Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lift up a Pumpkin Pie Martini: A haunting tale for Halloween

So my Dad and I had a conversation last night. He came into my room in the middle of the night, fully dressed in a mint green polo, khakis and some sort of fancy Italian loafer. We conversed for a long time about my life and my direction, the rest of the family and what was next. We talked about my book and the blog and the fact that life is short and I'm not getting any younger… thanks, Dad. Then he told me he loved me, kissed me on my forehead and wished me sweet dreams. It was a conversation we'd had before. Both Dad and I were night people and a 3:00 am conversation was not an unusual occurrence. The only exceptional thing about this conversation is that my father has been dead for close to nine years.

Now before you break out the strait jackets and start measuring out my meds (BougieOlderBro!); I do know that I was dreaming. Depending on your belief system; either my father's spirit comes to speak to me in dreams or my subconscious manifested my father in a form I could accept. Either way, I woke up feeling like I had my Dad back for a few hours and I was happy.

This is not the first time (nor I hope the last) but previous visits have not been as joyful. There have been times when my father comes back to lecture the hell out of me. He had this West Indian accent so it was always special to hear his clipped tones shouting, "What de hell is dis?" Sometimes he stops by to check on my Mom or another member of the family. The weirdest ones are when it's like a movie and all of a sudden he's in the scene. Like I'm dreaming about driving somewhere and all of a sudden he is in the car and we are having regular everyday conversation. "You know there's a short-cut, right?" <-- very BougieDad

There are times when I wake up positive he was in the room giving me a very Guyanese side-eye. And then there are those times when I wake up out of a dead sleep positive I hear him calling me. My Dad was one of the very, very, very few who called me "Mich" (pronounced Meesh, often as an expletive). At any rate, when he wanted something right away (or found out I had done something wrong), he would just bark out, "Mich!" That was this daughter's sign to drop everything (immediately) and come running (without question). So when I wake up thinking I heard that, it's always with some anxiety. What needs to be done, what did I do this time?

Yet I always feel there is a point to these real or imagined visits. I don't always know what it is but I'm always positive there is one. BougieSis had a strange dream about him the other night that we are still trying to decipher. This got me to wondering: Does anyone really think that dreams are just dreams? Are you of the belief that your mind is trying to tell you something? Has anyone else experienced a dream-state visit from a lost loved one?

Have a safe Halloween and raise up a toast to all the spirits (restless or not) we keep alive in our memories. By the way, here's the recipe for the Pumpkin Pie Martini pictured above… enjoy!

In a cocktail shaker combine:

2 parts Absolut Vanilla vodka
1 part pumpkin schnapps
Splash of cream
Dash of Nutmeg (I also like a little cinnamon)

Shake with chopped ice until ingredients well mixed. Rim a martini glass with lime and honey, dip in sugar. Strain cocktail into glass and enjoy! (For true decadence, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for each part instead of ice and whir in blender) Oh, and please drink responsibly.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Music for under the covers… or wherever

Thanks for a great Music Week here on BnB. What a great response! Most pageviews this week ever in BnB's history! Thanks to all the regulars who showed support, all the newbies who popped in and even ya'll somtimey lurkers – welcome all! Let's put Music Week to bed… literally.

Some off ya'll are just all out there in the open with your freakiness. Yeah, this list may not be for you. This list is more making love in the rain than a hit-it-n-quit-it in the office mailroom, ya dig? This list is more Brian McKnight and less Luda. So here is some "Baby Come to Bed" music that ya'll may don't know about or haven't thought about it a while. And again, I'm not talking about Lub in da Club, Do Me Baby or any of R. Kelly's tunes about hotel lobby afterparties. Since we all know Marvin's Let's Get It On and Luther's Love Won't Let me Wait, what do you know about these? Here are ten deep cuts you should have on hand to "take it to the next level":

  1. Float by Anthony Hamilton: his voice is very gravelly and sexy and then he kind of breaks it on down in this song.
  2. Blue Horizons by Maysa: very sweet, seductive, love on the beach tune [Blogger's Note: boo to Amazon for not having a clip for me to share]
  3. Cross My Mind by Jill Scott: classic Jilly from Philly. It's kind of a "I remember us like this" song, very sultry.
  4. Fall Again by Glenn Lewis: Little known cut from the Maid in Manhattan soundtrack, this is mellow-smooth at its finest.
  5. Teach Me Tonight the Al Jarreau version: not subtle at all but says what needs to be said.
  6. Spend the Night by Rahsaan Patterson: Very well done borderline-begging song that draws you in with the vocal arrangement over soft guitar.
  7. Crave by Incognito: One of my exes hipped me to this group and every song is a portrait of a mood. This mood speaks for itself.
  8. Get next to you by Jamie Hawkins: Slept on cat. Son of gospel greats Walter and Tremaine Hawkins, I found this song from a love scene on Showime's Series "Soul Food". So hard to find, I couldn't even find a sample of this song to share with you.
  9. It's on Tonight by Brian Culbertson and Will Downing: Did I say Will Downing… nuff said.
  10. This Day, This Minute, Right Now by Mint Condition: It's musical intercourse on vinyl (or whatever they use now).
  11. Bonus Cut – Yes by Anthony David: combination of acoustic guitar and silky baritone wins every time.
  12. Extra Bonus Cut – Rush Over by Me'Shell Ndegeocello: From the Love Jones soundtrack, her alto with Marcus Miller on bass. Please hydrate & stretch properly prior to playing.

Now I know dear readers, ya'll have some favorite "quality time" cuts. And let me stop a few of you right here (you know who you are), H-Town's Knocking the Boots is not a good look. Again, that's freaky-sneaky, this list is for the seductive and sexy. Think Moet, chocolate covered strawberries and Egyptian cotton sheets, not a 40 ounce, bag of nacho-flavored Doritos and somebody's back seat. That there is a whole different list. Maybe next Music Week? (or not) M'kay? Thank you… do share what are your best "bedroom game is tight" tunes?

Music Week Sleeper Pick: Whatcha know about Rahsaan Patterson?

So by now you've figured out that while I'm a girl who wears many musical hats, Neo-Soul is my fallback position. Whenever I just need something "good" - I go Neo. It's the closest thing we've got to pure R&B these days. I discovered Rahsaan Patterson quite by accident. I was in a music store searching for I-don't-even-remember-what-now and ended up tossing Rahsaan's first self-titled CD into my basket. Getting home, I vividly recall wondering – who is this guy? I slid the CD in and went about doing some housework. It wasn't until I was boogieing with the mop that I realized this guy was good. His CD was one of those rare creations that you could put on and play straight through without skipping songs in between because they were clearly only there for filler. Literally, the entire CD was lovable.

It was a few years before I caught him in concert at an outdoor pavilion in California. Thanks to my date, we were hecka-late and had to sit way back on the lawn. This little guy came out in a hat with just a couple of musicians and a microphone and I thought another warm-up act was about to play. Without any accompaniment, this little dude ripped off the first verse of his single Stop By and then paused. The place was dead silent and then went wild. Little Dude can Sang. Not sing. But Sang! I was informed that he used to be "the kid" from Kids Incorporated but all that went right over my head. I love a real musician. He has four albums and a holiday record out. His album Wine and Spirits came out two years ago and still gets regular iPod rotation. Here is his video of Feels Good:

Last time I caught him in concert, he was with Lalah Hathaway and Angie Stone… it was Neo-Soul heaven. Quick Amazon playlist of some of his tunes, hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Music that’s actually OLD school

My girl ASmith sent a chilling tweet the other day. She tweeted that someone considered Eminem to be "old school." What the devil? Well, let's take a look: technically, old school is anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect, including music, clothing and language. –From Wikipedia. But in reality, old school should be at least generational. A generation is usually from parent to child and considered an average of 20 years. Eminem's first album came out in 1998… not so old school.

