Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pretty Boy Problems in stores today!

I won't insult the mothers by saying that this is like giving birth and my baby finally arrived. But it does feel like after a long, tiring struggle... here's something of an accomplishment. My third book, Pretty Boy Problems, hits stores and e-readers today. 

Pretty Boy Problems is the sequel to Heard It All Before. Remember Roman? This is brother Beau's story:
Responsible, mature, employed…everything Avery Beauregard Montgomery is not. Instead, Beau is a natural born charmer. He has breezed through life on his dazzling looks, six-pack abs, and sparkling personality. But this pretty boy’s luck has run out. Fed up with his freeloading and philandering ways, his brother and sister-in-law are turning on the tough love and turning him out of their house. For Beau, that just means moving on to the next… 
Beau shows up at his sister’s Dallas condo with nowhere else to go and no idea what to do with his life. Suitcase in hand, he stumbles in to find not his sister but a bathing beauty. Someone super-model gorgeous with attitude, skepticism, and no time for trifling pretty boys. Belle, his sister’s new business partner, has already claimed the guest room and Beau’s imagination. All it takes is one look for Beau to want to do some claiming of his own. Now that Beau finally knows who and what he wants, what will it take to get Belle on the same page?
All Michele Grant novels (plus ebooks, books on tape) available  at Amazon.com,  BarnesandNoble.comBooksaMillion.com, indieBound.org,   KensingtonBooks.com, BlackExpressions.com or your favorite retailer.  

Support Le Bouge. Buy a book, tell a friend. :-)

Monday, July 30, 2012

A week in the life of a Bougie Chick

I don't want to complain. In fact, I won't. Compared to so many others, I have quite an exceptional life and I'm grateful for it. However... (strategic pause)... there are times that in the words of the late, great Marvin Gaye "make me wanna holler, throw up both my hands."

BougieMom and I are moving this week. She to a swanky "luxury senior apartment" and me to regular apartment up the road. I'm over the house of it all. And it's truly time for me to go back to living single for a while. Me, myself and I. Amen.

For those of you who have accumulated "stuff" over the years and faced a move, you know it's quite the process. In the course of the last six weeks, we have donated and given away furniture, clothes, books, shoes, kitchen items - half the house. And the packing has been exactly what packing is - a major pain in the hindparts.

Over the past twelve years since my father passed away, we are regularly startled with the realization of just how very much he pampered my mother and how much of the household he truly ran while she concentrated on the kids. For one thing, he bought the furniture and decorated the house. She didn't feel she had a knack for it and he had impeccable taste. Secondly, she never held a hammer or a screwdriver once in her life. She went from her mother's house to the sorority house to my dad's house. Thirdly (and most relevant to this story), she did none of the packing. Ever. Not a suitcase nor nary a box. She is quite awesome at pointing at things and saying,"That needs to be packed." Not that I'm complaining, but I am whining a little.

Next, three weeks ago we found out that they are expanding our subdivision by waking to the sound of earth movers at 6:32am one fine morning. Just so happens, the expansion will take place directly to the left our my bedroom windows. Every morning from 6:32am to every evening round 7:00pm. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just whining a little.

Okay then, we (and by we, I mean I) packed up most of the kitchen last week. So by Thursday, it was either takeout or starvation. Around 2:00pm I headed out in Amy (my car) to grab spinach lasagna and antipasto salad. Up the street, into the place, I pay, grab the food, back in the car. Turn the key - nothing. Try again and now the key won't turn. Arrgh! I assume the battery on my fancy key is dead and I hoof it across the burning hot 102 degree pavement to CVS to by two new batteries. And nothing. I dig in my purse for my cell phone to call someone to come scoop me up - no cell phone. I

I walk inside, borrow the phone, get BougieMom to come get me and we ride over to Firestone. I asked them to fetch Amy and find out why she's dead. One day and $178 later - it's the key. I go to Mercedes and order a new one (to the tune of $275) and am told that they have to order it and I have to have the car on property to get it. Thankfully, Mercedes tows free to the dealership (otherwise, we'd have had a minor meltdown). I'm supposed to go scoop it up later today. I'm not complaining, just whining a little bit.

We hired a painter to do three accent walls in Mom's new place. He said (even if we bought the paint) that it would cost $812. For three walls? This is how I found myself over the weekend with BougieYounger Bro wielding a roller and painter tape. BougieNephews thought it was fun to step on the dropcloth and then onto the carpet. That is how I found myself on my hands and knees with carpet cleaner. I'm not complaining, just whining a little bit.

