Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Video Shout-Out: The Floacist

Remember Floetry? I could write a few books around some memories involving the song Say Yes... but I digress. At any rate, the duo of Natalie (The Floacist) and Marcia Ambrosius have gone on to do separate projects. The Floacist's album drops November 9. Here's the first cut Forever with Musiq. (Also look for a cut called Come Over featuring Lalah Hathaway that is smoking hot. I'm taking cocoa-worthy people)

Any other good music to shout out today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 3: Bullshiggity, Bingo and Buffalo

When last we checked in, Mocha Dude and Mr C were attempting to set me up with some fellas. I had to take out my Bible and respond to dude wanting a Proverbs 31 woman and offering little in return. I told Mocha Dude and Mr. C that in order for me not to become jaded and tart, they had two more chances and then I was just going to shut it down for a little while. The search for Mr. Good-Bougie would have to wait.

As is known to happen the minute you announce your intentions to quit dating all together, men commence to falling out of the woodwork. I had posted a few pictures of myself and family on Facebook and though it took me a minute to notice, all of a sudden the number of male friends requests was up. Significantly. :-/ Since my Facebook page is 98% writing and blog related; unless someone is truly offensive with their FB approach, I accept the friendship. I don't have to like you to sell you a book, okay? #HustleRules

But freakin' Facebook! I have changed my privacy settings a gazillion times and they keep giving out my email address. Usually I don't mind.  Until I get something like this:
HELLO..good sweet lady,i am (name excluded),love your updates & profile,.well my hobbies are ,travelling,reading,swimming,dancing.i travelled a lot due to my to be more than a ffriend to just single& looking for my true love,& it might just shock you ,that have found love in you...............thaks for reading my mail,i care to know you more ,i adore you...........FROM XXX
For real tho? Let me remove my disdain for the abysmal grammar first and get into the content. You adore me? Just like that? You've never met me but you've "found love in me"? PLEASE TELL ME SOME WOMAN OUT THERE IS NOT FALLING FOR THIS SHIGGITY! 

I received three other similarly disturbing emails before I got Facebook security to scrub any and everywhere they had my email address. It's my Michele Grant email anyway. Not that someone can't find it here or on my website but let's make the crazies work for it a little bit, shall we?

Next up was a gentleman named Theodis. I decided the only way to remove all semblance of pre-judgment was to simply think of him as Theo. He is 47 years old, former military, current exec, divorced, two grown kids. Theo and I played phone tag for days. I'm not that hard to catch up with but this dude couldn't seem to manage. I am always susupect when someone calls me, I call right back and all of a sudden they are not able to answer their phone. Three times in a row. But moving on...

Theo took to calling at off hours trying to catch me - 6:00 in the morning, 1:30 at night. By this time, I wasn't so eager to chat. His messages were just a mite overly familiar. "One day you and I will lie in bed laughing about how we played phone tag in the beginning. Let's start laughing now." Um, a little bit icky? Finally, one night we connected via text. It was closing in on 11:00pm. He asked if I was going to be up for a while. I replied maybe, why? He said he was out but he'd call when he got in. At 12:30 he called and said he had been at Bingo. 

[we're pausing] Yes, ninja said Bingo. Said he plays three times a week and did I play? I told him I did not, I was sleepy and I'd send him a text in the morning. 

The last guy they were hesitant to set me up with because he's younger and they weren't sure I how cougarific I was feeling. Plus he lives in Houston so they weren't sure how I felt about distance. I told them to let me talk to him first. We talked and talked and talked. Five hour conversation. Such a great conversation that he came up and we had lunch the next day. Gulp. I had no description of dude prior to meeting him. Dude is 6'9" and rather nice to look at. [read fine and chockful of chocolatey goodness] Six-Nine! Sweet Jesus. Engineer, originally from Cali. Divorced, two kids. We have a similarly stupid sense of humor.

The lunch went well. He came back up Wednesday for lunch. All conversational snap-crackle-and-pop. We're meeting this weekend in Buffalo, Texas (exactly halfway between Houston and Dallas) for dinner and a movie. (If there is a movie theater in Buffalo?) And then we'll see.

I put a lot of stock in "vibe" and Bingo Dude just felt hinky. Y'all know hinky, like something there just wasn't quite right. Never gave FB stalker another thought after cutting and pasting his email over here. So between Bullshiggity Stalker, Bingo Dude, and Buffalo Soldier... who ya think I'm rolling with for now? 

BougieLand, who plays Bingo under the age of sixty? (So Not Gangsta/So Not Bougie) Who admits it?  And if it was just a story, that's the best you can come up with? Who sends crazy stalkery emails to women they've never met?  Who believes in instant chemistry? Who has thoughts, comments, insights to share? The floor is yours.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In this episode of Ask a Bougie Chick: What Should We Do?

It's dating advice for the grown-n-sexy set today. Okay, I'm sorry - I hate that phrase too. Let's move on.

