Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 13: Well you see, Officer

It's just fitting that this is the 13th Bougie Bachelorette Chronicle because this whole situation was just bad luck all the way around. 

What had happened was...I had a crazy grueling day. This little consulting gig has me slaving like Kunte, Kizzy and Chicken George. Yes, I'm doing the work of three runaway slaves right about now. This was the kind of day where I put a conditioning mask on my hair at 11:00 am and didn't rinse it out until 10:00 pm. Can you say extra fluffy? Anywho, my plan was to wrap a towel around my head and lay under the ceiling fan with a cocktail until I drifted into never never land.

Someone, I'm not naming names, decided that Adult Quality Time (AQT) was necessary and urgent. Seems like his entire family has decided to descend on the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex for the holiday weekend. That's just like meeting up in Napa for the weekend, right? O__o

Fine. I threw on some yoga pants, a sports bra, a tank top and sparkly flip flops. The hair was still damp and hadn't decided whether it wanted to be curly, frizzy or straight. Because my mother drilled it into me, I did stop and put on lipstick and earrings (a real lady never leaves the house without them apparently - bouge rules, I don't know). I was half fancy and half ratchet. Don't hate me for my glamorous life. 

On the way there he called and asked me to stop at Walgreen's for a few things. I'll let you imagine what was so urgent that I had to stop at the 24-hour drugstore and shop on my way to his house. I was literally two miles from his house when my cell phone rang, a friend of mine from back in the day who lives overseas and is back in the States for a few days only. So I was chatting and not paying attention when I saw something flitting around in the backseat. The Hell?

Now if you've been around BougieLand and Twitter for a minute, you know I hate bugs with a passion bordering on pathological. (Shout out to @DallasProgress who helped me with a cricket struggle a while back)   Back to the critter at hand... I didn't know what the hell kind of flying, clicking insect it was except to describe it as big, black and hyper. So I shrieked when it looked like it was going to jump on me. I flung the cell phone to the ground and swerved over to the side of the road where I jumped out of the car and ran around flinging all the doors open. 

I opened the trunk where I had some Febreze and commenced to spraying down the interior of my car with the savvy plan of drowning the beast. Well, now the insect was just plain mad and a little high on Hawaiian Aloha Febreze. It was just flying around in angry circles never approaching an exit. I took off a flip flop and tried to hit it... and that's when the flashing lights pulled up behind me. 

Two of Allen's finest climb out of the car not even bothering to hide their laughter. Apparently they had been watching me for a while. I mean, they were doubled over, roaring with laughter at my expense. I wanted to be mad but I had to keep an eye on the critter to make sure he left.

"Ma'am, you do realize that by having all your doors open and a car smelling like mangoes you are actually attracting more insects?"

I started slamming doors. One of the cops reached into the car, cupped the insect and set it free while the other stopped beside me. He took the Febreze out of my hand, "Michele, how are you doing?" I looked up.

Dammit - are there NO other officers in all of freakin' Allen, Texas? No? I have to keep running into the one cop (nicknamed Sergeant McHottie) that I went to high school and college with? If you missed the whole Sergeant McHottie tale, feel free to catch up.

"I'm just... peachy. How have you been?"

"Good, good. You did something different with your hair."

Damn. Damn. Damn. "Uh, you could say that."

"You still have a bug thing?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Eleventh grade, study hall - two wasps fly in from the window and you ran screaming into the hallway?"

Quintuple damn. "Of all the things to remember." 

He walked over to the car, looked at the spilled contents of the Walgreen's bag and looked back at me. "Are you still seeing that guy?"

Shoot me, someone. Anyone. "No."

"No?"

"No. Different guy."

"Hmm. Well, let's wipe down your seats and get you on your way."

"Thanks!" By now, my cell phone was blowing up. The friend was worried that I'd been killed on the side of the road, 3N wondered where I got lost. I grabbed the Walgreen's stuff, shoved it all in my purse and stepped back while they dried off my car seats.. and ceiling... and gear shift... and windows. 

"We have to met up under better circumstances." He laughed and gave me his card (again). "Don't be a stranger."

I climbed in the car and drove the rest of the way to 3N's house with a police car tailing me. 3N was standing out on the front patio when I pulled up. I climbed out and waved as they flashed their lights and drove past. 3N shook his head. "Do I even want to know?"

"Shut it." I stalked past him with my head held high. Then I told him the tale and he literally fell off the couch laughing. Boo.

Here endeth another utterly ridiculous event in my life. I can't be the only one that stuff like this happens to. I mean, c'mon - you all would have pulled over to get rid of the bug, right? We've all made a late night stop at the drugstore, right? We've all been pulled over by the police, right? We've all run into people we know from back in the day, right? It was the conflagration of coinciding events though.... whatever. Someone have a story, a thought, a comment to share?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let me change your mind


Bougie dwellers, beware. Tis the season for TapBack. For the BnB newbies - TapBack is the unfortunate occurance when someone you used to live with/date/smash/love reaches out to you, generally in hopes of well- tapping back. Summer is wrapping up. Those that did not net a summer boo are thinking ahead to lining up cuddle cocoa for the holidays. Watch your texts, emails, phones, tweets... or have someone do it for you.

