Bougie Basics for Wintertime

Still compiling the data from yesterday's survey. Over 600 replies! In the meantime, some bouge rules...

Fellow BougieLand  dwellers, winter is upon us. If not officially on the calendar, definitely by the temperatures some of  us are experiencing. We haven't reviewed any bougie etiquette lately. Let's talk winter basics of WBPD (What Bougie People Do):

1. Wear a real coat - Fellas, you aren't fooling anybody with that thin leather jacket that has clearly seen better days. Ladies, the shawl/wrap is decorative. Bougie grown folks need bougie grown folk outerwear. That means full length coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Stop tipping out in the snow trying to be cute. Unless you live in a warm weather state, you have zero excuses. Spend the money on something to keep Old Man Winter off your hindparts. Pneumonia is not sexy.

2. Stay Lotioned Up - For some reason, people think the winter sun is less harsh than the summer sun. Same sun folks and you've got harsh winds and cold temperatures in the mix. Your skin needs moisture. Hydrate and lather up. There is nothing like seeing a gent remove his gloves and the hands are just ashy. Ladies, just because your feet are in boots and leggings is no excuse to let the maintenance go. Keep it supple, people.

3. Not keep a house like a freezer - I understand. The electric/gas companies are no joke. Bills have been known to (mysteriously) quadruple in the wintertime. I get it, folks don't want to give all the Christmas money City Utility Company. But ur, uh - I shouldn't feel like I'm meat on a hook stepping into your home. If you have folks coming over, suck it up and cut the heat on. At the VERY least, light a fire in the fireplace. Serve some spiked cocoa (mind out of the gutter, I mean the actual drink). I don't care if you pass out ceremonial Snuggies when folks walk in the door, make sure your guests can sit in your home without being tempted to light a bonfire on your living room table.

4. No chatting while shivering - Let me put this plainly: if you see me outside in winter,wait until I get inside to say hello. I hate when folks shout me out and we're standing there with swirling winds and snow flurries talking about how your grandma's surgery went. It's not that I don't want to talk, I don't want to freeze. Wave at me and meet me in the Starbucks. Please and thank you.

5. Keep germs where they belong - It's cold and flu season. May I recommend Airborne, Emergen-C or old school orange juice by the gallon? Get your immune system up. And if all of that fails... at the sign of the first hardcore sniffle/sore throat  combo - stay your behinds at home. If you MUST venture out, plenty of Kleenex and isolation. Do not hack and cough all over town. Don't touch things (especially me). I'm that chick  that catches whatever is going around and goes down for the count. It only takes one sneeze to spread a cold to everyone in a ten foot radius. Germs are personal, keep them to yourself.

6. Step your holiday game up - Today at my P.O. Box, dude behind the counter shouted me out, "Hey Michele. Happy Kwanzaa!" This is not a cool thing for non-African descendants to do. I was in a hurry so I kind of sent him a look and bounced. I've got nothing against Kwanzaa but why must I be shouting out Harambee just because I'm black? Don't make assumptions. Just say Happy Holidays and keep it moving. 

7. Respect Snow - It's cold and wet. Not everybody likes it. Throw it at your own risk. That is all.

BougieLand? Have any winter rules to share? Thoughts, comments, insights on mine? 

WBPD (What Bougie People Do) – We Break Hood Rules

In this edition of What Bougie People Do – we will discuss some hood rules I can't get down with. Watching a Viewer-Spot on Current TV, three little ruffnecks from the ATL were out there reppin' their lifestyle – "We hood, we represent, we stay strapped and we never snitch! We keeps it real in da hood, yo!" Good for them. Here's what you can expect from Bougie folks:

  1. We snitchin': Hell yes I am. Your best bet is simply not to perpetrate any major crimes around me: I. Am. Telling. As you noticed from my brush with crime I don't play with it. Get mad if you want to, I love me some law enforcement. I'm semi-embarassed to admit that I have dated all level and manner of enforcement official. So when I say I will snitch, best believe I know who to go to. Bump a 911, I got cops on speed dial for real. Ha! Seriously though, I don't get the whole "Stop Snitching" movement. THAT'S when we want to unify? To protect some criminals who will turn on you in heartbeat? Umm, no. Now if you are fam or close BougieFriend, I'm good for one alibi per lifetime and some bail money. Beyond that, you're on your own. Lookie here, I'm liable to phonecam the whole thing and broadcast it. Can I just say it one more time? I snitch, b!tch. Just so's ya know.