An old school joint is one that you can play in front of your mother, grandmother, cousin Ray-Ray with his bad-ass kids and everybody sings along, hops up to cut a rug or nods and says, "That's a classic right there." So when I say old school, I'm talking about a classic that has (and will continue) to stand the test of time. My old school cuts came out over 20 years ago and I ain't shamed to play them in mixed race/sex/generational company. Here are a few favorites (and yes, I had to cut this off):

  1. The Entire Motown Songbook. I can't pick one but I will give special mention to Marvin Gaye's What's Going on and his duet with Tammi Terrell You're All I Need to Get By. Just let me mention Stevie with his prolific brilliance. He kicked out about six brilliant albums with multiple amazing singles in a row. I'll just mention As for one and Hotter than July as one that still makes the summer picnic. And the Jackson 5's I Want You Back, Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown is immortal, The Commodores – I have a personal weakness for Zoom. And the Tempts! My Girl! Alright, I REALLY did mean the entire songbook, too many to name.
  2. All of Anita Baker's stuff. Hurts me a little to think that Giving You the Best That I Got came out in 1988.
  3. Everybody gets up the minute Flashlight and Atomic Dog come on. You cannot get mad at George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy and the gang. Ooh, speaking of gangs - Kool and the Gang - Ladies Night.
  4. Speaking of funky: all of Earth Wind and Fire's singles. Would You Mind is an all time slow jam.
  5. Since MJ is gone (RIP King of Pop!) we'll just put all his stuff into the classic old school bucket. I can't pick a favorite but Man in the Mirror is genius. How many times has Human Nature been sampled now?
  6. Prince's narrow little behind has way too much good music out there so I'll cut off his "old school classics" with Purple Rain. Okay, I would not play Darling Nikki in front of BougieMom but Let's go Crazy gets everybody moving.
  7. Reppin' for "Adult Contemporary Rock" I'll go with: The Eagles- Take It to The Limit, Journey – Lights, The Police – Wrapped Around your Finger, Hall & Oates – Sara Smile
  8. Back, back, back in the day classics. BougieDad taught me about these: Duke Ellington – Sophisticated Lady, Nat King Cole – Mood Indigo, Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna come, Dean Martin – Kick in the Head, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong– Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.
  9. Precursors to the Hip-Hop Revolution: Whodini – Freaks Come out at Night, Cameo – Candy, Guy – I Like, Grandmaster Flash - The Message
  10. Boy Bands (before Boy Bands went crazy): early Boyz II Men - MotownPhilly, New Edition – If it isn't Love, After 7 – Ready or Not.
  11. R&B classics: All them early LaFace Groups, h/t to Babyface – Whip Appeal. All them early Terry Lewis/Jimmy Jam tunes – Karyn White, where ya at? Minnie Ripperton – Memory Lane, Aretha Franklin – EVERYTHING but special shout out for Natural Woman, Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack – Where is the Love?
  12. Early Rap Classics: Craig Mack – Flava in Yo Ear, LL Cool J – Can't live without my Radio, Run DMX – It's Tricky

Okay, I stopped before I listed an entire catalog's worth of music. What songs/group do you consider to be "old school classics"? Be forewarned, if you respond with some nonsense like 98 degrees, prepared to be ridiculed. Comment at your own risk (ha!).

Bougie Movie Review: This Is It (mild spoiler)


Hold on, I'm still catching my breath. Let me put the Kleenex down too. Uh-oh, I almost sprained something trying to do my Smooth Criminal move on the hardwoods. [ALERT: Bougie down, Annie is not okay. OXYGEN needed!] Sitting my old ass down. Alright, I've collected myself. A few bullet points on This Is It:

  • Elvis fans – shoot yourself now. There is only one King and his name was Michael Joseph Jackson. He ETHERS all competition, there has been nor ever will be anyone like him. What This Is It shows you is pure artistic genius. This is an artist who knows what he wants and how to do it from lyrical intonation, to choreography, to film, to stage design. This man looked at a stage full of dancers and was able to say "She's the one." When a musician moved a nano-second too quickly from chord to chord, Michael stopped him and said, "Not so fast, you have to let it simmer. It needs to be bathed in moonlight." My creative heart just fluttered. Bathed in moonlight (stealing it).
  • I embarrassed BougieMom… just a little bit. From after the opening segment through the end credits, I (and most of the audience) sang, danced, clapped, and cheered. At one point I attempted to get up to do the Thriller dance and she cut me an indulgent but definite side-eye. I eased back into the seat. To compound issues, we were in a theater that served food and drinks and yes, I ordered the gigantic Long Island Iced Tea. Since I hadn't eaten since breakfast by four sips in, I was feeling every bit of the groove. More than once I let, "Get it Michael, you go boy!" fall right out of my mouth.

  • I won't spoil which songs he sings or what the overall show feels like except to say that it's an extravaganza for the senses. From start to close, it showcases amazing talent, dedication and attention to detail. Honestly, his rehearsal footage was better than most live performances I've been to. As we are all sadly aware, most of today's "marquee" singers can't hold a note without production help and autotune. This dude not only breaks off acapella riffs, he mimics instruments with his voice to let the musician know how it's supposed to sound.

  • His doctor deserves to be shot. It comes to you about midway through the movie that this is a guy FULL of life and focused on the future. If he was some sort of doped-up druggie, he hid it amazingly well. Hell, I was tired just watching him move around. I really had to make a conscious decision to enjoy the feeling and the music and not dwell on the grief. But it was very hard to reconcile this vibrant live wire of an entertainer with someone who is no longer with us. You look at him up there larger than life and cannot comprehend how he ended up dead. If the jury for Dr. Caribbean Kevorkian's trial sees this movie, he's going under the jail.

  • My favorite quote that I will be stealing and using immediately: Michael is gently yet sharply correcting the crew on something and after he makes his point he says, "This is said with all love. L-O-V-E." I immediately said, "I'm stealing that." BougieMom sighed, "I know baby, it sounded like you."

  • Final note: No one wanted to leave the theater. Literally, the credits were nearing the end and everyone was still lingering. It was like leaving the theater was severing our last connection with him.

What else can I tell you except go see this film? Seriously. Now. Stop what you are doing and go see it this instant. Even if you weren't a Michael Jackson fan (what's WRONG with you), this is a film worth seeing. I'm in humbled awe after witnessing greatness. Really, just go see it. Even if you don't get all emotionally giddy like I did, it's a great entertainment. I give it five purple boots.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Music to kick start the revolution

Let's take a darker turn on BnB Music Week.

Every mood needs music to match. And speaking of matches, sometimes you just gotta set it off. Whether it's getting in a workout or getting your head right before work, every now and then you need some music that says I have a gallon of gas and a Bic lighter… try me. Personally, I can't work out to passive music. I need a banging angry beat to match my mood (hate working out!). I mean, I don't need to Cardio-Box to Maxwell.

