Friday, December 31, 2010

Letting go of 2010...

(New Year, new blog design... had to shake things up)

Breathe in with me now: Inhale. Exhale. Deep cleansing breath and Woo-sah. Relax. Relate. Release. Rinse with adult beverage and repeat. Ready? Okay... let's get ready for 2011. It's our year. We've survived all the laughs, loves, let-downs and losses of 2010 and we're still here to take the journey.

Before we move forward, we have to shake off the past. And as of midnight tonight, 2010 is history people. Don't drag it with you into 2011. You stayed winnin' in 2010? Dig deeper and reach higher in 2011. You struggled and wept in 2010? Dust yourself off and gear up to go again in 2011.

This year I thought I would share with BougieLand the personal Annual Review I give myself. Kind of my own personal performance appraisal. Let's go...

Goals Achieved:

1) First Book Published, Second Book Written
2) Survived year with sanity, friendships (the good ones) and family intact
3) Expanded horizons, met new people, added about 20 new recipes to the Bougie Cookbook

Lessons Learned:

1) All that glitters isn't gold: Okay, sure I knew this but WOW was it reinforced for me in 2010. There were a lot of people, places and situations that looked very glitzy and glam on the surface but turned out to be plasticky pyrite. In 2011, I believe I shall take a closer look checking beneath the surface and trusting my initial instincts.

2) Overthinking sucks: And speaking of trusting my initial intincts...I spent way too long thinking, rethinking, plotting, strategizing, double-checking, thinking one more good time about things that I really kept myself from getting as much done as I could have in 2010. Next year, gut instinct, common sense check and moving forward.

3) Oversharing sucks too: I'm a writer and a blogger but I really don't have share (tweet, blog) every waking moment. It's not that crucial.

Areas for improvement:

1) Significant Other sustainability: self-explanatory
2) Patience: Need more of it
3) Wellness: It's supposed to be "total" and "constant", strive harder.
4) Discipline: Respect a "deadline" for once!

Plans for next year: (notice I don't call these resolutions. Those rarely work out. I just make a plan and work towards actualization)

1) Get outta town: Spent way too much time in my home office at the keyboard (rocking yoga pants and a ponytail). Time to get the suitcases and good pumps out. Let's go!

2) Sell, sell, sell: Those books didn't write themselves, they won't sell themselves either. Step up the marketing and publicity.

3) Dance breaks: Yes, I'm going to regularly schedule dance breaks in my life. There few things that don't look better after a ten minute dance jam to a medley of throwback R&B/rap from the nineties... just sayin'. What? I'm the ONLY one who does this? Moving on...

4) Embrace what comes next: Whatever that may be. Start chanting "Life is a journey and every step is a revelation" over and over again until I believe it. 

5) Forgive and forget: Life is too short to hold onto past wrongs (perceived or actual).

6) Spread the message of Bougenificence to every corner of the earth for total global domination resulting in world peace and the elimination of climate change! [What? Too much?]

Overall, I give myself a B- for the year. The blog rocked, the book sold, the bougie roof is still over my head. The other, er - uh, miscues and missteps? We'll chalk those up to "learning experiences"...

BougieLand, what's one lesson you learned in 2010? What's one thing you hope to do in 2011? Y'all be safe out there... Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BougieLand Live...

I have good news and bad news...

The bad news is... the BnB Meet~n~Greet is cancelled. The good news is... I'm coming to you. Starting in March, I'll be touring this great nation doing book signings by day and hosting cocktail~n~coffee events by night. So far we have ten cities identified and hope to ramp up to twenty. 

As of this very minute, the cities (major metro areas) are DMV, Houston, New York City, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami. And yes, we still may still plan a BnB Nationwide Meet-n-Greet (or Getaway) later in the year. 

I'll be announcing dates in the upcoming weeks. Who's ready for BougieLand live?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowpocalypse Now: A Warning Tale

(OneChele had to slide down a huge mountain in North Carolina and traverse hills, valleys and slushy highways to escape Snowpocalype 2010. Tucked safely at home now, I thought I'd share a tale. For those of you that missed this last year... don't be this guy)

So, one of my readers shared on Saturday that he was snowed in up in Virginia. I said as long as he had food, water, electricity and an internet connection he was all good. One problem, he also had Friday night's one night stand snowed in with him. Ruh-roh. Monday afternoon, I got the full story and I felt it worthy to be called a BougieTale:

Our reader codenamed "U Don't Know Me" (we'll call him UDK) headed out into DMV nightlife and met an attractive female. Now either she fell for his lines or he fell for hers, maybe they both recognized what the other wanted, who knows. Either way, these two returned to UDK's home in a new subdivision in the VA for some adult aerobic activity. After repeated aerobic exertions, the duo fell asleep. UDK awoke to a disturbing sight. A pillowful of hair… no head attached. Her semi-bald head was somewhere near his feet. Not knowing what to make of this, he started to rise. She stirred and smiled at him, "Hey Derek, breakfast?" He noticed that her lengthy lashes from the night before were now stuck to her forehead and cheek. Again - disturbing. 

His name was not Derek but if breakfast was what it took to get her moving on down the road, he was down. "Sure, eggs okay?" He hopped up, pulled on some sweats and headed downstairs. As he hit the bottom step he heard her say, "Oh, my hair came off!" Yeah it sure did. No harm, no foul. When you pick up someone at a dimly lit club after midnight, these are the chances you take. It wasn't until he stood in the kitchen whisking eggs that he noticed. It was deadly quiet outside. Granted, brand new condo complex, not a lot of folks yet but he could usually hear people on the main road beginning those Saturday errands. He flipped on the TV and saw the words "Winter Blizzard" flashing across the bottom of the screen. Before the weatherman would finish saying "Many roads simply impassable…" he looked out the window. And saw nothing but white for as far as his eyes could see.

