Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Could you date... a player/playette?

(From the Urban Dictionary)
Player: A male who is skilled at manipulating ("playing") others, and especially at seducing women by pretending to care about them, when in reality they are only interested in sex. Possibly derived from the phrases "play him for a fool", or "play him like a violin". 

Playette: a female version of a player can play in several different ways: 
a) have multiple boyfriends with or without them knowing about each other 
b) lead many different guys on but never actually commit 
c) goes from guy to guy to guy to guy to guy 
(see Hall & Oates Maneater)

Let me kick this post off with a shameless plug. In my 2012 release, Pretty Boy Problems, the male lead in the story - Beau Montgomery is a player. He's an unrepentant hound dog who has skated through life on his charm, looks and uh- cocoa prowess for years. It isn't until he meets his equal on all levels who simply isn't having it that he decides to change his ways. But it takes him a little time to completely drink the "Get Right" Koolaid and in the meantime, the heroine in the book is giving him all manner of hell.

In one scene, Mr. Beau literally leaves the bed of one woman and then realizes his mistake and shows up at old girl's house in the middle of the night to confess and make amends. I had to do all sorts of literary backflips to make this scene work (and of course I can't tell you how it turns out) because I couldn't fathom such a thing in real life.

If a young, single person wants to pass out their cocoa with two-for-one coupons, so be it. As long as you are being safe, responsible and not leaving a trail of disillusioned or broken people in your wake - do you. It's when a person is playing with people's heads and hearts that I have issues. I also look with skeptical side-eye at people "past a certain age" who are still out in the streets stirring Le Chocolat with everything that moves. Discernment, anyone? I tend to cross my arms and tap my foot when I hear someone bemoaning the lack of a "serious" relationship when I see them leading with the cocoa.

All of this to say, I'm too old to date players. I have zero patience for "taming" someone who wishes to run wild. You needed to catch me in my twenties for that when I truly believed that all any man needed was a "good woman" to get his act together. Let's stop and giggle over that one, shall we?

This goes both ways, fellas. There are some sister-girls out there wildin' with no remorse as well. Playing is playing no matter what side of the fence it's coming from.

So I ask you, BougieLand? Could you date a player/playette? I mean seriously, for the long term. Don't players need love too or do they have reform to make the "serious consideration" list? Anyone in BougieLand a "reformed player"? In a relationship with one? (I do know some of you personally and will side-eye the hell out of your comments) Thoughts, comments, confessions? Do share...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Could you... make a sex tape?

For the most part, I say what people do in the privacy of their own homes is their business. Really. Do you and her and him. Whatever, boo-boo, it's your world. I truly believe this. Until the privacy of your home hits the internet and twenty people send me the link.. then I have a problem. 

I know in this age of sexting and camera phones and folks swapping body part pics like post-it notes that a film of your naked aerobics may not seem like a big deal. It is to me. That seems like too much sharing. I recall a few years ago meeting a guy online and the third sentence he typed was "send me pictures of your body" - wait, what? I don't know you like that. Can I get a coffee and a zip code where you live before you ask for previews of the good 'n plenty?

One of the exes really wanted to make a sex tape. Which was surprising as he was a bit of a celeb and you would think he'd be more cautious about that sort of thing. Nevertheless, he persisted in asking and I persisted in saying hell naw. He brought it up any time there was the most remotely related conversational thread:
Me: "Let's go see a movie tonight."
Him: "Or we could stay in and make a movie tonight."
Le Sigh. It's not that I'm a prude. I'm really not. But:
1) I have no desire to see and hear myself in the throes of cocoa. None whatsoever. 
2) I just know I'd be the one person whose housekeeper exterminator cable repair guy ex-s.o.-with-a-grudge stumbled across it and decided to unleash it on YouTube. 
3) I'm trying to get through life with only a certain number of people seeing me naked. 
And last but not least 4) BougieMom is still alive and kickin' - I'd prefer not to send her to the grave with that image in her mind.

I know, I know. Believe me the ex assured me hundreds of time that we would make the video, watch it and then erase it. No harm, no foul. Yet and still.... can't do it.

In speaking with a male friend of mine last week, he confessed that he and the ex-wife had made a few of these videos and now that they were separating, he was concerned that she had copies somewhere and would leak them to the board at the university where he now teaches. I said I could see where that would be a little bit of a problem but since it was him and his wife and they were consenting adults, it wasn't as bad as others. Then he shared a few details about the goings-on immortalized on these videos. After I got over the ick factor I advised him to seek and destroy the evidence.

What say you, BougieLand? Could you make (have you made) a tape? What would you do if it ended up on YouTube? Should people that work in positions of "moral authority" just stay away from cameras while naked? Thoughts, comments, experiences? Do share...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Could you date... a religious fanatic?

As usual happens over a holiday weekend, I played catch up with a few friends. I still have a few to go but it's always interesting/eyeopening/entertaining to see what's been going on with people over the last twelve (twenty-four?) months.

I caught up with a girlfriend of mine from way, way back in the day. She is a reformed wild child who now punctuates her points by adding Bible verses to the end of her sentences. They seem a little over the top but she's determined to tack them on. For instance, in discussing her youngest who is a teenager and more than a little rebellious she added, "I told her that she was a noble vine who became a degenerate plant. Jeremiah 2, you know?"

Um, alrighty then. Her big news is that she is dating a "minister" (I use the quotes because he just proclaimed himself a prophet of God one day) who only preaches and lives "Old Testament" faith. 

**brakes screeching**

Anytime I hear about someone who is only into one part (and not the best part) of the Bible, I just have to pump the brakes. Say what?

Apparently dude has made up a strict set of rules involving the conduct of the women of the world. Interesting things like not leaving the house after sundown. Only speaking when being spoken to and of course, my favorite - never denying The One God Sent To You sexual favors whenever you are called upon to do your duty.

So am I the only one who thinks dude is a two-cent wannabe cult leader in the making? Since I pull no punches, I advised her to run towards the river and turn left at the lamp without looking back. She is convinced that this man has been sent to her from God to teach her something. Yes, I agreed. He has been sent to tell you What Not To Do.

