Thursday, January 31, 2013

What I love and hate about #Scandal

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I am here for Scandal - the fast paced, brilliantly penned brain child of Shonda Rhimes starring Kerry Washington. Shonda had me at "Hello" or in the case of this show, "Hi."

There are things that I love and hate about the show. I have no in between feelings, it's all in one way or the other. The premise of the show is that Olivia Pope is a DC Beltway fixer with connections everywhere. She and her "Gladiators in Suits" have the sticky job of extricating the rich and powerful from scandalous situations and making everything all pretty again. Unfortunately, the lives of the gladiators are just as messy (if not more so) as those they serve.

Huck, a former (current?) super-sleuth ninja for the government is lacking in social skills, heavy on heart and has the ability to disappear folks without leaving the minutest DNA trace. Abby is the neurotic uber-snarky but ultra smart chick who has horrendous (I mean God Awful) taste in men. Not to be outdone in the bad taste in men category is Quinn whose former boyfriend was blown up by the Illuminati, her last hookup was killed by the Vice-President's Chief of Staff. She is at times mousy at other times (usually at the worst time) brash. Harrison, played by the easy-on-the-eyes Columbus Short has some sort of criminal shenaniganism in his past and no love life to speak of (please fix this); he acts as Olivia's second in command.

Olivia is a complex Superwoman with a banging wardrobe, hair laid to the heavens and a quivering lower lip. She tries to do the right thing until she doesn't and when she makes a bad decision she goes ALL in. And don't get me started on the characters in the West Wing. 

Things I love:
  • I LOVE that a female African-American heroine is smart, bold, witty and in charge. 
  • I LOVE the winding plots that are messy, scary, gripping, thought-provoking and mind-boggling all at the same time.
  • I LOVE the gorgeous wardrobes, awesome supporting cast, seamless music production and authentic sets. 
  • I LOVE the diversity. We have gays, folks of color, conservatives, liberals and everything in between represented.
  • I LOVE the writing. The dialogue is snappy and fast-paced. There is no predictability. Just when you think you know? You don't know.

Things I hate:
  • I HATE that Olivia (as with so many successful sisters) has everything but a life. No family, no husband, no kids, no hobbies. She has work and...
  • I HATE that the man she loves is married. And the President. But mostly that he's married. Great as their chemistry is (and it is smoking) I hate that the very essence of their relationship is morally bankrupt. I overlook it because this is fiction but I still hate it.
  • I HATE that Columbus Short doesn't have more screen time.
  • I HATE that some of these situations (that GitmoBay scene in the Pentagon basement?) may be real.
  • I HATE that Shonda does the utmost with our emotions. It's a Shonda-ism. Her story lines do not ease you into the drama, she dumps you in the deep end head first and then clubs you about the nose and mouth until you are drowning in the pathos/sympathy/mushiness of the moment.

What I have noticed is that people get uber-polarized when watching the show. They are either #TeamFitz or #TeamEdison and nothing will sway them from one side to the other. Ya'll realize this is fiction, right? I've also noticed that folks get really morally superior while watching this show. I get it. I do. A sister finally gets a starring role on TV so why for the love of purple glitter does she have to be a high profile side chick to the most powerful white man in the world? I get that. I do. But how are people more angry at a fictional character than you are over the ratchetness of those "reality" chicks?

People often miss the broader point of Shonda's fiction. Scandal is primarily here to entertain, it's also here to spark conversation and discourse and lastly, it's in many ways a "what not to do". Be that as it may, it's a show that I enjoy. Even with the love and the hate.

Who watches Scandal? Do you love it, hate it? Why or why not? Do share...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As the Bouge Turns...

I had great intentions to post this week. I really did. It still may happen. I came back from the inauguration with half a cold and caught the rest of it while Dallas was figuring out what to do weather wise (it's 20, now 40, now 80 degrees!) Fail.

Before I could really settle in, I had to hop a plane to Florida. BougieSis is having some female surgery today. (Fibroids, why hast thou cursed the Sisterhood?) So I'm here trying to work from the hospital waiting room, catch up on my emails and write the outline for my next book. Oh, I'm supposed to fly back South Saturday to go to the Super Bowl on Sunday.