Sometimes your environment sets your musical taste. There was one entire year that I drove to work at a job I hated with my fist balled up and teeth on perma-clench. [Blogger's Note: It's not a good idea to listen to P.E.'s Can't Truss It on repeat on your way to the Paycheck Plantation. You spend all day daring somebody with your eyes to say something stupid… anything.] Moving on, these songs aren't necessarily about positivity. A good revolutionary "might catch a case today" anthem is angry, has a beat you can punch repetitively to and a chorus that you can mutter under your breath or scream at the top of your lungs. So I present in no particular order some tunes from my Set It Off playlist:

  1. Made You Look by Nas: Any song with gunplay in the chorus is a guaranteed firestarter
  2. Uptown Anthem by Naughty by Nature: This song breaking, bashing and smashing things, nuff said.
  3. Enter Sandman by Metallica: Scary song. This band is the devil disguised as musicians. But this song rocks.
  4. Public Enemy (defy you to pick only one or two): Fight the Power and 911 is a Joke to start and the list goes on
  5. Up in Here by DMX: Just burn your office down now. (unless you work at home, in which case go with the neighbor whose dog can't find their lawn – their house will do)
  6. Slap by Ludacris: It's a slower tune but how can you go wrong with a chorus like, "I feeling like slapping somebody today?"
  7. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana: The only grunge song that was 100% okay by me
  8. I don't give a/Only God can judge me by 2Pac: Pac was a revolutionary, it's only fair he kick start the revolution
  9. Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit: All in the title
  10. Rising Up by the Roots featuring Chrisette Michele: I almost twisted something jammin' to this yesterday. Damn those Roots can play!
  11. Rompe by Daddy Yankee: Rompe means Break in English, say no more
  12. NWA/Dre/Ice Cube there are enough songs to fill box sets for the revolution
  13. We Takin' Over/Out Here Grindin' by DJ Khaled: Yes, my bougie butt loves songs about folks hustlin' in the streets. Probably cuz I ain't out there with 'em
  14. Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses: Monster guitar riffs and crazy vocals keep this perennial stadium banger on my list
  15. Bring 'em Out by T.I.: Dirty South rappin' about mayhem and mischief making, what's not to love?
  16. Just to Get By by Talib Kweli: I spent a year wearing this song out. Listening to it again right, makes you want to Just.Do.Better.
  17. Steady Bounce by KRS One: Deep Cut, if you don't know… ask somebody
  18. Green Day – pick a song, any song, they pretty much own the rock anthem these days, the first sixteen bars of Holiday are enough to start a riot
  19. Can I get a by Jay-Z: Get your bounce on!
  20. B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad) by Outkast: Frenetic beat with lyrics to match, this one makes me weary trying to keep up on the treadmill

And for my femme anthems, these still make me want to kick some a! but with pumps on:

  1. Fighter by Christina Aquilera
  2. Latifah's had it up to here by Queen La
  3. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrissette
  4. Karma (the Reggaeton Remix) by Alicia Keys
  5. Just a Girl by No Doubt

Okay, let's hear it… what song makes you want to go all Rock-Star-In-the-Four-Seasons and tear a place apart? If the revolution starts tomorrow, what's on the playlist? What songs do you work out to? What the heck is Convict Music? And after reading this post are you worried that I'm going to set something aflame? Hey, no one said Bougie can't be a little militant.

Michael Jackson’s This is It starts tonight

I will be taking BougieMom to the 7:00pm showing of This Is It this evening at the bougie theater with drinks and dinner service. Extremely excited. Here is the trailer for the film:

Who is going to see it or caught it last night? What do you expect to see?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Music to say “I’m done, son!”

Next up on BnB Music week: it's the break up song, otherwise known as "pack yo' sh!t" music. To be an effective break-up song, the tune needs to be crisp, concise, clear and not open to interpretation. When you put this song on repeat and put your hand out for the key, the scene should really sing, you know? When you blare this from the speakers while tossing clothes out the window, the song (and shoes whizzing by the ears) should really say it all. When my niece was walking around with her fist balled up singing JoJo's Leave (Get Out) I thought, aw – another generation learns. Music so often has the ability to say exactly what you would if you had a bank of writers scripting your life. I recall a girlfriend of mine getting a letter from her boyfriend. He started with, "Basically, gurl: my love has left." Yeah, next time, son just send a mixtape! So, in no particular order, here are 25 songs from my iPod Playlist called "Deuces!"

  1. After the Love Has Gone by Earth, Wind and Fire
  2. Walk on By by Dionne Warwick
  3. Consider Me Gone by Sting
  4. Moving Out by Billy Joel
  5. There you go/So What by Pink
  6. I've gotta move on/Separate Ways by Lalah Hathaway
  7. Epiphany (I'm leaving) by Chrisette Michele
  8. Call Tyrone by Erykah Badu
  9. My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne
  10. Breakin' the habit by Linkin Park
  11. Don't Speak/Ex-Girlfriend by No Doubt
  12. Irreplaceable by Beyonce
  13. Been Loving you (a little too long) by Otis Redding
  14. You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi
  15. Too much, too little, too late Johnny Mathis w/ Deniece Williams
  16. I used to love him/Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill
  17. I fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline
  18. Bye, Bye, Bye by NSYNC
  19. Cry me a River by Harry Connick Jr (h/t to Justin Timberlake tune by same name)
  20. F.O.D. (F! off and Die) by Green Day
  21. Goodbye Girl by Go West
  22. Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch
  23. He Wasn't Man Enough for me by Toni Braxton
  24. Hit em Up style by Blu Cantrell
  25. Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles

I'm also going to go Honorable Mention for those songs that are about a break-up coming but you still wanna stop it before it happens:

  1. I Try by Will Downing
  2. Neither one of us by Gladys Knight and the Pips
  3. Don't Leave me Girl by Guy
  4. Don't you want me by Human League
  5. Don't Leave me this way by Thelma Houston
  6. 50 ways to leave your lover by Paul Simon
  7. Ain't gonna let you (break my heart again) by Bonnie Raitt
  8. Careless Whisper by Wham!
  9. Never Loved a Man by Aretha Franklin
  10. Mr Wrong by Sade

In my mind, my life is a great movie with a soundtrack to match. Next time I throw up the peace sign and moonwalk backwards out of some dude's life (cue the wind machine for my hair and roll the smoky mist in from the left), I need my tunes right. So BougieLand, whatcha got? What is the greatest break-up song EVER? What is your favorite break up tune?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Raise your snifter of Aged Port up: Happy Birthday to BougieOlderBro!


Before the day slips away, a quick pause for the cause for Dr. BougieOlderBro. Happy Millionth Birthday, dude! A man among men (who still needs his ass kicked every now and then), BougieOlderBro is the first child of the BougieFam. Aptly nicknamed The Crown Prince with the Golden Scalpel, he has an affinity for high-end audio visual gadgets, a weakness for perfectly seared cuts of sirloin and an unfortunate dance move best referred to as "The Cosby."

In honor of BougieOlderBro and Music Week - here are some of his cuts. Take a listen and lift a glass up. Happy Birthday!

