What NOT to do at your Office Holiday Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts, insights, comments?

WBFDD (What Bougie Folks Don't Do) - Fight over men

So I was sitting in the Starbuck's (my home away from home) with Le Ninja Nouveau. Both of us were supposed to be working, instead we sat looking out at the rain chatting about random thoughts as they crossed our minds. Into this calm entered an African-American couple bickering. I'd put them in their mid-twenties. Dude and Dudette were beefing (loudly) about plans for their upcoming wedding. 

They paused long enough to order coffee and pastries. After they plunked down next to us, the argument started again. His phone rang, he looked at it, glanced at her and then answered. This set Dudette off, "It betta not be who I think it is." She reached over, took his phone, looked at the display and put the phone to her ear, "B*tch, I told you if you kept coming around my man I would kick your ass!"

White people looked dismayed at this overt display of blackity-blackness and commenced fleeing the premises. Ninja and I had the sour "why it gotta be this" faces on. Dude was straight wrestling Dudette to get his phone back. Dudette was telling the girl to come up to the Starbuck's so they could settle this right now. 

Starbuck's worker came over and asked Le Ninja Nouveau if he knew Dude and/or Dudette. Ninja gave the worker a laser beam side-eye and said, "Contrary to what you've heard, we don't all know each other." I snickered. Worker fled. Dudette has hung up the phone and commenced talking loud to anyone who would listen. She turned to me, "I'm gonna kick that b*tch's ass when she gets here."

Le Sigh. Me, "Why?"

Her, "She's after my man. She doesn't respect our engagement."

Me, "Then your problem is with him. He's the one you're in a relationship with, not her."

Dude piped up, "Hey!"

Le Ninja chimed in, "It's your job to shut down all this drama."

Me, "Get some pride about yourselves. Y'all squabbling all up in the Starbuck's, scaring white people. You need to go home and have a conversation. It's So Not Bougie to be screaming about ass kicking in the street."

Her, "I'm not bougie." [<~~~obviously]

Me, "You're young - you still have time to ascend."

They stood looking at us like we were from a different planet. They went, picked up their order and ran out... like we were the ones disturbing the peace. Classic.

I don't know if she understood what I was saying. It mattered not. Here's my point - no fighting over men. (Or women for that matter) On this, the bougie rule is clear - your issue is with your significant other, not the extra. Your s.o. needs to understand the significance of their actions. Continuously answering phone calls from people that you have stated you have a problem with is a violation. Violations are punishable up to and including loss of relationship privileges. 

I remember one s.o. tried to test me. We were hanging out with some friends and he invited a chick that he knew I could not stand. Maybe because of this direct quote she dropped on me, "You just need to step outta the way so I can get at him. I don't know what he sees in you anyway." For real though? For some reason, he decided it would be fun to invite her out and see what happened. What happened was everyone could tell I was ticked she was there and made sure she felt so uncomfortable that she left (fled) early. Then he received a talking to that he shan't soon forget and slept alone that night (and many others). Couldn't reach me on the phone for a few weeks after that. It wasn't tried again. 

BougieLand, who's with me on this? Do we fight over s.o.'s? Seriously? Kicking azz in the coffee shop is what's hot in the streetz? Ladies and gents, what are the thoughts on scuffling for love? 

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...

WBFDD: Pimp for Pageviews

Let’s take a Bougie Timeout for a short OneChele rant, shall we?

In this episode of WBFDD (What Bougie Folks Don’t Do), I’m taking a couple of potshots at the blogosphere. You know what, it’s not even potshots… it’s simple observation and irritation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m immensely honored and flattered to be a finalist for the Black Weblog Awards but it’s never been my desire to be the hottest, most popular blog on the internet streets. It’s just not that crucial. I have a career, blogging isn’t it. So imagine my dismay when some folks (I shan’t name names) got all out of pocket on Twitter wondering why “some blogs” were nominated over others. In fact, it was suggested that I (yes me!) do not write about enough “hot topics” to warrant my little nomination. Other folks decided to declare their alliances to certain blogs (not mine); other folks were just flat out rude. Le Boo, Le Damn and Le Sigh.

People please! Might we be taking it all just a little too seriously? Contrary to how some folks act, this is not high school with paychecks. It’s not like running for Junior Class President and trying to get the jocks and cheerleaders on your side. Unlike High School, we’re supposed to be grown-ups? Immune to peer pressure? You can just do you and keep it pushing?

