Monday, February 28, 2011

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 6: Donny Hathaway ruined my date

Fresh off Friday night's fail, the Bougie Bachelorette ventured out for drinks at a lovely wine spot with a potential S.O. Forty two, six two, gave good phone. We'll call this one Paul. Paul was a friend of a friend. We had met a few years back and kept in peripheral-type touch. (He would ask his friends how I was, I would ask his friends how he was) When he heard I was single (again!), he put in a call.

Here's the beauty of the early evening wine date - you get there around 6:00pm. You have time to get an appetizer and a glass (or two) of wine before deciding if you want it to morph into dinner. Or you can beg off saying you have something else to do later that night if the sip~n~smile doesn't go as planned.

So we're sipping 'n smiling when the music changed to a kind of neo-soul, smooth jazz set. We started talking about music. He said that he is a "music aficionado" and considered himself a student of "multiple genres and subsets". [A-ight then] The Kirk Whalum/Lalah Hathaway collab "It's what I do" came on and I got all mushy. Listen to the lyrics and delivery and tell me that isn't just a gorgeous song?

Anyway... in the midst of discussing my Lalah-love, I said "she has very distinctive phrasing, like her father." To which Paul said, "Oh did her father sing too?" Every table (full of white and black people) fell quiet while people gave him the side-eye of life. I decided to assume he just didn't get who I was talking about so I helpfully supplied, "Donny Hathaway."

He said, "Never heard of him." The waiter refilling our wine paused and sent me a look like, "Girl, get out now."

Forty two year old black man calling himself a music aficionado [with the subsets and genres and whatnot], a fan of Lalah's and had never heard of Donny?! When I tweeted this, Ms. Lalah herself laughed and sent me the Price is Right Fail sound. Someone else said it was like calling Laila Ali a great boxer and having someone ask who her father was. What next? Calling Jaden Smith a good actor and not knowing who Will is?! *kicks over trashcan in minor rant*

Moving on...

So as I'm sipping this wine, (gathering myself) I think - you can't rule someone out for not knowing Donny Hathaway, Chele. You can. not. So I tried a different tack, "Well who do think is the best artist out there right now?"

Wait for it...

This ninja said Drake. And then started quoting Drake lyrics. As Deion Sanders says, #HOP (Hold On Playa!) - you can quote Drake but don't know who wrote and sang The Ghetto, A Song for You, at the very least This Christmas! I just... 

I was stunned speechless. I couldn't even fake it. He got tart and decided to try and prove a point. He leaned over to a table with three black guys probably in their mid-forties early fifties and asked, "Do you guys know who Donny Hathaway is?" Immediately one guy said, "Legendary, died too soon, went to Howard." Another one said, "His duets with Roberta Flack, man?" And the third one said, "Lalah's dad, Talkin' bout the GhettoThis Christmas, c'mon!" 

So I asked the same three guys, "Can you name Drake's last three hits?" The responses I got back, "Which one is he? The neighbors know his name boy?" "Do he sing or rap?" "Is he on that cut with Lil Wayne before he went to jail? Wait - Best he ever had - right?"

Paul responded, "Well not everyone is as up to date on cutting edge music as I am."

One of the guys said, "If Drake is cutting edge, just leave me with the old school."

**CHECK PLEASE** I rested my case. Grown folks know grown folks music. No shade to Drake. I wouldn't call myself a literary expert and not know who Shakespeare is or Langston Hughes! I wouldn't call myself a foodie and not know the difference between collards and arugula. Woo-sah. 

I'm not saying I won't go out with him again (I don't know, I don't know). But the night was definitely done. What say you BougieLand? Thoughts, comments, insights? 

P.S. And if you need to step up your Donny Hathaway game, please do so!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 5: Whacktastic!

(Shout out to Corey P, @SpkTruth2Pwr, for gifting me with the "Whacktastic" phrase. Loving it.)

Question: What's worse than a house party of thirty- & forty-somethings trying to relive their twenties?

Answer: A house party of thirty- & forty-somethings trying to relive their twenties with an unlimited supply of hard liquor.

A male friend of mine has asked me every month for the last three months to come to his "Friday Night Throwback Jam" party. I've been resistant but finally found myself out of plausible excuses.

The first hour wasn't bad. Mixing, mingling, a little Babyface, a little Beyonce. Cool. Then somebody put on Bell Biv Devoe's Do Me. The beat still goes hard, I'll give them that. But ur uh, shout out to the dude who skipped into the middle of the dance floor dry humping the air with his drink held over his head living out his Ronnie/Ricky/Mike video fantasy. Unfortunately for him, I had just seen BBD on Late Night with Jimmy and they were killing it (this is the web-only performance of Do Me!):

House party dance floor dude was killing it but in a different (read very, very bad - like homicidal) way. Note to folks who are a legend in their own minds: When a group of people stand and stare at you with a "What are we supposed to do with THAT?" collective look... no bueno.