[Cue game show musc...] On this episode of Ask a Bougie Chick, two gentlemen want our help planning evening out. Here's what they've got:

From the first gent, a 30-something professional in the Dallas Metroplex~

My question goes like this:
To the Bougie Nation: My request is simple; I need some different date ideas for "not the very first date" but not "you're my girl" dates. Please exclude the things I already know about: dinner, museums, concerts, parks, jazz clubs, cooking lessons, etc. 
Thanks in advance for all the suggestions. I do ask questions and listen but I try to change it up.

~DPG in Dallas

Dear DGP ~ You excluded quite a few good ideas there. You've also got me wondering at the nebulous zone between "not the first date" and "you're not my girl." Has there been cocoa? No cocoa? Do we want to get the cocoa? Do you want her to be your girl at some point? Is she bougie, regular, round the way? Hmm, without these answers I'll have to wing it. How about the "at home romance package"? You set a nice table, do candles, cooking, entire pamper vibe. It's a much better and upscale variation of movie and hot wings on my couch. You take that to the next level.

Or what about a wine-tasting? Have you been to Chocolate Secrets in Dallas? They do chocolate and wine pairings. Delicious and romantic. That's all I've got. Good luck!

Our next comes from an older married gent in the ATL~

Chele, Hello. I've been married to the same woman for 17 years. It's a blessing. We are still in love and enjoy each other's company. She has stated that we are "getting stale" and demanded that we have a "date night" twice a month to "freshen things up". She said this is "non-negotiable". When I asked her what she meant, she said, "Figure it out."
Chele, I got married so I wouldn't have to date. But I'm going to do what I gotta do to keep her. Any suggestions besides a dinner out? Not to overshare but do you think she's talking about the "entire" date night experience?

Thanks for anything you got for me.
~OldSchool in ATL

Dear OldSchool ~ Yes sir, she wants the whole experience from candlelight to "cocoa". Might as well get your mind right now. I would start traditional for the first date. She is asking to be wooed all over again. I know you had to do all of this years ago but dude, it's cheaper to keep her.

Is she a flower or candy woman? Wouldn't hurt to kick off the evening with a little "Love you baby" gift.  Dinner (at a nice restaurant), dancing (or a jazz lounge), and then handle your business when you get back home. I'm not trying to be all up in your business but um, lookie here: rest, vitamins, hydrate and stretch. The Mrs. ain't playing. Good luck!

BougieLand, what advice do you have for DPG and OldSchool? Be creative and truthful, they are looking for our assistance ;-) 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm not in charge of your expectations - Thank you LeBron!

It's funny. I've been wanting to write a post for a while about how other people take their hopes and dreams for what they perceive your life should be and project it on to you... sometimes with relentless vigor. But I never thought LeBron James would be my inspiration to get it written. It is in by top 5 pet peeves when people share (in not-so-subtle ways) what they think about your world. For example:

"Oh you're not married?" Clearly not.

"No kids? You're so good with kids!" Thanks, I think.

"I always thought you and insert name here would get married." Solar beam side-eye.

"You didn't become an attorney, you would have been great at that!" No doubt but I left law school over 10 years ago. Maybe I'm great at what I do now?

"Crime thrillers are a really profitable genre, have you considered writing that instead?" Maybe someday, why do you ask?

"I thought you'd be taller/shorter, thinner/thicker, lighter/darker." Okay, but here I am.

"You should take a break from dating/date more often/date outside your race/do something completely different." You think so?

It goes on and on. But the great thing is - finally I realized. I can only be who I am. [Intro to Eric Benet's True to Myself plays in background] And I'm still figuring out exactly who that is. I simply cannot be my best me while juggling umpteenth many people's expectations of what they think I should be. Sounds exhausting. It IS exhausting. Been there, done that, got the ulcer at 24 years of age to prove it. 

I once heard Dick Gregory do a skit about bill collectors. He said the bill collectors would call, he would tell them he didn't have the money and so they would call back. He decided to try a new strategy; he just started telling them, "I'll get you a little something in the next thirty days." Thirty days passed and the bill collector called indignantly, "Mr. Gregory, what happened?" He replied, "What do you mean?" The bill collector said, "I expected to see a payment from you last month." He said, "Well I'm not in charge of your expectations."

Let the church say... Okay, moving on...

Recently, LeBron James has gone from being a media darling, beloved NBA player and one of the ten most popular personalities of all time to a man having to battle for his reputation. He dropped from number 7 most admired sports personalities to 92 (I think I read that right). Anyway, he went from being deified to vilified in the course of an off-season. For those that don't follow sports, Mr. James opted to get the hell out of Cleveland and jump to the Miami Heat to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in his quest for a ring. I wasn't mad about it. People paper-chase and title-chase on the Paycheck Plantation regular. I've never stayed at a job because the people loved me there. I've often left a job because I had a better offer with better long-term possibilities.

