All feminists are not created equal... and we should be okay with that

By definition above, I've always considered myself a feminist. I'm about Girl Power and sisters getting ahead, women helping themselves, equality in financial and social strata. In my mind wanting and advocating an equal playing field where gender is not a detriment equates to feminism.

I've been told, vehemently that I am wrong. Apparently, I'm not a "true" feminist because I still have some traditional beliefs and behaviors based in patriarchy. I was raised by both a mother and a father and yes, I believed and was okay with the fact that my father was the head of household. I do not believe that his role as primary bread-winner or disciplinarian at all diminished my mother's role as authoritarian care-giver and organizer. I saw their relationship with its complimentary roles and responsibilities as symbiotic. One would not have been as effective without the other. 

The bra-burning march-in-the street feminists of the seventies were more visible but to me just as effective as the stay-at-home feminists who started rebelling against the neat and narrow boxes men with oppressive old-school leanings tried to keep them in. Does an act of rebellion have to be overt and televised to be valid?

I was informed that because there are times when I "defer to men socially and sexually" and I apparently do not "elevate matriarchy and fem-power" above all else that I "wound the cause of feminism" and "deter women from reaching their maximum enrichment levels" - yeah, let that soak in. (What is a maximum enrichment level? Anyone, anyone?) I was told that "like Beyoncé", I pander to "male-driven sexual mores" thus perpetuating the continued subjugation of women worldwide. [Where have I done that exactly?]

Boiled down I took this to mean that because I don't hate men; I've been known to date one or two in my time and don't feel it necessary to take the wheel and steer in most of my relationships that I'm holding the sisterhood back.

Imma go 'head and call bullshiggity on that. In fact, I'd like to call out all so-called feminist groups that have become so divisive and exclusionary that they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Calling out Beyoncé for referring to herself as Mrs. Carter and being sexy does not help the feminist movement. In fact, calling out women who are powerful and exemplary in areas that could stand some emulation seems a backwards way to further the cause. Not to put myself in the same category as Bey but because I won't engage in male-bashing (unless it's truly warranted) should not negate the things that I do to empower and enlighten ladies in however small a way.

Code Pink sending that woman to holler at the first lady came across as an attention-grab, not cutting edge media savvy strategy spreading positive light on their message. The worst thing I heard all day was that in order to reduce the backlash, maybe next time they should pay a black woman to heckle Mrs. Obama. Don't you effin' dare. One of the problems I have with a lot of the feminist groups is that they rarely take into account the matrixed issues facing women of color. If we just look at this from a pay equity standpoint - review the 2012 study from the National Women's Law Center:
American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap is even larger for many women of color, with African-American women making only 62 cents, and Hispanic women only 54 cents, for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. These gaps translate into a loss of $19,575 for African-American women and $23,873 for Hispanic women every year.
I don't know about you but those numbers make me wince. Do we really have time to battle amongst ourselves about who is more "down for the cause" when we're all losing? I invite the feminists who have taken time out over the course of the last few years to tell me all that I'm doing wrong to instead send information on what we can all do to elevate the cause of women across color lines, nationalities and socio-economic levels. 

I'm so irritated by the messages bombarding successful single women of color recently. If I'm strong and independent that makes me angry and militant to some but not angry and militant enough for others. If I say I don't need a man, that makes me gay (NTTAWWT - not that there's anything wrong with that). If I don't want or need a man, I'm set to be a lonely spinster with two cats and a knitting circle for companionship. If I say I want a man, that makes me weak. If I enjoy a man, that makes me whipped. If I want a better man, I should just be glad I've got one who still finds me f**kable (yeah, some actually said that). If I get a man and let him drive the relationship I'm a door mat. If I drive the relationship, I'm a ball buster. I think I need people to cease and desist on all the labels and instead do this:

In conclusion... to completely mangle two of my favorite female authors I offer this - Your blues may not be like mine but ain't I feminist?

Is the "neo-feminist" movement too fragmented to be effective? Are the "hard-core" feminists ruining the cause for the rest of us? Does feminism mean something different than we think? Please discuss.

Wrapping up Questions for the Ladies Week: Worst of the rest

Usually, I would do the "Best of Rest" to wrap up Questions for the Ladies Week but some of the questions sent in were so very terrible that I had to share the worst. And these are bad. No offense to the guys that sent these in. I suspect that you are going through some things with your current S.O. and I apologize on behalf of all womanhood for that. Without further ado… here are the worst of the rest.

