Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Case of the Winter Boo - Good or Bad Idea?

Season's Greetings, y'all. I see you. I see more than a few of you single folk out there hustlin' for a holiday hook-up, trying to stir up some cuddle cocoa, on the prowl for the Winter Boo... um-hmm. Nothing says Happy Holidays like some new-new. If you choose wisely, you get gifts, a snuggle buddy and ye all important date for New Year's Eve. Score! Right?

Not. So. Fast.

I don't mind if you ho-ho-ho your way through the holidays... do you, boo boo. But can you kindly share your intentions with the new main squeeze? If you are just in it for the cocoa, eggnog and a date to the company Christmas party? Let that be known. If I had a dollar for every Holiday Hook up that fizzled before Valentine's Day? I'd be typing this post from my vacation home in Bali. While a cabana boy named Raoul brought me rum drinks in diamond glasses and seafood on a platinum platter. Yes, that many.

There is something both magical and macabre about this time of year. On the one hand, when celebrated in the true Reason for the Season, it's great. An opportunity to catch up with family and friends, give and receive, reach out to less fortunate, all of that. Y'all know what I'm saying - get out there and spread tidings of comfort and joy already!

Well - and then there's that. That forced gaiety. That "it's Christmastime so why aren't you happy" attitude. Some of y'all actually like snow and caroling and Secret Damn Santa. For others, it's hard. They may not have loved ones or they may feel inadequate for not being able to give due to financial circumstances. I lost my father ten years ago around Thanskgiving so it always takes me a minute to get past that hurdle and realize he won't be around for the holidays which he absolutely loved and made a big deal out of.

My point (wandering though it may be) - some people are especially vulnerable during this season. Goodness knows a brand new shiny boo can let you forget your troubles and get some happy. Vulnerable + holidays + pheromones = recipe for trouble. Have fun but just think about it. What happens after the mistletoe has come down and the sequined bustier is tucked away?

If you're fortunate, whatever it was that brought you and your holiday honey together will last long after the snow has melted. If not, well blame it on the bourbon balls. But be careful, a cuddle cutie can have a few consequences that snuggling with your Snuggie doesn't. Suit up and know who you're sipping cocoa with. I know, I know... it's cold outside. Folks gotta do what they gotta do. I'm just saying tread lightly, ice isn't the only slippery slope out there.

That's all I've got. Tell me BougieLand - are you hustling for candy cane kisses? Does anyone know of holiday hook-ups that turned into happily ever after? (I know I'm doing the most with alliteration today. Tis the season.) Who else hates having to scrounge up a date for the company bash or the New Year's Eve countdown (which I hold personally responsible for a lot of reckless-assed behavior)? Do we really get more "jolly under the holly"? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Case of the Serial Monogamist - Friend or Foe?

Serial monogamy is a term used to describe a common sexual relationship pattern in contemporary Western cultures. A person may be said to be practicing serial monogamy if that person only has one sexual partner at any one time, but has had more than one sexual partner in their lifetime. Partners can be married or unmarried, but there are never more than one at a time.
The term "serial monogamy" is more often descriptive than prescriptive: relatively few people expect or want their relationships to end. Technically, any animals (including humans) who do not mate with one partner for life can be considered "serially monogamous", this includes those who mate with another only upon the death of a spouse. In more common usage, serial monogamy tends to refer to a long string of generally monogamous relationships which can often include more than one marriage. ~From Word IQ
Based on this definition, there is technically nothing wrong with serial monogamy. But then again, let's peel back the onion a little bit. Today, we're discussing my friend Casey. Casey is a professional double-degreed gentleman in his mid-twenties living in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) area.  I fully expect him to be channeling his inner Barack in about 10 years.

Casey has never liked dating. (Who does?) He does not like being single. He finds it extremely inconvenient. So Casey find a woman who meets his baseline criteria and in fairly short order, he commits. He likes to lock it down, one man, one woman, let's do this. Casey stays booed up. Admitted to me that he has generally lived his life going from one fairly long-term (one year or more) committed relationship to the next.

The problem is sometimes in his quest to get the boo and get out of the dating pool, he kinda glosses over a few things here and there. For instance, he and his most recent girlfriend (we'll call her Anne) had no sizzle, no sparkle. Things were nice and comfortable. There was no urgency, no "za-za-zoo." He spoke of one of his platonic female friends and there was all this heat and passion in the conversation. He spoke of Anne and all I heard was:

[The sound that means it's all over but the closing statement and verdict]

Anyway, Anne also had tendencies to game play and go passive-aggressive in her communication style. It irritated him but not so much that he felt the need to walk away. A few weeks ago, he had the revelation that they never talked on the phone. They had been hooked up for a few months and maybe three phone conversations total. He only came to this realization when they hadn't exchanged texts for a few days in a row.

So I told him, "Um, something ain't right."

"What do you mean?"

"You're supposed to still be in the 'giddy-gotta-see-her-gotta-have-her' phase. The call every day and just to say good night phase. The I-don't-care-if-it's-2:00am-I'm-going-to-see-her phase."

**crickets** Then he admitted he wasn't sure he ever felt that way about her. 

"Then why are you with her?"

"Well she's nice and alright I guess."

"Dude, do her a favor and cut her loose. If I EVER have a man that I am into say that I am 'nice and alright' he guesses - shoot me. That is some apathetic shiggity."

"Well you know we had dated for a while so I figured might as well go all in."

"But you're not all in. Sure, you're monogamous but you have 'hot swappable' syndrome."

"What is that?" He laughed.

