Friday, September 28, 2012

Is there a "Wrong For Me" Man Magnet?

About two years ago, I posted about my friend Elise who caught her husband of 10+ years smooching some random chick in the middle of a Buckhead bistro. She also accepted his explanation that it was "just a kiss" and took him back. Her vows, she told me unequivocally, said for better or worse. If that was the worst  she was okay with it.

Fast forward to last fall when (cue the shock and awe) hubby Ben confessed he had baby by Hot Lips Chick and would be leaving Elise post-haste to live out his "new dreams" (his exact words) with Hot Lips. A-ight, you still with me? Not a book plot, actual folks, the drama continues.

Fast forward to last January, divorce is final and Elise is rebounding with a former baseball player who (in her words) makes her "believe in fairy tales, rainbows and magic" again. He was wining her and dining her and whisking her off for marvelous weekends hither, thither and yon. My Red Flag Alert went straight to Threat Condition Ruh-roh. 

Fast forward to last weekend when she calls me distraught that Prince Charming had a multitude of women riding the rainbow and she was actually pretty low in the batting rotation. (sorry for the sports analogy, couldn't resist) Out of all her rants (during which I held back all the I-told-you-he-wasn't-bout-shiggitys), the thing that stuck with me was her concern that maybe she had a "wrong-for-me Man Magnet" and if so, could she please get it removed immediately?

At this point, I imagine I can hear Dr. Jayme's teeth gnashing all the way from my house because she firmly says there is a delineation between the kind of person you attract and the kind of person you chose to be with. In a perfect world, these to things add up where the type of person you want is the type of person who is dying to be with you. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.

Believe me, I know this to be true. I am a Cap Daddy magnet. Pimpin'-Azz-Grandads in Steve Harvey  suits see me coming a mile away. But I chose not to be with those fellas. I have to deliberately place myself in the path of the kind of guys I want to be with and scheme and plot until hope one of them recognizes all the Micheleness.

What is it about me that attracts leisure-suit wearing retirees? No clue. But what I do know is that just because someone wants you, you are not required to want them back. At all. Not even a little bit.

As I told Elise, if you don't want to be a replaceable ornament - quit choosing these Christmas tree-assed negroes. Christmas Tree Negroes - look great, smell great, you love to be around them? A little bit high maintenance- only there for a season, look different dependent on setting but underneath they are all the same? To reach full potential, they have to be decorated, admired and pampered. Break one ornament, replace it with another but the tree remains a tree.

She said I was oversimplifying and plans to go to a professional matchmaker to help her find her true soulmate. Awesome. But then I thought... who's going to help you pick the matchmaker? Problem for another day.

BougieLand, do you attract the type of person that you are attracted to? And if not, what do you do? Please discuss...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall TV Watch - What's caught your eye?

I will admit to not paying a ton of attention to new shows this fall. I tried to pick up a few shows in the past few months (Boss - good but too dark for me) and I started watching Breaking Bad from Season One on Amazon Prime. 

I didn't stay faithfully glued to Boardwalk Empire though I watched the premiere and I was also happy to see the return of Treme. House of Lies was a brilliantly satirical look at the life of consultants led by the always impressive Don Cheadle. I had mixed emotions about The Closer series wrap-up and I couldn't get into Major Crimes, the spinoff. As usual, I enjoyed every episode of Leverage and can't wait for it to come back in late fall.

But what I'm really looking forward to? Scandal tonight. After that first season, what in the world will Olivia Pope do next? Someone pointed out to be that Scandal is messier than any of the hot mess reality TV shows I routinely ignore. Yes. I know. But it's FICTION. And well written at that.

Grey's Anatomy kicks off season gazillion tonight and I just don't know. Seems like Shondra Rhimes has milked that puppy dry and is going straight for a visceral punch in the gut every episode. Until the chief or Bailey get a love interest they are allowed to keep, I'm side-eyeing the show with arms crossed.

Also looking forward to the return of The Good Wife. The plot appears to have come full circle so you just know the writers will shake that up. I'll also check out this new drama with Andre Braugher, I've never seen him be less than excellent (in in that poor slapped together Ray Romano show I can't remember the name of).

I have definitely turned a corner on Criminal Minds. It has gone from fascinating me to scaring the shiggity out of me. I caught a little bit of Mindy Kaling's new show which seemed amusing. I also caught about ten minutes of Guys with Kids with Anthony Anderson and Tempestt Bledsoe - umm, not so much.

So BnB'ers - what's on your Must See TV list this fall? Anything new we need to know about? Do share...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

From the Archives: A few things I need in a boo...