One-A-Day Gummi-Vitamin, anyone?

All of that to say, sorry for lack of fresh bouge. However, my brilliant sister-at-heart, +Carolyn Edgar has blogged today. Check out her post: Standards, how many of us have them?

Be back soon.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

I'm a year further away from 30 40 today. On the one hand, glad I made it. On the other hand, since when am I not 32 anymore? Le Sigh.

Moving on. There's an old cliche about not teaching old dogs new tricks. And I'm pleased to say (if I would call myself an old dog) that's absolutely untrue. More accurate would be to say you can't teach a young dog new tricks because they think they know them already. Twenties are for trying everything and messing things up. Thirties are for fixing what you messed up in your twenties. Forties are about figuring it all out so you can make it to your fifties. 

At this point, if you're not where you're supposed to be yet, you really should have an idea of how it's going to happen or get on a new path. Forties are where you also accept that some things aren't going to happen. There will not be babies coming up outta here. Doesn't hurt to admit though I'd've been a damn good mom. I'll settle for being the best aunt on the planet. Chances are I'm not going to be a rock star, a space shuttle pilot, or a world reknown surfer either. Some dreams you just have to let die a certain death.

But what I am still working on is having a Michele Grant book on every shelf (or tablet), I'll never get beyond the need to write interesting things and have people be entertained by them. Marriage - Lawd, I don't know. I'm in a happy place and if I could hold onto that, I'd be all good.

There's also a freedom of reaching a certain age and no longer giving ANY damns about what folks think about you, want you to do or expect you to be. We off that. When I reach BougieMom's age of 80 (God Willing), I'm going to get like Miss Nellie. She no longer bites her tongue for anybody. If she's thinking it, she says it. This makes for highly entertaining and high embarassing conversation.

But back to the old dogs and new tricks - In reconnecting with an ex over the past few months (not that ex, a different ex) I'm borderline shocked that at long last he appears to have matured into the individual I thought he was fifteen years ago. You know how you listen to someone and you keep waiting for them to say that one thing that makes you say "this man hasn't learned a damn thing" - haven't heard it yet. It could happen but so far, so good.

As for me, I'm don't mind learning new things and exploring different paths. I call myself a sensible adventurer. 

Let me pause - I watched Grey's Anatomy last night and learned about "vijazzling" women getting their vijayjays bedazzled for special occassions. No. I'm not ready. That's one trick I'll leave to other puppies. Fancy undies from Vicki's is as far as I can go.

And we're back... There's definitely something to be said for being comfortable in your own skin. Knowing that sometimes you don't have to be at the hottest party wearing the cutest dress in the highest heels. Sometimes you want to curl up in front your TV and watch a marathon of The Wire in your ratty sweats. And that's okay.

That being said, I'm off to DC for the Inauguration because you know... even though I'm older, I still gets my party on. Me and BougieFam will be at the Ritz Carlton for about four days filled with balls, brunches  lunches, dinners, drinks and whatever else we can squeeze in the celebration. if you're in the DMV, hit me up - we'll see if we can raise a toast.

What about you? Are you settled in your ways? More or less resistant to change as you get older? Do you know someone who is determined to do things the same way, no matter what? Do share...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

That's not fate, sir... that's tomfoolery

I dream in Technicolor brilliance. I always have. I also dream in mini (maxi) series. Like I will start a dream and a few nights, months, years later - that dream picks back up where I left off like there's a DVR in my brain. I have one dream involving a black sandy beach and an amusement park that has been running since I was ten years of age. My late great father often visits in dreams. He's either laughing, lecturing or just looking at me with confusion on his face. 

Sometimes I think my dreams are trying to tell me something. Sometimes I double check what I had on the TV before I went to sleep. And I cannot eat spicy food too close to bedtime - if I do I dream myself into chase scenes and shoot outs and wake up exhausted. I know I'm "special" I'm okay with it.

When my sister and I went to Maui, we landed and there was a rainbow. When we took off five days later, there was also a rainbow. In almost the exact same spot. I decided it was a positive sign. (And not just refracted water in the sky)

How  much do you believe that dreams are prophecy? How much do you believe that a being from on high talks to you or sends you signs? I go back and forth on these things. I do believe in signs and higher powers but then I also believe in free will and responsible thought.