Music for couples counseling

First up on BnB Music Week – songs that don't reflect well on your relationship. Yes, we're talking Dysfunctional Relationship Songs. Awhile ago I'm driving in the car with a girlfriend of mine and we are singing along to some tunes. One song comes on and she gets all teary-eyed, "Ah, that used to be our song." Swear to you, I almost wrecked the car. We were listening to Puddle of Mudd: Control. For those of you not up on your alternative anthems, here are some of the lyrics:

I love the way you rake my skin, I feel the hate you place inside, I need to get your voice out of my head, cause I'm that guy you'll never find
I think you know all of the rules, there's no expression on your face, I'm hope that someday you will let me go, release me from my dirty cage
[Chorus]
I need to feel you, you need to feel me, I can't control you, you're not the one for me, no
I can't control you, you can't control me, I need to feel you, so why's there even you and me?

In case ya'll don't know – that's not a love song. If this is you and your boo's "song"… ya'll got some issues. I am talking super-serious 'check in with your parole officer' issues. Your relationship song should say something about you and yours like 1) We love each other or 2) We have a lot of sex or even 3)We go through some things but still love each other and have a lot of sex. Those are sentiments we get. But if one of the following is your song, we'd like to suggest some couples counseling… post haste:

  1. Love is Stronger than Pride by Sade: One of the prettiest songs ever written but truly heart-breaking if you take a listen: I won't pretend that I intend to stop living. I won't pretend I'm good at forgiving. But I can't hate you, although I have tried. I still really really love you. Love is stronger than pride. I still really really love you. Basically old girl is saying that she cannot stand you or the crazy sh!t you do but dammit she loves you anyway. For something different, check out Rahsaan Patterson's version of this song.

  2. I Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt: It's in the title people – one person doesn't love the other. How is this your song? Peep a verse: Cause I can't make you love me if you don't. I'll close my eyes, then I won't see the love you don't feel when you're holdin' me. Mornin' will come and I'll do what's right, just give me till then to give up this fight. She wants one more night before she admits that the relationship is d-e-a-d. Death of relationship should not be ya'lls song. Another great version of this song is done by Will Downing.

  3. Every Breath You Take by the Police: Sting recently came out in an interview and said how horrified he was that this was people's wedding song. He wrote the song in a kind of jealous stalker hateration rage and never intended for it to be a love song. Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you. Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watching you. I only have one thing to say to this: Security! If you want a haunting, lyrical Police song that actually speaks to love, give Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic a shot.

  4. Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin by Journey: Yeah um – this song is not about what you think it is. Check out a verse: You make me weep and wanna die just when you said we'd try lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other. When I'm alone all by myself, you're out with someone else lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other. It won't be long, yes till you're alone. When your lover, oh, he has'nt come home cause he's lovin' oh, he's touchin', he's squeezin' another. This is more of a cheating redemption anthem than a love song. If you want a great Journey love song, go for Faithfully.

I'm just saying, your relationship song should be a bit more meaningful than Blame it (on the Alcohol), say more than Birthday Sex and be something you aren't ashamed to listen to in the future (The Thong Song?). My last "relationship song" was You by Raheem DeVaughn. Probably should have been Bad Habits by Maxwell. Such is life.

Got a relationship song to share? What is the most inappropriate relationship song ever (besides Roxanne)?

Music Week Sleeper Pick: Whatcha know about Lalah Hathaway?

Lalah Hathaway (daughter of the late, great Donny) is one of the most slept on artists of our time. She has a sultry alto/contralto voice that when paired with her meaningful lyrics and artful arrangements set a mood and tone that should not be missed. Her music is a blend of old school soul, neo-soul and jazzy R&B. Recently asked about why she is not more of a powerhouse in the music industry, Lalah replied that she doesn't want to fit into the music industry's current standards. Lalah stated, "I don't necessarily want to fit into what's happening now, but I want to stand with it, doing my own thing. I would really love it if people need the record. I put a lot of myself into this album, so I hope people can hear me and understand who I am."

Her debut album, Lalah Hathaway, (singles Baby Don't Cry, Somethin' and Heaven Knows) came out in 1990. Her fifth studio album Self Portrait came out in 2008. In between she has done some amazing work, a few of my favorites being Love Like This (with Grover Washington, Jr), Forever, For Always, For Love (from the Luther Vandross Tribute album for which she was nominated for a Grammy) and a deep hard to find cut Summertime (with Marcus Miller). She has made over 25 featured appearances on other artists' albums and her voice is a distinctive jewel that rides a melody. If you get a chance to see her live, do not miss the opportunity. Her live performances are always extended cuts of her album versions in a way that less talented performers cannot pull off. Here she is performing Forever, For Always, For Love live (deepest darkest regrets and apologies for the BET Mo'Nique show, I couldn't find clearer video), enjoy:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Up this week on BnB: Music Week!

I've always been a mixtape girl. I have always been the girl whose friends said, "Burn me a copy of that!" Back in my dual cassette days, my mixes were the hotness. My poor exes have been the recipients of more middle-of-the-night message music CDs than you can imagine. In the words of one ex-SO, "Damn, you mad, huh?" Why yes, yes I was. And since talking wasn't getting my point across, I burned fourteen songs on a CD and tossed it at him as he walked out the door. Hey, getting a mix-CD from me meant I cared enough to research songs and put them in a specific order.

Now, with the progression of digital downloading, music sharing and the like, I don't even have to burn the CD. I can email folks a "listen and weep" playlist, I can gift an entire "so over this" iTunes mix and know they take my meaning.

Music has always been a big part of the BougieHousehold. I've been fortunate enough to be exposed to all types of music from opera to country to metal to hip hop. I've found something to like in just about every genre. Back in the day, I winced at BougieDad with the reggae and the calypso but now I love some Bob Marley and can appreciate a Harry Belafonte tune. BougieOlderBro terrorized us with Isley Brothers all day every day to the point that it took me ten years to listen to them again. BougieYoungerBro spent an entire summer with A Tribe Called Quest on repeat (long live Q-Tip). BougieSis would listen to Harry Connick Jr and Michael Bublé all day if allowed. I've found something to like in just about every genre.

At any rate, this week I'll just pick some themes and talk about a few favorites. We're going to explore some messages in the music. I'm giving the side-eye to couples whose "song" has me sliding them a relationship counselor's card. We're going to take some polls and debate some slept on artists. Come by to check it out and bring a friend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Next time I’ll let it go to voicemail (TapBack gone bad!)

What had happened was… I was distracted. I had the D'Angelo video (that Untitled tune with all the nekkidity, six packs and whatnot) playing on VH1 Soul plus I was tweeting on one computer while proofreading something else on my laptop… I just wasn't paying attention. So when my cell phone rang, I answered without checking the caller id. I know, I know… playette FAIL.

"Hello?"

"Michele?" Male voice. Didn't recognize it.

"Yes."

"This is Bill." No help.

"Bill who?"

**crickets**

"I'm sorry, Bill who?"