  1. What does it mean when a woman goes silent?
  2. What is the best pick up line you ever heard?
  3. If I say I love you and you don't say it back, what does that mean?
  4. What attracts you to that "bad boy" type?
  5. What is the best way to approach a woman about having a threesome? Or some other sex act she may not normally perform?
  6. Can you just fall back and let me be the man, please?

We touched on these on the radio show Wednesday night. If you missed the show, check it out. But here's the basic consensus of what we said:

Answer 1 ~ It means something is very, very wrong. When a woman can't even be bothered to put the words together to tell you how ticked off she is… that's bad.

Answer 2 ~ We don't like lines. Smile, walk over and introduce yourself. That works. Tell us we're pretty (in a good way not a 'hope to see you naked' way)

Answer 3 ~ Could mean many things. Could mean I don't love you back. Could mean I don't love you yet. What's the context? When are you saying it? How long have you known the person you are saying it to?

Answer 4 ~ I'll have to defer to someone else. I tried dating a bad boy once for prom (after my original date back out one week earlier). It was exciting right until the moment he pulled my mother's car up in front of a crackhouse to pick up some money for dinner. Um, yeah – he's still in jail. No more bad boys for me. Now if you're talking about men with confidence

Answer 5 ~ O__o <~~That's a side-eye. Seriously? Know who you got. If you have a woman open to that sort of thing, you already knowing. If you don't… you know that too.

Answer 6 ~ This is my favorite terrible question of the week. I have to assume that the person who sent this in is having a helluva time with the woman in his life. The easy answer is yes. The next answer is – many of us are dying for you to step up and be the man. The complex answer is actually a question – when you say "be the man" what exactly does it mean? Again, we need more context.

BougieLand – thanks for your input this week. Any comments, answers, thoughts or prayers about these raggedy questions and the week on the whole? The floor is yours.

Question for the Ladies: What’s with the game playing?

Continuing Question for the Ladies Week, it appears that there are still some women out there playing games and scotching it up for the straight-shooting sisters. Le Deep Sigh. I'm not going to sit here and say I never played games; I'm going to say it's been awhile. Moving on… The questions on this topic were as follows:
  1. How should men know when a woman is interested?
  2. Why accept a date when you're not interested?
  3. Why string us along if you've already put us in the friend zone?
  4. We get that "no means no" but when everything else you've done all night screams yes – what's with the last minute no?
  5. Why can't women ever say what they really mean?
I really don't want to project this back onto you fellas but from this week's questions and comments – I implore you to start seeking out a better class of female. No that's not all I have to say… let's get it started.
Answer 1 ~ She'll smile at you. She'll approach you. She'll tell you. If she smiles, approaches and tells you – you're all good. Check the various non-verbal signals. Is she happy to see you, takes your phone calls, answers your texts, making an effort to be around you, talk to you, trying to be up in your personal space? She's interested.
Answer 2 ~ Fellas, if this is happening to you, I'm sorry. This means she wasn't sure she was feeling you and decided to "test drive" you or her first choice date fell through and she wanted to go out. Sorry. It's true.
Answer 3 ~ The same reason you put us in the friend zone it's a "Save for Later" place where we can keep an eye on you. According to Chris Rock: A platonic friend to a woman is like “a d*** in a glass case. In case of emergency, break open glass.” We've talked about the friend zone, if you want out... make a move.
Answer 4 ~ This question is disturbing on a lot of levels. No means no regardless of what we've said and done. I'm going over in my mind what a woman could do that "screams yes" and I've decided I don't want to know. Just expect that the answer is no until it's yes. That way it's a pleasant surprise.
Answer 5 ~ I can't answer this one. I'm a shoot from the hip, card on the table girl. I need a man to understand me so I make it plain and repeat it. If you have a woman who is talking in circles, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but talking ain't one. <~~ Okay, that was flippant. (though a great Jay-Z reference) I've had wine. Let me get ya'll an answer...

I'm going to turn this over to BougieLand:
Fellas – Are you finding that a lot of women play games? If so, what kinds and how do you deal with it?
Ladies – Your take on any (or all) of the five questions above? We still game-playing in 2010?
The floor is yours…

For every @HillHarper, there are 39 taco-eatin’ Pookies & Ray-Nays – Do we know a “Good Man” when we see one?

By now, you probably heard the infamous story from Nightline Face/Off where it was revealed that Sherri Shepherd met Hill Harper years ago at a Taco Bell and blew him off. And shame on her for not recognizing the potential and hustle in a bus-pass-totin' 99-cent-taco eatin' brother with a cute smile. Um-hmm. Let me get to the point.

