Just do better

He said/She said but who's right?

Today's Ask a Bougie Chick comes from Donald and Cheri in Newark. Donald and his girlfriend of six months had a little contretemps and they want us to weigh in on who's right and who's wrong:

Hi Miss Michelle,
We've been dating long enough to call it exclusive but not long enough to have all the issues ironed out. Me (Donald) and my girl (Cheri) are single professionals in Newark. I work in Manhattan, she works in Jersey City. We kinda live together. Like she has her own spot but she's here all the time or most of it.

Not that it matters but I'm black and she's half-black and half Puerto Rican. Here's the deal, a few months ago my ex came by really late at night (after midnight). I was just going to ignore the door but she was texting and calling and could see a light on from outside. It was plain she wasn't going away. Cheri was like, just go open the door, tell her you are with somebody and shut it down. I went down and told her I had company. She went away.

A few nights ago, she came back. Again after midnight, same routine. This time Cheri is like, doesn't she know you have a girlfriend? Why is she here again? What is going on? Well I didn't tell her I had a girlfriend, I told her I had company last time so maybe she's just checking. Cheri goes to the door with a lot of attitude and long story short, they get into it screaming and shouting in the street and I have to step in between before things go from verbal to physical. After the ex leaves, Cheri wants to know why I didn't make it clear that I was in a relationship and she shouldn't come around and what was I going to do about it. I wanted to know why Cheri had to take it to a ghetto level.

I think she's wrong, she thinks I'm wrong. What do you think?

*exhales* Well, wow. First off, this letter is wrong for putting two L's in my name. Moving on. Next, I think of the A, B and C of you? You're all three wrong. Your ex is wrong for rolling up. It's hella-rude to drift by somebody's spot without calling first, particularly after 10:00pm. That's kinda hoodie, sir. 

Your girl is wrong for getting all up in it. She took a bad situation and made it worse. She could've taken the high road, after all, she was nestled up next to you, she already won.(Assuming you're a prize?) Anyway...

You were wrong for not breaking it down to the ex so it would be forever broke. When the relationship ends, so do the late night drive-by booty calls. Unless there's something else you'd like to share with the class? Your role as the one chick's ex and Cheri's new boo is to draw the boundaries and set the rules and make sure everybody adheres to them.

Ya'll all acting a little special. Chill needs to be achieved across the board. Good luck.

BnB - what say you? Who's right, who's wrong? How to avoid this? And have you been in this situation? If so, how did you handle? Do share...

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.

Gisele, Roland and foot-in-mouth disease

I think stupid ratchet less-than-intelligent things all the time. I have the presence of mind not to say them publicly. Many a moment my hand has hovered over a tweet before slowly hitting the back button while I shake my head. "Naw, Chele - that is not for public consumption." I distinctly recall being interviewed on a Los Angeles radio station and having to bite my tongue for fear of letting my true thoughts fly free (only to have them bite me in the ass later). Apparently not everyone does this?

God bless Gisele Bunchen-Brady. Bless her. She's rich, attractive, married to a future Hall-of-Famer and has a lifetime supply of Vicki's Secrets to chose from. Good for her.

After watching her hubs lose a close game (to the same team he lost to a few years back) on Sunday, she loudly proclaimed that her man can't do every damn thing. He can't win by himself. In fact she stated:
"My husband can not f***ing throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."
Oh. Keeping it classy.

Now on the one hand, I get it. I do. Having dated a player (or two) in my time, losses hurt and you're always looking for someone (not your boo) to blame. Secondly, that's her man. She's going to defend him and I can't be mad at that. Thirdly, even Wes Welker admitted that it wasn't his best game.

All that aside - really, girlfriend? When you kinda have ev-ery-thang and your man already has 3 rings, finger pointing at his teammates after a loss makes you look a little, er - sour grape-ish. Plus, it may not be a great idea to vent out in public. Where reporters and cameras may roam. Just saying.

However, I do not think she should be told to "continue to be cute and shut up." [Harsh side-eye to Brandon Jacobs] That's taking it too far. A wife is allowed to back her man even if her timing and delivery were a bit off.

Po' po' #AscotStruggle (Yes, this is how I refer to Roland Martin). During the SuperBowl after the Beckham undies ad {which was ni-ice!} aired to much fanfare, he tweeted:
If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl
Oh. Might one assume he wasn't wearing his ascot whilst tweeting this?