Most people start a blog because they have something to say. Sometimes just to themselves. People stumble across the blog, agree or disagree, and decide whether or not to visit again. One reader becomes two, two become four and next thing you know; you’ve built your own little community. Right about then a blogger has to figure out what being true to your original intent and that community means.

What some folks will do to make that community into an empire is quite something to see. Let me preface this next statement by saying I’m not throwing shade on any other blogger… ya’ll be all you can be. It’s one thing to blog about “what’s hot in the streetz” if that’s your niche.  But I cannot, shall not, and refuse to write about hair, Chris Brown, Tyler Perry, sex acts and Kat Stacks every day of the week just to draw in readers. When you just chase the hot story for no other reason than its hotness? This, my Bougienistas, is called pimpin’ for pageviews and you won’t find it around here. For those not in the know, pageviews are (like they sound) the number of times your blog page is viewed. Those numbers drive blog rankings, advertising opportunities and of course, recognition and awards.

You can make your blog whatever you want, welcome to democracy on the Internet.  So why so concerned with what I’m scribbling at midnight? J Peep the banner, it reads “BougieLand: Pop Culture, People, Politics & Personal Stuff... with a bougie twist”. Which basically says I can blog about whatever I so desire on any given day. Like it? There’s a button for that. Don’t like it? There’s a button for that too. I’m newish to the blogosphere, started a little over a year ago but I was unaware that blogging could be a full contact sport. I was under the assumption that there are enough readers (and therefore pageviews) to go around.

Sure I could blog controversy and tomfoolery all day every day but truthfully that’s not my thing. I don’t seek out conflict. And don’t you know that if I blogged about Tyler Perry or Barack Obama everyday there are twenty kinds of folks that would feel the need to drop into BougieLand challenging my blackness/patriotism/intelligence/femininity/whatever? Life is too short to invite drama to my doorstep.

Whew, I feel better now. And now back to our regularly scheduled Bouge… what should I blog about tomorrow? How Twitter tried to kill Bill Cosby and he tweeted a statement saying that he was “rebuttaling” that rumor? Or how Sarah Palin continues to prove her enormous ignorance by going live on TV with “Cliff Notes” written on her hand? Ha! Knowing me, I probably won’t write about either… unless I do.

What say you BougieLand? Shall I build a better blog by bantering about booties and Barack? Should I get into a full-scale Twitter beef with the folks who dared to call me unworthy? You do know those questions are rhetorical? You know how we do, just share your thoughts, comments and insights. The floor is yours…

Why Pookie gets no Play… A BougieTale

Yesterday, @CarolynEdgar started discussing Elin Woods' alleged request for $750MM in a divorce from Le Tigre. This sent a bunch of men into apoplectic fits of Twitter rage. Then it was pointed out that for most of them… this wasn't going to be an issue. It was further pointed out that in this day and age when professional women outnumber and out earn men (amongst the African American ranks) chances were that in a lot of divorces, the woman would end up paying the man anyway. This segued into her hilarious rant on why it's a not always a great for an upwardly mobile chick to date Pookie or Ray-Ray:

"Best advice? Um, don't marry Pookie. Don't even let him hit it. Cause if you're living well, dude's gonna show up on yr doorstep w/a bag." "So if you are a high wage earning woman who took Steve Harvey's advice and found yourself a Pookie to marry, and now Pookie's accustomed to your "high-end" lifestyle, be prepared to pay Pookie when things don't work out in the end." A firestorm broke out. I grabbed some popcorn. Then I realized that this could make for a great blogpost: The Perils of Pookie and What's Wrong with Ray Ray... a little over the top so I went a different direction.

But first, let me define a Pookie. Pookie is a man without a lot of ambition, going nowhere slowly. He's just getting by and he's okay with it. He may have potential (he may not) but he is not polished up. He may or may not be a recreational herb user. He may or may not be a purveyor of street pharmaceuticals. He generally drives a hooptie, lives with his mama and is terminally short on cash. His appearance is generally tore up from the floor up and he has mastered Ebonics as a first language. That's Pookie, okay? So don't come at me with "hustle" – Pookie ain't hustlin' unless it's to his mailbox to get a check from the gub'ment, ya feel me. That's the Pookie I'm talking about. No, I'm not hating on Pookie. There's a place for the Pookies of this world. Let's move on…

A BougieTale of WBFDD (What Bougie Folks Don't Do) - Marry Pookie...