But back to Bron: For a man who has generally only basked in the warm glow of adulation and approval, this has been a struggle for him. I don't necessarily feel sorry for a multi-millionaire who bounces a ball for a living. But I get it. He's come face to face with the fact that you can't please everybody all of the time. For those of us that haven't managed not to give a damn, it can sting a little.

This week, Nike debuted a commercial where LeBron keeps it all the way real. It so very much reminds me of when I decided to bolt Texas for California. And when I decided to leave full-time consulting to write. Of course, I didn't get paid millions for announcing my decision and ESPN gave not a damn. That's not the point. Just sayin' I wish I'd had this video to play (on repeat).

(FYI - At last viewing, NikeBasketball had blocked the video for distribution. FAIL! Anyway, click here to view if the video below is blocked.)

Love. It. Do you, Bron-Bron. By the way, me likey the not so subtle dig at Charles Barkley. Shout out to @tmcydame for bringing the video to my attention.

BougieLand, how you handle the expectations others have for you? Have you gotten to the point where you can tune them all out? What do you think of LeBron's ad? Don't we all have to get to the point where we brush the dirt off our shoulders and keep it pushing? Thoughts, comments, insights? You have the floor.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Please don't put a hourglass on the hot chocolate (yes, it's a euphemism)

Note - Hot Chocolate is a euphemism for naked aerobics (also a euphemism). People read this blog at work plus I'm bougie. Embrace the euphemisms... 

So the other day, a few people forwarded me an article from the blog Until I Get Married called How a Man Waits for the Women to Come Around. Long story short, the author (Jozen C.) basically states that if a woman doesn't give up the hot chocolate by week four, a dude is moving on. And not just moving on but shifting you to text message only status. In fact by week three if the cocoa hasn't been poured, he's thinking about moving onto the next. Here's a quote:
Four weeks in and the woman he was so into is still giving him the first date treatment? Ladies, please. It’s not that men don’t have time for that. They don’t have the pride for it. Maybe two weeks in this was a game he was willing to play, a light scrimmage if you will, but now, he’s ready for a real game, with pads and everything, yet she’s still talking about some two hand touch. See, a man like me doesn’t chase sex, he chases girls that he likes. If a woman makes me wait four weeks, I just think she doesn’t really like me back, so I’m moving on, but with some semblance of hope.
[strategic pause for dramatic effect]

I call bullshiggity. Not on the author or the site which can be rather insightful but on this particular post and ideology. Which is all part of a grand hustle to get women to give up the good-good (or is it new-new?) early and often. It's the pimpin' game - if you want to keep a man (and please recall that we are needy, desperate thirsty creatures who should be grateful a man looked our way) you better give him what he wants or he'll go find someone who will.

Bullshiggity to the nth power. Seriously, what are we- 16? Are men still so very concerned with getting the drawers that ladies can't take a second to figure who they're swapping bodily fluids with? Please tell me menfolk aren't still getting over on this "I'll get it from somewhere else" line? You know what? Go. Get. It.

Are men so insecure that the only way I can show you I like you is by bouncing naked with you? Immediately? For real though? I. Think. Not.

Now if this is just about a little hit-n-quit itch-scratching, that's a different story. If so, a man should state that (upfront) and believe me a lady will tell you quite readily whether she is down for that or not. Maybe that's all she wants as well. (Or maybe she thinks you'll get hooked and it will turn into something more, whole other topic) But if you're talking a relationship? Like forever ever (forever ever?)... Yeah, put down the hourglass. Repeatedly asking "Are we there yet?" is irksome and a little bit insulting. Surely, men don't mean to sound like all they want women for is the hot-n-sloppy. 

Listen, in the words of the immortal Billie Holiday: Ain't nobody's business if I do. Just so happens that I don't. Freely dispense the cocoa that is. I've never been an early and often, 2-for-1 coupon, double scoop giveaway kinda girl. I gotta be in it to be in it if you know what I mean (and I'm sure you do). But ladies, if your bedroom has a "Now Serving Number:" sign over the door, do you sweetheart. As long as you're not sleeping with my man or giving 20% to Pretty Tony, get yours. 

As for me, I feel I'm worth the wait. And guess what? So have my ex-s.o.'s from my better relationships. Not once have I lost a guy I truly gave a damn about because I asked him to wait. 

So how long is too long? That's between the two people trying to have a relationship. I know relationships where they stirred the chocolate on the first date and went on to live happily ever after. I know relationships where they waited for six months or longer and it was all good. I also know the opposite side of both of those tales. 

It happens when it happens. And as everyone knows, once you let that particular genie out of the bottle - its hard to put back in. Sometimes it's not about games or control or fear of intimacy. Sometimes it's 1) I just don't know you like that 2) I'm not feeling you like that 3) I know once we're in it, we're in it or 4) sometimes the cocoa is better if you let it simmer a little. Who has sipped cocoa too fast and been burned? [show of hands, please] That can be painful and take a long time to heal. But a really good cup of hot chocolate? Where you've allowed the flavors to meld and get to just the right temperature? Well, that's delicious and you're going to want that recipe again and again. (Killing the metaphor, let me move on)

I've heard the argument - well what are we waiting for? Women know in the first few minutes whether they are interested enough to stir the cocoa or not, right? Perhaps. But can I take a second to get comfortable with you? I'm to get through life without any communicable diseases. I'm trying not to be the storyline in an episode of Forensic Files. Maybe that takes two hours, maybe that takes two months. I don't know. 