"Bill Pollard." Oh snap. Blast from the past. (as always, name changed)

Flashback:

Over ten years ago I met Bill while walking through a mall. He managed a furniture store; I was a young Human Resources Assistant at a Fortune 500 company. Bill was 6'2", sexy and caramel colored, originally from Florida. He was a sweet guy, heart of gold, super affectionate, cooked for me (literally made and brought me homemade chicken soup when I was sick), and worried more about how I was feeling than how he was. In the beginning, I had very few complaints. He had a tendency to butcher the English language every once and a while, "I seent dat." What is seent? "You know I loveded that gurl," Loved-ed? Every time he dropped one of those, I would gently correct him and he would say, "Thank you baby, you speak so good." Winceworthy but not major. The first major issue came out of the blue.

We were sitting quietly one Sunday afternoon when he said, "I need more from you."

My eyebrow went up but ooo-kay. "What do you mean?"

"I need us to share our every intimate thought and need all the time. So like, tell me what you're thinking right now. Right this minute, how do you feel?"

I didn't hide the horror on my face well as I said, "Wait, I'm confused. You want us to share every single thought?"

"Yes, I want us to be so close that there's no difference between your thoughts and mine."

"Umm, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that." Nor was I sure that was humanly possible.

"You're so closed off from me. I just want us to be close."

"I thought that builds over time, right?"

Holding my hand he looked deep into my eyes, "Take down your walls girl, I'm here for you. Don't be afraid of love."

Okay, I KNOW I was wrong to laugh. I KNOW THAT. I was young and he caught me off guard and in that moment it was the corniest thing I had ever heard. Much to my horror, he started to tear up. Actual tears. Ah jeez, I felt terrible (and more than a little dismayed). "I'm sorry; I'll really try if it's that important to you. What would you like to talk about?"

He sniffled and said, "I just want to know how you feel about me, is that too much to ask?"

So are you where I was? Starting to feel a distinct role reversal in this relationship? Whatever, I was supposed to be thrilled to find a sensitive man. I said, "Bill, I care for you very much."

"What does that mean?" His face scrunched up.

"It means I really, really like you." I gave him the 'what more can I say' look.

"And?" He prompted.

"And I'm glad you're in my life?"

He took a deep breath, squeezed my hand and said quite forcefully, "I need you to LOVE me!"

To my credit, I bit back my first response and answered, "Then I need you to give me some time."

After this conversation, our relationship shifted. I didn't know it then but looking back I realized that in that conversation he gave me all the power. You can't give that to a daddy's girl, young stupid bougie chick with a princess complex. She will run right over you… which is exactly what I did. With that conversation, he had laid down and stamped "doormat" on his forehead, and I wasted no time wiping my feet. I'm not proud of it, just being real. I nagged him to dress better, I urged him to speak better, I left brochures on Business Linguistics classes all over his apartment. I tried to mold him into what I thought he should be all the while dangling the carrot that if he did this thing, and then this thing and then this thing I would love him. He literally cracked one day. We had a particularly nasty fight where I verbally beat him about the head and neck (shamed to say words like 'punk-ass' and 'man the f! up' fell out of my mouth in his direction). [Blogger's note: Fellas, women will get away with as much as you let them get away with. I know you think that is your game exclusively, here's the wake up call. If you allow a woman to treat you any old kindaway, she just might. Ya'll ain't cornered the market]

Anyway, at three in the morning, I heard the shower running. I went in there and he was curled up on the floor of the bathtub sobbing like I shot his mama. "I'm never going to be good enough for you. I'm just not what you want. Why don't you just say it so I can walk away?" In that moment, I questioned everything I knew about myself (at that age, it wasn't much) and realized that I had taken a good guy who just wanted to adore me and broken him. He was a broken tore-up soul letting cold water run across his body. I turned off the water, wrapped him up and held him through the night. The next morning I told him, "You're right and it's really not you. I just don't know who I am and what I want." He looked at me and said sadly, "But you know it not's me." He took his keys and walked out. I never laid eyes on him again.

So back to present day. Now that you know the tale, you can imagine my discomfort at hearing from him again. I had actually tried to find him a few years back to "make amends" but old boy had fled back to Florida. Yep, I broke the boy to the point that he quit his job, left the state and went home to his mama. *hangs head in shame*

"Bill, wow – it's been a while. What's up?"

"I just want you know that I thank you."

"Oh, uh. Really?" Color OneChele confused.

"Yes. If you hadn't ripped my heart out years ago, I would never be who I am now."

Uncomfortable. He spent the next 15 minutes letting me know how angry and bitter he was after I "ruined" him. And how he entered into a series of relationships where he basically did to other women what I had done to him (ooo- the guilt burned! I'm sorry Florida sisters!) until finally getting married a few years ago. He now has two kids and a chain of some kinda store.

"I'm happy for you, Bill. I really am. I always wanted to apologize for how I treated you. I was really young and stupid. If it helps at all, I never treated anyone else that way again."

"Well, you can apologize in person."

"Beg pardon?"

"I'll be in Dallas in a few weeks and I think you owe me closure… in whatever form I choose to exact it."

Say what now? "I'm sure I don't understand."

"You owe me."

"I owed you an apology, I just gave you that."

"I want it in person. And I want the break-up sex."

I held the phone with my mouth hanging open. "Umm…"

"Yeah, I'm not that same punk b*tch in the shower boo-hooing cause you don't love me."

Wincing, wincing. "Umm…"

"Shall I call you when I land?"

Damn if he didn't sound like he'd taken that Business Linguistics class I had recommended. "Bill, I don't think that's a good idea."

"You married some doctor or lawyer, huh?"

Take the easy fork in the road girl, "You know me too well."

"Exactly, that's why I'll call when I get in. Knowing you, old boy is on a short leash and you're ready for some no strings entertainment."

Ouch. "You take care, Bill." CLICK. Straight to call history. SAVE NUMBER? Yes. NAME? "Do Not Answer Bill!"

Truly, I believe karma has come back around and kicked my ass plenty for my Bill foolishness. If there's a yin-yang in the universe, I've more than out-yinned the yang of it all. But feel free to let me have it, BougieLand. Did I just have this one coming? Is the over apology enough, knowing that what he really wants is revenge instead of closure? Do we even really owe anybody closure if we weren't "with" them for over a year or married? Isn't "goodbye and good luck" enough? Does hearing the other person apologize net you anything in the long run anyway? And what good did break-up sex ever do? Okay, comment as you will.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

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

As you all know, bouge is equal opportunity and all love. Welcome one and all to BougieLand, please tell a friend. But every once and awhile it seems necessary to offer a few suggestions to keep our lovely diversity melting pot from bubbling over. For the record, I had SIX of these happened to me in the last month. (Just. DO. Better. people) Here goes, a few things never ask a black person:

  1. If something is racist or not: Hmm, if you have to ask… I'd err on the side of caution. Yes, we are supposed to be post-racial these days but if you ask me, the post-racial tension seems just a little more on edge. Any comment or act with the slightest racist tinge while earn you the stern side-eye. In the Ross Dress for Less the other day a woman and her daughter were trying on jeans. The daughter's jeans were WAY too tight. Her mother said, "That makes you look like you have a black woman's ass!" Then they both started doing some sort of big booty dance. The daughter said, "Look Mom, I'm a video ho." I just backed out of the dressing room. No time to correct THAT level of ignorance. Listen up people: When in doubt, do with out. And along those same lines…

  2. If we're offended by whatever borderline racist thing you just said: We probably weren't until you pointed it out, in front of everybody, in a meeting... when we're the only person of color there. Think first, speak later. I remember sitting in a meeting when this guy said he had just come back from skiing. He shared that on the last day he took the black trail. Another guy laughed and said, "Oh does that mean they served Malt Liquor and did the Electric Slide." Half the room laughed, the other half looked at me and then the whole room fell silent. "Oh, was that offensive?" He asked me, "No more than your Opie haircut." I replied and the meeting went on with a laugh and a collective sigh of relief. If you only knew how often we bite back the urge to raise up a black power fist and commence to going in like Stokely Carmichael… you really wouldn't test us.

