Thursday, March 31, 2011

What would you do? About that prenup...

I watched Divorce Wars on CNBC Monday night. It was a one-hour documentary on the financial warfare behind high dollar divorces. At the end, I had to re-think what I believed about prenuptial agreements. I always thought they were cold, pessimistic tools that wealthy men used to keep their trophy wives behaving. What can I tell you? I read a lot of Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins back in the day. Anyway...

One case struck me in particular. A divorced executive in his mid-fifties (Bill Lasky) met a woman. She gamed him, completely. Out of the blue, he met a woman who shared ALL his hobbies and thought he was the hottest thing in three states? C'mon son! Even he admitted he chose poorly. He. Got. Gamed.

Mr. Lasky had worked his ass off to get to the point where he was CEO of a company or two, sat on some boards, had a net worth of $50 million. He thought it would be "unromantic" to ask his new bride to sign a pre-nup and happily said "I do" without one.

Unfortunately, seven years later (when she had completely stopped faking the funk)... it all fell apart. During the seven years, they had bought property (in both names) and made numerous multi-million dollar investments. 

In an effort to be fair, he calculated that he had spent 17% of his life with the current Mrs. Lasky and he offered her 17% of his net worth at that time. She wasn't having it. She wanted half. Her attorney hired a forensic accountant and was going to call in every board member of every company Mr. Lasky ever worked at and have them review all manner of documentation. In order to avoid the drama, he broke down and offered old girl $20 million. She took it and waltzed off into the sunset.

Now I'm sorry - that ain't right. She didn't bear him any children, she didn't keep house, she didn't work alongside him. She didn't help him earn a penny of that and walks away with close to half of what he worked his whole life for? No ma'am. Old boy should've had a prenup, dipped in iron at that. 

Nowadays, incomes being what they are - they are reason enough for women to need to protect their investments as well. So I'm asking both ladies and fellas - would you have your future spouse sign a prenup? What would you do if your future spouse asked you to sign one? Ladies? Gents? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WBFDD (What Bougie Folks Don't Do) - Fight over men

So I was sitting in the Starbuck's (my home away from home) with Le Ninja Nouveau. Both of us were supposed to be working, instead we sat looking out at the rain chatting about random thoughts as they crossed our minds. Into this calm entered an African-American couple bickering. I'd put them in their mid-twenties. Dude and Dudette were beefing (loudly) about plans for their upcoming wedding. 

They paused long enough to order coffee and pastries. After they plunked down next to us, the argument started again. His phone rang, he looked at it, glanced at her and then answered. This set Dudette off, "It betta not be who I think it is." She reached over, took his phone, looked at the display and put the phone to her ear, "B*tch, I told you if you kept coming around my man I would kick your ass!"

White people looked dismayed at this overt display of blackity-blackness and commenced fleeing the premises. Ninja and I had the sour "why it gotta be this" faces on. Dude was straight wrestling Dudette to get his phone back. Dudette was telling the girl to come up to the Starbuck's so they could settle this right now. 

Starbuck's worker came over and asked Le Ninja Nouveau if he knew Dude and/or Dudette. Ninja gave the worker a laser beam side-eye and said, "Contrary to what you've heard, we don't all know each other." I snickered. Worker fled. Dudette has hung up the phone and commenced talking loud to anyone who would listen. She turned to me, "I'm gonna kick that b*tch's ass when she gets here."

Le Sigh. Me, "Why?"

Her, "She's after my man. She doesn't respect our engagement."

Me, "Then your problem is with him. He's the one you're in a relationship with, not her."

Dude piped up, "Hey!"

Le Ninja chimed in, "It's your job to shut down all this drama."

Me, "Get some pride about yourselves. Y'all squabbling all up in the Starbuck's, scaring white people. You need to go home and have a conversation. It's So Not Bougie to be screaming about ass kicking in the street."

Her, "I'm not bougie." [<~~~obviously]

Me, "You're young - you still have time to ascend."

They stood looking at us like we were from a different planet. They went, picked up their order and ran out... like we were the ones disturbing the peace. Classic.

I don't know if she understood what I was saying. It mattered not. Here's my point - no fighting over men. (Or women for that matter) On this, the bougie rule is clear - your issue is with your significant other, not the extra. Your s.o. needs to understand the significance of their actions. Continuously answering phone calls from people that you have stated you have a problem with is a violation. Violations are punishable up to and including loss of relationship privileges. 

I remember one s.o. tried to test me. We were hanging out with some friends and he invited a chick that he knew I could not stand. Maybe because of this direct quote she dropped on me, "You just need to step outta the way so I can get at him. I don't know what he sees in you anyway." For real though? For some reason, he decided it would be fun to invite her out and see what happened. What happened was everyone could tell I was ticked she was there and made sure she felt so uncomfortable that she left (fled) early. Then he received a talking to that he shan't soon forget and slept alone that night (and many others). Couldn't reach me on the phone for a few weeks after that. It wasn't tried again. 

BougieLand, who's with me on this? Do we fight over s.o.'s? Seriously? Kicking azz in the coffee shop is what's hot in the streetz? Ladies and gents, what are the thoughts on scuffling for love? 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What would you do? The deserted island question...

Sometimes when we wanted to throw someone off in an interview, we'd pull out a random question just to see where their head was at and how quickly they think on their feet. Some of these seemingly random questions can actually help an interviewer determine your ability to think logically and problem solve. One such question is the deserted island scenario. You'd amazed what some answers can tell you. 

Here's the full scenario: Let's just say you have royally ticked off some sort of magical being (stay with me here). As punishment, you are banished to a deserted island for a year. The island has a tent, wildlife, vegetation, and drinkable water. You are allowed to take one person and a backpack. 

Shout out to the guy who came in to interview. He named a woman that he would take with him. It wasn't his wife. Unfortunately, his wife worked in Human Resources and saw his answer. So very very no bueno. Take a minute to think about it... Who do you take and what do you pack in that one small bag?

Monday, March 28, 2011

What would you do? Ka-ching!

I'm doing a trillion things this week so let's go interactive. I ask, you answer. Take a second and think it over... what would you do (WWYD)?