The gentleman who wrote to me goes all in and then some. Read his story and weigh in.
Hey Ms. Michele,
I read your blog and wonder what you think about this. I've been married for five years and have two young boys. But recently I left my wife. I had been having a dream about a woman (not my wife) for months. The dreams were so clear and beautiful, it was like I was living a different life when I was asleep than the one I was living when I was awake. About a year ago, I truly started feeling as though Jesus (or somebody like him) was trying to tell me something. A few months later I actually met the woman that was in my dreams. It was like meeting an old friend. She said she felt the same about me. Even though she's sixteen years younger than me (I'm 40) we are soulmates. We are now together and people think we are crazy but when fate shows you the hand, you have to play the cards. Don't you think?
-Perry in Decatur
Um. Okay. I'm so sorry, Perry. I have to call bullshiggity. In my heart of hearts  I believe you saw this woman out of the corner of your eye somewhere and wove her into your midnight fantasy. When given the opportunity, you made your fantasy come true. You left your wife and kids to get a little tenderoni because a dream told you to?! I can NOT even cosign on this tomfoolery. Did you write in for validation? I'm so not here for that. But do have your ex (soon to be ex?) write in so we can chit and chat with her. I weep for the example you set for your boys. Oh and "Jesus or someone like him" - what does that even mean!!!??? Man, please. 

BougieLand. Two separate issues here. Answer the poll and riddle me this - do you believe that things can be revealed to you in dreams? Do you believe any of what Perry just said? Have you ever done something (or decided not to do something) based on a dream, a sign or a gut feeling? What do you have to say to Perry? Do share...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Does it matter who proposes?

I received an Ask a Bougie Chick letter. Really more like a note. It was one paragraph:
Hi Chele, I decided to take the wheel and drive my relationship in the direction I wanted. He wasn't making a move so I bought my own engagement ring and proposed to my man of two years. He said yes! We're getting married in June. Everyone says I did too much but I got what I wanted. What do you think? ~Isabelle in Chicago
Ummm... I really don't know how I feel about that. I really don't. My gut reaction is to wince and say "What?" then my second reaction is to shrug and say, "Do you." Then I re-read the paragraph and bounce right back to "Oh." Had he even brought up marriage? Indicated that he was thinking along those lines?

I feel some kinda way about it. I wouldn't do it. I'm borderline salty you bought your own ring. Though it's not really about the ring. I just wish you'd left him something proactive to do in the process. And I wonder if a guy feels obligated to say yes if you ask. I don't know. I'm not feeling it. But I'm uber-traditional. Happy for you but not feeling it. Can I weigh in again after June? Let me ask the masses...

Ladies and Gents... thoughts, comments, insights? Does it matter who proposes? Answer the poll and leave a comment...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are men really intimidated by uberSuccessful women?

As many of you know, there is a popular meme that one of the reasons why so many of the "Black SuperWoman" types are still single and in fact struggling to find a date is because men are intimidated by all the glossy wonderfulness. There is an entire cottage industry devoted to answering that 'Why still single?" question on our behalf. Be that as it may, I wanted to see if this is a real thing or something women tell ourselves to feel better about being alone. 

So I took a straw poll. Not a big one but still... I asked 20 guys, some married and some single, ranging in age from 25 - 45. I asked two questions:
  • Do guys ever think that a woman is "out of his league" and if so, do they admit it?
  • Would you be intimidated to date/marry a woman far more successful (professionally) than you?
Mayhaps it's the guys I know but 20 out of 20 fellas said they do know when they are dating "above themselves" but that it's something they never admit. 20 of 20 said that their boys are the first ones to tell them "Dude, she's out of your league." Apparently, this does not deter a man from trying. As one of the fellas said, "Everyone wants to climb Mt. Everest, men always believe they can be the one lucky bastard to make it to the top." (And ladies, aren't we worth the climb?)

4 out of the 20 guys said they would not be comfortable dating/marrying a woman who was way more successful than they are. 16 of the guys said they had no problem with it. Of that 16, 10 said they would love for a woman to bring home more than half and/or all the bacon. 

