'Tis the season for Tomfoolery...

I received a FedEx package today. I was very excited because BougieOlderBro got me the new Kindle and it's been lost in UPS hell since last Thursday. (No, I didn't think it through. Just grabbed the box). I ripped it open and lacy lingerie fell out. Cheeky boyshorts in a rainbow array of colors to be exact. Oh. Clearly not a Kindle. Obviously not from my brother.

I take a second to read the front of the package. It's from an ex. I dig out a note - hope to see you soon. Hmm. Really tho? I look at the items a little closer. They are a size two/XS. Say what? Yes, I've lost weight but not in my adult life have I or will I fit into a size 2/Extra Small anything. Ever. (Did I say ever? Yep.) As I'm contemplating what to think or what to do with aforementioned drawers, I receive a text from this ex. "Hope you like the scarf." 

**crickets** followed by **blinkety blinkety blink**

So wait a minute now. Either someone sent the wrong gift to the wrong person or someone is playing games. Either way, I chose not play. I wrote a note "Pretty sure these aren't meant for me" and resealed the box. Caught FedEx guy before he left the apartment complex. These undies are going to return to sender.

People. I CAN NOT. What would you do in this situation?

Girlfriend of mine called. She's been dating a guy for about two years now. Over Thanksgiving they went ring shopping so you know what she was expecting for Christmas. Christmas Day she gets up and he's sprawled out under the Christmas tree buck-assed naked with a bow wrapped around his "candy cane"... he announced that he was the only present she needed that year. She played it off but was crushed all day. More so the next day when she found out he bought himself a new Lexus and all she got was a bow around something she'd had before... I'm just saying. BougieLand - what say you? Cute, corny or c'mon son?

Anyone get gifts they absolutely loved (I got a sparkly dress for Inauguration Weekend - so excited!), gifts they just didn't understand (see six 2 drawers story above) or any disappointments (Amazon, please free my new Kindle)? Do share.

Yes, I know the season is about more than gifts. Please don't preach in my comments section today...

Bougie remix: Columbus Day, really?

from the archives... my 2009 thoughts on Columbus Day:

As Americans, we love us a holiday. My oh my, an excuse to turn a weekend into a three or four day break from the paycheck plantation? Sign us up. I remember as a child asking if I could celebrate Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah out of respect for my Jewish friends. BougieMom said if I wrote a five page essay describing their origin and how they were celebrated, then sure. I went to school.

In Texas, we have a number of bullshiggity holidays that continue to raise an eyebrow: San Jacinto Day for one, Confederate Heroes Day for another. Yes, Confederate Heroes Day (celebrating Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee – look it up, I can't MAKE this stuff up) which falls on near January 19th of every year. The catch? For years in Texas, you could choose to take either Confederate Heroes Days or Martin Luther King Day… guess how the office diversity looked on each of those days? Nationwide, there are some holidays that have outlived their usefulness and become a reason for a parade and creative cocktails (think St. Patrick's Day). No, I'm not including Juneteenth (now known as Emancipation Day) as a bogus holiday, ya'll need to get with that… seriously. No better excuse for a BBQ and a radical fist pump in the world.

But of all the holidays that need to be stricken from the books, I have to vote for Columbus Day. Haven't we proven that old Chris didn't really discover anything? I mean, how can you discover something that already exists? Didn't he basically jack some folks, plant a flag and declare it all brand new? Suppose I roll up in your living room and discover your 52" plasma, if I stick a flag in it and kill some brown people, is it mine? I'm just wondering. I know the Italian-American community has embraced this holiday as a cause célèbre, but what is really being celebrated? From the Wall Street Journal:
Much controversy exists over Columbus' expeditions and whether or not one can "discover" an already-inhabited land. The natives of the Bahamas and other islands on his journey were peaceful and friendly. Yet many of them were later enslaved by the Spanish. Also, it is known that the Vikings explored the North American coast 500 years before Columbus. [sic] But 22 states don't give their employees the day off, according to the Council of State Governments.
And in other places, Columbus Day is under attack. "We're going after state governments to drop this holiday for whatever reason they come up with," said Mike Graham, founder of United Native America, a group fighting for a federal holiday honoring Native Americans.
His group's agenda: Rename Columbus Day "Italian Heritage Day" and put it somewhere else on the calendar, then claim the second Monday in October as "Native American Day." South Dakota already calls it that.
Other organizations want to rename the day "Indigenous Peoples' Day," as several California cities, including Berkeley, have done.
Columbus's defenders aren't prepared to watch their hero's holiday sail off the edge of the earth. They say he should be celebrated for risking his life to explore the world and for forging modern ties between Europe and the Americas.
His supporters acknowledge Columbus took slaves back to Spain and opened the door to conquistadors who killed Native Americans. But much of the criticism is built on "judging a 16th century man by 21st century standards," says Dona De Sanctis of the Order Sons of Italy in America, a group of half a million Italian-Americans that tries to defend Columbus' legacy.
At Brown University, the rename-the-holiday activists "stressed this was against Columbus, but not Italian-Americans," says Reiko Koyama, a junior who led the effort to persuade the school to change the name to "Fall Weekend." Brown happens to be in Rhode Island, a state with the largest proportion of Italian-Americans in the U.S.
Lookie here: Pookie, Ray-Ray and 'dem "discover" new stuff on the regular; four hundred years from now will we have a National Grand Hustle Day? Just sayin' – since we're all so worried about political correctness these days, it might be time to take a look and see which of these "national holidays" still make sense. Any thoughts on Chris C.'s holiday? Any other holidays need the side-eye?