"Your girlfriends are like peripherals. As long as the 'plug and play" you can swap them out as needed."

"That sounds harsh. I'm not mean to them!"

"No, you're not. But you're not doing them any favors. Break up with her if you can go three days without hearing from her and you could gibbadam. Seriously."

"I hate being the bad guy, I hate breaking up with people."

"Please don't tell me that you're the guy who just fades out or does something to get the woman to break up with him."

**more crickets** And then he told the truth, "Yeah, in college I had a platonic friend of mine call my girlfriend to say that I had left my phone in her room."

Me, horrified, "So you faked cheating to get out of a relationship?!"

"Pretty much."

"Dude, the time has come for you pull on your grown man boxers. Break it off and stay out of relationships until you find someone you think you can't get through a week without. Please. You deserve better."

After he told me I was hard on a brother but he knew I spoke the truth, we hung up. He texted me a week later to tell me that she broke up with him. She went radio silent to see if that would spur more a reaction from him. When it didn't she figured out what I just told y'all - He just wasn't that into her. 

For the record, I'm not slamming Casey or serial monogamists. Before this conversation, I would have that thought serial monogamy was a good thing. But this conversation opened my eyes to whole other subset of possible relationship issues I hadn't considered. 

BougieLand, is it possible that serial monogamists who don't take the time to play the field may not really know what they want? Have you ever stayed in a relationship just so you could stay in a relationship? Casey said that he thought the relationship would "warm up with time" - am I the only one who thinks there has to be some heat there to begin with? Is going from one relationship to the next a good idea or should you take a little "regrouping" time in between? What are your thoughts? The floor is yours...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This week on BnB – Relationship Week

Well, it's that time again. About once a quarter I swear up and down that this is not a relationship, I am not a relationship blogger (hold back your eyerolling please) but just for you guys - here's a whole week of nothing but relationship chatter. 

This week we'll have an episode of Ask a Bougie Chick, we'll consider (with the help of Dr. Jayme) whether you should pick your spouse like you choose your house, a few other goodies plus a surprise guest. Stick around. It's going to be a good time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving History Lesson Reset

Ever wondered about the "real" history of Thanksgiving? I broke it down last year, nothing like recycling a post - it's cut and paste below for your reading pleasure...

Somewhere along the way, Thanksgiving became a day to eat a lot, watch football, and try not to commit felonious assault against your relatives. Yes, this is what we have evolved Thanksgiving into, but let's talk about where it came from, shall we? From Wikipedia:
Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. It did not become a federal holiday until 1941. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God, but is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.
The First Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the pilgrims survive the brutal winter. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Indians. The traditional Thanksgiving menu often features turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Americans may eat these foods on modern day Thanksgiving, but the first feast did not consist of these items. On the first feast turkey was any type of fowl that the pilgrims hunted. Pumpkin pie wasn't on the menu because there were no ovens for baking, but they did have boiled pumpkin. Cranberries weren't introduced at this time. Due to the diminishing supply of flour there was no bread of any kind. The foods included in the first feast included duck, geese, venison, fish, lobster, clams, swan, berries, dried fruit, pumpkin, squash, and many more vegetables.
Pilgrims is a name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. Their leadership came from a religious congregation who had fled a volatile political environment in the East Midlands of England for the relative calm & tolerance of Holland in the Netherlands. Concerned with losing their cultural identity, the group later arranged with English investors to establish a new colony in North America. The colony, established in 1620, became the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement and the second successful English settlement (after the founding of Jamestown, Virginian 1607) in what was to become the United States of America. The Pilgrims' story of seeking religious freedom has become a central theme of the history and culture of the United States.
That all sounds well and good but as our dear, departed Malcolm X stated, "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us." What a lot of these original (traditional) historic accounts fail to tell you is that the pilgrims were some grave-robbing, raping and killing, slave trading SOBs who were drop kicked out of their own countries. Smallpox was an Eurpoean disease until they wrapped it up in a blanket (literally) and delivered it to Native Americans like a Trojan Horse. Here's some interesting history from the United Native American Bureau:

The year was 1637.....700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their "Annual Green Corn Dance" in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn. While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercenaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building. 
The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children. For the next 100 years, every "Thanksgiving Day" ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won. 
The Pilgrims of New England, who came to this country in 1620, were not simple refugees from England fighting against oppression and religious discrimination. They were political revolutionaries and part of the Puritan movement, which was considered objectionable and unorthodox by the King of the Church of England. They were outcasts in their own country, plotting to take over the government, causing some of the settlers to become fugitives in their own country. 
These Puritan Pilgrims saw themselves as the "chosen elect", from the Bibles' Book of Revelations and traveled to America to build "The Kingdom of God", also from Revelations. Strict with the scripture, they considered an enemy of anyone who did not follow suit. These beliefs were eventually transmitted to the other colonists, and the Puritan belief system quickly spread across the New England area. 
Source: Documents of Holland, 13 Volume Colonial Documentary History, letters and reports form colonial officials to their superiors and the King in England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years. Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe) Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department.
Yes, the Pilgrims were some Original Gangstas, ya'll. I'm giving all of them the side-eye for the whole "manifest destiny" ideology. After reviewing the overwhelming evidence on the web about the history of Thanksgiving, I'm just going to go ahead and hate on the Pilgrims.
What do you think? Should children be taught the REAL story of Plymouth Rock or is it better to just leave well enough alone?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

No fresh bouge until Monday (unless something really strikes me). BUT... next week is Relationship Week and that's always a good time! What's everybody doing (cooking) for Thanksgiving? Enjoy the holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thirsty is the new black? Are folks just too desperate?

