Friday, March 30, 2012

#PostRacismFAIL: "You don't sound black"

I work for a global human resources and recruiting company. Mid-size and large companies outsource their talent acquisition so that in essence, we are their virtual recruiting department. (Hence all the yoga pants references) The account I'm currently assigned to is a mid-size software company in the process of growing to the next level. It means they are profitable and generally have bought into the recruiting model we've sold them. It also means that they have some small company tendencies still lurking about.

The other day I was on a conference call with an executive from Scotland and a Human Resources rep from New Jersey. We were discussing an opening for the Chicago office. After drilling through the requirements/must haves/like to haves, the HR rep indicated that it would be great for diversity targets if we could hire a minority female into the role.

The exec asked, "Michele, do we know any minorities in HR or recruiting who can assist with this?"

I pressed the mute button so my snort of laughter would not be audible and then I un-muted and answered, "Besides me, you mean?"

**awkward silence**

The HR rep piped up, "Michele, are you some kind of black?" (Yes, the HR rep asked this)

I rolled my eyes, "I'm all kinds of black."

The Scotsman said, "But Michele isn't a black name, is it?"

A black name?! Deep sigh. "Well it's my name and I'm black so..."

HR rep, "You don't really sound black to me."

Now I'm fed up, "What exactly does black sound like?"

**awkward silence**

The Scotsman tried to save the day, "My apologies. I do so hope you're not offended."

"Why would I be offended about being black? I've been this way all my life." Yep, at that point I was enjoying their discomfort.

Scotsman, "Perhaps we should move on."

Me, "Certainly."

It was obvious that they were stunned to find out I was black. So I got to thinking - maybe I should drop some more colorful colloquialisms into my every day lexicon? A few "whaddup, whaddups" or perhaps I could enter the conference call with a rap "Yes, yes ya'll. I must confess ya'll. My name's Michele, I'm here to tell I'm blackity-black ya'll" - whatcha think?

No? Mayhaps I should play entry music upon my arrival to the call. I was thinking the processional music from Coming to America?

Or maybe the first few 30 seconds of the Circle of Life from The Lion King?

Gotta keep it classy while still blacking it up. :-/

BougieLand, do we even want to get into how many instances of post-racism FAIL they stumbld into here? Need we discuss just WTH a "black name" is? Don't get me started on the "sounding black" of it all? Have you ever been "racially misidentified" on the phone? How did you handle it? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Relationship Growing Pains - Dolla Dolla Bill$ ya'll

Le Dude and I were strolling along through LeChiChi SuperMarket a few days ago. I was picking up a few things for myself and BougieMom and he was pretending like grocery shopping was interesting. I had just tossed tricolor whole grain pasta into the cart when he asked, "Do you even look at the prices of the things you buy?"

Only half paying attention, I shrugged. "I pretty much know what everything costs." On the next aisle over, he asked again. "So do you have an idea of what you're going to spend before you come in the store?"

Now suspecting that it's part of a bigger conversation, I paused in front of the greek yogurt and looked at him. "Always. Plus I keep a running tally in m head as I shop. Are you buying these groceries or am I?"

"Hey, don't go there with it - I'm just trying to figure out your fiscal ideology."

"My fiscal ideology?"

"Yeah. Are you a saver, a spender, do you budget, have long-term financial plans... that kind of thing."

"All of the above. I save, I spend, I always have a budget whether I adhere to it or not, I have both short and long term financial plans."

He nodded and frowned at the same time, "Do you have stocks, bond, a money market-"

I cut him off, "Hold up. What is this?"

"I'm trying to see how financially compatible we are."

"Interesting that was not worrying you when I was buying food by the platterful with which to nourish you and your boys. But anyway, I would think you've been around me enough and are observant enough that you've figured out I tend not play when it comes to money."

"I know but I think you should put yourself on an allowance."

"An allowance? I'm on a budget. I know what percentage of every penny that comes in is going where. and have me set. That seems plenty. Why?"

"Well I'm just looking down the line. You could write full-time and I would give you an allowance to play with."

Blinkety-blinkety-blink. "One, you are looking way further down the line than I'm looking. Two, I'll get back to writing full-time eventually no matter what. Three, an allowance to play with? That's discussion worthy. An allowance between grown folks only works if both parties agree to the amount and if the giver isn't all up in the receiver's grocery cart asking how much they spent on the pasta."

"Realistically if it's my money and-"

"An allowance only works if both parties think of it as community money. Once you start getting into my money and your money, things get ugly. I'm grown. I've been making my own money for over a decade and a half. There is no scenario in which I'm cool with someone, anyone asking me about how I spent the grocery money. None."