Pulling on a coat and shoes he opened his condo door, the concrete landing and stairs were caked over and as he quickly found out as he landed on his ass, under that snow was ice. "John, are we snowed in?" He heard a voice behind him ask. His name wasn't John either but at this point he knew it didn't matter. "Just until the sand trucks come through, let's get some breakfast." To say that the pick-up chick did not look as delectable in the harsh light of day was unfair. After all, her club makeup was smudgy, her wig was crooked and the outfit that was sexy at 2:00a.m. suffered in sobriety tilting towards skanky. No matter, breakfast, rock salt, sand, a 30 minute drive and he'd never see her again. At least that was UDK's prayer.

His prayer was not answered. In condensed format, for the next 26 hours he made 17 frantic calls to city, county, property manager workers begging (pleading) for someone (anyone) to assist him in forklifting his one night stand (who swore her name was Sugar) out of his domicile. At one point, he attempted to purchase a snow-plow from a construction company. They were happy to sell it to him but it wouldn't be delivered until 3-days later.

He attempted to get to his car and get it going. His cute sportscar (which he referred to as a "ho-getter") was not built to climb ice-covered slopes. His new complex was built in a valley-type location (master plan FAIL) so NO one without a serious four-wheel drive, snow chains and a ton of de-icer was making it out.

During their time together, UDK discovered that Sugar was a weeper (cried at the drop of a hat) with a tiny bladder and the inability to recall anything close to his name. She was also a talker, did not appreciate football and felt comfortable enough to help herself to his food and drink at regular intervals. At first light, UDK placed Sugar on a homemade sled fashioned by himself and his neighbor. They drug Sugar through 75 yards of frosty snowbanks to the main road where her step-dad's work friend scooped her up in a Hummer and took her away... never to be heard from again (he hopes).

So I asked UDK if he understood the moral to this story? He said yes. "Always check the next day's weather forecast before you bring someone home with you." Umm - no. I offered up this instead, "Never bring anyone home at night if you're not sure you want to see them in the morning." What do you think BougieLand? Got a moral for UDK? Any snowy horror stories to share?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Remix from last year: The Tale of Black Santa

My childhood Christmas memories are chock full of BougieDad cuttin' up. I mean for a professional man who was about business, he was in so many ways a pure D fool (and I loved it!).

Our house was smack in the middle of lily-white Suburbia. We were the first Black family to move into the area. Actually, BougieDad had to sue the City of Dallas to "allow" us to live there. Nothing says bougenificence like a court order J. So it was into this atmosphere that he launched his annual Christmas Decoration Fest. BougieDad was not going to be outdone by the neighbors. We had glittery lights, we had lights that looked like candles, we had statuettes, music, figurines and the piece de resistance: A life-sized poster of Santa on the front door.

Unfortunately, this was before the "culturally diverse" Santas were popular. Do you think BougieDad was going to let something like that get in his way? Oh no. BougieDad took the chocolate brown shoe polish and gave jolly white Santa a melanin infusion for the ages. Yeah he did. And then he taped the poster up over the front door for all the world to see. And no, it wasn't classy looking. He only shoe polished the face and neck, Santa's wrists were still white and his eyes still light blue. Truthfully, Black Santa looked like a possessed and costumed Al Jolson in blackface in need of a Jenny Craig Solution.

I vividly recall asking him, "Is Santa really black?" He said, "Yes he is and Jesus too." I went to school and repeated this, I was sent to the principal's office. They called both BougieMom and BougieDad in to talk about my "radical inclinations". Not sure (though I have a good idea) what went on in that meeting but I was allowed to address my class on the possibility of a racially diverse Santa Claus. It was received with mixed reviews. Anyway, my house was the only one for miles around rocking Black Santa.

To say the Black Santa poster was a showstopper is an understatement. We could hear people come up the driveway and pause at the bottom of the stairs like – Am I really seeing this? By the time they rang the doorbell they were astonished, annoyed or admiring. That poster got ripped in the middle of the night so many times; BougieDad switched to industrial strength packing tape and put up a sign warning of 24-hour surveillance. That kept the poster up until it literally fell apart on its own and we couldn't find a new one in stores anymore. Yes, we had to hold BougieDad back from painting all the angels in the outdoor statues black.

As much as I used to roll my eyes at his shenanigans trying to "blacken up" Christmas, do you know that now I go out of my way to find the cocoa-hued figurines, cards with people of color and decorations that reveal a bit more culture than Frosty and Rudolph (not that I don't love them too). I've added the Boondocks "A Huey Freeman Christmas" episode right along with Charlie Brown. I give my nieces and nephews toys representing all races and make sure they understand why. I guess I paid attention a little more than I thought.

Any diversity holiday recollections to share?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays Open Mic

I'm off in wilds of Asheville, North Carolina for BougieFam Christmaspalooza. (Or something like that)

In the meantime, a few of you have reached out expressing a desire to leave a holiday message to BougieLand. Feel free to get your ho, ho, ho on below...

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm more than the sum of my parts - a minor rant

If I typed up 20 words off the top of my head that have been used to describe me (as in the graphic above) - what does that really tell you about me? Without context, not a whole lot. One of the things we lose from childhood to grownassness is the ability to just take people as they come. That whole 'play with you at recess so we're friends for life' thing? It fades as we get older. We start getting more caught up in appearance and class and clothes and things that really tell you nothing about the true character of someone else. Here begins a rant-

I distinctly remember a gathering with an ex where there were a lot of pro athletes. I was the only woman over a size 8 in the place. I was used to it and secure enough with myself and dude that I smiled and proceeded to get my party on. I went on about my evening, laughing, dancing, joking and drinking when one of the guys (now a Hall of Famer) walked over to announce, "You have the biggest most amazing breasts I've ever seen." I glanced down to make sure they were still covered (they were) and then blinked twice. Because seriously, what do you SAY to something like that? "I know, right?" is egotistical. "Thank you" is far too passive. "You must be joking?" is too confrontational. I settled on, "Um. Interesting." He said, "It's a compliment, I usually don't look at larger women. But you're beautiful. There's something about you."