Chilling with 3N, his Facebook email starts gong crazy. It's one of his exes. He waves me over to read the stream-
Her: Hey you! I was just thinking about you. Heard you left Denver, what else is new?
Him: If you found me on Facebook, you're pretty up to date.
Her: You ignored my friendship request
Him: We're not friends
Her: We used to be
Him: Really?
Her: Looks like you're in a relationship and you live in Texas. How did all that happen?
Him: The usual way. I moved, I met someone, it's working out. Great catching up, take care.
Her: What - are you scared to talk to me? I just want to say hi
Him: Hi
Her: I'm coming through Dallas in September, we should get a drink
Him: No thanks, listen I gotta go.
Her: You don't even want to see me?
Him: I'm straight
Her: Let me change your mind
Him: Let me be more clear - no interest.
Her: I don't even have your new number
He turns to me, "How do we block random people from emailing?" We worked that on out. The not so funny thing is, we had just finishing having the "exes who TapBack" discussion, her name was at the top of his list.

BougieLand, fess up - who's been hit with the TapBack call already? Who is contemplating making one of their own? Is it better or worse to launch a TapBack text? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Letting go of the past



Life is not perfect but I have very few complaints. I am in a happy place. Got three people hired last week. I started working on a new book, I wrote four articles for an online magazine. I went to an amazing concert (Jill Scott/Mint Condition). I went to an author & artist festival. I read two new good reviews on Sweet Little Lies on Amazon. It was a good week. Except...

I caught up with two friends of mine. The conversations both went the same way. How have you been, well and you. Catch up, catch up, so what's new. And then at a certain point in both conversations, they each brought up the ex-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and asked if I'd spoken with him. When the first friend asked, I just frowned and said "No." and moved on.

When the second friend asked, I got a little ticked off. I said I hadn't spoken with him and had no plans to. And then I stewed over the whole thing for a minute (or fifteen). I haven't dated that guy in over two years. I've dated since him, I've fallen in and out of (and back in) love since him, I'm in a relationship right now. A freaking good one at that. So what's with the bringing up of ex-dude as if we were together yesterday?

I called both of them back and they both gave me bullshiggity versions of  "always thought you two would get back together some day"- really? I was forced to give a little speech. Something along the lines of - I don't mind a little reminiscing but I'm living in the here and now. Either join me or fall back.

BougieLand, do you have people who still bring up your exes from years ago? Still ask you about things you were interested in years ago? Why is is so hard for others to let go of your past when you've moved on? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Hustle Rules - What you Need to Know


President Obama hopped on a conference call this afternoon to let all you East Coast Ninjas know... It's not a game. Irene ain't playing with ya'll. Guard yo' grill, love the one you're with, and cover yo' azz... ya hear?! And in case you're still catatonic from the little Shake-n-Quake Mother Earth gifted you with earlier in the week, I'm here for you. Here's what you need to know...

Things to buy:

  1. Water - If you have a spare bathroom, fill the tub with water. Buy as much bottled water as you can. Ignore your bougie instinct to buy a bunch of Fiji water, get those huge gallons of no name spring water and stack them up.  
  2. Flashlights - Candles are pretty but when wind commences to whipping about, do you really want to worry about things catching flame? If you are near a Home Depot, get some of those tap lights that can velcro to any surface, they run on one of two batteries. And speaking of which...
  3. Batteries, Batteries, Batteries! Cell phone, laptop, double AA, C & D. Trust. 
  4. Battery-operated radio. Cable goes out, satellites die after 14 rain drops, radio lasts forever. Find the weather band and make it your best friend.
  5. Non-perishable food items - sushi is not your friend in a natural disaster. Trail mix, energy bars, you get the idea.
  6. First aid kit - for obvious reasons
  7. Blankets - for obvious reasons
  8. Condoms - I don't know how long you might be trapped in the dark with folks, safety first!

Have these things mapped out:

  1. Evacuation routes - get out of town! The sooner, the better.
  2. House Preparedness - cover windows, find an interior room and put all your supplies there, figure out all methods of exit from your home
  3. One packed bag of necessities for three days - if you have to get out in a hurry, do not worry about Grandma Jolene's antique pearls. Grab meds, clothes, cosmetics, ID, cell phone, laptop and go. 
  4. One packed igloo - Ice on the bottom, bottled water and energy sustaining snacks on top. Lunch meat, cheese, and fruit pack quick and easy and will last for a day or so in a closed igloo. Granola bars are your friend.
  5. Phone chain - Already know who calls who to check in and when you'll make the calls. 
  6. Closest shelter - Find out where it is and what the capacity is. 

And now what you really need to know:

  • Folk lose their mind in a natural disasters. Make sure you know who your neighbors are and what they are really about. Don't be in the backyard battling because your neighbor's cousin decided to jack your car round midnight (these things happen).
  • Don't try and ride out the storm alone. Get next to somebody, but wait...
  • If you don't have a cuddle boo, don't try and scare one up in the next 18 hours. Worst case scenario - you are stuck with random one-night boo for days on end. Hurricane heauxnanigans can have lasting repercussions. In case you all missed the Snowpocalype warning tale - read up!
  • Entertainment. Cuddle boo not withstanding, if power goes out - figure out what you are going to do with yourself. Might I suggest books, puzzles, board games, cards, coming up with a way to reduce the national debt?
  • Should the situation get dire, do not (I repeat, do NOT) start sending out your final FU thoughts to people. I know someone who fired off his "I'll be dead so I won't care" emails prior to Katrina and uh... he's still apologizing. Just save your thoughts in a journal and keep it moving.
  • Get yo' mind right, people. We know it's stressful, but don't be the person who has to be duct taped to the chair or muzzled with an undershirt to ride out the storm. Just because the situation is unpleasant, doesn't mean you have to be. 
  • Prayer helps. Even if you're not a particularly religious person, when 105 mph winds whip down your street, close your eyes and call out to whatever deity you believe might listen. Really, what can it hurt?
  • Stay safe. I'm not saying don't play the hero out there. I'm just saying... survive and thrive.