In yesterday's innocent post about Scrabble, we talked about a girlfriend of mine (we'll call her Jackie) who was anxious for all of us to meet Her New Man. He did not impress.

But many readers felt I smoothed over another (perhaps bigger) issue. What did Jackie see in HNM and why did she feel the need for her crew's opinion?  She's attractive and accomplished  but still feels the need to 1) Seek out approval for her choices and 2) Ego Stroke a dude for cocoa. Okay, he was attractive to look at and according to him, quite the upwardly mobile professional. 

I had people emailing, tweeting and texting me in outrage over Jackie. So when she called me today to chat, I took the opportunity to ask, "What's the deal with HNM?"

She said, "Yes, I've heard from all of you guys now, you didn't like him. You just didn't see him in his best light. He's really smart and fun. He adores me."

Reading between the lines I asked (delicately) about his cocoa game thinking that must be the reason she is putting up with the other stuff. Apparently he is stirring it the right way. [BnB does not endorse the staying with folks just for cocoa's sake. Kthxbi. ~The Management] "But Jackie, he's kind of possessive and controlling. That worries me a little."

"He's just a strong personality."

"So strong that you wanted me to throw a Scrabble game? You felt the need to applaud three and four letter words?"

"He's at his best when you pump him up a little. A man wants to feel like his woman is in his corner."

"No doubt, but it didn't seem like that was what was going on there."

"I just want him to feel cherished around me. All the time."

Sounded exhausting to me. "Jackie, come on now. That doesn't even sound like you."

"You don't understand, you have hot and cold running men on tap."

**crickets** Color Chele unamused. "That is categorically untrue. And more than a little offensive. And did I mention UNTRUE?" Six deep breaths later, "AND... not the point. I don't think you (or any woman) needs to be with a man that makes her change who she is at the core."

"He loves me for me." Jackie said.

"He loves you? All the time or just when you do and say and act like he likes?"

"You don't know him like I do."

Silently, I think 'Thank God for that' but I said, "Admittedly. So make me understand. Really. If you feel this strongly, maybe I'm missing something."

"He may have his flaws but he's here for me. He's really, really into me."

"Yeah, I still don't get it."

We went round and a round a few more times before she got uberdefensive. She angrily said that she loved him and he loved her and we just couldn't "get to their level" before she hustled off the phone.

Okay then. For me that told me everything I needed to know. First of all, she's only known HNM for a little over a month - she loves him? He loves her? For real tho? From the outside looking in, she is successful, attractive and vibrant. From a little closer in, she's a little needy, insecure and lonely. Not necessarily huge flaws but rolled into this scenario, it just equals thirsty. 

To me it appears that she has decided that old boy is the 3:10 to Yuma (otherwise known as the last train outta Dodge) and she is determined to be on it.  Come hell or high water. In the just under four hour period I spent with him, dude showed ten out of the twenty characteristics of a psychopath but she is determined that he is The One.

This depresses me on a number of levels. I vividly recall her last relationship. Absolutely great guy. Bright, funny, respectful, easy going, low drama, low maintenance - we all really liked him (which is why I suspect she wanted to see what we thought about this one).  It lasted three years until she bailed with much drama because she was tired of waiting on the ring. (Never mind that he planned to ask her later that year and she didn't know. She gave him a today or never ultimatum and that was that.) Since that break-up, she's been on a quest to get somebody (dare I say anybody?) to put a ring on it.

That, my friends, is the definition of thirsty. To be so parched for the relationship that leads to the ring that you put up with all manner of shiggity. Including waving pom-poms when your man spells a word, orchestrating lame dinner parties and praying his mood stays up long enough for a chocolate swirl. Thirsty. 

Lest you think I'm only bashing the girls, there are plenty of thirsty dudes out there as well - I just didn't encounter them over the weekend. They will no doubt have their moment in sun here on BougieLand sooner rather than later. But for today, let me ask you this - if Jackie is your friend, what do you say? And thoughts, comments, prayers? The floor is yours...

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Country For Smart Girls? Do we dumb down for dates?

The other night I attended a cocktail/dinner party at a girlfriend's house. She had rounded a bunch of us up for this party simply to have us check out her new man. Le Sigh. It's your man. If you're happy with him. I'm happy for you. But she was really anxious for us to meet dude and give her our opinion. About ten of us, six women and four men were in attendance. With the exception of her new man, all of us have known each other for years. We don't hang out a lot anymore but we're a comfortable group around each other.

First thing with Her New Man (HNM) was that he was kinda pushy. She would start to answer something but he would cut her off and finish answering for her. She and I were off to the side having a private conversation when he walked over, "What are you talking about?" I said, "Hair products." He looked at her and then at me and then said, "Oh, okay." and walked away. I sent her a severe side-eye as he headed towards the other side of the room.

"Oh, he just likes to be interested in what I'm interested in, that's all." I held back my patented eye roll and the urge to ask, "Is that what they're calling it now?" and left it alone.

Later in the evening after a dinner where HNM was determined to be the smartest, funniest, wittiest person at the table (he wasn't); she pulled out some games. Spades was suggested but me and one of the other ladies there have routinely beat their behinds. HNM asked which game we rarely play and a few people said Scrabble. He said, "Okay, let's play Scrabble. Who's the best player here?" Everyone pointed to me. He pointed at me and two other people and said, "Let's go."

I declined to play. I could tell he was the type to be mad competitive and you know what? It's not that serious. But then he started to smack talking, "If you don't think you have the mental agility to keep up, okay then." BougieLand, I rarely rise to bait and this time was no different. I just smiled and shrugged. But he just kept going in to the point that he made it actually awkward for everyone else if I didn't play. Fine. 