I decided to get hands on knowledge. I called a friend of mine out in the Bay Area whose best friend married a Pookie. I wanted to see how that was working out. Yes, literally Pookie. Her best friend (a VP at an internet company in San Jose) Stacey married a guy named Percy who had one branch of his family tree that called him Pookie. Pookie was Stacey's "reparation project" – I'm not joking. She met him in their early 30s. She was a Senior Director, he was parking cars. (NTTAWWT - Not That There's Anything Wrong With That)

They started hanging out and she basically remade him. New teeth, new hair, new clothes, new job. He moved in with a raggedy duffle bag and a pretty new smile (her words, not mine). She paid for him to finish school, cleaned up his credit, took him to church, introduced to him people who knew people. He had evolved from Pookie to Percy. Two years later he proposed. Six years in, two kids later, Pookie started cuttin' a fool. He was rolling out of the house at all hours, missing for unknown reasons, not answering calls, not picking up the kids when it was his turn and yeah – you know where it's going.

She found out (because Pookie was using HER platinum card) that he was wining and dining other women, buying them gifts, taking random broads on vacation! While she's pulling down the six-figures, working, taking care of the kids – he's out spending her money on good times with women he would not have stood a chance with if she hadn't fixed him up. (Can you feel my outrage radiating through the monitor?) Fast forward through the drama and attempted reconciliation and we land in divorce court. Pookie's ass gets an ALLOWANCE, she had to sell the four-bedroom house because it was considered an asset of the marriage and she had to break him off a portion of the bank accounts. He gets to keep the BMW. They are currently battling over her retirement plan. HER retirement plan.

Therein lies the problem of dating Pookie. It's not that we don't appreciate Pookie's potential. But Pookie without a pre-nup is about to waltz off to Sausalito with a new girlfriend, a BMW and an allowance. She's in a two bedroom condo with two kids, the SUV and the credit card bills from Pookie's good times. Does that seem right to you?

This is the side of the story that you don't hear when Steve Harvey and Hill Harper are talking about potential, and giving the brother on the block a shot. Sometimes that shot bites you in the ass. I'm not saying it can't work out and I'm not saying that Pookie on that come up isn't a great thing to see. I'm saying when a woman has to literally re-make a man and mold him up to fit him into her world, it can go wrong. And that ain't right. So miss me with that "you are so judgmental" nonsense I know a few of you are dying to throw my way.

Seriously, BougieLand – I'm asking… does that seem right to you? Does anyone have a story with Upwardly Mobile Girl meets Pookie and it all works out? For that matter, are upwardly mobile guys are checking for round-the-way chick with zero ambition? Pookietta? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours…

(UPDATE: I was just informed by @sfreynolds that the female equivalent of Pookie is Peaches. I stand corrected)

Calling a Spade… a Spade (to her face) – bueno or no bueno?

Today, we're doing a cross-blog topic with Single Black Male. It is of an NC-17 nature. Usually, I type the word b*tch with the asterisk. But today since we are discussing the unfortunate usage of the word, we're going in. Buckle up.

As a blogger, I'm often asked things that quite frankly throw me for a loop. Based on the comments from one of my posts, the question was asked – when is it acceptable to call a woman a bitch or a ho to her face?

My thoughts:

Hmm. Well, I have a series of standards on this one. First of all, let's be honest… some women display some decidedly bitch-like, ho-like tendencies. Just two weeks ago, we expounded on the irritating trend of Hoedom as a hustle. All this being said, when you are looking someone in their face (and yes, I KNOW this is sexist) I believe there is NO time where it's acceptable for a man to call a woman a bitch or a ho. Kinda like non-black people using the n-word (whole other topic), this one you have to leave in house.

And EVEN then, if you don't have some sort of relationship where that's an okay thing, you can NOT be calling folks bitches and hoes to their face. I'm sorry, you really can't. Now, do we need to discuss the difference between calling someone bitchy or a bitch? Understanding that it's still right there on the line of what can catch you a beat down from said female?

Of course I have a few friends that jokingly call each other bitches. "Bitch you know you look good." "Ya'll bitches never on time." "Queen Bitch is on her throne today." And EVEN then, after one or two someone generally says, "Um, Ms. Lady – we're not going to be too many more bitches tonight, okay?" And it's shut down.