This week is Questions for the Ladies week and I received a whole flurry of self-righteous, indignant questions about why sisters can't SEE the potential in a brother. Matter of fact, one dude wrote in all caps, wouldn't it be fair to say that we (the sisters) would not know a "good man" if he came up and smacked us in the face with a letter of reference signed and sealed by Barack and Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and Jesus Christ put together. Setting aside the improbability of any man possessing such a letter (but if you do, holla at me) and setting aside the fact that a "good man" would not have smacked us in the face with anything… let me say – let's get ready to rumble.

I have to preface my responses by reminding the readership that this here is the Black 'n BOUGIE blog. Not Black 'n On the Corner of the Block, not Black 'n In Yo Mama's Basement, not Black 'n Still Aspiring to Rap at age 40. No sir… this is Black 'n Bougie. If that makes me stuck up and siddity in your eyes, alrighty then. So no, I may not see your potential immediately if you're not in the geographic location or exterior packaging that I'm used to. Doesn't mean I won't see it… means I don't see it at a glance.

Next – Hill Harper is the Bougie Mascot. His parents are doctors and old boy is triple (yes triple) degreed. He has multiple revenue streams, a retirement plan and the ear of movers & shakers nationwide. Okay? Don't play us like the next Hill Harper is hanging out at every Taco Bell waiting on the hook-up. Sherri's flaw was that she didn't ask the first five Bougie Screening questions: Where are you from? Who are your people? What do you do? Why are you doing it? What's next for you? Guarantee if she'd heard the answers to those questions, she'd have hopped on the LA Metro bus right beside him and rolled out.

Today's Questions for the Ladies – Would you recognize potential in a man? Do we know what a "good man" looks like?

Answer 1 ~ Some of us would, some of us wouldn't. The broader issue being… how long would a woman wait on potential? I, for example, am over 35. The men I meet should be on the path of their chosen life plan. If they were sidetracked, they need to have another plan in place. It's not going to be a comfortable situation for me to date a 40 y/o who is still finding himself, living on someone's couch, or has no clue how to be a grown up. Someone needed to catch me in my 20s for all that. A woman in her twenties will no doubt have more tolerance for the lack of life plan than I do.

Answer 2 ~ Every woman is going to have a different definition of what a "good man" is. Sure we'll agree on the four cornerstones: Considerate, caring, compassionate and capable of honesty. That's just a foundation. Others are going to want to add in things that they need – some women may need a supportive man, a Christian man, a protective man, the list is endless. But if the question is do we know if someone is "good for us" right off the bat? The only answer I have for you is… some do and some don't.

Let me share a recent BougieTale:

For the record, I have NO issue with men who work with their hands. Honest hard day's work with the sweat of his brow, putting his back into it… um, let me leave that analogy right there. The point is… I've always considered myself an equal opportunity dater. When I said this out loud to a group of close friends, they fell out (one literally on the floor trying not to pee her pants) with laughter. "Sure you believe in equal opportunity – if his bank balance, resume, height and personality equal what you're used to." Le Boo to them. Just Le Freakin' Boo. For those of you who have hung out in BougieLand, I have chronicled (sometimes in painful detail) my attempts at dating "outside the box."

By outside the box, I refer to that which is not my norm or my comfort level. Some folks call it a "wheelhouse". Anyway, I tweeted a few weeks back about the Terminix man giving me his phone number. Yes, literally the dude who came to the door to spray for spiders. As he was leaving he handed me the invoice and then handed me a business card and let me know he'd be interested in seeing me on a personal level. He caught me completely off-guard but he was well-spoken and gorgeous (I'm talking fyyine) so I said why not. I received 19 tweets back telling me to give the Terminix man a shot. One from none other than Mr. Harper himself asking if dude seemed ambitious. I agreed to at least call and find out the basics. I called him the next day, it was a nice conversation. Lots of light-hearted back and forth. I did some minor interrogatory work and agreed to meet him for coffee that weekend.

We met for coffee and I'm not sure what happened to the guy I chatted with on the phone. The guy seated across from me talked about the principles of extermination for 40 minutes straight. Granted he looked real purdy while he talked but he was still going in on the intricacies of depopulating a termite colony. Believe me, I tried to steer the conversation in other directions but what even my best segue from wasps' nests to "What do you watch on TV?" started this dude on a tangent about "Billy the Exterminator" on A&E. I have no snappy, witty repartee after you tell a story about Billy chasing rats. I got nothing.

