The Bouge Rules
But since we're nearing the one year mark and have so many new folks (thanks!), it's time for a refresher in the Bouge of It All. For a detailed look, check out the Bouge Basics page.
As for why I'm not married yet… Let me share with you my favorite paragraph from an email I received Tuesday evening. The subject of the email being: I know what your problem is OneChele. Not knowing I had a problem, I popped open this bit of wisdom and dove in. Six paragraphs in, here's what I was treated to (leaving in the spelling and grammar errors so ya'll can soak up all this good flavor):
See, the problem with girls like you is that all your live people told you you are better than other black ppl. And you bought into that shyt. So no you think you can tell people how to live. I guess you try to be helpful but really you talk down. I have met so many bougey bitches like you that its really no surprise. You can't help yourself for acting like the world revolve around you. You so caught up in being fake and bougey that's why you don't have a man now and can only talk to them on you page. You say bougey but its really snobby and not a good way to live. I'm not tryin to be mean but someone need to get you to check yourself. I hope you find my words to you helpful not like your blog. Any way I won't be back to your blog and you won't here from me again. Good luck.
Uh thanks and wow. Methinks I ticked someone off. Boo-to-the-hoo. From yesterday's post I get that everyone's blog is not for everybody. But if you spent enough time here in BougieLand to get so wound up as to type out a seven paragraph note… you may have missed my premise. As a refresher course, here were my bouge rules:
THE BOUGE RULES (what puts the bouge in bougie)
- Bougie is more than a way of life, it's a state of mind
- Bougie does not equal stuck-up, siddity & pretty... unless it does
- There's nothing wrong with being bougie if your heart is true to the bouge
- If you are true to the bouge, people will hate on you. You won't care, you are too busy being bougie
- You can be born bougie, you can marry into bougie and you can evolve into bougie
- You can be bougie and hood but not at the same time
- You are no longer bougie if you are completely ghetto (fabulous or not)
- You can be broke and bougie but bouge works better with bank
- Bouge brings responsibility. Do not shame your bouge brothers and sisters lest you be kicked up out the bouge circle
- Bouge is old school people, we don't hate... we congratulate.
Please notice my tongue planted firmly in cheek. J If I've said it once, I've said it a million times… bouge is love ya'll. Okay, thoughts? Comments? Is bouge to blame for the hole in the ozone layer as well? Let me know, I'll apologize. Ever get a crazy flame-o-gram email? The floor is yours…
When last we convened for an Etiquette Refresher Course, we discussed some do's and don'ts in Social Media. I see that message didn't really sink in. Ah well, I tried. Now it appears that my lessons have been too advanced and I need to come back down to a more basic level.
- Catty isn't cute: When did overt b*tchiness become socially acceptable? Yes, Real Housewives (though you aren't real or housewives) and Bad Girls Club – I'm talking to you (to start). As you all may know, I'm pretty much over reality TV. In my opinion it is cheap programming that takes writing jobs away from people… well, like me. But some of the shows at least attempt a competition or a goal. Not discounting their entertainment value but basically we're pointing the camera at overly made up women in tight clothes with fake lives and telling them to act any old kind of way. That's fine for adults but can we please put up an advisory for the young girls: Being an overcoiffed potty-mouth might net you a reality show but no respect. As a matter of fact, acting this way will get you slapped/grounded/sent to detention/headed for hell/or any combination of the above. Did everyone miss the message in Mean Girls? Sheesh! I miss seeing gracious ladies on TV. Gracious. Ladies.
- When you see gray move out the way: BougieMom and I were power shopping at Sam's yesterday. Admittedly, I sometimes use these excursions to make sure BogieMom gets her exercise in. So I walked up, down and around the giant store until I was tired. By the time we battled through check out and were ready to exit, both of us were dragging. As we were approaching the exit where the guy reviews your receipt, a young couple approached almost knocking over BougieMom and pushing their cart in front of ours. Sam's dude checked their receipt first and then noticed I was giving him the OneChele "if looks could kill you would already be SO dead" glare of doom. He was extra-friendly, "How ya'll doin'? Thanks for shopping at Sam's! Appreciate your patience." The young couple was giggling as they exited the store. I stepped out after them and declared in extra loud voice, "That is SO RUDE! People just have NO manners these days… almost running over a senior citizen." They stopped giggling and the man had the good sense to turn red when others in the immediate area turned to look at them. BougieMom and I sent a dual "for shame!" look their way and departed. I know we just covered this last week but did they stop teaching respect of elders? Has common courtest became uncommon? Are we in such a "I'm gonna get mine!" society that we're ignoring the basics?