Le Huge Damn Sigh. If I had a dime for every time someone told me how beautiful I was and then added or implied the "for a plus size girl" quantifier on there, I'd be (what is it I always say?) typing this from my own Caribbean island with a cabana boy named Raul serving me champagne and lobster. My favorite of these stories (and why I really dislike another well known soon to be Hall of Famer) took place at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Said dude stepped on the elevator, glanced at me, away and back before saying, "You are a thick sexy thing. I would do you if I didn't respect the dude you were here with so much." He also proceeded to tell me I would be sexier if I flashed my boobs at him.  :-/

I had another less icky experience this weekend when I decided to pop out to a concert at the last minute. During intermission, the guy I went with left for a minute and his friend came to sit with me. "You're not his usual type, I mean, you're more curvy than expected but I get it. You're sexy as hell, gorgeous really. I approve." My mouth dropped open. He APPROVED?! For real tho?

These are NOT compliments. At all. Not the least bit flattering. I don't mind being told I'm full of figure. Yes, I know. I have mirrors and scales and life-long angst over calories and fat grams. But I rarely sit about dwelling on it unless it's specifically brought to my attention. I've always been healthy, able to attract and keep (for the most part) the men that I've wanted and look good in my clothes. (Maybe out of them too, I don't know. No complaints so far). I work out, cook the right things and drink lots of water just to maintain where I am right now. As you might have noticed from this blog, I suffer no self-esteem problems. [Bless my parents. They consistently told us we were the best and brightest, diamonds amongst a sea of dust and we believed them.]

I don't mind being told I'm pretty. It's nice to hear though I had very little to with it. [Thanks gene pool!] But I guess I'm of an age where I want to be more than the sum of my various parts. Where I'd like to be considered as more than my waist to hip (or in my case chest to hip) ratio and ability to slick on flattering lipstick and work a flat iron.

I'm saying that "pretty" and "curvy" don't define me. They are but two descriptors that make up all the Micheleness. I know, I know. The world is a superficial place. No one can see how witty and smart I am from across the room. At first glance, I'm LSLHBB (Light Skin, Long Hair, Big Boobs) I get it. But every now and then, I'm SOOO tempted to snap. "What did you score on your SAT? Oh really? Then I approve!" Or "How did you vote in the last election? Really? You're not my type." What if I told men, "You know you're not as tall, rich, cute, smart, insert quality here as I usually date, but you'll do." I can't imagine that going over well. But I'm supposed to flattered to be "approved of" in spite of my body type?

Not to exclude my Skinny Minnie sisters. They are forever telling me they catch hell for not being "thick" enough. Guys catch wreck for not being tall enough or buff enough - perhaps if we just kept our preferences to ourselves and just said, "Nice to meet you" and kept it moving? I don't know.

Most of you are aware that Paul Carrick Brunson, the Modern-Day Matchmaker, is kicking off his 2011 tour by co-hosting an event with me here in Dallas. He says that if he could remove the height qualifier from a woman's must-have list and the weight qualifier from a man's must-have list, he'd have people matched up in no time flat. 

I recall my eHarmony days and how you had to sum yourself up in sound bites that you hoped were intriguing to the other person. Let's try a variation on that today.

So what say you? If you had to describe yourself in ten words or less? Could you do it? 
Me? "Witty Southern writer with bougie tendencies and sense of humor." 

If you had describe your mate (the one you have or the one the want) in ten words or less... could you do it? Mine? "Godfearing man. Character with ambition, charm and conversation; into me." [Whew that's hard] 

Whatcha got? Thoughts, insights, comments? The floor is yours. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Video Shout-Out: Backdoor Santa

What y'all know about Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa? I will admit to singin' along to this song as child with no clue what I was singin' about. Now that I have a clue, I'm sending side-eye to BougieParents for giggling at me. Enjoy~

Any holiday song shout outs?

Friday, December 17, 2010

BougieNation at a glance...

Many thanks to the 883 (and still counting) folks that answered Monday's survey. Took me a minute (okay days) to compile all the data and put it into something that made sense. For the record, BougieLand has close to 20,000 visitors a week. (Thankfully not all of them filled out the survey) The more popular posts receive close to 6,000 views in a day, the least popular around 800. For a site that started out with 29 visits a week, I don't know whether to be giddy or terrified at the growth. But I appreciate it, I truly do. All a writer wants is a reader (and a royalty check... whole other topic).

Let's take a look at BougieNation from the survey results. Here we go:

We are heavy on the female side of the scale which makes me that much more appreciative of the fellas that do comment and participate. I actually think we're closer to 70/30 female to male and the menfolk just opted out of the survey. At least, that's what the other analytics from Google tell me. Anyway, the men of BnB add a little sumthin'. It truly allows for a more balanced perspective. Love you guys!

BougieLand is officially grown and sexy. The average age of a BnB reader is just over 37 years old. We have readers as young as 18 and as mature as 67.  Now that's a true blessing. (Apologies to the three folks who were really tart about the AARP party jokes. My bad.)

Well, we are black 'n bougie after all. But hip hop hurray for the 19% of diversity we have going on. Bouge is universal, y'all. And on that note...

BnB is read on almost every continent. We get no love from Antarctica but that's okay, they have better things to think about like polar ice cap shrinkage and whatnot. Shout out to the international folks, spread the bouge!

What's up, Idaho? No bougenificence in the potato fields? No purple pumps in Boise? Every other state was represented in the survey. (Thank you Mr. Salt Lake City for your lengthy diatribe on my polyamory post.) ATL, H-Town, Bay Area, NYC, DMV, the Chi, Charlotte and Dallas really represented.

Much respect to the other bloggers and sites that sent people my way. Jack & Jill Politics, AverageBro, Three Ways to Take It and the article on have produced a lot of traffic for me.

The BougieTales are universally loved. Which is funny because I thought perhaps I could do with a little less sharing? So I'll have to figure how to strike a balance between offering up a slice of my life without necessarily leaving myself (and friends/fam/potential SOs) open to dissection. Should be interesting.