But more troubling was the fact that BBD Dude did not win the whacktastical prize of the night. The next runner-up was Pam. Her name isn't really Pam. You know that Chris Rock joke in Bigger and Blacker where he's talking about the mother out in the club, "lf the kid calls his grandmamma ''Mommy''... and his mama ''Pam,'' he's going to jail." Okay, so we'll call her Pam because she has three ragamuffin children that seem to always be at grandma's house while Pam is out doing Pam. This night was no different. Pam was systemically hitting on every dude in the house, married or not. If they turned her down, she moved onto the next. Sometimes she circled back around. As the night got longer and the drinks got stronger, she was having more luck. At last glance, she had her hand in the lap of some dude who seemed okay with it.

But the Captain Whacktastic prize goes to this dude... he walked up to me and a group of three other women. Introduced himself as James T. Kirk from the Planet Lovetron. [you can NOT make this stuff up!!] Then he said, "Wondering if any of you ladies would like a ride on my rocket?" 

No. Actually more like...
**the sound of crickets committing suicide because they didn't want to live in a world this corny**

At first we all just hit him with the 'you can't be serious' double eye blink. And then as if on cue, we dissolved into laughter. To his credit, he shrugged and said, "At least you're laughing with me." Then he hitched up his jeans (which were sagging in a very unfortunate way) and walked over to the next group. Um.... #HollaFAIL

Bougieland... Lovetron?! What part of the game is that?! Tell me, do you think he was serious? Like he was really stepping up to bat with Lovetron as his first pitch? Someone help me understand.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Video Shout-Out: Bell Biv Devoe reunion

In case you missed it, BBD reunited on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Thursday. (Of course, they never really retired, just keep touring as various iterations of New Edition, but that's not the point) I must admit, they did a pretty good job. Please watch the dance moves as they will feature prominently in my next episode of the Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles. The early 90s are back, enjoy the wonders of Poison:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Open Mic Day on BnB... building the perfect TV show

I'm trying to do some thangz. Okay multiple tasks requiring masterful juggling on my part. So no post today. But let's play a little game. If we were building a TV show (one that we would actually watch) based loosely on BougieLand, what would it look like? Is it more Moonlighting or Mad Men? Romance? Suspense? Ensemble cast? Place it at work or at home? East Coast, West Coast, Southern City? No idea too big, no idea too small - what ya got?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To be POTUS - a guest post from DesertBlack

Today we've got a guest post from one of our male readers, the ever-intelligent Mr. DesertBlack. He's got a thought or two about Prez 44 and a few questions for you as well. Enjoy and show him some comment love.

What does it take to be President of the United States of America? What are the necessary skills, education, experience, world view, demeanor and presence/charisma that make one a viable President?  What is the right mix of everything?

This thought has been on my mind ever since the election of Barak Obama as our 44th President. I must admit that I was skeptical about seeing an AA male or female holding this office in my lifetime in spite of the advances (we as a country) have made. All is not perfect in Oz, but I move forward.

Before we start let me say I support and have supported all of my Presidents. I have not always agreed with their strategies, tactics, and world view, but for that moment in time they are my President - I support them. Needless to say there is probably more affinity for this one because we share a few things like Chicago, age, a good cheeseburger and some level of similar experience navigating these United States of America to name a few. I may be naive but that is where I am in reference to all of the Presidents of my lifetime.

There are many directions this conversation could take, but I will focus on the three that I think about most often. They are qualifications, respect for the office and admiration vs. contempt, in light of this President with so many expectations  on his shoulders.

Qualifications – What are some basic fundamental ones? What is icing on the cake? Basic qualifications, an understanding of our governmental system, the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, the ability to balance a budget, the ability to understand and interpret law etc…. Icing on the cake, the ability to understand the impact of decisions, the ability to embrace all of one’s countrymen, a sense of fairness in an unfair world, and the ability to inspire a nation to greatness just to name a few. Along with “education”, “experience” and a couple of skinned knees to keep it real.

Respect for the Office – As Americans what level of respect do we have for the office? Is it dependent on who is holding it? How do we provide a united front to the world when we disagree internally? As a democracy it is our right to disagree, protest and influence change. (Normally in a safe environment - wink and nod) And even in a democracy is it too much to ask for a modicum of respect for office, position, title?  Is it really that hard to say “Mr. President” or “President Obama”? (or is this another topic)

Admiration vs. Contempt – In light of all the current would be presidential hopefuls - what inspires them? Is it love of country, power, specific vision, or unadulterated ego? Or is it, if “this guy” can do it … I know I can. I mention this because now everyone is throwing their hat in the ring including, a former governor of Alaska, a soon to be former ambassador and son of a billionaire, a former senator and representative from Pennsylvania. This opportunity has always been available. Am I just hating or is the timing right for these potential candidates?

So, as I ponder the successes and challenges of the Obama Administration and wonder if being the president were an opportunity for me... would I consider it  and why? (not that I am all that, but President Obama and I are the same age and on rare nice summer days the thought has crossed my mind). J Things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Bougieland the floor is yours. What do you think qualifies one to be POTUS? Am I too sensitive in noticing that the level of respect afforded to President Obama is lacking? Are you inspired to achieve (anything) based on admiration for challenges overcome or contempt in that … if they/he/she can do it I know I can?