- Basic Eating Habits: So I was in a restaurant the other night and I understand they thought it was cozy and intimate. No, it was small and cramped. They had the tables so close together that you had no choice but to be all up in each other's business. Like after we ordered appetizers, the girl next to me leaned over, "Have you had the crabcakes here before? I wasn't sure if I should try them" Le Sigh. Unfortunately, she did order the crabcakes and proceeded to eat them (sauce and all) with her fingers. She spoke with her mouth full, she slurped when she drank, and she laughed frequently and loudly (still with a mouth full of food). This was not a dainty eater. Alright, shrimp can be tricky. It is a peeve of mine when they bring you a pasta dish and leave the shells on the shrimp. That's the sign of lazy chef-work. But there is a way to de-shell a shrimp swimming in sauce that does not involve delving into your bowl with your hands and then stacking the shells in the middle of the table (on the linen, next to the candle). There has got to be a way to spin said pasta without flinging sauce on your neighbors or your date. At one point her date looked over at me and mine with such a pained expression that we almost offered to scoot down one so he could join us. Seriously, in my head I still hear the song that BougieYoungerBro and I made up because we'd heard the words so many times, "Elbows off the table, napkin in your lap, food should not be played with, don't make me say more about that!" Oh, I'm sorry – is this more of that home training we decided was non-existent last week.
Do you agree, BougieLand? Are women on TV (reality show or otherwise) extra catty, tacky and overly made up? Did I miss a memo, is it suddenly acceptable to eat with your fingers and lick them like a cat? I understand that I have been on etiquette for a while this month but it has really occurred to me that overall, people kind of suck at it. For those in need of a refresher, here's Emily Post's Etiquette Daily… I'm just saying. You know who you are.
As you all know, bouge is equal opportunity and all love. Welcome one and all to BougieLand, please tell a friend. But every once and awhile it seems necessary to offer a few suggestions to keep our lovely diversity melting pot from bubbling over. For the record, I had SIX of these happened to me in the last month. (Just. DO. Better. people) Here goes, a few things never ask a black person:
- If something is racist or not: Hmm, if you have to ask… I'd err on the side of caution. Yes, we are supposed to be post-racial these days but if you ask me, the post-racial tension seems just a little more on edge. Any comment or act with the slightest racist tinge while earn you the stern side-eye. In the Ross Dress for Less the other day a woman and her daughter were trying on jeans. The daughter's jeans were WAY too tight. Her mother said, "That makes you look like you have a black woman's ass!" Then they both started doing some sort of big booty dance. The daughter said, "Look Mom, I'm a video ho." I just backed out of the dressing room. No time to correct THAT level of ignorance. Listen up people: When in doubt, do with out. And along those same lines…
- If we're offended by whatever borderline racist thing you just said: We probably weren't until you pointed it out, in front of everybody, in a meeting... when we're the only person of color there. Think first, speak later. I remember sitting in a meeting when this guy said he had just come back from skiing. He shared that on the last day he took the black trail. Another guy laughed and said, "Oh does that mean they served Malt Liquor and did the Electric Slide." Half the room laughed, the other half looked at me and then the whole room fell silent. "Oh, was that offensive?" He asked me, "No more than your Opie haircut." I replied and the meeting went on with a laugh and a collective sigh of relief. If you only knew how often we bite back the urge to raise up a black power fist and commence to going in like Stokely Carmichael… you really wouldn't test us.
- Why we sunbathe: We come in a range of colors from crème brûlée to espresso. Some of us enjoy the sun and don't care if we add a few shades to the hue. Please stop looking at us crazy when we slather on the Banana Boat and get our sun worship on. Can't tell you how many times BougieSis and I get the "Huh?" look when we settle in with beach bags, iPods, books and icy drinks by the spa pool on vacay. By the way, before you ask – yes… some of us sunburn.
- If we think (insert Black Celeb Name here) is cute: Okay, you got us on Idris Elba – far as I can tell all black women think he's droolworthy and are saving up for the clone DNA. Anyone else we might or might not call the Hotness, really depends on individual taste. Some black men think Amber Rose is all that, others not so much. I'm not so wild about Taye Diggs, BougieYoungerBro is not so into Sanaa Lathan – to each his own. How about a pact, stop asking us if we think Will Smith is cute and we'll stop asking about George Clooney. Fair exchange!