Some jokes in here but seriously.... Prayers up for all. Please, please, please have a good and safe weekend. Oh, and if you need "real" tips: here you go

Conversation at two in the morning

Two in the morning, a tap on my shoulder.
"Hey"
"Mmmph"
"Michele."
Swatting the air near my ear.
"Woman, wake up!"
"What?"
"Did you finish your post for tomorrow?"
"Nope."
"Are you going to get up and write it?"
"Nope."
"Are you going to blame it on me?"
"Your fault."
"How?"
"Fourth glass of wine."
"I made you drink it?"
"That's my story."
"So no post day in BougieLand?"
"The world will continue to turn."
He flips over mumbling. "You better not say it's my fault."
There's no post today. And it's all his fault. Plus, I know some of you saw the title and the picture and thought this was going to be a whole different kind of post. Ha! Carry on...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

5 Questions, 5 Answers... with a twist


3N and I were meeting our friends Dr. Jayme and her husband Owen for dinner a few weeks ago. Dr Jayme  had some sort of group therapy session running late so we swung by her office to wait for her to wrap up. Unbeknownst to us, we stumbled into the middle of one of her "Relationship 101" group sessions. When she saw us, she waved us over and announced, "This is 3N and Michele, they've been dating for six months."

We were greeted with laughter and side-eyes and a few choice phrases floated over to me:
"Fresh meat."
"Newbies"
"Still at the fun part"

At this point, we suspected that we'd been bamboozled, hornswaggled and hoodwinked. We attempted a backtrack towards the door. "Oh come on, just play one game and we'll wrap for the night." Jayme said blinking with the baby seal eyes. That's when I knew we were in for it. Exchanging a look of resignation, we sat gingerly in two seats in the "sharing circle" and braced ourselves for whatever. It didn't help that she passed each of us five index cards and a Sharpie.

"Okay, this game we play with any two people in a relationship: friends, siblings, co-workers, significant others - it doesn't matter. You have to answer honestly and you cannot use a non-answer like 'he's perfect just the way he is' - that's it. Five questions, write your answers down as we go."

1. What's one thing you wish you could change about your partner but know it's probably not going to change?
2. If your partner could be any place in the world right now, where would they be?
3. Would they take you? And if not, who would they take?
4. What does your partner like most about you?
5. What is something you've been dying to ask your partner but haven't asked yet?

The four other couples went all the way in on these and minor skirmishes swept the circle. I have to admit that 3N and I were sitting there feeling kinda smug and positive that there would be no surprises from either of us. Here's how our lightning round went:
One thing to change that won't:
My answer - His Lastworditis. 
His - She's a perfectionist but won't admit it
"I am not"
"You totally are"
"So not true"
"I would say something else but I want you to have the last word"
"Cute" 
Any place in the world:
Mine - Some place tropical
His - Bali, Tahiti, Hawaii 
Would they take you?
Mine - Yes
His - No, her sister
"What? Come on! I just got back from the beach with my sister"
"Exactly"
"Oh damn" 
What does your partner like the most about you?
Mine - My sparkling personality
He couldn't get his answer out, he was laughing so hard.
"Your personality is great, but my favorite favorite thing?"
"What?"
"You give good..."
"Do not say anything R-rated up in here"
"Conversation! You're an excellent communicator. But if I'm banned from the R-rated answers, I can't say what I think you like best about me"
"You cannot seriously think that's what I like best about you!"
"It doesn't hurt"
"Oh my God"
"I'm joking - my sense of humor"
"Well not right now"
Something you're dying to ask?
Mine - What really happened with his last girlfriend
His - Whether she's coming to China with me for three months
"Oh we should talk"
"We really should"
And we'll just wrap that conversation right there. Thanks Jayme for those good times. Why don't you play along at home? I'll switch it up a little:
1. What's one thing you probably should change about yourself but won't?
2. If you could be any place in the world right now, where would you be?
3. Who would you take?
4. What is the absolute best thing about you?
5. Is there something you're dying to ask me (or anyone in BougieLand) but haven't? (I may not answer)

Go for it. And try this at home with friends, sibs, spouses - let me know how it works for you! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Checking In vs Keeping Tabs


I was enjoying dinner with a girlfriend Saturday night when her phone started blowing up. Her man wanted to know where she was, who she was with and what she was doing. Now these are grown-azz folks over the age of 50. This dude was checking on her like she was a fast 20 year old let loose in the football dorm after curfew.  It got to the point where she handed me the phone and asked me to tell him who I was and that I'd just asked her to dinner at the spur of the moment. After looking at her like she was crazy, I snatched the phone and said into it, "You're joking with this, right? You aren't seriously asking a grown woman where she is at 7:00 on a Saturday night?"

**Click** He hung up. She said he just moved forty minutes away and had been crazy possessive since then. And since some of you are mad dramatical, no - he's not abusing her, she not being stalked, he's a lonely guy who finally landed a woman for the first time in five years and is clinging way too tight. Ugh. Clingy, needy, insecure. Three of my least favorite things in the world.

On the other side of the scale, I'd been gone all damn day and I got one text from 3N - "Have fun, call me later." Sure, there are times when we're texting/tweeting/calling back and forth but usually it's to find out why I'm late finalize plans, chat, or laugh about something on TV. If either one of us called the other asking "Where are you and what are you doing?" something crazy would have to be going on.