I sat down at the table with him and two other people and we got started. Is it my fault that I had first draw and just happened to pull a seven letter word out of the bag? No it is not. When you open a game with 85 points, it's kinda all gravy from there. But this ninja actually put down "cat". My six year old nephew does better than "cat" for goodness sake. So... I wasn't supposed to add onto it and make "catechism"? I wasn't supposed to point out that "justice" does NOT have a "G" in it?!

Apparently not. My girlfriend pulled me on the side and asked me to "please, please" not beat him in Scrabble. His mood and ability to deliver her cocoa correctly that evening depended on him winning this game. [Yes, I'm serious] When I continued to blink at her blankly she said, "I want him in a good mood and I need for everybody to get along. Haven't you ever just let a man win? It's a stroke for his ego which equals a stroke for me later. And really Chele, who cares who wins?" I had to think about this (and tweet it)... had I ever thrown a game for a man's ego? Uh... no. As a matter of fact, hell to the no.

Maybe that's why I date very self-confident almost arrogant men. I want no parts of a man who is so insecure that a Scrabble loss throws off his cocoa game. I mean, seriously?

But anyway, she was all pleading blinky eyes so I told her I'd try not to beat him down too badly. I was up by 112 points but I would try. I don't really know how to throw a Scrabble game. I set up a triple word score for him and ninja put "coat" in there. She stroked his arm while cooing, "Baby you're so smart." She owns a million dollar real estate company and was cooing over "coat"? Jesus be some dignity.

I played the word "and" (doing the least!). Dude followed up by putting an "L" in front of it. She clapped. I gave up. I played "quixotic" and went up by 200. Ninja was salty and starting to snap at folks. When she stroked his hand, he pushed it away, "Baby. I got this." Like the 10 tiles left in the bag and whatever he had in his hand was going to net him over 200 points? I mean the mood in there was tense. It was Scrabble, y'all!

I was over it. I pleaded a headache and forfeited the game. As I was gathering up my purse, he said, "You know I was coming back on you, right?" Chele took one for the team, "Yup, you got me." As I fled into the street with two other friends, I allowed myself the eye roll I had been holding back. We all agreed that HNM had made a terrible impression on all of us. Someone else drew the short straw to let her know.

As I tweeted the experience, a few guys said she was just trying to be wife material. By acting like "coat" is a multisyllabic bit of word treasure? No. Thank. You.

Then I got into a conversation with @Reads4Pleasure and @ASmith86 and we wondered - do women do this? Lose games so their men feel big and strong? Do men want us to do this? Am I seriously emasculating a dude if I beat him at Wii Golf? Can a Scrabble game make or break a relationship? I gotta downgrade my vocabulary to "Cat in the Hat" levels to get a husband? For real tho? Is it really No Country For Smart Girls? Do we truly have to dumb down to catch and keep a man? 

I can't do it. We decided to start our own movement #NVNV - No Vocab No VaJayJay or maybe #NGNG No Grammar No GoodGood? Ladies, Gents... please tell me - what part of the game is this? Answer any, all or none of the questions above. The floor is yours.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BougieLand... let's review

A little video shout out to kick the day off right...

Okay, it's that time again. Lots of newbies in BougieLand, lots and lots of comments. Let's review the basic bouge rules...

Blog Rule #1 – Bouge is Love, ya'll
I understand folks are passionate about some issues and I welcome a freely spirited debate. However, there will be no over the top racist, sexist (any -ist) comments posted up and through here. If that's what you feel like typing there are thousands of other blogs out there in Cyberspace... get to stepping and try one of those. While I don't believe in constant comment moderation/modification (and I really don't have that kind of time)... any comments that blatantly disregard that rule (like your comment is a borderline hate crime in the making) will be deleted... unapologetically. Yes, management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone at anytime for any reason. Keep it nice round these parts.

Blog Rule #2 – No Blogjacking 
Share and share alike in BougieLand but if your comments are soliloquy – stream of conscience thoughts that triple the word count of my posts… you need your own forum. You get once to share a great story, twice to make a great point. The urge to hijack the comments section should be suppressed. Also, if you have "lastworditis": the compulsion to always have the last word every single time, that's no bueno. 

So that's it, two rules. And I always (always) reach out to folks via email if they are near transgression-level shenanigans. For everyone else, keep the comments coming! We've updated DISQUS, so we should have no more disappearing comments. Then again, Blogger just put in a spam filter I'm fighting with. Alright family, we good. Happy Holidays.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reality Check: No one knows what goes on behind closed doors

Reality Check Week, also known as Sometimes Life Ain't Fair Week, also known as Wake Up and Smell What's Cooking week. Today: Closed doors. Read and learn...

So Eva Longoria and Tony Parker announced that they were getting divorced this week. Almost immediately the  media, the twitterverse and blogosphere started going in. Speculation went wild. Some of the less tactful comments went like this: "He finally got tired of that annoying little diva." "She wasn't satisfying him in bed." "I didn't think it would last that long." "She was never that hot to begin with."

Really people? By the time the story started leaking that he was (allegedly) unfaithful; folks had already called her everything from a gold-digger to a cupcake who should have quit her job and stayed by her man.

Let's be real... nobody but Tony and Eva knows what went on in their marriage. And all the malicious almost gleeful dissection of the relationship's demise set my teeth on edge.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday. She met a man and they were having some phone conversations. He disclosed that he was divorced. When she asked what happened he said they grew apart. Then he asked if she had ever been married and she said yes but was now divorced. He asked, "So what did you do?" She told him they had irreconcilable differences and he kept prodding and joking saying she must have caused the break up. So when she explained to him that her ex tried to strangle her (literally) and she escaped with her life, he felt like shiggity and apologized.