Bonus questions:

Can we expect the world (and this country) to offer the same level of respect to a “brown” man representing a “Caucasian” nation when the other players are entrenched in their nationality and culture, China/Chinese, Japan/Japanese, India/Indian etc…?

And is there any experience/job/degree that can prepare one to navigate 2 wars, collapsing real estate markets, record deficits, increased outsourcing, disappearing industries, record unemployment, global financial instability, and a transition from an industrial society to an information/tech environment just to name a few?

[From blog host - you guys know the rules, answer one, some, all or just give us your thoughts. And hey, keep it bougie out there...]

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let me call you sweetheart... or not

I'm a child of the South. I've been called sugar, dumpling, honeycakes, and baby doll (among other endearments) by complete strangers my whole life. So much so that unless there's some sort of wonky tone or inflection, I don't really think about it. Let's look at some context.

My first day of "real" work after graduating college, my supervisor plunked his coffee cup on my desk and said, "Keep that filled for me, lil darlin' please." I smiled ever so sweetly and told him, "Sure and you can call me Michele, honey." I went to get his coffee. He called me Michele from there on out.

I recall beefing with one co-worker in a meeting when she leaned over and said, "Sugar, you are out of your depth. Watch you don't drown." To which I replied, "Coming from someone whose idea of deep is the kiddie pool, I think I'm okay. But thanks for your concern, cupcake."

There are times when someone starts a sentence with, "Listen honey" and you know it's not an endearment. There are people who call everyone "babe" because they can't remember names. Lately, boo and shorty get tossed around with ease. Depending on context, it's not that big of a thing... to me.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when in the midst of an interview with an online radio host and two other authors, one of the authors went completely off. The host had asked a question about writing "steamy" scenes and this other author lamented at answering this question for the umpteenth time. The host responded in a light-hearted laughing tone, "Well sweetie, I'd think you'd be used to this by now." Author 2 went left. She raged about the subjugation and objectification of women and especially women who wrote in certain genres. The rant was punctuated with, "You don't know me well enough to call me your sweetie!" and "How dare you!" It was epic. Until she turned on me. "Michele, you need to back me up on this. How do you feel about random men calling you sweetie just because they can?"

Me: "Um, I'm from the South. Unless a dude calls me sugar ta-tas, drops the b- c- or n-word, I don't pay it any mind."

"Well I hope you don't consider yourself a feminist. You just set women back 25 years."

Me: "I'm sorry, Norma Rae. I don't wave my militant flag as high as yours."

CLICK. Interview over. In fact, we scrapped the whole previous half-hour and did the segment over again with just me, Author 1 and the host.

Ladies, how sensitive are you to being called sweetie, honey, sugar? Gents, with the exception of the n-word, "boy" and being called the wrong name at the wrong time, are you at all sensitive to this sort of thing? Inquiring minds want to know. The floor is yours.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 4: The No Sports Dealbreaker

There was a gent at church who apparently saw me across the parking lot and wanted to get to know me. By the time he got to where I was standing, I was long gone. Being a resourceful sort, he rolled up on Jayme's husband (who I had been chatting with earlier) and asked about me. Mr. C being on his game, grilled the gent accordingly, and found him to be relatively sane. He clicked a picture and sent it to me with the dude's phone number.

He was cute and Mr. C said he could string a few decent sentences together (which is code for nothing was terribly wrong with him in the few munites they chatted) so I decided to give him  a call. We'll call him Chauncey. Chauncey and I chatted a few times. Very pleasant, kinda witty. Or as witty as you can be during the awkward "I'm talking to a stranger about myself" conversation.

Let's pause right here.  Now even those of you who know only a very little bit about me know that 1) I'm an Obama-lovin' Democrat 2) I love me some sports and 3) P.R.E.A.M. (Purple Rules Everything Around Me) - ha! Anyway, these (as well as a few other things) are Michele-isms that I mention from conversation one. 

Okay, let's continue. Chauncey set up a tentative date for drinks, for last Saturday. Saturday late afternoon he called to ask if we were still on. I said sure - how about if we watch the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. He pauses and then says, "I don't really watch sports." 


Okay, so I'm a Texas girl where sports could almost be considered a religion. And sure, I plan my fall/early winter outings around the NFL schedule. Alright, I played in three fantasy football leagues last year and yes, I've dated my fair share of athletes. That does not mean that I can't live and let live. So I forge ahead, "Oh.... um - well, we could do something else or we could catch up tomorrow."

He laughed and said, "Are you considering cancelling a date because some game is on TV, really? Is it that serious?"

The tone y'all. You had to hear the slightly sneering pompous "you don't want to miss out on me" tone. But before I could answer, he tacked on this little gem: "You're too intelligent to be that into sports."

We of the bougie set call that the stroke and slap. Le backhanded compliment. Where you are both praised and perjured in the same damn sentence? Yeaaah - no bueno. No bueno at all. As a matter of fact, no sir. So I responded in my own tone, "Maybe this isn't a good idea."

"Michele, you are killing me. Sports are nothing but a money hustle made up by rich white men and played by people who can't do anything else. You know that right? I mean you have to know they hold no socially redeeming value. Wait, did you like date a jock? Is that what this is about? Please say no."