YET AND STILL! I knew that he was better than that. He had been better than that on the phone. I assumed he got nervous, wasn't a good first date guy and so when he asked me to the movies a few days later, I said "Sure." This guy had to be more than beautiful smiles, bulging biceps and bugs. He just had to be…

Long story short – he's great on the phone. On the phone he was expressive and funny, able to articulate plans and dreams, tell jokes, swap anecdotes. In person – nothing. I've never seen anything like it. Made me wonder if there was a twin answering the calls and a different twin coming out on dates. When I asked him about it he said he sometimes had a problem being himself. I think this guy could be great for someone. I don't know if it's me. I need the face-to-face sizzle/sparkle/zing. I don't know if he'll get that way with time and ease or what. Truthfully, I don't know what to do with that. And until I do, he's a phone pal.

I tell this BougieTale to say… potential is just that. It'll only get you so far and then you need to deliver. You may be a "good man" that doesn't necessary make you good for me. So all the semi-bitter "why don't you women recognize" rants I received?? To this I say, you haven't found the right woman yet. There is a woman who will think you are the hottest thing smoking and she won't know how she ever lived without you? You only need one… right?

I don't know, maybe some women don't know a "good man" when they see one… but they can surely spot a really bad one a mile away. Let me also send a stern side-eye to the ladies talking about "I just want a good man" – no, you don't. Quit saying that. If that's "all" you wanted, you'd be 10 years into marriage to whatshisname down the block who smiled at you in high school. Let's just put the notion that a "good man" is all we want.

And on that note, BougieLand:

Fellas, are women not seeing your potential? If not, why not? Do you consider yourself to be a "good man"? What is the best quality about you that screams "I'm good"?

Ladies, how much patience do you have for potential? Ambition in progress? Hustle on the come up? Name a few characteristics you would hope to find in a "good man".

We're going in! The floor is yours…

Question for the Ladies: Can we talk about infidelity?

Continuing Question for the Ladies Week, I received a whole host of questions on various forms of infidelity/cheating/stepping out. I broke those down into three main categories:

  1. How do you define cheating? Physical act? Emotional? Online chatting? Which is worse?
  2. If we cheat, will you ever forgive us?
  3. Why does it seem like a woman cheating on a man is so much worse than a man cheating on a woman?

First let me say… wow. I've been cheated on. I didn't like it. I cheated once. Didn't like that either. Cheating sucks. Everybody loses, 90% of the time people get caught and there's always some drama. But option is simply not to cheat at all. Ever. For any reason. Just walk away. Cannot be any clearer: Cheating bad. Repercussions bad. Staying out of situations like these I just described = good.

Now that that's settled - let me try and address the questions with my best answers. Ladies, I'll expect you to help me out with these.

Answer 1: My definition of cheating isn't everybody's. I'm a bit strict with mine. In my world, cheating is any action (yes any) that threatens the monogamous union predefined by a couple. The physical act is bad, the emotional act is worse. You can almost get your mind around a "heat of moment" one time fling, maybe even an ongoing purely sexual liaison. (I couldn't but maybe someone else could?) But once that person is emotionally attached to someone else… that seems a deeper betrayal to me. That means you took time, effort and emotions promised to me and gave them to someone else. No bueno. Online chatting is not a problem. Online flirting in putting you on shaky ground and online sex talk is cheating. Sorry. No shades of grey.

Answer 2: Will I forgive you if you cheat? Will I forgive you? Yes, my religion says I must. The real question is do I forget and stay with you without punishing you forever? Now THAT really depends on all the circumstances around it. I'm inclined to lean towards hell-to-the-naw. Again, are we together or just kicking it? Are we married or engaged? Do we have kids? A mortgage? How long have we been together? Have we had the "I don't share and I'll kill you if you do" discussion? Are we getting along? Are we in the same city? Was it a one-time thing or were you Tiger Woods-ing it? Did you tell me about it or did I have to hear about it da streetz or catch you in the act? Are you genuinely remorseful about the act or that you got caught? These are the sort of factors that weigh in to my decision to stay in the relationship. Again, one woman's opinion – I'll let the other ladies voice their ideas.