These words were taken as homophobic and all hell reigned down on him. GLAAD asked for him to be fired, people started taking sides. He defended his statement (poorly, very poorly) and now he has been suspended from CNN indefinitely. 

I didn't think his tweet was suspension worthy. In a perfect world, he would have been given an opportunity to apologize and then host a town hall airing before the next installment of Gay in America. That still could happen but for now he's not allowed in One CNN Center over a mindless tweet.

I didn't take his comments as homophobic or advocating the beatdown of homosexuals, I just thought he was trying to be funny and it didn't work out. Again... know your audience and understand how things will be perceived. #AscotStruggle should know that he's not going to get the Don Imus, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh "sorry I was douchey" pass. Only white folks who generate millions are allowed to say whatever the heck they want and keep rolling. Black folks have to rain mea culpas down, go to rehab, tap dance, do the electric bugaloo and pretend to be off meds to get second chances. <~~ A teachable moment in Black History Month.  

Here's the thing. Both Gizzy & Rolo should have known better than to speak/tweet publicly thoughts that were ill-thought out and better kept private. But let's be clear - Gisele will be back in angel wings and stilettos by summer while Roland battles to stay relevant. This is the way of the world. Foot in mouth disease in these here 2010's can get you scorned and sent home in no time flat. Let this be a lesson to all who think Twitter is just a fun social media tool. When the world is watching, know what to say...

BougieLand, any thoughts on the Gisele/Roland of it all? Have you suffered from foot-in-mouth disease before? Is there a cure?! Do share your thoughts...

The Hardest Thing About Relationships...

The s/o called last Wednesday and said he and the fellas were heading to New Orleans. Awesome. I was in Florida soaking up sun. I was totally cool right up until the moment the phone rang Saturday and dude said they decided to stay one more night. But... wait. It was New Year's Eve. Our first New Year's Eve together. "Are you cool with that?"

"Um, not really." Why would I be okay to spend that night apart? Especially knowing he's heading to Spain in a week or so and will miss my birthday. I felt my temper going on simmer.

Who made this decision? Shawn. After I announced that I hoped Shawn would be cuddled up next to him at midnight, I hung up. I was tart. I mean, really? New Year's Eve? With the fellas? Nah son. So after fuming about it (tweeting about it), I called back. And made my displeasure known. Vehemently. I might have been on full boil.

Him: "So... it's not okay. Got it."

None of these dudes thought this through. Bryan's wife had sent the kids to her mother's house and had "plans" for her husband, it was Joy's first NYE with Jay, Wes' wife don't play like that. 

Not only had these geniuses let Shawn talk them into pissing off s/o's, they'd changed their flights and couldn't get a flight out for Saturday. Next thing I knew, Dude David was in a rental car motoring north with the guys along for the ride. They made it into Dallas before midnight.

Oh, I don't blame Shawn. These are grown assed men who collectively lost their minds for a minute. As Jay shuffled out of the house with Joy's six inch pump somewhere near his hindparts, he muttered, "Relationships are hard." Yes they are. Especially if you make them so.

So today, something interactive. Fill in the Blank:

The hardest thing about relationships is _______________. Here's my list for now:

1. Making sure sure everyone's priorities are aligned.
2. Keeping well-meaning friends out of the middle.
3. Learning to shake off momentary stupidity when you really want to harp on it.

Now you... fill in the blank. What do you think is the hardest thing about relationships?

I'm a girlfriend, not a geisha

Blogger's disclaimer: Don't come at me about hating on geishas. I'm not, it's just a helpful alliteration not a cultural knock.

I have this one rabid email/twitter/facebook stalker who feels compelled to write me twice a week and tell me what's wrong with black women in the 21st century. It's actually a group of regulars that want to share their opinions: on why black woman are single, alone and hopeless to change their unfortunate circumstances. I generally delete without reading skim the first few sentences and then move on.