"There are some things you are stubborn about for no good reason."

"There are many things I'm determined about for lots of great reasons."

"It's not like I'd be up in your bank account figuring out what you spend on shoes."

"Why would you need access to my bank account?"

"What happened to the community money?"

"Oh, that would be in the community bank account."

"I'm in banking and you wouldn't trust me to handle the money?"

"You could be the Treasury Secretary and I'd still want a separate account."

He had his hands on his hps and looked down at me with confusion. I had my arms crossed and looked up at him with all level of "What?" across my face. "Let's get what we came for and go." He suggested.

"Yes let's."

BougieLand. What's the thinking on community money and allowances? For my married/cohab folks - who holds the purse strings? For everybody, do you have a financial ideology? How important is that your financial philosophy match your s/o's?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The audacity of privilege

priv·i·lege: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor : prerogative; especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office
A privilege is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from the moment of birth.

priv·i·lege [priv-uh-lij, priv-lij] noun,verb, -leged, -leg·ing.noun

1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.
2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities: the privilege of a senator to speak in Congress without danger of a libel suit.
3. a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions.
4. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.
5. any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government: We enjoy the privileges of a free people.
Simply put, privilege generally means that those that have (or are in a better position to have) possess a preeminent and presumptive advantage over those who have not. 

It's this ideology that prompts an irrelevant Hispanic talking head (what's good, Geraldo? Nothing? That's what we thought too) to announce that an article of clothing was somehow responsible for Trayvon Martin's death. Is there anyone who truly believes George Zimmerman wasn't going after Trayvon if young Mr. Martin decided to rock a polo and khakis that fateful day?

It's this ideology that prompts one unfocused movement to try and steal shine from another extremely passionate and focused movement. I'm not sure what the end game is for Occupy Wall Street but I do know that it cannot be accomplished by piggy-backing on the outrage for Trayvon Martin. (For more on this, see @SlimJackson's post today)

It's this ideology that suggests that a police force that did not arrest George Zimmerman should now offer him protection? Someone please tell me this isn't happening.  Really, it's the very essence of privilege that George Zimmerman isn't sitting up on the jailhouse right the hell now.

In non-Trayvon related privilege... 

Privilege is what buoys a group of right wingers into presuming to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. 

Privilege is what allows men (any man apparently) to tell women what they need to do to catch and keep a man. 

Privilege is what allows someone to stand in front of a podium talking about taking "their country" back. Whose country?

The funny thing about privilege... and the thing that those that enjoy it seem to forget... is that it can be circumvented, eroded or revoked. Like a credit card. It only works if it's accepted. Otherwise, it's just shiny and useless.

In my fam, we've labeled this The Entitlement Factor. Depending upon who is overplaying their privilege card, we mutter under our breaths "White Entitlement" or "Negreaux Entitlement" or "Blonde Entitlement" or "Deluded Entitlement" - apparently entitlement is what's hot in the streets... again. Though every once and a while, someone surprises you. Check out this post by Sinead O'Connor.

My least favorite thing about some of the Trayvon discourse I've heard is from folks asking, "What if Trayvon were white?" or "What if both parties were black, don't we care about black on black crime anymore?" Who seriously thinks this becomes a story of international interest in either of those scenarios? And why can't we be allowed outrage for this situation such as it is? 

BougieLand - must privilege go hand in hind with intolerant blindsidedness? Do you feel over- under- or any kind of privileged? Why or why not? Whose privilege would you like to yank away, never to be returned again? Thoughts, comments, insights....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Check me out on @ForHarriet today

Greetings all. The kind folks over at decided to profile me for their Black Girls Blogging series. Make sure you swing by and check me out.

Also, today is Le Dude's birthday. Since more than likely, he's camped out on his couch plotting ways to send his mama back to Georgia, feel free to send him a salutation.

I. on the other hand, am feeling much better after 11 hours of sleep. Weirdest dream ever - I was having dinner with Barack and Michelle (yes we were on a first name basis), an ex-boyfriend, my father (who passed in 2000), my grandma Blanche (who died before I was born) and Donna Brazile. We got into a heated discussion  about the best way to keep the White House and take Congress back in November. And then we started talking about the TV show Breakout Kings and how I've boycotted it since they killed off Laz Alonso. Barack asked me if I would boycott the Presidency if he didn't win again and I explained how I hadn't listened to a Bush presser or briefing for the last 6 years G-Dub was in office. The whole table said, "Oh." They were serving the chocolate mousse when I woke up.