We don't call each other hoes. No, not even if some hoe-shiggity is apparent. It's just not done. But again, that's just me and my friends. I'm curious to know how this dynamic plays out with other people. Here's an interactive quiz for your enjoyment:

I got into a discussion on Twitter about this and several folks had differing opinions. SBM had the strongest opinion. He believed that if a woman is acting like a bitch or a ho, she needed to be called out.

SBM's thoughts:

As my good friend OneChele mentioned … we differ in opinion.

Anyone who frequents SingleBlackMale.org knows we aren't afraid to tell it like it is and say what really needs to be said. But please believe I am not some e-Thug who keeps his mouth quiet out in the "real world." Please believe the SBM you get on the blog and twitter is the same strong minded, "always got an opinion about relationships", chivalry murdering, weave hating individual that you hate love so much on these e-streets. I strive to give you the same experience whether you're looking me in my eye or reading me on a monitor.

As a result … I will call a woman a hoe or a bitch … if the situation calls for it.

Please don't get it wrong. My mom and dad raised me right. Even in a time when too few rappers can define the word misogyny, and b*tch and hoe are thrown around with reckless abandonment, I neither participate or condone calling any and every woman a b*tch or a hoe. Just because you are female doesn't make you a b* or h*. Streetz detailed what makes some woman a b*, and I think we all know what a hoe is … so I won't reiterate.

But … there are certain situations where I feel that I, as a man, can call a woman a bitch or hoe to her face. These are never done with complete strangers, and I usually know the person. And I don't mean it as mean … but sometimes these harsh words give the "shock" value needed to rightly bring about change. Let's look at some of these situations.

– My female friend has just told me about the 5 different guys she has slept with this week. Apparently she needed to get something out her system (You'z a hoe).

– An acquaintance in the group is asking if it's wrong that she slept with a guy raw dawg, in the back of a car, while his friend drove them back from the club (*true story*)within 6 hours of meeting him. (You'z a hoe).

– A woman is telling me about the 5 anonymous person train that just "came through her station." (You'z a hoe).

– My date (on our first date) is talking about the 30 day marathon she did last year where she aimed to sleep with a different man every day of the week, and then call back the best for a weekend repeat (You'z a super serious hoe).

– A woman in a group of friends that I am part of (don't know her that well) is explaining how she threw her big mac back through the drive through window because they forgot the secret sauce (You'z acting like a bitch).

– You, a stranger, come into my face cursing and implicating that I cannot hold an erection or please a woman. All this because I wouldn't buy you a drink (You'z a bitch)

So, as we can see there are some situations where a woman simply needs to be informed to the error of her ways. Just like any questionable actions on my behalf would result in me being called a "bitch ass n***a" or a "man-whore/he-slut" … I strive for equality. I don't do it out of spite, to be mean, or to be disrespectful … but if you're acting like a bitch around SBM … be prepared to get your feelings hurt.

Well, as you can tell... we really don't agree on this one. And I'm also giving SBM a side-eye on his circle of friends. Here in BougieLand we tell it like it is, but we bougie so we say it nicely… SBM, you know I love you like a third cousin I scold at Thanksgiving and Easter but you need more people, sweetie. I say this with the love. The L-O-V-E. If you have words for SBM, leave them over there or over here or both.

I admit that I'm curious to see what kind of responses we get. Are we out there calling folks bitches and hoes to their face? The floor is yours.

Just in time for Black History Month, I'm forced to wonder: How black is "black enough"?

Allow me to share a BougieTale from Wednesday afternoon:

Michele Grant sits on a conference call with her agent (a self-described Jewish New Yorker) and two representatives from a west coast film production company. They are interested in optioning my book for a film. The problem is we want to keep the integrity of the story; otherwise we could just sell the option, take the money and run. But very rarely are first-time unknown authors giving the opportunity to stay involved. Now I still may take the money and sprint but first we thought we'd try to see if we could keep a little artistic control. We have met with two other companies. This is our third of five meetings and we are hearing the exact same thing. So much so that my agent and I are on Yahoo Messenger keeping each other sane. Here is the latest:

Them: "Your storyline is compelling but your heroine is ethnically ambiguous."

My Agent: "I beg your pardon?"

Them: "We mean… we know she's black… African-American… but she doesn't really act like it."