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...

Be yo' own damn Valentine first... please

Whew! There's a lot of bitterness towards Cupid in these streets. Folks just railing away about love gone awry, being led astray, torn asunder and what not. Alright, we get it - it's hard out here. Finding and keeping "good love" is truly the pursuit of a lifetime. 

It's tough and then those darned Romans who felt the need to make a festival for every damn thing, decided to celebrate a group of Christian martyrs - one of whom may have been named Valentinus and 1600 years later it has devolved into the red and pink pressure cooker of a spectacle that is today. (How it came to be about romantic love and a chubby baby wielding a lethal weapon, I'll never understand)

I think we can all agree that Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that is doing the most. This whole glorification of romance has gotten uber-commercialized along the way. People set expectations, people get depressed, people cut a fool - it's a mess out there. The pressure to have a date/be in love/be in a relationship/be validated by flower delivery/the list goes on... it's real and so unnecessary. Some make the most of the day, some crumble under the pressure, others dodge it all together. The number of Twitter announcements screaming "My s/o broke up with me the day before Valentine's Day" yesterday was ridiculous. Breaking up with your boo to get out of Valentine's Day is so damn ratchet, people. 

Oh and fellas, please stop acting like the ladies are the only ones pressed about Valentine's Day. Some of your brethren are flagrant with the thirst out here on these innanets. Eau de Desperation is not sexy on anybody. Chill  out. 

So maybe you have a Valentine, maybe you don't. (Maybe yours is 7000 miles away :-/) Either way, this year - how about you love you some you first? There's a Valentine that always knows what you want before you even speak. Pick yourself up a little something nice for dinner and raise a toast to another year with someone who truly cares about you. There are worst things to be than single, good people. Get through the day with a smile (and a sip or two if needed). Tomorrow, you'll still be you and you should okay with that.

Thoughts, comments, insights?

Happy New Year but...

Woo-hoo! Happy, Happy! We made it! We still here! *snoopy dances all over BnB* 

But wait...

The calendar changing from 2011 to 2012 is not like a Monopoly "Get out of Jail free" card.  It's not a magic reset or a do-over. It's just a new day to keep living hopefully better than you were before. There's no need to resolve to do a whole bunch of shiggity that you said you were going to do last year and the year before that. Time's a-wastin' - tomorrow ain't promised - all you've got is now. Need any more truisms?

Here's one. 2011 is gone bye-bye. Put it in the books. It was what it was for the good, the bad, and the bougie. Don't dwell on it. Learn from it and keep it pushing, people.

We lost way too many far too young in 2011. So instead of resolutions - let's make plans. Some of you have been longing for a relationship, go ask someone out. Like today. Back away from the keyboard and go flirt over a caramel macchiato with extra sprinkles. It may not lead to the love of your life but at least you're taking a step.

Some of you want to feel better. Right after you finish the 2012 soul food plate, drink 24 ounces of water and vow to do better tomorrow. Some of you want to make more money - so what's the plan? What's the side hustle? See where I'm going with this?