Here's what I do know ladies- any man who has you on a  countdown to extinction because of sex is so not worth your time. Remember last week when we got into some swirl in the comments because men don't like the idea of attaching a schedule to a ring? Take all that indignant outrage that the men showed for a ring countdown and apply it the cocoa analogy. Time leading up to the cocoa is not wasted. In fact, if the gentleman is really on his game he is taking this time to get to know just how the lady might like her chocolate served. Knowledge is power and time gives you that. Nuff said.

Gentlemen of BougieLand, please get on this one for me. What's with the sexpectation countdown? Is there some sort of clock ticking in your head? How long do you wait until you hit the eject and reset button? Ladies, please get some of this as well - I know you have some thoughts on the Countdown to Cocoa. Not asking that you share your personal timelines (TMI), just asking for your thoughts, comments and insights. The floor is yours.

The party is over... for the Cowboys at least

Well, we wrung all the party we could out of the four-day celebration of Bougie Older Bro's birthday. The Jerry-Dome is gorgeous, our seats were amazing but the Cowboys quite honestly suck. Even before they carted Romo off the field and threw poor old ass Kitna in front of the bus, the season was tanking majorly. Maybe by the time I wake up in the morning Wade Phillips will have been run outta town. I mean 1 - 5, seriously? I'm planning on getting a bunch of these printed up:
Yes, I know our real problem is our Owner and GM. As soon as I win two bijillion in the lottery, I'm going to buy the team from him and make it right. In the meantime, go Rangers?! New post up at 7:00am. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where is BougieFam?

We're partying. BougieOlderBro turns 50 this week. (50!!!) We've been partying since Saturday afternoon and we're not done yet. We have Cowboys tickets tomorrow night. Here's hoping they don't ruin the party. Let's not discuss my blood alcohol level right now. Life is for the celebrating. I'll be back. Stay tuned. 

Talk amongst yourselves.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Video Shout-Out: Martin Luther - Rise

Martin Luther McCoy, known as Martin Luther drops some of the best music and is completely slept on. His work and collabs with supergroup The Roots made him automatically legit for me. Check the acoustic version of his anthem: Rise.

What say you? You like?

Friday, October 22, 2010

This week's pet peeves - Political Ads, Clarence Thomas' wife and James Harrison

I might have been a little rant-y this week but we lived and learned, right? We can all join hands and hum This Little Light of Mine... right after I vent a little...

1. Politics as usual. Jesus be Election Day already. Seems to me the ads are just a little more vicious these days. Maybe not but it certainly feels that way. Rick Perry and his crew have just gone all in on the anti-Obama and Pelosi ads. I've started taking notes. Every single candidate who bashes Obama (including the idiot who wants to get elected so he can repeal Obama's healthcare plan here in Texas), I most assuredly won't be voting for any of them. I really dislike the negative slash-n-burn ads, they tick me off. I wonder what will happen to some of these candidates who get elected and then need the backing of the President? How's that gonna work out? Umm-hmm. Good luck with that. Some burned bridges never get re-built. 

2. What in the pure-D hell was Virginia Thomas thinking? Old girl (Crazy Clarence's wife) called up Anita Hill's office and said "Hey, let's let bygones be bygones. But before we do that, how about you apologize?" Here's her quote:

“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” it said. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

Ms. Thomas went on: “So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. O.K., have a good day.”

Say WHAT now? First of all, I'm still waiting on Clarence to apologize for playing Anita dirty all those years ago. I was always #TeamAnita and 100% sure that Clarence tried to get the hot chocolate, Anita said hell naw and he acted a fool. I'm just saying. Look at Clarence, look at Anita. Nuff said. Secondly, what exactly does Gin-Gin think went down between those two? And lastly, why is she worried about it all these years later? Clarence - get yo' girl some meds and take away the phone.

3. James Harrison is an idiot. So perennial poster-boy for failing Anger Management 101, James Harrison, is a defensive player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last weekend he made catastrophic hits (including one blatant helmet to helmet hit) on (not one but two) Cleveland Browns receivers. Since it's not his first time unloading questionable hits, the NFL fined him $75,000. He dropped a few brilliant quotes like: "I don't want to see anyone injured," Harrison said, "but I'm not opposed to hurting anyone." Yo no comprendo.

He announced that this was way unfair (boo to the hoo) and said he was gonna retire. Deuces, dude. Then I remembered that this is the SAME ninja who declined to go to the White House to meet President Obama after the Steelers won the SuperBowl in 2009. For real though? Now he's decided he'll probably stick around. Oh? Mayhaps you figured out that your fall back job isn't going to net you millions of dollars a year to smack people all day? Yeah, I respectfully request that you GO. SIT. DOWN.