She shouldn't have to explain all of that. Saying irreconcilable differences should cover it. I know I dislike having the "so what happened with your last relationship" discussion. It's enough to say it ended and here we are now... isn't it? Even if I gave you every detail, you weren't there, didn't live it, so you'll never truly get it even if you empathize. As some writer once said, "Your blues ain't like mine."

Eva Longoria shouldn't have to sit on Access Hollywood saying her husband cheated. Folks don't know if she was serving up the cocoa twice a day with extra whipped cream. Maybe they stopped communicating, maybe they fell out of love. Who knows? I personally don't care. I so wish others felt the same.

Seriously, how much do you really need to know about a potential S.O.'s prior break-ups? With the exception of needing to know about police reports and restraining orders, does it really matter? The way someone is with someone else is not necessarily the way they are going to be with you - do you agree? Or are prior bad acts an indicator of future relationship crimes? (Once a cheater, always a cheater?) Do we ever really know what goes on behind closed doors? Do we want to? The floor is yours...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reality Check: Chivalry is dying and common courtesy isn't common

Reality Check Week, also known as Sometimes Life Ain't Fair Week, also known as Wake Up and Smell What's Cooking week. Today: Chivalry. Read and learn...

Blogger and galpal @SingLikeSassy recently shared a story about walking into a lounge and having no where to sit. Despite the fact that several unaccompanied men were seated, none offered her their seats at the bar. Finally, a gentleman of the Caucasian persuasion offered his seat. She thanked him and offered to buy him a drink but he said no thanks were necessary. Someone replied on her blog with the following:
The thing about this post is that the white guy gave up his seat to a black woman while a bunch of brothers stood by and let him. I mean, c'mon. Brothers should be wondering what this white guy sees in this black lady. I think one of them should have fallen off his chair to compete with the white guy. Do white guys see a woman, any woman, and feel compelled to be a gentlemen while a room full of black men do not? if so, that's sad and it speaks to why so many black women are considering their options.
Le Big Damn Sigh. So many things wrong with that comment, I can't even begin to address them all. Causing me to reflect on the fact that if chivalry is truly dead, we buried it and tap danced on the grave.

Let me chat at the ladies and the men on this topic. Starting with the ladies...

If a man wants to open a door for you, let him. If he greets you, greet him back. Let him pull your chair out, check the road before you cross, lift heavy things and kill spiders - what is wrong with that? None of those actions denigrate you or threaten your feminism. You are woman, you can roar while a gentleman offers some basic common courtesy.

When it comes to things like who picks up the tab and who orders the meals - there's a way to handle these without beating a brother upside the head. If we're early in the relationship, I tend to smile real pretty and say (as we peruse the menu), "Is this on you or on me?" Of course I expect him to say, "I got this." But if he doesn't, I know what I'm working with. As for who orders, I generally prefer to order for myself if the guy doesn't know me that well because I'm allergic to all sorts of random things. But my ex-fi would always ask me what I would like and relay it to the waiter, "The lady is having..." I had no problems with that.

I remember walking down the street with an ex and he automatically moved me to the inside, away from the traffic side and took my hand to help me across the street. I paused for a minute (stunned) and then smiled and kept it moving. 

These are just the chivalry basics, don't get me started about respect, communication style, balance of power and heading the household. Suffice it to say I'm traditional. All I'm asking ladies is that you give the man a chance to be a true gentleMAN. If he fails, you know what you got. But give a brother a chance... please? And can you kindly say "THANK YOU" to the man for making it effort. A little appreciation goes a long, long way.

Gents... you're going to have to step your game up and if your courtesy game is tight, tell a friend. It's almost to the point where a man with "traditional values and courtesy" is considered a unicorn. Seriously, if a lady is waiting by herself for a seat - get  yo' hindparts up. Some of y'all just bitter about some old shiggity your ex-girlfriend/wife/whatever did to you so you're mad at all of us. I didn't sleep with the gardener in the bed that you bought, can you open my door please? 

If you try to pull back a chair for a woman and she sends you "the look" just tell her, "This is how I was raised, deal with it." Guess what? She will. Again, these are just chivalry basics. Please don't make me run a tutorial on how (and when) to approach a female. Let me give you an example.

The other night near 11:00pm, I'm in the Wal-Mart. I'm in sweatshirt and yoga pants, hair in a ponytail that would have made Pebbles (a la Flintstones) proud. I am clutching Extra-Strength Midol, a bottle of wine, caramel corn and a gigantic box of Always Overnight Pantyliners with wings. My face has "Jesus be a Percocet" written all over it. I see bruh-man easing up in my peripheral vision and I send him the laser-beam "don't you even think about" side-eye from Hades. He sidewinds up any damn way. Looks at what I have in my hands and says, "Hey Ms. Lady, how you doing tonight?" I start shaking my head slowly from side to side. The older woman in the aisle with me shouted, "How does she look like she's doing? Move it along, son." He stood there for a minute, looked back at my products again and almost ran the other direction. <~~What NOT to do.

All I'm asking gentlemen is that you make a genuine effort to treat a lady like a lady. Please and thank you.