How are you going to use 2012 to get from A to B and onto C and D. Because A is already been-there, done that and B is about to be yesterday. So I don't want to hear your resolutions this year, I want to hear your action plans. Let's get it, BougieLand! Who's with me? *shakes pom-poms*

2011 was good to me. I did better in almost every area of my life than I did in 2010. Sometimes that's all we get - a step up and chance to keep going. Happy New Year everybody. Tell me, who's happy to wave bye-bye to 2011? How are we planning global takeover and domination for 2012? And for the love of all that is holy, who is with me to help Obeezy #OccupyTheWhiteHouse for four more years?

2012 is not a game, ya'll - it's today.

From the Archives: Christmas Memories

From December 2009:
There are some childhood memories that stay with us long into adulthood. Certain sights, sounds, smells and people that just take you back. This post is about a few of those things. The first was on TV last night. I never fully embrace Christmas until I see some Charlie Brown Christmas. Nothing makes me happier than this:
No, I still don't get why that one mixed-race looking kid in the back is doing an early version of the Running Man. I don't get why Chuck and the gang never have any adult supervision and I don't get how a brokedown tree with two twigs and a spindly trunk magically blooms and grows in 30 seconds flat. And I don't care. Christmas just ain't Christmas until I hear these words:
Sally: I've been looking for you, big brother. Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?

Charlie Brown: Well, I don't have much time. I'm supposed to get down to the school auditorium to direct a Christmas play.

Sally: [hands a clipboard and pen to Charlie Brown] You write it and I'll tell you what I want to say.

Charlie Brown: [sticks pen in his mouth] Okay, shoot.

Sally: [dictating her letter to Santa Claus as Charlie Brown writes it for her] Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer?
[Charlie Brown looks at her]
Sally: How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
Charlie Brown: Oh brother.
Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?
Charlie Brown: TENS AND TWENTIES? Oh, even my baby sister!
Sally: All I want is what I... I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

Now why everybody in the family would turn and give me the side-eye when Sally said these words is beyond me… maybe… moving on! The point is, the Charlie Brown Christmas show is as much a part of the BougieFam Christmas as this next gentleman, the late great Mr. Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song:
Of course, we also had a Soulful Christmas including such classics as Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto by James Brown, Merry Christmas Baby by Booker T and the MGs, Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt and the perennial favorite Back Door Santa by Clarence Carter. Nothing like BougieOlderBro trying to get his air bass guitar groove on while singing (off-key) to Back Door Santa. I could do a whole post just on the Christmas songs (J5, Stevie). But I'll move on…

Cinnamon, evergreen and nutmeg are the scents I most closely associate with Christmas. Baked ham, my Guyanese cousin's terrible cologne, and wood smoke follow behind. We used to sip some concoction that was hot, had cinnamon sticks floating in it and was always laced with rum or bourbon (or both?). BougieMom would put it in a huge silver punch bowl near the fire and tell us not to drink too much (never worked). In retrospect, I suspect this was their slick way of knocking us out early so they could finish the wrapping.

Christmas morning still isn't the same without my father there. He was the biggest kid of all. As much as he loved putting smiles on all of our faces, if his stack of gifts wasn't piled as high as he expected, he could get a little funky with it. (Downright tart) So much so that we would have to assure him that we'd make up for it at the After-Christmas sales. He used to light cinnamon and evergreen scented candles all over the house the night before and wake us up at the crack of dawn by marching up and down the hallway banging on a pot and singing Day-O. (You can't make this stuff up) God rest his soul, the man was off the chains.

I could go on and on but I wanted to share a few sensory Christmas memories with you while Charlie Brown and the gang were fresh on my mind. What things remind you of Christmas? Was there a song you always played, a movie you always watched, a smell that takes you back? 'Tis the season in BougieLand, ya'll… Happy Holidays.

What NOT to do at your Office Holiday Party

This post comes too late. Some of you have already cut a fool, spoken out of turn and shown your natural behinds at a "professional" function. S.No.B. (So Not Bougie) people. Anyway, just in case you need a refresher - here's a quick list of What Not To Do at your office holiday party. And let's just be clear, even if the event is not held on office property, if it's a party and people that you work with are there - it's an office party. Okay, let's begin:

1. Don't Drink Heavily - please learn the notion of "social drinking" and embrace it. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by getting blitzed at your company-sponsored event. No. Thing. Unless you are out for the rest of the year and plan on resigning via fax on January 3rd - you actually have to see these people again. Though she may not say anything, your human resources manager will never forget the image of you and that chick from accounting playing naked Twister in the conference room.