I'm supposed to be off work this week. But my manager's daughter has a softball tournament in Idaho which apparently trumps me schlepping boxes all over creation. And since it's only the two of us assigned to this $50,000/month account, I'm multitasking. 

And now we're on the count. BougieMom moves tomorrow. I move Thursday and somewhere in between the madness my new book hits shelves tomorrow. As soon as I figure out how to do the radio interviews without the sounds of movers, nieces, tractors or me wailing... I'm golden.

I'm not complaining, just whining a little bit. Ya'll have a good week. I'll be around. Back to our regularly scheduled bouge soon. 

p.s. Send prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ask a Bougie Chick - Cougar Stripes

This one definitely goes into the files under the "I'm sure you think this is a compliment you just sent me, but it's really not" category. Take a look:
Hey Chele!
I'm so eager to get your opinion on something! I'm divorced, no kids, just turned forty and I've recently been getting asked out by guys a lot younger than me. Like more than 10 years. I've been hesitant because that seems like a stretch but reading your blog and your experiences, I'm starting to think - well why not? If Chele can nab her a hot young thing (sorry it didn't work out by the way), so can I, right? 
Plus you wrote the book about the woman who dated the younger guy and you sound like you really know what you're talking about.  
So I'm wondering if you have advice for those of us dipping a toe into the cougar waters. Are there things to look out for, things we should be aware of? Catching and keeping the attention of men that could date 20 year olds is a little intimidating, isn't it? Looking for any tips you can give me because this is all new to me. 
Thanks for whatever help you can give me. Love the blog, love the books. When's the next one due out by the way? 
You are fab!
FJM in Charlotte
So........... this is what it's come to, huh? I'm now some sort of cougar expert? A puma whisperer? This can't be my life. Le Deep Damn Sigh. Here we go:

A few things. 
1) Glad you like the work. Pretty Boy Problems is on shelves next Tuesday. Enjoy!

2) Sweet Little Lies was a work of fiction. Yes my heroine dated a younger man but 80% of that book was pure imagination. 

3) The last boyfriend was 7 years younger (but I'm sure hearing himself referred to as a "hot young thing" made his week). Before that, I had a long-term relationship with a guy that was 14 months younger. 10+ years I have zero experience so not sure I should be your go-to gal on all things cougarific.

4) You should be clear on something: All guys with any sort of game have the ability to date 20 y/o women so you're competing against them no matter who you date. In the end it's about what you bring to the table. You need be authentically you. If that's what they want, you're in. If it's not, onto the next.

5) Dating a younger guy is no different than dating any guy - it's all the same basic principles. Please do not attempt to act, speak or dress younger - that never goes well. See line above about authenticity and repeat.

BougieLand - ladies and gent - any advice to FJM on dating a younger man? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The No GrandDad Over Correction - A Bougie Bachelorette Chronicle

I love my friend Jayme, I really do. But ur um... she took it upon herself to help me get back on the dating trail (I did not ask for nor want this assistance) by giving my phone number to one of Owen's (her hubby) friends. Okay, yes - I may have mentioned that after dating a man almost ten years younger that mayhaps I needed to see the other side of the spectrum. But I certainly did not mean this week and I did not mean to swing that far to the other side.

Owen is 52 and still fine. (Sorry Jayme, he is) He and Jayme still look good, get out, hang out - it's all good.  With them, 50 is the new 35 and it's working. But for some reason, they decided to give my number to George. George is sixty-two. Yes, I know I'm in my forties but I'm not there yet. I'm not ready to date GrandDad.

George called and introduced himself. He then explained that he saw my picture on The Facebook and thought I was a "cutie pie." He further went on to explain that just because he has eight grandkids, that doesn't mean he can't still "run game" and "get his swerve on." I'm sorry, I immediately thought of the Boondocks episode where GrandDad meets Krystal from "The House of Cheeks" and tries to turn a hoe into a housewife. Not that I'm the hoe in this comparative scenario, I'm just saying the older guy, younger women thing doesn't always work. Oh... and the term "cutie pie" should be reserved for children under the age of ten, puppies and re-runs of Dance Fever.

For those of you who missed the episode - get into it here and thank me later. (My favorite part comes at the 4:30 mark) NSFW - do NOT get fired behind some Boondockery, okay?