- Where something in the hood is: As I've said before, I know not from hood. I don't know where that slammin' after hours spot is that you overheard Ray-Ray and dem talking about. No clue. Chances are I can only point you in the direction of what area of town I don't roll through after dark. I might be able to get you to the catfish shack/rib joint (ha!) but that's about it. And speaking of which…
- How to cook something you ate at the soul food place: Chances are I do know how to cook it but I'm not your soul food guide. Holla at the Neelys – they have a great cookbook out: Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook and actually get paid to tell you how to cook things. I don't mind a recipe swap but when the only things you ask me about are collard greens, chitlins and sweet potato pie, you're getting the side-eye. Just out of the blue a woman asked me how to make "real mac n cheese." Not a woman I knew well, just some random broad in an elevator. I told her to Google it.
- Anything about Kanye West: Yes he can be a jerk, yes he's a musical genius, yes it's sad his mom died. Beyond that, we probably don't know him personally and can't offer any more informed opinion than you can. Don't know why he does what he does, my guess is as good as yours: publicity, ego, short man's syndrome?
- How come we are lighter/darker than our parents/siblings: Again, range of colors people. According my cocoa dad, he wondered how his kids with my cocoa mom kept coming out lighter and lighter. He told her he was one child away from clocking the mailman when my younger brother came out chocolatey.
- Why our hair looks different today: Please see installment one, question one… just don't ask anything about the hair. If it looks nice, feel free to say so. Leave it that.
- If we've ever been to jail: You read that right! Someone actually asked me this the other day. I was so stunned that I blinked for a minute prompting her to say, "You don't have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable." I wasn't uncomfortable, I was deeply offended. And so I asked, "What is it about me that makes you think I'd been to jail?" She turned bright red and shrugged, "I guess it was a stupid question. I'm not racist." Ri-ight, she's not a racist – she just impersonates one in real life.
Any to add? Comments?
Okay, BougieLand has spoken. While we love the new comments format, you can't see who is posting because the word "Guest" is sitting there. Granted, you can type over the word Guest with your real name and click the empty avatar box to upload your pic but I'm going to make it basic. SO I am setting up the site so that starting Monday, everyone who comments will have to login. You don't have to give your real name, you can use whichever "it's me but not really me" name you've created for yourself.
The system will allow you to use Google, Yahoo, Twitter, FaceBook, Open ID, Haloscan, Friend Feed, Blogger or "My website" where you can enter in a url. And really, if you don't have ONE of those, where ya been? J
You can always email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, keep the comments coming. Thanks!
It's been a minute since we discussed bougie inclinations. Could be that the long hot summer has caused your bougenificence to dip a little bit. Maybe you are ready to tighten up your bouge game and take it to the next level. Maybe I needed to write something quick and easy since I spent hours figuring how to upgrade the comments section? At any rate, for your reading entertainment and JUST in case you were feeling the need to check your bouge temperature, here are a few more quick and easy tests for you. You MIGHT be bougie if:
- You thought the world could have survived without Soul Plane and Big Momma's House 2.
- You can wear an outfit from Ross Dress for Less and make it look like Chanel Couture.
- You have a personal shopper. überBougie if it's at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Bergdorf Goodman.
- You have been called an Oreo so many times you went ahead and bought stock in Nabisco.
- White people frequently tell you one of the following:"You are so articulate" "You are very intelligent" "You are different from other black people I know"
- You know that Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutain and Jimmy Choo are not some good looking men, but fabulous shoe artists.
- You have studied a foreign language and can speak it (no, ebonics doesn't count)
- You are familiar with spices and seasonings beyond Lawry's Seasoned Salt, pepper and ketchup.
- You can name Museums in three major cities (we'll spot you the Louvre)
- You enjoy eating different types of international cuisine. This does not mean dipping the chicken nuggets in sweet and sour sauce.
Any bouge sightings to share?
[By the way, Chris Brown's bowtie (from last night's unfortunate Larry King interview) was not bougie. That sh*t was just pretentious. You can't beat down your girlfriend and think a baby blue satin bowtie makes it all better.]
This is the world we now live in. I have "friends" that I haven't talked to live in years but we have emailed each other religiously. People that I was happy to leave behind have tracked me down via Facebook or Linked in. And just when I believe I'm "plugged in" enough, someone sends me an invite to some new thing. Seriously now, I have Twitter, Google, Yahoo, digg, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, AIM and LinkedIn. Today I got an email about something called FriendFeed. I currently have nine (yes 9) email addresses, 2 websites, 3 phone numbers, one physical address and a P.O. Box. Do I really need to be any more accessible than this? I think not.