On the flip, I know when I was living in Marina del Rey, I went out with a guy who was cool until he saw the car I drove and realized where I lived. His exact words, "Oh you getting down like that?" He proceeded to bail and later sent me an email saying he wasn't down for a high-maintenance diva with standards he had to constantly live up to. Umm... it was appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory son. Calm down. So was he intimidated by my paycheck or by his perception that I was high maintenance and he couldn't maintain me?

Also, the 20 fellas said it was more likely that a man would be intimidated by looks before accomplishment but that wouldn't stop them from hollering. Haven't we talked about seeing a couple together and wondering "What is she doing with him?" and vice versa? Someone decided it was worth the climb.

I remember seeing an interview with Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood mac) and Sheryl Crow and they were talking about the difficulties in being the star in a relationship. As Sheryl said, "No one wants to hold the purse and be called Mr. Crow all night."

So today's questions - Are men intimated by more successful women? Women does this even apply for us? Do we only "swim in our lanes" when we approach somebody? What say ye? Talk the quiz and leave a comment.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Men vs. Women: Who's better at bouncing back?

This week, let's do some Battle of the Sexes type commentary...

@EarthAngel172 and @TiffanyNHouston and I were discussing the myth that men bounce back from failed relationships quicker than women. 

Yeah. I said it. It's a myth. I know folks have you thinking that women lie around in their grungy sweats eating ice cream, watching The Notebook and lamenting for lost loves while men are out getting it in two days after a major break up. Trust and believe that this is no indication that the woman is stuck in CouldaWouldaShouldaville while dude has moved on. I beleive men are better at appearing to move on. In other words, I think men are quick to say they are over it while women actually do get over it. 

In fact, let's take a moment and define the BounceBack. Bouncing back from a relationship means actually accepting that it is over and allowing yourself to truly be happy with another without glancing back. Bouncing back also means not holding onto the anger or the bitterness (or the plan to run someone over in the parking lot at 2:00 am in an unmarked car - wait, that's just me - moving on) any more. When you can truly set the relationship in the closed file and think "NEXT!" without remorse, sorrow or pain? That's a BounceBack. This bounce may take 20 minutes (I can't be the only one who has stayed in a relationship too long so by the time we officially broke up it was like "Buh-Bye Now"), it may take 20 months... there may be no bouncing back from some relationships. [Lord, the boomerang relationships, where you keep going back? Don't get me started]

I also think it depends on the depth and seriousness of the break up. If you were just kicking it for a week or two versus being in a progressive 2+ year relationship makes a difference. Some say it takes a month for every year you were in the relationship to get over it. I say you bounce back when you bounce back and that's that. So who's better at it?

To clarify, bouncing on top of (or under, however you get down) another person is not a sign that one has bounced back. Indeed this is sometimes an indication that one is NOT over it and seeking to hide the pain through excessive endorphin release. [Hence the entire concept of rebound relationships]

In my experience, men hold onto hurts, perceived slights, break ups WAY longer than women - they just don't cop to it. A man will remember the name of the chick who snubbed him on the playground between 3rd and 4th period back in junior high. I know more dudes that swear "I'm over it" but still have girl's name in the cellie, still track her on FB and know exactly who she's seeing now and how it's going. I know a dude who four years later still drives past his ex-wife's house on his way to work. Five days a week, out of his way, to roll past the house. They are both married to new people. That's so not over it.

Women on the other hand, tend to hold onto the pain and nurse it for a minute. They discuss it, dissect it, review it and rehash it until one day either everyone has told her to woman up already, she meets someone who makes her wonder why she missed the last one or she woke up and it's just like... meh. Over it. Women are hardwired to express our emotions (sometimes overly so), men not so much. Not saying men are not sensitive, talkative, let's-get-into-it creatures. Just saying that hallmark carding every thought is not so much a man thing (in my experience).