I could go on but I shan't - what can we do to bring chivalry back, ladies and gents? What "old school" male/female traditional roles do you adhere to (or not)? Ladies, do you fix your man's plate? Gentleman, do you offer a coat to your shivering girlfriend? Ladies, if you are asked out - who pays for the meal? Gents, do you like it when a woman takes the lead/initiates things? To the married folks - who handles the finances? Who has the last word? I'm curious. What customs are still alive and well? Which ones need to come back? Let's talk chivalry, common courtesy and respect today. The floor is yours.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reality Check: Sometimes it is your fault (sorry)

Reality Check Week, also known as Sometimes Life Ain't Fair Week, also known as Wake Up and Smell What's Cooking week. Today: Assigning Blame. Read and learn...

This one is tough for me. It stings a little (reads: hurts like hell) to look in the mirror and point a finger at your own damn self. Be that as it may, it must be done. Sometimes you simply have to accept responsibility for the role your decisions and actions have taken in your failures. Le Ouch, I know.

What is the problem? You are without funds? Not holding onto a job? Relationship not as it should be or non-existent? Beefing with friends? Not feeling well? Tired of being tired?

Before you blame it on the alcohol, the Tea Party, Black Men, Black Women, the mainstream media, your boss, global warming, the economy, President Obama, yo mama and daddy, your significant other, your friends or your children [cue Man in the Mirror, please]... go ahead and leave a little bit of that finger-pointing pie for yo'self. 

I am not married, I have no kids and there not any viable prospects on the horizon to get me there. Now sure, I could travel down the Boulevard of Broken Boyfriends Past and find some thing (several things) that lay the demise of those relationships elsewhere but at my size 8.5 purple clad feet. But in reality... I have to own up to things I clearly did wrong (not the least of which was picking out some of those dudes in first diggity-dang place) that ultimately felled the relationship. 

I have a relative that consistently stays broke. Earns a good living, has manageable expenses... steady broke. He is always running 'a little short.' And he keeps twenty good reasons why money seems to evaporate out of his pocket faster than a pair of Vicki's Secrets off Kat Stacks' hindparts. But even when he earned three times as much, he stayed broke. At what point do we own up do the fact that if you always spend more than you earn and you never save, you stay broke? 

I have an old friend that I stay in touch with quarterly. About once a season, we check in, say hey, catch up on each other's lives and keep it moving. She has a new job every time I talk to her. When I intimated that she is spinning faster than a contestant on Wheel of Fortune trying to get to the Bonus Round, she was upset. Sure, I could've put it nicer but facts is facts. If you are getting bounced from job to job, at some point it's not the job.

What do these three examples have in common? My point is tucked away in each of them. If you are consistently failing at something, the common denominator is you. I'm not dismissing how outside forces get in your way (Devil stays busy, Amen), I'm asking you to look at how you're getting in your way. 

Sometimes it's a case of not trying hard enough. Going down the wrong road to begin with. Continuing patterns of behavior that aren't helpful or healthy? Refusing to listen to the voice in your head screaming, "What part of the game is THIS?" There are plenty of ways to self-sabotage your success. Let's stop doing it. But let's first own that some of the hot-mess-ness surrounding us is our own damn fault. 

Have you ever tried to deep fry a turkey? [Stay with me] First rule is that it has to be defrosted. Second rule is that you really have to do it outdoors or in professional deep fryer sized proportionately. Third rule is that you have to monitor the progress. It also helps to use the right oil and understand the time and temperature for the size of the bird. Statistics blame over 4300 Thanksgiving fires on folks who chucked a 20-lb. frozen Butterball into the FryDaddy and hoped for the best. Several hundred crispy fried living rooms and pissy firefighters later it occurs to folks to get a little instruction first.

What the hell am I saying? Successful living takes preparation, proper steps and training too. Don't blame the Butterball. (Just in time for Thanksgiving I have compared your life to dead poultry, you're welcome.) 

Did I make any sense today? How long does it generally take for you to figure out that what you're doing isn't working? Do you ever sit down and evaluate just where you are? Or are you too busy living to take a step back and pick up on patterns? What advice do you give people what are stuck in a rut of their own making? And what's the best way to snap somebody out of it? Does anyone have a turkey deep-fryer?

You know how we do in BougieLand. Answer one, all or none. Contribute thoughts, comments, and insights below...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reality Check: Don't wanna be a player? Stop playing...

Reality Check Week, also known as Sometimes Life Ain't Fair Week, also known as Wake Up and Smell What's Cooking week. Today: Stop Playing. Read and learn...

I'm not going to put specific people on blast today but er, uh - you already know who you are. Five of you, three men and two women reached out for relationship advice/counsel. I'm thrilled to be able to tell you - you are dead azz wrong.

At some point, good people - perception becomes reality. If you continue conducting yourself in a certain way, no matter how much you say "I'm not that person"... you kinda are. Where there's smoke, there's fire. The proof is in the pudding. Actions speak louder than words. What you do speaks louder than what you say... I have a million of these, I can do this all day. But I think you feel me.

Let me just take one example from each side to illustrate my point.

Had a young lady (we'll call her Sally) tell me that her last four relationships have ended badly. She said she's tired of men telling her that she plays games. Really? I asked. What kind of games? After a bit of hemming and hawing, it appears that Miss Sally uses the cocoa as a relationship weapon. She promises cocoa and doesn't deliver until she gets her way. Then she withholds cocoa to show her displeasure. Worse yet, she dangles hot chocolate; waits until someone is really, really thirsty and then barters. 

I said, "Oh so you're a manipulative tease who uses the chocolate cupcake as a bargaining chip." Needless to say, she did not agree with my phraseology and said she just had a different way of viewing power in relationships. Le Sigh. 