Answer 3: Le Sigh… it seems like a woman cheating on a man is worse because those old traditional gender roles are stuck in our heads. Women are kinder, gentler, nurturing creatures… are we not? Also, according to the mainstream media we can get a man anyhow so the few of us that snagged one shouldn't be messing it up by cheating… yes, that's very tongue-in-cheek. I don't why it's worse. Cheating is cheating… bad is bad.

Ladies, I'm going to ask that you offer up your opinions on these questions so that the gents can get a multi-flavored sampling of our thoughts. Fellas, do share. The floor is yours…

Question for the Ladies: Why are you so mean?

Okay, at first I laughed out loud when I first received this question. And then six more men sent in similar questions. That wiped the smile off my face. The myth of the Angry Black Woman strikes again. Well, let me rephrase that – I think it's a myth but if the fellas think we are stomping around mean-muggin' and back-slappin' anyone who gets in our way, let me dig deeper to find the answer.

So I'll admit to a period of time in my late 20s when I was bitter, caustic, with zero tolerance for the brothers. Something to do with the guy I planned on marrying deciding to marry someone else out of the blue. All my plans (I was one of those chicks with a life plan and a timeline) went up in smoke. It took a minute for me to bounce back to my normally pleasingly pleasant personality. So apologies to any fella who tried to roll up to me at that time. I wasn't having it. I assumed one heart-breaking dude equaled all dudes were out to break my heart and I was ill-prepared to deal with it.

Thankfully, a different guy came around and basically said, "What's that got to do with me?" Oh… um – nothing actually. My bad. I began to realize that my happiness is my own responsibility. Like BougieMom says, "No one can steal your joy, you have to give it them." True. Since then I do not let a man (or woman for that matter) mess with my mood for long. 24 - 48 hours and then I gotta be me. And me isn't mean and surly.

Alright, let's answer the question. Why are ladies so mean?

  1. Easiest answer: You made us that way. Yes you fellas. You know who you are. We were happy, you came along and did us wrong and now we mad. I'm not saying this is right, I'm just saying it happens.

  2. Saddest answer: We've been kicked in the ass by life too many times. No one starts out mean, angry, bitter. Someone who is layers deep unhappy got that way over time with a lot of really foul circumstances. The outward expression of all that unhappiness is a mean, spiteful bitter woman who just wants you to feel as bad as she does. Just stay out of her way and hope she finds Jesus.

  3. Situational answer: We tried nice and it didn't work out, now we're going with mean. This generally applies in work situations or when we have told a fella no (several times) and he's not hearing us. Then we have to get a little nasty.

  4. Possible answer: We're just not feeling it (or you) right now. We woke up on the wrong side (of the wrong) bed, it's that time of the month, our shoes are pinching, you are on our nerves, the job is trifling, we need a vacation – it's temporary. We'll be okay, just hang in.

  5. Unfortunate Answer: You're letting us be mean to you. Seriously. A woman will get away with as much as you let her. If you lay down and stamp doormat on your forehead, someone is going to wipe their feet and keep stepping. Some women will just take advantage of you if you let them. Don't let them.

  6. Generally Honest answer: We're not mean; we just look that way sometimes. Smile at us, tell us we look lovely that day and nine times out of ten, we'll smile back. Problem solved.

The follow-up question was "And what can we do about it?"… um, fellas if after a certain age you really don't know how to put a smile on a woman's face – this blog can't save you. No seriously… it's the little things. Start out by asking us what is wrong with the understanding that sometimes, we just want to vent – we don't need you to fix it. If you are the cause of our pissitivity, you might want to cease and desist the action that made us that way and apologize very sweetly. If you're not, hang in – we're really not as mean as you think.

Fellas - did I answer the question to your satisfaction? If not, fire away - some of the other ladies may have the exact answer you seek. Ladies, do you have something to add to the answers? Any other comments, questions, insights?

Nightline #FAIL - It's coming...

So Wednesday night, ABC aired the FaceOff: Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man? The very title makes my head want to explode. So much so that I can't even write intelligently about it right now. If you missed it, please get you some right here. I've already said my peace in the post that was re-published to Essence... they didn't hear me though. So I'll share my thoughts on this Friday. Woo-Sah. Jesus take the wheel.

I love Black Men but there’s always a He Said/She Said…

It's been a great of week of love for the brethren, I appreciate everybody who stopped by. I did notice that every day (no matter what the topic) there was always something debate-worthy in the comments sections. Even among the love-fest, there were plenty of shots fired between the sexes. Based on that, I'm going to switch it up a little bit with a "Men or Women" conversation between myself and RiPPa from The Intersection of Madness of Reality. Enjoy:

Who gets more jealous? Women or Men?