I contemplated how far left to go on Chauncey's behinds and decided it wasn't worth it. Really, would me telling him that his views were narrow-minded and a wee bit arrogant to boot change his outlook? And if he was this obnoxious pretentious over sports... what else was in his bag of tricks? Instead I said, "We'll just have to agree to disagree on that."

He got a little snippy, "So you don't want to date me because I don't watch sports?"

I returned, "You don't want to date me because I do."

**again with le chorus of crickets**

"So you'd rather sit home and watch the Slam Dunk contest than go out with me tonight."

"It's not about the Slam Dunk contest."

"Whatever, it's been interesting meeting you."

"You as well."


BougieLand... you get that it wasn't about the Slam Dunk contest? And though yes,  it would be difficult to date someone who didn't share even the minutest interest in something that I'm passionate about, I wouldn't have ruled him completely out for that. But the attitude and the tone? Dealbreakers. No Country for Supercilious *ssholes.

What say you BougieLand? Did I overreact? What would you have done? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Five Questions, Five Answers - play along, won't you?

It was pointed out to me that I'm am perennially on deadline. It's true. I never met a deadline I couldn't push back and stretch to it's limit. That being said... we'll be rocking some getting to know you group activities this week. (Negating the necessity for me to write actual posts). One thing I have been doing is quite a few interviews lately. I heard some deep and not so deep questions. I'll share five of them, plus my answers and then it's your turn.

1. What is your favorite cereal?
Cream of Wheat. I add brown sugar, cinnamon and almond milk - delicious!
2. Were you named after somebody? If so, who?
Nope. The Parental Units plucked "Michele Cara" out of the sky and gifted me with it.
3. Do you wear contacts or glasses?
Neither any more. I had Lasik surgury about seven year ago. Before that, I had it all. I was legally blind WITH an astigmatism.
4. What is your favorite scent?
Roses. There's a perfume by Vera Wang called Truly Pink that smells like fresh cut roses. I love it. [Hint, hint if anyone ever wonders what to get me]
5. What color is your car?
I must admit it is "Midnight Amethyst" - yes, that's dark purple.
Bonus Question: What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
My lack of patience. 
Okay people, it's your turn. 

1. What is your favorite cereal?
2. Were you named after somebody? If so, who?
3. Do you wear contacts or glasses?
4. What is your favorite scent?
5. What color is your car?
Bonus Question: What is your least favorite thing about yourself?

Answer one. Answer all. Or just mock other people's answers. The floor is yours...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Let's support #InjusticeFiles on @DiscoveryID tonight

I think I've been fairly obvious with my love of good in-depth true crime documentaries. I was a huge fan of the old CourtTV before it became "Tru" :-/. So when I stumbled across the Investigation Discovery Channel, I admit to feeling like I found a new home. A few of my favorite shows are Stalked, Who the Bleep Did I Marry and I (Almost) Got Away With It. Tonight, a new show about Civil Rights era FBI cold cases launches hosted by acclaimed black documentary maker Keith Beauchamp. Here's a sneak peak at tonight's episode.

THE INJUSTICE FILES on Investigation Discovery
Premieres Tonight, Feb 18 at 9pm E/P

Premiere episode: The Secrets of Natchez
The murder of Wharlest Jackson launched one of the biggest FBI civil rights investigations. Forty-three later the case remains unsolved. With help from filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, the FBI close in by confronting a man who may have the answers.

Keith Beauchamp will be chatting on Facebook following the premiere, swing through and let him know what you think. Who is going to watch and see if justice is finally done after all these years? Support Black History as it unfolds...

The Delicate Etiquette of Chat - 10 Tips for Instant Messaging

So let's assume that your profile pic rocked, your about me section was all that and you've waded through the chaff to find someone worthy of a chat. Before you just dive in with a "Hi there!" - let's take a moment and review some basic rules for giving good chat.

1. Have a plan - you either want to flirt, get to know someone, just spend a little time or a combination of the above. But have an idea of how you want the conversation to go or what you want to get out of it before you start. There's noting worse than sitting in a chat staring at the blinking cursor. Hello? Hello? Is there any intelligent life on this planet?

2. NO SHOUTING - There's no reason for ALL CAPS. It's jarring and appears as though you are screaming your conversation. For that matter, stop with the crazy fonts and background images. Having falling leaves and rainbows as your chat environment and sparkly fuschia letters in 18 point text is cute for your pre-teen daughter. You're supposed to be a grown up. Stop it.

3. No machine gunning - It's the rapid fire statements, one after another before the other person has a chance to respond. 
Them: I like wine.
Them: Do you drink wine?
Them: Cheese is great too.
Them: We should go to a wine bar.
Them: Don't want you to think I'm a lush.
Them: But wine is great. With chocolate too.
Them: I think chocolate is a food group.
Them: I could never be in a relationship with someone who didn't like chocolate.
Them: Why aren't you answering?