Personally, the only time I ever felt the need to consistently text/call/drop by on someone to figure out what they were doing - I was trying to catch him cheating. That's no way to live. Won't go back there and wouldn't put up with it from someone. Not at this point in life.

So let me ask you - What do you do with the clingy and paranoid? Where do you draw the line between checking in and keeping tabs? One call a day? Two texts when you're apart? Do tell...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From future Mrs. to Miss-Me-With-That in 24 hours - A Bougie Bachelor Chronicle


Buckle up, BougieLand. And then let's count how many relationship "What Not To Do's" went down. Without further ado (but with a little bit of my editing), the heretofore delinquent member of the Georgia Boyz with his own Bachelor Chronicle:
Bougie People,
I'm Shawn. The Keyser Söze of the UGa APhis living lives in the Greater Dallas Metroplex. Word on the yard is that someone has started referring to us as The Georgia Boys. Which would be okay if it didn't sound like I should have a banjo in my hand and a Fry-Daddy sitting on the front porch or standing on the wrong side of Peachtree wearing a trench coat and a ski mask in June. Where was I? Oh. Deep inside your mental minds with my Keyser reference. I'm in the background, doing what needs to be done. If we were Boyz II Men with extras, I'd be... oh, still Shawn. This is all you need to know about me. 
I have had a girlfriend. One year, two weeks, one day and eighteen hours that lasted. She was in serious contention to become Mrs. Söze. Paula and I met at work: dated, clicked, boom. We are both in technical jobs, we both come from large families, we have complimentary tastes in food, movies, music, life plans. I tend to take a direct path from A to Z, she sometimes gets hung up around J and K but ends up at the same place. We vibed. We spend spent a lot of our time together but still maintain separate houses. Overall, the going has been was easy. 
Not to say that we haven't had ups and downs along the way. I've found that as a grown-damn-ass man, I prefer to be asked to do something rather being told or ordered. I prefer that a potential lifemate actually express her displeasure for something I've done rather than go mute, breath fire out of her eyes and when asked what the dealio might be, receive the ever-so-helpful one word answer of "nothing" or my favorite "figure it out."  
She, no doubt, preferred that I stay and finish an argument rather checking out after a certain amount of time and retreating to Shawn's Man Cave with Bose headphones, an Xbox controller and a medicinal bottle of aged amber beverage. She also did not care for my obsession with Atlanta Braves baseball, my ability to tune her out from time to time and the odd habit I had of throwing all the clothes into the washing machine regardless of color and delicacy. I'm a man. I do man things, okay? 
As I said, we had our ups and downs. But things have had been good. Almost eerily good. Until last weekend when we went from "Oh baby, move a little to the left" to "Everything you own is in a box to left" in about 24 hours. Friday, I had finished breakfast and was walking towards the garage when she stepped into the kitchen wearing some applause-worthy lingerie. She asked if I felt like being a little late for work. Hell yes I did. And I was. Very late. So late that I ended up staying late to wrap up a project making me late to pick her up for dinner. Once a month group dinner with the Georgia crew and significant others.  
Maybe I was still hazy from the breakfast booty but Paula looked especially lovely that evening and I said so. Her reply, "I hope you appreciate it." That gave me pause and all my happy haziness went away. Every once and a while, she could get in "a mood" of sorts. I hoped it wouldn't be one of those nights. But my hopes were in vain. 
Somewhere between salads and entrees, Trey someone started teasing Michele and 3N about weddings. In true bougie gangsta fashion, 3N said, "Shawn and Paula have been dating a lot longer, why don't you start planning their honeymoon for them?" Laughter from everyone but Paula who announced. "Why aren't we?" 
"Why aren't we what?" I looked at her from the left and sideways knowing she was not truly trying to have this conversation at table full of people. 
"Why aren't we planning our honeymoon?" 
"Because I haven't proposed?" I could have said it nicer but facts is facts, people.  
"Why haven't you?" Ask anyone, she was almost shrieking at this point. 
Now everybody at the table is giving each other the "this is mad awkward" looks and praying for food to arrive, a tornado to strike, some kind of diversion from the scene in front of us. "Paula." I said as calmly and quietly as I could. "Do you want to go home and discuss this?" 
"No, I want to discuss it here and now. Why haven't you proposed yet? And for the record, if you don't propose before Christmas, we're done." 
Please scan up the page to where I unequivocally stated how much I hate being told what to do. I'll wait.... okay. To try and diffuse the situation, I smiled and said "Well, this drama right here is not helping your cause." 
She told me to do something anatomically impossible to myself. Picked up my damn car keys from the table and walked out. After I finished dinner - what, I wasn't supposed to eat? I accepted a ride home and broke into my own damn house. She was standing in the kitchen and asked me, "So are you going to marry me or not?" 
"Not tonight, I'm not." 
"I'll be by for my stuff in the morning." I tried to talk to her. She walked out. I locked the door behind her. I tried to call her, she blocked my number. And that was that. So perhaps someone in this magical place you call BougieLand can tell me - what in the entire eff was that?
On the one hand, Shawn could have handled this with a wee more sensitivity. But in Shawn's defense, I've never seen her act like that. Ever. She's been just really good people. Until she flipped out at the table in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Have you ever watched a relationship break up right in front of you? Not comfortable. BougieLand, we're taking bets that they'll be back together in two weeks blaming this entire incident on a hormone imbalance. Then again, maybe there's some subplot going on that we don't know about. But in the meantime - what's with the ultimatums?! WDDDA? Thoughts, comments, just glad it wasn't another of Trey's stories this time?