I have no problem spending time with folks older than me. Most of my best friends are 5 - 10 years older. My godparents are 85 years old and some of the coolest damn people on the planet. I could hang out with them for days and still be tickled. This dude asked me if I knew how to "shake what my mama gave me" because he still liked to step out to the spot with a  "pretty young thing" on his arm. Provided of course that I knew how to "handle my bidness" in the bedroom and the kitchen. He can't stand "no woman too pretty and siddity who can't cook all over the house." Noooooo!

At this point, I pressed the Mute button and started furiously texting Jayme. 
M: Who IS this dude?
J: Oh, George called. You like him?
M: Dude just asked me if I know how to make boysenberry pie. He has eight grandkids. He is questioning my bedroom game and offering to show me a few things. No, I don't like him.
J: Wait... what?!
M: Uh yes.
J: Hold up a minute.
M: Holding...
J: (she texts back in a few minutes) Sorry about that. We set you up with the wrong George.
M: There's a different George?
J: A younger, less ratchet, no grandkids George. Owen mixed them up.
M: Good to know. Not interested right now.
J: Aw, you sure? He's a great guy.
M: No doubt. Yes. I'm positive. Later.

Can we all pause to send a collective laser beam side-eye to Owen. Dude!? Okay back the shenanigans...

GrandDad George was still talking about the things he liked his woman to cook and how he wanted them prepared. And yes, he was referring to more than pie. Eww. And. Ick. I cut him off and told him to call Owen back because he wanted to talk to him right quick and hung up. Later, George sent me an email on The Facebook telling me that he was still willing to teach me some things and to contact him when I was ready to learn.

I'm not ready, ya'll. I'm not ready...

Have you ever had some friends set you up and then you wondered what the hell they were thinking? Wondered if they ever really knew you at all? Do share... Thoughts, comments, insights on the George of it all? Ladies could you date GrandDad? Fellas? A hook-up with Madea in your future? Inquiring minds want to know...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Men can say no too... really, it's okay

There was a blog with an article (not linking to it cuz I don't want to) where a double-degreed professional black woman shared a recent dating story. She went out to dinner with her ex-boyfriend and after a pleasant meal and chit chat, she asked if he would like to sleep with her. He declined. End of story?

Ur... um no. She was tart. She asked him why not and he said he didn't want to "go there" with her again. She asked him what that had to do with the itch she wanted to scratch that evening. He kinda fled after that. The writer went onto say how irritated she was that he turned her down, in a very "how dare he" way. She also had some yada-blah about how discriminating she was about her sex partners and didn't get the opportunity to swirl the cocoa that often so she was extra tart about dude saying no.

This confused me. First, if you are just looking for scratch-an-itch cocoa why are your standards so high? Let's be real, if girlie is only trying to get down with 7-figure double-degreed brothers with 1000-thread count sheets... her cupboard is going to be bare for a while. Seriously, if she's just looking to get done you don't need Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech will do. (No shade to VT bruhs cuz really in this scenario, Virginia Avenue round-the-way will do)

Next, there seemed to be an expectation from this writer (and in many of the women talking about it) that if a woman asks a man for sex, he is obligated to say yes. There also seemed to be a pervasive attitude that men are passing it out with double coupons anyway so why not give it up when asked?

Isn't that kinda like someone rolling up on a rich guy saying, "You have plenty, let me hold a few thousand?" Beg pardon?

Let's look at it like this. If the genders were reversed in this story and a guy was complaining about his ex not serving up the cocoa just because he wanted some, we would be calling him the worst flavor of objectifying hound dog. 

I understand that the vijayjay is a commodity which some consider a form of legal tender, a bargaining tool, a most coveted prize in some cases. Where as those manly bits tend to be nestled together in the "buy 3, get one free" bin at the discount store. As one comedian stated, "P! is expensive but d! is free." 

But are ladies so deep into their own entitlement that they expect hot bubbling cocoa on demand from whomever they've chosen to delivery it? We would beat a brother down who acted like cocoa was a right and not a privilege. Even if you're in a relationship, there's no cocoa guarantee. As a friend of mine told her husband,"You'll get what I give you and you'll like it or get none." Boom. Imagine if dude in the story had said that to old girl? Whoa.

One of the most telling comments came from a young lady who said, "I've never had to ask. But if I did and he turned me down, I'd just ask someone else." And there it is.

Don't men have just as much right to say "No thank you" as women do? Can't they withhold, lock it down, go celibate without women putting them on blast? Do women just assume that if they are offering, men are saying yes? Fellas, have the tables turned? Are you getting pressure to give up the good-good? Is that what's hot in the streets? Please discuss...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And STILL not married?!

