders and watched in glee as my neat plaits turned into fly away afro puffs waving about in the scorching Texas humidity. She was sent to sit in the corner but I still had to walk around the rest of the day looking like Pippi Longstocking's beat down play cousin. When I asked BougieMom why she did that; she said simply, "She's not your friend."

Since those days, I've found that friendship (or lack thereof) has become a bit more complicated. I have learned the difference between acquaintances and friends. I have learned that people you were friends with at age 12 don't necessarily stay your friends through your 20s and 30s. And that's okay. People change and evolve (hopefully). Your evolution may take friends in and out of your orbit. As I've gotten older, I'm far more selective in my friendships but I'm able to make friends with people for different reasons. They don't all have to think like me, act like me, read what I read or talk like I talk… but they do have to embrace and respect friendship for the gift that it is.

Here are few OneChele ways to tell when a friend is really not a friend:

  • They call to talk but somehow the conversation never gets around to you. As a matter of fact, you never hear from this person unless she/he needs something they know you can provide. Once they have gotten what they wanted, the conversation ends abruptly. I have one "friend" who calls twice a year, talks for 40 minutes about herself, asks me to help her write/look up/cook something and then she's off. Last January when I talked to her; I actually ended the call with, "Talk to you around Labor Day!"

  • They are a little too interested in your SO (Significant Other). They have a lot of questions about the status of your relationship, they want to share intimate details you have no intention of sharing. When your SO is around, they seem to be more animated about it then you are. One former friend kept offering to pick up my SO from the airport for me. Said she would "entertain" him until I got home from work. I was born at night, but not last night, sweetie.

  • They are always "borrowing" things- jewelry, clothes, food, rent money… that you never see again. This means you L.A.T., where is my sequined Tahari bolero jacket and the "few dollars" to get your car fixed? It's been over 12 years. I'm trying to let it go, but that jacket was cute.

  • They never have anything positive to say. Have you met those all cloud-no silver lining people? The glass isn't even half empty; it's bone dry and kicked to the floor in broken pieces. You can't go anywhere with them without them pointing out the negative aspects. Had a male friend who could walk into a party and bring down the house (in a bad way) in five minutes flat. He had complaints about the food, the bar, the music, the caliber of women, the location and the dress code. Why did you come then? You did know it was a party, right?

  • Drama is attracted to them like tornados to trailer parks in Texas. You know the drama is coming; it's just a matter of time. Drama follows them everywhere. And when it doesn't follow them, they go looking for it. When someone starts a story with, "I was just minding my own business when…" No they weren't, they were looking to hop on the Drama-Train and take you along for the ride.

  • Something about them is just a wee bit crazier than you'd like. Sitting in a Sisters' Circle meeting, one sister that I was becoming good friends with regaled us with a story that started with her scaling her boyfriend's fence with her night-vision goggles on to break into his home and check his voicemail. By the time she got to the part of the story that involved smashing his windshield with a pumpkin, I was too through. There was so much wrong with her and her story, it's worthy of its own post on When Bougie Meets Crazy. Suffice it to say, I wasn't not sure I needed to be friends with someone who owned her own set of night-vision goggles.

  • They block your action. Guy meets girl, guy likes girl, guy's friend comes over and talks about (insert any random topic here) for twenty minutes until girl walks away regretfully. Or… girl meets guy, girl and guy flirt, girl's friend comes over and starts asking guy if her skirt is too tight, "do I look slutty in this?" Blocking, not pretty, not friendly.

  • Your achievements make them sad but their achievements must be celebrated… again and again. You call to tell them you just got a promotion and they say, "Oh well, did I tell you about the award I won?" You lose 25 pounds and they say, "I'm so glad I never have to worry about my weight." Cut them. Now. I mean it, stop reading, call them up and tell them you are out.

  • Anything you can do, they can do better. Someone once said, "Only one person can be Batman, someone else has to be Robin." Do you always play sidekick to their Superhero? Never get to wear the cape? Grab a chance to be the Leading Lady/Man in your own screenplay every once in a while. Review the balance of power in your friendships and see what can be done to even them out.

  • You have absolutely nothing in common anymore but the fact that you have been friends for sooooo long. If all your time spent together is based on things you USED to do and places you USED to go, your friendship may be stuck in the past. If a lot of your conversations involve, "Man, remember when we…" It's a sign. Look for things that you have in common besides the past.