Me (thinking Oh Really Now?): "I see."

Them: "And your hero, can he be a little more blue collar?"

Me (thinking for the last time – He's an ARCHITECT): "umm, er-"

Them: "And then we'd like you add in some scenes that are more colorful."

Me: "Colorful?"

Them: "Less mainstream. Something more suit to a wider Black audience."

Me: "I'm sure I don't know what you mean." [I knew exactly what they meant but I just wanted them to say it.]

Them: "Well you have a barbecue scene and a night club scene and a church scene – those are great but maybe you could expand those and have more quintessential ethnic moments?"

My agent (affronted): "Quintessential ethnic moments?"

Them: "We're just going to speak plainly and we don't want you to take offense. Okay?"

Me (already offended but resigned): "Sure, go ahead."

Them: "It's almost mainstream enough to crossover but your best idea is to appeal to a black base. And right now, it's just not black enough."

Me (slowly through gritted teeth): "Not. Black. Enough. I see."

Agent: "Thank you guys, I don't think it's a fit."

Them: "Well but-"


My agent started apologizing to me, I cut her off. I told her it was the story of my life. Just black enough to be considered black, but quite black enough… whatever the hell that means.

Later, as I recounted the story to a friend of mine, she got angry. She told a story about going out on a sales call with her manager. She was flattered and surprised to be asked since she was the junior sales executive and new to the company. As they drove towards the sales visit, she realized that they were heading to a black part of town. She began to wonder if this was why she was chosen to attend. Her suspicions were affirmed when he turned to her as they pulled up and said, "Hey, I'm going to let you take the lead on this one. But do you think you could "black it up" a little in there? You come across kinda white bread sometimes. You know, drop your g's some, get loose." [say it with me now... LASER-BEAM SIDE-EYE]

She said two things stopped her from going off – she was in the middle of a neighborhood she knew nothing about and she needed the job. But after winning the account, she waited a few days and then sent an email detailing the incident word for word and cc'd his supervisors and Human Resources. She dropped in words like "tokenism" and "emotional distress." Shortly thereafter her supervisor was transferred but she got the stigma of being "a troublemaker" (read Uppity Negro) and it stayed with her until she left the company three months later.

Le Sigh people. It's 2010. Do we really need to tell people that euphemisms like "colorful" and "ethnic" are not a very well-disguised? Do we really still need to give someone the side-eye for using a term like "black it up"? Diggity-damn, do I really need to prove my "blackness" to sell a script? Just what the feazy is "quintessential ethnicity" anyway? Let me dig around in the stereotype files.

Ah here we go: Should my characters enter each scene carrying some form of cooked chicken parts? Should they discuss weaves vs. natural hair at the drop of a hat? Should I go into more details about rims and chains? Should I have one character who adds, "Know what I'm sayin'?" to the end of every sentence? Should I place a scene in a check-cashing store, barbershop, or nail salon? Should someone be an aspiring rapper/professional athlete at the age of 35? Should I make sure someone has a black velvet picture of Malcolm X, MLK, Biggie and Tupac with angels' wings hanging up in the living room? Should a fight break out over blue Koolaid? Is that blackity-black enough?

Okay, I've vented. Moving on. But I'll say this one thing: Obama is in the White House but we are still generations away from true post-racism.

Hmm, that was a kind of white bread closing to this post, let me "black it up" a little: We still 50-cent short of a dolla dolla bill, ya'll. Ain't that right, BougieLand? Ya'll keep it real and greasy fo' sheezy, ya dig! Holla at cha girl! I'm out. Deuces, truces and nan-mo excuses! Peace! [drops mic and exits, stage left]

But that did get me to thinking - just how black am I? I came up with a completely offensive quiz full of our worst stereotypes. Please take it in the super-snarky spirit in which I created it:

Thoughts? Comments? Similar experiences?

WBFDD: Risk our lives unnecessarily

I know the picture makes no sense but read on and all will be revealed. In this installment of What Bougie Folks Don't Do, allow me to present three cases where Bougie Folks are nowhere (and won't be anywhere) to be found.