As we're revisiting Bouige Blasts from the past, this one about me foolishly attempting to chase a wannabe robber (he's currently serving 12 - 15) caught my eye. Enjoy:

There are plenty of things I love about being single – autonomy, no sharing of the remote control and the ability to skip shaving my legs for a day (or two) without complaints. [Don't judge me!] However, as we head towards the fall/winter season and the holidays, there are definite reasons for landing a significant other (aka getting booed up). But not just any boo will do. I have very specific requirements for Mr. Good-Bougie. This week I'll look at a few of them in my own special "OneChele" way.

Requirement #5: Security. No not financial or emotional, I'm talking actual firearm bearing, black suit wearing security. Allow me to share:

Last week, I'm at home upstairs in my office wrapping up some phone calls. BougieMom had lent her car to an in-law so she called me to come and scoop her up from the senior citizens' center where she plays bridge. (BougieMom's social life is better than mine. L Moving on.)

Now some background info, BougieMom is 77 and lives with me in a home large enough for us to sometimes ignore each others' existence. It's a two-story stone and brick structure in a gated community. When I am upstairs in my office, I can block out the world. I say all this to say, we have always felt extremely secure here.

So on this fine sunny day last week, I walked out of my office, across the game room and started down the stairs. Swinging my purse over my arm, I paused thinking I heard something. Please imagine my shock when I leaned over the banister to see a short pale acne-ridden white man standing in my kitchen. As I watched, he reached across the bar top and picked up the keys to my German luxury automobile and glanced around. His eyes landed on the flat screen TV we have in the breakfast nook.

I scanned him up and down and saw no noticeable weapons, a frail frame and I deduced that I outweighed him. In other words, I could take him if I had to. All of this brilliant thought in less than a minute. Now what I did next shocks me in hindsight and if asked ahead of time, I would have sworn that I would not have done this.

I opened my mouth and said, 'What the hell?" He turned and looked at me obviously shocked that someone was home. I went from stunned to pissed in no time flat and my inner Shaniqua came out. He made a move as if heading towards the garage and I said, "There's not a chance in hell that you can make it out of the garage in my m.f. car before I get down there and catch your ass." With that I flew down the stairs still talking trash," Not this house, not today!" As I hopped down from the last stair to the landing, he decided to cut his losses. "Shit!" he said before flinging my keys in one direction and running past me to the back door (answering my question of how he'd gotten in).

Still not thinking and still enraged, I snatched up the keys, ran out to my car and wheeled out looking for him. I skidded out of my garage and took a corner on damn-near two wheels, I dialed 911 and shared my story. Gunning it down the side street to try and catch him at the back gate, I gave a detailed description, "Meth-head tweaky looking narrow ass with dirty blond hair, bloodshot blue eyes, 5'8" in a grey tee and stonewash jeans."

I watched him jump the back gate and it occurred to me, "Chele, if you caught this guy, what were you going to do exactly?" I had no clue; I announced to the dispatcher that I was giving up the chase. Adrenaline still high, I retrieved BougieMom and told her the tale. When we got back to the house, we discovered that the lock on the back door was sticking and he was able to jiggle it to get in. Meth-head had opened some of her drawers and taken some cash she had in her nightstand but nothing else. We were counting our blessings when the police called me to say they had actually caught the guy (that never happens) and had him in custody.

Since I live less than two miles from a police substation and the guy had been on foot, they caught him meeting up with his partner behind a drugstore up the road. The duo had hit ten homes in the area. They were suspected of over fifty break-ins across the Dallas-Ft.Worth metroplex. Their m.o. was for one guy to go in during work hours and if there was a car, he could load your car up with your belongings and drive off. Then he met up with his friend who had a big rental truck to consolidate the haul… nervy.

He picked the wrong house on the wrong day. I went to the substation and picked him out in a line-up that same night. BougieMom and I have decided to just leave the alarm on all the time. It was only later when I thought about how many ways that day could have gone worse that I cringed a little. He could have had a gun, his partner could have been with him, my mother could have been home, he could have fought me, I could have fallen down the stairs (wouldn't be the first time).

Before you ask what in all that is bougie was I thinking, I'll tell you – I was thinking "the nerve of this guy! While I'm in my own home trying to earn a nice living and keep a roof over my mother's head to bust up in here and steal what's mine!" If I had it to do all over again, I'd hide in the closet and dial 911… maybe. Or if I had a man, I'd call him to come over and kick the guy's ass. SO while I'm making up my wish list of requirements for the pre-Christmas boo, I believe I'll add large, burly, intimidating or at least handy with firearms (or skilled in jujitsu) to the list.

BougieLand - what would YOU have done?