Disclaimer: OneChele is not a degreed psychologist or socialist. Don't go running out there cutting folks off and blaming that stuff on me. I'm a student of life, sharing what little knowledge and observation I've garnered over the years. The decision to keep or cut someone is one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Any other tell-tale signs that your friend is more like a frenemy? What are your thought on the who "friends close, enemies closer" rule?

Monday, July 27, 2009

All we are saying… Give Vick a chance!

Before you even start with me, this is not a post about whether what Michael Vick did, was convicted of, and served time for was good, bad, tragic, nonsensical, none of that. The man did the crime, paid the time and now he's got to live the rest of his life.

Today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the ruling that will allow Vick the chance to make a living doing (what I assume) he does best, play professional football in the National Football League. In his press conference this afternoon, Mr. Goodell further stated that he has asked Tony Dungy to act as his mentor. From ESPN:

NEW YORK -- Michael Vick is back in the NFL. Now all he needs is a team to play for.

Vick, free after serving 18 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring, was reinstated with conditions by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. He could participate in regular-season games as early as October.

Vick can immediately take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games -- if he can find a team that will sign him. A number of teams have already said they would not.

Once the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games, and Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6 (Oct. 18-19) at the latest.

According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, a source close to Vick expressed "shock" over the severity of Vick's punishment and said Vick will reapply for full reinstatement as early as Week 1.

Goodell suspended Vick indefinitely in August 2007 after the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback admitted bankrolling a dogfighting operation on his property in Virginia. At the time, Goodell said Vick must show remorse before he would consider reinstating him.

"I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around, and that you intend to be a positive role model for others," Goodell said in his letter to Vick. "I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands."

"Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited," the letter said. "I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you."

Vick, once the highest-paid player in the league, said he was grateful for a second chance.

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to commissioner Goodell for allowing me to be readmitted to the National Football League," Vick said in a statement released by his agent, Joel Segal. "I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have been given.

"As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to revaluate my life, mature as an individual and fully understand the terrible mistakes I have made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward."

The announcement came after a busy first week of freedom for Vick, who met with union leaders and Goodell on consecutive days last week. His 23-month federal sentence ended when an electronic monitor was removed from his ankle early on July 20 at his home in Hampton, Va.

I think having Tony Dungy as mentor is a classy move all the way around. There are few people in and around the game of football that are more respected than Dungy. My hope for Michael is that he gets the chance to play this year and that he plays well. Additionally, I would hope that all the stark-raving PETA-extremists (wanted Vick to have a psych eval prior to reinstatement) would take a step back and give the man a chance to earn a living. He paid his debt and I think he should be treated accordingly.

This does not mean that I won't be holding my breath and chanting, "Don't screw this up, don't screw this up, don't screw this up..." The list of NFL players that have been given second (third, fourth) chances and tossed them away is lengthy and regrettable (that's worthy of a post of it's own someday). For now, I wish nothing but good things for Mike.

But I'm an NFL fanatic and purist. In my heart, I want the best players in the world on the field performing brilliantly everyday… but I recognize that's just me. Any thoughts on the Vick announcement? Any hopes as to which team he ends up playing on?

Some days I wish “denial” was a river in Egypt

I will readily admit that most days I go about living my life in a happy and deliberately insulated bubble. Bad things generally happen to other people, crime takes place far, far away from me; and gangs exist in a world that has little to no bearing on mine. Okay stop, I know all three of those statements to be false. I'm bougie, not naïve. It's not that I don't know what's real; more like that I don't want to be slapped in the face with it every second of the day.

But I'm a contradiction: I don't like watching the local news but I will watch the cable news outlets. I don't read my local paper but I follow a ga-zillion news, culture, political, and relationship blogs regularly. I hate hearing about local crime statistics but I watch the hell out of Forensic Files, all the CSIs, and my personal favorite Dominick Dunne: Power, Privilege & Justice (a truTV docudrama recounting snobby, elitist rich folks who can't buy their way out trouble). I recognize the irony in all of this.

A few years back, I watched a reality show on A&E called Dallas S.W.A.T. and was able to suck my teeth and shake my head at the takedowns as long as they happened on the other side of town. The minute they showed a kidnapping/ hostage situation/ gun battle less than ten minutes from my spot… I was done, son. TMI – Too Much Information.

If I thought Dallas S.W.A.T. was bad, I had no idea what was coming for me on the History Channel (THC). Since I work from home, I often catch super-random shows during the day and keep them on in the background for noise. This is the only reason I've watched/heard every episode of Charmed, seen twenty hours of Barbarians, and can recite some episodes of Law & Order in my sleep… verbatim. At any rate, every once and a while, I would catch a show on THC called Gangland. Gangland is a half hour show that profiles the origination, rise and decline (or continuation) of a different gang each episode.