Monday, August 22, 2011

New and improved... sort of


Apparently what's hot in the streetz is for Blogger and WordPress to unleash all flavas of hell on folks who want to switch from one to the other. In the midst of my exodus from Blogger, some drama over ownership of my dedicated BlacknBougie.com domain name cropped up. I pay for the thing every year so it's mine. It should go where I go, right? That's still under debate. I could buy a new domain name and point BnB'ers to it but don't you know someone owns and uses BougieLand.com? 

That being said, we're still here for now. We are optimized for mobile. If you go to www.BlacknBougie.com on your smart phones, it (finally) detects mobile and acts accordingly. Disqus has been upgraded as well. It will work on Android and iPhones, BlackBerry not so much. Not sure sure if this solves the social media lockdown some of you were experiencing in the workplace though. 

I've stripped most of the bells and whistles off the site to make it quick to load and as drama-free as possible. No funky fonts, no twirling banners. Enjoy the shiny newness. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Under Construction


BnB is moving... maybe. Either way, it's getting better... stronger... faster. [Sorry flashing back to the opening sequence of Six Million Dollar Man - though most of you young uns were not born yet] At any rate, stay tuned.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ask a Bougie Chick - When Opposites Attract


Today we have a letter from Foxy who is struggling not only with the stresses of a long-distance relationship but a whole host of other issues as well. Yet she really wants this relationship to work. Take a look...
Dear OneChele and BougieLand, 
I am 28 years old and I had a lot of instability early in my life. I am at a point where I am ready to settle down and build a life with someone. I know that means I gotta get my ish together. I’m in counseling working on things from my past, getting my 401(k) and pension together, keeping the credit clean, and tying up all the loose ends so the past stays the past.  
Last year, I started dating someone six years my senior. We are long distance but determined to make it work. She is in the closet. I am not. Coming out is a process. I got that. Not everyone in my life knows and most of the people I work with don’t know, but I make no apologies for who I am. What hurts the most is the denial of our relationship. Even if we were hanging out with her friends that know she is bi, if I called her baby it was a big thing.  
Spiritually, we are in different places. I don’t think I am going to hell for being gay. She does. Socially, we are opposites. I like to go out and have friends. Her friends damn near have to beg her to hang out. I love to travel and keep my passport on me at all times. She is afraid to fly. My mother stays out of my life. Her mother runs her life.  
Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot in common. We love art and music. We both love to read. We write. We have a shared past. We both know the pain of having distant fathers and the emptiness of not knowing half of your family. We click. We have sizzle. But is that enough? Can love truly conquer all? Are our differences too big to be overcome? Am I holding on to what could be rather than seeing what is?
Foxy - This is a lot. The in the closet/out the closet issue is huge. The spirituality is huge. The divergent views on life and familial interference are no small obstacles to climb either. Broken down, sounds like you (although younger) are ready to be true to your authentic self while she isn't there yet. So how badly do you want it and is it really worth it to you in the long run? To answer your question - unfortunately love doesn't conquer all, but it sure helps a hell of a lot. 

BougieLand, what do you think Foxy should do? Hold on to the dream or let it go? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ask a Bougie Chick: Three Sides to Every Story


I don't know who first said it but I know it to be true, there are three sides to every he said/she said story:
  1. Her side
  2. His side
  3. The Truth
Today's letters illustrate just that point. Yes, today we have two for the price of one. We have a couple that we're going to call Tim and Lisa. Tim and Lisa dated for about a year and then moved in together. They've been shacking co-habbing for about a year. They are starting to get on each other's nerves a little bit and basically want us to play CoHab Ref. You know it's ridic when folks start writing in about shoes and milk. No, I'm not joking - here we go:
Lisa's story:
Chele - love the blog, especially when you give people your unvarnished opinion and then open it up for BougieLand to weigh in. Sometimes folks are brutal but no one is ever tentative in their opinion. "Tim" and I are in our late twenties, we live in North Carolina together in a two bedroom townhouse with a small yard and a dog. Tim is the love of my life but he's a slob. He leaves his stuff everywhere. He drinks milk out of the carton and when it's gone, he expects me to replace it. He does not grocery shop, he does not wash dishes, he does not wash clothes. I'm not even going to bring up the toilet seat because don't we universally know that it's the man's job to put the lid down? He will cook once a week, more if the weather is nice and he can grill something. All of this I would excuse if he hadn't recently taken up the habit of flirting with other women when we go out. just out of the blue one night he started doing it right in front of me. I love the guy but something's got to change. What do you think?  
Tim's story:
Hi - A friend hipped me to the blog and I like how you have both men and women in the readership who speak up. About me and Lisa, we met in Charlotte over a year and a half ago and live together now. I love her to death but she's killing me here. I'm sure she wrote you that I'm a slob and don't help out around the house. What she probably didn't share is that when we first moved in together and I offered to do those things, she wouldn't let me. She insisted that she wanted things done "a certain way" and it was not a problem. I'm making an effort to not have her pick up after me and to keep things straight in the sliver of closet that I'm allowed. Can you tell me why a women needs 100 pairs of shoes? Really? We started sniping at each other about stuff like this over a month ago and finally I just kind of shut down. I noticed that she's started checking out other men when we go out so I'm wondering if I should start to look around myself. I'd love to make this work because when it does it's special but I'm not going to wait for it to fall apart. I'm sure you have "thoughts and insights" please share.
Tim and Lisa:
Hey you two. Thanks for reading and appreciating the blog. Let me see how to put this...
Somebody's lying. And ya'll need to talk. For real though. It's great that you both decided to write in, maybe when you see what the other one has written, you'll double-blink and think about a few things. By the way, you both opened and closed by saying how much you love each other. Which makes me wonder if you both aren't at a crossroads trying to decide about happily ever after or not? Think on it.