Monday, September 24, 2012

From the Archives: When TapBack happens

It's that time again.. Truthfully, it's apparently always that time. But as we inch closer to Holiday Boos and Cuddle Cocoa, it behooves me to remind everyone: Beware the TapBack (from March 2011):

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

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

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

BougieLand, what say you? Jason and Mr. Skyy making sense? Does TapBack just happen? Are you guilty of making the call (sending the text)? Is there anyway for "sex with the ex" not to be messy? Wouldn't a clean break just be better? Do you avoid these calls or answer the phone to see what's what? Inquiring minds want to know. The floor is yours...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Change: You can't force it, fight it, or fervently wish it into existence

My final thoughts on Lessons Learned from Iyanla's Fix My Life (whew!) - change doesn't happen in a vacuum. It takes a commitment to action and follow-up on that action. Again, not to judge Evelyn but I couldn't help but wonder how ready for change she really is and whether or not she'll take the lessons that Iyanla was giving her and use them for transformative living down the road. I hope she does.  hope this wasn't all for the publicity and I hope we've all managed to get something thought-provoking out of what was some hot mess.

Here's what I know to be true:
1) You can't make somebody change. I don't care how fine, smart, manipulative, cocoa-stirring-wondrous, nightly-praying, beseechifying (yes, I'm making words up) you are. If a person (including yourself) is not willing to change, it's not going to happen. Note: A ring nor a baby nor a wedding will magically transform someone who dos not want transformation. If you are meeting people that you think you want to change, just walk away. 

2) Even if people want to change, they may not be ready. There really is a season for everything and it just may not be that's person season to be who you need or want them to be. Sometimes people just aren't ready to make a change or are too entrenched in the known to embrace the unknown. Some folks will eat the exact same thing every Thursday night for 20 years. I know I spent a good five years lamenting the fact that I wasn't a writer but hadn't sent a word to anyone for them to read. I was comfortable as a well-paid HR consultant and writing was just a dream. It wasn't until I took a chance and embraced the change that it started happening for me. Also, you can't expect people to change on your schedule. They're ready when they are ready and not a minute before. Drop a hint and nudge all you want. When it happens (if it happens), it happen.

3) Even if someone is ready and willing to change? They may not be able to. Let's break it on down - some simply cannot change. They don't really want to or they won't try to or they just don't know how. All of the cuddling, counseling or cajoling in the world can't get this person over the hump. This is where the saying about old dogs and new tricks comes from. The one about horses, water and drinking? All of that. 

So what does it all mean? It means all you can really do is change yourself if you so desire. Everything else is out of your hands. Quit stressing about it.

BougieLand, ever met someone who is just set in their ways? Ever tried to changed an s/o? How'd that work out for you? What, if anything, new did you take a moment to think about this week? Do share...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Girls who Let Go of the Fairy Tale when Prince Charming is not Enuf...

Cinderella, Love Jones and other perfectionist portrayals of "happily ever after" have us twisted up the game, yo. I mean, I write relationship fiction, I know how powerful that vision of two people walking off into the sunset vowing to stay by each other's side through thick and thin can be. They made it through the struggle and now everything is going to be alright... forever!

As we continue with the lessons from Iyanla's Fix My Life, it was fairly evident that one huge problem was that Evelyn wanted the fairy tale no matter the cost. She wanted the blingy husband, the dream wedding, the lush honeymoon, the happily ever after and the prestige of being able to say "this is mine, don't you wish you could get like me." Having to walk away from that had to smart more than a little bit.

I know this feeling all too well, I know how hard it is to let go of the fairy tale. *pulls out pop-up pulpit*

So much of what goes on in a relationship is in our heads. The line between thought, word and deed gets a little blurry from time to time. One of the things that is very hard to do is to keep your mind and heart from running away with you when you first meet somebody that's attractive to you on multiple levels. Lord knows, if I allowed myself to do so, I could visualize the next twenty five years with a dude I've only had two coffees with.

Imagination, pre-programming and wishful thinking are a bitch to overcome when you want some piece of the fairy tale. And by the fairy tale, I'm referring to the promise of a glittering future where every day is better because you've got the right person by your side.

How often have I sat beside a dude knowing on one hand that it wasn't working out, we were not going to make it but on the other hand saying well what's the harm in waiting a little while longer, let's just see how this plays out. Seriously, I've had a tougher time figuring out how to tell other people we've broken up than actually breaking up with the person. This is now known as Resistance to Letting Go of The Fairy Tale syndrome. RLGFT. I need to start a support group, you don't hear me though...