You: Um... give me a second to get a word in?
4. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) - Especially that first chat. Don't try to do too much. The purpose of chatting should be developing a comfort level to move to a phone conversation or an in face meeting. You need to be charming, not smarmy. Open, not thirsty. Do not lead off with discussions about exes, whether size matters or politics. Take it slow.

5. Read once and then again - It's not as easy to pull context from a few lines of a stranger's text as it is from hearing a voice. So when you read a comment, stop and read it twice. And don't jump to conclusions. Feel free to use the phrase, "Can you tell me more?" or "That's interesting, what do you mean by that?" Trust me. One time I bit a guy's head off because I thought he was calling me a tramp. Turned out he was talking about the song, "The Lady is A Tramp" to illustrate his love of jazz. AWKWARD

6. Smileys are your friend - And since things can be misinterpreted and not everyone gets your sense of humor right away, it's okay to throw in a LOL and a :-)... just not every :-/ other O__o word!

7. Be proactive - Don't sit and wait to be dazzled. You are both auditioning. Have one or two things you want to discuss and get to it. The blinking cursor is the kiss of death. Get to the point where (like a job interview) you have a killer icebreaker that cuts the tension and gets the ball rolling. It's just another weapon in the arsenal. Acquire it. Master it. Use it.

8. Watch the tone - The line between flirty and freaky is thin, know which side of it both of you want to be on and stay there unless invited across. The line between snarky and bitter cynicism is razor thin as well. I remember telling one dude, "Pardon me, your inner bitter black dude is showing." He logged off. Buh-bye now.

9. Proofread - Again.... spell check is your friend. Most of these programs will underline your misspelled words so unless you are like me and make up shiggity words from time to time, pay attention to what the built in editor is telling you. And double check what you type, as you type. You have no idea how much drama can pop off because you typed bare instead of bear

10. Have an Exit Strategy - Your phone is ringing, you have somewhere else to be, it's time for sleep... have SOME way of cutting off the conversation. Some people will chat the night away (talking about absolutely nothing) until you nip it in the bud. And if you decide you'd like to chat again, set up a time to do that before logging out. However, if you are too through with the conversation and someone isn't taking the hint - feel free to eject yourself without a backward glance. This is just a chat, no one has taken any vows.

And a bonus tip - Know your IM software. Once you have cut someone off, is there a way to keep them from seeing you? Stealth or Incognito mode is your friend. IM is a cyberstalker's playground, do you know how to block and report "inappropriate" behavior? I have dropped dime on many a flagrant line-stepper in my past and would do so again in a heartbeat. Life is too short, my friends. 

BougieLand, what say you to my list? Did I miss one? Do you have some helpful chat tips to share with the group? Is there a "line" you use that always breaks the ice? Do share...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Don't blame it... An Online Dating Adventure by @Reads4Pleaure

Today's internet dating tales comes from the ever brilliant book blogstress, @Reads4Pleasure. Do not attempt to read this while sipping substances next to electronics. Show some love...

Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times, blame it on Luther

Back in December Luther Vandross’ song Second Time Around kept popping up on my iTunes and my iPhone.  I have almost 3,000 songs in iTunes so it struck me as more than strange that in a two-week timeframe, I heard it no less than six times.  Were the lyrics a sign? Was Luther the Patron Saint of Romance trying to tell me something?  Or did my iTunes just need an overhaul? I don’t know, but I took it as a sign and decided to give dating a try after a 4 ½ year hiatus.  I’ve been busy doing other things.  Don’t judge me!

Being honest, I’m not the chick men notice on the street, in the grocery store, library, etc.  I stopped doing clubs years ago because I got tired of holding everyone else’s purse while they had a good time and I sat in the corner observing.  So I figured I’d give online dating a try.  Surely someone would read my profile and realize that I was just the nerd he was looking for, right? Wrong!

In the 30 day challenge I set for myself, I decided that I would put myself out there and hope for the best.  I thought my profile accurately portrayed me as a somewhat shy nerd with a passion for books and music, a love of football and a dry sense of humor.   I was looking for someone who was appreciative of those things, sure of himself, responsible and communicative.  I wasn’t interested in whether or not he was white-collar or blue-collar, as long as he was able to handle his business.  I also stated that he didn’t have to be the most handsome man, as long as he had a good heart.  For the record, I also mentioned my preferred age range.

Some of the responses I received were from:  the Hamburglar, a dude who told me his idea of fine dining was McDonald’s; a guy who was an “a ventures person” who really liked to look nice when his “ends are right;” and from someone who “wonted” to be loved. There was the 69 year old Caucasian man I had to block because he filled my inbox with his number and requests to talk and/or meet.  There was the 61 year old deacon who wanted more children and thought I would be the perfect woman to give them to him.  And then there was Cat Daddy.

Cat Daddy said he was 48 in his profile on one site, but was 50 on another site.  That was slightly older than I was willing to go, but he spoke in complete sentences in IMs and seemed to be the winner of the bunch.  So what went wrong?  When we finally spoke by phone, he sounded 60.  I swearfoGod I expected him to break out with the J. Anthony Brown ‘watchouttherenow’ at any moment.  But I was being open and open-minded, so I talked to him a second time.  This time around he repeatedly told me about how fabulous his house was, asked me to move in, offered to pay some bills and asked how soon I thought we could start having the kids God never blessed him with.  Hold up, partner!  I give good phone, but it’s not THAT good.  I don’t think I’d said more than 20 words to this man and he had me barefoot and pregnant by year’s end.  Needless to say, I’ve not spoken to him since.