About ten days ago, we celebrated BougieMom's 80th birthday. It was an awesome testimony and tribute to  a wonderful woman with a well-lived life. We had a lot of family and friends in town and it's almost always great to catch up with people who have known you for the majority of your life.

Once we got past the "you look great, how have you been" cocktail hour, we settled down to dinner. Folks milled from table to table catching up and getting a chat on. All was well until someone rolled up and leaned in. "Michele, I just don't get it. You're so beautiful, talented, accomplished and you can really cook. And you're STILL not married?! I just don't understand what's wrong with these men."

Wow. She was extra loud on the "STILL" portion of that question. My smile went completely phony and I had to literally take a deep breath before answering. "Well, you would have to tell me when you figure it out." Fake chuckle, chitter chatter, onto the next.

A girlfriend of mine leaned in and asked, "Does that happen to you often?"

I nodded, "All. The. Time."

And really, it's not even the whole "Girl, no ring? No kids?" part of it that sets my teeth on edge. It's the build up. It's the "but you're so fabulous, why aren't you snapped up" portion that has me thinking longingly of my tequila shot days. As if they need to tell me how wonderful I am but pondering what could possibly be wrong with me. Like all I should have been doing is rolling up on some gent, show him a resume, two referrals and whip him up a lasagna and I'm married by next week. I'll try that next time. I'll lead with the lasagna.

It's truly almost as if it's one thing to be "of a certain age" and single but to be accomplished, moderately passable in looks and single?! Well that's just a damn crime. Le Sigh.

Next came the insensitive party attendee who actually named names. "What happened between you and Dude1? You too used to be so tight! I just knew you and he would end up married!" I muttered some random excuse and she came back again, "But what about Dude2? What happened there?" Thankfully, my nephew decided he needed some Aunt Chele time and came to sit in my lap and ask me questions not pertaining to my single state.

Just when I thought I had a reprieve came the kicker, "So do you think you'll just never get married then?" Saints preserve us. Folks have zero couth. Especially when they've known you forever. I flashed a smile and turned to talk to someone else at the table.

Truth is, I have no idea whether I'll get married or not. And despite all previous relationship drama, after my man hiatus I reckon I'll put back on the pumps and lip gloss and see what's left in the dating pool. But all the movies and books where you see single woman doing crazy things to have a date by their side for weddings and family functions... this entire post is exactly why. 

I've asked it before but it's always worthy of a remix - What do you say when people ask you why you're still single? And if you're not, do you ask single people this? Why? Please respond...

Monday, July 16, 2012

The fellas ask: So we're guilty until proven innocent?

In the aftermath of the trust post from last week, I received a lot of emails and tweets. All levels and ranges of responses from the positive "Thanks for opening the discussion" to the other side of the spectrum. Some were saying that I was ignorant and/or irresponsible, that I was aiding and abetting rapists, that I was just as criminal in my thinking as the perpetrator, that I was racist. Others indicated that I don't know about the number of black women being assaulted. It went on and on. For those who felt I was insensitive or those who missed my point (which was not at all about rape or victimization or the criminal justice system) - okay, I heard you. Thanks for sharing. Let's move on, shall we?

There was, however; one line of questioning that I will follow-up on. More than one gentleman asked me - If women are so wary that they are assuming all men are guilty (of something) until proven innocent, how do we ever build real relationships?

Excellent question. As always, disclaimer first: I'm not a relationship expert. I've just been to the three-ring circus and seen the clowns more times than we need to discuss. Okay? Moving on...

Let's pull apart the premise first. There are several myths wrapped up in here. First being that real relationships are not being built everyday. There is also the myth that there are no good professional single straight men without eleventy million babies' mamas left in the United States. There is the myth that of the two decent men left, one of them is a dog and the other one only dates white women. There is the myth that women don't move on from their pasts but are quick to paint the next guy with the ex's brush. These are myths that need to be debunked, killed dead, buried deep and never no more resurrected.

But the allure of these myths is wrapped up in the unmistakable truth for many of my professional sisters- a good man is hard to find and hard to keep. (Bruhs, my bad - I know it's hard out there for you too)

All that being said, not all women believe men are guilty until proven innocent. However, many of us have encountered a rascal or two along the way so we may have to side eye you for the first 60 90 180 days. Nothing against you personally, gents. It's the whole once bitten, twice shy concept. We're going to try not to lump you in with your ratchet brethren that have come before but I gotta tell you, if we see some of those same tendencies and mannerisms in you, we're going to be right skittish. Like I once announced, "I'm going to try not to drag the entire seven piece matching set that is my relationship baggage into our thing, but this overnight bag is heavy on it's own."