That's all I've got. I feel better now. What are your thoughts on the ugly slant political ads are taking? What in the world was Ginny thinking (or drinking)? Can we collectively tell James that no one likes him? Any other peeves of the week you want to share? The floor is yours...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Black in America Special - Almighty Debt tonight on CNN

CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s latest Black in America special Almighty Debt is premiering Thursday, October 21st at 9p ET & PT.  I had borderline been ignoring this until the publicity department of CNN sent me a reminder and clips in case I wanted to post on it. A part of me is leaning towards irritated that the debt show has to be a Black in America special. There are no other races in debt? Unemployed? Underemployed? And based on the last two Black in America specials - will this one offer solutions or just a lot of "woe is me, what is I gonna do, we so sad" stories? I hope not. Anyway, these debt stories are centered around the role that the Black Church plays. 

A brief synopsis:

Every leading indicator – unemployment, income, wealth, educational attainment, homeownership and foreclosures – demonstrates that the African-American financial foundation is crumbling at rates that are comparatively worse than other segments of the U.S. population. Reported by anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, and told through experiences of members of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey, this special explores how one church is helping its 7,000 parishioners survive the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Rev. Dr. DeForest Soaries believes ‘debt is the new slavery’. 

His church’s community development corporation struggles to help desperate homeowners save their homes from foreclosure. The youth ministry helps a high school student struggling to get into college, but also towards student loan debt. Another church member is a former Vice President at a large insurance brokerage firm who was laid off four days before his 58th birthday. Today he is competing with a sea of younger men and women to find employment. See inside one church as the pastor and his members worship together, and struggle to meet new challenges. Following the documentary, a dynamic town hall discussion moderated by O’Brien will feature Rev. Soaries, the Chief Pastor of The Potter's House Rev. T.D. Jakes, clinical social worker and public relations executive Terrie Williams, syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary and political pollster Cornell Belcher.

Who is going to watch? What do we think about debt as "slavery"? How has the economic downturn affected you? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sometimes you just have to talk it out (with a little help)

Dr. Jayme, our resident relationship expert, counselor, life coach, counselor and all-around Wonder Woman sometimes allows counseling sessions via video conference. She prefers face-to-face so she can feel the tension level in the room but finds that in some situations (emergencies); Skype works just fine. Well, she had a special request from two of BougieLand's faithful. They have been together for close to a year and all of a sudden things that used to easy seem hard. They both feel like they have found what they are looking for in the other but want to talk through issues before it gets completely out of hand. 

Summary of relationship: They met online in BougieLand. The gent approached the lady and they decided to meet. Six dates later they were a couple. A little after the six month time frame they considered moving in together. The lady asked in the comments section of BnB what we thought about the moving in. Apparently we were vehemently against it. Too much, too fast we said. Fast forward to the past month or so and they are hung up on the "what next" question. 

I wasn't trying to be in it but they asked if I would blog about it. Curious to see what BougieLand had to say. I warned them that Bougienista/os shoot straight and will get all knee-deep up in their business once invited in. They said they were cool with it. Personally, I'm so glad not to be blogging about my own yada-blah that I decided, sure why not? So here's highlights of the session between Amy and Rob with Jayme.

Jayme started out by having them talk about what it was like when they met, what they like (or love) about each other. It's nice. It sets a warm happy tone for when she stops smiling and says, "So what's the problem?"

Amy wants a timeline, she believes Rob is "The One" and she wants assurance from Rob. Rob hears Amy say timeline and interprets that as "ring". 

Jayme asked Amy, "Do you want a ring?" Amy said of course she wants a ring but she'll take the promise of a ring and a timeline in the meantime. Rob said that still makes him feel like he's on a countdown to a marriage and doesn't want that kind of pressure.

While they talked around the issue, I went out to Disqus and pulled up all of Rob's comments (yes, Disqus has ALL y'alls stuff). About 6 months ago, I wrote during Question for the Fellas Week: What are you waiting for? Rob had the following answer about relationship timelines: "Year One - Hot stuff, Year Two - Learning Stuff, Year Three- Real Stuff. If you can't pull the trigger after year three, you never will. IMHO"

When I read that back to him, he nodded saying that's what he believes. Amy asked if that meant he wasn't going to be ready until year three. He said he wasn't sure and why couldn't they just go on as is for now. He had "no plans to go anywhere."

She said they could for a while but she was hearing the tick-tock of her bio clock and didn't want to look back in three years when he still wasn't ready to find that the time was wasted. He was insulted by the term "wasted time." She was irritated that he was "being deliberately sensitive." And silence descended upon the room.

Jayme asked, "What do you think I'm going to tell you to do?" Rob answered, "Talk it out." Amy answered, "Make pros and cons about the relationship?" This irritated Rob again and there was slight swirl. For the record, Amy and Rob love the banter swirly vibe. It works for them. For all the sniping, they sat darn near on top each other, finished each other's sentences and stopped to apologize if one thought they had hurt the other one's feelings. 