Most of the time, if the relationship is going well for a month or two? In my mind, I've already exchanged vows at noon on the beach in Maui, I've already bought the house, opened up all the purple crystal and combined the 401(k)s. I have to literally re-train my brain to slow it down, pump the breaks. Sad to say the hardest part of the majority of my break-ups has been getting past the "so dammit, I guess this really isn't going to happen" hurdle in my mind.

We were talking about it the other night on Twitter. It's not just admitting failure because failure happens, it's having to press pause, rewind and start over on the dream you thought you were close to achieving that wears you out. This is what's hard about getting back out there. Ugh. The thought of going through all the initial yada-yada and building another castle in your head with a new prince... exhausting.

How does it happen, Chele? How do otherwise brilliant women get caught up the fairy-tale-itis of it all? Hmm, well in the words of the prophets Boyz II Men from the Book of Uh-Ahh "Infatuation, Lust and a Lot of Love" to start with. Throw in Disney influence, gender programming, societal influence and some intangibles and there you go. It happens. Someone pass me the pixie dust to fix it all.

Not too many questions today except... can I get a witness? If any out there knows what I'm talking about raise your hand? Oh and fellas - do you do the fairy tale thing too or is that a "girl thing"? Please discuss...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ignoring the Caution Sign, the Red Flag AND the Burning Bush

Bless our human hearts, when we want something - I mean really, really want something? We go for it. Full steam ahead and damn what anybody has to say about it. 

Continuing to pull lessons From Iyanla's Fix My Life season opener, one of the points she consistently hammered home is the destruction you bring into your life when you willfully ignore warning signs. In this particular example it was a fiance who told his intended that he didn't know how to be faithful, he wasn't sure he was good at being married and basically never grew up. When a person hears that and moves forward anyway? It's like sending a big F.U. to the universe. And then to act surprised when it backfires? No judging, just saying: Ooo. Wee.

This is an issue I've seen time and time again. Women (and Men) who see red flag after red flag but keep it pushing anyway. There's a reason for intuition and gut reaction. There's a reason you sometimes get that feeling that "something ain't right" and find yourself backing up. People have to learn to trust that. 

What must be done is a constant evaluation and re-evaluation of your relationship status. A few things - rarely are you going to overhaul someone from the inside out in a relationship. If you don't like what you see from jump, not so often does that turn around. This I say for the Give-A-Brother-A-Break sistas and the Captain-Save-A-Ho bruhs. Not to be harsh but your job in a relationship is not necessarily to save the other person and bring them out of whatever dire circumstances they are in. In those scenarios, the relationship starts out imbalanced with one person clearly in the other's debt. No bueno.

Another thing - if EV-ER-Y body you love and trust tells you something is wrong with old boy/old girl - something is wrong. That Us Against The World mentality is great for fiction, songs and movies - not so much for real life. Now if the haters hate your s/o - who cares. But Grandma, Cousin Ray, your mentor, two best friends from high school and your line brother are all saying run? Run.

And the last thing I want to share - our ever important quote from Maya Angelou: When people tell you who they are, believe them!! I would also add that if people CAN'T tell you who they are after a certain age? That's a problem as well.

There are small warning indicators, there are waving-assed red flags, there are blinking caution signs and then there's a burning bush outside your front door about to catch the house on fire. Don't act (when it all comes down) like you didn't see any/all of those. Either self-correct along the way or admit after the fact that you wanted to do your ostrich-head-the-sand impersonation for a minute. It's one thing to say the signs were subtle, it's another thing to say you didn't put two and two together and come up with four and it's a whole other thing to just turn a blind eye and wish those pesky flags would quit waving in the breeze.

Now in my case, I see red flags everywhere. Probably in some places where there are none. I'm uber gunshy that way. At the very first hint of some shiggity, I'm usually out the door. Let me be honest, I usually walk in the door with one good side-eye on the entire situ to begin with. But that's my issue.

Red flags are not hints or suggestions, they are indicators that something is wrong and must be fixed/adjusted/removed before proceeding. That's all I'm trying to say.

Let's get into it, BnB - why do people ignore the red flags? What's the best way to be supportive when we see friends barreling down the wrong relationship path? Can we resist the temptation to tell them "I TOLD you so" when the mess comes to fruition? Have you ignored warning indicators in your relationships? How'd that work out for you? Do share...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are super-relationships the new bling? Lesson Two

It's funny how I thought there was nothing I could learn from Iyanla's Fix My Life. I'm not a fan of reality TV, I don't give two shakes of a damn about Evelyn or Chad, never paid a ton of attention to Iyanla and my overall thinking was "ratchet is as ratchet does." And then I actually watched the show. Thankfully, I was able to look beyond the National Inquirer aspects and get to the life lessons.