No idea what it meant. None whatsoever but happy Wednesday all. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bougie Down...

*flips over to type a few words* Le Ugh. Later people. Chat amongst yourselves. *sends evil eye 7 miles north* Where's MY soup? #Thatisall

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Tortilla Soup Recipe (sort of)

Here's what's so darn funny about my tortilla Soup recipe - it's not even from scratch.

I start with two containers of Panera's Low Fat Tortilla soup. (I get it at Sam's). Additional ingredients:

16 ounces of low salt Swanson's Chicken Broth
8 medium size Campari tomatoes - diced
20 small golden sweet tomatoes - quartered
2 cups of frozen super sweet corn - not on the cob
1 package of boneless skinless chicken tenders

1/2 cup chunky salsa - whichever your fave is, I go with Jack's Special Medium (Sam's or Costco)
3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
Webers Smoky Mesquite Seasoning - 1 teaspoon
Tone's Southwest Chipotle Seasoning (or Spice Islands Chili-Chipotle Seasoning) - to taste
Parsley - just looks impressive floating around the soup, doesn't really add anything.

Sargento's Mexican Blend Cheese
Fresh avocado cubed
Tortilla chips or strips

I sauteed the chicken tenders in olive oil and the Chipotle dressing using the Chicken Broth keep the meat moist. Once the chicken if fully cooked and coated with the seasoning, I dice it into bite size pieces. I toss everything into a large pot and let it come to almost a boil stirring every few minutes then I cut the heat and let it simmer. Garnish as desired and done. 

It's 82 degrees outside today but who else has a soup recipe to share?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Road We've Traveled #Obama2012

So... thought you knew what President Obama was up against coming into office? Think the past 3 and a half years have all been state dinners and trips to Camp David? Watch and learn:

I'm not going to lie, I sniffled through half of that like it was a dramatic tearjerker I didn't know the ending to. This was some awesomeness. What did you think?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Me, the Mama, the Maid and the Battle for Tortilla Soup Supremacy

My life has been turned upside down because of tortilla soup this week. These are first world problems to be sure. But bear with me here...

Le Dude is laid up with pneunomia. I called his part-time housekeeper Rosalita and asked if she wouldn't mind freshening up the house (I've kinda ignored it whilst he was away) and changing sheets and what not. Rosalita (who would do ANYTHING for SeƱor David) was devasted to hear that he was ill and offered to not only clean up but grocery shop and make el Dude her famous tortilla soup.  Awesome.

We get David home and settled just in time for his mother to show up. (If you missed it, we met her here.) Not a chance was her only boy going to be ill and she not fly in to be by his side. Her "baby" turns 37 next week but, uh - alrighty then. She immediately hustles him out of the bed and into the steam shower so he can "sweat it out" - alrighty. While he's simmering in the shower, she runs out to get him "better" sheets and a new comforter set. Alrighty then.

When she leaves, I head into the bathroom where he is looking mighty cooked on the steam bench. I free him from the human crockpot and get him back in the bed and start hydrating. I'm reading the labels on the meds when Rosalita comes in with her tortilla soup. He took a sip and smiled at her. The minute she left the room, he set the bowl down and announced, "It's not your tortilla soup." He follows that up with the big "I'm sad and I'm sick" eyes and next thing you know I'm in the damn kitchen whipping up tortilla soup.

When the soup is done, his mama is back from Bed, Bath and Beyond. She announces that she had planned to make David her world famous chicken and dumplings soup but he declined. So now I'm getting the side-eye. Did not stop her from sitting on down and getting a bowl of my soup for herself. But I got the side-eye of life. Whatevs. David went to sleep happy.

Next day I get a phone call from Mama David. Those "ragamuffin" boys came by and ate all of David's soup. It's the only thing he wants to eat. Can I give her the recipe? (Her exact words "Since you are the Soup Queen around here, all I can do follow your lead") Alrighty. Now anyone who knows me a little bit knows I don't generally cook from a recipe. I toss ingredients together, season to taste and Viola! She didn't like that answer so I did the best I could, I really did.

That night, I swing by to check in and chaos has ensued. Mama David made the soup but her baby boy scrunched up his nose and announced, "It's not Michele's soup." [Am I the only one giving Dude the side-eye for throwing me under the bus like that?] Mama David wants to know why the food she cooks is no longer good enough for her son. In fact she states, "Girl you're running his whole life, you might as well marry him." Oh. I had to take a moment to remind myself that this is her baby and the youngest of 6. Woo-sah.