I've dated semi-religious, back-sliding religious, nebulous faith-based, and fake-ass calling themselves Christian folks. I've dated straight up sinners and a dude or two who were trying so hard to be pious it was pitiful. I've dated believers who are trying to walk the path and non-believers who didn't believe there was a path. My consensus has long been that I want somebody who is pew-sitting but not Bible-thumping.

Talking to girlie got me to thinking - could I date someone who was uber-uber-religious, bordering on fanatic? BougieLand, could you? Could date someone who went to church five days (or more) a week? Could you date an ordained minister or someone from a strict Orthodox sect? Would you feel comfortable? On the flip, if you are religious - could you date an Atheist? Doesn't that throw off the entire "equally yoked" concept? Could you build a long-term relationship with someone from a completely different religion? Would you convert? Is there such a thing as too religious? Any one, some or all of the above. Thoughts, comments, experiences  Do share...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Etiquette 101

I'm hoping to catch some of you before you commit Holiday Faux Pas that could get you 1) cut 2) disinherited or 3) shamed. There are some basic rules of etiquette about this Thanksgiving dancerie. (Yes, dancerie is a word, please check with the MJB dictionary if you don't believe me.) Back to the topic at hand: If you are the least bit unsure of what to do, just don't do it. Please... don't get beat down with a turkey leg or find yourself eating a turkey sammich at the airport Subway with the imprint of someone's boot on your hindparts. Do the right thing...

1) Don't show up unannounced or uninvited to Thanksgiving dinner unless it's an immediate relative. Your friends may love you but this is a family holiday. Unless you've been invited, showing up is no bueno. Showing up with several extra mouths to feed is just as bad. And even if it is an immediate family relative...

2) Don't show up empty-handed unless you're prepared to do work. Forget what you heard, it's not cute to show up late, plunk down in front of the TV and ask "When's dinner going to be ready?" No. Bring a bottle of wine, a pitcher of kool-aid, extra napkins... something! Or get in the kitchen and offer to stir, chop, set something.

3) Even though we fam and all? This is not your opportunity to play twenty questions about folks' life. That means not asking the single people why they ain't married. Not asking the married people when they putting some beans in the oven. Not asking the ratchet side of the fam how the parole hearing went. Just sit down and make chit-chat about turkey, weather and football. (H/T to @TiffanyNHouston for her FB update yesterday)

4) We're all in this together. Respect the personal space. This means that cousin Tay-Tay needs to lay off the fake Giorgio perfume cloud she usually douses herself in, Uncle Charlie shouldn't be smelling of the Jack Daniels' distillery at 10:00am and Lil Junior needs a healthy supply of fresh diapers on hand. I'm just saying. Family funk is still funky.

5) If you cannot cook, please 6lb 9oz Baby Jesus - go pick something up from Whole Foods. Do not show up with some tore up leaves swimming in bacon fat and call it greens. No. Thanksgiving is no time to experiment with grown folks' stomach linings. Crescent rolls are always a win. A fruit tray says "I respect your intestinal tract" - know your limitations people.

6) If this isn't your mother's house and you show up with your own Tupperware/Aluminum foil, you have failed at life. 

7) If you are a bringing a brand new snuggle-buddy to Turkey Time, expect aforementioned date to be eyed up one side and down the other. To be grilled, talked about and basically put through 10 of the first 20 torture practices from Guantanamo Bay. I don't recommend holidays for the initial family meet-n-greet. It's too much pressure all the way around. But if you and your new boo get down like that? Hope you are thick-skinned and locked and loaded. Also, be prepared to be asked about your 2011 cuddle-cocoa for years to come. "Whatever happened to...?"

8) If you are a guest in someone's home (unless that is your childhood home), please don't act like you're at home. Ya feel me? Keep all your nasty questionable unhygienic personal habits to yourself. I say this having had a guest who felt comfortable going to the restroom and leaving the door open AND carrying on a conversation while doing their business. #WDDDA?

9) If you are not a sports fan... this is not your day. You already know that at least two (this year three) professional football games will be on. People will want to watch them. If you don't care to participate, bring a book or your laptop or a deck of cards - something to keep you from complaining about the game being on all day long. It's Thanksgiving... football happens. Get over it.

10) Last but not least... don't be the family member who sips one cup too many of the spiked cider and starts cutting a fool. Don't be that person. Airing all the family biz and calling folks out their name while you drop verses from "Watch the Throne" helps nobody. Waking up the next morning in the garage wrapped in a snuggie with nothing but an empty rum bottle for company is just pathetic. Ease up on the liquid cheer so you don't have to apologize every day until Christmas.

[Bonus rule for the social media folks: Do not. I repeat. Do NOT! take pictures of your food plate and send them out into the innanets unless you KNOW they look edible and delicious. No one wants to see that mess. And you will get retweeted and talked about. Please and thank you.]

Good people, these are just the basics. We'll see how you do with these and then we'll step it up to the next level for Christmas. In the meantime... did I miss any? Do share and hey... let's be bougie out there. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Open Mic: Why are you thankful this week?

No post week on BnB. I'm on... hiatus. Sabbatical? Holiday? Whatever you'd like to call it that means I'm probably not posting this week? Yes, I'm on that. Therefore, the BnB floor is yours to chat about... whatever. Also, the BnB Chat window is back on the sidebar. Enjoy the miracles of the holiday season :-).

Hope every has a wonderful Thanksgiving! Feel free to take this time to share what you are most thankful for this week. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bougie Recipe Swap - Thanksgiving Day Faves

Depending on where everyone in extended BougieFam is located, we have very large or very small Thanksgiving celebrations. Sometimes it's just me, BougieMom and BougieSis. On those occasions it's ridiculous to break out a gigantic turkey for the three of us. In fact back in the day BougieDad was never much of a turkey guy. He did something magical with duck that I've yet to recreate and he introduced us to the wonders of Cornish Game Hens.