Lesson Number Two was also spurred on by a minor rant @PlyrPerspective had on Twitter. She was talking about this era of Power Couples. The competition to make sure your relationship is shiny and glossy is real out there.

Light bulb moment - have I been too centered on what my relationships looked like from the outside looking in as opposed to their wellness from the inside out? In other words, how much is having that "good on paper" person on your arm more of a trophy and less of a relationship?

Sure, we all want to date people we think are attractive. We want to date people that our friends and families will like. We want others to be impressed with our choices. We also want people that are going to be assets and not liabilities. My gut check comes into play when it's a toss-up whether I'm attracted to the person from the inside out or from the outside in. Is it more about the checklist? And is it more important even to just to be in a relationship with a decent person just to validate your own fabulosity?

And then I think about it. Naw, I'm good. I'd rather take a less glossy person with a heart of gold. (Not tore up, let's not get carried away) And Lord knows if I just wanted to stay in a relationship for relationships' sake... well, that's another post. But does everyone feel the same? Are there too many folks trying to get their Bey-Jay, Michelle-Barack, or dear heaven Ye-Kim on? For the wrong reasons? Is it really about achieving super coupledom or holding on to a lifemate?

Let's discuss. Have relationships become too much about the shell and less about the yolk? Are "photo-op matching resumes" relationships what's hot in the streetz? Are the relationships the new bling? Do share...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lesson One learned from #IyanlaFixMyLife- Daddy Issues

Contrary to some (many) folks' beliefs/tweets/moanings, Iyanla Vanzant's Fix My Life was not really about reality star Evelyn and her soon to be ex-husband Chad. Seriously, it wasn't about them. It was about relationships and how unresolved issues from previous relationships (including childhood) set patterns and pathology into adulthood.

I had a pretty good childhood by most people's standards. Sure there was some drama, we weren't the Cosbys (though damn close). But if you asked me before watching Iyanla's show if I'd dragged anything from my childhood into my adult relationships with men, I would have vehemently denied it.

However, as she went on and on about repeating patterns to chase the fairy tale? She struck a direct hit with that one. After careful reflection, with the exception of maybe one - I've been dating variations of the exact same guy for twenty years. What guy? My Dad. May he rest in peace.

Talk about being a Daddy's girl - this is taking it too far. Every guy I've been remotely serious about has had major traits in common with dear old Dad. Top five things - ambition, success, sense of humor, confidence, family. (Not to mention height, hair and general style of dress) What can I say? I love a tall buppie who can rock a suit and jeans with equal panache. 

Now granted these are fairly common characteristics for men to have in common. But they all had the same kind of swag, the same sense of humor, the same career ambitions (though not the same career), have reached a certain level of success and have that dedication to family. It's kind of spooky when you think about it. Additional things include traditional values and gender roles, appreciation for women of all ages, shapes and types, and a bit of old school old-fashionedness.

Problem with this combination of traits in this exact iteration is that it also comes with cockiness, some chauvinism, some entitlement and some marginalization of the woman as her own unique being... among other traits I find difficult to get down with.

None of these relationships worked out in the end. And instead of racking my brains to figure out why? I've got it. Much as I loved, loved, loved my dad? No desire to be married to him.

Now whether or not I break the cycle and try someone completely different the next time? That remains to be seen. Whether or not I need someone different or just needed to recognize what I was doing? That remains to be seen also. Stay tuned. Thanks, Iyanla!

Fellas, do you date women like your mother? Ladies, do you date men like your father? Is this a good or bad thing? No creepy answers please, Iyanla is not here to fix all of us. Do discuss...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why so hateful? Where did civil disagreement go?

Ever since the Republican and Democratic conventions, you can't help but notice the uptick in partisan rhetoric and political separatism. And while I'm sure there are plenty from the liberal left who are coming out shooting, I'm personally appalled at the vicious vitriol (say that four times fast?) from the far right.

So far, I've blocked 22 people on The Twitter and 13 folks on The Facebook who were less than impressed with my #ObamaTranslations. I won't share all the nastiness - just a few highlights. One called me a baboon, one sent a picture (poorly photoshopped) of the 44th President with male genitalia in his mouth, another called me a "black comi biyatch with 12 babies" and on it went.

@CarolynEdgar and I were talking about how some dude told her this election was the "White Man's Last Chance" - if they don't win this election apparently the country is going to hell in a hand basket. (I recall feeling this exact same way when Baby Bush jacked the country in 2000) At any rate, White Man Salvation Dude kept spiraling downward and really, life is too damn short so... 