On this particular episode, they were profiling the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). As they talked about the origins and spread of the gang, my fingers froze on the keyboard. "When we return, we'll show how the ABT has spread into Dallas suburbs and are recruiting not from prisons but from the boys next door." My head whipped around, say what now? Which suburb? Which boy next door? As we say in the BougieHousehold, "Aw heckie naw!" I ran downstairs to double check that the perimeter motion sensors where still engaged (cuz that'll REALLY stop somebody if they want in) and sprinted back up to my office. Out of breath (I don't do stairs), I sat down to give the program my full attention.

Let me stop for a minute here and share. OneChele cannot watch super-scary things. Horror movies and me have a bad track record going way back to BougieOlderBro taking me to see Night Watch when I was child. Can't do it. I have such a vivid imagination that I literally dream myself into the plots for weeks (months, years) to come. For some reason I can watch violence (Scarface, Godfather) but not scary, horror-type stuff. It comes back in Technicolor brilliance with me as the erstwhile victim. I don't know why, one day I'll ask a $400/hour analyst and get it all ironed out.

Back to Gangland. At this point, common sense should have said Chele, turn it off! Someone was surely redecorating on HGTV and those were nightmares you could live with… but no! I decided I really needed to know. That was the scariest half-hour of television I have seen in a while. These Neo-Nazis are EVERYWHERE and they are not playing. Recruiting, organizing, hellraising and whatnot… around my favorite parts of Dallas. When they got to the part about gangs being like a virus that affect unsuspecting communities, I had to get to Googling.

Okay, seems as if they were really starting to expand and then Katrina happened. A few N'Awlins boyz joined up with some Dallas ruffnecks and the ABT started catching some beatdown. Membership decreased for awhile then Obama took office and they are rising up again. (Haters! No seriously, they HATE him.) So now the New Black Panther Party of Dallas is stepping into the fight. Yeah, I don't feel so much better. Seems to me if you add gun powder to gasoline that explosion will be twice as big when someone lights the fuse. And someone ALWAYS lights the fuse.

Yesterday, I gave my barista (seemingly non-threatening white guy) the squinty side-eye the entire time he whipped up my 2% half-caramel, half-white mocha frappacino with no whip. Last night I dreamed I was racing down the street away from unknown pursuers and BougieMom was in the passenger seat saying, "Floor it, baby- I didn't survive the 60s to go through THIS bullshiggity." I woke up sweaty and exhausted, positive there was a cross burning on the lawn. It's the imagination, ya'll. Equal parts blessing and curse.

My moral to this story is the following question: Is it sometimes better just not to know these things? Or is the best defense a good offense? Forewarned, forearmed? What do you think?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A few things never to ask Black People (especially bougie ones)

I'm equal opportunity. Bouge knows no color. So I welcome all to join BougieLand. Welcome!

As when you are in Rome, you do as Romans do; when you are in BlacknBougie world, please refrain from asking the following:

  1. Anything about our hair: A black person's head of hair (male or female) is a mysterious and fragile being. It can be tamed or set free. It often requires chemicals and serums and oils (not hydrators… oils). Some of us wash it every day, some once a month, it's a matter of style, texture, moisture and scalp pH balance. When we get a perm, no – it doesn't turn out curly. Lookie here, just don't ask us. Oh, and don't touch it either. We mean it, you might draw back a nub.

  2. Any question that starts Why do Black People Always: We don't know why Black People Always. We are not ALL Black People and WE don't ALWAYS do something. In the same way that moon-shining tobacco-growing white folks from Kentucky don't relate to blue-blooded Fifth Avenue-shopping Central Park West white folks, bougie black folk don't know from ghetto. A-ight?

  3. If we voted for Barack Obama: Probably but we don't want to talk about it. And if we didn't vote him, we are not admitting it to you. No offense.

  4. If we voted for George W Bush: Probably not but we don't want to talk about it. And if we did vote him, we are not admitting it to you. No offense.

  5. What we think about (insert Black Pop Cultural Item here): Yeah, we don't want to tell you what we thought about "the OJ" or Mike Vick or Steve McNair. We will talk about Michael Jackson. As a matter of fact, he's always a safe topic… bring him up anytime.