  3. Why we sunbathe: We come in a range of colors from crème brûlée to espresso. Some of us enjoy the sun and don't care if we add a few shades to the hue. Please stop looking at us crazy when we slather on the Banana Boat and get our sun worship on. Can't tell you how many times BougieSis and I get the "Huh?" look when we settle in with beach bags, iPods, books and icy drinks by the spa pool on vacay. By the way, before you ask – yes… some of us sunburn.

  4. If we think (insert Black Celeb Name here) is cute: Okay, you got us on Idris Elba – far as I can tell all black women think he's droolworthy and are saving up for the clone DNA. Anyone else we might or might not call the Hotness, really depends on individual taste. Some black men think Amber Rose is all that, others not so much. I'm not so wild about Taye Diggs, BougieYoungerBro is not so into Sanaa Lathan – to each his own. How about a pact, stop asking us if we think Will Smith is cute and we'll stop asking about George Clooney. Fair exchange!

  5. Where something in the hood is: As I've said before, I know not from hood. I don't know where that slammin' after hours spot is that you overheard Ray-Ray and dem talking about. No clue. Chances are I can only point you in the direction of what area of town I don't roll through after dark. I might be able to get you to the catfish shack/rib joint (ha!) but that's about it. And speaking of which…

  6. How to cook something you ate at the soul food place: Chances are I do know how to cook it but I'm not your soul food guide. Holla at the Neelys – they have a great cookbook out: Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook and actually get paid to tell you how to cook things. I don't mind a recipe swap but when the only things you ask me about are collard greens, chitlins and sweet potato pie, you're getting the side-eye. Just out of the blue a woman asked me how to make "real mac n cheese." Not a woman I knew well, just some random broad in an elevator. I told her to Google it.

  7. Anything about Kanye West: Yes he can be a jerk, yes he's a musical genius, yes it's sad his mom died. Beyond that, we probably don't know him personally and can't offer any more informed opinion than you can. Don't know why he does what he does, my guess is as good as yours: publicity, ego, short man's syndrome?

  8. How come we are lighter/darker than our parents/siblings: Again, range of colors people. According my cocoa dad, he wondered how his kids with my cocoa mom kept coming out lighter and lighter. He told her he was one child away from clocking the mailman when my younger brother came out chocolatey.

  9. Why our hair looks different today: Please see installment one, question one… just don't ask anything about the hair. If it looks nice, feel free to say so. Leave it that.

  10. If we've ever been to jail: You read that right! Someone actually asked me this the other day. I was so stunned that I blinked for a minute prompting her to say, "You don't have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable." I wasn't uncomfortable, I was deeply offended. And so I asked, "What is it about me that makes you think I'd been to jail?" She turned bright red and shrugged, "I guess it was a stupid question. I'm not racist." Ri-ight, she's not a racist – she just impersonates one in real life.

Any to add? Comments?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today's PSA: The Ultimate Accessory – don’t leave home without it

I so very, very much did not want to write this post. In fact, I've been sitting here in front of the computer for over an hour trying to write ANYTHING else. Like any good blogger, I keep a few posts tucked away for those days when I am hung over or singularly uninspired on vacation. I went through my list twice and even checked my random post-it notes musings to see if there was something else to say. Nope this is it. I feel somewhat like a public service blog this week but after watching today's Oprah, it had to be written.

Why the discomfort, OneChele? Well, sex is not something we discuss in the BougieFam household. Iz you iz or iz you ain't… we shan't be discussing it. Just the way it's always been, and I'm good with it. As you may have noticed from my postings, I will often allude to sexual acts but if you are waiting for me to break it on down… well, buy my book (I save the steamy stuff for the fiction). I watched Ms. Oprah's show with tear-brimmed eyes. I received no less than 10 tweets asking about my opinion and an equal number of emails. With a sigh, I recognized that the following must be said:

For those of you that may have missed it, Oprah had a show about a man here in the Dallas Area who had given the HIV virus to no less than 15 women that he was juggling at once. These were all women "of a certain age" positive they had discovered a true love. Some of them simply never thought to ask his HIV status, others asked and he point-blank lied. Yeah, we don't play that brand of bullshiggity here in Texas. Using a loophole in the Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge they were able to hit old boy with multiple felony counts. This bastard came to court and tried to say that one of the women had infected him. Hello? Welcome to the DNA of disease, they were able to do some CSI forensic magic and prove that the strain of HIV in all the women's blood originated from him. He's currently serving forty-five years with the possibility of parole in twenty-two when he will be seventy-two years of age. Someone warn the Golden Girls if this jerk gets out. Click back to Tuesday, October 20 show to see highlights.

As I watched the ladies answering questions, I noticed how utterly devastated they were and how angry and defensive they became when an audience member asked them why they didn't insure their own protection. "Do NOT blame the VICTIMS!" One woman snapped from the stage. While I understood what she was saying, I still couldn't help but think… in this age of sexual tomfoolery, really no condom? Another woman exclaimed tearfully, "This is a man that each of us thought we were in a long-term intimate trusting relationship with. He was clean and well-spoken and employed, you would never had thought he carried this deadly disease."

I had to press pause. I understand that these women were a bit older. My generation and the ones behind it came up in the post-Magic Johnson era. Condoms became something you could scoop up at the Student Union next to the campus newsletter. Getting that this was not their experience, I still goggled that someone still believed you could look at someone to see if they are carrying diseases. STDS and AIDS are not like meth-use, you can't eye someone up and say, "Umm, they on that stuff." And psycho-assholes like this dude go out of their way to appear as normal and healthy as possible. Even if I set aside unwanted pregnancies and STDs (a lot to set aside), I simply don't trust someone to care as much about my health as I do. It would never occur to me not to have the full-blown conversation or break out the foil packet, or both.

Today's PSA: The fast growing population of HIV/AIDS infected citizens are African-American females. Please peep these scary-ass facts from the CDC:

Of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, HIV and AIDS have hit African Americans the hardest. The reasons are not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to some of the barriers faced by many African Americans. These barriers can include poverty (being poor), sexually transmitted diseases, and stigma (negative attitudes, beliefs, and actions directed at people living with HIV/AIDS or directed at people who do things that might put them at risk for HIV).

When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans have:

  • More illness. Even though blacks (including African Americans) account for about 13% of the US population, they account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV and AIDS.
  • Shorter survival times. Blacks with AIDS often don't live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS. This is due to the barriers mentioned above.
  • More deaths. For African Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.

The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women was 22 times the rate for white women. Some reasons might be:

  • Sexual risk factors include high-risk sexual contact such as unprotected sex with multiple partners or unprotected sex with persons known to have or be at a high risk for HIV infection. People may be unaware of their partner's sexual risk factors or have incorrectly assessed them.
  • Stigma, a "negative social label that identifies people as deviant", also puts too many African American communities at a high risk of infection. Many at risk for HIV infection fear stigma more than knowing their status, choosing instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing. Therefore they continue to be at risk and may infect others .