The challenge came to an end and I have to say I wasn’t sorry to see it end.  I’ll leave the dating to the professionals.  In the meantime, there are books to be read, music to be heard and television to be watched.  And that Luther song?  Oh, it went bye-bye.

What do you think, BougieLand - is it just that hard out there for a Bougienista? Do you think (as I do) that 30 days isn't enough time to see what's out there? I've noticed that many of you have stated that you tried and gave up in frustration. Should we consider searching for acceptable companionship a marathon instead of a sprint? And what is to be done with these Cap/Cat Daddies out there? Can someone (Brian McKnight) host an intervention reality show to get some of these dudes out of the club?! And have YOU mastered the art of giving good phone? Show some comment love...

Announcing - The Bouge Cruise March 2012

In partnership with Bougie Magazine and My Layaway Travel, I'm excited to announce a Bouge Cruise! Bougie at Sea is scheduled to depart to sunny Mexico aboard the Carnival Triumph in March 2012. Bougie Magazine is an online magazine bringing you the latest in fashion, trends and entertainment. We're planning an onboard fashion show, a cocktail party, a game night, book signing/chatter (of course!) and who knows - we may squeeze in a live "Ask a Bougie Chick" or a matchmaking event. You won't know unless you're there.

Head over to the travel site for pricing, you'll notice that the first deposit is due by mid-March and then you have until January of 2012 to play the remaining amounts. That means I expect NO excuses from BougieLand. It's a meet-n-greet at sea, people! Cocktails, blue skies, bougie bathing suits (or cover ups... whatever works) - can you really pass this up? I'll be there... will you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Top Six Things NOT to do in your online dating profile

We've talked about unfortunate photo selection for your online dating profile, now let's discuss that "About Me" section. Just like the picture, the About Me (or personal profile) section is your introduction to your potential S.O. What you write in that section is the equivalent of walking up to somebody and either whispering "Psst, psst, hey baby" or saying something intriguing that makes them want to know more about you. [For the record, "psst, psst" is NEVER a good idea] Think of this as your SuperBowl Ad. You have one chance to make a lasting impression on a huge audience. What do you want your ad to say?

I get it, it's not easy to talk about yourself. And it's especially not easy to walk that delicate tightrope of making yourself sound interesting without revealing too much of yourself. You want the reader to get to know you without really getting to know you. A lot of services now give you tips and hints on how to present yourself in the best light in two paragraphs or less. They have you answer random things about your favorite food, your hobbies, the place you want to visit most in the world. And while those are sort of but not really interesting, they rarely get to the heart of what makes you you

It's nice to know that you like walking dark alleys in the rain and camping in Yosemite. But that only tells me that if we get together, I'll have to plan our leisure activities. The profile is meant to catch attention, capture imagination and keep them. Here's what NOT to do:

1) Open with "I don't really like to talk about myself" - **crickets** C'mon now! You knew when you signed up to this website that you were going to have to talk about your darn self. Saying that you hate to do it is a gigantic waste of time and a cop out. But not as much as...

2) Writing "call or email me if you want to know more" - What part of the game is that? What if I want to know more BEFORE investing in an email or a phone call? That's the whole miraculous purpose of online dating - it allows you to build in a pre-pre-screen. 

3) Unrealistic shiggity - Here's a direct quote "Men love me and I love them back. I'm only on here to narrow the field and meet my ultimate prince. I cook every day, bring home my paycheck, keep the house clean and treat my man like the King that he is. I'm a lady in the living room and porn star in the bedroom. I'll be the best thing that ever happened to you." No ma'am -  your online profile is already the sub-plot of 214 Lifetime movies. Don't make promises you cannot humanly keep. And what's that I smell? Eau d' Thirsty. Stop. It.

4) An English Teacher's nightmare - I cut and paste the following for you: "hEY, thurr, Miz Ladies! I AM a mean whom knows waht he wants in a women. ans I will b vurry vurry gode to who end up wit me." Hell. No. Even if you are foreign and don't understand the basic grammatical principles of the English language... there's an app for that - we call it GOOGLE! Type in your native tongue and have Google Translate tell you what's up. NOW if your native tongue is Ghetto Ebonics - get thee off these here innanets and go to a Reading is Fundamental Class. You are NOT ready for primetime. Is that harsh? Pookie should be allowed to post a profile? Fine, Pook - have your smarter cuz Ray-Nay post on your behalf. But people please acquaint thyself the following English basics:
a. Text talk is not appropriate for getting to know you time. I ND A GRL 2 B HOT 4 ME is unacceptable on a myriad of levels
b. Conversate is NOT a word
c. Where and wear are not the same word
d. Spell check is your friend
5. TMI - Your profile should be a brief enticing snapshot of you, not a docudrama. Please don't share what happened on your last five dates, your past relationship, your last two marriages, or last night's hook-up in your profile. We didn't ask for all that. And while you are describing yourself, keep it light-hearted and PG-13. It's so unnecessary to describe your cocoa prowess at this stage of the game. And by the way, the rule on that is - If you have to talk about it, you probably are overcompensating. Don't talk... just do.