Saturday night's MegaMillions Jackpot was $312 million... with a cash value of $198 million. One hundred and ninety-eight million dollars. That's more than pocket change people. So I ask you, if you won that much money - what would you do with it? What's the very first thing you would do? Who would you tell? How much would you put in savings? And wouldn't you donate for the preservation of BougieLand [blinkety-blinkety smile]?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Music Spotlight: Anthony David (@antneedee)

I fell in love with dude's voice by stumbling across the song "Yes" from the 3 Chords & The Truth album. It was quickly added to my "Special Mellow Moments" mix. 


And it's impossible not to fall in love with his duet "Words" with India.Arie from The Red Clay Chronicles album. The man's voice is just butter. Or syrup. Okay buttery syrup on a steaming biscuit. 

Last week, his new album As Above, So Below dropped. Someone was kind enough to gift me with it. "Let me in" is begging done the right way and "4evermore" f. Algebra is catchy as all get out. "Keeping you around" has an infectious reggae beat that caught my attention right away. It's rare that I play an album all the way through without skipping any songs but this is one that's worthy. 

Here's the video for 4evermore:

Enjoy your weekend! Anyone else have some good music to shout out today?

Friday, March 25, 2011

This is how you lose when you win...

Recap - last year I dated a guy named Derrick. We nicknamed him New Dude. New Dude had a shady ex-wife (SEW) and a scandalous-azz best friend, Vince. The drama they rained down was too much for a bougie chick to bear and I bounced. Derrick became Dude Formerly Known as New (DFKN) and went back to his ex-wife. To no one (but Derrick's) surprise, SEW was caught bouncing around D's bed with Vince... on the sheets I picked out. But I'm over it. Sorta. Okay, those sheets were too nice for skankdom.

Anywho... I ran into Skanky SEW at the Whole Foods a few weeks ago. My bad. I made the mistake of introducing BougieMom to the non-dairy expensive goodness of almond milk and now she'll put nothing else atop her cereal medley. Yes, she has a medley. Don't get me started. The point is, I popped into the Whole Foods further away than my regular one and paid the price.

There in between dairy and deli was SistaShagsALot SEW, testing various cheddar samples. I tried to float on by but she wasn't going to let that happen. "Hey Marsha." I kept rolling. The stank ho heffa knows good and well what my name is. "Michele!" She yelled out. I turned and waved, "Hey." Kept rolling.

Now she's following me around the store. "You know Derrick and I are getting remarried?"

"Yes, there's no fool like a whipped fool. Congratulations." DFKN's mom and cousin both told me. They weren't happy but I wasn't that surprised. I rolled onto the next aisle. All I needed were some bottles of Vitamin Water, some French Vanilla Almond granola and I could bounce.

"Don't be bitter, it will make you look old before your time."

"Then perhaps you should rethink that cream-based eyeshadow you're wearing. See you around." And still she's following me.


I tossed the last few things in the cart and headed for check out. I sent her a look, "Did you need something else?"

"It's tacky but I just have to say it... I win."

Calling on Jesus to keep me from doing anything that would require a call to BougieSis for bail money, I took a deep break and answered, "You think so?"

"I got the man, the house, the bling. And what do you have?"

I rolled my eyes, "You're living in a house I decorated, marrying a man I discarded for pure ratchetassness, and that bracelet you're rocking was picked out for me. You're living my reject life, sweetheart." [See how my inner evil b*tch just jumped out right there? Mea culpa]

She looked at the bracelet, "What do you mean?"

"What do you think the M stands for? And the little pen?"

She looked down and her face fell. She opened her mouth to say something else and I stopped her. "By the way, Derrick doesn't like cheddar. He likes Monterey Jack."

"Why didn't he ever tell me?"

Because he has Recurring Male Disappearing Balls Syndrome (RMDBS)? Sometimes he can locate them, sometimes he can't. But I said, "If you haven't figured that out yet, y'all are in worse shape than I thought."

She had the good nerve to get a little tear in her eye as I walked away. Whatev. Boo to the hoo.

Moral to the story - Don't bait a bougie chick with some bullshiggity, it's just going to bounce back on you.

History Lesson of the Day - The phrase "Pyrrhic Victory" is named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. In both of these victories, the Romans suffered greater casualties than Pyrrhus did. However, the Romans had a much larger supply of men from which to draw soldiers, so their casualties did less damage to their war effort than Pyrrhus' casualties did to his. [The Romans eventually came back on him and whipped his azz]

To have a Pyrrhic Victory is to win the battle but lose the war. Like winning one lap of the race and someone else gets the gold medal. Like Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. Sure Ruben won American Idol but um... Clay won. I say let's now submit SEW to Wikipedia and add her to this definition. [Y'all know you are dying to run out telling folks, "That's a Pyrrhic Victory, yo! I'm about to come back on you like the Romans came back on Pyrrhus!" No? Just me? Le Shrug. Here on BnB, we entertain and we learn.]

For the record, this whole #winning concept is shady. What's the prize? What did you lose on the way to the win? Nobody wins all the darn time, c'mon now. What good is one week of winning if you're whole year sucks eggs? Sometimes when you think you're winning, you're really losing - wouldn't you agree? Who has some thoughts on this BougieTale of When B*tches Attack? The floor is yours...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ask a Bougie Chick : No God, No Good-Good?