Nor do I believe that the best way to get over one person is to get under another. But since we're going discussion style this week, I'll let you all battle it out in the comments - who's better at truly getting over love lost? Men or women? Is it harder for men to admit "defeat" in a relationship due to ego? Vote and do tell us your thoughts in the comments section. What say you?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Political correctness and cultural sensitivity done wrong

Each and every Sunday during the football season, the twitterverse erupts into maelstrom of commentary surrounding Pam Oliver's hair/hat/weave/wig. Pam Oliver is a sports commentator who handles sideline interviews for the NFL on the Fox network. She also does NBA work for TNT. On any given Sunday the hashtag #PamOliversWeave is usually trending or close to trending. 

And each Sunday people line up into different camps - those who don't want to hear any more about her hair, folks who are appalled that she can't seem to get it right and/or tight, and folks who are mortally offended that instead of lauding her for longevity and skill in the business, the woman has been reduced to witty punchlines about her hair.

I like Pam. She's a Dallas girl who has made her way in a malecentric industry for over 20 years. That's definitely to be commended. You rarely hear about Pam getting out of pocket with the players (as others are wont to do) or using her femininity to play the 'look at me' card (again, I shan't name names). I respect her position, hustle and longevity.

However, this is not a Gabby Douglas thing. Gabby is a teenaged gymnast. As long as she sticks the landing, I don't care what's going on about her head. Pam is 51, not 18 and she chose a profession where unfortunately, your looks do matter. Yesterday's outrage about the attacks on Pam's often regrettable do went over the top. The lectures on respecting a woman's craft as opposed to her looks - okay. The rant about tearing down a black woman and destroying the fabric of black unity - hold up. 

If Pam were a newspaper reporter, I wouldn't care what she looked like. Are we really being so politically correct and culturally sensitive that we can't admit when a sister looks a hot mess? C'mon now, Pam has been on camera with maroon/blonde streaks, pieces sticking out at unfortunate angles, low quality hair that doesn't look to have been manufactured on this planet, waves not seen in nature, it's been quite a hair journey for her. She's an "on-air" personality. She is held to a higher standard and I personally would like her to do better. [For the record, let me note that yesterday her hair was the least tragic I've seen in a while] 

This is my issue with "Black Twitter" (yes, I know not a monolith but stay with me)... every single thing under the sun is up for debate, dissection and criticism usually with a tinge of racial outrage attached. I haven't even seen Django yet and over 100 people have tried to tell me how to feel about it. I haven't seen Lincoln yet and I already feel some kinda way. 

I've had folks come at me for calling Obama "Obeezy" because it's "disrespectful" and "obvious Ebonics" - um no, I contributed to his campaign, I worked in his organization, I think all can agree I've repped Prez 44 hard. Now, if I called him Obeezy to his face while wearing blackface, tap-dancing and eating watermelon - that would be something to get up in arms about. Perspective, people. 

I announced how excited I was to watch the premiere of Downton Abbey and I got a few "oh me toos" but was barraged with a flurry of "there are no Black People in that!" and "I didn't know Black People really watched that" tweets. I'm sorry, I can't find it in my heart to criticize a show about early 1900's abbey life in England where no black people were present. It's different if it's a show about a coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan in the 1990's. Black people should at the very least pass through the place. Downton Abbey? Not so much. 

As long as I'm talking about political correctness and cultural sensitivity, please don't email/tweet/FB me any more outraged reminders about Shawty Lo's new reality show on one of those channels that only plays reality shows and reruns. @ItweetDaFif actually had to tell me who the hell Shawty is and explain that he has 10 baby mommas. Certainly, I weep for America that this is considered acceptable programming. But this is what we've wrought. It's too late to petition a channel to stop showing hot mess when the last 19 hot mess shows they've aired have gotten stellar ratings. The appetite for ratchet regurgitated reality is out there. Might as well get ready for a reality show with Hologrammed Tupac and Biggie on tour to air on MTV next. 

Listen, Pam's hair can be awful without it being cause for a march or petition or bloggers' panel. Shawty Lo's show is the 3rd generation Flava of Love - deal with it or don't tune in. Either way... calm down.

I've wandered around some points when what I really want to say is - dear social media enthusiasts, it's really okay if you don't choose sides and debate every.freaking.thing to death. Sometimes I get exhausted trying to keep up with the next thing I'm supposed to be enraged about. Life is too short to be this polarized. Especially about hair. Thoughts, comments, insights?


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