  6. If we want to get hooked up with your one other black friend: No, we don't. We do not want to be your experiment for the year. And chances are, the person you want to hook us up with is not feeling it either. As a matter of fact, no matchmaking at all. When we're out together and some halfway decent person of color strolls by, do not ask me, "What about him? He's cute!" No he's not. He's a troll but he's black and black people should like each other right? Wrong!

  7. If we love this (hip-hop/R&B/soul) song: Maybe, maybe not. Do you love every pop/metal/alternative rock song you hear? I probably have more Metallica and Puddle of Mudd on my iPod than you do. Just sayin'.

  8. To be your urban culture guide: We may not know what "off the heezy" means and we probably don't know how to do the "Stanky Leg." Please stop turning to us in a room full of other Caucasians to ask us. You will force us to cut you with our witty and well-prepared, "I don't speak for all Negroes" speech accompanied by the universal "Ask me again and see what happens" staredown.

  9. If we know some other random black person: Not all black people know each other, nor are we related. Just because I once lived in L.A. and worked at a media company does not mean that I know every other black person in the entertainment industry.

  10. Why I speak/talk/dress/walk/write like I do: What? I'm supposed to pimp walk, talk like Mike Tyson, dress like JLo (during her Diddy stage), walk like I'm on the stroll and write at the first grade level? Not. Gonna. Happen.

  11. Last but not Least: Don't ever, EVER ask a black person anything about watermelon or fried chicken. You know what? Don't bring up chicken at all. I don't care if it's sautéed with a Pinot Grigio lemon zest reduction topped with chanterelle mushrooms and vidalia onion chutney. Don't talk about chicken and expect to keep your black friends. Just go with me on this one.

Any other "Please don't ask cuz we're not gonna tell" questions for my list?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Disharmony of eHarmony – Part Two

At long last, the follow-up to my journey into eHarmony. So when last we visited this topic, I was just beginning question and answer sessions with the eight remaining candidates for Potential Significant Other (PSO). Five were in the Dallas/Ft Worth area, two in Houston and one in Arkansas. Each met my height requirement, claimed to be gainfully employed and had enough education to fill out a one page survey with no typos or glaring syntax errors. Or so I thought... read on!

For those of you who have not experienced the joys of the eHarmony site, each person is allowed to customize their questions (to a point). You can choose five from a list of twenty or so multiple choice questions to ask your match in hopes of getting to know them and how they think. Now, like any good testing system, these questions can be skewed. I always pick my questions knowing either what the "correct" answers should be or the absolute "wrong" one. Likewise, I recognize when I am asked "trap" questions. Let me show you what I'm talking about: ("repurposed" from eHarmony)

1. Which of the following things would you rather have lots of?

A) Fame
B) Money
C) Power
D) Respect
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

This is a red flag set-up question from OneChele straight to Mr. Bachelor. If you say fame or power, you are automatically off my radar. (lost one candidate there) If you say money, I'm going to need some follow-up and review. Money is important but shouldn't be that which drives you (or me that matter). D) Respect is a great answer. The best write-in answer I received was E) Wisdom – with that I can garner the others and so much more. Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!

My answer is E) Blessings from above

2. When in a relationship, how much personal space do you generally find you need?

A) I don't have a great need for "personal space". I like lots of together time.
B) I find my time spent working is enough personal time, the rest I like to spend with my partner.
C) As long as I can get one night a week to myself, my personal space needs are met.
D) When I'm with my partner I'm completely there, but I do need considerable time for personal reflection.
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

This is a test question from OneChele. Those lovey-dovey, need-ya, can't-breathe-without-ya, baby-don't-leave-me, ten-phone-calls-a-day days from my 20s are long gone. Back up off a sister for a minute. On the flip side, if you are so often MIA that I long to insert a GPS chip in your right hip and remote activate the video function on your cell phone then we have a problem (no CyberStalkers, I don't know if it's actually possible to do those things). So answers B) and C) work for me or again, a clever write in answer. One candidate fell out for his typing brilliance (exact wording and spelling so you feel the full flavor): E) Because I have ben cheated on before, I kneed to no where my baby girl is at all times. I need to be number one in hur world as she wuld be number 1 in mind.
eHarmony asks: Would you like to close communication with (name)? OneChele hits CLICK!

My answer would be C.

(If you are keeping track, we are now down to 6 in the possibility camp.)

