Coffee Rhetoric: rant
Showing posts with label rant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rant. Show all posts

May 21, 2010

Fat Ass!

As if slut, skank, ho,' and skeezer doesn't undermine femalehood enough, women have to contend with having yet another epithet hurled at them; an oldie, but still go-to, trusted, tried, and true goodie. These days, calling a woman 'fat' seems to be the insult du jour. Log onto any celebrity gossip site featuring posts including Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Christina Hendricks and even pop singer Rihanna; and commenters (mostly female) are incited to chorus... "I'm sick of Beyonce... FAT, no talent bitch!" "OMG, all of you people calling Christina Hendricks beautiful are probably fat ass cows!" "I hate Rihanna. Her thighs are HUGE and look like tree-stumps!" "How can anybody find Kim Kardashian hot?? She's fucking gross. Maybe if she lost like 30 pounds I'd bang her..." so forth and so on. The Infallible (I mean they must be straddling the line between perfection and 5 alarm hotness, right?); hiding behind their computer screens... intimidated by any semblance of curvature on a woman's body and ignorant of what overweight and unhealthy truly is.
Women can be the most biting and hateful when spitting the fat insult toward other women. Automatically assuming that anyone not sporting a meth-chic physique lives a sedentary life filled with junk food and Häagen-Dazs . "Get to the gym bitch!"  is generally the norm, dare you be curvy and having a disagreement with a thin(ner) woman. While I understand our current cult of personality is driven by image and that health and exercise are extremely important; since when are women who don't fit someone else's norm or ideals, fat and or lazy?? While the insult seems to be perpetuated by women toward women, men are definitely guilty of using fat to scorn their female counterparts as well, especially if his romantic advances are rejected.  
Many of them, despite being overweight and/or unattractive themselves, play on the insecurities of women, noting that our body image is at the core of what makes many of us tick. I recall a former co-worker who, divorced for many years, shared the fact that he happened upon his ex-wife's Facebook page and noted how much weight she'd gained. Bitter grapes... considering she initiated their divorce and probably looked to be the picture of happiness in the Facebook visuals... without him. And who can forget (provided you watched it) the episode of MTV's guilty reality TV pleasure Jersey Shore, when Mike 'The Situation' took a cheap shot at the quirky and lovable (albeit annoying and gaudy looking) Snookie (please don't ask for any further background on these people, you just had to've viewed the trash) - during an argument at a group dinner, where after she asked the waiter for more rolls he quipped, "You already have a few rolls yourself," much to her chagrin sending her running and crying to the toilets (she later revealed that she struggled with an eating disorder), and the anger of the other cast mates, "Dude, you just don't talk about a woman's weight! That's not cool" one angry male cast member griped. I'm also reminded of the New York Times writer (a woman) who bitingly referred to Mad Men actress, Christina Hendricks as a 'big girl' in a 'big dress,' citing it is a fashion faux-pas.
When a woman is full-figured/plus-size (or however we're referred to these days), and visibly striking or attractive, she better not dare have any confidence in the fact that she carries herself well, is a fashionista, and has no issues finding a date... otherwise it's likened to the perpetuation of an unhealthy lifestyle! "What a fat bitch! She's so unhealthy! How can she be happy??"  Notwithstanding the fact that healthy, active lifestyles aren't exclusive to one particular look.
Listen, as an attractive woman who just happens to be full-figured, I'm no fat or BBW advocate, because I choose not to define myself based on my body's proportions, not to mention, I don't live my life juxtaposing my hips to some other woman's. In fact I loathe the term 'BBW,' and am OK with the fact that I may not appeal to everyone's personal aesthetic,  and will probably fall victim to being called 'fattieeee' during a disagreement that'll undoubtedly regress to school yard antics... actually some years ago, upon telling a prospective paramour I wasn't into him, he tried to hit below the belt commenting during our last phone call, "Well, good luck with your search. You have a sensuous look and most guys aren't into that." To which I replied, "Hm, well you obviously are, otherwise you wouldn't be calling me making one last desperate appeal to date you." Burn! But I digress...
Basically, I am bored with people hurling the term fat around when in most cases, it doesn't even apply to the intended victim. And so what if someone isn't whip thin? Is it really that dire to your life?  The perps seemingly so quick to call someone else a fat ass should probably re-evaluate their own self-loathing and the reasons why they resent someone's confidence and self-acceptance in who they are.