"So what can we do, Chele?"

Well let me tell you, fellas... you're not going to like it. But you're going to have to communicate. You're going to have to ask why every now and then your new boo thang looks at you like she's waiting for you to pull on hockey mask and grab a chainsaw. Relationships are a journey and how will you know how to navigate without a map? That's how relationships go off target, folks get to barreling along without knowing they've hit quicksand and next thing you know? You're sunk. 

And you're going to have to be transparent. I don't mean oversharing. What I mean is that if you say you are going to say or do or be somewhere... let it be so. Consistently. Don't make a woman wonder where your interest lies or what you're really after. Speak plain and let your actions reflect it. 

Not to let the ladies off the hook. The same rings true for us as well. Far too many chicas out there making it hard for the rest of us. We've all run up against that guy who just got out of a bad breakup with a chick who cut such a fool, no one in his family even mentions her name. Yeah, don't be that chick. Don't expect a man to read your mind. They are not that magical (no shade, guys, IJS). When something is on your mind, speak on it before it becomes a festering wound. Again, transparency. 

SO beyond saying both sides need to just. do. better. I guess I'm saying, isn't it worth it in the end to put a bit of due diligence in at the beginning? BougieLand, what say you? Ladies, do you prejudge men based on your past experiences? Fellas, do you feel that you are being judged before you even have a chance to state your case? Do share...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Do black folks have trust issues?

I was watching Dates from Hell on @DiscoveryID the other night. Wednesday nights are their "Love Gone Wrong" episodes with Who the Bleep Did I Marry followed by this new Dates from Hell. These are stories where a woman goes out on a date and ends up fighting/running for her life. Grim. Puts my BougieTales of Dating Woe in proper perspective. But anywho... 

The premiere episode Wednesday night was about (in a nutshell) a woman who was vacationing in Rome. On her last night there, she and her friend were at a cafe. The cafe owner introduces them to Marco. Marco was an artist and they visited his studio. Marco invited them out to drinks and they declined. The woman changed her mind and went to meet him without her friend. She and Marco chatted about art, sipped wine, he was charming. He bought her flowers and complimented her. Shortly thereafter he told her about the wonderful view of Rome from the balcony in his apartment. She agreed to go take a look. 

At this point in the story I tweeted that I did not understand a single woman in a foreign country going to a strange man's apartment alone. I'm sorry. I can't fathom the circumstance under which I would ever, ever do that. As you might suspect, the story turned batshit crazy. Marco went uberPsycho literally trying to rape and kill the woman. She had to fling herself off the sixth story balcony and jump across rooftops to escape. She did escape, badly hurt and badly shaken up but a survivor. She is now a victims' advocate.

She also tweeted me to tell me that I shouldn't "victim blame- a woman has a right to trust that she won't be attacked by an animal."

True but um... Okay - first, I don't victim blame. For instance, do I blame Trayvon for wearing a hoodie? No. I agree that sometimes people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong evil people crossing their paths. HOWEVER - I do think there are precautions that one should take to avoid the potential for these situations at all costs. She did not appreciate my point of view and directed me to her website for some educational reading. 

From here a firestorm of a debate raged on Twitter - many of the chocolate sisterhood said we just don't get down like that. Marco would have had to drag me to his apartment kicking and screaming to see the view unless I had someone with me, a cell phone in hand and an idea where the closest Polizia station was located. And event hen I may not have gone. Then again, my father was the type to say: "Ain't nothing open after midnight but liquor stores and legs. Act like a lady and be home on time." I was 30 years old and he was still telling me to "act like a lady." Le sigh. I've been brought up to believe that preventative precaution is the way to go in most social situations. [Translated: Men are frequently grab-assy, don't get caught out there] 

Many of the non-black women said it wouldn't be that big of a deal to them. Since the cafe owner introduced Marco, they would assume he was a nice guy and feel comfortable with him. Hmm. I'm not saying black women don't get attacked. I'm saying most of the black folks I know run from danger even if there's only a slight whiff of it. We tend to assume someone is up to no damn good until they've proven otherwise. Is it just me?