This poultry is more tender but it's really just smaller chicken. One really hungry person could eat a whole hen but generally one hen feeds two people. Here's the recipe:
Herb-Rubbed Cornish Hen 
4 Cornish Hens defrosted, rinsed and patted dry, no innards
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp crushed fresh garlic
Herbs de Provence seasoning (if you can't find this seasoning, create a combination of poultry seasoning, tarragon, parsley, dill, basil and thyme)
Lemon Pepper
Sea Salt
2 tbsp spicy mustard
3 tbsp honey
16 oz chicken broth
1/4 stick butter or margarine 
Preheat over to 350°. Rub the hens inside and out with olive oil. Then rub garlic, lemon pepper, sea salt, herbs seasoning and paprika inside and outside, generously coating the skin. Place hens in foil lined roasting pan and place in oven to begin cooking. Then in a small saucepan, place butter, chicken broth, mustard, honey and more garlic if that's your taste and simmer and stir - this is your basting sauce. After twenty minutes, lightly drizzle sauce over hens. Roast hens for about an hour, basting every twenty minutes. Hens should be golden brown. Pour last of sauce over hens before serving. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving Recipes - anyone? Dish you love that you don't have the recipe for? Drinks? Desserts?Snack mix? Do share...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lessons Learned: Some people just like drama

Flashback: It's somewhere in the 1990s and I'm chilling at Lawrence's house. Lawrence, my shiny new ambitious boyfriend. He was a tech sales guy for Xerox. He was 5'10", caramelly, pretty eyes and charming. But he always had some sort of drama swirling. Money issues or drama at work, with his family, someone at church or from prior relationships - something was on simmer at all times.

We'd fight, he'd storm off and then show up later with a grand gesture. He either loved me or hated me, there was very little in-between with this guy. It was a perpetual motion see-saw of a relationship. Our chemistry was off the charts and that's my only excuse.

We also had a trust problem. Or rather at that time - I didn't trust men, he was a man so I didn't trust him. His behavior was a little sketchy. There were times when he was missing/unavailable/didn't answer his phone. He always had a good explanation but he was one of those guys who talked fast and overexplained. You know like someone whose alibi is just a little too perfect? "Twenty people saw me tap-dancing under a big clock with a Slurpee in one hand and a date-stamped receipt in the other... AND it's on YouTube!" Ooookay.

As I'm sitting on his sofa, he's folding clothes. As he's folding, I'm noticing women's clothes mixed in. 'What's that about?" I asked him. He said they were his sister's items. The only reason I halfway let it slide was because I'd met her earlier in the week and she'd mentioned something about borrowing Lawrence's appliances. Still my side-eye was engaged. 

Later the same night (or early the next morning) the doorbell rings. Two a.m. and the doorbell rings? He got up, went to the door, had heated words with a female voice, slammed the door and came back to bed. Before he could climb all the way back in, the doorbell rang again. Okay now, really? I made a move to get up this time and he said, "No, it's okay," and ran back towards the door. I got up and looked out the window. Some chick was in his front lawn with suitcases. Next thing I know, he has picked up the suitcase and is walking her towards the house. The hell you say?

By the time, they get in and are walking down the hallway - I already had clothes on and was looking for my purse and shoes. As I hotfoot towards the door, he's tugging on my arm with explanations. She was an old friend from back in the day. She was in town unexpectedly and in a jam. She just needed a place to stay for a few days. I'm looking at chick, she's looking at me - we both know what's up. Difference between the two of us? She was willing to roll up to a man's house at 2:00am to get what she wanted. I was ready to flee a man's house at 2:00am behind some shiggity. I bounced.

Two weeks later, he invited me out to dinner saying everything was cool. She moved in with her fiance, he wanted all of us to have dinner to clear the air. At this point, my mind has already turned the "this is some bullshiggity right here" corner but I agree to the dinner. Dinner went well up to dessert when this chick starts talking about her seven year old son. Lawrence looks shocked and asks who the father is. She calmly announces that the boy is his. Me, Lawrence and her fiance are all looking at her like, "What?!" WDDDA, ya'll. WDDDA?!

That was it for me. Not that the seven year old appearing from nowhere was his fault, but he was the kind of guy that attracted drama like All Star Weekend attracts clear heels. And he thrived on it. When things were calm, he was itchy as if he knew that drama was beckoning and he couldn't wait to embrace it with both arms open.

Lesson learned: I have enough drama of my own, I really don't need anyone with suitcases full and more on the way. I know life is treacherous terrain. There are valleys and mountaintops. I kinda like life on the plateaus.

What say you, BougieLand? Are there just people in the world who run to drama? Thrive on it? Don't know how to live without it and create some where there was none? What is to be done with those types of folks? Are you a drama magnet? Thoughts, comments, confessions?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lessons Learned - Sometimes "being nice" is just mean

I used to have a real problem with being the bad guy. Or even being perceived as the bad guy. I'm a peacekeeper at heart. I didn't like hurting other people's feelings. I didn't want to see others suffer because of my actions and it was integral that people (all people everywhere in the entire universe) like me. We call this condition worrying about the wrong damn things or "TooNiceForYoOwnDamnGood" (TNFDG) - being so determined to be nice, accommodating and charming to others that you are doing yourself a grave disservice.

This crazy complex played hell with my career in Human Resources where I often had to be the person to deliver crushing news. I would tap dance around the issue hoping the person I was talking to took the hint. I would breeze over it in conversation and then follow-up with an email that broke all the really bad news. That came to a screeching halt when I had to lay off folks. There's no kinder, gentler way to tell someone that their job is gone in thirty days but here's a nice packet of information to make you feel better about it.

This problem was even worse in my relationships when I didn't want to tell a guy that I wasn't feeling him anymore. In my early twenties, I was a serial phone-call-dodger-and-fade-to-black. So much so that I've had people (years later) walk up and ask "Whatever happened between you and me? One minute you were there, the next... not."

That wasn't fair to either of us. It was actually meaner (more mean?) to leave the guy hanging in limbo than to have just told him "we've come to the end of the road" when I first started feeling that way. 

That all came to a screeching halt when I ran into one guy who wouldn't take the missed phone calls and canceled dates as a hint. The first time I had to say, "We are not going to work out, please quit calling me," was probably harder for me than for him. He gave me the bewildered, "What did I do?" and when I told him, he shrugged and walked out. He was dating someone else two nights later. That experience plus getting bruised a bit in the game of love hardened me up enough that.. nice wasn't as important as getting my point across.