But this got me to thinking about society on the whole. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree and retreating to your corners to battle it out another day? Why does a disagreement have to escalate to disrespect, hateration and worse case scenario - shots fired? Is this what breakdown of the nuclear family, 24/7 news cycles and ratchetass reality television has brought us to? Instead of having polite discourse, we hurl insults and flee? Or come back with a gun?

Since when did disagreement equal hate? I can violently disagree for everything a person stands for and believes in without hating them as a person. When someone makes a statement I believe to be misguided and poorly informed I don't automatically assume that person is a complete idiot. 

Even something as innocent as a football game seems to set people off. I tweeted my surprise and pleasure that the Cowboys won their first game last week and O.M.G! You would think I doused myself in pig blood and announced I was the bride of Lucifer. The hatespeak people! It's a game! One that very few of us get paid to participate in. Chill out.

The "stans" on social media. Goodness gracious. I may have mentioned that I believe Bey's "Halo" does too much for me. I prefer her less dramatical songs. I feared I might have to go into The Twitness Protection program, the Bey stans were gunning for me. Seriously? We can't agree that the woman is talented but I don't love every breath she takes without folks threatening to behead me?

How did it come to this? What's the answer? How do we teach people to be civil and rational even in disagreement? Have you noticed the rampant hatespeak? Thoughts, comments, insights?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you on 9/11/01?

I've told the not so interesting tale of where I was on 9/11. I was living in Marina del Rey. For some reason, I woke up early and turned on the news. As I was drifting back to sleep, I remember thinking that it was odd that they were filming a sequel to Independence Day and it was on the news. And then I woke up. And wished it was all a dream.

My sister was stranded in Atlanta, one of my friends from high school had to be located in DC and another friend who was a frequent traveler took six hours to check in. Thankfully, no one I knew was endangered. Thoughts and prayers out to the souls lost and those that loved them on this somber day.

Where were you on 9/11? Any memories you care to share?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The problematic puzzle of potential

So here's the thing. We had a few people get up in arms last week when we talked about looking for potential in a mate. Some argued it's not a marketable commodity, I vehemently disagree. What I will say about potential is that it's tricky. First of all, let's define it. 

po·ten·tial \pə-ˈten(t)-shəl\: noun a : something that can develop or become actual b : promise
adj : existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality 
: expressing possibility; specifically : of, relating to, or constituting a verb phrase expressing possibility, liberty, or power by the use of an auxiliary with the infinitive of the verb 

Thank you, Merriam-Webster.

I do believe as long as one is breathing there is hope and potential for betterment. Some things are easy. As far as looks go, I think everyone can mastermind an extreme makeover in six-twelve months time. So I don't factor in looks. You either like what you see in someone or you don't.

As far as brainpower goes, everyone has a brain. It's how they use it that comes into play. For personality, it pretty much is what it is. A super high energy sarcastic girl is not going to turn into a laidback go with the flow chick overnight. Pick accordingly.

Usually when we talk about potential, we're talking about life choices as they pertain to employment, goals, long-term plans and lifestyle. 

I think when you are looking for a lifemate (as opposed to a cocoa buddy), potential should be factored in. But here's where it gets tricky and discussion worthy. How much time do you give a person to either realize their potential or call it a wrap? What's the difference between potential and pipe dreams?

Classic Case A - Dude is 35, living in Nana's basement still talking about making it to the NBA. I don't care if he is 6'10" with the physique of a Greek God. His sell-by date on those hoop dreams has long passed him by. Am I saying he's not worthy of a long-term looksee? No. I'm saying that if his serious plan to support himself and whoever he chooses as a mate is waiting on a call from the Miami Heat, his judgment is as suspect as his jumper. 

Classic Case B - Girl is 32, taking pictures of herself in the bathroom mirror still talking about her modeling career. She needs to have several seats and a reality check. Not saying she may not be gorgeous, but the chances of her truly getting to live out her Naomi Campbell fantasy are slim to none at that point.

Okay, those were extreme cases. In other, more frequent examples we often see people in their thirties and into their forties that may not have hit their stride yet. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Can we all agree that potential without a plan to get there past the age of 35 is a bad thing? And by "there" I mean the path to attaining a life goal. A realistic sustainable life goal. 

I'm not hating on folks that go back to school at 40 or start completely new careers at 50. That's a plan, a foot on the path, if you will. Maybe you are in your late twenties now doing something you absolutely hate but you're being paid well for it. In my mind, you still haven't reached your full potential. When you find yourself doing something that makes you happy or at least satisfied in your soul, you're on that path. 