There's stuff I just don't do. I don't walk to my car alone at night. I don't jog alone at night. I don't get drunk without a designated driver/watcher/exit strategy. I never go on a date with someone new without letting folks know where I'm going to be and who I'm going to be with. If I'm alone in an elevator with someone I get a hinky vibe from, I get off and wait for the next one. I don't ride in strange people's cars. If I'm at a house I've never been to, I check for the exits. Lookie here, I don't play. I don't know if that's a female thing, a lessons learned thing or a black thing. 

Not to make light of the situation but it's kind of like those jokes about horror movies. The black audience is looking at Suzy walking into the dark forest in the rain (in high heels and a minidress)  like, "Don't. Do. It!" or "Girl betta you than me" and the rest of the audience is surprised when Suzy gets chainsawed to death. 

Someone asked me - Do black people just always think trouble is coming? Do you ever just trust that people are what they say they are?

To which I answered: Sometimes and rarely. From our historical reference, trouble/danger/shenaniganism does appear to pop up announced and wreak epic havoc impacting us generationally. Culturally, we are taught to keep one good eye on folks in case they flip out. I don't know if this is true for all cultures. BougieMom says, "You can't avoid trouble but you don't have to open the front door and invite it in for dinner either." 

What say you, BougieLand? Is this a "black thing"? Is there some sort of cultural divide in the way the races perceive danger? Have black folks been okey-doked one two many times (Slavery, Jim Crow, 2004 Presidential Election) to be totally trusting of anyone's motives? [A friend of mine and I were talking about this and he said, "You know we just one Tea Party President away from getting shipped back to Africa.] Oh. My. Is that what we think? Please discuss...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How soon is too soon?

Okay now. I appreciate those of you that were classy enough to offer an ear, a shoulder, a keyboard for me to vent on after hearing about my breakup. Thanks so much, ya'll totally rock. But some of ya'll - and no, I'm not going to call you out your names - were just plain wrong.

Three of you offered to set me up with your freinds. Two of you wondered if David is back on the market yet. And more than a few of the fellas were offering complete other body parts for me to lean on in my time of recovery. What part of the game is that? To dude who said, "The best way to get over one is to get on another one," might I say... no thank you?

This got me to thinking. How soon is too soon to holla at someone just going through a break up? I mean, is someone rolling up on Katie Holmes-Cruise right about now? Shouldn't there be a sort of cooling off, neutral zone, palate-cleansing period?

I know the standard protocol for a widowed person to begin dating again is one year. (No idea where I read that, chances are I just made it up) I don't know if there's a divorced person protocol. I guess it depends on why the divorce happened and how long it took to be finalized. I mean if one party or the other was stepping out, all bets are off - right? Or if the divorce has been lingering for months and months,

But a break-up protocol? Hmm... Shouldn't you at least wait until the post about the break-up is at the bottom of the webpage, the body is cold, and I've changed my Facebook status? I mean, take a person's relationship temperature before you come at them all sideways! Or is that just me?

I always need a hiatus (those of you who have been around a while know this) before even thinking about being onto the next. Other friends of mine end one relationship and are back out there a week or so later. I guess it depends on where you are and what you thinking and feeling. 

BougieLand, what say you? How soon is too soon for a person to holla at someone they know just went through a break up? How soon is too soon for that person to "get back on the horse" so to speak? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Monday, July 09, 2012

Ask a Bougie Chick - People just don't understand

Blogger's Disclaimer: I really do try and steer away from the uberRatchet Ask A Bougie Chick letters. There are many (many!!) that I read, shake my head and say - um... no. But this girl was just so earnest and positive that she's in the right... I couldn't resist. But before we read the letter, an anecdote:

My older brother is a trauma surgeon. From time to time, he'll call with ridiculously outlandish tales from the hospital. Once when he was in Shreveport, he talked about a man and his sig-oth that came in regularly. Usually on a Saturday night, liquored up and one or the both of them would have minor stab wounds. Yes, their idea of good times was go out drinking, get mad at each other and take out the switchblades and make like West Side Story... um without the singing and dancing. One night they came in and the man did not survive his wound. His woman got angry and said, "He never died on me before, I only stabbed him a little bit." Ooo-kay. That's the story that came to my mind when I received this letter:
Dear Chele,
I'm 31 and I've been with my man, KJ for two years. My boyfriend and I have what I guess some one call a tempestuous relationship. We live together and there's a lot of passion between us. We do argue a lot usually pretty loudly, sometimes in public. We've had the police out here half dozen times telling us we're disturbing the neighbors with either our fights or our making up.  We're not violent with each other but emotions do run high. All of my friends and family tell me that's too much damn drama but we can't stay away from each other. It's like we have a chemistry, a force field that draws the two of us together. We truly love each other. 
This past month, things have sort of escalated as far as our on again off again status. He threatened to leave and we had a huge fight. I ended up putting half his clothes in the bathtub and pouring bleach on them. Then when I threatened to leave. He slashed two of my tires. But he paid to have them replaced and we laughed about it later. When we made up, it was that much sweeter. We're just over the top like that. Why don't people understand, this is just how we are? 
believe we are destined to be together that this is the only man who loves and accepts me as I am. Even though we fuss and fight, I know he loves me. But everyone is saying I'm in an unhealthy place and I need to think this over. What do you think?
Janella in Jackson
Janella - Sorry, I don't know you or your man but I agree with your people. That's too much nonsense and foolishness. I'm not sure how you are defining love but it sounds to me like your relationship is about the adrenaline high you get from the rollercoaster of drama you all perpetuate. The endorphin high from the crazy  makeup cocoa has you all mixed up. 