She says: I'm going to say men. Men get situationally jealous but women are more suspicious overall… in my humble opinion. I think a woman gets jealous once she suspects something, a man can be jealous out of the blue.

He says: Oh it's definitely women! I say that for the simple fact that women are pursued by men more than it occurs the other way around - this is the traditional cat and mouse game. That said, there is more competition among women for attention. Add to the fact that there are more women than men, then one can see how easier it would be for women to be more jealous than men. Jealous men are just insecure about themselves and probably got picked on in grade school.

Who tells more lies? Women or Men?

She says: I'm going to say this is a tie. Men make up little stories (for apparent reason) but women make up entire scenarios. Both tell little white lies, "yes, those jeans still fit" or "It wasn't my turn to do the dishes."

He says: This is a tough one, and I can't really say. They both lie and that's the truth about it. But I guess since I have to choose I'd say men lie more. I say that because they're the "salesmen" in the "game" of courtship. Plus, with society being as male dominated as it is, men generally have an image to uphold and let's just say sometimes it's not so easy.

Who thinks about sex more often? Women or Men?

She says: I'm going to say men. Not that women don't think about it, just not every waking minute. I don't see sexual innuendo in, "Hey do you want a soda?" Men think soda is a euphemism for a li'l sumthin' sumthin'. < - - men made up that phrase, before Maxwell it just meant an appetizer tray.

He says: Women do because for the most part they're looking for love and they equate sex with love. That said, women have "love" on their minds moreso than men.

Who gossips more? Women or Men?

She says: Hands down it's men but they will NEVER admit it. They consider it an informed discussion. Newsflash: half of what you listen to on ESPN, Jamie Foxx and Howard Stern is gossip. Ya'll just ain't sitting on a couch wearing four-inch heels and drinking mojitos while you do it.

He says: Oh this is easy...W-O-M-E-N! Men do their fair share of it, but the ladies have this one on lock hands down. That's why they always have problems with their girlfriends - they talk and gossip too damn much.

Who bounces back from hurt feelings quicker? Women or men?

She says: I have to say women. Men act like they are over it when they really, really (really) aren't. Women stay wounded and let everyone know but then when they're through – it's done. Women remember the details (what was said, what was worn, who ate what); men remember the feelings.

He says: Women have a tendency to carry baggage with them from relationship to relationship and they don't heal as quickly as men do. But then again maybe men are better at hiding their pain as a defense mechanism. All in all, given that defense mechanism often used by men I'll have to say that men bounce back quicker.

Her commentary: Overall, I just think men are programmed to act like things are okay when they aren't, hence the phrase "man up." Women are conditioned to express themselves. But with the evolution of gender roles, I believe the lines of behavior are blurring. Some women like to "date like men," some men like to be "expressive like females." More and more women can change their own oil, hang a ceiling fan and wire electronics. More and more men can coordinate throw pillows in their living room and set a table for six with candles and all. And isn't a perpetuation of stereotypes to think that black men are all strong and silent while black women are dramatic and quick to do a neckroll? Probably, so in the end, I think my real answer to these questions could be: Depends on the man and depends on the woman.

His commentary: Society has clear gender roles defined for men and women. This is not to say that men and women should confine or define themselves by said roles. That said, life would be a helluva lot easier if as men and women we did not have expectations of one another as defined by societal gender roles. I think we can have a better understanding of each other as "people" or "human beings" both with emotional needs and instabilities. Because I'm a man do not expect me to "act" a certain way because that's just the way men are supposed to act and vice versa. Ultimately a think much of the "war of the sexes" can and should be resolved through communication or the ability to communicate thought at the appropriate times. Anything communicated from a place that is emotionally charged is not good in my opinion. Even if it comes from some source of welcomed euphoria it is often confused for something other than what is meant.

BougieLand… the floor is yours, weigh in with your choices and let us know why!

Claiming it in 2010 – The Sisterhood Rises Again

Fellas, bear with me for a few paragraphs. I have words for you below. But for right now, I need to chit and chat with my girls.

Ladies, it's about that time. End of the year, cleaning out the closet, make a plan for the year ahead time. I don't know about you but I don't feel that 2009 was a great year for the collective sisterhood. We have been talked about, passed over, talked down, led astray, hoodwinked and bamboozled. And I mean that for all flavor of women – from vanilla to double chocolate fudge and everything in the middle. Don't know how much of the drama was of our own making but damn if 2009 wasn't dramatic as hell. Well girlfriends, no more. It's our time. Now or never, let's rise up in 2010. [Can someone cue up "I'm Every Woman" and put it on repeat? Either Chaka or Whitney's version, we don't mind]

Here's what I wish for all my sisters in 2010:

  • Get anchored/ Get healthy!