WTF ladies? As women (and black women) we have a hard-enough path to walk without adding this to the journey. Why in all that is holy would you not buy, carry and use condoms unless you are in a long-term committed relationship with some whose test results you have privy to? And by long-term I don't mean six months. They continue to research incubation periods and probabilities between exposure and infection. So someone your boo slept with x number of years ago can come back to haunt you in more ways than one. That kind of risk is a game of Russian roulette I have no desire to play.

They are coming out with a male birth control pill, great – it doesn't cure AIDS. They have a preventative shot for HPV, excellent – it doesn't cure AIDS. Get a condom, keep a condom. NO excuses:

  • "I hate how condoms feel." Everyone does, lookie here – Trojan came out with some new stuff that's supposed to be the bomb-diggity. Can someone who has tried the new Ecstasy joints write in and let us know if it's as advertised (in PG-13 language, please).
  • "It was only once." Yes and just like with pregnancy, once is all it takes. I don't care what freak-nasty stuff old boy pulled out of his bag of tricks, is it worth your life?
  • "He swore he was clean." He probably swore he was single/straight/employed too, right? You would check his resume but not his test results? Come on now.
  • "It was only oral sex." Hmm, sounds familiar – 'there was only one bullet in the gun' – still a lethal weapon, people.
  • "AIDS is a survivable diagnosis." And a car crash is a survivable accident but I'm not deliberately trying to have one, now am I?

Rest assured that these poor Texas women are not the first (remember that high school cluster in Georgia with 21 infected teens) or the last to get tragically burned by bad choices. Just be smart, be part of the solution and don't become a statistic. GET TESTED and know your partner's status! One in FIVE people infected with HIV doesn't know it!

You can look up a free clinic for testing here. If you don't want to bust up in a store and buy some condoms (please grow up), here's a link for some freebies and here's a Trojan coupon. Okay, I'm off the soapbox, here's Barack to talk to ya'll.

I can vividly recall one gent who came at me with the "just this once will be fine" bullshiggity. I bounced him outta there so quick no doubt both of his heads were spinning. I gave a damn. Can anyone give me a reason for sexually active people not to carry around and use condoms? Seriously, one good reason? Probably not so comment as you will…

p.s. tomorrow I write about something trivial and fun if it kills me J

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Umm, I could just leave – thoughts on Domestic Violence

'Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends.
("A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act V, Scene I, William Shakespeare)

Yesterday, I felt like I wasn't having a great day. It was a Monday, my weekend wasn't so restful. I arose before the sun to take BougieSis to the airport, came back home and had just settled into a work rhythm when BougieMom needed transportation while her car was getting its Grand Hustle checkup at the dealership. Returning home, the gates to our gated community were broken and you could not get in. I parked across the street and hoofed it into the house thinking naptime. My neighbors across the street are building a deck in their backyard. A very noisy deck requiring backhoes and nail guns and mounds of dirt in the middle of the street. Giving up the nap, I decided to get some writing done and stared at a blank screen until Vista (for reasons unknown) crashed. Being a back-up fiend, I lost no data but the drama of rebooting and making sure everything was still configured correctly was irksome. Running unbearable slow, I commenced cursing colorfully at the screen until my phone rang and placed things in perspective.

It was my old college roommate. "Did you hear Kay* died?" (*name changed) Kay was my next-door neighbor in the dorm my freshman year of college. She was a petite dark-skinned beauty who looked angelic on the outside but when she opened that pretty mouth – WHOA! She was a fifth-ward Houston chick – umm, think Jason's Lyric for hood reference. Anyway, Kay and I were close as we were both living in a bullshiggity all girls dorm, had an eight-o'clock class and were dating prominent football players on campus. Yes, we were close right up until my player gave me disturbing information on her player and when I shared it; she was not pleased with me. (Note: if your man has Noxzema, lip gloss and sheer pantyhose under his sink that don't belong to you or his sister, he's either cheating or cross-dressing, okay?! Moving on.) Kay and I lost touch somewhere in junior year and I'm not even sure she graduated but we kept in casual contact over the years. So I asked my friend, "What happened to her?" She replied, "Her boyfriend shot and killed her, she was pregnant." Well, damn… my day didn't seem so bad in stark comparison. Kay was a fighter literally; she was one of those chicks that was always in some sort of altercation with another woman or slapping a dude in the middle of the Student Union or threatening to kick somebody's ass. But no matter how out of hand she could be, no woman should die like that. Not one.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month and I wonder if you know that one of the leading causes of death among pregnant women is homicide? Did you know that approximately 30% of ALL female homicides are attributed to significant other? [This number has actually declined while number of males killed by female significant others is going up but er – Imma let some other blogger get with that] The fact remains that ONE out of EVERY FOUR women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by intimate partner every year. For more statistics and information on where to get help and what steps to take, contact the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. And now, a not so lovely BougieTale:

When I lived out in the Bay Area, I met a guy whose name I have literally blocked out of my memory. We'll call him Clorox Dude (CD) since that was where he worked. CD and I met at the Barnes & Noble in Jack London Square (notorious meet~n~mingle place) and went out a few times. At the end of date three he made a conscious and apparent decision to get up to my apartment. He came up; I offered him something to drink and turned on the TV. As we sat watching TV, he started getting very grabby. Aggressively grabby. To the point where I shoved (not gently pushed) him away from me, stood up and said, "I think you should go." To this he replied, "I don't think so." My mouth literally fell open. As a bougie southern chick, when you ask someone to leave… they go! So I said again, "I really want you to leave." "Not until we take this relationship to the next level, you know you want to." Huh. What to do? While I was standing there perplexed, he got up and grabbed me, sort of wrestled me to the ground and pinned my wrists back. In that moment I recognized that this fool was serious and planned to take what I wasn't going to give. I had two ways out, fight (suck at it) or talk (bingo!).

So as he was licking the side of my neck (eeww!); I said, "Hey, you know what? Let me get out of these clothes and put on something sexy. Why don't you get yourself a glass of wine and we'll do this up right?" He leaned back and said, "Okay now that's what I'm talking about, hurry back." I scrambled up and walked down the hall to my room. This apartment had a long hallway with my bedroom suite at the end. There was a door leading into the bathroom which I locked and another door from the walk-through closet into the bedroom which I also locked. So now two fairly thick locked doors stood between me and CD. I called a friend of mine who played pro football and told him the situation. "You stay back there with the doors locked, me and Big Juicy on the way. DON'T come out until I call you." I didn't know exactly who Big Juicy was but I figured he was the kind of guy you wanted to have around and on your side in a situation like this. Two minutes later CD banged on the outer door, "Are you coming out?" "Yep, give me five minutes," I said. He banged on the door in two minute intervals until about ten minutes later when he asked if he should answer the front door, "Yep, you should get that." Then I heard some scuffling noises followed by silence. Five minutes later my cell rang, "You can come out now, we got him. You want him wounded or dead?" I laughed until I realized they were serious, "Oh jeez, just gone with a warning was good enough, thanks!"