April 02, 2010

The Persecution of Ms. Badu

I don't have cable. The delectable bits of trash I do get to watch are courtesy of my mother's digital cable box, when I have the pleasure of visiting for the weekend.
Ofttimes, I shake my head (while still watching) at the train wrecks colliding on the screen: Young women on "reality tv" jumping into hot tubs... obscured nudity jiggling in the wind or clawing one another's eyes out in a fit of rage as their boobage and delicates burst through the seams of too tight clothing for all the world to see. Thonged asses and commando-ed vaginas (aye-aye captain) flap free amidst the chaos. Not a problem. Ratings booster!
I also love to watch music videos, most of which are par for the course... The grandiose donks  (read: big butts, fake or otherwise) gyrate and twerk in the camera, struggling to stay contained sheathed behind dubiously fitted hot pants... some parts of their bikini-ed bottoms distorted just enough to make it past the network's Standards and Practices department. All of this current comehither lasciviousness notwithstanding, I am reminded of the furor Janet Jackson caused during her performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII when her adorned breast popped out for the briefest of brief moments. After which she found that same dirty pillow branded with a piping, hot scarlet letter. People were not pleased, despite her pleas for forgiveness, regardless of the fact that the media and the very network looking to air her immodesty out at the public square took a blink and you'll miss it moment, slowed it down, and played it repeatedly, despite being offended by the moxie of the act: A tit breaking loose from its harness for the briefest of seconds.
Flash forward a few years since Ms. Jackson's "Nipplegate." We've seemingly evolved even more where the grandeur of the female form in all its voluptuosity,  is par for the course...  considering several petulant nipples, butt-cheeks, and vaginas have cried out in protest since that incident in a united front in public under the glare of public scrutiny, and for pop starlets who are taking a queue fromn the Video Vixen book of trickery... succumbing to re-marketed aesthetics at the suggestion of male record executives and managers... winding their hips and carefully manicured poontangs in nothing more than a skimpy top, taut thighs, and heels in an effort to sell more records. Pants be damned! We've evolved... or perhaps not, since creative mind, beautiful eccentric, keeper of the 'izm that snakes upward like a cobra ... allegedly causing men to swoon, and accomplished musical artist Erykah Badu's new video for her single, 'Window Seat,'  has incited the public to chorus. Erykah cites guerrilla filmmaking as a method, as she methodically walks through downtown Dallas, stripping away layers of clothing until she's completely naked, in the name of art and near the same location JFK was assassinated ... but some naysayers aren't feeling it.
Please get into my argument....
Why is it when a woman (especially a Black woman) takes charge of her image and body, and projects it in a way she sees fit... particularly when it's in the name of art, the public finds it obscene? Lest rappers are asking challenging questions and making demands like "How Low Can You Go?," and  "Gimme that Becky!, or the likes of Hugh Hefner doesn't put you on the cover of Playboy or make you 1/3 of his harem, a woman's body will never be beautiful, unless the rules are dictated by the patriarchy and the media.
I'm still struggling to find the obscenity in Erykah's message and visual: Which essentially, is to break free from societal norms and to formulate your own thought process.
Perhaps if she were stripping within the subtext of Playboy or King Magazine ... bent over in a teeny-weeny bikini... hands placed over bare breast to titillate and cause massive erections for the male populace and/or being violated/beaten/brutalized on film, she wouldn't be facing charges for "public indecency." America seems to be okay with the exploitation and violence shown toward women, but we're damned if we dare have orgasms on-screen (see the documentary 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated'  or express the splendor of our bodies via our own visions, on our own terms, shouted through our own voices.

That is all.
*Perhaps due to its controversy, video links are no longer readily available. 

















March 04, 2010

Leave Me Alone!