3. If you could take a dream getaway, where would you most likely choose to spend a week?

A) Paris
B) Hawaii
C) hiking in the mountains
D) a cottage by the sea
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

This is just for curiosity's sake. I would love for them to re-word this question so it says, "Where would you most likely choose to spend a week and pay for it, yourself, out of pocket, no help from your vacation-mate." Anyway, I'm good for all but the hike. Mountains look better from a distance or in a picture. Hey now, before you get to judging… understand that I am top heavy with tiny ankles, gravity-defying activities are not for me. No skating, stair-mastering, surfing, rock climbing, boarding/skiing (snow or surf); no sir. But I digress – Only had one CLICK!-worthy answer. One guy responded that he liked "travelling to furway places to experience new cultures and exzytic quezinnes." It took a day and a half to figure out that he meant faraway places and exotic cuisines. Come on now, how can anyone blame that on keyboard finger-slippage? I was going to let "furway and exzytic" slide but I actually had to ask BougieMom if there was such a thing as quizziness? Like being too quizzy? I don't know, ya'll… I really tried. CLICK!

My answer would be a write-in: E) Bali.

4. How often do you find yourself laughing?

A) I crack myself up!
B) I try to laugh all the time and get serious only when it's needed.
C) Most of my time is spent being serious but I like an occasional good laugh.
D) I'm generally a pretty serious person.
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

This is an important one. I once asked married couples who had been together for over 20 years and still liked each other (all 2 of them… just joking!) what kept them together. Everyone said something different but there were three things in common: commitment to making it work, emphasis on communication and the ability to laugh with and at each other. So A), B) or C) are the great. D) is not going to work and of course, there's always the write-in answer. Thankfully, even though I received a few write-ins, none were CLICK!-worthy.

My answer is a write-in E) I can't think of a single day when I don't spend a lot it laughing. Serious as needed only.

5. Which of the following scenarios would make you more nervous?

A) making a presentation to 500 people
B) a long car ride with a person you just met
C) talking about your deepest fears with your lover
D) meeting with the president of the company you work for
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

Now this is the OneChele analysis question. If you answer A) you're fine, public speaking is one of the most common fears out there. Answer B) and I wonder – what are you doing in a car for hours with someone you just met? But it's not enough to get you CLICK!'d. Answer C) and we need follow-up. I'm not asking that we discuss childhood traumas over cereal every morning but the thought of sharing that level of intimacy with someone you are supposedly already intimate with shouldn't make you break out in a cold sweat. Answer D) is fine, doesn't make you brave but fine. The most testosterone-laced write-in answer I received was: E) None of the above, I don't get nervous unless it's a life or death situation. People should man up more. Alrighty then, worthy of further review.

My answer is E) First dates with strangers I meet on eHarmony

So in re-cap we are now down to five. Three in Dallas, one in Houston and one in Arkansas. From the gentlemen I received mostly the same questions with the two following "traps."

1. How do you feel about relocating for a relationship?

A) If I met the right person, I would do whatever I needed to do to move and be with them.
B) I would not want to move...but if it were the only way to be together I would do it.
C) I would not be able to move under any circumstances.
D) For the right person, it's worth a discussion
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

Fellas, I was born at night but not last night. My answer is D). Let's get through all the getting to know you yada-yda before I pack a bag. I would have hit CLICK! a lot earlier if I wasn't okay with where you lived (shout out to Mr. Guam).

2. What are your body-type preferences for your mate?

A) Thin and very lean
B) Muscular and athletic
C) Average - height and weight proportionate
D) Larger than average
E) Left Blank For Write-In answer

If I say anything but E) What is inside matters far more to me than what is outside; I'm revealing more than I want to at this stage plus seeming downright shallow. I don't know enough other things about you to know if I can overlook the fact that you are 4'9" in both height and width J. But it does make me wonder, why are you asking?

And so our next step is open questioning, where we send 3 to 5 questions and the person has to freeform their answer (no multiple choice). And that's where I'll pick up in Part Three.

So, go ahead and tell me – I'm too strict? Too lenient? What would your "knock-out" or "trap" question be?

Friday, July 24, 2009

BougieTales from the Black side

Don't let the bougie fool you. For all of our high-steppin' and high-fallutin' ways, the black and the bougie roll with a BlackPass like all our mocha, caramel and chocolate brethren. Black and Bougie leads with Black. And in case we get too insulated and try to forget our Blackness, there is always someone too happy to remind us. Some BougieTales as example:

  • Breathing While Black – Now I am already WAY over this story but the fact remains that a large portion of the population (myself included) believes that had Skip Gates been white, the officer would have taken his ID, thanked him for his time and left. Dr. Gates is a 5'10" sixty-year old man who walks with a cane, has PhDs, and a house in Martha's Vineyard when he doesn't hang in Harvard Yard. If ever there was a less threatening man of color to be had, this is it. Yet and still, he was perp-walked out of his home, cuffed and processed through the justice system like a common street thug. His mugshot was blasted all over the Main Stream Media and before his statement was released, we were told he was acting in a dangerous, disruptive and disorderly fashion. I call bullshiggity on the whole mess.