BougieLand appreciates a happy, funny, sad, tragic, mystifying letter from the public. Bless people's hearts for continuing to send questions in even though we have flayed, sauteed, and served up some folks. As we like to say round here, don't ask the question if you don't want to really know the answer.

Our highest traffic weeks historically have been relationship and/or theme weeks. I love a good theme because I can build at least three posts, tack on a related Ask A Bougie Chick and do a wrap-up post which gives me the week. And for someone who tries to post everyday, that's everything. But more than that, y'all really like to talk about relationships!

My bad. Y'all were really feeling the Sunday Good News stories. Weekends are tough, sometimes I'm fried and the good news stories are hard to find but I'll try and do them more often.

Some folks got down right passionate in their dislike of the Video Shout Outs. But since I adore music and have been able to introduce some of my favorite artists to people that hadn't been exposed to them before... they shall stay.

Y'all nosy. For real tho. To the 262 of you who want to know more about Gene - c'mon now. As he is known to say - What Is This? To the 313 wanting more stories of cocoa past, present and future... this ain't that kind of blog (usually). Over 200 folks wanted more S.No.B. (So Not Bougie), WBPD (What Bougie People Do), WBFFD (What Bougie Folks are Forced to Do), and WBFDD (What Bougie Folks Don't Do) and Just.Do.Better posts... I hear ya - 2011 is right around the corner. To the 105 of you asking about Sergeant McHottie - wow. To the 428 who said I should just write whatever I feel like and they'll read it - bless your hearts. As for your suggestions:

Ha! I'm joking. There was some pretty good stuff in there. There was also some completely ratchet off the wall stuff in there. To the one person who felt I should really be more diligent in my spelling and grammar... you may be missing the main idea but um, thanks for that. If you know someone who'd like to be my unpaid editing intern and read my posts at 3:00am to correct them, I'm all for it.

There are topics I stay away from because I flat out don't like how folks respond when they read them. I'm going to discuss politics and sports as the mood hits because those are things that interest me. I might add regular guest bloggers, I might go down to posting three times a week. We'll just have to see where this takes us. So er, uh - I'm gonna just do me. For as long as I can, the best way I know how. 

And because so many asked - here are the top ten most popular posts in BnB history (based on pageviews, not comments):
  1. No Country for Smart Girls
  2. Stop telling me how I think...
  3. The Man With Bad Cocoa
  4. How I met New Dude, Part One (& Part Two)
  5. Psycho Mike 1, 2 & Follow-Up
  6. Thirsty is the New Black
  7. Usher-Themed Wedding
  8. Why Pookie Gets No Play
  9. Defending Our Blackness
  10. Twelve things about Tiger Woods
Honorable Mention to Sundress Month, The Story of SEW/Vince/NewDude/Sergeant McHottie, Romey-Rome Ambush, Why Are You Single and the Tweet-n-Run. It hasn't all been relationships and roses. We have had to put a few folks in Bougie suspension:

But all twelve appealed for leniency:

And only 2 were denied and banned from BougieLand (forever).

And that, BougieLand is the State of the (Bougie) Nation. Posting shall be spotty throughout the Christmas and New Year week but I'll around. Thoughts, comments, insights on BougieNation? Anything surprise you? Happy Holidays~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

So then... is there any such thing as an innocent flirtation?

After yesterday's post on "just a kiss," a few follow-up issues popped up. Let's tackle one today - the intriguing question, where is the line between "innocent flirtation" and cheating? I'll admit to being super, duper biased on this issue. One of my exes always seemed to be "inappropriately friendly" with random broads. [Turned out he was inappropriately naked with random broads but that's not this post] Seriously, beyond a hello and a how are you this evening, what's with all the chitter chatter, banter, eyeballin' and banter with strange chicks?  There's "just making conversation" and then there is being receptive to advances. 

Ex-dude and I were at a restaurant and a chick walked past, stopped, did a double take, walked back and struck up a conversation. I sat there with the upraised brow when she looked at me and said, "I just had to stop a say hello." To which I replied, "I'm sure you did." She said, "Oh I'm sorry, are you upset?" Me, "Not unless he gets up and leaves with you instead of me which is highly unlikely." I smiled with all my teeth. She looked from him to me and walked away. He said, "You handled that well." I sent him a look, "I wouldn't have had to if you had shut it down from jump." And there ensued a "discussion."

I will also admit to being hyper-sensitive about phone calls and texts. If you are in a committed relationship, who the heck is calling/texting you at 1:00 am on Saturday night? Maybe with a phone call, I can assume it's some sort of family issue that must be handled. But texts after midnight? Who can give a good reason (non-cocoa-seeking) for that? Do share, I'm dying to know. 

Another in the many excellent dates of my life, I was riding in the passenger seat of a car when dude's phone rang. The woman calling spoke so loudly, I could hear her telling him all the things she wanted to do with him, that evening if only he were free. I'm sitting there like WTF?! I threw a little bit of a tantrum demanding to be taken home immediately.

I also send laser beam side-eyes to men and women on social media platforms. I have watched with pursed lips while folks that I know are in committed relationships get into all manner of hot mess conversations on Twitter and Facebook. What part of the game is that? Sir, you are really having a conversation about superior head game with a group of single women? Where is your wife?! 

Ladies, before you get all smug - some of the sisterhood out here shootin' bad as well. I stumbled across a "Twitter After Dark" conversation between a very married lady and a dude who was straight hollering... hard. Do folks not realize that tweets last forever? That the freakin' Library of Congress is capturing those things for all eternity? Might not want to offer cocoa by the cupful at midnight when you were tweeting about your happy marriage at midday... just sayin'.

In my mind, innocent flirtation should be just that. A casual exchange with no expectation of it going any further then the brief sparkly look and chat. That's why I believe flirtation is for the truly single. Once you are on the path to putting a ring on it, I just think you can be nice but hold back the twinkly "hope to stir your cocoa" vibe. Am I being na├»ve?