Black women. We've been labeled as Mammies, Jezebels, Golddiggers, Undesirables, and now Tragic Figures?  Yes, 2010 seems to be The year of years to bash Black women, in yet another redundant cycle of trash talk about why we are, the way we are. Some might read this post and disagree, but then those of you who do probably aren't Black women and are whispering under your breath for me to shut my gob because, Michelle Obama is this country's First Lady. It's just that simple, really. *insert side eye here.* 
It seems as if every publication I read, or program I watch has an article or segment discussing why Black women are single. Forget the construction of the pyramids or the Bermuda Triangle. ... Black women being single in high numbers seem to be the mystery du jour! To hell with finding a cure for AIDS or getting over this country's health care, job, and economic crises. Black women are single and it's our own fault. The world needn't be bogged down worrying about the important issues... but should mull over my love life instead. You see, Black women... we're just too driven and unyielding. We're difficult to please and our need to find our place in the world and plant our flag is off-putting... apparently. How dare we try to better ourselves or even entertain the notion of having (insert danger music here!)... EXPECTATIONS. Not to mention we aren't trying nearly as hard enough to look like the vixens in the rap and R&B videos. 
According to these articles, newsreels, blogs, and public forums of the like, seems like the only, and I mean THE ONLY way Black women can reconcile being tragically single is to date White men, and ONLY White men. This White Knight In-waiting, will apparently salvage what's left of our lonely years, and is a last resort to prevent us from dying alone with nothing more than a house filled with cats, all of which would undoubtedly nibble away at our rotting corpses. To hell with dating someone who has mutual interests, regardless of his skin color or ethnicity. Who cares if you like various types of men from all walks of life, with GREAT PERSONALITIES, or if you're even interested in going that route? Racial/Ethnic fetishization is definitely the solution to our habitual singledom! Non?  *shrugs*
Listen, I don't know why my sex and dating habits have become public fodder for the media and various other men and people to pick apart and scrutinize. I guess the fact that many Black women aren't rocking back and forth in a corner or curled up under the covers in a fetal position, because no one has "put a ring on it"... or aren't bemoaning the fact that we're single or unmarried doesn't occur to those of you doing the judging and marking ticks in your little notebooks. We aren't the only group of women who live singly, however, our White counterparts are merely single, looking, and living footloose and fancy free a la 'Sex And The City.' They're simply exploring their options and building their careers until Mr. Big catches their eye and having a great time playing the field in the interim. Why can't this simply be the case for Black single women as well? Why are we scraping the earth for scraps, clucking around like confused chickens... looking for any remnants of a good man... rather than just exploring infinite possibilities and having fun too? 
Everyone's an armchair anthropologist or sociologist these days, especially when it comes to Black female sexuality. Our femininity... our desirability is constantly up for debate. Men (especially) have mucho jokes and take low brow swipes for days talking about our appearance, our attitudes, and our personalities. Residents holed up in their glass houses, throwing stones. Black women aren't good enough because we want better... or at least according to Black male comedians and social critics turned dating experts, with dubious track records of their own.
I've grown tired from reading these statistics about the numbers of Black women who aren't hitched. Why is this even newsworthy? Why is anybody still single in this complex era of love and dating rules? Moreover, why am I being told to date this type of man or that type of man... do *this* with your body, but not *that* by critics who can't even fathom... who don't even know my core and all of its wonderful complexities? 
Men, the media, and so called experts on Black female sexuality can tout off a long list of reasons why Black women are single and the primary, b.s. song is that our standards are too high. The last time I checked, having standards (within reason), is a common thing to expect. Men also are notorious for having outlandish standards, and those very same standards could also be indicative of why many of them are hopelessly single and are prompted to fly overseas to woo desperate and eager foreign women. Most of those who're anti-standards seem to be sub-par to mediocre at best and so complain the loudest about a Black woman's high standards.
At the end of the day, I'm single because I've chosen to be. Because I'm preoccupied with various other things in my life that fulfill me or keep me too busy to lament over such nonsense. Perhaps it's also attributed to my impetuous and overly sophisticated bon-mots and risqué coquetries... perhaps not. I'd like to think I'm a little more multi-layered than most would have me be. 
No one has the right to dictate the reasons why so many Black women in America are single, and claim it as fact. There is no one, fundamental reason why. It just is, what it is. We aren't some abnormal sub-species. And anyway, mind your own damn business. That is all.