example - When I worked for a global telecom company, a woman (whose husband also worked for the company but did not attend the party with her) was making out with some random dude. She tripped and fell into the decorative fountain where upon we all realized that she wasn't wearing any undergarments under her sheer dress. Unfortunately, this happened in front of the children's choir that was caroling. When it was time to assign folks to attend the Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility class, who do you think I picked first? #HRNeverForgets 

2. See number 1 and repeat - there is no good reason to do tequila shots (or any other kind of shots) where your boss can see you. I don't care if he's doing them too. There's regular socializing and there's work socializing. Draw the line, people. Trust me on this. 

example - Dude at David's boss' party was screaming about "eggnog shooters" - he put eggnog and extra whisky in a glass and set it aflame for a few seconds and then blew it out and drank it. When he almost caught the tablecloth on fire, he finally stopped. How's that going to look on the performance appraisal? Employee almost burned down my home creating elaborate drinks. :-/ Idiot.

3. If you gotta get freaky-sneaky, take it home. Liquor, sugar, mistletoe and chilled shrimp - throw in a jingle bell or two and apparently it's a natural aphrodisiac. Hold yourself back until you leave the premises. I mean it. Just like the separation of church and state, there should be delineation between work and cocoa. Ne'er the twain shall meet, people!

example - coat closets are for coats. I once gave away a lovely red wool joint because it was under a pile of coats that were used as cushion in an overtly jolly moment at the Christmas party. Just the thought of those pasty butt cheeks near my coat was enough to give it to Goodwill. Vaya con Dios. 

4. Just laugh at all the stupid jokes and keep it moving. There's a very good chance you hate some of your coworkers and they hate you back. There's a good chance that you don't agree on politics, religions, crime, the US dependence on foreign oil, Drake's "raps", whatever. Keep it to yourself. Learn the art of meaningless mindless social chitchat and add in a charming anecdote or two. Done. Safe topics - weather, parking spaces at the mall, the buffet options, sports (keep it bland) and the latest movies. Stay in that lane. Any deeper and there are sharks in the water.

example - Girlie starts amusing anecdote about some drama that went down at the sales conference last summer. Unbeknownst to her, three of the major players were within earshot and not only disputed her version but re-spun the stories so that she looked like the village idiot. "Oh, it got cold earlier this year, didn't it?" <~~Stay with that.

5. Remember your boss is still your boss, even if she's acting like your best friend. Yes it's a party and do enjoy yourself but keep some of your guard up. Again, this is a professional function.

example- I worked at a defense contractor in California and had to not only plan the damn Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah party but arrive early and stay late. I really didn't like those people. Particularly a VP who kept a side-eye on me 24/7. At the party he asked me to dance and chatted me up and spun me around the floor like we were buddies. At the the end of the dance everyone stood and applauded us. We took bows. He leaned in and said, "I want to review all the receipts for this party first thing Monday." Really? Did he think I padded the receipts with an extra box of candy canes for myself? 

6. Last but not least - this is a PROFESSIONAL function. But it could easily end up on YouTube, as blog fodder, someone's status of the day on Facebook. Dress accordingly. Act accordingly. Drink accordingly. Eat accordingly. Leave accordingly. 

example - Do you really want to be remembered as the girl in the too tight dress who did the booty dance in front of the CFO? Or as the guy who brought Tupperware and took home "snacks" from the buffet? Or as the chick whose husband left with somebody else? Dude whose girlfriend found out about his affair from the holiday party pics posted on the company website? The girl who drank too much and told her CEO the truth about how they all felt about him? #awkward... All of these things have happened, my friends. Don't let them happen to you.

Happy Holidays! We're on hiatus until next week some time when I'll share the BnB State of the Union results. Be safe, be happy and hey... let's keep it bougie out there!

Thoughts, insights, comments?

The Holiday Party - WDDDA?

This was a Christmas party but we could call it a lesson in WDDDA (Where Dey Do Dat At)?

Last Thursday night, John held his first annual holiday bash. It was a combination of his friends, family and coworkers. We have met a few of his coworkers before - side-eye worthy to say the least. Let me give you some highlights from the party:

1. Who brings his mother along to the office holiday bash? Who DOES that? Especially your inappropriate loose-lipped Russian mother? WDDDA? One of John's peers brought his Mama along. Mama Evangeline was... special. Walked in the door, looked around and asked, "A black man lives here? Owns this? Really?" Ma'am. 