But I noticed that the last few emails were specifically about me and what I was doing wrong in my situation. The line that caught my eye was:
You are going to lose your man to an Asian woman because they know how to cater to men. They know how to kneel down and let their men stand tall. Black women only get on their knees for one reason and they aren't very good at that.
Ummmkay. I'm going to let you digest that for a minute while I share a few lines from an Ask a Bougie Chick that I refused to publish:
You should definitely write more posts about what a woman needs to do to keep a man. Even though you can be kinda ballsy, you appear to know how to play your position. A man wants to worshiped, not whipped into shape.
See now... this is the sort of stuff that sets my teeth on edge. There are so many things wrong with these statements, I don't even know where to start. Of course I do. The worst thing about the first quote is that it was written by a woman. I'm not getting into the whole submit/obey meme - we have been there, done that around here and ne'er shall the two sides agree. My point with this is that you would think a woman would know better than to rampantly stereotype other women. I think Asian women must be just as sick of being called meek and mild as Black women are of being called brash and bold. 

The line about getting on the knees is just so out-of pocket, I can't even address it. But it does make one curious - how does she know sisters aren't good at that? Where did she gather her intel? Food for thought. 

The second quote is one of those backhanded compliments I hate so very much. I'm "ballsy" but I know how to "play my position"!? For real tho? What position might that be? You know what? Never mind.

You all know I could go in on that for another six paragraphs. Yet I shan't. Here's what I will say - when are folks going to learn to appreciate nuance or subtle differentiation in thought, word and deed? You can cater to a man without kissing his ass. You can decide to fall back and let him handle things without being a doormat. Deference ≠ Docility. Relenting ≠ Rolling Over. Agreement ≠ Acquiescence. 

On the flip, you can expect your man to cater to you in return. You can get to a point where you know each other's strengths and weaknesses and know when to defer to the other. David knows world financial markets, I know shopping at World Market. David is into historical biography, I watch the History and Biography Channels. If we're even on Jeopardy, we'd totally rock.

This next point cannot be stressed often enough - if a man leaves a woman for a different type of woman, he was leaving anyway. And if a woman twists herself into pretzel shapes trying to be exactly what he wants and he leaves anyway... how does that leave her? Twisted. 

Last but not least, why do folks always assume that the same thing that works on them will work on someone else? With the notable exceptions of sex and steak sandwiches, not all men like the same things. So why on God's green earth would I aspire to write about how you should keep your man and make him happy? If I had that magic formula, you already know where I'd be... the beach house in Fiji with the Cabana Boy and a lifetime supply of vanilla rum. 

Men, do you seriously want to be worshiped? I would think that would get exhausting up on that white charger 24/7. Bougieland, what say you to Idiot One and Idiot Two above? And when will someone come up with a better way to block spam? The floor is yours...

"Whitewashing" your name (and your resume)

Last week, I was helping a friend of mine review some resumes. I came across one where the applicant's first name was Shardoneneah. This perplexed me until I realized that someone was trying to spell Chardonnay.

Now before people start going in about freedom of expression and cultural heritage, there's a vast difference between Akilah and Shaqueenlakiki. Stop it. There's a difference between ethnic and ghetto-fab. Akilah is Arabic in origin and means bright or intelligent. Shaqueenlakiki is just some nonsense slapped together.

I spent years in Human Resources.  I've had to whitewash [pardon the expression] many a resume in my day to get a hiring manager to look at it objectively. Let's face facts, prejudice happens. If your parent(s) gifted you with a name that may reveal your race, you should just understand what that means for you job search wise.

I've had hiring managers say they needed someone "who fit in with the team" - that's code for talks like us, thinks like us, and sometimes looks like us. Unless you are positive your resume will stand on it's own merits, your name should be Shar in that header. 

Unfortunately, people are going to make assumptions about a woman named Shardoneneah or Shaqueenlakiki. Deserved or not. Like I was telling someone one on Twitter, no - it's not fair that Moonbeam and Apple get a break but that's life. One person named Rashed told me that since 9/11, he's had crazy backlash from his name. He's not Muslim but even if he happened to be- that doesn't make him a terrorist. But that hasn't stopped people from acting wonky. He goes by Shed on his professional documents now.

One of our BnB regulars, Diamond Jackson, shared that she has lamented over her name for years. According to her, "Diamond Jackson" sounds like the name of someone who shakes her hindparts on a pole down at the House of Cheeks during Happy Hour. Professionally, she goes by Di or D. C. Jackson.

[In addition to your name, I've also advised folks against claiming their Greek affiliations, charitable causes or political leanings on a resume. You don't want to give a company any reason to rule you out on paper alone. Yes it's against all the rules to discriminate. Guess what? People do it anyway.]