  • I'm sorry Doctor – BougieOlderBro is a trauma surgeon in the Southeast. He works at a hospital where there is ONE other surgeon (neuro) of color employed. BougieBro is 6'1", bearded, caramel-colored, in shape with an improbable love of Dockers-style khakis and striped Ralph Lauren button down shirts. The other black surgeon is 6'4", clean-shaven, coffee-colored, overweight and attached to his wrinkled scrubs. Yet and still, at least twice a week someone calls my brother by this other person's name. And then apologizes saying, "I'm sorry, Dr. Bougie; I don't know why I called you that." Aargh! We really don't all look alike people… we really, really don't. And we are not interchangeable. You don't get hot swappable black folk; they don't make us that way.

  • Did he just "shush" me? – On Thursday night's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Lou brought in Roland Martin and some Republican talking head (hey, I don't have to be fair and balanced and I'm too lazy to look up the guy's name) to discuss this ridiculous Obama birth certificate legitimacy ("birther") issue (whole other topic). In the middle of Roland's rebuttal, Lou Dobbs first scolds Roland (said he was getting "excitable"), proceeds to cut him off twice and then told him to "pipe down." I didn't want to make it a black-white thing except that he never stopped Congressman McWingnut from getting his rant on. Some of my blog cousins were saying Lou did everything but tell the brother, "And while you're quiet, shine my shoes." Ouch.

  • I'm just trying to buy salmon – So, I was at Costco getting my wholesale shop on the other day. I was standing in the seafood section analyzing my salmon and rainbow trout choices. An older Caucasian woman sidles up and reached around me. I decided to assume she didn't see me and murmured, "Oh excuse me," and shifted to the left. She scooted over to reach in front of me again. Picking up a package of catfish, she turned to me and said, "How would you fry this up?"

    I thought, Oh, I gotta be the authority on fried catfish cause I'm black? I again decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and said, "My mother's recipe is to soak it overnight in buttermilk and seasonings. Then you coat with cornmeal and fry."

    She THEN said, "I had a maid who used to make it just like that." The woman was at least seventy; I decided not to take her there but she just compare BougieMom to her maid?

    I replied, "Did she now? How nice." Head down, looking for my salmon.

    She smiled, "Yes and she made the best cornbread and collard greens in the world!" Dammit! I didn't reply or smile or look her way, I tossed some salmon in the cart and rolled out.

Truly, I want to embrace the post-racial of it all. I really want to stop seeing prejudice where I least expect it (or even where I do). But we are just not there yet people.

So for everyone who thinks that living the Bougie Way grants you an exemption from racist nonsense… let this post be a lesson to you. My Aunt Violet once said, "Baby, sometimes all they see is the black."

Any BougieTales from the Black side to share?

Final thoughts on Black in America 2

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I miss the Jello Commercials, Bill

It pains me to write this post and yet I'm compelled to do so. Bill Cosby and his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable had an indelible effect on American culture broadly and my life specifically. I grew up listening to his records and watched I Spy re-runs as well as Fat Albert and The Cosby Show. I danced to his J-E-L-L-O commercials and wept when his son was killed; I even went to see that disastrous Leonard Part 6 movie out of loyalty to Bill (like he really needed my $5.50).

His long marriage to Camille (not perfect, but still 45 years ya'll!), innate dignity and ambition along with his emphasis on education made him a Bougie Hero to me. Yet over the course of the past ten years, I have found myself shaking my head in increasing disbelief. "Bill said what?!" I get it, okay. I understand he hates to see the rapping, $125-shoe-wearing, bling-blinging, baby making, no-child-support-paying, loud talking, no-GED-having, "swagger" section of the African American population. He's mad at the disengaged parents, the single parents, the incarcerated parents. We all are but, er –um… when do you go from being an enlightened voice piece for the masses to being a raving older man bashing folks who can't fight back?

This is actually part of a larger issue in the African American community right now. When did comedians become our social spokespersons? Did I miss this vote? I surely would've exercised the write-in portion of the ballot. Are we the only race that allows this? You don't see Jerry Seinfeld speaking on behalf of all Jewish Americans or Margaret Cho campaigning on behalf of Asians.