BougieLand - where are the lines? At what point does a conversation becoming a borderline betrayal? Is it tone? Context? Intent? Can you cheat with someone you never see (social media)? Can a committed person flirt just for kicks? Anyone want to take a stab at defining "flirting"? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is there any such thing as "Just a Kiss"?

It's Michele's annual "catching up with friends" week. One of my college girlfriends (we'll call her Elise) has been reading the blog. The first thing she said when she picked up the phone, "Have I got a BougieTale for you!" Ruh-Roh.

Elise has been married to Ben for thirteen years. They've quite honestly fallen in and out of love with each other a few times in this period of time. To their credit, they always stick it out through the "I can't stand you" times secure in the fact that the "I love you so much" times were coming back around. Accordingly to Elise, she thought they were finally leveling out, enjoying a period of steady contentment. Until she walked into a restaurant and saw her husband kissing another woman. Not a peck on the cheek, but a lingering lip lock bordering on inappropriate for public.

She confronted him instantly and they decided to go home and discuss rather than share this moment with 100 interested diners in a trendy Buckhead bistro. When they got home, he said this was a woman he met recently and at this point it was an "innocent flirtation". She sent him the inevitable side-eye and he responded, "It was just a kiss. It didn't mean anything. A kiss isn't cheating." She agreed at the moment. (I bit my tongue so she could finish.) But now she's wondering just what that kiss meant. She and Ben haven't discussed it since. She asked me what I thought.

I'm just old fashioned, I guess. Kisses always mean something as far as I'm concerned. They need context. A peck is a hello or goodbye. A heartfelt press and hold with lips closed is an affectionate expression. Slobbing with requisite bump-n-grind is a cue for cocoa.

But a real kiss? Slow, sweet and steamy like she described? That's emotional. I think a kiss is an intimate extraordinarily sexy thing (when done right). Want to know how someone really feels about you? Kiss them for five minutes straight with all your clothes on, just kissing. It's everything. It can totally shift the direction of a relationship from casual to serious. As a friend of mine used to say, "Some people you kiss with your lips, others you kiss with your soul." C'mon now, a kiss that's got heat and heart and soul and stamina? Whew. [Why do I feel like breaking into the final refrain of Purple Rain? "If you know what I'm singin' about up here, c'mon raise your hand." No? How 'bout Nelly - It's gettin' hot in herre... Never mind.]

Anyway... I told Elise, "A kiss is a gateway drug. And what would have happened had you not walked in at that very moment? Even if you don't worry about the kiss itself... what comes after?" And then I went on a 20 minute rant on the ways I felt the situation was completely jacked up. 

She decided that they probably needed to have more conversation about this. No. Doubt.

BougieLand, is a kiss ever just a kiss? If you walked in on your S.O. kissing someone else, what would you think? What would you do? Since when is kissing someone else not cheating? Do we really need to define cheating per level of intimate act? Can you forgive "just a kiss" as opposed to full cocoa? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bougie Basics for Wintertime

Still compiling the data from yesterday's survey. Over 600 replies! In the meantime, some bouge rules...

Fellow BougieLand  dwellers, winter is upon us. If not officially on the calendar, definitely by the temperatures some of  us are experiencing. We haven't reviewed any bougie etiquette lately. Let's talk winter basics of WBPD (What Bougie People Do):

1. Wear a real coat - Fellas, you aren't fooling anybody with that thin leather jacket that has clearly seen better days. Ladies, the shawl/wrap is decorative. Bougie grown folks need bougie grown folk outerwear. That means full length coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Stop tipping out in the snow trying to be cute. Unless you live in a warm weather state, you have zero excuses. Spend the money on something to keep Old Man Winter off your hindparts. Pneumonia is not sexy.

2. Stay Lotioned Up - For some reason, people think the winter sun is less harsh than the summer sun. Same sun folks and you've got harsh winds and cold temperatures in the mix. Your skin needs moisture. Hydrate and lather up. There is nothing like seeing a gent remove his gloves and the hands are just ashy. Ladies, just because your feet are in boots and leggings is no excuse to let the maintenance go. Keep it supple, people.

3. Not keep a house like a freezer - I understand. The electric/gas companies are no joke. Bills have been known to (mysteriously) quadruple in the wintertime. I get it, folks don't want to give all the Christmas money City Utility Company. But ur, uh - I shouldn't feel like I'm meat on a hook stepping into your home. If you have folks coming over, suck it up and cut the heat on. At the VERY least, light a fire in the fireplace. Serve some spiked cocoa (mind out of the gutter, I mean the actual drink). I don't care if you pass out ceremonial Snuggies when folks walk in the door, make sure your guests can sit in your home without being tempted to light a bonfire on your living room table.

4. No chatting while shivering - Let me put this plainly: if you see me outside in winter,wait until I get inside to say hello. I hate when folks shout me out and we're standing there with swirling winds and snow flurries talking about how your grandma's surgery went. It's not that I don't want to talk, I don't want to freeze. Wave at me and meet me in the Starbucks. Please and thank you.

5. Keep germs where they belong - It's cold and flu season. May I recommend Airborne, Emergen-C or old school orange juice by the gallon? Get your immune system up. And if all of that fails... at the sign of the first hardcore sniffle/sore throat  combo - stay your behinds at home. If you MUST venture out, plenty of Kleenex and isolation. Do not hack and cough all over town. Don't touch things (especially me). I'm that chick  that catches whatever is going around and goes down for the count. It only takes one sneeze to spread a cold to everyone in a ten foot radius. Germs are personal, keep them to yourself.

6. Step your holiday game up - Today at my P.O. Box, dude behind the counter shouted me out, "Hey Michele. Happy Kwanzaa!" This is not a cool thing for non-African descendants to do. I was in a hurry so I kind of sent him a look and bounced. I've got nothing against Kwanzaa but why must I be shouting out Harambee just because I'm black? Don't make assumptions. Just say Happy Holidays and keep it moving. 

7. Respect Snow - It's cold and wet. Not everybody likes it. Throw it at your own risk. That is all.

BougieLand? Have any winter rules to share? Thoughts, comments, insights on mine? 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who is BougieLand?