In this episode of Ask a Bougie Chick, we have a heartfelt letter from a 23-year old young lady. She just graduated from college in December. She met a handsome graduate student about eight months ago. They are having some issues... take a look:
Hi BougieLand! 
I'm not the type to ask for advice or have people all up in my business. But when I told a few people close to me about my situation, I felt like they gave me answers based on their experiences instead of what's best for me. Having read your blog for over a year now, I know that your readers offer their opinions straight up which is what I think I need. 
My mom is a single mom who has dated alot in my lifetime but never married. I wouldn't call it a steady stream of rotating men because that sounds disrespectful but then again, I guess that's what I just called it, huh? 
I have never wanted to be like that. I want long-term stability in every area of my life. One thing I do appreciate about my upbringing is that my mom made sure we were exposed to the church. I loved (and still) love going to church and growing in my Christian faith.  
Also, I just finished a degree in business administration and am gearing up to go to law school next fall. I want to eventually became an international attorney. Last September, I met a guy who is in the MBA program here. We fell into instant like. 
Two major problems - 1) I don't want to stir the cocoa until I get married or feel I'm the path to that level of commitment. 2) He won't go (refuses to go) to church with me and isn't a very religious person. Actually, he doesn't believe that God truly exists. 
Lately he has started putting pressure on me about the cocoa. He says that Christian or no, a 23-year old woman is a grown up and grown ups in grown up relationships have relations. He said I shouldn't be "saving it for Christ." I know it makes me weird that I'm hesitant to dive in.  
But I'm not even as upset about the cocoa as I am about the Christianity. I mean if this is a man that I want take seriously and have "grown up relations" with, I need him to be a faith-based man. That's just not negotiable in my book.  
What do you think? Should I just walk away? Should I try harder? Should I give in? I just don't know. People around me are saying he's a good man and I should give him what he wants before he leaves me and that there's plenty of time for him to find God. I'm confused. 
Whatever help you can give, I'd really appreciate. Thanks and I love your books!
Hey Sheryl,

Sorry sweetie, I don't like your man based on what you've told me in this letter. "You shouldn't be saving it for Christ" is real shady and borderline blasphemous, keep an eye out for thunderbolts. Joking. In all seriousness though - let's look at the cocoa question right quick.

If you're not ready, you're not ready. If you want to wait, you should wait. These decisions are yours and yours alone. Many a Christian woman (show of hands, please) have started off saving themselves and then, well, you know: Life happened. But as far as breaking that covenant you made, it's between you and Jesus not you and some dude. Don't let "some dude" pressure you into doing what you don't want to do. Believe me, if you really (really, really) wanted to - you would do it and pray for forgiveness later. It's the single Christian woman's constant dilemma.

As for the Christianity itself. I'm going to step back from the religious part for a second and say this -  a man who wants to be with you will respect your beliefs and  interests. The unwillingness to go to church knowing how important it is to you is a red flag. IMHO.

Now back to Jesus - I grew up in a Christian household and I fall off the path on the regular (amen and amen) but I couldn't seriously consider a lifemate who couldn't tip up in the church house with me. That's me. I need a man to have a religious foundation and a hunger for Christian knowledge because life. is. hard. Sometimes there are no other places to turn, no other answers to get than from Christ. Again - this is me. My path. My ideology. My rules. Sing it with me - You gotta know G-O-D if you wanna be with me. 

I'm not telling you kick him to the curb and move on; but you are clearly a smart and determined girl. Apply some of that same analytical thinking to this situation. And discuss it with him, see if there's a possibility for compromise. [Do NOT use "if you come to church, I'll give you cocoa" - Don't barter the coochie for Christ.] Ultimately, the ball is completely in your court. What will and won't you do? What does your heart, mind, body and spirit say? Let us know how it goes.

BougieLand, whatcha got for Sheryl? Please share your thoughts, insights, experiences and opinions? And if you were in Sheryl's shoes... what would you do? Fellas - if Sheryl was your little sister, what would you tell her? The floor is yours...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"We should have Kardashian'd it"

So I'm chatting away with a friend I haven't talked to since college. [Damn Facebook] We were in the same dorm but actually met because I ran up two flights of stairs in the football dorm to save her from getting busted in a dude's room after bed check. What was I doing there? Studying.  Moving on...

It was both hilarious and alarming to see how my priorities and attitudes have shifted since college, hers - not as much. She was dating a guy who was a first-round draft pick but dropped him to date a guy from Oklahoma that she thought would go higher. He got busted with drugs and never got drafted. She married a baseball player but cheated on him with a part owner of the team. She left him for a tech guy and left him for a venture capital consultant. She's twice divorced and currently single.

When she found out I'm still single [insert deep sigh and eyeroll here] she said, "We did it wrong, we should have Kardashian'd our way to the top!"

Huh? I don't watch all the Kardash reality shows but I've seen enough to know that one of 'em has a whiny baby daddy that she's not married to, one married a Laker after knowing him for two days and one swaps out famous/semi-famous African American athletes/entertainers like bed sheets. I don't one hundred percent understand the mama's story either.

So I asked, "Sorry, what part the Kardashian Way do you think we should have emulated?"

"Well they marry money, have any man they want and people look up to them. They do things their way with no apologies and when they don't like the circumstances, they upgrade looking good doing it."

There are so many things I disagree with in that statement. What are we, 14? Is this what's hot in the streetz? I can't. I can't be a grown-ass woman idolizing reality stars. Looking at her track record, didn't she try to "Kardashian it" and failed?  I mean jeez, what about the romance, what about the determined pick of a proper life mate? Is it really all about bouncing the booty to maintain the bank balance?

"You're so funny, Michele. You just don't get it."

Maybe I don't. I think I'm okay with that. I hope this isn't what reality TV is teaching the youngsters - chose your life mate based on bank and mentions in People magazine? Sex your way to the top, don't bother having life goals beyond that? All looks and no substance is fine as long as you get a show out of it? [minor rant, sorry] But the bigger question is... do we really go through life Kim Kardashianing our way through? Do we hit a plateau, discard (or get discarded) and upgrade? Y'all just have to give me your thoughts on this one. I'm thoroughly perplexed. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Snoop or not to snoop? That is the Question

Right after college, I was sorta kinda semi-dating this guy who was older and far more "worldly" than me. I went by his apartment after work one day, his roommate let me in and then left. For the first time, I was in a man's domicile with no adult supervision. I looked around furtively and then said, "Oh what the heck." I ran into his room and started unabashedly snooping. O. M. G. I am not a prude (okay, I was a litttle prudish back then) but I had never seen such a collection of adult movies and "toys" in my life. And of course as I stood there trying to figure exactly what I was holding in my hand, he walked in. Paused and laughed at the expression on my face, "We like each other but I don't think we're at that level yet." I turned 45 shades of red. Then he told me what it was and I all but squeaked like a mouse and fled. He teased me about that for years. 

Lesson learned, right? NO more looking where I'm not invited. Except that...