Jayme said no. "I'm going to ask you to stop blaming each other for wanting what they want." More silence and they exchanged a confused look. Jayme said, "Amy wants security and an idea that loving you is not going to come back in bite her in the ass. Rob wants to keep Amy without being tied to a specific timeline. Stop being mad at each other for that." Light bulb moment.

"Now spend one month apart. No contact. No phone calls. No texts. Get a glimpse of what life will be like if you just walk away now because your schedules aren't meshing. One rule - when you get back together, no questions about what either of you did while you were apart."

Not that I'm laughing at the two of them but their faces when she said no contact for a month were comical. They looked like kids who had their lollipops taken away. They were not feeling it and they definitely didn't want to agree to the non-disclosure clause. They started arguing vehemently with Jayme on why they hated the idea. She let them swirl for a while longer.

Finally Rob blurted out, "A month is a lifetime. I don't want other men thinking she's available. The whole point of dating one woman is that I don't want to date anyone else. It's not like I wasn't planning on marrying her anyway." Amy froze, I froze, Rob looked like he couldn't believe what just flew out of his mouth. 

Jayme had a huge smile on her face. "You guys don't want to spend a month apart. Rob doesn't want anyone else getting Amy. I think Amy just got her answer."

Rob looked from Jayme to me to Amy... "What just happened?" Amy said, "I'll wait until you're ready." He started grinning, "It'll be sooner than later, I swear."

Jayme said, "I'm still billing you for the full hour."

Amy is moving in with Rob this weekend. I don't really believe in the shacking but if it works for them, I say go to it.

This had me thinking... what if I'd had a Jayme ten years and four relationships ago? How much of what makes relationships work is just a "leap of faith" that needs to be talked out? It made me go hmmm. She said so many times couples get caught up blaming each other for things that aren't really changeable (like feelings, insecurities and thoughts) that they never get around to a solution, they just call it quits. So what say you BougieLand? Do we give up too easily? Should we all have Jayme on standby? Do we play the blame game too often? Thoughts, comments, insights? Good luck shout outs to Amy and Rob? Advice? The floor is yours.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Black Marriage Negotiations Video - Le Huge Sigh

So apparently, I have to say this one mo' gin because some folks haven't opened themselves to the message and let it sink in: It's not a crime to be a single, successful sister with standards. Just because one woman may have overlooked your potential, Ray-Ray, don't be pissy with all of us. 

Breathing in, breathing out. Okay, Bougienistas - Watch this video first and then I'll have a little chit and chat with you.

So ha-ha, right? Supposedly, the person(s) who created this video just wanted to highlight how difficult it is for the brothers to be heard by the sisters because we just want so damn much. We're self-absorbed, mercenary psuedo-Christians whose expectations for happiness are completely unrealistic. Right? I thinks not and I have a few comments:

1. Folks are going to have to make up their minds. Either black women are fat, unloved, lonely and thirsty or we're too fly for our own good and wouldn't recognize a "catch" if it was placed outside our front doors next to a burning bush.

2. I thought we (black bloggers, commentators, journalists, intellects, whatever) were trying to work towards decreasing the animosity of we vs. they. Mars vs. Venus. Lads vs. Ladies. I thought it had been decided that all the "black men ain't ish" and "black women need to recognize" books and posts and pimpin-assed videos simply weren't helpful. Or was that just me?

3. Okay, let's say I'm being sensitive and this is all in good fun. [It's possible] But um... what if this was reversed? How many men would find it just hilarious that women sent this around and said, "It's just SO true! That's why men stay single! They want too damn much." Actually, the quote from my Twitter stream was "This is why you high fallutin' b*tches stay single. " Ni-ice.

4. For every one chick like this overblown caricature, I could attach one of my many bougietales or a bougie bachelorette episode as a point/counterpoint. For every thirsty-as-hell sista, there's a beggin' assed brotha putting Keith Sweatt to shame. We know this. Any reason  to beat one side down over the other?

5. More solution-based problem solving, less animated pot shots. More conversation, less criticism. If people don't get how to do it, I invite them to spend a week perusing the BougieLand comments. We beef, we banter, we talk, we joke, we share, we learn. Men and women. We don't bash or ambush. And those that do get told about it with the swiftness. Hey, maybe that's the solution. We should spread the vibe of bougenificence everywhere. 

I could go on but truthfully, I didn't want to write about this hot mess to begin with. It rubbed me the wrong way (obviously). Maybe I'm tired of seeing the same-old, same-old Successful Single Sister who is alone because she's selfish, high-strung and thinks too highly of herself portrayed over and over again. Like the love of a good man is the only thing that will save her from her inevitable fate of sharing her big lonely bed with Fluffy for the rest of her days. Yep, that's probably it. Yet and still, I had 16 tweets and 22 emails asking me what I and the BougieLand faithful thought about it.