Meanwhile, the fellas have come by and they want to know where the Michele Soup is as well. Rosalita has come by and figured out that her soup didn't make the cut. Long story short, everybody is tart and giving me the side-eye when I walk in the door. I put the boys out, sent Rosalita home, sat Mama David down with some wine and checked on David - who was sleeping through the whole shebacle. I made Italian tomato veggie soup and warmed a loaf of bread, chucked the deuces and rolled out.

Mama David has decided to stay another week. I told David I'd see him then. I'm going to make some (small) allowances since the man sounds like he has elephants tap dancing on his chest but er... um... What's to be done about men and their mamas? Nothing but stay out of the way as far as I can tell... BougieLand, any thoughts?

Is George Zimmerman in jail yet? We demand #JusticeforTrayvon

This post is part of a blog-in organized by in an effort to shine awareness and motivate action surrounding the case of Trayvon Martin.. 

It's been 20 days since Trayvon Martin was gunned down less than 100 yards from his family's home in Sanford, Florida by neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. My commentary on the case is here. My question is - what's is it going to take for the State of Florida to do the right thing here? 

It took over a week and a half for the major media outlets to get on board with this tragic story. And now we want more. Please sign the petition and keep the hashtag #JusticeforTrayvon trending. Thank you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BnB Radio Network - @CarolynEdgar and I discuss lessons learned

Let me be clear - it's not that @CarolynEdgar and I know so much. It's that we've been there, done that and have the t-shirt, banner, head scarf and matching knapsack to tell the tale. The least we can do is share some of it with you. Relationship talk - maybe, a few words to Karrine - probably, pondering the question - do the Republicans think they don't need women to win in 2012 and many other topics.

We'll be live tonight at 9:00pm central/10:00pm eastern. Join us and feel free to call in to chat with us at 347-884-8748. Look forward to seeing you there. Have questions you want answered during the show? Drop 'em in the comments below...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Top Three signs that sumthin' sumthin' just ain't right

After talking about Brian/Otis/Brainard the other day, I was swamped with emails from women and men who found themselves in similar situations. Bamboozled, bewildered, led astray and stole on. It was enough to make me want to launch a show: "Who the Bleep was I Dating?" - I have enough material for at least three seasons. Hell, half of Season One would be my BougieTales of Dating Woe alone.

So it occurred to me that mayhaps we don't know what to look for? We don't recognize those red flags when they are waving so brightly in the wind? (Or maybe we do and just ignore them). Plus, it's been a  while since we had a Relationship What Not To Do. Therefore, I've cobbled together a little list for the gent and the ladies. If you see more than one of these going on with your new boo, it might be time to pump the brakes and throw it in reverse. Just saying. Here we go.

Three signs that sumthin' sumthin' just ain't right:

1. Money is funny - When you are first seeing someone, money should be a lowkey discussion. Who is paying for the movie and can I pick up the tip for dinner type of discussion. If someone comes at you out the gate either with a tale of brokeass woe or a bunch of ballerific bling - hold up. Fellas, first few dates and chick is talking about needing some help on her phone bill? No. Ladies, second date and he's buying jewelry? No. In these cases, go Goldilocks Philosophy - you don't want too much or too little - it needs to be just right. There's plenty of time down the road to get into his child support payments or your student loans. But anytime someone is either asking you for money constantly or giving you money constantly - something else is going on. Trust me on this one.

2. Job is sketchy - Unemployment is real. Underemployment is real. We get that. But if we've been going out for three months and you've had (and lost) five jobs - that's side-eye worthy. That whole "someone was out to get me" clause - only works the first time, maybe two. Also, if you say you have a job but you have all sorts of free time and no diggity dollars in your wallet? Suspicious. True story - chick told dude she was a bank teller at Bank of America. At some point, they are in a store together. The total comes to $11.18. She handed the checker a twenty and then argued that she should get $10.82 back. Ma'am... So sure, you can ignore that first seedling of doubt but uh... After that, the perennially "misunderstood" slacker gets tossed into the "can't keep a job category" and left behind. (P.S. People who work at the FBI generally do not go around announcing they work at the FBI - just a tip. Use ti as you will. 