The tricky thing about this is how to recognize when someone is temporarily knocked off the path, taking their time getting to the path or when someone doesn't even know what their path is. This is where the Barack/Michelle thing comes in. Michelle meeting a Harvard Law Grad who was struggling to pay back loans is worlds apart from meeting someone who has been working customer service for ten years wondering where their life went. Sure, Barack had all the skills in the toolkit and fire in the belly to make sure  he was on the come up. Who's to say customer service chick isn't going to turn it all around next year? It's harder to see.

The long and short of it is that each person has to decide for themselves. When you meet someone - do they share your dreams and goals and morals? If they aren't where they want to be, do they have a plan to get there with the brains to back it up, the drive to keep going when things get tough and the hustle to switch courses and make it do what it do no matter what? 

As one who has hit the reset button on her own life a few times, I always think there's time to do more, get better, keep pushing, all of those "where there's breath there's hope" analogies. But then again, I never hit reset without knowing exactly what I was going to do next and what the backup plan was if that didn't work. 

BougieLand, how much do you factor in potential when you meet someone? At what age do you find that your tolerance for "potential" runs thin? Do you think after a certain point, people still have the power to change and better themselves? Do you think you've realized your potential either professionally or personally? Do discuss...

Friday, September 07, 2012

Things I loved about #DNC2012 and why you care

Whew. That's a wrap ya'll. #DNC2012 is in the books. I found it to be uplifting and exhausting. Now it's a countdown to Election Day with a few interesting debates along the way. There were many, many things I loved about the convention but here are a few of my favorites:

1. Democrats are the party of inclusion - Unlike the white-washed RNC, the DNC embraced all the colors of the rainbow. Without cherry-picking, you could easily scan the crowded and see all races, all ages, and both sexes liberally represented. Why do you care? This means chances are someone who cares about the things you care about belongs to the Democratic Party.

2. Diamond Bill is still shining - I started calling former President Clinton "Diamond Bill" back in the mid-90s. 

Diamonds are created over stress and time. They are coveted and sometimes come at too high a price. Ladies love them and men don't mind them either. Diamonds are tough and resilient. You can bury them deep in shiggity for as long as you'd like but after a quick rinse, buff and polish - they shine again. You know how when a diamond is in the sun and it catches the light, it's so dazzling you just have to look at it? Diamond Bill, ya'll. Why do you care? He's going to be out on the road campaigning for Obama and it's good to know he's still got it.

3. POTUS and VPOTUS love their wives - No shade to G.Dub and Laura or Daddy Bush and Barbara or even Ron and Nancy but you never looked ad those couples and wondered if they wouldn't rather be at home stirring the cocoa. Jill Biden actually blushed when her husband shouted her out from the stage last night and this pic of Barack and Michelle tells you all you need to know:

Why do you care? Love's in need of love today people.

4. Ya boy went in - For the record, Obama put on a clinic on how to throw shade, throw 'bows and snatch wigs the bougie way. You don't name call, you don't lie, you don't question citizenship. You merely suggest that a man who insults the Queen may not be up to the task of foreign affairs. You politely scroll through your accomplishments. And you put the cherry on top of the sundae by reminding everyone listening that you  are doing the damn job right now. Why do you care? Who doesn't want their President to be the coolest guy in the room?

5. DNC riverdanced all over the RNC - Tweets (9 million vs. 4 million), ratings, ability to engage the crowd, speak factually while keeping it classy? DNC did that. As I tweeted last night, the RNC talked to a chair, the DNC talked to the citizens. Why do you care? Because now action needs to be taken.

Make sure all of your people know their voting rights and have those papers ready. Look around and see if there is anything you can do to help this campaign. To me, the theme song for last night was Black Sheep's "The Choice is Yours..." Now go make it.

Thoughts, comments, insights?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Don't expect Michelleness if you ain't Baracking it

What can I tell you - Day One of the DNC was some awesomeness. My personal highlights included Cory Booker's eloquence and fire (and purple tie); Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland saying if Mitt was Santa Claus he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves, the Teddy Kennedy retrospective where we saw Mitt flippity-flopping on the issues years ago in a failed race against the Tedster; Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick telling to Dems to get off dey asses and grow a pair (paraphrased), Lilly Ledbetter twanging her epic made-for-Lifetime-TV struggle against the man and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's dead on assertion that Mitt's problem is that he simply doesn't get it.

As engaging as all of that was nothing dazzled like FLOTUS. Michelle Obama (fellow Capricorn), came out with the hair laid and makeup flawless in a Tracy Reese dress and to die for J. Crew pink pumps. And then she delivered. She shared more than just an empty hearts and flowers about her man (side-eye to Ann), she stood up there and straight testified for Barack like she was pleading a Supreme Court case and preaching to the choir all at the same time.