  1. Hang out with angry large wild animals: Okay, small OneChele confession: I love shows where people are in terrible peril but cheat death. Poor BougieSis has listened to me rant on and on about episodes of I Survived on the Biography Channel. Each week they profile two of three stories of people who managed to beat the odds and come out of super scary situations with their lives. So one day in the middle of an I Survived Marathon, they played a promo for a new show called I'm Alive on the Animal Planet channel. For some reason, I did not make the connection that a show produced on Animal Planet would involve all sort of deadly species of critter. Anyway, I watched the first three episodes and laughed until I literally fell off the bed. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be funny. But when you start a story, "Young man decides to visit wild elephants in China." Or, "Family receives shark warning but enters ocean anyway." Or my newest favorite, "Rugby player takes girlfriend out to lion reserve." Okay see? Right then, I knew were not dealing with bougie folks. This dude decided to get a closer look at the lions and thought it was cute that the lion was pacing alongside the gate with them. The lion paused in a certain spot so the rugby dude paused too, sat down, and extended his legs toward the lion… like his foot is six inches away from the King of the Jungle nothing but a wire and post division them. The lion sat down too. The human and the lion stare into each other's eyes for a second. The lion never blinked. Half a minute later, the lion had reached through the fence (lion knew it was broken, human did not), grabbed old boy by the legs and dragged him into the enclosure. Now Mufasa and two of his pals commenced to snacking on rugby dude's legs like well, a drumstick. The other lion was preparing to sit on his head. Long story short, two of the lions reared up to fight each other over who would get the kill and the third lion lifted up when the game warden fired off a round. Rugby dude gets up, hobbled to the gate and managed to get out. Three inches of muscle have to be cut away from his leg, six skin grafts and numerous other dramatic medical ordeals ensued. All's well that ends well – dude is playing rugby for his national team three years later. BougiePoint: Nature looks lovely from a distance. This is what zoos and the Discovery Channel are for.

  2. Sit in tiny "sweat lodges" with 50 strangers: Some little dude in Arizona runs a "Spiritual Warrior" week-long class for which he charges $9,000 a week (or more). <- - - Grand Hu$tle Award. Anyway, by shelling out your bucks and listening to what Reverend Ray (I can't MAKE this sh!t up) has to say, you are on your way to a new level of financial success and spiritual enlightenment. The highlight of the week involves cramming into a makeshift steam room type of contraption with all the other suckers worshippers to purge oneself of the past and experience a religious awakening. Too bad his last awakening resulted in three people dying (D-E-A-D, ya'll) and eighteen people being hospitalized. Umm? Hydration? Temperature? Fire marshall codes? Anyone, anyone? Reports vary but say that the sweat lodge is about 415 sq ft and the participants spend over three hours in there. A bunch of flesh pressed together for hours with heat? Isn't that just a big old human crock pot? Seriously now add a few veggies, rosemary and some chicken broth, we're halfway to stew. Anyway, this man has been all up on Oprah (hard side-eye) and on bestsellers lists hawking his stuff. NOW that folks are dead and whatnot, he's under investigation and people are coming out of the woodwork calling him a charlatan. BougiePoint: I don't even get in a hot tub with more than a few folks I don't know. Why the heckity-heck would I pay $10k to smush into a big old steam room with strangers? No. Thank. You.

  3. Build homemade flying apparatus: I thought the entire Balloon Boy story was shady from jump. But my first question when the story broke was not how did the kid get in there (even though he wasn't)? My first question was – who the hell builds a homemade flying machine? This is what we in the BougieFam call a for-who-for-whatter?! As I watched the thing that most closely resembled a giant floating Jiffy Pop container than anything else whizzing through the sky, I could not help but think – who does this? You will not catch bougie folks tinkering away at gravity defying machines unless we are scientists/engineers in a lab, getting paid to do so. And no, building model or paper or remote control airplanes doesn't count. Toys = good, crap people could climb in and crash to earth = no bueno. My next thought was – who's going to pay for this? The whole story was such a BougieFail my siddity mother said, "They all need their asses whipped!" BougieMom curses about once every two years. The Balloon People brought it out. She also went on a rant about how if this had been a black family, everybody would be in jail. She finally had to go "put her feet up" because the whole situation was just "too silly for words." BougiePoint: What BougieMom said… so there.

And this is just from the last week, ya'll! So tell me, agree or disagree? Ya'll hanging out in the Serengeti with no tracker, no bullets, no sense? Ha! Whatcha think about Reverend Ray? And can we all agree to lift up our pimp hands and slap the hell out of the BalloonFam for putting that mess on TV when we could have been watching live coverage of Obama in NOLA? Any others to add to the list for this time?