The ex, Gene. He of the after midnight texting and random phone calls from random broads that he swore were just "friends" - yeah, him. Ladies, let me just say when you are soooo distrusting of someone that you wait until they hop in the shower to pounce on their cell phones and scroll through the texts and voice messages... just let it go. I was so determined to catch dude cheating (why? I already knew he was.); I turned into Horatio Caine round that joint. I was all but collecting DNA samples. Can you say, cray-zee? I really got to the point where I didn't like myself and then I got mad at him for putting me in the position where I felt I had to snoop and really it went all to hell after that.

Monday on Twitter I was reading someone's tweet about being in her man's apartment. She popped open his laptop and started scrolling through his pictures. She discovered an abundance of naked women pics. She retweeted one of the pictures and asked, "Who dis woman, Harpo?" Ruh-roh! From there she decided to peek through his medicine cabinets. Just watching her live tweet the crazy she found around his house brought it all back.

I've gotten to the point where I no longer want to know. Let me figure it out on my own. Cuz really, I don't want anybody rifling through my drawers. And I can just imagine what someone would think scrolling through my phone and laptop without context behind some of this stuff. Then again, I password protect the hell out of everything. 

Am I the only one who's heard the expression, "Don't ask the question if you don't want to know the answer?" Cuz that's what snooping really is. Asking questions you don't have the answers too. I ask you, BougieLand? Do you snoop? Is this just a chick thing or do guys snoop too? Who is tempted to just glance at the screen of the s.o.'s phone when it beeps at an interesting time? Are you a super sleuth when no one is looking? Do share...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 7: More than the chase?

So one of the things that happens when you've been dating for a while (as in decades people) is that you start to get a little... jaded. Okay not jaded but you definitely start feeling like you've heard it, seen it, met it, dated it and kicked it to the curb all before. It unfortunately causes you to enter into a date with the attitude, "Why are you different and how long is it going to take to figure out what's wrong with you?"

Now, add to this the fact that while I am by no means a celebrity (nor do I ever, ever, ever want to be); people do read my books and blogs and tweets and feel like they know me. Which to some degree, you probably do. So the risk of dating someone who reads the blog and follows me on Twitter is - what kind of preconceived knowledge does he think he has AND how's he dealing with all my baggage?

Such is the case with Le Ninja Nouveau (we'll call him Lenny). Full disclosure, he's been asking me out for a while. I kept saying no until one day I said, "Oh what the hell" - yes, I was just about that gracious. Before he could even order an iced tea, I listed all reasons why we were going to be "just friends" and leave it at that. He laughed and said sure, he could always use more friends.

There followed a series of innocent friendly happenstances. Did I have a minute for coffee? He was at Home Depot around the corner from me, did I have a second to give him an opinion on ceiling fans? He just happened to have extra tickets to a concert did me and a friend want to join him and a friend? New wine spot around the corner, did I care to have a sip? Just calling to say hi, how's the writing going? Just watching this show you were talking about, what did you think of tonight's episode?

Me with my fingers on the keyboard and head full of character development all day was just kinda rolling with the flow. Finally a few weeks ago, I squinted at Lenny in the grocery store and asked, "Oh, are you trying to date me?"

He put the rosemary Parmesan bread in the basket and said, "I am dating you, I was just waiting for you to figure it out."

Hmpfh. First of all, that's a great line. I'm straight jacking that for a book. Secondly, I have no desire to live blog/tweet whatever my next whatever is. To which he said, "So don't." 

And then I got to thinking, what if this isn't about me at all? What if he's just interested to see if I am what I blog? What if this is just all about the chase? So I asked him.

After he finished rolling around on the ground laughing he said, "I generally don't chase women. They kinda chase me." Healthy. Ego. And yet he continued, "There are far less complicated women to chase if that's what I was about. I have a lot on my plate right now and I'm choosing to put in the time and the effort for you. Not your image, not your persona, you." Then he shrugged, "But you can always allow yourself to be caught and see what happens next."

Clever. Yesterday I had a delivery to my home. In the package was a ridiculously gorgeous pair of strappy purple sandals. The note said, "Maybe it'll be harder for you to run in these."
Like I said, clever. We'll just have to see. The shoes though... me all day - points scored.

Moving on - This prompted a discussion between me and some friends (both male and female): how do you know when it's about more than the game of catch and capture and is something really real? The answers varied: It's the difference between just having fun and really caring. What difference does it make? You know when you know. And my contribution: Time will tell.

What say you, Bougieland? How do you know when it's more than a game? Let's hear those opinions...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My minor rant on Jalen vs. Grant: Apology NOT accepted, black

I don't know how many of you have been keeping up with the fall out from the ESPN documentary on the Fab Five that aired last Sunday. For those not in the know, the Fab Five refers to the 1991-1993 Michigan basketball starting line up comprised of Detroit natives Chris Webber and Jalen Rose, Chicago native Juwan Howard, and Texas high school stars Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.

The documentary was executive produced by Jalen Rose. In the piece, he detailed how the Michigan team was viewed as threatening and thuggish merely based on their music choices, style of dress, backgrounds and other superficial criteria. He contrasted this with the world view of Duke (a team that defeated the Wolverines consistently) and their star player at that time, Grant Hill. He referred to them as "bitches" and "Uncle Toms" - inflammatory wording to say the least.

Grant Hill took a moment to respond to this Wednesday afternoon in the New York Times:
It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me. I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its premiere.
Mainstream media, Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere exploded. People quickly aligned #TeamJalen or #TeamGrant. On the one hand, people felt that Grant "bit on Jalen's bait" and missed the entire point Jalen was trying to make about being a stereotyped black youth only valued for his athletic prowess. On the other hand, others felt that Jalen went too far and Grant was within his rights to respond.

Okay sure, it's hard to get whipped up about two multi-millionaires beefing over hurt feelings and misconceptions from over ten years ago. But then it became about so much more than that. Out of the ether came the more disturbing comments about "uppity negroes" and "house negroes" vs. "real n****as" and "street negroes." Phrases like "actin' white" as opposed to "keepin' it hood" started getting bandied about. It was at this point that I threw a miniature Twitter tantrum. Here we effin' go again. The whole reason I named this blog Black 'n Bougie was right there for the world to see. Aren't I still black whether I listen to T-pain or Tchaikovsky?