So what do you think about the "film"? All in good fun? Sad and tragic? Somewhat true? Just not helpful? Did I read too much into it? Should we make a response video? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours.

p.s. no rant tomorrow - I promise! Well, unless something really rantworthy happens.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 2 "A Proverbs 31 woman"

BougieLand, please take a pew seat, we're going to have to go to church today. My good friends BB and Jayme have turned over matchmaking duties to their husbands. The husbands Mocha Dude and Mr. C have been cooking up a formula on what makes a match for Michele. They've learned a few things with their test runs this weekend: 

Men who pronounce Michele like there's an A in it and it's a three syllable word "Ma-shell-el" - no bueno. That's just one of my quirks. I don't think Michele is an uncommon name. Respect me enough to pronounce it correctly. 

The first question a man asks me cannot be - so why aren't you married yet

And now we have discovered that if a brother wants to step to me on the biblical tip, he needs to be prepared to answer in kind. I shared a few conversations with a gentleman we'll call Barry. Barry did talk a good game. A little humor, a little banter, a little wit, a few serious getting to know you topics sprinkled in. Barry gave good phone.

Then Barry announced that he was sending an email he really wanted me to read and think about. I immediately thought "ruh-roh" what is it that you're sending in an email that you can't just say on the phone? Generally it's something you're worried about what reaction you're going to get. So when the email came with the title "What I'm really looking for" - I was already in a wary frame of mind.

He started out talking about his missing rib. [Sidebar: Men, please don't. We mean it.] And then went on to say that women today "have moved away from traditional morals and values" and he wants a "woman who understands what is to walk in faith with her man." He required "a Proverbs 31 woman" [yes he bolded and underlined] and would accept no less. He cut and paste the verses (just in case I was unfamiliar). For your reading pleasure and edification ladies and gents:

Hymn to a Good Wife Proverbs 31:10-31 
A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than rubies.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

I have nothing against Proverbs 31 - I think it's a great aspirational lesson when put into modern-day context. There are classes, workshops and entire movements dedicated to teaching ladies how to be a Proverbs 31 woman. But my question was this... If I'm to bring Proverbs 31 to the table, whatchu comin' with? So I sent him a text, "Are you willing to be an Ephesians 5 man?" He said, "I don't follow." I said, "Look at up."

Ephesians 5: Relationships 
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

**crickets** As in, I haven't heard back from him. Mocha Dude informed me that Barry told him that my personality was "too confrontational" and I wasn't an "evolved Christian woman." Reading between the lines, no one ever challenged him after he presented the Proverbs? Seriously? 

This is something I want both single men and women to get their heads around (and step their games up): Please know your market value and your expectations and be able to articulate them. But FURTHERMORE, mix a little realism in with your optimistically high standards. If I have aces showing, don't bluff me holding a pair of kings. Assume I have a full house and fold. For those that don't play poker, how many other analogies can I draw? Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. You only get free champagne in first class. You shouldn't put cubic zirconia in a platinum setting. Don't expect to eat if you didn't contribute to the meal. How are you expecting Wonder Woman and your cape ain't ready yet, Alfred?

Put plain - don't send a three page dissertation about what you expect and need from a woman if you're not willing to hold up your end. I call complete and total bullshiggity on that. According to Proverbs 31 - I'm up before dawn making flapjacks, gardening, helping the poor and scrubbing the hearth but you sir are radio silent on giving me my Christ-like love? For real though?   

Now the Good Lord knows, I have a ways to walk to own my Proverbs-31-ness but before someone can hold that up as a standard he expects me to meet, he's gotta show me a hint of some Ephesians 5-ness about himself. What I mean is, if I'm going all in on my virtuous queenliness you gotta do more than sit on the throne to earn your crown, my king.

I was discussing this with BougieMom. She has several thoughts about the Proverbs 31 woman. She said, "The Proverbs 31 woman is an ideal that few ever get close to. She's supposed to be married, but I don't see how. She's doing a lot. I don't see how she has time to wash her face and breathe. Any man expecting a Proverbs 31 woman needs to have just come off the cross himself." That's 78-year old wisdom from a woman who was married for 40+ years.

As you may have noticed, receiving these verses got me a little heated. I've spoken at length on this blog at my frustration and ire with people (in this case men) who expect a Black Barbie with bangin' body, brains, bank, burn and bed skills to boot when they are sidewindin' in with a wink, a smile and nothing else. Possession of a penis nets you no points. Not up in here. Ditto to the cute chicks thinking that pretty entitles you to a princess complex. Cute don't last all day.