Ebonics to Bougie Translation Guide

You know what, young ‘uns – ya’ll aint said nuthin’ but a word. Unfortunately, some of the things you say… those of us born before 1985 do not comprehend. I’ve received scores of emails asking me to define “stuff”. I am not an Ebonics dictionary people but since I referred you to some younghead sites, I guess I’m responsible. Below, a tongue in cheek look at what some of these words and phrases mean:

Here ends my ebonics translation. Some words I did not include because they are self-defining such as B*tchassedness and Bullshiggity. J Now do not go out there trying this all at once: Saw this 5-star chick I used to smash out in the spot all flagrant with her stuntin', I had to put her pause like WDDDA? Cuz that's how I do, ninja! Hold yourself back. All of these will be played out by the time you use them correctly, anyway. Please feel free to share any that I missed (or correct any I got wrong - I can't keep up).

WBFDD - Why R U Nekkid?

In this installment of What Bougie Folks Don't Do (WBFDD), an open letter to any celebrity.

Dear Celebrity:

I don't care why you are famous. Chances are you work in cinema, television, music, or are just rich and considered one of the beautiful people. The fact that you are used to working in front of the camera is no excuse to carry that over into your personal life. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on that phrase… personal life. That means the life you lead behind closed doors that is nobody's business but your own and your special friends and family.

Here's what's up… I don't know you. I am not your friend or family member. Chances are, I don't want to be your friend or family member. Who knows, you may be nice as all get out. Nevertheless, I don't wanna see you nekkid. I really don't. I understand that I am in the minority on this but hear me out.

You know what's sexy? Mystery. Yep, let it soak in while I repeat it: mystery. Let my imagine run wild and free. We're told that the brain is the sexiest organ in the human body; let that work for you for half a minute. Let someone think about what you have to offer, rather than showing it. There's no mystery in your naughty bits plastered all up and through the Internets. Worse yet is your "oh-ah-right-there-baby" sex tape. That's not the hotness when it's shared with everybody who has access to high speed.

Now I'm not going to get into the debate on whether you should be making these tapes, snapshots, whatever in the first place. Here's an expert with her take on the phenomenon:

Sex and relationship expert Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, MS Ed., ACSE, [says]: "A number of stars feel invincible, and many of them also don't foresee that a hacker or soon-to-be-ex they're dating might exploit them later."

While it's not always clear why or how celebrity sex photos and videos become viral, Pamela C. Regan, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University says there are definite ways that celebrities should handle the onslaught of public attention. The first thing to do? Don't deny that you took photos or made a sex tape if in fact you did: "Honesty really is the best policy because the proof is out there, and people have seen it," says Regan. "That doesn't mean you have to talk about it or go into salacious detail. Just admit that it happened and emphasize that it was a private moment."

Fulbright also says it's not necessary to apologize for your behavior: "There's nothing wrong with the naked form and using it to turn on your lover. Sex photos and videos taken with your cell phone are the latest way to reach out and touch someone." At the same time, though, Fulbright emphasizes the importance of feeling comfortable and trusting in your relationship. "Exes can be cruel when things don't work out, and that's whether you were with them for 11 weeks or 11 years. You need to weigh the pros and cons and decide if the risks are really worth the immediate titillation factor. You can also opt for less-risky turn-ons such as practicing more aural sex. There's something to be said for the suggestive versus in-your-face images."

Now I don't agree that sending a naked picture/video is the new Hallmark card. I also think if you and your chosen partner are playing slap-n-tickle with the camera rolling, someone needs to set some ground rules up front and someone needs to be in charge of destroying said media after. And by someone, I mean you.

Whether you are snapping bare-ass pictures of yourself in the hotel bathroom (Jamie Foxx), getting freaky for a significant other (Rihanna), or who knows why (Vanessa Hudgens) it's all just folks I didn't ask to see naked sprawled across Google. Whether you are Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton or Pamela Anderson it's still just people who are porn stars getting their XXX on. Either way, if I didn't send you a note specifically requesting your nakedness (Denzel, did you get my tweet?!) then please, I beg of you… keep it to yourself.

Sincerely yours,


P.S. Yo' mama must be so proud, "Look Ma! I'm naked on YouTube!"

What do you think of the recent rash of naked pictures/film of celebs? Is it okay if they look good in the picture? Thoughts please.