3. Your name is what? - Okay, we all know people who have a few names. A person who is the III may go by Trey; if your name is Daphne, you may go by D. You may have childhood and friendship nicknames from along the way. You may have a Twitter name or have been adopted. Heck, you may have legally changed your name once. I understand if you reach a certain point in life and don't want to be Dick LaRue or Chastity Gaines. I get that.You may have been married and your last name changed. But if you are Jolene Smith and have ID in the name of Cassandra Martinez - Imma need some explanation. If you are known in California as Quentin James but known in Arizona as James Quincy - why might that be per se? Don't let they spy thrillers fool you. regular folks do not have multiple IDs in various names. They really don't. 

Other signs to look out for:
4. Baby can't stay the night... ever. People who cannot stay the night are supposed to be sleeping next to someone else, live further away than they let on, or can't miss  bed check at the halfway house/parole office meeting in the morning. 
5. Living situation stays iffy - first they live there, then leave, then in with relatives, then somewhere else. 
6. Too much love too fast - Sure I believe in love at first sight but I still say if you met someone on Friday and they want to take you home to meet the parental units on Sunday and move in with you Monday - beware. 
7. Mood swings - Hormones (female AND male) are not to be trifled with but when a person is coming across with more personalities than Sybil (Google it)- there's a problem.
8. No past & no people - No one comes from nowhere and knows no one. If everything about your new boo is a blank slate, you may want to collect fingerprints and DNA. I'm just saying.

I'm sure there are a million more I could come up with, but I'll turn it over to you. BougieLand - what's your red flag? What's the sign that sumthin' sumthin' just ain't right with someone?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 and Walking While Black can still get you dead

Let me send a heated glare to all who feverishly claim that President Obeezy being large and in charge at 1600 Penn somehow cured racism or excused centuries of mistreatment and hate. If anything, his campaign and presidency have exposed so much ugliness that many of us hoped was receding or at least buried under good manners. 'Fraid not. I don't even argue with folks when they try to tell me that the fervent hatespeak coming from the right is not racially motivated. I just double blink and mutter "You lie!" under my breath. 

Does anyone really think the reason they don't let Obama expel a freakin' breath without testing the chemical compound of said oxygen is because of political differences? Really? But as if the FoxNewsDouchebaggery of it all weren't enough to convince you that racial hatred is alive and well in the great of US of A; I present to you the infuriatingly tragic tale of Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon, known as Trey, was a 17-year old high school student in Miami who loved horses and wanted to be a pilot. A few weeks ago, he went to visit relatives in Sanford, Florida. His relatives lived in a quiet gated community with a neighborhood watch and well-kept lawns. In the midst of enjoying some basketball on TV, Trey decided to head to 7-11 for a snack. On his way back, he clutched a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea bottle.

He had the unfortunate luck of running into George Zimmerman, a 26-year old (Caucasian) captain of the neighborhood watch. George decided that something (could it be skin color?) looked suspicious about Trayvon and started following him in his car. See the scene unfold in your mind with me.

George calls 911 and reports a suspicious man inside the gated community. The dispatcher tells George to fall back, they are on the way and will handle it. George ignores this and got out of his car to confront Trayvon. In the next five minutes some sort of scuffle broke out. Next thing you know, Trayvon Martin is dead 70 yards away from his father's house from a 9-mm shot to the chest.

Now it's bad enough that Trayvon is dead. It's worse that a grown ass man with a permit to carry shot a child who was holding Skittles and tea. But it's dead ass wrong that the shooter claimed self-defense and is waltzing around free at this very minute. Self-defense? Was Trayvon (at 140 lbs) threatening to pelt him with Tropical Skittles? Did he wave the tea bottle around aggressively? 

How in the entire hell is it 2012 with Obama in the White House and a black kid can be gunned down for being in a good neighborhood at the wrong time? Is this the modern day equivalent of "Reckless Eyeballing"? George even confessed to the shooting and I'm still waiting to see the Perp Walk. Where the hell is Nancy Grace on this miscarriage of justice? You can bet your last dollar that if Trayvon was the shooter and George was the victim, cameras would be rolling as "the perpetrator" was hauled off to jail.

I strongly rebuke people who claim that Trayvon should have been more careful walking in "that kind of neighborhood" - really? He wasn't playing loud music, he wasn't smoking a joint, he wasn't posseed up with five friends, he was walking back from 7-11 with snacks! 

BougieMom and I are in a gated community. Last week, we were held up at the gate because the person in front of us didn't believe we lived here. He pulled his car to a stop and tried to bar us from entering the gates. When I held up the clicker to show I had access, he moved forward and then waited to see which garage we were pulling into. Now this was me and my 79-year old mother in a BMW - what the hell kind of nefarious criminality did he think we were getting into? We've lived here for five years, ya'll.