February 12, 2010

Hathor Take The Wheel

I did not want to bat an eyelash over John Mayer’s recent FAIL interview with Playboy Magazine, but the more in-depth I read it- (in its entirety, because I did not want to comment based solely on the excerpts that got everyone in an uproar)- the harder I blinked and the more perplexed I became. I will not comment on the obvious homophobia or misogyny and ageism he displayed whilst commenting on his former girlfriends (‘right made the acid in my stomach gurgle with displeasure), nor on the lack of confidence he has in his manhood for he spoke at length about his sexual prowess and technique as well as his need to prove himself and be better than the former flames of his conquests. 
What I will rant and rave about however, is John’s proclamations that he has a “hood/nigger” pass, suggesting that having one somehow justifies his never ending, assholish behavior, asinine public comments and Twitter rants. He said he was "Very" just like Black folks. "V.E.R.Y." and so it absolved him of stupid behavior. Man, I guess (not).  John also name dropped Kanye West, a fellow partner in lame grappling with his own P.R. issues and who in 1996 (publicly creamed his trousers over the splendor of biracial women or “mutts” as he affectionately called them, Jay-Z, and other rappers, who, shall I add, seem color-struck and enamored with all things lighter-skinned and/or non-Black themselves, and will never miss an opportunity to bash dark-skinned Black women or to drape themselves with the finest of racially ambiguous vixens. But I digress... 
John Mayer… who always manages to fellate his foot hungrily, deep-throating it with gusto whenever he has the media’s attention… felt his scrotum swelling with douche water after waving his “nigger pass” in the air... going on to gloat, after being asked if Black women threw themselves at him  (a stupid question in and of itself), that while he has a Benetton heart he just couldn’t open himself up to the possibility of entertaining Black women, due to his having a David Duke cock.”
insert record screeching to an abrupt stop right here
Correct me if I’m wrong, or perhaps I’m out of the loop, but I had no idea Black women were drowning John in a river of crème de la coochie. I was completely unaware that this rather uninteresting and bland musician was the stuff that makes Black women swoon with unbridled desire. John also went on to make vulgar remarks about noted Black actress Kerry Washington’s hotness and how she might possibly suck a dick and say, “Yeah, I did it, so what?” for she’d undoubtedly break a Caucasian cad’s heart because she's "crazy like a white girl," or some such nonsense to that effect, his love of porn, and how every White dude bulged out of their boxers for sitcom character Hilary Banks from the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Additionally, while John Mayer is entitled to his preferences, why do it at the expense of Black women by suggesting that we are somehow not worthy or significant enough for someone as inane as he is? Listen, at the end of the day, I don't need John's racist penis to validate me as a Black woman or any other White man with a "nigger pass" or otherwise for that matter, so I'll sleep well this evening, but imagine the shock and furor had Halle Berry stated she had the heart of Coretta Scott King but the vagina of Minister Louis Farrakhan ... Mmm hmmm... Think, think, think... famous people. THINK before you spew. 
To the assholes who gave Mayer a “nigger pass,” Therein lies the problem, jerks. You make it OK for dumb-asses to engage in hipster racism because you’re giving them the go-ahead to do so…ofttimes at a Black woman's expense.  And then you’re the same jack-asses who want to mollywhop your White buddy, because he said,  “Nigger please!” Um. No sir. You can't have it both ways. Good for the goose but not for the gander??
John Mayer or any other wanna-be down chav gets no “hood pass” from me EVER. I don’t care how many BLACK friends you collect, I don't care how many close White friends I happen to connect with, and I don’t care how many of your BLACK FRIENDS said it was OK to make stupid statements steeped in bigotry. It is never OK to wallow in ignorance because you think it's the hip thing that will get you an *in.* Real talk. I don't hand those types of passes out. Null and VOID. 
Mayer, choked up and regretful (because his publicist told him to be ), issued a tearful apology onstage in the middle of a performance in addition to taking to his Twitter page yet again to partake in some major damage control. I refuse to stroke his ego by saying, “Awww, he made a mistake.” A mistake is something that’s unintentional and not predicated on arrogance and one’s privilege. He's sorry, because folks got pissed and his statements were not well received, because just like many White people who share Mayer's sentiment(s) about being "down", it's always cool to smile proudly and proclaim how much Black people love you, as a way to justify making ignorant (regardless of one's intention) statements out loud. And to co-opt the cool parts of being a racial minority, while rejecting the difficulties of being one. 
In the grand scheme of his stupidity, self-loathing, and narcissism however, I do not believe that Mayer is a racist. And I don't care if his David Duke cock wants to burn a cross at my window, because I am personally not, nor have I ever been rubbing myself raw over John Mayer. He is a bigot who hates women, however... and is a sad a victim of his own delusions of grandeur, arrogance, and sexual inadequacy. And to those Black folks who think it’s cute for some "others" to trash-talk your mothers, aunts, dads, brothers, uncles, and sisters (yes, those of you issuing out the free "nigger passes" to your White buddies)… stop perpetuating the disrespectful behavior. Enough is enough.  
Perhaps Mayer's attempt to fumble towards ecstasy and understanding will help us mull over the topics of race and gender a little more closely, and think before we open our gobs... trying to be clever. And a simple, "No, Black women don't throw themselves at me. Not at all." would've sufficed, John.

Read more about Mayer-gate 2010---

January 18, 2010

Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow


People who know me personally-- those that've read posts here, on Coffee Rhetoric, realize or have come to realize how passionate I am about Black women's issues. Specifically those having to do with our unique brand of beauty, our image, and our hair. A little more than 10 years ago, I opted to stop using chemicals to straighten my hair. I wear my hair "natural" if you will. That's a personal choice I maintain til this day. I love my hair in its natural state and tend to not care what anyone else thinks of my hair's type and texture. Natural hair does NOT a militant make... nor is it me trying to make a political statement. It's me, being at peace with myself. I did not come out of my mother's womb with a chemical relaxer. And I don't answer to or flinch over the negative connotations of the phrase "nappy."