As I watched the "pre-game" show for Black in America 2 last night, I noticed that two of Soledad O'Brien's panel members were Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley. At no point would I ask either of them for advice on plotting my path (no, not even you Steve). I was especially surprised to see D.L. posted up there, didn't CNN give him the kick a few months ago for not being credible? What qualified them? They have made people laugh? That makes you a social psychologist? If so, my cousin Oliver needs the 9:00pm slot on CNN, he's funny as hell.

Allow me to digress and ask an even larger question. Who decides who gets to speak on our (Black Americans) behalf? Would anyone of us have picked Spike Lee, P. Diddy or Wyclef Jean to sit on our panels? Why does every "eruption" of race relations prompt someone to say,"Jesse and Al are on the way?" Or are the good reverends being replaced by the intellectual set? Michael Eric Dyson and the like. For that matter, what qualifies one to speak on behalf of the people? Is being black in America enough justification? Or do you have to be a celebrity and black in America?

Back to my point, I literally held my breath through the video (<-click link) of Bill Cosby discussing the Gates arrest. Prayerfully, he said nothing incendiary and kept his opinions fairly generic.

But I miss the time with the name Bill Cosby conjured up a warm and fuzzy feeling, everybody's favorite father figure. For that matter, I miss the days when the news wasn't entertainment (R.I.P. Walter Cronkite); before everyone had an opinion and a microphone. Then again, I guess that was before everybody had a blog too J!

What are your thoughts on Bill Cosby and the various African American spokespersons out there?

Raise your Pomegranate Mojito up for the Dow Jones

There are few things that make Bouge Boulevard dwellers happier than the ka-ching, ka-ching. Dollar-dollar bills, ya'll. Dow Jones up, ya'll! I start dreaming of the days when my 401(k) wasn't underwater, when my retirement plan didn't include greeting folks from my wheelchair at Wal-mart, when a dollar wasn't laughed at in Europe. Oh, to dream again!

The Dow closed past 9000, the highest level since November 2008, according to

Investors celebrated news of another jump in home sales by propelling the Dow Jones industrials to their first close above 9,000 since January.

Better-than-expected profits at some of the nation's biggest companies also lifted the market, giving the Dow a 188-point rally to finish at its highest level since November.

The Dow's gain was the latest jump — and not even the biggest — in a surge that has lifted the index 923 points, or 11 percent, in only nine days as hopes grow about an economic recovery.

The latest climb followed a report that sales of previously occupied homes rose for the third month in a row in June. Unemployment and a weak housing market have been two of investors' biggest worries so any sign of improvement is big news for the economy.

The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied homes rose 3.6 percent in June. Sales came in at 4.89 million, above the 4.84 million analysts had been expecting.

Another batch of corporate profit reports also helped boost the market. Ford Motor Co. surprised investors with a profit of $2.3 billion, due mainly to a huge gain for debt reduction, while manufacturing conglomerate 3M Co. and candy maker Hershey Co. raised their profit forecasts for the year.

After a month of wayward trading, stocks began climbing again at the start of last week as companies like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Intel Corp. posted robust earnings.

"I don't think the market is signaling that we are fully healed at all but it is telling us that there is a strong likelihood that a recovery is under way," said Ciaran O'Kelly, head of equities, Americas, at Nomura Securities Intl. Inc. in New York.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 188.03, or 2.1 percent, to 9,069.29. It was the highest finish for the blue chips since Nov. 5 and the first time the Dow has traded or closed above 9,000 since January. Even with the gains, the Dow is still far off its peak of 14,165 in October 2007.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 22.22, or 2.3 percent, to 976.29. It hasn't traded or closed above 1,000 since early November.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 47.22, or 2.5 percent, to 1,973.60, its 12th straight advance. The Nasdaq hasn't had a rally that long since a streak that ended Jan. 8, 1992.

My only question is, will Obama get the credit for this or are folks too busy looking at his birth certificate or complaining about his jeans?

Afterthought: Apparently not. Also from Worried Public Changes Obama's Deficit Message

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CNN – That’s a C (and I’m being nice)

I labored through watched CNN's Black in America 2 this evening. That's two hours I'll never get back ya'll. Okay, before I get to bashing; let me say this… I could see where they put in some effort to steer away from the stereo types. I was pleased that they had a lovely section for the Black 'n Bougie (Jack and Jill, private schools and debutante balls, WOO-HOO, represent!). They also had a section that was a complete confirmation of my post in education. (Go Steve Perry!)