Once she got over that, she availed herself of the open bar... freely. She mixed peppermint schnapps and vanilla vodka... as shots. She began to relive her disco days as the night wore on. When she started dry-humping Wes and saying, "Don't you want to boogie with me?" - her son took her home. Too little. Too late.

2. Someone always says one thing too many. John proposed to Annette. She said (and I quote) "Hell yes!" Her family was there and she has that one cousin who is uh - outspoken. Interrupted the joyous celebration by shouting, "Girl, we'd thought you'd never find nobody good." WDDDA? They are planning an early fall wedding. Woo-hoo, another BnB nuptial.

3. Some chicks just won't disappear. The night of "the world is too damn small" continued as another of John's coworkers showed up with the old HnQ chick: David's one night stand and Jay's one time date. Man she gets around. Are there only 7 viable black women in the Allen-Frisco suburb of North Dallas? Apparently. At any rate, for whatever reason she completely ignored David and waltzed straight over to Jay with much attitude. Guess he never called her. And we all know how she feels about that. There was a moment where I was fairly positive that Joy was going to take off her earrings and ask old girl to meet her out back.

4. Finally and Amen. Let's lift a cocktail to Trey. His flu turned into a nasty case of bronchitis and laid him low for a little while. On the up side, when a girl he used to work with found out he was sick - she gave him a call and came by with food. The quickest way to Trey is through fine dining. He brought her to the party and guess what? She's sane! Cute. And brainy. We were stunned. We're holding our collective breath.

5. You ain't got to go home but uh... As the party was winding down, we walked around to make sure no one had left behind coats, purses, whatever. In the downstairs guest room, one of the coworkers had climbed into bed and gone to sleep. I mean taken off shoes, watch, cell phone and slid up underneath the covers. WDDDA? How does one avail themselves of sleeping quarters without invitation? Who raised these people?!

Tomorrow... What NOT to do at an office holiday party. Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

Ask a Bougie Chick: Do I have to buy (him/her) a gift?

You all are killing me with the "Gift Etiquette in Relationship" emails, especially the fellas. The number of "Hey Chele, do I really have to buy a Christmas gift for this chick?" questions are legion. Let me give you all a peak at the emails I'm getting:
a. From a 28 y.o. man in DC:
Hey Chele, just started dating this girl in early November. Not sure if it's serious yet, do I have to buy a gift?
b. From a 32 y.o woman in Detriot:
OneChele, what's the rule on buying Christmas gifts for the cuddle boo? 
c. From a 30 y.o. man in Las Vegas:
Is it cliche to propose at Christmas? And if it's not, the ring is enough of a gift, right? 
d. From a 26 y.o. man in Phoenix:
Okay, third date is next Friday. Christmas is the week after that. Too early for a gift but some sort of acknowledgment. Any ideas?
Good people, I know the mainstream media has you twisted up in the game but the truth of the matter is that Christmas gift exchanging is not a requirement, it's a suggestion or a tradition or an option. Here are my rules when it comes to gift exchange:

1. Give without expectation of getting - You may the sort of person who loves to give gifts. God bless you. Not everyone feels that way. If you're only giving with the expectation of receiving, skip it.

2. Give only what you feel is appropriate - Think on this. Ladies, if you all aren't serious like that - don't break off the Xbox/HD Package. Unless you're applying to be his sugar mama. Yes, this actually happened. Girl had been dating guy for less than a month and bought him a Xbox, TV and home theater system. No. Ma'am.

3. Give only what you can afford to give - Christmas is one day, a year has 364 others to think about. Don't go broke trying to impress folks. Debt is not the reason for the season. Sometimes a heartfelt card, a candy cane and picnic in front of the fireplace are gift enough.

4. Think about what your gift is going to mean to the person getting it - Dude, if you just started dating girlie and you break off jewelry or lingerie... that says something. Be sure that's what you meant to say.

5. Think about what may happen if a) you don't buy that special person a gift or b) you buy the wrong darn gift. Okay, now you know if you're booed up and your s.o. is expecting something - do the right thing. I'm saying this because I know of a gent who made the massive mistake of buying his wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas when she was expecting jewelry. So what if it was a $400 Dyson - you don't buy a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. I mean it. Oh and ladies, do better than drawers and socks.

Now that we have that established - Can you answer the questions from our four emails above? Any Christmas gift rules to share? The floor is yours.