Yes, I came from a two parent household and had to look up ghetto in the dictionary. Yes, I was a member of Jack and Jill and my sister was a debutante. Yes, I went to private school. No, I didn't grow up on welfare or worry that the lights would be cut off at any minute. Fine, I'm way more Cosby Show than Good Times - does that make me less black?

Was I less black when Nanette Albaum called me "just a nigger" in third grade while explaining why I needed to allow her to cut ahead of me in the lunch line? Was I less black when the swim coach told me there was no way I was qualified for the team because "my kind" weren't known for our swimming prowess? Was I less black when I got caught in the rain on a field trip and my press 'n curl turned into an Angela Davis fro and the whole bus started laughing? Was I less black when my university professor asked me (the only black in a room full of 300 people) to describe what it was like growing up in the hood? [For the record, my answer was "I know not from ghetto, sir"] Was I less black anytime I ever did a phone interview and then met the interviewer in person only to have them be confused by the color of my skin? One of them going so far as to say, "You don't sound black on the phone." [The equivalent of "you speak so well"]

Sure, those are mostly bougie-ass problems to have but they are black problems nevertheless. When the hell are we as a people going to get past colorism and classism? As one person said on Twitter, "Don't blame Grant for being light-skinned and having a Daddy." Damn, is it like that? Still????

Truthfully, I've been more hurt by the barbs sent my way by my own damn people. "Bet yo' high yella ass never has to wait on a table." "Why doesn't Daddy's pampered princess click her pumps together three times so we can get home?" "Oh Chele, you didn't grow up black enough to understand what I'm going through." Actual quotes from people of my race who were supposed to be my friends. 

Someone I used to admire on Twitter said Grant Hill was a "pampered bougie bitch ass who had everything handed to him on a silver platter and didn't understand the real black experience." I called bullshiggity and they told me I didn't get it because I was "barely passing for black" myself. To which I replied by private message, "Would it be more black if I cussed you out publicly then came to your house and kicked your ass? How would you like that?"

He apologized. Several times. Starting with, "Sorry black, I'm from the streets and I get passionate about defending my own."

Let me respond to that right here: Apology not accepted, black. Funny how between the two of us, you're the one with the narrow-minded definition of blackness. I am your own, regardless of my zip code, bank balance, and ability to annunciate syllables. 

I reached out to a friend of the family who went to Duke to ask him what he thought of all the swirl. As I expected, he had a viewpoint similar to mine:
I was angry about it before, because it just parroted the classism that I used to hear from my family growing up. I remain amazed at how we put ourselves down and make it impossible to succeed because we have so many internal forces trying to tear us down. [...]
All that being said, the fact that it existed then and now, makes me sad but I think I'm past apologizing for knowing how to read a book. Basically... I can't apologize for having two parents love me and push me to be all that I could be. I can't apologize for having the academic skills to do some stuff that others can't. I can't apologize for NOT living in the ghetto (because my parents made sure that I wouldn't have too.. because they didn't also want that for their kids). And I can't apologize for not wanting that stuff for my progeny. Either way, I can't help what people think.
And so it continues.... we are beyond a full decade into the twenty-first century and issues like this make me wonder if we've made any progress at all. We don't have to agree with each other but we do owe each other some basic damn respect. My black experience may not be your black experience but no one has the right to diminish my reality and question my ethnicity. I have fought too many battles because of the color of my skin to be accused of trying to pass for something other than what I know myself to be: A woman of African, Spanish, Scottish and Native American heritage... otherwise known as black. 

Here endeth the rant.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Questions for the Fellas I refused to answer...

I could call them the best of the rest but really, they were the Worst of the Thirst. Ladies, ladies, ladies - read the t-shirt (available at

Some of these questions were just shameful in their thirst, ignorance and needaclueness. Let's take a look, shall we?
1. How can I make a man fall in love with me?
2. Can you ask the men to give tips on giving better (fill in the blank of several cocoa related acts here)?
3. Even though my man is married - [yeah, I stopped reading after that]
4. Can you hook me up with (insert a BnB dude's name here)?
5. I'm engaged to a man that I've never met face to face - [I went no further]
6. I'm dating my ex-s.o.'s line brother. What can I do to smooth over the situation?
7. I don't go out much and I'm shy in public. How do I get guys to notice me? I'm invisible to them.
8. What do you think is the best way to break up with somebody?
9. I stopped stirring the cocoa with my husband six months ago and - [I sent her straight to Dr. Jayme]
10. Is there any surefire way to keep a man from cheating?
Y'all see what I mean, right? I couldn't even in good conscience turn these over to the fellas to dissect and review. But I'll turn these over to you, Bougienistas. Do you want to take a swing at any of these? Did you have other questions you wanted answered that weren't covered this week? Feel free and go in, the floor is yours. (And thanks for a great week!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Question for the fellas: What’s up with the TapBack?

Ah yes, the TapBack... one of our BougieLand special words. Defined as the reaching out of a former S.O. usually in the form of a phone call to test the temperature in case they 1) want you back 2) just want to "tap" or 3) want to mess with your head. Le TapBack.

Ladies want to know... why do you do it, fellas? We've moved on, you've moved on and yet here you go. Generally late at night with a full moon high in the sky... yonder come the TapBack. I received forty-eight (48!!) questions about TapBack. Why does it happen? How to handle it? What if it's one tap only, no repeat performances? How to make the calls stop? And so on, and so on, and so on...