6. The "List" - Every fifth profile I've looked at has someone going ALL THE WAY in on what they don't want in their future S.O. From height, weight, skintone, race, profession, salary and on and on - I have seen people list up to twenty things they will not accept. I list three: 1) Smokers, 2) Overly Opinionated Pompous Fake People, and 3) Fans of Sarah Palin (with the understanding that #2 and #3 are often the same issue). That's plenty. By listing an entire set of dealbreakers and knock outs, you are narrowing the field of people who will approach you. And you're making yourself look very, very high maintenance. Literally, I saw one gent write out 30 lines starting with IF YOU ARE _______, YOU ARE NOT FOR ME. Well, alrighty then. NEXT!

BougieLand, agree or disagree? Have some to add to the list? Care to elaborate? The floor is yours...

Join me and @Reads4Pleasure for a live chat this evening

I'll be on BnB Radio Network with noted blogger and BnB visitor Reads4Pleaure tonight at 8:00 PM CST, you can listen in or call in to (646) 378-1171. We'll also be over at her spot: doing an online chat. We'll be talking blogging, writing, books, my latest release Sweet Little Lies and whatever else pops into our heads. Get your questions ready or just come by and say hi. Join us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Online Dating Story: The Good, the Bad & The Ugly by @AGrownAzzMan

Today's Online Dating story comes from @AGrownAzzMan. Show him some love...

See what had happened was….

I was minding my own business on twitter when our dear Chele posted in a tweet that she was planning a theme week around online dating. Yours truly jokingly replied that I had been there, done that and there might be stories. A few tweets back and forth and I had been drafted, was forced, volunteered to write a guest post.

First of all let me say that I am out of the game. Been out. I was blessed to meet a wonderful woman online and we have been in a great relationship for some time now. However, I did a fair amount of searching before I found gold and therein is the tale.

The Good:
I think online dating is great. Yeah I said it. Now that that is out of the way let me tell you why. I have been some places and seen some things. I have been married and divorced. Twice each. Lifehappens/don’tjudgeme. I got to a point in my life where I had a good grasp of what I could bring to the table and what I needed in a partner. No more trying to be all things to all people. What I found useful about online dating is it allows you to be systematic and strategic about what you are looking for and whom you choose to meet. Romance is what we all want but why invest the emotional energy in someone you really can’t have a future with? You also get the chance to communicate with people you would never cross paths with any other way.

Follow me here. We all have specific needs and wants. Most of us have busy lives and plenty of things to get done on a daily basis. Time is a major limiting factor in trying to meet someone. When you meet in any other setting (Church, the club, networking events, the grocery store) you don’t get the information you really need until somewhere in the middle of the process. MAYBE. Online it is all there, from the beginning. Not only the vital stats but the person’s expression of who they are and what they want in their own words. I know some of you are thinking, “But people lie online.” Yes they do. People lie in person too. Liars lie. The key is to do your due diligence. At least online the initial time and financial investment is usually very small.

I met some really great women online. I know if it could happen for me it can happen for anyone.

The Bad:
There is that whole not really who you say you are thing. This could be a whole post unto itself. Of course this is not unique to online meetings. There was the woman who smoked even though I was very specific about not dating smokers (She said she was planning to quit).

There was the woman who said she had no children when she actually had 3, all under the age of 10 with 2 different daddies. There are plenty of men who are willing to date woman with children but I stated very clearly in my profile that this was not for me. She thought I would change my mind after meeting her and eventually her kids. WDDDA?

And of course no discussion of online dating would be complete without talking about the pictures. I understand that life online allows folks to create the fantasy version of themselves complete with pictures. Sometimes the pictures are a few years (pounds) ago. I get that. But how do you then show up, looking like who you really are and think someone will accept you?

Toes are about to get stepped on here but if the name of the web site is BlackPeopleMeet what is up with all the white women on there reaching out to black men? #HollaFail

The Ugly:
We all have preferences. Among other things, I could never date someone who smokes, votes Republican, or roots for the Boston Celtics, not necessarily in that order. That’s just how I roll. If you know that upfront, why are you giving me a second thought when there is no possibility that we could be on the same page? This brings me to the subject of cyber stalkers. What is it about a screen and a keyboard that makes someone want to fill up your inbox with why-not-me messages? Desperation is not the business. If there is no mutual interest please just move on. Fortunately that did not happen too often.

In conclusion, I am reminded of the old saying all’s well that ends well. I would do it all again, even the smoking woman or BeBe’s kids to end up where I am now because this is priceless.