[Blogger's note: Contemplates additional rantings and ravings here, decides she's said enough] Woo-sah. Relax, relate, release. Talk back to me, bougies. What say you? It is still about being equally yoked right? How you gonna preach one part of the Bible and politely ignore the other? What's up with the sending of Bible verses and we haven't met yet? What part of the game is THIS?! I have questions for days but I'm going to let you all freestyle your thoughts, comments and insights on this one.  The floor is yours.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Five things NOT to say to your ex-SO (ever)

(Not a commentary on Drake, just a useful pic of his song cover)

So as you may have surmised... I have a bit of experience with ex-SOs. And bless their hearts, some simply don't stay gone. They check in, they show up, they text, they tweet, they call. And sometimes they say things I don't really appreciate. I recently polled a few (okay 25) people about the least favorite things they've been told after a break up by an ex-SO. We compiled quite a list. These are the top five: 

1. You're the best I ever had: Besides showing a bit of an "eww-ick" factor, it's also a completely moot point. If I was the best  you ever had does that mean you're now willing to settle for less than the best? It reflects poorly on both parties. Keep that one to yourself.

2. You made me a better man/woman: Le Sigh. I already know this. But guess what? I didn't sign up for the Boyfriend Improvement Plan. Not my role to make guys into better people, shine them up and send them out into the world. [Sure does seem to work out that way sometimes though] No, I don't find it complimentary when the next girl tells me I "trained him well." Who wants to spend time getting something damn near perfect only to have someone else enjoy the fruits of your labor? 

3. You taught me how to love: Okay umm... Don't ever say this. That's butter-knife-to-the-carotid-artery worthy. I'm just saying. [The Black 'n Bougie Blog does not endorse random stabbings to the throat with condiment utensils. Don't call me for bail money. Thank you. ~The Management]

4. There are so many things I would have done differently: This just begs the question - so why didn't you? This is either the prelude to some TapBack or a "let's try again" speech. Either way - not so good. Hindsight is 20/20.

5. You know I still love you, right? How is this helpful? Seriously, telling someone that you still love them leaving the implied but I don't want/can't/won't be with you or be what you want is kinda mean. I'd rather not hear it. In fact, I think this one might just make things worse.

What do we think BougieLand? Do you want to hear any of these? Are there other phrases that cause you to see red? Should we just create some "after-the-breakup" protocol to hand and recite like Miranda rights (at the scene of the crime)? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Celebration of... Divorce?

Blogger's Note: This post was penned with full permission of BougieYoungerBro (ByB).

After fifteen plus years of marriage and five (5!) kids, BougieYoungerBro officially divorced from his wife Wednesday. And while I understand that the breaking apart of a family is in so many ways tragic, a part of me couldn't help but want to Snoopy-dance around the room waving champagne. Even typing that, I feel a little terrible... but let me explain.

Misery is not pretty and there comes a certain point in time in a relationship where the two people are just so damn unhappy that they are making everybody around them unhappy as well. It's like a toxic cloud of inescapable misery.

My younger brother was always the smartest of the four of us (bookwise anyway) and had a naturally sunny disposition that used to drive me crazy since I'm known for random bouts of moodiness. When I came back from California six years ago; my happy-go-lucky, the-world-is-my-theme-park, life-is-what-you-make-of-it brother was gone. In his place? Same wit. Same charm. Same quirky sense of humor. But Bro was salty. Tart about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. He poured his joy into his kids and worked 21 out of 24 hours in a day to support them and a woman who had decided to do well... nothing.

I'm not going to spend any time trashing talking about my former sister-in-law. But I will say that she is responsible for my ONLY public display of non-bougie behavior in the last ten years. I stood in the middle of a front yard swearing, screaming and spewing profanity that I didn't even know I knew... at her. And then I vowed to never utter another word to her while my life lasts. I don't know if I'll be able to keep that vow but I think it's better for the world at large if I do. [Think Nuclear Holocaust type rage]

Growing up, it was me and ByB. The older two fled the nest and it was us against the world. To say we were close was a huge understatement. So it pained me to see him trying like hell to keep a very broken relationship together. Long story short, the woman he picked to be his wife was not an asset, a helpmate, or a team player. Since he was the only one holding up the foundation, when he tired - the whole house crumbled and it was a sharp steep downhill slide from there. 

So I'll continue to make sure the kids get what they need and be the best Aunt possible (I really rock at it). I absolutely adore those kids and clearly they didn't ask for this hand to be dealt. But I can't help but be relieved that at least this particular season is done. The divorce is no longer a threat or a possibility, it's a done deal.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

Maybe that's why I feel celebratory  - because we're in the season of healing now. He can move forward and pick up the pieces and embrace what's ahead instead of dwelling on what's past. Just finished talking to him, he is drinking beer and watching The Wire. Even though this has been a long process in the making, it's going to take time for him to turn the corner. But he told me I was allowed to dance and drink champagne for him until he's ready to celebrate with me.

I always thought it was cliché when people would say of a divorce, "It was for the best." But tonight ByB said just that, "It's kinda tragic but for the best. We'll probably be better people apart." BougieMom who is the world's biggest advocate for marriage even said, "Well, maybe they can start to heal now."

BougieLand, what do you think? Is it wrong to celebrate divorce? Do you think there's such a thing as a "good" divorce? For our divorced folks out there - amicable or no? What advice would you give someone newly divorced? Random thoughts? General comments? Wise insights? The floor is yours...


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