I have multiple opinions on this topic. But it's not about me. Here to share their opinions are BnB regulars Mr. Skyywalker and JasonP. I setup a quick call with the fellas and posed the question... what's up with the TapBack?
Jason: First and foremost, this is not a male phenomenon. We can't even blame the testosterone on this one.
Skyy: Matter of fact, if you really want - we can blame 80% of TapBack on the alcohol.
Me: Your answer is really blame it on the alcohol?
Skyy: If it fits...
Jason: I think I've been hit by more late night/holiday/club parking lot TapBack than I've ever dispensed.
Me: You've never made a TapBack phone call?
Jason: Didn't say that. Just said TapBack is equal opportunity.
Me: Duly noted.
Skyy: Lookie here, you're sitting there, right? A song comes on, a movie comes on, a certain scent hits your nose and you think... oh yeah, her. You dig out the cell phone scroll through to see if the number is still there and next thing you know...
Me: TapBack.
Jason: There it is. Unless it's the wonder what game.
Me: Wonder what?
Skyy: Quit actin' brand new, everybody has looked through their contacts and said, "Wonder what happened to So-and-so?"
Me: I wasn't being brand new, just getting clarification.
Jason: Uh-huh and so anyway, it's not like some sort of malicious intent. Not like we wait until we see you on the street with some other dude and say, "Oh let me call and see what's up with that?"
Skyy: Unless it is.
Jason: Okay. True. Maybe we're jealous, maybe we're lonely, maybe we need cocoa and you always poured it correctly. All the lady has to do... is not answer the phone. 
Skyy: Boom. 
Me: Simple as all that?
Jason: Men are simple creatures. Unless it gets complicated.
Skyy: See now. That right there. My last TapBack phone call was fairly innocent.
Me: Didn't you get married a few weeks back?
Skyy: Exactly. So several months back when I got engaged, I made the closure "this shop is closed for further TapBack" call. 
Jason: Why even do that?
Skyy: Preventative strike. I try to meet drama before it pulls in the driveway.
Me: How'd it go?
Skyy: Not great. I called to say I was onto the next and she was like how about one for the road?
Me: Have a nice life Tapback?
Skyy: See? Messy. 
Me: So isn't it better just not to make the call at all?
Jason: In a perfect world sure. You could walk away from people without a what if or a look back. Sometimes you look back and TapBack happens.
Me: Thank you Gentlemen. I appreciate your time.
BougieLand, what say you? Jason and Mr. Skyy making sense? Does TapBack just happen? Are you guilty of making the call (sending the text)? Is there anyway for "sex with the ex" not to be messy? Wouldn't a clean break just be better? Do you avoid these calls or answer the phone to see what's what? Inquiring minds want to know. The floor is yours...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Question for the fellas: Do men have different priorities in life than women?

Continuing Question for the Fellas Week 2, this question threw me a little bit. I definitely used to assume that most people have the same general priority list: Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness. Recognizing that those three things are huge categories that encompass a lot of other things like family, religion, sustenance, health, etc – I thought those were fairly universal wants and needs. It certainly never occurred to me that men and women of this modern era might have vastly different basic life goals.

But I received an interesting question where a woman really felt that her man had no interest in keeping a roof over their head, bringing home a paycheck or in fact finding meaning in the world beyond his Playstation, his pot smoking and his p***s. I assured her that her man was more aberration than the norm in my experience. I received a second letter from a lady very concerned about her biological time clock and lamenting that her husband placed a higher priority on promotions than propagation. 

So I put the question out there to two brethren @TMCYDame and @RobertBleek and here's what we've got:
Dame says: It totally depends on the individual person you’re dealing with and that person’s drive, selfishness and/or selflessness. In general, our priorities don’t differ. Though popular opinion doesn't want you believing this, we’re fairly similar beings. Good people, male or female, are looking to create good lives and foster environments of love for themselves, their families and their friends. And they have priorities that are aligned with doing so. For self-centered, ambitious types, the opposite is likely true. You can easily find men and women who are career-focused, driven individuals with similar priorities. The same is true for guys and gals who are looking to put more focus on their family and friends. It just depends on the individual.
Rob says: I don't even think this is a man/woman issue. This is deeper almost to genetics, nature vs. nurture and value-based morals type of a debate. 15-hour-a-day-hustle-and-grind folks probably shouldn't get too serious with don't-give-a-damn-if-the-rent-is-paid folks unless they want to carry that weight. I'm engaged to a neat freak, I tend to stack ish in a corner. Her priority is blindingly-bleached order in the house, mine is "clean enough for company" neatness. Are our priorities different because she's  a woman and I'm a man? No. I think there's too much crap out in the media now about men wanting model-quality women, 24/7 ESPN and rims. I also think there's too much out there about women wanting shoes, purses, babies and a man with a big... income. At the end of the day, I think everyone wants love, companionship and someone who gets them. It's great if it comes in a slamming package while in a nice house with a 2.2 kids and a 401(k). But are those priorities or a wishlist? I think for the most part God, Home/Family, Career are key priorities for most. Or is that too old-fashioned? As you would say, LeShrug.
Bougieland, what say you? Is the media/pop culture/world at large skewing our priorities or just making it seem that way? Do you truly believe that men and women want different things out of life? What's your number one priority and would you expect your S.O.'s to be the same? What do you think about Rob and Dame's statements? Have you ever had to end a relationship because of a complete imbalance of priorities? Answer some, none or all. Thoughts, comments, opinions? The floor is yours...

BnB Radio Network - Questions for the Fellas Live tonight! 8:30p CST

It's Michele and the Fellas for this extended show on BnB Radio. Join me, Darryl (@Diggame), @AGrownAzzMan, @MaxReddick and @LeonX getting our 90 minute chat on. I asked the ladies to send in questions for the fellas, we're going to get them answered tonight. No topic too big, no topic too small. 

Join in, won't you? The dial in number if you want to chat or have a question for me and the fellas is (646) 378-1171. I just finished looking over the questions - it's going to be epic. See you there

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Question for the fellas: How come you don’t call me anymore?

In the immortal words of Prince:

What I wanna know, baby
If what we had was good
How come U don't call me anymore?

Yes, today we're talking about the phone drama! Ladies (sent in 24 questions on this topic) want to know:
  1. Will he call?
  2. Won't he call?
  3. How can I get him to call?
  4. Should I call or send a text?
  5. He said he would call but he hasn't?
  6. I would call but I don't want to seem pressed?
  7. He used to call and now he doesn't?
  8. He said he's too busy to call but I see him sending tweets and updating his FB status…
Arrgh! So much drama over communication. There's such a passive-aggressive power struggle over who calls whom and when! But this week isn't about my opinions. I enlisted the services of two of the BnB brethren to share their opinions. I asked the question – If everything is all good, why would you stop calling?