Not that I'm mean or anything, I'm perfectly delightful... but no one is ever confused about where I stand, what I mean and where the lines are drawn. Honestly, some of my early relationships were a hot mess because I wouldn't articulate what I was thinking or feeling for fear of hurting the other person's feeling. So it was more okay for me to be miserable than for them to be a little uncomfortable? Yeah... no - I got over that. 

I'm still a peacekeeper but I'm also a militant, a realist and a lover of brutal honesty. I have started inserting phrases like, "It's great that you feel that way but it's not going to happen." Or "I'm so glad you asked me that, the answer really is no. In fact, hell no." And my personal favorite, "It is important to me that you are happy but not at the sake of my sanity." I have thoughts and they must be heard and acknowledged. Good, bad and ugly. See? I'm an absolute joy. 

Lesson Learned: Say what you mean and mean what you say. Early and often. It's easier for everybody in the long run.

BougieLand, know anybody with TNFDG? Are you afflicted with this malady your self? Is it a case of trying to do the right thing and taking it too far? Is there a point at which being too nice is denial and avoidance? Without getting into the whole "nice guys" meme, do men suffer from this same disease? What, besides life and an epiphany can fix it? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lessons learned - Don't confuse the cocoa with a convo

For those unfamiliar with Le Bougie vernacular, yes - cocoa is a euphemism for naked aerobic activity.

I was late to the cocoa game. Which is really a polite way of saying that if my father could have locked me up in an ivory tower with a chastity belt and four nuns, he would have. Even when I was at college, he had a tendency to hop a Southwest flight down to Austin and show up at the dorm/apartment unannounced just to remind me that he could. And if none of that worked, he had already stuffed my head chock full of Christian guilt trips and horror stories about what happened to "girls like that."

Suffice to say that by the time I got around to stirring Le Chocolat, I had built it up to be a wondrous declaration of love. A sharing of emotional synergy between two people, a veritable pinnacle expressing an ocean's worth of passion sealing a partnership of love forever. (Can you hear the swelling violin music playing in the background and waves crash against the shore?)

My "first" was older (and wiser in the ways of cocoa) than me and took full advantage of that. When there was an argument to be won or a point to be made or a conversation to evade, he boiled up the cocoa and served it steaming hot. My young, blank self thought that meant everything was okay. It took me forever to set boundaries, "Some discussions we need to have while clothed and upright." In short, I confused the cocoa for a conversation.

Others confuse the cocoa for affection. Some think it is a promise of sorts. Some see it as a beginning, others see it as an ending. Some use it as weapon, others as currency. Some use it for exercise, others as a way to merely pass the time. The problem arises when both parties involved don't see it the same way.

One person is passing the time, the other is trying to make a love connection... that's not going to end well. There's a great line from a few seasons ago on Grey's Anatomy where Meredith tells her sister Lexie, "Your problem is that your heart is in your vijayjay."

I have to admit that this is partly true for me as well. I have not gotten to the point where I can stir the cocoa without some form of emotional attachment. I'm just not hard-wired that way and the code my parents embedded at a young age doesn't help. I have no beef with men and women who can pour random cups of cocoa, stir it up, drink and leave (unless they're grimy with it). I think it would simplify things to no end. Have an itch, get it scratched, keep it moving. 

My lesson learned? Sometimes cocoa is just about cocoa. It's a good idea to ask (beforehand) just what it means. Even if it's as simple as "no strings, right?" prior to diving in. When you're in a relationship, sometimes it's still just about the cocoa. "Don't think this solves any damn thing." "Right we're both still mad, you naked yet?" That kind of clarity is appreciated. 

BougieLand, what say ye? How much confusion is caused when the meaning of the cocoa is not spelled out up front? I can't be the only one who has trouble separating "intimacy" from "intimate acts," am I? Fellas, how do you have this "cocoa clarifying" conversation? Or do you? Ladies? Your thoughts? Do share. The floor is yours.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lessons Learned - Saying "I love you" is tricky

When I started writing books, I swore that I would never have the characters figure out that they love each other and then wrap up the book. Like saying "I love you" was all that was needed to make everything okay. No. Acknowledging your emotions is just the beginning, not the end. Nothing is wrapped up in a nice, neat bow just because the words are spoken.

As a matter of fact, a lot of times those three words complicate the entire issue. There was one long term relationship that I should have bailed on a gajillion times but I didn't because "he loved me." You know that and $5.00 would get me a cup of coffee at Starbuck's.

I thought it was such a powerfully wonderful thing to have someone (who wasn't required by blood) love me that it never occurred to me to wonder - did he really? Or was that just something he said because it got him what he wanted? Which was me, still in it for another 3 - 6 months. That sounds incredibly cynical. I'm about 98% sure he loved me but I'll never be convinced that this particular s/o loved me more than he did himself. Or maybe his idea of "I love you" was different from mine.

One of my good friends shares her worst memory from her last relationship. The guy told her, "I love you." And she told him, "Um, thank you?" Beginning of the end. 

I had another s/o who told me he loved me after two weeks. This floored and disturbed me. "But you don't know me!" I argued. He said he loved my spirit, he knew me from the moment he met me. Now why I didn't flee at that moment? Ummph. So only he was surprised six months later when he stared at me accusingly, "You're not who I thought you were." No really? But my snarky butt replied, "Still loving my spirit?" That took care of that "love" connection.

And my all-time fave. Dude slams down his beer on the table. "Well, we gonna do the love thing or what?" Oh. The romance. 
Me: "Beg pardon?"
Him: "Are we in it or what?"
Me: "I reckon." 
Him: "Good. Now what?" 
Me: Shrugs. 
Him: "I guess we should figure that out." 
Me: "I guess so." 
Him: "Chinese for dinner? I know you had a long day and you don't want to cook."
Me: "Sounds perfect."
See now, that's a step in the right direction..

My lesson learned - the words don't mean da-da without something substantive to back it up. Saying it solves nothing  Meaning it helps everything. I don't need to hear it as much as I need to see it.

BougieLand, what say you? Do people say "I love you" too easily? Does it get to a point where it loses its meaning? And how awkward is it when one person says it and the other person doesn't? Or worse when someone says it and clearly doesn't mean it? How soon is too soon to say it? Let's hear your thoughts.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lessons Learned - Real relationships are not a fairy tale

Welcome back to a brand new Lessons Learned week! Where I share magical tidbits from the ever-evolving tapestry of my life and try to share what I've learned from it. 