Today, a survey for you. Click "Start Survey" to take easy eight question survey. Your answers are completely confidential! If you are having difficulty opening, you can go straight to the survey page at BnB Reader Poll. Enjoy!

Tomorrow, we'll talk about what's hot(and what's not) in BougieLand. Any suggestions you want to share that weren't captured in the survey? 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

State of the (bougie) Union Week

I was chatting away with a potential sponsor for the BnB/Modern Day Matchmaker Event in February and he asked me to explain "BougieLand" to him. I called it a community, a blog, a gathering place, a life lesson sharing corner, a comedy spot and a counseling session all in one. He looked at me like I was crazy and asked for the demographics. I gave him the compiled data from Google Analytics but then I started to wonder if I should go a  little deeper. 

Maybe it's time to take the BougieLand temperature. Who are we, what do we like, what do we want to see more of and what could do without in BnB? Hence the forthcoming State of the (Bougie) Union Week. We'll have polls and open mics. We'll see what's been hot and what's been not in the past year and a half. Come back through and participate. You just never know what we'll find out...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

President Obeezy is sick of y'all... and a musical shout out

Friday afternoon, Prez 44 strolled to the podium with Diamond Bill in tow to chat about these freakin'-deakin' tax cuts one mo' good time. He was clearly over the entire discussion on Monday when he explained (with clenched jaw, steely gaze, and tight tone) that he did what he had to due because the Republicans are holding the American people hostage and the Democrats wouldn't shake their asses to get things done when they had the votes to do it. [Uh that's my translation of what he said anyway]

He wasn't feeling it Friday, Clinton was getting a little long-winded and on top of that, Prez Barry had a date with his wife. Given the choice between jaw-boning with the press corps over stuff he already said or taking his lovely wife out? He bounced. Besides, it's not like Clinton hadn't "been there - done that". 

I'm sorry, I thought it was hilarious and more than a little gangsta. He basically passed the mic and said, "Yeah uh, Bill's got this. I'm out." Bruh rolled out and did not look back. Calm down people, it's not like he left Bill with his finger on the button or in the Oval Office with some interns. For all of those who tuned in, wondered if it was 1996 or if Prez 44 took leave of his senses, I give you today's video shout out: Janet Jackson's Got 'Til It's Gone

What did y'all think of Obama bailing on his own briefing? Any musical shout outs today?

Friday, December 10, 2010

What happens when you mix red wine + painkillers?

I'm a relatively controlled person. Okay, I may have latent control freak issues that I'm working on. Generally, if I decide to cut loose, I've made a conscious decision to do so. I don't like being out of control of my actions which I why I'm rarely "chemically altered." In spite of my deep and abiding love of South American red wines, I generally only drink two glasses. Unless I'm at home and stressed or out having fun with someone that I really, really trust.

When the migraine hit Wednesday night, the painkillers were not kicking in. For some bright reason, I thought a sip or two of red wine would help dull the pain. I remember drinking the third glass of wine and deciding to order up whatever the latest vampire Twilight movie was on the DirecTV cinema on demand (a clear sign I was out of my head). That was around 1:00am.

I awoke at seven-ish because the BlackBerry was beeping. I pried my eyes open to find the empty wine bottle on the nightstand. And no clear recollection of how it got that way. I sat up relieved to find that the pain was low-key. Just a dull ache near the base of my neck. Completely bearable. 

I washed up, grabbed a bottle of water and reached for the BlackBerry. Six messages in, I froze. An email from an ex with no subject line. I opened it up and it read, "Are you okay?" Scrolling down I realized that he was replying to an email I sent him in the middle of the night. The migraine started creeping back in.

Ruh. Roh. At some point in my medicated migraine hell/haze I typed out a lengthy email to him and hit send. The first line of my email read, "This email is not a good idea." The last line read, "Not going to send this, just going to sleep." And yet for some illogical reason, I typed it and hit SEND any damn way. Lawd! As I read through it I winced. It was rambling and way too transparent. What it really was? Nothing I would have written in my right mind. 

Saving grace? I apparently wrote six drafts, each more graphic and "creative" than the last. In one or two iterations, I attempted to write rhyming poetry. I rhymed gloved with loved y'all. For the record, I am not a poet. Thankfully, the draft I sent him was not the worst of the bunch. But you can bet at some point, I'm going to have to face the music on the middle of the night communique. It is what it is.

Moral: Just as you shouldn't drink and drive... you shouldn't drink and dial (or text, or tweet, or email). Chemically altered people should not be allowed to operate any form of communication device. 

So what would you do? Pretend that you were hacked? Shrug it off? Has anyone experience a "drink-n-dial"? Sent a tipsy text? Emailed under the influence? Been the recipient of the boozy tapback call? Do share. The floor is yours.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

When Killer Migraines Attack...

I was typing away when out of nowhere it hit. Feeling like I assume a gunshot straight to the temple would. Instantly paralyzing me with pain that radiated down my back. Le Ouch. And three hours later, still Le Ouch. Bougie down y'all.  Be back soon. Talk amongst yourselves. And send a prayer my way.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

To tell the truth... or not?

I recall when I was dating PsychoMike. [If you are new to the site and haven't read it, you simply must] My two roommates knew that he was trying to hit on one of them and decided not to tell me because they were afraid my feelings would be hurt and I "seemed so happy." Like I was happier overhearing him leaving her a romantic message on the answering machine? To me, it was a FriendshipFAIL of epic proportions. Our relationships were never truly the same and we moved apart shortly after that. It got me to thinking about truth and the games we play with it.

So let's just see, shall we? Today on BnB, we're playing "To tell the truth". Do you or don't you?

Scenario #1: You're out and about, you see a good friend's significant other in what appears to be a non-platonic situation with someone else. You say nothing but then later your friend asks you if you had any clue something was going on... what do you say?