    • Emotionally – this is the year we own up to whatever dysfunction we harbor and get rid of it. This is the year we control our moods instead letting our moods control us. (Are you still with me?) This is the year where if we need to seek help to beat back depression or obsession or compulsion (any of the –sions), we do it. Without shame.
    • Physically – this is the year we feel as good as we can for as long as we can as often as we can. (minds out of gutter, I'm talking about overall health not just the "chex" mix) If that means we need to work on getting in shape, cut back on French fries or just get to the point where you can run up the stairs without passing out – let's get it pushing. Get tested, stay protected and get your Well Woman on. Vitamins, water, veggies and sleep. Think about committing to as many of those as possible.
    • Financially – can this be the year we do more than wring our hands about our debt-to-income ratio? Even if all you do if cut back from 4 visits to Starbucks to 3, make it happen and start thinking about your money as long-time life partner not a sometimey coming-n-going stranger.
    • Spiritually – get right with whatever/whoever you worship. Believe in a higher power than Louboutin shoes and Facebook.

  • No more trifling men (no offense fellas, not referring to any of ya'll here)

    • Let's own it (I'll go first). We already know what trifling looks like – we have that locked in our minds. How 'bout something fresh in 2010? No more men who are not all about you, down for you, defending you and loving you for you. Selfish pretty boys? We off that. Let this be the year you are appreciated as a force of nature by a man you like (or the other l- word), respect and believe in.
    • 2010 could be the year you just say no until a man brings more to the party than a cold six pack and a chiseled six pack. This is the year you say yes knowing you won't regret it in the morning.
    • And while I certainly do not advocate waving your ring finger around in a grown man's face, if you've been stuck in that pre-marital waiting room with the dame dude for more than a minute, let 2010 be the year you tell old boy to ring on it!

  • Take Control of your own destiny

    • Yeah the economy sucks and will continue to suck for a while. But if there's an opportunity to upgrade your career path – take it.
    • What? You say you have no career path? Make one up. Set goals, attach timelimes and take the first step.
    • Want to finish your education? Add to it? Switch it up and do something else altogether? Make a plan to see if it's possible and make that move.
    • That which isn't working in your life, find a way to surgically remove it and discard from your world. And don't look back.

  • Stop listening to negativity (or doling it out)

    • The next time some starts a sentence with "All men/women…" or "All black men/women…" cut them off and walk away. We are turning a deaf ear to negative stereotypical generalizations in 2010.
    • Someone in your life makes you feel like crap, cut them (unless you work for them and then see above). Surround yourself with people who care about YOU more than what you can do for them.
    • Stop snarking your fellow sisters to death, karma is a bitch (in bright red stilettos). Every time you cut someone, that's coming back to you. Break the circle. Okay yes, buck-toothed, bad-weave-wearing sisters rocking a "Don't be Jelly" T-shirt that's two sizes too small stuffed into skinny jeans with a muffin top and thong showing… they need to be dealt with. It's 2010 after all. We can agree on this. But can we pull them over the side and have a chat. You don't have to put every wayward-acting female on blast.
    • Don't get sucked into bullshiggitty situations. You can smell them from a mile away. Someone is always looking to throw their bag of hot mess into someone else's lap. Bob, weave and get out of the ring ladies, seriously. Life is too short.
    • Do remember that you are the shit. No matter what anyone (including 80% of the blogosphere) tells you. There is something about you that makes you priceless. Eff 'em if they can't see it. Head up, shoulders back, get your strut on in 2010.

  • Go out there and make it happen: Okay! Now that we are feeling good, looking good, trifling-man free, in control and chock-full of positivity – get on out there and make it do what it do. Yes, realistically, the chances of all of this stuff coming together all at once are slim to none… so what. Get out there and make an effort. With a smile on your face. And Black 'n Bougie in your pocket (yes, we are now optimized for mobile phones – HA!).

Seriously, 2010 is our take no prisoners year. The year without fear. We're gonna try and try again. Fake it until we make it. Who's with me? And fellas, lest you think I've forgotten about you. Next week is all about you. Oh yes it is. Guest bloggers and all. So I ask my ladies and my fellas… what would you like to see happen in 2010? (The first person to answer world peace gets talked about). Comment as you will…

Five women it’s hard to be friends with… and I’ve really tried

*Thanks to @True2Me for giving me this idea!