First up to answer the question, resident rabble-rouser @ThinkLikeRiley:
Man don't want, man don't call. It's Just. That. Simple. Naw, sis – I ain't trapped under a building or playing it cool. I'm doing something else with someone else who is not you. Maybe you thought it was all good, guess I didn't so I'm gone. If I change my mind, I'll call you back. Meanwhile, if you really feenin' for a brotha, hit him up and let him know. You may get lucky. 3:00 am gets lonely. I don't say this ish to be mean, I'm just being real.
Ooo. Wee. Next up to answer the question is @MeetCharlieL:
There could be a hundred reasons why I haven't called… yet. I'm working, I'm sleepy, I'm out of town, we're not exclusive and I'm seeing more than one person, my phone died, I initiated the call the last ten times and I'm waiting on you to call me or I'm dialing your number right now! Ladies have got to chill out. If the script was flipped and the woman didn't call me, I'd call her and say what's up. If she blows me off, I fall back. Sure, I wonder what happened, why we went from "all systems go" to "do not enter" but I won't obsess over it. I think the bigger question is – what happens when one person thinks it's "all good" and the other person doesn't? But back to your point. If a man wants to be with you, he will find a way. Believe that.
And alright then. BougieLand, do you agree with Riley? Charlie? Ladies and gents, who has done the fade to black no explanation? What's the latest in phone call etiquette? Who calls who first? How long should it take to return a call or text? Who (like me) believes that same or better communication should be returned (i.e – if I call, don't text me back)? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours…

Monday, March 14, 2011

Question for the fellas – Do all men lie?

Welcome to Questions for the Fellas Week (the remix). The ladies came guns a-blazing to the table. Gents, don't shoot the messenger. I'm just relaying what I was asked. And I received no less than fifteen questions revolving around the dishonesty of menfolk. Ruh-roh. Take a look at a few:
  1. Why do men lie?
  2. Do all men lie?
  3. Why can't men just be honest?
  4. What's wrong with a man just being straight forward?
  5. How do I know if a man is telling me the truth?
And so it went. In the interest of fact-finding, I sat down with two men: @DavidLChase (David) and his friend @AnotherWord43 (Trey) and asked the question – Do all men lie?
David – All people lie. Men tend to get caught more often. Maybe women are more suspicious or have better dishonesty radars.
Trey – I'm offended by the question. No, I'm lying. Yes, all men lie. We tell small lies just to keep the drama to a minimum. Women tell big lies to keep from getting cut. There's a difference.
Me (to Trey) – Tell me you're joking.
Trey – I could tell you that, but I'd be lying.
Me (to David) – I hate your friend.
David – He has that effect on women.
Me (to both) – Seriously, you both are telling me that all men lie about everything? That's what you want the takeaway to be?
Trey – Oh, are these life lessons for the ladies? Let me think. Umm, no – men don't lie about everything all the time. But we own the victimless lie.
Me (blinking) – I'm sorry? What exactly is a victimless lie?
Trey – "Yes, I took the trash out" "No I wouldn't do Kim Kardashian" "Yes, those jeans look good" "Sure it's okay if we watch The Notebook again" "No I didn't see her boobs spilling out of that dress, I was looking at you, baby" Victimless lies.
Me (to David) – Are you cosigning this?
David (shifting uneasily) – I plead the fifth.
Me – That's not allowed. We're going to need an answer.
David – I'm not sure there's such a thing as a victimless lie. I mean telling a woman she looks good in jeans when she obviously doesn't just hurts humanity.
Me (rolling my eyes) – Why not just shoot straight?
Trey – Honesty can be brutal. Let's say I meet a chick –
Me – A woman.
Trey – Fine, yes, a woman. Let's say I met a woman online and we're vibin' with the chatter and all. Then I met her in person and she's a total dog.
Me – Unattractive.
Trey – You're like the political correctness police. Sorry. Yes, she's very unattractive. I can't say, sorry I'm no longer interested because the ugly stick beat you down. That would be mean.
Me – Not to mention shallow.
Trey РTouch̩. But you see what I mean. It's easier to cut the meeting short and then send a text saying I met someone else I like better.
Me – Why can't you just say the chemistry isn't there? It's a way to say that the attraction wasn't there without being mean or lying.
Trey – Can I use that? Cuz truthfully, I don't always stop and think of the nicest way to put things, I focus on the end result. If I say "A" then I can do "B" – and I want the easiest most direct route from A to B. Men don't like complicated. If it's quick and easy, that's 90% the way they'll go.
David – Okay, I have to disagree on that one. I'm a talker. I prefer to take a little extra time and think about what I'm saying before I say it. If I do tell a lie, it's for a good reason.
Me – And what is a good reason to lie?
David – To spare someone's feelings or to cover someone until the right time to tell the truth comes along.
Me – The right time to tell the truth?
David – C'mon now. It's not always the best time to blurt out the bald truth to people. Sometimes tongues need to be held for a minute. And let's be honest, there are a few things all of us could probably take to the grave and feel okay about that.
Trey – See, David has to qualify things and make them complicated. Go with my victimless theory. It's catchy.
Me (shaking head) – Thank you, gentlemen for sharing. I'll present this to BougieLand and see what they think.
Trey – Whoa, like a critique? 
David – Man, listen. Wait and see.
Trey – Am I going to regret this? Could I get voted off the island? I just got here. 
Me – Ha! Let's find out…
BougieLand, what say you? Does everybody lie? Do men lie more often? Are women just better at detecting lies? Is there any such thing as a "victimless lie"? Do you believe that there is a good reason to lie? Are there some things we should just take to the grave? Do you think omitting details is the same as a lie? What do you think about what David and Trey had to say? You know the rules: Answer one, none or any number in between. Share your thoughts. The floor is yours…

Monday, March 07, 2011

A gentle reminder - we are without Fresh Bouge

We're on hiatus. I wish I was there ^ in the picture chilling with some pear vodka. But no, I'm here at my desk adding 22,000 words to my third book. Be back soon. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

Superwoman, Cruising, Rage and Injustice.... random round-up

This I know for sure... I'm not Superwoman. Not that I thought I was, but I was going to give it a shot. Yeah... I'm over that. I am officially doing too much. Interviews, travel planning, writing, blogging and planning a complete global takeover to spread the word of Bouge... has got me wishing for a clone. So much as I love the daily interaction with you all... we'll be on a short Bougie Hiatus while I knock out at least half of this to do list. 