I'm going to let BougieLand address the toilet, the milk, the shoes, the flirting and the passive-aggressiveness. BougieLand, can you holla at Tim and Lisa please. The floor is yours...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ask a Bougie Chick - Green means go, right?


Alright, let's get it started. We have a confused young man who wants the assistance of BougieLand. He's very young and trying to figure out the rules of engagement. Here's his story:
Hi Ms. Bougie, 
Your blog is great, I like how you try to see things from both the woman and the man's point of view. I've definitely learned a lot even from your posts telling us what not to do. Let me get to it. I'm 22, black male, in DC, single. I'm a new college grad and haven't been dating very much up to now. 
I just started a career with the government plus I'm doing some mentoring work so I don't have a lot of time and effort to put towards a serious relationship. I hope that doesn't sound like I'm making excuses, I just think I have plenty of time for committed monogamy later. 
I started seeing someone about seven weeks ago, I asked her if she was okay with a casual type of thing, back in the day they used to call it "just kicking it" kind of relationship. She said she wasn't looking for anything serious right now either and we could just be cool with each other. No expectations, just hanging out, going out, talking on the phone, having fun, stirring cocoa, right? 
Then this past weekend she went off telling me that she wanted more, she wanted a committed and having a "cocoa-stirring friend" was making her feel like a slut. Her words. Not mine. I didn't know what to say or do because she said this was cool and all of a sudden she changed the rules. No notice. We went from "that movie was dopeness" to "why won't you be my boyfriend" in like two minutes. 
I need to ask - did I do something wrong? I thought it was green lights and then she threw up the red. Did I miss something? And since even though she's a nice girl, I really don't want anything serious, I can walk away without feeling like I was some sort of dog, right? I did ask my boys but I'd like to talk to people who have been here and have nothing invested in telling me the truth. So what's up, bougie people?
-KJT in DC
Well KJT-I'm going to let that "back in the day they used to call it 'just kicking it'" line slide... that was my day, son and I'm not that old. Anywho, if you were straight with her from jump, you can walk away without feeling the least bit doggish. I think more than anything, you were a little naive to believe her when she said it was cool to be cocoa buddies. Especially when it sounds like you were taking her out as well. Even though you said cocoa buddies, you acted like a boyfriend. This confused, perplexed and ultimately angered her. This is why folks have friend zone folks and cocoa folks. Once you start blending the two, drama pops off. IMHO. But let me see what BougieLand has for you...

BougieLand, what say you? Fellas? Ladies? Ever had someone switch up the rules of the game on you mid-play? How do you handle it? Did KJT handle this all wrong? And what should he do know?

Me, @DeeshaPhilyaw, @CarolynEdgar tonight - The "Blackness" Episode

Once again, it's on. Tonight 8:00 central/9:00pm eastern - BnB Radio:


Breaking down what "the Black Experience" is all about, why we do what we do, tweet what we tweet and live how we live is what's hot in the streets these day. Everybody wants to define "the blacks" and make money on it lock down those 2012 votes reach out to this demographic.

In this episode, I’ll be joined by the brilliant and witty minds of Carolyn Edgar, blogger, lawyer, mommy, writer extraordinaire and Deesha Philyaw: Mama, writing professor, and freelance writer; co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Advice from a Formerly Married Couple on Parenting Across Two Households (2013).

We’re going to chat about African American Movies, Books, Music and culture. We'll get into blackness, why it’s truly undefinable, and answer some questions that have trickled in from folks. If you have a question you want answered about… oh, anything – email me at onechele@gmail.com.

You can find the ladies at@CarolynEdgar and@DeeshaPhilyaw on the Twitter ;-)

Join us! Call in at 646-378-1171 or listen and chat live at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/bnb. See you there!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One of those weeks...

I could take the time to tell you why I don't have a post ready or I could just catch you up later in the week. Guess which one I opted for?

Check back in. Until then, chat amongst yourselves. Later, BougieLand.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Great Love of Your Life


I was watching Oprah's Season 25: Behind the Scenes and she keyed in on the fact that the show has been the great love of her life. My first thought was... what about Stedman? And my second thought was - what's been the great love of my life? And who?

Well, let's define it first -for something (or someone) to be the love of your life they must enrich you, beguile you, challenge you, fulfill you and claim your heart and soul in such a way that keeps you engaged year after year. Now that's love.

Hmm, a few years ago I could have told you who but now that answer is... a work in progress shall we say. If I was forced to pick a who - I'd have to go with BougieFam... for now. But check back in, that's subject to change. As for what? Books. The reading of them, the learning from them and the writing of them - that's been the great love of my life.

What about you, BougieLand? Who is the great love of your life? What is the great love of your life? Why? Do share...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Music Spotlight - Not Ready to Throne Watch

Watch The Throne Album Cover
I like rap, I really do. I wouldn't call myself a hip-hop head by any stretch of the imagination but maybe an enthusiast. I'm definitely more of a NeoSoul chick but who can get their treadmill flow on to Musiq and Maxwell? I have hip hop moods where nothing else will do. I've found that there's no telling what I will like and what I won't and I never know what will grow me.