I grew up on Disney, Puccini operas, classic musicals and romance novels. (Okay there was some other stuff mixed in as well) But those four things plus my inherent nature, skewed me towards being a die-hard romantic. Of both head and heart. Even when I saw real relationships struggle in real life, I assumed it was because they stopped believing in the power of their love.

Due to BougieDad's unrelenting high standards, I had very few dates in junior high or high school unless I snuck out. Left up to him, I would have gone to Homecoming, Winter Formal and Prom and called it a wrap. Of course, we employed a lot of "group dates" and I did (on occasion) sneak out. Those poor dudes I dated in my teens. There they were just trying to put smooth sentences together and I was waiting on music to play in the background. 

My poor prom date trying to cop a feel and me lecturing him on the virtues of waiting for your one true love... classic. Especially since I now know dude was a professional street pharmaceutical salesman who had chicks lined up across the county? No wonder he looked at me like "They still make you?" Bless his heart, he's still in jail. [Can't tell you how proud I am that my prom date is incarcerated! Oooh wait, does that give me street cred?]

Moving on. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college when the guy I thought I was getting engaged to married someone else over Thanksgiving break that relationships lost their Disneyesque bright shininess. Talk about Icarus flying to close to the sun with wax wings and falling to earth? That was me. To go from thinking love was a sun-drenched Swiss Alps adventure to thinking men weren't bout shiggity was quite a reversal.

It took years (years I say) before I found any sort of solid footing in the relationship game. My twenties were shot. And it wasn't until my early thirties that I figured out that even though I no longer believed in the fairy tale, I was waiting for it and judging men against that standard in my head. Like a child who no longer believes in Santa Claus but can't help checking out the chimney? Yep, that was me. 

It wasn't until my mid-thirties that I even understood how to disagree in relationships without it turning catastrophic. I learned how to communicate in a way that wasn't either overly conciliatory or retaliatory. I understand that for a relationship to work, you actually have to work. And no magical being is going to wave a wand and make it all better. And most importantly, not every relationship is meant to be.

Bless my heart, I'm still such a believer in signs and destiny. I think people come into your life for a reason. It didn't occur to me until a few years ago that that reason is not always the one you think it is. Anywho before I get maudlin let me shout out MGM studios, Harlequin and Disney for the excellent imagery of happy, dancing Caucasian folks forever etched into my brain. 

BougieLand, do we all carry preconceived notions about relationships from childhood into adulthood? Good, bad and ugly? What were yours? What have you learned? And what would you tell someone just starting to date about what to expect? Do share. The floor is yours...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bougie Recipe Swap - Cold Weather Comfort Food

Everyone has a food that makes them feel better on a cold or rainy or just not-so-great day. Someone came up with the apt term "comfort food". As the temperatures drop around most of the nation and Old Man Winter gets ready to make a complete nuisance of himself, I thought today would be a good day to talk food.

I'm quite the crockpot whiz in colder weathers. Soups, stews, slow-cooked meats - I'm all over it. The recipe I'll share today I originally received from @TiffanyNHouston and then I tweaked it for crockpot, swapped a few ingredients and here you go. It's error-proof, low maintenance and delicious.
White Chicken Chili - Crockpot
2 -3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (for added flavor, I marinate the chicken in fajita seasoning or you can buy preseasoned chicken fajita meat uncooked) cut in 1/2 inch squares
2 cans white (also called Great Northern) beans
3 tbspns crushed or minced garlic (fresh is best)
1 medium vidalia onion chopped
1 medium red onion chopped
2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1 can Rotel tomatoes hot (or mild if you don't want too much spice)
1 cup sweet corn
16 oz of chicken broth 
Seasonings (use below or one packet of McCormick's White Chicken Chili seasoning):
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp crushed dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of flour or cornstarch 
Into large crockpot place olive oil and garlic. Layer chicken next, pour cans of beans (with liquid) over the top, add tomatoes, onions, corn. Pour broth over the top. Add seasonings, stir once. Turn crockpot on. If you want to cook overnight, put crockpot on low - takes four to six hours (eight if your crockpot is very slow). If you cook on High, it's done in two to four. Midway through, check the consistency of your chili. If it's running a little thin, add the pinch of flour or cornstarch and stir again. If it's too thick, add more broth. Your chicken should be cooked all the way through and your chili should look like a thick soup when it's done.  
I serve over brown rice with shredded sharp white cheddar and diced avocado - tortilla chips on the side. It's also good with sour cream, diced scallions, salsa and monterey jack. This dish feeds 12 - 15 hungry people. 
Enjoy, BougieLand! What's your favorite comfort food dish? Drink? Dessert? Do share.
(Next week on Bougie Recipe Swap - Holiday Favorites)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hitting the wall

You can tell when it's coming. You feel yourself getting stressed over the little things. Your phone rings and you grit your teeth in dismay. You open up the eleventy-millionth email of the day knowing there are eleventy-million more waiting. Your patience is short, your energy is low and you find yourself dreaming longingly of winning the lotto, buying a private island and spending the rest of your days on a beach with a breeze.

Yes indeed, you are mere moments from Hitting the Wall. You suffer from DoingTooMuchItis but it has to be done, right?

Sometimes, we have to take a minute to remind ourselves that world won't stop spinning if every single thing on the to-do list doesn't actually get done. The s/o isn't walking away because you want 24-hours of me time. Life as we know if will not spin out of control if one or two things fall through the cracks.

This, I've come to understand, is an uniquely American concept. The combination pride/shame that we have so much to do and not enough time to do it in. People announce like a badge of honor just how little sleep they are getting, how many hours they are working and how they are surviving on Red Bull and triple shot expresso. That's not sexy. Like dropping dead at 44 isn't sexy (RIP Heavy) or having ulcers at 26 (hanging head in shame) isn't sexy. Living your life in a blur and realizing you don't know where the last two weeks two months two years went.