While I don't subscribe to altering the state of my hair via relaxers, weaves, lace-front wigs or what have you... I don't begrudge any other Black woman the right to do what she sees fit to do with her hair regimen. To each her own. I am only concerned with my own hair routine. And while I would LOVE to shrug and say, "It's just hair," and move on... unfortunately for Black women... it isn't that simple. Women of color will always be embattled over the texture of our hair and skin shade. Unfortunate. Multi-layered. Complicated. And rooted in a painful history. And lately, I'm discovering it's not as cut and dry as relaxed hair vs natural hair vs hair that's beweaved vs that which is bewigged.
For the past 2-3 years or so, there has been a huge influx of natural hair care products, YouTube tutorial videos, online forums, and websites celebrating the beauty and versatility of afro-textured hair. But even within the natural hair community, there is a lot of controversy.
There are "naturals" who are obsessed with texture and so will swear by a hair system/chart to determine their "hair type" -- or to aspire to a 3C hair type, most commonly associated with mixed race people. Some naturals are more concerned with length and so will find ways to stretch the hair to its maximum- (preferably "bra strap long" some women on various forums will brag).
I've come across blogs where there is petty squabbling in the comments section over which natural hair care method is the best and only way to treat afro-textured hair or whether or not the blog's host features enough women with kinkier textured hair, versus women with "mixed race" hair.
It's maddening. While I do enjoy discovering new ideas, products, and recipes for my own hair, I've made a conscious decision not to concern myself with dictatorial methods of natural hair care. I run my hands through my hair everyday, and so know what does and does not work.

I find it most unfortunate that even while Black women reach their epiphany and "free" themselves from eurocentric hair and beauty expectations, many still can't make peace with themselves, even within the confines of the natural hair community. When will this "Good Hair/Bad Hair/Not Good Enough Natural Hair conflict end? These natural hair mandates are exhausting. I've read debates over whether or not First Lady Michelle Obama "presses" or relaxes her hair straight.  Or whether EVERY natural will experience major consequences if some of us choose to blow out our afro-textured hair using minimal amounts of heat. If we'll experience major growth if we take this vitamin, or that vitamin. If our White co-workers and dating prospects will like or accept us if we style our natural hair a specific way. All hell broke loose on the Black (and some predominantly White) celebrity blogs, when Solange Knowles stopped wearing wigs and cut her hair closely to her scalp. Listen, who cares? I would LOVE to see and for us to seize the day when hair will just be considered that. Hair. And when we can truly and really, for real, be happy in our own skin and with the depth of our hair's texture, without this seemingly constant need for validation.