Sally, sweetie - there's a not so nice phrase for women who put the good-good on a yo-yo like that. Really, anytime you promise and withhold something that your partner wants as a means of control and power grab - that's manipulative game playing and just plain no bueno. On a serious note girlfriend; I wouldn't try this trick with the wrong guy. Could end very poorly.  

Had two guys come to me with the exact complaint: women thought they were players and they swear they aren't. I'll go with the case of the gent I'll call Phil. Phil has a lot of female friends, purely platonic. He has pictures of himself with all of his platonic female friends on his Facebook page. He is looking for Ms. Right and is openly flirting and dating and hanging out in the spots but not picking any one person for something serious. He has had a few cocoa encounters recently but not in realm of leading to a relationship.

But sir, um... methinks thou dost protest too much. Your actions are a wee bit playeriffic. It may not be fair but when a woman sees a single man with a lot of female friends and he's displaying pictures of himself hugged up with those friends... we think player. We don't know the story. All we see is a round robin of plentiful women. If month after month you are one-two dates and out, we assume it's because you want it that way. You say you're not a player but you're out playing. What are women supposed to think? We think you're either a player or picky or both. 

Phil - truthfully if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck? AFLAC be thy name. And fellas, ye with the multiple platonic female friends... stop. You can say you don't want them all day long, we know that the Friend Zone is merely a gateway and three shots of Patron away from Cocoaville. And for the record, if your girl has a ton of male friends and tells you they are all platonic... please reference Chris Rock's joke: To a woman, a male platonic friend is like a d*** in a glass jar. Break in case of emergency." I'm not saying it's true... I'm saying it happens.

Moving on. My point to both Sally and Phil is that once is a fluke, twice is a trend. Continuing a pattern of behavior becomes a modus operandi. If you don't like the label, peel it off and be something else.

I'm just putting these out there for your commentary, BougieLand. What say you to Sally and Phil? And what should they do to change the script? Advice, thoughts, commentary? The floor is yours...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reality Check: "Marriage Material" is subjective

Reality Check Week, also known as Sometimes Life Ain't Fair Week, also known as Wake Up and Smell What's Cooking week. Today: Marriage Material. Read and learn...

Since the age of 19, people have been telling me that I'm "marriage material", "a good woman", "the kind of woman to take home to Mom". Since I'm still single over the age of 35 - I call bullshiggity on the entire notion.

Today's rant is inspired by some disillusioned single people that I absolutely must set straight. Here it go: Now matter how eligible you believe yourself to be, Ladies AND Gentlemen, you still may not get your "happily ever after."

Ladies, let me start with you. You know I'm Team Sisterhood. So please don't read this as a swipe against girl power. But I've read a few too many posts lately with degreed, thin, church-going women trying to figure out why Prince Charming choose someone else. And I mean some of these ladies were hornswoggled and befuddled as to why they, in all their gloriousness, were not in that Number One spot. The most simplistic answer: It bes that way sometimes. Yeah, I said, "It bes."

In one post, the girl was confused because her friend's ex married a plus-sized girl. Commenters assumed that the larger girl was 1) a rebound 2) just in the right place at the right time 3) a doormat he could order around 4) a myriad of other insulting unfounded speculations. How about they clicked? How about she had a pleasing personality? How about he thought she was gorgeous no matter the size? How about she laughed at his jokes? How about something in her spirit called out to his? 

Wake up ladies, a size 4 body, kitchen and bedroom skills, perfect hair and makeup, fierce shoes, to-die-for outfits, prestigious degree, upwardly mobile job, blingy car and stacks of cash at the end of the day... If it's not the guy that's truly meant for you? Nets you zero. Nada. Zippy-do-da. Stop assuming that the perfect outer shell of a life is guaranteed to bag you Preston or even Pookie for that matter. Preston may want Peaches. He may want Peggy Sue with a little more bounce to the ounce. Who's to say? Point blank, the heart wants what the heart wants. Quit hating if it's not you.

Fellas, first of all. I love y'all. You know I do. I'm saying this with the L-O-V-E: stop believing the press releases. You are not the Holy Grail. Yeah, yeah - you're nice, you have a job, a place of your own, a degree, a career path, a car you can pay for, conversational skills and they call you King Cocoa... all of this gets you nowhere with a girl who just isn't feeling you.

Oh and that assumption that the reason you didn't pull Priscilla was that she was too full of herself? Then you got mad when you saw her with Peter who (in your mind) isn't half the man you are... hmm. Karmic bounceback from that whole "ladies, stay in your lane" attitude? Like you're so special, a regular chick can't step to you? That "regular chick" might have been the best thing you never knew. 

May the Lord bless and keep some of y'all with egos twice the size of a chicken-fried steak platter in Texas... it's not that crucial. Sure there are some thirsty chicks out there craving you like you are the last lobster roll on the seafood buffet but ur, uh... some of us have been to this restaurant before. 

This is why getting married and staying married is so difficult and not a guarantee... finding the person who gets you and loves you and is willing to stick with you when you mad, glad, sad, and bad is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

I would like to respectfully request that folks get over themselves a little bit. Discover a little thing called humility and stop worrying about what you think you deserve. BougieLand, pardon my rant. My point is that what makes one person eminently eligible for Person A is vastly different for Person B. It's a bit presumptuous to assume that we can define that for anyone else. It's hard enough defining it for ourselves. Here endeth the rant.