You know what is sexy? Waking up rested, feeling good every day and knowing when to say enough is enough. Recently, Jayme and I had the stupidest fight over which one of us needed to slow down, cut back and stop trying to be Superwoman. We literally were hurling accusations across the table at one and other. "You need to stop trying to be Dr. Phil and take on fewer patients!" "You need to stop trying to be Dr. Ruth, Maya Angelou and Oprah rolled into one!" Owen and David sat quietly exchanging manly "I ain't in it" looks.

When we finally realized how ridiculous we were being, we started laughing and invited ourselves to have several seats. We both needed a time out and a nap. So instead of hopping up at 1:00am to fire off a blog post, I just... didn't. Instead of returning those emails immediately, I waited an extra day. Instead of washing all four loads of clothes, I piled the second stack in the spare laundry basket and kicked the closet door shut. Ans exhaled.

The world didn't fly off it's axis, no one freaked out and life continued. For three nights in a row I slept for more than six hours. I actually got up and made breakfast before turning on the computer and firing up the cell phone. Let's see how long this lasts before I start backsliding.

Three things to do when you hit the wall. Bang your head against it, knock it down, or go take a nap and tackle it another day. Which one are you? What say you BougieLand? Are we just in a DoingTooMuchItis society? What do you do when it gets to be a little too much? Thoughts, comments, insights...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Five things NOT to do when running for President

It occurs to me just from the outside looking in that there are many things that should dissuade one from running for President. A lack of true commitment to public service, an unwillingness to open up every area of your life as an open book, a dearth of intelligence, criminal tendencies and the like. That's cool, not everybody is meant to be President. 

[strategic pause]

There should really be a few things that one ought to avoid doing if planning on leading our great nation. A Presidential What Not To Do, if you will. Here are five random things from the top of my head:

1. Make up a campy policy that when flipped upside down reads 666.
Does anyone even know what the 9-9-9 stand for? @CarolynEdgar suggested yesterday that it was 9 inches, 9 minutes, 9 women. But I thought that was too complementary.

2. Sing spirituals at a formal press conference.
Most of us that venture into professional life reach the understanding that there's a time and place for everything. You don't mix work hour activities with after hours activities. You don't mix professional and personal. You don't mix church and state... unless I guess you have a good singing voice and want to appear sympathetic when you're under siege. :-/ 

3. Mock the people that might have voted for yo' black azz you.
Nothing like telling an entire race of people (with the exception of Clarence Thomas and Michael Steele who we traded in the last racial draft anyway) that they are mindless idiots who can't think for themselves. Way to win friends and influence people.

4. Have sketchy financial statements.
Three things I don't play with: The I. The R. And the S.

5. Grab numerous white women's hindparts.
This is just poor thinking for married men. Married men in a position of power. Black married men in a position of power. Black married men in a position of power in the South. Black married men in a position of power in the South running for President. Nuff said.

What's that you say? A candidate did all these things and is still considered the forerunner? Oh. Uh. My bad. Carry on.

BougieLand, is this all one grand conspiracy to derail the Cain Train? Has no one told him that he's just the shill out front holding the GOP together until Perry or Romney figure out how to look the least bit Presidential? Did you believe Sharon Bialek? What are your thoughts on this entire hot mess?

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Seduction Excuse - I don't buy it

seduce [sɪˈdjuːs]
vb (tr)
1. to persuade to engage in sexual intercourse
2. to lead astray, as from the right action
3. to win over, attract, or lure

Saturday afternoon. I was standing in the Costco line behind Phoebe and Naomi. I don't know these women. They were blonde and dressed in identical uniforms of skinny jeans, tight v-neck sweaters, high heeled booties and oversized purses. I only know that their names are Phoebe and Naomi because every other sentence was "Are you serious, Phoebe?" "I'm totally serious, Naomi!" If I had to guess, I'd place them in their mid-to-late twenties but if they keep pancaking the makeup like that, their skin will age ten times faster than the rest of them. Anywho...

Phoebe and Naomi perplexed me. They had a huge pre-cooked dish of Marie Callender's baked Mac 'n Cheese nestled up next to a case of Coke Zero, three packages of celery, pomegranate juice, coffee, 6 bottles of wine, popcorn, one of those industrial tins of Danish butter cookies, a twelve-pack of Intuition razors plus a 27" inch TV and the Water for Elephants DVD. What was that life like?

The contents of their cart was befuddling but their conversation was so much worse. Me and the guy behind me were treated to a play-by-play of how Naomi found herself waking up in "some dude named Benny"'s bed earlier that morning. Naomi swears she had no intention of ending up there. In fact, Friday night she had gone out with Steve who was being a jerk so she walked over the pool tables and picked up a game and apparently Benny as well.

Then Naomi launched into the oldest tale in the book. Benny really listened to her. He was so sweet, she went home with him just to continue talking. When they got there, he poured wine and made brownies. (At this point, me and dude behind me exchanged glances. I've met "Benny" before and dude behind me has been "Benny". Benny was laying down page 21 of the Game Handbook.) Benny had a jetted tub in his bathroom. He suggested running Phoebe a bath so she could relax. Benny just happened to have girly-scented bath gels and flowers and candles. Fast-forward to the inevitable and Benny did all kinds of right by Naomi several times over.

Yet there she stood in Costco with Morning After Remorse "Can you believe I did all that with some guy I don't even know!" and then she pulled Le Lame Excuse: "He seduced me! I got caught up in the moment." I almost bit my tongue in half holding in the "Girlie, Please!" that was dying to spring forth from my lips.

Here's my problem with The Seduction Excuse - it implies that one has no decision making power in what comes next. It completely disregards free will. In listening to Naomi's Friday Night Adventures, I counted at least twenty places where she could have not gone with him and/or walked away. At least several opportunities to pull her panties on and exit the premises. You get caught up in the moment for... well... a moment. She spent over twelve hours with this dude and apparently was naked for quite a few of them.

It's a huge pet peeve of mine when people try to pull the seduction excuse. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that there are deliberately sexually predatory folks out there who live to meet and seduce others. But unless you are drugged, undercover or harmed (which is something else entirely) - why can't you say no? Since when was a polite "no thank you" so hard to squeak out? And if people are still pulling this "swept away" nonsense (side-eye to Shawn's ex-lady friend from last week) - can we stamp that as lame?