The next day CD called and asked me what happened. "What do you mean?" I asked. He said, "I woke up this morning outside your apartment building in my backseat, somebody beat the hell outta me and stuffed me in my car." Turned out my friend brought over Big Juicy and a defensive lineman to have a "chat" with CD, I kinda wished I had come out into the living room to see it go down. "Hmm, I guess you need to learn to keep your hands to yourself then, doncha think?" "You are crazy! I'm filing charges!" I looked down at my bruised wrists and said, "I can do the same if you want to take it there." Never heard from him again. I told EVERYBODY I knew in the Bay Area about his behavior and at the next major conference, I noticed he wasn't at the Clorox booth. "What happened to CD?" "He got fired; there was some questionable behavior with women in the department." I'll just bet there was. All in all, I felt I had gotten off lucky and it definitely changed my habits as far as letting people into my home before I truly felt comfortable in doing so. I still have a tendency to double and triple check where my cell phone is and make sure I tell someone where I am and who I'm going with. It could have been so much worse.

This "new trend" of men (a la Scott Peterson, Tarance Nelson, Timothy Shephard) who kill their s.o.'s due to pregnancy or some other perceived relationship issue is truly baffling to me. (Okay, it's probably not new but we are hearing so much more about it). I still just don't get it. Seriously, you can just tell me you want me to leave and I am out. Never to be heard from again. I swear on whatever breath I have left you will never hear from me again and I do NOT want a dime! There is no reason to shoot, maim, beat, drown, grill, or freeze any part of me. You don't even have to be nice about it. One angrily muttered, "Get to stepping!" and I'm like the wind. I remember being in a heated argument with a man when he balled his fist up at his side. I went dead still and raised an eyebrow. The hell you say? Not OneChele. I backed away, grabbed my purse and hit the door running. He later said, "I never would have swung it." Ri-ight… I was SO not sticking around to find out. Lookie here, my bougie ass is delicate: I bruise easily, I sprain sh!t without too much drama, I don't even play wrestle. Uh-uh, we off that. There's only one acceptable reason to get physical with a man and that should not require the dialing of 9-1-1. Okay?

I just unloaded two boxes of curling irons (someone will use that crimper!) and blow dryers to the battered women's shelter at my church along with lotions, hair products, blushes and lipsticks I never used and a stack of romance novels. You would think they won the lottery; they were so giddy. So it doesn't have to be a big donation, just something to help out. In memory of Kay and all the other Kays out there, let's take a moment to see if there is something each of us can do to support the cause and raise awareness. Comment as you will.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WBFDD: Risk our lives unnecessarily

I know the picture makes no sense but read on and all will be revealed. In this installment of What Bougie Folks Don't Do, allow me to present three cases where Bougie Folks are nowhere (and won't be anywhere) to be found.

  1. Hang out with angry large wild animals: Okay, small OneChele confession: I love shows where people are in terrible peril but cheat death. Poor BougieSis has listened to me rant on and on about episodes of I Survived on the Biography Channel. Each week they profile two of three stories of people who managed to beat the odds and come out of super scary situations with their lives. So one day in the middle of an I Survived Marathon, they played a promo for a new show called I'm Alive on the Animal Planet channel. For some reason, I did not make the connection that a show produced on Animal Planet would involve all sort of deadly species of critter. Anyway, I watched the first three episodes and laughed until I literally fell off the bed. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be funny. But when you start a story, "Young man decides to visit wild elephants in China." Or, "Family receives shark warning but enters ocean anyway." Or my newest favorite, "Rugby player takes girlfriend out to lion reserve." Okay see? Right then, I knew were not dealing with bougie folks. This dude decided to get a closer look at the lions and thought it was cute that the lion was pacing alongside the gate with them. The lion paused in a certain spot so the rugby dude paused too, sat down, and extended his legs toward the lion… like his foot is six inches away from the King of the Jungle nothing but a wire and post division them. The lion sat down too. The human and the lion stare into each other's eyes for a second. The lion never blinked. Half a minute later, the lion had reached through the fence (lion knew it was broken, human did not), grabbed old boy by the legs and dragged him into the enclosure. Now Mufasa and two of his pals commenced to snacking on rugby dude's legs like well, a drumstick. The other lion was preparing to sit on his head. Long story short, two of the lions reared up to fight each other over who would get the kill and the third lion lifted up when the game warden fired off a round. Rugby dude gets up, hobbled to the gate and managed to get out. Three inches of muscle have to be cut away from his leg, six skin grafts and numerous other dramatic medical ordeals ensued. All's well that ends well – dude is playing rugby for his national team three years later. BougiePoint: Nature looks lovely from a distance. This is what zoos and the Discovery Channel are for.

  2. Sit in tiny "sweat lodges" with 50 strangers: Some little dude in Arizona runs a "Spiritual Warrior" week-long class for which he charges $9,000 a week (or more). <- - - Grand Hu$tle Award. Anyway, by shelling out your bucks and listening to what Reverend Ray (I can't MAKE this sh!t up) has to say, you are on your way to a new level of financial success and spiritual enlightenment. The highlight of the week involves cramming into a makeshift steam room type of contraption with all the other suckers worshippers to purge oneself of the past and experience a religious awakening. Too bad his last awakening resulted in three people dying (D-E-A-D, ya'll) and eighteen people being hospitalized. Umm? Hydration? Temperature? Fire marshall codes? Anyone, anyone? Reports vary but say that the sweat lodge is about 415 sq ft and the participants spend over three hours in there. A bunch of flesh pressed together for hours with heat? Isn't that just a big old human crock pot? Seriously now add a few veggies, rosemary and some chicken broth, we're halfway to stew. Anyway, this man has been all up on Oprah (hard side-eye) and on bestsellers lists hawking his stuff. NOW that folks are dead and whatnot, he's under investigation and people are coming out of the woodwork calling him a charlatan. BougiePoint: I don't even get in a hot tub with more than a few folks I don't know. Why the heckity-heck would I pay $10k to smush into a big old steam room with strangers? No. Thank. You.

  3. Build homemade flying apparatus: I thought the entire Balloon Boy story was shady from jump. But my first question when the story broke was not how did the kid get in there (even though he wasn't)? My first question was – who the hell builds a homemade flying machine? This is what we in the BougieFam call a for-who-for-whatter?! As I watched the thing that most closely resembled a giant floating Jiffy Pop container than anything else whizzing through the sky, I could not help but think – who does this? You will not catch bougie folks tinkering away at gravity defying machines unless we are scientists/engineers in a lab, getting paid to do so. And no, building model or paper or remote control airplanes doesn't count. Toys = good, crap people could climb in and crash to earth = no bueno. My next thought was – who's going to pay for this? The whole story was such a BougieFail my siddity mother said, "They all need their asses whipped!" BougieMom curses about once every two years. The Balloon People brought it out. She also went on a rant about how if this had been a black family, everybody would be in jail. She finally had to go "put her feet up" because the whole situation was just "too silly for words." BougiePoint: What BougieMom said… so there.

And this is just from the last week, ya'll! So tell me, agree or disagree? Ya'll hanging out in the Serengeti with no tracker, no bullets, no sense? Ha! Whatcha think about Reverend Ray? And can we all agree to lift up our pimp hands and slap the hell out of the BalloonFam for putting that mess on TV when we could have been watching live coverage of Obama in NOLA? Any others to add to the list for this time?

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