Beyond that, there was still a half hour that belonged on a show called Black in South Africa. Malaak Rock (Chris' wife) had a program for kids in New York City highlighted by a trip to South Africa supporting community service. The lesson, I suppose, was that there were people in the world less fortunate then them. When they returned home, they did nothing to bolster them educationally besides some college campus tours.

The boys who had failing grades when she started the project, still had failing grades at the end of the project. The kid who had an imprisoned father (stereotype), wanted to be a baller (stereotype) and thought his fallback would be the law, had a D+ grade point average. The other kid, whose speech was almost unintelligible but was brilliant on the b-ball court and on the drums (stereotype), could not string two sentences together but had a blackberry. Who was he texting? No one from the project offered tutoring or male role model mentorship.

We still had the token basketball court shots, the black folks dancing shot, we had a crack mom, an alcoholic dad, homelessness and projects (stereotypes!). There was a segment on John Rice's Management Leadership seminar that seemed out of place and unedited with a completely unnecessary John Legend appearance at the end. Overall it was a disjointed effort lacking in segue and form.

I watched while chatting with a group of fellow netizens, mostly from AverageBro and The Black Snob blogs. It was a lively exchange, some positive and some negative comments until my bouge came on. The hateration came out of the woodwork. Comments like, "They are just elitist." "Those aren't regular black folks" "Siddity" and "Wow, it must be SO hard being rich and black" flew back and forth. And those were the nice comments.

I sighed since apparently more folks need to visit the Bouge and let go of the haterade. Lots of work to do promoting the "one love" bougie doctrine. Tomorrow night is Tyler Perry night – can't do it. What I will do is work on more of the Bougie Manifesto so we upwardly mobile types can get some love. Did anyone else watch? What did you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bougie Music Flashback: Purple Rain

When someone told me it is the 25th anniversary of Purple Rain, I went screaming into the street in denial could not believe how time has flown by. Seems like just yesterday I smuggled the album (yes people, a vinyl disc) into the house only to have BougieMom find it, break it in pieces and declare it "the devil's music." I think I bought it about three times before I wised up and slid it into a Barry Manilow – Live! album cover. (BougieMom loved her some Manilow).

Since most of my fellow Methodist Youth Group members were having the same issue getting the record into their houses, I set up a little hustle where I taped (precursor to burning CDs, youngsters) it onto 60 minute TDK cassettes and sold them for $10 a pop after choir practice on the church parking lot… mea culpa!

Moving on… before Purple Rain, I thought Prince was interesting but I didn't really get it. We both loved the same color and lusted after the same shoes but I couldn't really understand the screaming and panty-throwing of it all. I remember at one point you had to choose whether you were a Michael Jackson fan or a Prince fan. It was considered fickle to swear allegiance to both. After Purple Rain came out, I didn't care. I was in both camps. How could you deny Thriller OR Purple Rain? It couldn't be done. Between Michael and his videos and Prince and his movies, I was awash in sight and sound and sensation. Music was a vibrant force and Prince's seemed to speak to my inner rebellious child.

Michael had the gloves, the jacket, the socks and the shoes but Prince brought the sexy. I still can't listen to Darling Nikki without blushing. Thanks to the movie, we knew all the hand movements to I would die 4 U (and wasn't he a pioneer in the pre-texting lingo – ha!). My first Prince concert was quite the eye-opener. I'll admit it, I was sheltered and nothing in the Bougie household prepared me the bumping and grinding funky spectacular that was a Prince concert.

After Purple Rain, I stayed with Prince through Wendy, Lisa, the Revolution, Sheila E, Vanity, Sheena Easton, Under the Cherry Moon (not good), the Power Generation, the Diamonds and Pearls and the funky no name period before he got so prolific with the albums that I had to take a break. My re-introduction to His Purple Badness came when I moved to San Francisco and briefly dated a banker who was President of the Bay Area Prince Fan Club (I canNOT make this stuff up). I recall spending one weird and long afternoon in a park with 200 hundred people that were dressed in purple velvet, sporting raspberry berets, surrounded by purple balloons, eating purple cake and air guitaring to Let's go Crazy. My relationship with Prince was revived, but the banker was cut shortly after seeing him rock lavender velvet leggings tucked into boots (how many relationships could survive that?!).

Listening to the CD now, the music still holds up and there is not a sub-par tune to be found. When was the last time you could slide in a CD and not press "Skip" once? Well, may his purple reign continue… I gave up jamming in four-inch heels years ago.

I embedded an MP3 player with the soundtrack on the sidebar. Enjoy! What's your favorite Prince tune?


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