Speak to me, BougieLand. What say you? Can a grown-assed person in charge of their own faculties really fall back on The Seduction Excuse or is it just a way to hide the fact that they did what they wanted to do all along? When a person takes you home and starts popping bottles and whipping up baked goods... don't we know what's up? Someone help me out with this one. Can you really be seduced if you don't want to be?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Enough is enough - I've decided to #OccupySprint

Twelve years I have been a Sprint customer. Every eighteen months like clockwork, I bought a new phone and signed up for another twenty-four month contract. From Dallas to Cali to 80% travel and back to Dallas, me and Sprint have been through thick and thin. But things have gotten real darn thin.

It started six months ago, when I changed to the BlackBerry flip phone. All of a sudden, my data plan was no longer available. In fact, I needed to add a special BlackBerry data plan to what I already had. Okay fine. So what if the BlackBerry apps sucked and caused me drama. I had that BBM and that made everything else worth it. Until everybody I knew moved to Android or iPhone. Oh well. That wasn't Sprint's fault so I carried on.

Then there was the glitch of adding the work email to my phone. It required a subscription to BlackBerry Enterprise Solutions and there were strict security protocols from my company automatically installed on my phone. It made me crazy. So I took it off but... the security measures would not go away and my personal email settings were all jumbled. Into the Sprint Store I went. Five times. No one could seem to fix it. Not even when they wiped my phone and lost all my apps and data... three times. These things sometimes happen, right? Strike One.

Then there was the Jamaica trip. I was assured that I could add on an International Voice and Data Plan for a month that would cover calls and data from Jamaica with a flat rate for voice and .02 cents per data whatever. Thus, I felt confident to take hour long conference calls from the beach and to tweet from oceanfront. Until the bill came - $378.00. I called Sprint and was told that I misunderstood how the plan worked but they would credit me $14.99. Strike Two.

Running around to book signings and needing to access websites for payment, I decided to get a USB Mobile Internet device from Sprint. It worked twice. Both times inside Sprint stores. For three months, I wandered about slapping the USB into the side of my laptop hoping against hope. Nope. Finally I told Sprint to take it back and cancel the service. Sure, they said they would do it but would have to charge me an early termination fee. Wait... for a service that never worked? And I'm a long time "Premier" customer? For real though? Yeah, they weren't joking. $200 and they wanted it now. Strike effin' three.

I recently gave Time Warner and DirecTV the boot as well. #NoCountryForOverPricedServices. I switched phone, internet and cable to AT&T Uverse. I've worked at AT&T three times in my life so even though they aren't perfect, I knew what I was getting and who to call if any drama pops off. When my Mom complained that her Senior Plan on Sprint had gone from $27.99 to $50 - that was it. I snapped. We were going all in with AT&T. When AT&T sent over the info that her phone number and mine were moving, Sprint politely deducted $275  from her account and from mine. Uh, she wasn't on a contract and we don't have AutoPay. It was a high tech gank. Sprint apologized and promised to reverse the charges. Uh-huh, let me hold my breath.

AT&T sent us an email today to say our phones are on the way, don't you know Sprint has already cut my service? This will be the first weekend in over 13 years with no cell phone. No mobile tweeting, no foursquare, no "I'm on my way" texting? Whatever shall I do? Oh, I know... start a movement and #OccupySprint. :-[

BougieLand, who do you have cell service with? Are you happy, unhappy? Why? Anyone want to march with me?

Friday, November 04, 2011

It's Open Mic Friday...

Yes, it's that time again. I've written no post and you all are excellent at chatting amongst yourselves. So what's it going to be? Politics? Relationships? Getting to know you games? Social commentary? 

Go to it... the floor is yours.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

My Black Card ain't like yours...

Black CardA card given to all African American people just for being black. The card must be renewed annually by pledging loyalty to any number of pre-approved black causes or by scaring an undisclosed amount of white people, preferable in upperclass areas or in states like Connecticut. We have not ascertained it's usefulness and/or worth.

Case One: I quote from my email, "Chele, you can't be clowning Herman Cain. He's one of us and we should support him. I get that you're bougie but don't get your black card pulled."

You know what? If my Black Card is in anyway tied to the lyrical stylings of Herman "Did I Do That" Cain, you can have it back. Call the Negreaux Validation Committee and tell them to get on the case because I cannot with Hermie. And I certainly don't give two shakes of a damn about Citizen Cain over President Obeezy. Yeah no. Obama was never (ever ever) in danger of losing my vote to the Pizza King.

Case Two: From my tweets, "Why aren't you backing Reed Between the Lines? We finally have bougie black folks on TV and you won't support it? C'mon!" Second tweet, "You have to watch some BET just to keep your blackness up."

It's great that there is a bougenificent fam on TV. And I swearforeGod I tried like hell to like the show. But I don't. It's missing something. A live audience, a spark of sumthin' sumthin', I don't know but it's not there. I love Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm Jamal Huxtable (yes I know his real name) but their cuteness isn't carrying the show. Her wardrobe and his tight shirts are pleasant to look at but not so entertaining for a half hour.

If it were my show, I would have revamped the premise. I would have made her a single mom just divorced with the twins who meets Malcolm and has to decide if he's worth making an emotional investment. The growth of how they ascended to bougenificence would be far more entertaining but maybe that's just me.

If the regular watching of BET impacts my blackness, allow me to go all exotic and declare myself Guyanese-Southern. Just make up my own dang race. 

Case Three: From my Facebook mail, "You should get a reality show. You'd be so much better than NeNe."
Me, "Which one is NeNe? You know I don't keep up with all that."
"Girl, are you sure you're black? Every black girl knows NeNe. You gotta at least watch Housewives!"

Ur, uh - what rule book is that in? Did the NAACP set up an #OccupyRealityTV movement did Rev. Al march for countrywide recognition of NeNe? What are the chances that I sell fewer books or hire less people because I don't watch any of the HouseWifery shows? I'd say nil. NTTAWWT (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That). 

All of this commentary on my endangered black status has lead me to the conclusion that mayhaps the Black Cards come in different levels of Blackness? For sure there's an Honorary Black Card, and then maybe there's Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond level Blackness. Or is it more of a coffee scale? Latte, Caramel Macchiato, Mocha, Expresso? Le Bougie Shrug.