So instead of getting everybody to rant with me today, let me ask you this: What three qualities or traits do (or did) you really need to have in the person you consider to be "marriage material"? Yes, just your top three. And why those three? 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Video Shout-Out: Four Women

Here are words I never thought I'd utter - I really enjoyed watching BET the other night. I know, I know. Mark the date and the time. Black Girls Rock! was a show paying tribute to black girls and spotlighting not only celebrities but some everyday black girls who rock as well. The legend award was given to Ms. Ruby Dee who is one of my all-time Bougie Heroes.

Some of the performances were um, challenged and whoever the stylist was needed to be slapped, taken outside and slapped again. But this performance by Jill Scott, Ledisi, Marsha Ambrosius and Kelly Price of the Nina Simone classic "Four Women" was powerful, brilliant, and awe-inspiring.

“Four Women” first appeared on Nina Simone’s 1966 album, “Wild Is the Wind” and addresses stereotypes of African-American women embodied by the names: “Aunt Sarah,” “Safronia,” “Sweet Thing” and “Peaches.”

Who saw Black Girls Rock? What did you think? How refreshing is it to see real singers!! Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Double Standard? The Nice Guy

I distinctly remember a guy that my mother wanted me to go out with in high school. He was in Jack & Jill with me as kids, his dad and my dad belonged to the same tennis club and my mom played bridge with his mom. He was a "nice guy." He asked me to a school dance, we have the obligatory pictures of the two of us with corsage and boutonnière (I had to look up how to spell that!) smiling insipidly under a paper mache moon. We were two nice people who bored each other to death. My father loved him, referred to him as "son" regularly and asked me until the day he died why I didn't marry "that nice boy."

Two weeks later I met this track runner from the iffy side of North Dallas, he was funny and rough around the edges and completely foreign from all the other guys I'd known growing up. I was head over heels. My father never let him in the front door, referred to him as "that kid" and asked me until the day he died what I ever saw in "that kid."

Then there came the concept of the Corporate Thug. Polished enough to meet your boss and parents, thuggish enough to stir cocoa the right way, throw a punch as needed but still diverse enough to enjoy your dual love of hip hop and classic jazz. This has been my niche for years. 

But what about your basic nice guy? He has a bad rap. People think he's "corny" or "too nice" and tend to try and walk all over him. They say he finishes last and never wins. If he's too nice, they tell him to grow a pair. Shows too much emotion and he's überEmo. And then there's the whole concept of street cred.

This has got to be a double standard. The nice girl gets all props. If she's too nice, people feel protective. If she shows emotion, that's just hormones. Rarely are young girls told - you need to up your street cred and get a little gangster.

I recall just acting out a little bit with an ex-fi of mine, a notorious "nice guy." Everybody that meets this guy is like he is the nicest guy they've ever met, oh my goodness, what a gentleman, how lucky I was to have him! Um-hmm. Side-eye. Let me continue. So one night I was teasing him about being Mr. Nice Guy and I was just real, real snarky with it. He went dead silent, looked me straight in the eye and said, "I'm nice, I'm not new, you want to keep it up?" Um... no. As my late great Aunt Violet used to say, "Even the prettiest roses have thorns, you keep playing in the bushes; you're gonna get scratched." Well there you go.

Let's take for instance the 44th President of these here United States of America. By all appearances, Barack is a nice guy. He's more of an intellectual than a street scrapper and even I have made jokes about how I wouldn't mind seeing him show a little more South Side Chicago and a little less Lakeshore Drive. Do nice guys have to reveal their inner tough guys in order to be taken seriously? Nobody thinks Michelle needs to be a little more street to be effective as First Lady. 

So I ask you BougieLand? Is it a double standard? Are nice guys misunderstood? Fellas, do you wince when someone tells you "you're such a nice guy"? Where's the line between nice guy and doormat? Nice and naïve? Is there such a thing as being too nice? What's wrong with nice anyway? I could use just a regular nice guy, no drama, all smiles, just-wants-a-good-woman-to-love-him-back now that I think about it. Oh... pardon me... I digress.

Moving on. People? Your thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Double Standard? The man with bad cocoa (yes, it's a euphemism)

Well here it is... the obligatory double standard post about bed game known affectionately in BougieLand as hot chocolate/cocoa.

Guy meets girl, girl has it all going on and is smoking hot. One thing leads to another, they stir the cocoa. Or rather he stirs the cocoa and she just is kinda there. Does she get another shot? 

Girl meets guy, guy has it all going on and is smoking hot. One things leads to another, they stir the cocoa. Or rather he attempted to heat up the cocoa and nothing really... boiled. Does he get another shot? 

Sadly, I believe that the girl with bad cocoa probably gets another shot if she's cute enough and a man deems that she is "trainable." The guy with bad cocoa? Had better have already made a heck of an impression on his cocoa partner. Unless she's not in it for the cocoa. If Peaches is on the come up, she'll no doubt overlook lacking cocoa skillz for pocketbook prowess.

I don't know about this one... a guy who has a terrible time with a girl generally does not go back to his boys and say "That's the worse I ever had" lest it be his fault the experience was lacking. Women? We tell each other about terrible cocoa ALL. THE. TIME. And they tell two friends. And so on. And so on. And so on. Does he even have a shot with anyone in the extended crew? 

Chris Rock once said that a man sleeping with a woman for the first time is like stepping up to the plate with only one at bat. You better knock it out the park the first time out or you will never get invited to play again. True or no?

So tell me, BougieLand: Does dude with bad bed game get another shot? Does girl? What does it depend on? Emotions involved? Time in relationship? Other factors (looks, money, potential, ability and willingness to learn)? Seriously, isn't everybody teachable? Okay, the floor is yours... try and keep it PG-13 as much as you can.

I'm scared. 


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