What's worse - not the first time it's happened. A few years ago, we pulled out of the garage and realized that we'd left something behind. I pulled over in front of the house and a car pulled up beside us. A middle aged white man rolled the window down, 
"Can I help you?" He asked. 
Mom and I exchanged looks. "I don't think so," I smiled and waved, climbing out of the car. 
He climbed out of his car, "Are you here to see somebody? These are private residences." He probed. 
My smile faded, "I live here." 
His face went ashen, "Oh. Um. Oh. Have a good day." He got in his car and pulled off. 

Mom just rolled her eyes and shook her head but I was hot. Like angry to the point where I went inside and had to do the deep breathing exercises "Woo-sah..." before I could get back in the car and drive. And don't get me started on the Obama 2008 sign we had in the yard. I kept putting it up and replacing it when it got kicked over... and over... and over again. When someone had their dog defecate on it, we took the hint. 

My point is, please don't tell me that Obama was the magic cure for racism. The ish is embedded and passed down generationally like eye color and grandma's biscuit recipe. My question is - what are we going to do about it? For starters, we can slap George Zimmerman in some cuffs and carry his ass directly to jail on a murder rap... Just in case you have some free time, here's the info to holla at the Sanford, FL po-po.

BougieLand, what say you? What can be done to eradicate these kinds of things from happening? Anything? Will racism ever die? Isn't enough, enough already?

Monday, March 12, 2012

No sir. We have zero tolerance for these shenanigans

Many thanks to @CreoleinDC and @SingLikeSassy for bringing this one to my attention. Sometimes, you read about foolery so out of pocket that all you can do is spotlight it and say - if you see this dude coming, run the other way.

I'm on the fence about sites such as Don't Date Him Girl. On the one hand, there are a lot of flimflam fickle felons out there trying to make a dollar out of your fifteen cents. On the other hand, just because some dude didn't ask you on a third date - that's no reason to smear him publicly. This case, however; if it's true? Is worth spotlight and discussion.

Apparently some dude going by the aliases Brian Wedgeworh, Brian Lapsley, Otis Anderson, Brainard Bell, masonicnupe on and KoolKhemist on Plenty of Fish (among other names); has made a career out of scamming women out of their money and moving on. He claims to be a six-figure earning chemist for the CDC (not true), a double degreed Kappa (his father pledged, he didn't) and/or an FBI agent (really?). Some lowlights of his criminal career:

  1. He offers to pay your bills and when you give him a deposit slip, he not only bounces a large check through your account, he steals your identity. But before you figure that out, he plays the "I lost my wallet, let me hold a li'l sumthin'" card.
  2. He claims he daughter was molested and his father has died to gain your sympathy and trust. Apparently his father is still alive and nobody knows whether he has a daughter or not.
  3. He swears to be a God-fearing man and will pray with you so you fully understand what a good man he is. 
  4. He infiltrates every part of your life, church, home, family, job in the hopes that when you find him out... you'll be too embarrassed to go to the authorities.
  5. Dude is known to troll in Atlanta, Birmingham and areas of Florida. 

Look, I don't know what's really up with dude. I Googled BriBri and he appears to be a fugitive from justice in several states with at least seven aliases. After peeking at his mugshot, ladies - he's not that damn fine. And your bullshiggity alert should be on threat level red the minute he starts talking money. Run, don't walk, away quick fast and in a hurry. Let's do better than letting scammy trolls like this play with our hearts and pocketbooks, shall we?

Gents and Ladies, what do you think of these "tell all" websites? Do you Google your dates at some point? Check their social media pages?  Why or why not? Have you encountered folks like Brian/Otis? Any advice for women (or men) who do? Do share...

Friday, March 09, 2012

What's good in your world?

The Dude has somehow managed to catch pneumonia in the sunniest place on the planet. :-/ So back to Dallas for some recuperation. I'm polishing up submittal chapters of Book 4 and transferring files from my old laptop to my new. Next time, I'm totally Geek Squading this operation. Just getting Microsoft Outlook set up the way I like has been an exercise in patience (something I'm sorely lacking). And let's not even talk about the day job. Training a new girl, juggling 20+ open positions and trying to keep my pleasing personality. I'm not about this entire juggle struggle life right now. 

All of that to say, no post today. It's on you. What's good in your world, fine people? Do share...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

That song is stuck in my head...

Not a real deep post today, just a random question. Do any of my more cerebral folks know why certain songs get stuck in your head? Especially if you haven't heard them in a while? Where do they come from and how do we make them go away?