You mention bleached clothes and slashed tires like these are regular and okay occurrences for a stable relationship. No ma'am.  Are you listening? No. MA'AM! Any relationship that brings the po-po to your door on the regular is no bueno. At the very least, you need some time away to see what normal is. By normal, I mean a peaceful quiet existence where you aren't pendulum swinging from mountain high to valley high day to day. Slashed tires do not equal love. And if you are trashing clothes and he's slashing tires, where do you escalate to from here? No place good. Based on what you've told me, this is not a healthy relationship. You do create a  force field but it's not a good one. But let me ask the readers... 

BougieLand, you know how I feel about relationships that could headline a Lifetime Movie of the Week. What do you have for Janelle and KJ? Do you know people in relationships like this? Is it just me or are they doing too damn much? The floor is yours, please share.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th! How independent are you?

It's Independence Day! The day America said told Britain, "We're done, son." Of course after being freed from the tyranny of British rule, the forefathers rained all flavors of holy hell on folks here in the new country but that's for another day.

Some dude on Facebook was going in last night about how all these women consider themselves to be strong and independent but they are really not. He argued that a lot of women lean on men, friends, family both emotionally and financially to make it from month to month. He believed that the "independent black woman" is a myth. So of course, someone else launched the counter offensive about men being the biggest dependent and co-dependent on the planet and the battle was on.

Got me to thinking... Am I as independent as I think I am? By this definition:

Definition of INDEPENDENT

: not dependent: as(1) : not subject to control by others : self-governing (2) :not affiliated with a larger controlling unit <an independent bookstore>(1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent <an independent conclusion> (2) : not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct (3) : not bound by or committed to a political party(1) : not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood) <independent of her parents> (2) : being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living <a person of independent means>d : showing a desire for freedom <an independent manner>

I'd say I'm 92% there. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing... topic for another discussion. I personally don't mind leaning on others from time to time. Lady Liberty has got to be tired of carrying that torch all by herself. Some days, I'm sure she'd like to set it on down and get a dip in the ocean and a spa package. I'm just saying.

Bougieland, do you consider yourself independent? Do you feel free? Why or why not? Do you ever want to be completely independent? Please discuss...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

These young uns today...

BougieSis and I were chilling at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. We've taken some fairly awesome vacations before but absolutely nothing compares to the uberluxuriousness, understated "what can I get you, Senorita?" wonderfulness that we experienced at this place. It takes about 40 minutes to get there from the Puerto Vallarta airport. It's a winding scenic drive with breathtaking ocean views and foliage along the way. By the time you get there, you are completely mellow. 

The Four Seasons doesn't play with a reception desk. A manager comes and seats you on a super deep padded sofa where you are introduced to the property. Until they ask for your credit card, you kind feel like you stumbled into a really nice house you get to borrow for a while. The property was so spread out, you have to take a golf cart to get your oceanfront casita. When they opened the door to our spot (larger than many apartments I've lived in), our mouths fell open. Huge bathtub, indoor/outdoor shower. Bed like a cloud. Fab decor. Can you say gorgeous?! This was the view from our back patio. 

All of this to say that by the time we went to breakfast the next morning, we were in a tranquil Zen state that very little could jar us out of... except for Ethan. Ethan was a tow-headed child about four years of age who clearly did not understand the concept of public versus personal space nor indoor vs. outdoor voice. Ethan was a hooligan whose parents thought it was cute to let him be free to express himself in any old kinda way. (I didn't express my true thoughts until I'd been out of my parents house for years. Years, you hear me? Anyway...)