July 16, 2009

Order In The Court

I've noticed an annoying trend in courting rituals. One more small annoyance to add to the already difficult process of dating. Texting. I am not one of those self-righteous, anti-technology people who goes on boring rants about the evils of social networking, texting, and mobile phones. As annoying and impersonal as those outlets can be, I am very pro-gadget and technology. While it has it's cons, technology and social networking has made it easier to keep in or get back in touch with long lost friends, enemies, frenemies, and prospective employers. Many things in life have negative aspects to them... you couldn't pay me to travel back to the dark ages. Advancement in technology is not the sole vice or annoyance society has to grapple with. The phenomenon is only as stupid as the moron accessing it... which brings me to my primary point.
Men- (I can't speak for women, because I don't date women and many of the ones I know aren't this inconsiderate, but I'll be fair and say I'm sure they're just as guilty)- if you've just met a woman for the first time, made out with her, groped her, etc... and you've decided "Wow, I like her and I want to talk to her and get to know more about her beyond this point" and you insist... DEMAND that she give you her phone number... and you make a point of programming it into your phone while she's standing there, then CALL her. This texting bullshit as the FIRST official attempt at communicating ... "Hey sexy" and "wat u up to?" is nothing short of rude and disrespectful, and it's not a good first impression. Not to me and many of my friends anyway.
How do you expect to develop any type of rapport with someone you supposedly like... or want to hop in the sack with by TEXTING grammatically lazy phrases??
Behavior like this is vexing and agitating. Myself? I may give your brusque and short messages the side-eye, and after careful consideration, might even respond a few times. I may even give you the benefit of the doubt that you'll actually CALL and I'll hear a live voice either on my voicemail or in real-time at some point throughout the course of the courtship. I'll do you one better; In the past, I've responded to text messages by leaving a voicemail, saying "Hi," asking to "Give me a call when you get the opportunity." Which means, TAG, you're it! Your turn! Only to get yet another text in response, RIGHT AFTER I've left the voicemail! After a VERY short while, your texts WILL go ignored! Trust this.
I will flat out refuse to respond, assuming that you have no desire to actually TALK for 5 or 10 minutes, which is enough time to determine someone's personality and whether you want to ask them out on a date. I'll assume that you aren't interested in setting up a time to meet up and that you have no real interest in me as a person, and that you're only wanting to waste my time by playing electronic footsies with your cyclical, same sounding two word sentences. ... "Hey sexy. Wat u doing? Wat u wearing?" Level headed and tech-savvy folk in the know realize that "wat u wearing?" is code for, "send me a topless photo, and I'll send you a pic of my genitals."All before being asked out on an ACTUAL date for coffee or a glass of wine, because you'd rather wile away valuable time sexting messages like some sexually precocious preteen: "i want u so bad. wish u were here."
Listen, I text more than the next person, but I'm usually texting with people I KNOW. People I have connections with. People I also chat to on the phone. My close and best friends, my sisters, my mother, acquaintances I pal around with, someone I've dated, don't despise and have maintained a friendship with, so forth and so on and I'm not making an ALL DAY AFFAIR of it. If I don't KNOW you and am making every attempt to GET to know you within the context of dating, and you don't reciprocate that gesture, then you may as well kick rocks. And don't you DARE send me a message at 1:00 in the MORNING asking, "hey u up?" OMG!! R U SERIOUS!? How dreadful! Moreover, don't respond to my obvious exasperation with your thoughtless time wasting, texting : "I thought u liked me ???" or "It's just easier to txt cuz am on the run." If you're on the run, then BE ON THE RUN! How about contacting the person of your desire when you AREN'T "on the run" and have a moment to spare.
Look, I'm not one for walking down the street or going about my daily activities, jabbing at my phone's keypad like crazy. I understand that some people love it, but my thumbs get tired, it wears on my nails, more importantly it's distracting and detracts from whatever it is you're doing. As many people as I see running their pie holes on the phone while en-route somewhere, that "on the run, can't actually call" excuse is utter doo-doo. Texting sentences on a small keypad, on the run, seems like it takes more effort than talking to someone for 3 seconds to say, "I'm out and about, just wanted to call to say hi and that I'm thinking about you, we'll talk later though!" and then you hang the eff up. Don't ask for someone's phone number if you have no intention of talking to them. Get their email address instead if you want to type at them.
Cut this foolishness out. It's not a good way to connect with someone you supposedly want to learn more about. KNOW them first before you start texting them a bunch of nonsense. That is all.

January 17, 2009

Are Witch Titties Really THIS Cold??

It's bitter cold, and my mood is just about neck and neck with this blasted weather. It is definitely days like these that make me curse being born and bred in New England. I blame Canada. In any event, I can't seem to warm up. I can't relax in the confines of my home, because it's freezing. It's a to-the-bone type of chill that is simply inescapable, regardless of how many layers you hide under, how high you crank the heat up, how much Vicks Vaporub you slather under your nose, and how tight of a fetal position you curl up in!! I can wish for man to cozy up next to, but he'd be of no use to me, because he'd be shivering and complaining right alongside me. He'd touch me, and I'd probably shrink away from his touch, due to his hands being ice cold.
How depressing. Last night, bundled up and on the cusp of a nervous breakdown because the bus driver decided to take his sweet time letting pulling up to the stop, my fingers were frozen almost to the point of no return. This is with insulated leather gloves on, a wool coat, and a wrap. Settled within the warm confines of the bus, I glowered angrily at the driver, then I gingerly peeled my gloves off gasping at my blue tinted fingertips!
This is the kind of weather that forces people to walk stooped over as they pull their layers tighter to their bodies muttering and cursing under their breath and to be pissy drunk until they slump face forward on the bus, because the pain of the cold is too much for them to bear. The kind of havoc that wrecks plans, dispositions, and heating bills! As discomforting as I find hot, humid, stagnant air to be, I'd definitely take that kind of summer over this any day. I find it easier to keep cool. Keeping warm? Not so much. I'll admit the cold air has been great for my pores, but sidestepping people sneezing and hacking into the brisk air, and stepping over globs of spit and phlegm on the sidewalk doesn't do anything to soothe my soul or my mild germaphobia. I'm finding myself eating a myriad of strange things for breakfast, in a desperate bid to warm up from the inside out (atomic fire balls and coffee anyone?) Pressing lunch time errands go ignored, because I simply can't bear the thought of going out into the frosty air. As kinky as this may sounds to some, every morning and every evening, I cover myself, neck to toe in thick body butters and generous globs of Vaseline... a vain attempt to keep my skin supple, moisturized, and protected from the ash dying to attach itself to my skin! I'm a greazy woman this winter! And I'm loving every second of it as I'm triumphing over the ashiness. It's an especially mad, cruel, winter or at least it has been these past couple of weeks. The city of Hartford, CT seems allergic to plowing the snow piles properly, making it rather difficult to navigate the curbs and cross the street. Today, a blind woman fell over a pile of snow as she gingerly stepped off the bus, swinging her stick wildly into the air trying to find her way. The bus driver simply looked on from the perch of his seat, as the woman struggled to her feet and dusted herself off. A friendly passenger ran out to tend to her, "Okay, she's up on her feet, let's get going," I heard a dry teenage voice mutter impatiently from the back of the bus. Empathy is officially dead, folks. Nothing left to
do but mull over looming debts that need to be paid and drown my
winter blues in a sea of red wine. piping hot mugs of black coffee, and strong, spicy teas.