BougieLand, besides affirmation action and Michelle Obama's hair are there set issues that black people are expected to care about simply because we're black? Are we the only race that does this? Do share and explain. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The 90 days, no cocoa rule - A Bougie Bachelor Chronicle

A week or so ago, David's friend Shawn (okay, I claim him too) stormed into Jayme's house clearly furious, flummoxed and frustrated. He got a drink and then started pacing back in forth in front of the counter where the snacks were placed thereby making the rest of us furious, flummoxed and frustrated as well.  Mr. Shawn is the type who has to build up to his disclosures in his own way. If you try and force him to talk before he's ready, he shuts down. So we moved the snacks and let him stew for a little while.

Finally, he slammed his drink down on the counter and points a finger over to where Jayme, Annette and I are hovered over the guacamole. "This chick has put a 90-day padlock on the punanny. A time release lockbox. Who does that after the age of 30? Seriously, who does that?"

He continued, "What is the point of a b.s. rule like that when she is doing just about everything else? This chick has been naked, wide open on my bed doing-"

"Okay!" Jayme put her hand up. "Let's keep the details hazy. Let's pretend we're back in high school and say she's covered first, second and third base..." Shawn made a rolling motion with his hands, "third base plus some additional real estate and is just not letting you slide into home?"


"Is she a virgin?" Wes asked.

"Most assuredly not." Shawn answered.

"Wait, so she's letting you uh, taste the cocoa but not stir it?" Jay asked.


"And she's uh, licking the spoon?" Jay followed up.

"With enthusiasm."

"That's some high school college shiggity right there." JohnK said.

"Well what does she say?" I asked.

"She said she does not sleep with men without knowing them for ninety days because she doesn't want to make that kind of investment unless there's something real there." Shawn made the air quotes around "real".

Trey asked. "Women still have those rules? I thought they went out with the old millennium."

"Nope. They still have them." David shot me a look. So now all eyes were on me.

"Okay, wait a minute. I do have a 90-day No Cocoa rule but 1) I'm not a tease about it and 2) It's not a hard and fast rule." In other words, I've broken that rule under... duress. 

Owen shook his head. "No, it sounds slow and soft... and dry if we're really getting down to the nitty gritty."

Jayme rolled her eyes. "Some women want to hold off on physical intimacy until the emotional connection is there."

"I just like to know a guy mentally before I know him biblically." I shrugged.

"I thought that was rule was for three dates." Jay said.

"Whatever the time limit," I said, "it's not supposed to be just to torture the guy. However, in this case she appears to be doing a whole lot. If you get into bed naked with a guy and then pull up at the last minute, that's just rude."

Shawn said, "It goes beyond rude. It's immature and another term that I'll hold off on using."

JohnK said, "If she really wanted to keep the physical and emotional intimacy aligned, she wouldn't be dropping drawers and then snatching them up like she is. It's a power thing. She wants to keep you hungry so she's making all the rules."

Shawn added. "It's too bad because before she started playing all these silly-assed games, I kinda liked her."

Joy asked. 'Wait, so you don't like her any more? Are you just hanging in to get the cocoa and then you're done?"

He looked uncomfortable. "I wouldn't say that per se..."

Jay took up for his boy. "Isn't she kind of setting herself up for this? I'll bet she's got a string of 91 or 92 day relationships in her past."

This sparked a discussion amongst the men about how women play games with the hot & bubbly and really need to quit all of that. Then they remembered that we were standing right there and got quiet. 

Annette, who is always the quiet soft-spoken one said. "I'd call her ass on it. She may want to keep you hungry but there are plenty of other women who will feed you without all the drama. I'm not saying tell her to put up or shut up, I'm just saying you need to ask her what's the point of holding onto the vajayjay when she's giving up everything else? Like something magical goes down between day 89 and 90? I mean, when it's right, it's right. Nine days, 30 days, six months, whatever."

"Six months!" Most of the men said in unison. And then the conversation took another turn.

BougieLand, what do we think of cocoa time release rules? Ladies, fellas? Do you believe in them? Practice them? Who is a three-date all systems go person? And in this specific case - is girlie doing too much? Is she setting herself up to be dumped on day 91? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Let's talk about... cuddling

Cuddle - verb: 
1. to hold close for warmth or comfort or in affection 
2. to lie close or snug
Somebody put "Baby, it's cold outside" on repeat.

Not only 'tis the season for TapBack, 'tis the season for Cuddle Cocoa. Yes, that innocent "it's cold why don't we warm up by the fireplace" moment that turns into boom-chicka-wow-wow by morning. But does it always have to go from one to the other?

Dig deep, people. We're getting touchy feely today. Okay, we're not but we are going to discuss touching, hugging and squeezing... in a non-cocoa stirring kind of way. The question was posed to me - is there such a thing as platonic cuddling between adults? 

Sometimes I'm a cuddler, sometimes I need my space but that's with the current s/o. We can sit on top of each other and watch a movie and it just means we're sitting watching a movie. Sir Naps-A-Lot is perfectly fine to cuddle up and get a snore on, no strings attached. However, there was one guy I was seeing who basically said, "If we're close to horizontal and you're touching me, I expect it to lead somewhere." Alright then. Good to know.

Outside of s/o's I can't really see myself hugged up on some guy that I wasn't a) related to or b) attracted to. But that's me now.

I remember back in my post-college days, my roommate and I had a group of male friends we hung out with regularly. We traveled, we partied, we grilled at the lake, we crashed at each other's houses. There was a lot of cuddle time and sleeping in same beds with no cocoa happening. I don't know if the guys thought something would go down at some point but the roomie and I weren't even thinking about it. Never occurred to us, never happened.

Then again, we were 23. At this point in life, I can think of only one male friend that I would be all huddled up with and not think anything of it. He's one of my best friends from high school. I think when you've known someone for 20+ years and it's never been about romance, you're pretty much staying in the Friend Zone. Maybe not, his wife has been giving me the side-eye for years. 

I guess this goes back to that age old "can men and women really just be friends" question. Does cuddle time always have to lead to cocoa time? If you are hugged up on somebody, are you sending the "do me" signals without meaning to? Is there a certain age past which you just need to keep your distance unless you are looking for more? Ladies? Gents? Please discuss...


Related Posts with Thumbnails