By now ya'll should know that for the most part, it's all love with the occasional sigh and side-eye here in BougieLand. Wouldn't it be great if we could spread the gospel of bougenificence the whole world through? In the meantime, we're left to take people as they are. Over the years, I have been blessed with a variety of close and diverse friends… and then there are these other chicks. The ones you never wanted to befriend in the first place but they just love, love, love you?

These women try your patience and force you to apologize for their behavior. In the beginning, you really tried to like them but the more time you spent with them, the more you realized you just had to get away. So I present to in no particular order, five women it's hard to be friends with:

  1. Drama Queen
  • Characteristics: emotional outbursts, crying jags and manic phone calls/texts in the middle of the night
  • Where they thrive: Loves to be in the middle of the messiest situation possible. If you are in the middle of a divorce because your SO cheated with two midgets who were shipped over from Brazil as part of a human-trafficking ring… this chick is right there with a video camera and TMZ on speed dial.
  • What they do: Where no drama exists, she sets it off! This chick can create drama between aisle 2A and 2B in the Target Superstore.
  • Theme Song: Emotional Rollercoaster by Vivian Green
  • What they need: Besides a kick in the ass and some Zoloft? Someone to feed their drama jones and hold their hands (24/7/365).
  1. Moody-ALL-cloud-no-silver-lining girl
  • Characteristics: never happy, always cranky, can suck the joy out of a room in 60 seconds flat. They never see the silver lining, they believe it's always darkest before it's pitch black and their cloud has no silver lining (maybe just dented aluminum foil).
  • Where they thrive: Any place sad and depressing. They go to every funeral, visit everybody in the hospital, are the first people to call after a break-up to tell you she knew it was never gonna work out anyway. They always know the saddest, most depressing stories and repeat them at the worst possible times.
  • What they do: Stay down and try to bring you down with them. If you call to say you lost three pounds she reminds you that you have 17 more to go.
  • Theme Song: Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers
  • What they need: Besides a backhand slap, some Valium and Jesus? Life is all they need; they'll find the downside in everything anyway.
  1. Miss KnowItAll
  • Characteristics: Knows all the answers (even when she doesn't), hands out advice (whether it's asked for or not), feels free to lecture everyone on their flaws (while ignoring her own) and always has a story to one up yours (for every conceivable situation).
  • Where they thrive: In groups and at parties, the larger the better where more people can hear them speak about themselves and their wonderful life.
  • What they do: Compete for everything. They must win at Scrabble, they must have the last word and they must reinforce how intelligent they are to everyone within listening range. You just met a guy? She has the perfect husband? You have an amazing crab dip recipe, so does she but hers is organic and she had the crabs flown in on a jet from Nova Scotia.
  • Theme Song: That Girl by Steve Wonder
  • What they need: Besides a throat chop and a Tylenol PM? A reality check by someone smarter, richer, prettier… and there's always someone out there happy to take them down a peg.
  1. Maneater
  • Characteristics: Goes through men like Kleenex, there's a boulevard of Broken Boyfriends named for her.
  • Where they thrive: Wherever the boys are.
  • What they do: She can attract any man she wants but once she's had him, she's done. And she doesn't care whose man he was, she's going in for the kill. Your man, your brother, your cousin who just got engaged, all fair game to her. She is that chick who is your best friend until a man comes in the room and then all bets are off.
  • Theme Song: If that's your boyfriend by MeShell Ndegeocello
  • What they need: Besides a hair pull, a year's supply of condoms and some penicillin? A real man to just say no. Just once. The whole outlook will change.
  1. Witchy McB*tcherson
  • Characteristics: Mad at the world, witchy for new reason, walks around with fist balled up, responsible for the "angry black woman" stereotype, wakes up on the wrong side of the bed every single day
  • Where they thrive: Amongst their kind. Witches of a feather flock together.
  • What they do: Spew bile morning, noon and night. When there's a cutting comment to be made or a putdown to dish out, she's on it!
  • Theme Song: Witchy Woman by The Eagles
  • What they need: Besides a punch in the month and some Midol? A mirror. Usually once they see how unattractive the constant witchery is, they dial it back.

What do ya'll think? Did I miss somebody? Do you know one (or more) of these? Can they be saved?