Scenario #2: A friend invites you to come listen to them perform. You go, they are terrible. I mean worse than Nicki Minaj rapping with the New York Philharmonic. [yes, that means bad]  They ask you to write a review for them to post to their blog... what do you say?

Scenario #3: Somebody you have been friends with for a long time but feel zero cocoa chemistry with just told you that they think you two should try and take it to the next level. You can't imagine where the sizzle is coming from and you don't want to lose the friend... what do you do?

Scenario #4: You are out of town on vacation and have a one-night weekend fling that nobody will ever (ever, ever) find out about. Problem is, you're in a committed relationship. Do you tell it on yourself or no? [For the record, refusal to answer this one tells me something in and of itself ;-0]

Answer one, none, or all but give me your thoughts. Have you decided to just be brutally honest, come what may? Do you make allowances for little white lies or sins of omission? Do you weigh the benefits of telling the truth versus preserving someone's feelings? Just curious, what do you do? The floor is yours...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ever wish you could just take that last sentence back?

"If you would just stop being stupid and listen to what I have to say for once!" 


Those were the words left floating in the air the first big fight I ever had with an ex-SO. We were standing in the bathroom preparing to go out. I had a make-up brush in my hand. He had a toothbrush. His hand visibly flinched when the word 'stupid' came out of my mouth. And to this day I cannot forget the look on his face. Angry, hurt, disappointed. He put down the toothbrush. Slowly he said, "You know what? I don't need this." And walked out. The ramifications of my sharp tongue, waspish tone and thoughtless words took all manner of time and effort to repair. Was it worth it to score that point? Hell no.

Since then I've been ex-treme-ly care-ful with my words. Making sure that if I zing, I meant to. If I flirt, I meant that too. And knowing that when you hit below the belt, you have to be prepared for those ramifications.

Standing in the Whole Foods Monday, I realized that not enough folks have acquired this "mark your words and measure their meaning" skill. A young couple was standing near the wines (blocking my path to the Chilean Shiraz) and they were arguing in heated tones. She was a good looking brunette who was whisper thin. He was a tall blonde who hadn't seen direct sunlight in a while. I don't know what the argument was about but the line that made me wince came from her:

"I didn't have to worry about stuff like this with Todd." Pow!

He came back with, "Which one was Todd? How do you keep them all straight? Surprised you paused long enough get names." Bam!

"I remember your name, so what do you care?" Oooo.

"Just sayin' at some point don't we all blend together?" Smack!

"Isn't your job to make sure you stand out? Why don't you just come up with one thing to do unforgettably well?" Sucker punch. The minute it left her mouth and hit his ears you could tell it did damage on both sides. They both turned vampire white. I slunk away hoping none of their bad vibe-i-ness rubbed off on me.

BougieLand, ever said something you immediately wished you could take back? Ever asked a question and then realized you weren't ready to hear the answer? Ever walked away from a conversation and THEN figured out exactly what you should have said? Care to share any of those? Or what you learned from the experience? When foot in mouth goes wrong, it goes really, really wrong. Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours.

Monday, December 06, 2010

NorthTown Saturday Night - An UnSexy BougieTale

10:17pm, Saturday December 4 in the 2010th year of our Lord. Michele sits at home, pretending to write while really wasting time reading about Bougie Blogger beef and reveling in the harmonic melodies of Mint Condition.

The phone rings, disturbing her unproductive groove. She glances at Caller ID, shrugs and continues along procrastination's pleasant pathway. Cell rings. Then home phone again. They aren't giving up.

"Yes."She answers none too pleasantly.

"Where ARE you?" An irritated voice slurs a little, party sounds in the background.

"Where did you call me?"

"At home."

"Well there you go."

"Why are you at home?"

"Mayhaps because I live here."

"Stop being a smart-ass. You promised to be my wing-woman and designated driver tonight and I need help."

Oops. "Was that tonight?"

"You KNOW damn well it was. Get off your pampered ass and get over here. Now."

"I'm already in the jammies. I have ponytail rocking and the moisturizing booties on my feet. It ain't happening."

"I swear to God,either you get here in 30 minutes or I am coming to you and bringing these random Negroes with me."

"Well now I'm dying to come. Seriously. I'm not in the mood to get cute."

"You now have 29 minutes and 30 seconds. I don't need you cute, I just need you here. NOW!"

Maybe it was the semi-drunk note in her tone, maybe it was the fact that I had indeed promised, maybe I'm too damn nice. I decided to at least swing by, make sure she was okay and ride out. I didn't try for cute. Slicked back ponytail, plain hoop earrings, black sweater, dark jeans, boots. Clear lip gloss and one swipe of mascara. I got there with three minutes to spare.

When I walked into what appeared to be quite the house party in full swing, it took me three rooms to find her. The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was... "throwback".  "Vintage?" The decor was a bit granny-chic. If this was a movie, I'd have to name it House Party 6 - Viagra's Revenge.

Someone was attempting to moonwalk to Cameo's Candy in the living room. One gent was rocking a shiny black leather bomber jacket with an eight-ball on the back. Another cat (yes, cat) looked just like Kool Moe Dee from the Wild, Wild West video. I know you young 'uns don't know nuttin' bout that. Here's a glimpse for you:

Complete with hat. Boots were black though. As I was cutting through the kitchen I overheard one colossal #HollaFAIL: "I'm Dr. Romance baby, just looking for a head nurse." Just. No. I did notice that they were serving real food at this party. Somebody had been on the grill. Folks were posted up eating brisket, grilled chicken, corn and potatoes. An R. Kelly song came on and a woman old enough to be my mother put her plate down, swiveled her hips and said, "That's my jam!"

This stone groove was one step (maybe two) beyond grown-n-sexy. All that was missing was Don Cornelius and a disco ball. As I circled the living room I saw my friend, very tipsy and attempting to Step in the Name of Love with what can only be called an old head. He was rocking a shiny shirt with some sort of paisley print and pleated ironed jeans of a light blue hue. To be conservative, I'll say old boy was 55. My girlfriend is 36. No ma'am. I walked over and gave her a wave, "Let's go." I pointed to the door.