It does occur to me (regularly) with all of this social media out there that people have seriously (egregiously) relaxed their standards of etiquette when it comes to "new" communication. Being a helpful sort, I've compiled a few tips to steer folks back onto the right path. And yes, all of these examples are real:
- Who you callin' a B*tch?: What's up with the language, people? I'm posted up in Twitterland (via Tweetdeck) the other day when someone apparently got a little ticked off at a follower. The torrent of language that spewed forth was impressive only in its creative viciousness. Just because we can't hear you say it, doesn't mean we are not offended. Whew! Don't type angry!
- TMI! (Too Much Information): Why are you all flagrant with the pictures and descriptions of you and your latest boo's weekend away? "We had a nice time" with a picture of you two by the shore is perfect. You and he dry humpin' on the hotel mattress… not hot.
- More TMI: I know some of ya'll can't get through a day without constant validation that you are important. This means sharing every waking second of your day with folks you really don't know. ETIQUETTE FAIL: Do not tweet anything about your digestive functions… ever. And ladies, we know you are following the ballers thinkin' to catch one but broadcasting your XXX-rated promises of what you will do if he gives you a try? That's skanky.
- Speaking of Ballers: Ballers, don't get mad that folks are following to see how you act before drafting you for their fantasy football league. It took me two days of following Reggie Bush to see that he is spending more time watching TV, sleeping and making cyberdates than he is working out and hitting the playbook. Ocho Cinco was eating beignets less than four hours before kickoff a week ago. I know this because ya'll steady tweetin'. I cannot draft you if you don't show dedication to your craft, son!
- Stop begging: Begging, bribing (and threatening) people to follow you on Twitter, accept your Facebook invite or return your text message is just a little bit pathetic. Wouldn't you rather have 6 loyal friends/followers/connections than 6,000 folks you don't know or care about? No? Okay, that's just me. Regardless of what you're being told, it's not a popularity contest. Quality over quantity.
- Speaking of Quality (FAIL): What's with all the porn chicks on Twitter? At least three times a week, I have to make sure some chick with an "exclusive exotic" website isn't following me and spamming all my followers. I inadvertently clicked on a "Check this Out!" link the other day and all manner of surgically enhanced cleavage was up in my face. Me no like.
- Get some 007 about yourself: Fellas, your girl can read. And yes, she is checking your Facebook page to see if you've changed your status from "in a relationship" to "it's complicated" after your last fight. She knows who you sent cyber-drinks and cyber-flowers to. She sees you cyber-flirting with HotGirl06. If you are receiving instant messages and text messages after midnight, this is no bueno. No one needs a burning bush to read those signs. If you gotta creep, remember how easy it is to get busted in this day and age. Embedded video (Rated R for language, not work appropriate) below satires folks getting busted because of their Facebook pages…
- Speaking of CyberFlirting: Watch yourself out there. Some of the things that you say and do "just being friendly" may be interpreted differently by the person who reads them. I had an email earlier this week from a girl who was "heartbroken" that her cyber-fling was cyber-dating someone else… publicly. I had to remind her not to confuse the Internet with real life. They can complement and reflect each other but only one is real. If you've never laid eyes on the person, that's not your boo.
- That's just rude: Let me see if I understand… you just updated your Facebook and sent twenty tweets but you're not answering your cell? Okay, now you are texting back but still not calling? Someone left you a message two days ago and you respond on Facebook by saying, "Hey what's up, missed your call." This is the number one complaint I hear about the media outlets… people who will tweet, post and text but not talk. What's that about? Tacky, people. Verbal communication still trumps cyber contact. Respond in kind, media to media. That includes the one dude who dumped his girlfriend of 3 years via Facebook also. Cyber equivalent of post-it note to front door. Not classy.
- GRAMMATICAL FAIL: When you are tweeting and texting, you can say things like CALL U BACK N 2 SEC. But you cannot type like that in your professional correspondence or even your personal email if you want to be taken seriously. U R 2 HOTT 2 BE TRU is not a compliment to anyone over the age of 16. Please use your words.
- Inappropriate YouTubing/UStreaming: I touched on this earlier with my Why Nekkid rant; let me take it one step further. We don't need to share every moment. You and Pookie and dem ridin' up to the 7-11 for a Slurpee – no one cares. Stop broadcasting your life… it's not that interesting. If it was, they would've optioned it for a reality show by now. (and even then...)
- No Stalking: If someone hasn't returned your text, email, voicemail… there's probably a reason why. Do not cyberstalk folks by tweeting every hour, SCREAMING (why the ALL CAPS, why?) at them on their various pages and blasting them on your blog. Do not lie in wait on AOL (Yahoo/Google) Messenger for them to login so you can vent. Just move on, people. Just move on.