BougieLand - what are your dealbreakers? Do you only date within a certain age group? Body type? Who still smokes in this day and age? Would you date a smoker? A conservative Republican? A Lakers fan? (Sorry GAM, I had to throw that in there) Someone with multiple kids by multiple partners? Where is (or was for the already married/committed) your line in the sand? Inquiring minds want to know? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ten pictures you should NOT post with your online dating profile... ever

In today's Online Dating What Not To Do, let's talk about what that profile picture really says about you. [Note, below I used fake pictures from gettyimages so as not to get have someone recognize their sister's cousin's second husband's stepbrother on here] Let's start with some basics. Your picture should be:
1) Flattering. Ask someone if you're not sure.
2) Taken in a neutral or phototabulous location. This means against a blank wall, a bland sofa, or in front of a touristy spot. Beaches, mountains, landmarks welcome. Bathrooms, kitchens and random confusing place not. By random confusing place, I mean why are you posing in front of a vending machine? In line at the local cafeteria? In front of a high school? (I've seen those three recently)
3) Like a resume - non-threatening, positive, and revealing the best you have to offer. And like a resume, it should not give me any reason to reject you from jump.
Here are some of the worst offenses:

1. The Cropped Pic - If the only good picture of you is the one of you huddled up with a former S.O. or some random person of the opposite sex... I'd rather you go with the bathroom mirror picture. Something about this is just wrong. But it's not as bad as...

2. The Wedding Pic - No sir. No ma'am. I'm sure you did look lovely on your wedding day but er, uh - aren't you in the market for someone new? Do you really think it's a good idea to post your failed marriage pic on your "Seeking Sexxxy Singles" profile? Go ahead and say it, "What part of the game is this?"

3. The Trying Too Hard Pic - They say a picture is worth a thousand words but this one is more like one: Thirsty. This picture is appropriate on your "aspiring model" MySpace page, not if you want someone to actually buy you dinner. Unless your message is "I'm down for whatever' - keep the ultrasultry pics on lock for a minute.

4. I'm going to give the "street cred" photo a pass because I recognize that a) there's an audience for that and b) it could be worse:

5) The Prison Pic - I'm so sad to report that I have seen this with my own two eyes. My first problem is - what are criminals doing with internet access and digicams? My second problem is - Is someone seriously checking for the Orange Jumpsuit dude? [I know there are prison groupies but come ON now] This is just no bueno.

6. The Offspring Pic - on the one hand, it's great that you are proud of your kids. It's also great if the two (or more) of you are cute together. But I feel some kinda way about having your child in your dating profile picture with you. I'm not saying keep your kids hidden, I'm just saying there are people who prey on that, don't open yourself up to it. 

7. The Cap Daddy (old guy in the club) Pic - Who can point all the ways this picture is wrong? I can count eight instances of FAIL in this picture. All that's missing is the balloon coming out of his mouth saying, "Watch out there now!"

8. The Ebony/Jet Pose - Cue the line from Boomerang "This is my best mac daddy vibe I'm giving you here. What's up?" When I see pics like this (in front of jets and cars), I think of #3 above - Trying. Too. Hard. What is natural about that? How many times a day do you find yourself squatting and holding the position (non-exercise related)?

9. The "Twenty Years Ago" Pic - Listen, the older woman in the picture above is lovely so there is NO GOOD DARNED reason why she should post her college picture and pretend she still looks like that today. People have got to stop perpetrating with the 10 years/40 pounds/2 kids ago pics. Yes men, you too. You are who you are today. Somebody is checking for the real you. Quit holding onto the past.

10. The Infamous "Flex" Pic - Why gents? Unless you are a personal trainer... why? Please reference numbers 3 and 8 above. And don't take this picture, let alone post it somewhere. I'm begging.

BougieLand, do you have any pic tips for our online posters out there? Did I miss some glaring violation? If you were posting your picture - what would it look like? Are you the posing in a bathing suit type? Leaning on your car hood? Smiling sedately into the camera? Do tell...

Since we're talking Valentines... it's American Heart Month

Happy Valentine's Day - hope all the lovers have a happy day and all the aspiring lovers find something to make their hearts go pitter patter as well...

And since we're discussing hearts - did you know that February is American Heart Month? Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.

Even more shocking only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. 

That's why I'm not only asking you to take a second to learn the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack, I'm also asking you to support The Go Red For Women movement. Visit the site to find out ways to support the movement and learn ways to lower your risk.

So one this day of love... have a heart and make sure yours will be working well for a long, long time. Enjoy the day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This week on BnB – Online Dating: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

So... have you ever thought about or tried online dating? Have you had someone setup your profile and submit you without your knowledge? (Side-eye to Jayme!!!) Wondering about the different services, what works, what doesn't, what not to do? Well, we're going to try and answer some of that for you this week. We have some WNTD (What Not To Do) tips as well as some horror and success stories. Stick around, it'll be fun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Video Shout-Out: Esperanza Spalding

This girl is the truth. She is a bassist, a singer, a composer, an arranger and now a Grammy nominee. She is so bad, Prince asked her to open for him at one of his NYC concerts. Now that's a seal of approval. I downloaded her album Esperanza a while back but just recently got around to really, really listening to it. I'm in love. Here's the single, "Precious" from the album but seriously, her whole catalog is worth a purchase. 

Happy Saturday. Enjoy the weekend.


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