Names are important. They are the often the only thing someone knows about you. Like it or not, they leave an impression. I remember my father telling me about twins one of his patients had. Phonetically, they were named -aur-ang-el-loh and lay-mong-el-loh. Yes, the mother had named them OrangeJello and LemonJello. I'm sorry, mama should've been slapped for that. Then there was the woman who named her child Metamucil because that's what was on TV while she was in labor. The woman who saw the bracelet on her baby's arm and thought she was already named Fah-maul-lay... the tag said "Female". :-/

What do you think of these super creative names? We joke about Peaches versus Priscilla and Preston versus Pookie but don't you believe that some preconceptions come with certain names? Have you taken things off your resume to appear as bland as possible? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

The Questions for the Fellas I refused to answer...

I could call them the best of the rest but really, they were the Worst of the Thirst. Ladies, ladies, ladies - read the t-shirt (available at zazzle.com):

Some of these questions were just shameful in their thirst, ignorance and needaclueness. Let's take a look, shall we?
1. How can I make a man fall in love with me?
2. Can you ask the men to give tips on giving better (fill in the blank of several cocoa related acts here)?
3. Even though my man is married - [yeah, I stopped reading after that]
4. Can you hook me up with (insert a BnB dude's name here)?
5. I'm engaged to a man that I've never met face to face - [I went no further]
6. I'm dating my ex-s.o.'s line brother. What can I do to smooth over the situation?
7. I don't go out much and I'm shy in public. How do I get guys to notice me? I'm invisible to them.
8. What do you think is the best way to break up with somebody?
9. I stopped stirring the cocoa with my husband six months ago and - [I sent her straight to Dr. Jayme]
10. Is there any surefire way to keep a man from cheating?
Y'all see what I mean, right? I couldn't even in good conscience turn these over to the fellas to dissect and review. But I'll turn these over to you, Bougienistas. Do you want to take a swing at any of these? Did you have other questions you wanted answered that weren't covered this week? Feel free and go in, the floor is yours. (And thanks for a great week!)

Bougie Bachelorette Chronicles - Episode 5: Whacktastic!

(Shout out to Corey P, @SpkTruth2Pwr, for gifting me with the "Whacktastic" phrase. Loving it.)

Question: What's worse than a house party of thirty- & forty-somethings trying to relive their twenties?

Answer: A house party of thirty- & forty-somethings trying to relive their twenties with an unlimited supply of hard liquor.

A male friend of mine has asked me every month for the last three months to come to his "Friday Night Throwback Jam" party. I've been resistant but finally found myself out of plausible excuses.

The first hour wasn't bad. Mixing, mingling, a little Babyface, a little Beyonce. Cool. Then somebody put on Bell Biv Devoe's Do Me. The beat still goes hard, I'll give them that. But ur uh, shout out to the dude who skipped into the middle of the dance floor dry humping the air with his drink held over his head living out his Ronnie/Ricky/Mike video fantasy. Unfortunately for him, I had just seen BBD on Late Night with Jimmy and they were killing it (this is the web-only performance of Do Me!):

House party dance floor dude was killing it but in a different (read very, very bad - like homicidal) way. Note to folks who are a legend in their own minds: When a group of people stand and stare at you with a "What are we supposed to do with THAT?" collective look... no bueno.

But more troubling was the fact that BBD Dude did not win the whacktastical prize of the night. The next runner-up was Pam. Her name isn't really Pam. You know that Chris Rock joke in Bigger and Blacker where he's talking about the mother out in the club, "lf the kid calls his grandmamma ''Mommy''... and his mama ''Pam,'' he's going to jail." Okay, so we'll call her Pam because she has three ragamuffin children that seem to always be at grandma's house while Pam is out doing Pam. This night was no different. Pam was systemically hitting on every dude in the house, married or not. If they turned her down, she moved onto the next. Sometimes she circled back around. As the night got longer and the drinks got stronger, she was having more luck. At last glance, she had her hand in the lap of some dude who seemed okay with it.

But the Captain Whacktastic prize goes to this dude... he walked up to me and a group of three other women. Introduced himself as James T. Kirk from the Planet Lovetron. [you can NOT make this stuff up!!] Then he said, "Wondering if any of you ladies would like a ride on my rocket?" 