In the meantime, who's coming on the Bouge Cruise? Click here to put in your deposit. Email me if you need 1) more time or 2) a bougie roommate. 

As for this weekend, can you believe it's been twenty years since "the Rodney King"? AverageBro has the inside scoop on CNN's look back called Race and Rage - the beating of Rodney King. It's airing Friday, March 4 at 8:00p.m. ET and PT on CNN. It replays on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00p.m. ET and PT.

Also tonight, Discovery ID is wrapping up their three-part look at unsolved civil rights murders, The Injustice Files. In 1963, William Lewis Moore set out on a solo freedom march across the south. Moore was carrying a letter to Mississippi's Governor urging him to support civil rights. Moore, ready to risk his life, was white. 70 miles into his journey Moore was shot to death, and left on Alabama's Highway 11. Almost 50 years later, no one has been charged. Keith Beauchamp (The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till) confronts a Former Klan member, one of the last people to see Moore alive. Will new information help the FBI's Cynthia Deitle finally solve the case? 

Last (but not least) I'm gearing up for the 2011 version of Questions for the Fellas Week. I have a few questions in but we could always use more. In addition to a week's worth of posts, I'll also be hosting a show with a panel of fellas to answer questions live. Make sure you get those questions in. And yes BnB dudes, we will be doing a Questions for the Ladies Week again as well.

In the meantime, if you miss me (ha!) find me on the BnB Facebook page, or on regular Facebook or Twitter. I'll be around. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

What had happened was...

We are without post today. Technical drama on my end. Be back soon. Chat amongst yourselves. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Following up on the "Just a Kiss" Saga...

Continuing our follow-up this week, who remembers Elise? Caught her husband playing tonsil hockey with another woman in a Buckhead Bistro. He said it was "Just a kiss and kissing isn't cheating." All hell broke loose in the comments and then I followed up with a post about flirting - when does it cross a line? More hell in the comments section. As a matter of fact, the good folks of BougieLand made Jayme so angry, she added a whole section to her pre-marital counseling sessions on flirting. 

Anyway, I caught up with Elise a week ago. Initially, she asked Ben to move out. They don't have children and she said she'd had enough. He left. But since then, he has moved back in and they have decided to stay together. I asked if she moved him back in with stipulations; i.e., no more random broads that you may or may not be cheating with. She said, "No, I didn't want to draw up rules. I just wanted things to get back to normal. I know you're disappointed and don't agree with my decision, but it's for the best. It's what I want. When I took these vows, I said forever. I have to respect the ring."

Well, I wasn't disappointed in her. I was disappointed for her. She and Ben have been on this roller coaster ride for so long, I feel she's not getting the best that marriage has to offer. But what do I know? Can I be just brutally honest here? Of course I can... I think she's staying with Ben because it's the easy thing to do.

To me, it's almost as if she's just decided to turn a blind-eye to whatever Ben does as long as he stays and her life stays the same. 

Then again, I don't know her heart. Maybe Ben is the love of her life. Lord KNOWS I've done some straight stupid stuff for the guy I considered to be the love of mine. Put up with more shiggity out of "love" than I care to ever (forever, ever) admit to. So maybe I could walk into a restaurant and see my husband passionately kissing a woman and get past it. Maybe I could separate from him eight (8!) times in twelve years and keep going back for more.

Um... no I couldn't. Not at this point in life. When you've been to the circus a few times, you just don't put up with the clown shiggity that easily. But that's my life. If she's happy, all I can do is be happy for her. But Ben will get the laser beam side-eye of bouge forever more out of me.

What say you, BougieLand? Could you be in a marriage with someone you suspected was on the creep? Isn't fidelity, honesty and trust part of "respecting the ring" too? This one has been a bit perplexed, I'd love to hear your opinion. The floor is yours...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Update to Ask a Bougie Chick - From love to litigation in less than 60 days

Okay people, lock and load for this update. Do we recall the story of John? His (then) fiancee first called out the wrong name in bed, then she was cold-busted doing her Pilates/Yoga/Whatever instructor Kevin. John sent her packing. At the time, we called her Pam but John is no longer worried about her anonymity - chickie's name is Tracey. 

You would think after your things have been professionally packed and set out on the curb (class move, by the way John!), you would leave well enough alone. You would think after your ex-future-mother-in-law had to come over to your house to get the ring back, you would give up. But no... not Tracey. John and Tracey had split the wedding costs. John indicated that he had to forfeit over $20,000 to cancel the honeymoon and reception. Tracey was stuck with the remaining $12,000 plus whatever she paid for the dress. 

Tracey has attempted to file suit against John for the $12k, claiming breach of contract and emotional distress. No, I'm not lying. Tracey wasn't done though. She also tried to sue Kevin claiming he deliberately seduced her and alienated John's affections causing her to miss out on being Mrs. John for the next 30 years. She is calling that "lost revenue" to the tune of three million dollars. Three. Million. Dollars. She said that both Kevin and John defamed her character. She has tacked on punitive damages of $1MM to John and $500k to Kevin.

We're not done... she also claims that she is owed the cost of the ring she was forced to give back (no, she didn't pay for it). And she claims that she is so distraught over the hot mess her life has turned into that she can't earn a living for herself. While she was on a hot streak, she sued the exercise studio for not "disclosing" the fact that Kevin was little more than a toned gigolo. 

Her lawsuit against Kevin has already been tossed out. The preliminary hearing for her suit against John is in a few weeks. The studio is actually considering giving this chick a settlement. I. Quit. Life.

Er, uh - how does someone seduce you away from your man for six months straight? How are you calling your broken engagement lost lifetime revenue?! How is your character defamed if everything they said was true?! Basically, how do you skank your way out of an engagement and expect everybody to pay you?

What say you, BougieLand? Got any words for Tracey? For John? For Kevin? For Tracey's whacktastic lawyer? Is civil court how we settle personal beef these days? Is that what's hot in the streets? Share your thoughts, the floor is yours...


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