    In this clip of the Boondocks entitled "Thank You for Not Snitching", young Riley had a chance to snitch on some local hoods but decided to adhere to the street code, here's how that turned out:

  2. We rarely rep': Yeah, I can't think of the last martini bar I was where folks start reppin' for their hoods… "Straight out of West Plano, yo!" Doesn't resonate, really. I'm not even sure I understand what these "young-uns" idea of proper representation is nowadays. Are they still throwing up signs? Clearly, bougie folks never knew. I was at a jazz spot the other night blatantly eavesdropping when I overheard two brothers talking:

    One brother said, "I don't really care for Dallas."

    The other brother said, "I take umbrage with that remark."

    The first one said, "Didn't mean to offend, it's just not my spot."

    Second one replies, "Good thing you're only here for a short while then."

    I almost choked on my wine – that's TOO bougie even for me. In my head, I re-wrote the scene, "Yo, this place is wack. D-town is wack, why you got me out in this wack-ass joint?"

    Reply: "Fool, you better recognize. Dirty South, son! SouthWESTSIDE!"

    Comeback: "I ain't feelin' it."

    Response: "Shake yo' ass back home then." Okay, my version may be over the top, somewhere in the middle, then?

  3. More security, less strapped: We may own a gun, but we pay for security. Alarms, motion sensors, video-spycams, dogs that aren't named King or Duke and portable keychain-size cans of pepper spray. I let some non-bougie friends borrow my car way-way back in the day (when I didn't care what happened to it). When they brought it back I called and said, "Who the hell left a gun holster in my back seat?" They died laughed, "Girl, that's the toolkit case to the car, we had to tighten the lugnuts on the back wheel – do you even know what a gun holster looks like?" Umm, only what I had seen on TV. I'm just saying… we don't know. If you roll up into a bougie spot and get shot, you were shot by security or the non-bougie dude who came in with you. We just aren't about the shooting. We may run you over (not in the Benzo though, come on), your spaghetti sauce might taste a little funny but shooting and whatnot? That's one for the S.No.B. (So Not Bougie) files.

  4. One other thing, we don't discuss money: I was next to these folks up in Walmart and sister girl was talking all loud to her friend, "Girl, you know I need thirteen-hun for monthly bills and everything. James ain't got his disability check yet so I'm bout to be short on these groceries, you got something?" Girlfriend, "My check was only $534 because of the taxes so naw, girl. But I gotta gift card for $100 if you want some of that. Imma get these two dresses for forty so whatever's left over is yours, girl – I got you." TMI, TMI! At no point will you hear bougie folks discussing their paycheck amounts, mortgage and household bills or hitting each other up for loans in the check out aisle. Now I have been known to text my bank and make sure my balance was what I thought as I pull up to the store but um… that about it. Sometimes when we are group shopping and everyone's throwing stuff in, we'll get to the counter and I'll say, "I got this and these," thus indicating that others need to be about purchasing their selections or I'll say, "I got this, ya'll." That about it. We might discuss the diversification in our 401(k)s. That about it.

Any other hood rules I need to know about so I can be about breaking those too? Where did the "stop snitching" thing come from and what do you think about it? It's one thing to have a gun in your home but why are folks walking around strapped like we on the set of Tombstone? Do enlighten a bougie sister!

What Bougie People Do

In collaboration with devessel, we continue our delve into all things bouge. Today, we'll explore What Bougie People Do (WBPD) even if no one thinks we should… or can.

What this is: a non-exhaustive list of musings, based on activities in which either we or someone in our immediate circle have indulged. This is part of our normal cloud of understanding. And so we begin:

We go places:

We of the privileged-and-still-working class might choose to enjoy domestic or international travel to timeshare property or 4 star hotels or eco-tourism clubs. Not the Holiday Inn because there's a Pizza Hut attached to it, a familiar sight from home. Isn't the purpose of going abroad to experience the abroad-ness of it? Hell. We *live* abroad, and have passports with stamps from obscure corners of the Earth. When we travel, we worry about things like attaining Platinum status, renewing memberships to the Admirals Club, and which airport in the LA Metro area still has valet parking. We don't go to Atlantic City if we can afford Vegas, we don't go to Vegas if we can afford Monaco.