For any of you who've been to beach locations you know it's never a good idea to feed the birds. Once they know food is free, they will dive bomb in Hitchcockian frenzies to get it. This did not stop Ethan from flinging his banana pancake about for the birdies. Pity BougieSis and I were at the next table and the birds didn't care that we weren't Ethan.

Ethan also thought it would be fun to run around the table (ours in particular) screeching at the birds. Ethan's father finally realized that BougieSis was contemplating assault and battery with a butter knife and hopped up to calm Ethan down. By then Ethan was ready to swim. Much whining and fit-throwing commenced. And then for some odd reason, they decided to stand right next to us while slathering Ethan's fair skin from top to bottom with copious amounts of sunscreen. Ethan did not like this and shared his displeasure loudly. 

Other children, seeing that Ethan was allowed to cut a fool, soon joined in the hooliganism. When one parent attempted to scold their hooligan, the child screamed "You can't make me!" BougieSis and I were stunned silent. We picked up the beach bags and headed over the "Adult Pool" also known as the "Quiet Outdoor Lounge" where we whiled away the afternoon.

Lookie here, I love kids. I really do. But back in my day (yeah, I said it) when we went out to eat, we sat at the table and ate and made polite conversation. Period. There was no running off. No flinging of foods, no demands for the last piece of bacon (yes, that happened). And whether we were at the table or not, we never (not nan once ever) raised our voices to our parents. I liked my head, I wanted it to stay attached to my body. I was Queen of the Eyeroll and even I knew to do it when backs were turned and folks were on their way out of the room. 


So I ask you, BougieLand - what's wrong with these kids today? Were you allowed to "talk back" to your parents? Were you allowed to interrupt/disagree/smart mouth any elder? Did you run free in restaurants? Inquiring minds need to know... cuz I just don't understand. 

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Awkward After

The after-the-breakup awkward is one of those uncomfortable period of adjustments that you just have to get through. There's no shortcut, no getting around it. If you are ever going to lay eyes on this person again in life, there's going to be something.

So there I stood, outside David's front door debating... should I knock, ring the doorbell? When you are used to pulling into the garage and letting yourself in, it's awkward to now follow rules of etiquette. With a sigh, I rang the doorbell. He came to the door, opened it and immediately asked, "Why didn't you pull in the back?" See? Awkward. I just shrugged, said hello and stepped in.

There's no delicate way to gather up your stuff from someone else's house. In the past, to avoid long drawn out awkwardization, I tended to tip over when I knew the person wouldn't be home. If someone was coming to get stuff from my place, I had it already packaged. (Or burning on the front driveway, a la Waiting to Exhale..."Get yo' shit!" Okay, maybe not) My favorite post break-up was the ex who mailed all the stuff I had ever given him to my house. My mom's face when she saw the cuff links she had helped me pick out for him tossed into a cardboard box? Awesome (not!). BougieYoungerBro now rocks those. I believe in recycling.

Moving on... so I had a suitcase and a tentative smile as I eased past him towards the bedroom. I had hoped that he had pulled all the random stuff together and all I had to do was scoop and go. When I noticed none of this had been done, I sent him The Look. He shrugged, "Until you came to get it, it's like you're still here." Ouch. I nodded and began tossing hair products, potions and lotions into the bag. Cleared out my drawer, walked into the closet and sighed. I had stuff all over the damn place. Thankfully, he turned and walked out. It was uber-awkward having him watch me unhang an item, fold it and pack it away.

When I walked back out to the den, he was on the sofa. It was all kind of weird because we were passed the sad phase and onto the resigned 'this is how it's gonna be' phase. Maybe because we both knew this day was coming. There was only one thing left to do. I handed over the garage door opener, the keys and the engagement ring I'd never gotten in the habit of wearing. That made him angry.
"Keep the ring." 
"It was specifically for you. Not like I'm going to give that ring to someone else." 
"Okay then, take it back to the jeweler and get credit or exchange or something." 
"Michele, I don't want the damn ring back. It's yours." 

I did not want to argue. I nodded, "Okay. Talk to you later," and as I walked past the front table, I set the ring down and headed out the door. Saturday, in the mail, the ring came back with a note, "I said keep it."  With the underline. Arrgh!

BougieLand, any nice neat way to retrieve personal items from exes? Has anyone had any drama with this? And let's take a straw poll - who thinks I should keep the ring and who thinks I should send it back? Thoughts, comments, insights?


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