This week Zeezy and Yeezy (Jay-Z and Kanye) dropped Watch the Throne. The definitive "We've made it, we're rich, and you know you're going to buy it" album. I'm not mad at them. But based on what I've heard so far, a lot of it is going to have to grow on me. Particularly this cut, Otis. I like parts of it but I'm waiting on the whole thing to come together where I'll turn the volume up and scream "that's my song"! Check it out:

 

The lyrics are throwback to the late 90s/early 00's when rap got very shiny and blingy. I'm also not sure I like how they used the sample of the late great Mr. Redding's Try a Little Tenderness but maybe it'll sneak up on me. BougieLand, whatcha think?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why do women's tears freak men out? I asked some Bougie Bros...


It was hot. I was tired and cranky and any number of things were on my nerves. I had juggled writing books, writing articles, recruiting, BougieMom, and what seemed like a million little crises hopping up and down on my minute patience reserves all day. Plus I was hungry and hormonal. Terrible combination. 

**cue the dramatical music** I strolled into 3N's house wanting nothing more than to sit under the misters on the back patio with a cocktail. Peace and quiet, an adult beverage and some sort of chips and salsa option. That's all a bougie chick craved.

What greeted me was Poker Night. Eight guys, assorted whiskeys and someone had pulled out the humidor and was about to kick off the cigar game. 

"Oh, did I know it was Poker Night? Not that you have to tell me everything you're doing. I just thought. Never mind. My bad, I can go." I babbled with an inward sigh as I backed towards the garage door. So much for the misters.

3N hopped up, "Wait, it was a last minute thing, you don't have to go. You look... a little fried. You wanna hang out? You okay?"

"I'm fine." I answered still backing towards the door.

One of the poker players said, "Wait though, since you're here - can you fix snacks?" I won't even name which of the boys asked for snacks. Let's just say he's on. my. list.

Next thing I knew, I was boo-hooing and trying to leave. This caused all manner of bewildered panic to break out amongst the menfolk. Nor was I pleased. I never used to be a crier. Never. When all around me were reduced to blubbering idiocy, I remained stoic with an eyebrow raised. But one of the hormonal shifts after age 35 gifted me with this nonsense. Commercials, stress, The Notebook, frustration, bad dreams - all generate the water works. Usually, I can beat them back through sheer determination not to spend my life with pinkened eyes and puffy nose clutching a Kleenex like a damsel in distress. But for some reason, I was full scale bawling.

Utter dismay reigned supreme as the men began all getting up and speaking at once.
"Who the f**k asked for snacks?!"
"I was only joking. We brought our own food, really!"
"Oh my God, what's wrong - is she sick?"
"What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything!"
"Maybe that's the problem. Maybe you were supposed to do something."
"Michele, did he forget to do something?'
"What should we do?"
"Something, look at her, she's miserable."
"Put her to bed."
"Put her to bed? She's a grown azz woman, what are you talking about?"
"Then take her to bed? Is that better? You knew what I meant, damn!"
"Should we go?"
"God, I hate when women cry."
"At least she cries pretty. It's the ugly cry that rips your heart out."
"The silent cry when you can't tell they're crying until you see the tears?"
"That's the worst."
"Crying during sex is the worst."
"You made a women cry during sex?"
"Tears of joy, son - tears of joy. But you have to stop and ask."
"Can all of you shut the hell up for ten seconds?"
By this time, 3N was hustling me back to his room and was all urgent. "What is it, what's wrong? Did I do something? These guys could go. Talk to me. Or do you just want to stand here like this for a minute? I can shut up. I'll just hold you. Should I sing, rock back and forth, strip, run a bath, what's going to make you happy? Just give me a sign, a nudge, a head bop. You're scaring the shit out of me."

I started laughing that hiccupy half laugh, half cry. I had to. He was so panicky. "I'm sorry, long day. Hormones. You're fine. I'm fine. Stripping? For real though?"

He let out a deep sigh. "A brother was willing to try anything."

"Anything?"

"Within reason, woman. What's really going on with you?"

I went into the bathroom and splashed water on my face - yes, the Lash-Blast Waterproof Mascara works! I walked back in, "It was a moment. I think I'm more tired than I realize. I'm really okay. Let me go holla at your boys. They've gone deathly silent in there." I walked back out to the living room. "Minor meltdown, fellas but we're all good. Sorry?" I flashed a smile.

They seemed to all exhale at once. So I had to ask, "You all got a little wigged. What is it about the tears?"
"Means I've done something wrong and chances are I don't know what."
"Tears mean something has to be fixed and I have to fix it."
"I don't want to see someone I care about in pain."
"Oh yeah, if a man walks out on a woman when she is crying, he gives not a single f**k about her."
"Unless she's a drama queen and cries all the damn time."
"An unhappy woman is never a good thing"
"I never know how to make the tears stop."
"Oh there's one way to make them stop"
"Do you always think with your d**k?"
"My grandmama says too much crying is followed by goodbyeing."
"What does that even mean?"
"You would know if you could but keep a woman for more than a weekend."
"Oooo."
I had to go before that turned ugly. "Okay fellas, I'm going to head out. Great seeing everybody. Sorry for the scare."

Brothers of the blogosphere - what's the deal with the tear freak out? Is it really that uncomfortable for you? (Because it's quadruple uncomfortable for us when you cry) Ladies, aren't we irritated by the women who fake cry to get what they want? Let's talk water works today. Who sheds them, when, why and how do we handle it. 

p.s. I hate hormones. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Faking it - no, not that! Surviving the work social

3N and I were forced required compelled to go to his boss' get together last night. We hate those joints. His boss throws the whackest whitest least flavorful get togethers known to man. The last soiree involved a Risk marathon. You remember the game Risk? Took hours and hours and hours to play even when the world was divvied up in advance? Yeah...