January 26, 2008

Personal Space Invasion Syndrome (PSIS)

I've been documenting the crazy on here since about 2004. I think regular readers (assuming people have been following this blog for that long)- probably are hip to the fact that I am a self-described neurotic with a smattering of germaphobia and a dollop of obssessive behavior (i.e. where I place items in my personal space matters, as I insist things be placed a certain way, and that they're neat and organized). And while this much I know is in fact true, my quirkiness has not prompted any need for prescriptions used to combat any anxiety or psychotic episodes. In summation, I'm a relatively normal person- (considering the levels of actual weirdness festering out there)- who is slightly askew. I pump a celebratory fist at my eccentricities and don't plan on changing any time soon. No one's infallible. And for those acting like they are... you all need to cut it out. The prologue aside, if there's one thing I cannot stand, it is when people (particularly those not close with or familiar to me) invade and tamper with my personal space and belongings without my permission. Close talkers (if I back up a couple of inches... please don't move forward to close the already small gap)- If you don't come in a wine glass, we aren't about to kiss, or about to engage in relations... there's no need for anybody to be 2 inches away from my mouth, beyond the standard (6 to 8 sq ft), conversational closeness. I think violating someone's space; adjusting and taking other people's things without asking is rude, discourteous, and disrespectful... particularly if you're the type of person who resents having your things tampered with and especially if it's within the context of a communal (i.e. work) environment, where the majority of the space is already shared, to begin with. It's almost as if certain people feel as if they're entitled to behave this way, or they have the right to impose their tastes by strongly suggesting a person should rearrange things to look a particular way other than how they choose have it set up. I mean, you listen and humor people afflicted with PSIS by saying, "Oh okay, that sounds nice. But I think I'll just leave it like this" and they're adamant about trespassing, like an uninvited guest who insinuates him/herself into your home, rearranges the furniture, and uses your toothbrush! You can see their sweaty fingers and palms wiggling with the desire to touch your stuff. To rearrange, to fix and fuck everything up... making you ready to sling some pimp slaps. These people, who like to stand shoulder to shoulder, toe-to-toe... so close that you feel a little of their spittle spray your face during conversation. Making you shudder with disgust, also prompting you to tap your foot uncomfortably, to swallow hard, and blink furiously to keep from going nuts. People, listen, regardless of how crazy this rant may seem, this type of bahavior is definitely a spatial DON'T. I think we've gotten too comfortable in this current cult of personality. Manners are a thing of the past. We live in a culture that divulges TMI about bowel movements, itchy delicates, and explicit sexploits (some great to listen to, some not so sexy), where people will grope, expose themselves or rub up against strangers, and where people think it's okay to invade... to bully their way into someone else's orbit, scattering forces messing up the alignment of your small planets. All it does is create tension, anger, and more neuroses to grapple with. How difficult is it to be respectful of other people's space and property? It's not. Some concepts are fundamental and implicit. So back the hell up and keep hulking figure and hands off of other people's sphere, unless invited. That's it.