So in conclusion, let me say: Behavior that is unacceptable in a "real" social context is still not a good idea in cyberspace. I would also advise against thinking you know someone just because you've exchanged tweets for two months straight. For obvious reasons, people tend to get very brave when you are not looking them in the face. They adopt traits and characteristics that may or may not carry over to reality. Not me of course, I'm too busy ironing out the one persona I've got. Only got time enough each day to be Michele. J
Can you think of any social media faux pas that I missed?
This month in our recurring series, Ask a Bougie Chick, we have a very special afterschool special of a letter to share. Coming from my blog cousin Max Reddick of Soul Brother v.2, an aspiring bougienisto (I just keep making 'em up) asks for OneChele's advice.
Dear Ms. Bougie,
I have a problem that I really hope you can help me with. You see, I really, really would like to be bougie, but I just don't know how. My wife has been trying to teach me for years now, but she's just not patient enough.
I was raised in the South, mostly in the rural South. And during that time, I picked up some habits that are not that bougie.
First of all, I carry a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce wherever I go. My wife is appalled by this. But I like hot sauce, particularly Louisiana hot sauce, and most of the places we frequent don't have it, so I just bring my own just in case.
And also, if I get really excited, I tend to gesticulate with my hands a lot and talk loud and laugh even louder. My wife says bougie people don't talk loud. And if I am eating something, bits of food fly out of my mouth and stick to those around me.
Lastly, try as I might, I find myself using those old southern colloquialisms that I heard growing up. For instance, if I see something that far surpasses the given limits, I yell out, "That's just too much sugar for a dime!" Or when I see something that is not worth the cost, I say, "That's not worth a plug nickel." And I don't even know what a plug nickel is. Recently, when on a dinner date with my wife's bougie friends, someone said something that I agreed with. I meant to say, "I concur." But instead I blurted out, "Sho' nuff is!"
I have done everything I could think of as required by the rules of bougie. I went to college then on to grad school. I bought me a home in the suburbs and a foreign car. But I just cannot get the knack of being bougie. Can you help me?
To start, someone who uses gesticulate and colloquialism in the same letter is nothing less than bougerific. Home in 'burbs - check. Car from a land far away - check and check. All is not lost.
Let me next direct you to Bouge Rule #6 – You can be bougie and hood, just not at the same time. The key to your success for full bougie ascendency may be in your ability to balance your hoody moments with your bouge moments. For instance, I have a hidden (well not after this post) predilection for some really ruffnecky music. I spent one summer jamming to AMG's B* Betta Have My Money . (From the title, you can tell it is not the classiest of tunes. I apologize to all females everywhere. First heard it in the club, beat is booming… okay [hanging my head], there's just no justification for the love I had for this song. Yes, I'm ashamed and endangering my BougiePass). My POINT is I did not recite the lyrics while wearing a formal gown and attending a boulé ball. See? Hood and bougie… but not at the same time.
Onto your next concern… the hot sauce. Be not dismayed. BougieDad carried his own pocket-sized Tabasco wherever we went. He elevated this to bougenificence by having a small leather carrying case for the sauce (so much better). Yes, I recall fondly (not!) attending the opening of a new restaurant when my father asked the Chef (!) for Tabasco. The Chef blanched, we all rolled our eyes and yet ten minutes later, we see the head waiter running back inside with a brown paper bag… the Tabasco had arrived. Unbowed and undaunted, BougieDad proceeded to spice up his Lobster Newberg. In BougieDad's case, bouge meant never having to say he's sorry.
The loud-talking requires further review by the bouge committee. I mean sometimes your black needs to override your bouge. I distinctly remember being at a party with an SO (Significant Other). From across the room, I saw some random broad come up to him, lean in with touching, giggle and ask something. He turned and pointed to me. She came over and asked me if she could borrow my boyfriend for a minute. She also asked to borrow a condom. As I was four Appletinis into the evening, I'm afraid I reacted poorly and with much volume. Chele's pleasing personality slipped and my inner Shaniqua started taking over. Turned out the girl was a bride out for her bachorlette party on a scavenger hunt and needed to ask a guy for a condom and a kiss to complete her list. Whatev... I had to be me... both bougie and black.
The full-bodied laughter and wild gesticulations are just personality my friend, embrace them… though you may want to consider holding napkin to mouth (preventing food spewage) and making sure there is no one in backhand slapping range. J
Beyond that, here's the unspoken rule of the Black and the Bougie (don't tell anybody)… Fake it until you make it. Further instruction may be gained by the continuous reading of this blog (of course).
Disclaimer: These just jokes people, do not send me the "you are so stuck-up" emails! Besides as we say in South, ya'll know I'm five cents short of a quarter.