We attend museum events, charity balls and foundation dinners. Plenty of us are seen at the ballet, first-run theatre (note the spelling), opera, classic jazz, and foreign film events. We can be found at afternoon tea, Sunday brunch, non-chain restaurants specializing in multi-ethnic cuisines, and yes, we can be vegetarian! We go to spas, we worship spas actually. The Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay in Bali has been rated number one in the world for about fifteen years, I'm still trying to justify going.

We own things:

Beyond houses and cars, we invest. In fine art, investment clubs, businesses and venture capital groups. We have investments with appreciating assets, not just expensive gadgetry. We invest in estate jewelry, not bling. We have college funds, vacation funds, trust funds. We have personal banking assistants, not tellers. We say things like Debt-to-Income ratio, ROI, short sell, strategic portfolio allocation and balanced investment strategy.

We collect things. Things like crystal and coins and wine. We invest in rare bottles of wine. Speaking of vintages, we do love our champagne and we also have been known to partake of microbrewed ales.

We relax at home:

We hire housekeepers, interior decorators and feng shui specialists for our personal and office space. We reserve the right to choose to entertain with or without barbecue, with or without paper plates, and with or without speakers moved out to the rear yard. We throw pool parties and black people actually get in the pool. We are just as happy and comfortable hosting a full champagne brunch at home with omelet chef and dessert bar as we are hosting a full course dinner for two or ten. We know caterers and party-planners. We order custom designed cakes (not from CostCo).

We've been known to watch PBS. We love the Fine Living Channel and HGTV. We gather for in-home salons, soirees and dinner parties solely for the purpose of stimulating grown up discussion. We read the newspaper and classic literature as well as People and paperback novels. We have book clubs, real and virtual. We have been doing that since before Oprah made it cool again. And yes, we blog on every imaginable topic!

We enjoy sports:

We can be seen skiing, surfing, playing tennis, rowing, on hockey teams, long-distance running, cycling, horseback riding, playing rugby, golf, Lacrosse; hanging out in pilates, t'ai chi, or zumba class. We play Chess, and we play Bridge, Baccarat, and Mah Jongg, i.e. card games other than Spades. Not that there's anything wrong with Spades…

We will attend any sporting event that is corporate-sponsored, has V.I.P. parking, catered food, open bars and a Skybox. We will follow our professional teams to away games and plan vacations around sporting events (Pro Bowl in Hawaii? Guilty as charged.)

We shop custom and gourmet:

We buy custom designed menswear. We shop in boutiques as well as department stores. We have personal shoppers. We buy exotic cheeses and seafood from far, far away. We eat local, we love Whole Foods. We can discuss artisan breads. We love an Olive Bar. We trade homemade salsa recipes and discuss the best way to pan-sear scallops.

We buy custom makeup and hair products. We buy monogrammed towels and 1000-threadcount sheets. As a matter of fact, the more things that have our initials engraved, etched or stitched on them; we love it. I don't know why we do this, maybe because we can.

We work (until we don't):

We have careers, not jobs. We don't get a paycheck, we earn a salary. We have a career path. We have mentors and we have discussed our career progression plan with them. We plan for contingencies. We network; we attend National Black MBA conferences and National Medical Assocation conventions. We open consulting companies and have retirement plans. We are never unemployed; we are on sabbatical, between jobs or considering retirement. J

We pray:

We are diverse in our spirituality. We practice yoga, chant mantras, light candles and go on retreats to mountain getaways. We practice our faith privately whether as Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, --or not at all.

We also:

Reserve the right to wear our hair naturally without irony, and still place hand-made haute couture on our backs. We wear old school press n' curls, we wear expensive weaves.

We recycle, we have Eco-friendly home cleaners and grow our own produce without pesticides. We have been 'green' for generations before it was cool.

We vote how we like. We are represented across the political spectrum, from the farthest left to the farthest right. In fact, isn't that the same geographical point? Hmmm.

So we say all of this to say what? Is bouge nothing more than a mindset that gives us the audacity, coupled with finances that give us the capacity to express ourselves as we choose? Is it radical in its own very "mainstreamness"? Bougie is as bougie does…

Anything else you would like to add to the list?