Yesterday it was Color me Badd's I Wanna Sex You Up. How very New Jack of me.

This morning I woke up with The Jackson's Blame It on The Boogie on repeat in my head.

By the way, my sister used to have this kickstep dead to rights. Could not tell BougieSis she was not getting her boogie on! So... Does anyone know what causes this? What's stuck in your head this fine Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Bougie Bachelor Chronicles - "This is like work!"

Today I have browbeaten requested that Jay share some of his story. As some of you may know, @GuessImJay met @JoyGrooves at a Jill Scott/Mint Condition concert outside of Dallas this summer. It was an unlikely meeting. Joy was in town for the weekend choreographing a commercial in Irving. Jay is not a NeoSoul fan but came along because he had nothing better to do (translated: he couldn't decide which girl to bring so he rode out with us solo). Joy sent me a tweet saying she was in the area and wanted to say hi so I told her to come on out to the concert if she had a chance. When she arrived, it was like a scene out of a movie. You know the one where the hero and the heroine lock eyes and that's it? This was that. Less than two months letter she had moved in. Here's Jay's story (as edited by me)...

I was never insulted when people called me a player or a man-ho or whatever is said when a guy is not looking for commitment and just having a good time. I never considered myself a dog. I never made promises. I was always upfront. Women like me. I like them back. I was always good for dinner, a few laughs, a good time and that was that. 

I wasn't looking for more. Seemed like relationships didn't really fall that way for me. I was always the groomsman, never the groom and I liked it like that. 17 weddings since college. I gave in and bought a decent tuxedo about seven years ago. The fellas laughed and said it was irony that the one of us least likely to settle down owned two tuxedos.

I don't like the phrase settle down. It implies that you are giving in, right there, in the spot where you once stood. And that didn't sound like fun to me. I never met a woman that I thought was better or different than all the rest. And if I couldn't have better or different, what was the point? . My father says I wasn't looking at women in that way. He's probably right. I probably passed by or sped past some special ones. He also said when I found her, I would know. He was right about that too.

Everybody I know has fallen out laughing at me since I met Joy. The jokes about teaching an old dog new tricks, the bigger they are the harder they fall, things happen when you least expect it, jumping on the hook dying to get caught - I've heard them all. To which I say, so what, quit hating and tell me how to keep her. No one tells you that when you find the one, then you have to keep her and not do all the same stupid ish you used to do thinking she'll like that. I've announced to everyone who will listen, "This is like work!" All of this reconfiguring from a me to a we - it's not like you think it's going to be.

I'm not complaining. This woman is worth every bit of blood, sweat, tears, pleading and reconciliation. But why doesn't anyone tell you it's going to take all that? Not bragging but we're both attractive successful people who are used to getting our own way with the opposite sex. And we are both stubborn and a little bit spoiled. We have turned arguing into a sport. We got so tired after the last battle of wills that we ended up flipping a coin to settle it. That was just over who would do dishes last Thursday. We've never lived with other people. This is work. 

We start a lot of sentences with "I love you but..." and then we're off again. Neither one of us is what we call "relationship people" -people that always seem to be in long-term relationships and know how to navigate them? We know nothing about that. Maybe it's a good thing we both waited so long to find each other, we're surrounded by serious relationship people who are happy to give us advice even when we don't ask for any. It's early days yet but we're determined to go as far as this thing will take us. There's only one her and one me and we'll never find this combination again.

Shared my story because so many people asked and because I think people should know as hard as finding that person is, it's just as hard if not harder to know what to do to keep them. can I say it one more time? This is work!

BougieLand, show newly-reformed-formerly-confirmed-Bachelor Jay some love. No shade but if this dude can move his playa card to the back of the wallet - anybody can. They do fight right regular over household chores, car maintenance and remote controls... bless their hearts. Support them in their newbie struggles. Any thoughts, insights, comments...

Monday, March 05, 2012

Don't Sext with Ex - From the Dr. Jayme Files

I started watching Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal on OWN just out of curiosity and then out of fascination and finally just trying to understand. The show details couples that have faced infidelity in their marriages and how they came to terms with it. I've seen so much infidelity in my life, from so many angles - it was interesting to unearth some of the clinical "explanations" when you unwrap the layers.