So last night, we attend yet another freakity frickin' game night at dude's estate. It's not a house, it's an estate. Someone has to buzz you in to the neighborhood and then into his driveway and then into the house. The economy may be a pile of flaming shiggity but international wealth management is still straight stealing. 

Anyway, at least this time we were allowed to chose the game and chose our teams. Unfortunately, boss man and his very plastic wife wanted to be partners with me and 3N. [They are both just a little too damn friendly if you catch my drift, but that's a whole other post] So we chose Scene It for the Wii and sat down with 3 other teams to play. Boss Man hands me the controller, "Bring it home, sister."

**insert laugh track here** [Why I gotta be a sister tho?]

If I had $100 for every time 3N and I did the fake laugh, he and I would be on a plane to Costa Rica for a 10-day all expense paid vacation right now. "Oh my God, you are too funny. Stop, you're killing me. It's too much! He-he-he." The one boss man's his wife took her eyes off of 3N's ass to catch my eye and exchange a glance, I knew she had probably been faking much more than laughter for quite some time. Bless her bleach blonde heart.

It was just a quirk that a lot of the movies in this round of Scene It were mafia movies and it was Mob Week on AMC last week. The other half of the questions were sci-fi and 3N is Mr. Science Fiction. It took no time at all to wrap that game up. There was an awkward moment when one of 3N's coworkers tried to make some sort of joke about a movie he had seen where the aliens had Asian brains and Negro penises. Yeahhhhh.... you know when you're the only people of color in the room and everybody looks at you to see if you're going to start a race riot over some shiggity?

3N to the rescue, "Sounds like you might need more work to do if you have enough spare time to watch movies like that, Jeff."

**insert louder laugh track here** "Ha, ha - you sure told him!"

After making small talk for another twenty minutes and nursing soft drinks, we made our excuses. We have a routine:
3N: "Well, you know Michele's a busy lady, I don't want her to turn into a pumpkin."
Me: "At least not until you buy me the diamond slippers!"
"He-he-he!"
"Diamond slippers"
"That's inflation for you!"
"So funny!"
"You two are so cute!"

It was all giggles until boss man's wife said, "I was hoping you'd stick around, we're going to open some champagne and take a swim in a little while."

We exchanged glances, 3N was looking slightly panicky. I took one for the team. "Girlfriend, you know I just got my hair done. Don't come between a black woman and a fresh do."

"He-he-he! I hear you, girlfriend!"

Whew, we were outta there.

BougieLand, the chit-chatter. The fake work laugh. The stories you've heard before but sit through again. The happy hours that aren't mandatory... but really are. The pretense of liking folks you would never (ever, ever) spend time with otherwise... who's done it and how'd you get through it? Have you developed a work social persona? An exit strategy? Do tell...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The New Relationship Juggle Struggle


A recent phone conversation...
*Ring-Ring*
"This is Michele."
"Is it? Is it Michele? Because I used to have a friend at this number but I haven't heard from her in weeks!"
"Hey girl, I've been swamped."
"You're always swamped, what's really happening? You got a new man?"
"Well there is someone I've been seeing..."
"For how long?"
*mumbles* "About six months or so?"
"Heffa, did you say six months?"
"Mayhaps."
"It's a good thing I love you, when do we meet him?"
"I'll set something up."
"I cannot BELIEVE you have turned into one of those chicks who gets a man and ditches her girls!"
"Ma'am, we were only catching up once every few months before I got a man?"
"Whatever, how fine is he? I know he's fine. Is he finer than-"
"See, that's why you haven't met him yet. Get your mind right and I'll call you this weekend."
"You betta. Don't make me come out there."
I'm not that girl. I'm not the girl who gets a man and ditches her girls. I am a woman who is doing entirely too much. In the scheme of things, there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. When deciding what to do with the spare 4.7 hours a week I don't have carved out for something else... my bad, I decided to get in some time with the man. But I'm in a different kind of situation, most of my girlfriends are married with kids and live 40+ minutes away. Even before the man, we would catch up by phone and see each other every other month. I have girls I consider to be my close friends that I haven't actually laid eyes on in years. It's definitely not like it was in my twenties and early thirties when me and the girl crew were hanging tight every weekend and twice during the week. Those days are done. Chele needs naps.

But I am familiar with the get-a-man-ditch-your-girl phenomenon. I had a close friend that we could always tell when she had New Man syndrome. She would go from meeting us for workouts and dropping by to get her TV watch on to going complete radio silent for weeks at a time. I used to tease her, "Does your phone only dial one number when you've got a man?" We actually had a huge falling out years ago (for a number of reasons), but the last straw was that I was moving to California and instead of coming by to see me the week I left, she decided to spend time with her new man. Umm... sisterhood FAIL.

3N gets teased everyday (every. darned. day) by his crew because the old "Open Door - All May Enter" policy is no more. The days of the fellas falling into his spot on their way home/out/after church/before a date/to grab a bite/to play Xbox... done. Keys had to be relinquished, alarm codes got changed, visiting hours and protocols put in place. These things sometimes happen.

There just doesn't seem to be enough time to get it all in. And do it all well. But I guess that's life.

Ladies and gents? Have you gone through the new relationship juggle struggle? Have you seen it in action? Thoughts, comments, insights?

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