No. Actually more like...
**the sound of crickets committing suicide because they didn't want to live in a world this corny**

At first we all just hit him with the 'you can't be serious' double eye blink. And then as if on cue, we dissolved into laughter. To his credit, he shrugged and said, "At least you're laughing with me." Then he hitched up his jeans (which were sagging in a very unfortunate way) and walked over to the next group. Um.... #HollaFAIL

Bougieland... Lovetron?! What part of the game is that?! Tell me, do you think he was serious? Like he was really stepping up to bat with Lovetron as his first pitch? Someone help me understand.

Bougie What Not To Wear (WNTW) - Travel Edition


Intervention time, people! The hotmessness that was Holiday Travelpalooza 2010 is behind us and yet the memory of the shameful (SHAMEFUL) ensembles folks rocked to the airport lingers. I get it, folks want to be comfortable when there's the possibility that you could spend eight hours trying to a hop a ninety minute flight. I also get that not everyone was raised in a strict Southern family like mine where the kids were required to dress like the freakin' Von Trapp Family Singers prior to appearing in public. Think I'm joking? Here's one travel outfit from back in the day:

Notice how none of us look amused? Anyway... for years, I dressed up to travel. And then I started traveling several times a month. I developed a travel outfit. Dark jeans or khaki pants, white shirt, blazer with loafers or boots. Crisp, clean, and neat you could dress it up or down depending on where you where going when you landed. Plus you could layer. My only exception is if I'm hopping on a red-eye, then (and only then) will I throw on a sweatsuit. But not one of these:

People are abusing the hell out of the rainbow velour sweatsuits right now. I saw men and woman alike in a variety of ill-fitting funky colored velour fits. Some ladies dressed them up with pumps, huge dangly earrings, sparkly camis underneath. One fella had his on with a Stetson and cowboy boots. Shout out to the chick rocking the sequin flip-flops in twenty-seven degree weather and then complaining (loudly) that her feet were cold and the floor was dirty. 

The thing is, good people, you never know WHO you'll meet in an airport, on the plane, walking back to your car. I once landed a contract because I got upgraded and sat next to the HR director of a Fortune 500 company. I looked professional and spoke like I had some sense. Do you think she would have hired me if I bopped on the plane dressed like this:

Pajamas are meant to be slept in (in the privacy of a bedroom, home, hotel room), not accessorized with Uggs and worn out as an outfit. Not cute. Not sexy. Not classy. Not Bougie. Oh, and those of you heading to warm weather destinations? We know you're eager to escape to the beach but er, uh - this is not appropriate travel wear either:

Just as a personal preference, can we outlaw these?

My apologies to the Croc-lovers in BougieLand. I'm sure they are super-duper comfy but they are the ugliest shoes known to man. Seriously, like fruit-colored shoes for Oompa-Loompas. 

I'm going to refer folks back to my Sundress Month and Fashion Felonies for the Fellas posts where we discussed cut, fit and flattering foundation garments? That still applies, even if you're wearing three layers of clothes. I'm also going to respectfully request (okay beg and plead) that everyone embrace the following concepts:

1) Get a real coat. It's cold round most of these parts. Watching people in whisper thin denim jackets acting like the wind isn't cutting them in half is painful for everybody.

2) Kleenex are your friend. Open air hacking and achooing is not the business. 

3) People, you are going through security... why would you wear the world's most complicated shoes, belts and sweater sets? The boots with all the buckles and zippers are cute in the club, not when 40 people are behind you trying to make a flight.

4) People, you are going through security.... your socks, drawers and anything else that we may catch a glimpse of as you strip for the TSA should be ready for prime time.

5) People, you are going through security... wear some drawers. Nuff said.

6) For the last time, ladies - leggings are NOT pants. Cover yo' hindparts.

7) You're getting on a plane, not going to the club. Dress accordingly.

8) For the last time, fellas - jeans need to fit in all the right places

9) There is such a thing as over-coordinating. Shout out to the couple who wore matchy-matchy grey and pink outfits, rocked grey and pink luggage, scarves, the whole nine. Yes it was Burberry and you probably paid a grip for it... but you and your wife shouldn't like you were gift wrapped in this fabric:

10) Last but not least... I'm sorry Santa. I can't get down with the folks dressed like one of the elves on a weekend pass from the North Pole. The holiday sweater, the jingle socks, the reindeer antler headband and the socks that light up and play music... please save that for your private time. Sorry. Bah Humbug. What Bougie Folk Don't Do - WBFDD - go out looking like this:

That's it for now. Please pass these tips along, reach one, teach one. Any glaring fashion felonies witnessing during the holidays? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...