One particular episode about a woman who was sexting with an ex-boyfriend caught my attention.  She spent months engaged in sexually suggestive conversations via text with her ex and they began to send more and more explicit photos back and forth. She justified it by saying it was not cheating because no physical intercourse took place. There was some discussion in the room about whether sexting is cheating or not? So I asked Dr. Jayme - here are her thoughts:
The simple answer is that yes - sexting is cheating. Let me share why. In the category of emotional intimacy, a marriage requires a commitment of all of your romantic and physical capital to your spouse.When one is engaged in sending sexually explicit words or pictures, they are sharing that capital with someone else. And while it's true that the actions may never consummate the promises; the fact is that by sending the words or pictures - your thoughts are already in bed with the other person. 
Emotional infidelity is actually quite a bit harder to reconcile than the more overt act of sleeping with someone outside of the relationship. It can be compartmentalized as "just sex" - there's an end game there that is final. When the act is done, it's done. An emotional attachment is harder to break than a physical one. There are people that we never see or touch that hold a special place in our hearts for years. 
As for the situation in this show - the woman was spending time flirting and sexting with someone other than her husband everyday. In my mind, it moved beyond a light flirtation into an obsession. I firmly believe that if she and her ex had lived in the same geographic region, it would have turned into a physical affair as well. She got high off of the attention and need she received from the other man and did not want to give it up. In fact, the show revealed that she became protective and defensive - going to great lengths to keep her cell phone by her side at all times, carving out time during the day to keep the outside communication going - it was quite an investment. 
Once you make an investment in someone outside the relationship, the foundation is in jeopardy. It's like a house. You pour a foundation to hold a certain size house. You would not want a 2000 square foot house sitting on a 1500 square foot foundation... the whole thing could crumble. A house built for two that now has three or four is crowded and uncomfortable for everyone inside.
Unfortunately, in this case, when her infidelity was discovered by her husband he handled the situation completely incorrectly. Instead of handling what they were feeling and trying to understand why she was doing what she did - he decided that one good turn deserved another and went out and had an affair himself. Part of the anger fueling him was that he was haunted by the "what might have beens" of the situation. If she went this far with her ex, what was keeping her from taking the next step or doing this again with someone else? 
There is always a cause and effect in infidelity. There is a trigger that sets in motion a chain reaction that ultimately switches that red light to green. It's not always sexual, in fact; in most cases it is emotional. This is why when you had the posts on flirting and people were heatedly swearing that there's nothing wrong it - I vehemently disagreed. An innocent flirtation is a seedling. Given the right amount of time and attention, it will settle in and grow. Why plant the seed? 
Hope this answered the question.
BougieLand, what say you? Do you consider sexting an act of infidelity? Harder or easier to forgive and forget than the physical act? Do share your thoughts...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

I fully endorse #NewBlackHistoryMonth

Let's face it, this Black History Month sucked. It was not uplifting, rejoicing or affirming. In fact it was depressing, disheartening and disappointing. Our people went missing, died too soon, cut a fool on nationwide tv, got suspended, slandered and dissed, lost awards, and oh yes... this happened:

For those of you clueless (as was I), this is singer Jaheim at Whitney's funeral looking like an extra from The Wiz and apparently begging Jesus to either 1) let him in the church since we're sure he wasn't invited or 2) bring back Whitney who would slap that royal blue monstrosity right off of him. If we can't count on folks to act right at a black funeral, all hope is lost. 

Lookie here, let's not pretend that we don't get short changed on Black History Month anyway. It's the shortest month, there are two holidays in it and it usually takes us a week to figure out where all of our "special programming" has been banished to on the seven channels that care enough to express a damn. (Thanks BIO and PBS!) Companies roll out a commercial two generally featuring MLK and a flickering candle (Coca-Cola, it's time for a new commercial celebrating blackness... please!) and call it a wrap.

I mean it's not like we're expecting reparations in February or anything but could we get more than a documentary or two? I don't know, how about a discount or rebate for persons of African descent who file their taxes in February? Maybe Oprah could sponsor more chicken coupons... (yes, I'm pursing my lips and rolling my eyes hard) Maybe Hollywood could greenlight some films and TV shows created by folks whose last names don't rhyme with airy? These are just a few suggestions.

Anywho... this year, there's a grassroots movement afoot to reboot the Black History Month franchise and snag us a redo for the year 2012. Months proposed are July and August. Why? So that we can make it an official BBQ holiday of course. You know it's not really a celebration until coals get lit.

We could use this reset to do more than talk about Martin Luther the King and slavery, don't you think? Who's with me on exploring more "every day man" experiences from the richness of the diaspora? BougieLand, who thought Black History Month was a wash this year? Who generally ignores it every year? What is something you'd like to see celebrated and/or highlighted as part of #NewBlackHistoryMonth? Do share...


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