A Cap Daddy in a green velour track suit sipping champagne straight from the bottle (through a STRAW) came dancing over. "Cutie, you're not leaving? We bout to get it poppin'!" My mouth fell open, "Ummm." Did I want to know what the black Baby Boomer set considered getting it popping? No. I was a little scared. He leaned in a little closer, "Sweetie, you date older men? You could be my fountain of youth. Know you cook with your thick self." Le Deep Damn Sigh. Seriously? This is what it's come down to?

I turned to my girl and raised my voice, "Girl, you have 30 seconds to bring yo ass or I am leaving you with the Sunshine Boys. Test. Me." She finally focused in on my face, saw that I was serious and broke free of Grand-Dad. As we walked towards the door, two men in Cosby sweaters (again, not joking) offered to walk us to the car.

As I unlocked the doors, one of them asked if we wanted to meet for brunch at Waffle House the next morning. That's a negative. We declined politely and drove away. My girlfriend says, "Some of them were really nice, you should have stayed and mingled."

You know what? I'm not mad at the AARP party. But I'm not there yet. No Sugar (Cap) Daddies for me. Regardless of what my twitter folks said about guaranteed income on the first and fifteenth of the month (I hate y'all!)... I can't do it.

I guess love can come in all packages. BougieLand, how much older or younger are you willing to date? Ladies, ever been tempted to get your Anna Nicole on? Gents, are you gonna be Larry Kinging it at 75? How do we feel about geriatric cocoa? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Saturday Video Shout-Out: The one and only Luther - So Amazing

I can readily admit that I'm getting to that point where I look at top 20 countdown of artists and have to ask "Who's that?" or say "That's just awful" or "Whatever happened to REAL music?" No doubt every generation goes through it. All of that to say there was nothing on the countdown I wanted to shout out. So let's go back. When live performances didn't make you cringe and you could sing along with your grandma and your little niece no drama or explanations needed. Le Sigh. It's hard to pick a favorite Luther song but this one is near the top of my list:

What's your favorite Luther song?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Are you Path-Walking or Place-Holding? Guest post by @JaymeCinDallas

BougieLand today Dr. JaymeC, our resident family psychologist and moral conscience drops knowledge. In addition to having more degrees that I can keep up with and being an all around good friend, Jayme is speeding towards her 20th year of marriage (a good one at that). So with that in mind: Respect, learn, share.

Well, I'll open with an easy statement: life is a journey. Brilliant, right? Okay, I'll go further. Life is a journey not unlike the movie Inception - where there's a dream within a dream within a dream? Life is a street within a drive within a highway cross country... you get my point. 

One of life's most intriguing, interesting and frustrating endeavors is that search for a lasting and fulfilling relationship. Ideally, you want someone on your journey who shares the driving and navigating duties and makes the trip well worth the effort. Sure, it doesn't hurt if the car is shiny and smells great but on a long trip, you're really more concerned with what's under the hood. (Heart, mind, soul)

No matter where you are in the journey; every once and a while you have to ask yourself - Are you path-walking or place-holding in your relationships?

If you are path-walking, you are moving. Either forward, backward or side-to-side, you are in motion. Even if you haven't realized where your destination is - unless you're traveling in circles - you are on your way to somewhere.

If you are place-holding, you are standing still. Not only are you going nowhere, you're likely sinking into a rut. Worse still, you could be standing in a spot that was meant for someone else. (Not good)

I know I tend to talk in winding metaphors. I'm going to take it even further. Here are five suggestions (complete with musical inspiration provided by Chele) to get and keep you moving on that path: 

1) Are you gonna go my way? Make sure you get on the path with someone moving in the same direction. If one person puts the car in drive and the other puts in it reverse - where are you headed? In real life terms, this means you should find someone who either has similar life plans (goals, dreams) or can at least be down with yours. One person wants to be a CEO with four kids and the other wants to serve coconut umbrella drinks in Cabo attachment free? You're not even in the same vehicle.

2) Drive - There's a line in this great song Chele introduced me to by Incubus: "But lately I am beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel." During the course of a relationship, each party is going to have to take turns steering. Sometimes, to be perfectly honest there are times when one person is going to have to take the backseat. In practical terms it means control and leadership are fluid concepts. You get though each leg of the journey together.

3) Ride for you -Pretty self-explanatory. If you sign on for the ride and you're serious about it, you have to see it through. Not ride or die (that seems extreme) but hang on through the potholes and sharp turns. Ride 'til die maybe?

4) A long walk - That's all a relationship really is - one long walk. If you have someone who is willing to keep taking the next step, you've found a keeper. Like this song says, you need someone to spark conversation, verbal elation, stimulation. Yes, this includes the cocoa. But if you keep in mind that the mental needs to stay just (maybe more) stimulated than the physical, you are path-walking.

5) Keep on Movin' -Ultimately, the only way a relationship is successful is if it keeps evolving and changing, hopefully in the same direction (with the same two people). Sometimes people get distracted and take their eyes off of the road. They get hung up on the scenery and how far it is to the destination. Just. Take. The. Next. Step.

Sometimes, despite our best intentions - none of this occurs, none of it works out, relationships break down. (Ever long for an eject button? That played "Hit the road, Jack" before it detonated? How cool would that be?) But as I was saying, even after you've tried and tried, at least walk away knowing you gave it your best shot. Hope I didn't ramble too much and there were some kernels in here that everybody can use if not for a romantic relationship than in their dealings with friends and family. Be Blessed. -Jayme

Well, Jayme kinda got me with this metaphor. If I look at relationships as a journey (road trip), I have to recognize a few times when I didn't put enough gas in the car, flooded the engine and ignored the warning lights. A few times I may have gone all Thelma and Louise and driven the car straight off the damn cliff. I can also see times when I got in a Hyundai and tried to make it a Maybach. BougieLand, put your creativity caps on. Imagine your best and worst relationships. If they were cars, what kind would they be? What keeps them running or stopped them dead in the street? The floor is yours.


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