Her obvious love, devotion and admiration for her husband, our President, rang true. She talked about his upbringing and hers. How they started out with a lot of love and a lot of debt. She took the anecdotes about her husband and related them to policies and agendas. She reminded the base that this was the same man they had voted for four years ago and he deserved that vote again today. It was a masterfully written and brilliantly delivered speech that held the audience captive. It was real. Here's an excerpt:

“I didn’t think it was possible, but today I love my husband more than I did four years ago. Even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met,” the first lady said in a prime-time speech carried live by the major TV networks. “I love that he’s never forgotten how he started. I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he’s going to do even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard.”

Now, into this glorious moment a lot of the fellas on Twitter had their full Michelle admiration on. I completely understand that. I'm such a huge fan of hers. In my mind, I picture us meeting and becoming BFFs instantly. She is fabulous in ways many of us can only hope to be. But then some of the fellas went there. Why weren't more women on some Michelle-level about their men? Where was the ride-or-die? Where was the woman who would raise the kids, stay in shape, match them intellectually and be all that and then some? Where was their Michelle and why couldn't more women get like her?

Pump the brakes fellas. I stated on The Twitter that I wasn't sure I knew a man that would have me on national TV speechifying with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes for thirty minutes. Not tears of joy anyway. Michelle and Barack have twenty-three years in. They have put in the time and the work to make their relationship the beautiful vibrant thing we see today. When Michelle met Barack, she saw his potential, his intellect and his heart. They were well-matched in background, intelligence, ambition and physicality.

That doesn't happen every day. I don't expect a man to love me like Barack loves Michelle out the gate. I wouldn't step to a Barack level guy if I didn't think I was Michelle material. That street runs two ways. Don't expect a woman to ride-or-die for you and you half-assing it. Don't expect a Michelle while you Clintoning it up with random broads. As my Aunt Violet used to say, "Two birds need four wings to soar." Bring your own wings to the table fellas. That's all I'm saying.

Who watched the speech last night? Who wanted to sit down and compose sonnets about love, marriage and happily ever after when Michelle finished? For those of you in relationships - do you think you're in a Michelle/Barack zone with your s.o.? Those not in relationships, would you settle for less than that level of kinship, love and mutual admiration? Do share...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Love It or Leave It Alone... a minor rant

There's a lot going on this week. The DNC kicks off, the NFL kicks off, the last set of schools open and get these kids back in the classroom and it's September. But before I go any further, let me take a pause for the cause and address a thing or two.

After the Shawn Shebacle (shiggity + debacle), I received three kinds of feedback. The first was a combination of stunned outrage and incredulity. "What was he thinking?" Okay. That was to be expected. The second was flat out disbelief. "This can't be real, stop making things up." We'll come back to that one. And the third and most surprising to me was accusatory. Apparently, there are some who felt that this was some Machiavellian plot of mine. For what you may wonder? (As did I) There's a school of thought that I slept with Shawn and made up the ratchet visit encounter to cover it up to save face.

Let's address that one as I received no less than 14 emails, 2 texts and a phone call about it. First of all, not that I'm required to share every (any) thing with the readership but seriously, after all the crap I've admitted to on here, wouldn't I just say - Ooo, ya'll - I did a bad thing and admit it? Second, if I was going to just wild out and sleep with anyone other than David in the crew, it would have been Jay (sorry Joy, just saying. On fine points alone?) or Owen (sorry Jayme, he's got that Denzel thing going) but then I wouldn't be typing this because I'd be so very dead. Shawn never crossed my mind.

But having been in the situ previously where I guy I was dating tried to date a friend of mine (please see PsychoMike story for reference)... Really? That's me? Lure some dude over, stir cocoa and then tell his friends and my ex (via blogpost) that he hit on me to cover it up? Ooookay.

I don't expect that you all know me like know me, know me. But c'mon now. If you're bold enough to write me a long-assed accusatory letter calling me a skank, at least do your research first. Please and thank you.

Next up, the fiction of it all. It's true. I do write fiction. For money. Pay attention. When I write fiction it's because someone is paying me to do so. No one pays me for this blog. It's a labor of love (most days). Period. The reason I don't also write for multiple publications, websites, newszines, etc - I only have so much to give. I'm not one of those folks whose creativity comes effortlessly. It's a struggle. I share this to say, I ain't be got (yeah, I said it) the energy to write fiction, play nice with fools at work AND make up entertaining diversions for this blog. 

Finally, let me say you are all welcome to your opinions of course. You are even welcome to share them with me. But at the end of the day if you don't like/doubt/disagree with something you read... we can discuss it respectfully as grown folks should do. If not? There are multiple exits from Bougieland. Love it or leave it alone.

Happy Tuesday...


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