November 13, 2007

Rat Race

I can openly say (now) that I've been pounding the pavement for the past several months, job interviewing, hunting, fielding phone calls, mailing out resumes, receiving notices confirming receipt of my resume, wash, rinse and then repeat. Needless to say, the whole process is frustrating. It's the pits! Particularly when you're so close. Sooooo very close to being hired only to be told "Ohhh.... well you're too overqualified" or "We can't move forward with an offer for another two months. Sorry for putting you through SEVERAL INTERVIEWS AND PHONING EVERY LAST ONE OF REFERENCES, AND DOING THAT BACKGROUND CHECK ON YOU!! Please bear with us..." Notwithstanding the fact that you've answered all of their redundant (and sometimes condescending and ridiculous) questions, and have been more than accommodating in providing them with everything they need to move forward with an offer, including making yourself available at a moment's notice for another interview. I feel like a salesperson, going door to door selling your wares. One or two people invite you in. Let you sit down and go through your whole spiel. They nod. They ask several questions. They seem interested. They breathe in as if they're about to say, "I'm sold! I'll take two!" Only to change their minds and say, "Ohhh. I'm sorry. I'm not interested." Argh! Frustrating. Sometimes I wonder if those doing the interviewing, remember what it was like when they were practically groveling for their jobs... I need a drink.
The movie clip is from the film, Fear and Trembling, based on Amelie Nothomb's novel Stupeur et Tremblement.

October 22, 2007

Full Speed Ahead on the Ignoramus Express

This is why race matters continue to fester. And why I become a little more bitter (with a dash of militancy thrown in for good measure) and a little less hopeful. Racism and bigotry in varying degrees continue to percolate, because many members of the majority refuse to acknowledge or accept the fact that people with dark skin, are not intellectually inferior. And have the capacity to excel and be successful. People like this piece of shit are archaic (but unwelcome) artifacts, that need to be buried for good with the rest of the fossils. UGH! Maddening!

October 15, 2007

Tantalus is My Homeboy

Drawing straws and constantly coming up short, is exasperating. In fact, it's downright maddening. Especially when you think you're making headway. When you're soooo close to triumph. My face hurts from all the (fake) smiling, taking 'ish in stride, and feigning optimism in the wake of so many roadblocks. I feel like going outside in the chilly fall air, and screaming at the top of my lungs. I want the whole world or at least those within a 10 block radius, to feel... know... experience what adverse frustration feels like. You know that twisting feeling one gets at the pit of the stomach... when you've overindulged in way too much of a good thing... like intensely flavored Middle Eastern fare or rich chocolate truffles, rolled in even more powdered cocoa? That is what adverse frustration feels like. At least for me. ...
I breathe in... and then I exhale. I breathe in... and then I exhale. I try to stop the rapid beating in my chest. I unclench my fists and I massage the insides of my right hand, and then use the right to massage the left. And then I dive back in. Making sure to pinch my nostrils closed so as not to breathe in too much of the elements, because I don't wanna drown or knock the wind out of my person ...

September 08, 2007

Re-birth of a Nation

"the greatest americans have not been born yet they are waiting patiently for the past to die. please give blood" -Saul Williams
During the summer of August 9, 2006 in Sound Beach on Long Island, a heated confrontation at a party- (where he was accused of threatening to rape a young white girl some months prior to the summer celebration)- prompted Aaron White, a 19 year old Black teenager to leave sans argument, after it was demanded that he do so. On his way home (nearby Miller Place, a predominantly white community), Aaron exchanged a series of angry cell phone calls with 17 year old Daniel Cicciaro, who alerted Aaron White that he was coming to his home. Drunk, Mr. Cicciaro with four of his friends in tow (all white), proceeded on with the threat of their presence. All five angry teenagers pulled up in front of the Whites' residence in two cars shortly after 11pm and were greeted by Aaron White and his father, John White via the garage. Father and son felt threatened enough to arm themselves for the impending showdown. Yelling ensued, in which Cicciaro and friends allegedly hurled racial epithets and refused to leave. At some point during the melee, Mr. White (father) shoots Daniel Cicciaro in the face with an antique handgun he inherited from his own grandfather. Daniel Cicciaro is felled by the gunshot, and is announced dead upon arrival to the emergency room. John White- who moved his family to their dream home on the North Shore in 2004- is described as a harding working "upstanding citizen" with no prior police record and who has never committed a crime in his life. He expressed deep regret and sorrow toward the Cicciaro family, claiming the incident was an "accident' and that he never meant to shoot the young man. That his only intent was to protect his family and scare his son's pursuers away from his home. John White was charged with manslaughter and criminal weapon possession. Internet users would then blow online news forums up with hateful racial epithets upon hearing the father's fate. Including cries for John White to be hung from a tree. While the outcome of the altercation is tragic, indeed. Can one blame John White for protecting his family and his son? The teens were unarmed, yes. But alcohol, bravado, hate speech, anger... Perhaps Daniel would be alive today, if he and his friends hadn't tried to recreate some vigilante style style of revenge. It's purported that during the 911 call and the race to get young Daniel to the hospital, his friends were overheard (through the phone) spouting off even more contemptuous race rhetoric. ...
Miles away, in Jena, Louisiana racial tensions are also brewing. Reaching their peak on August 31, 2006 after a black male freshman asks the Jena High School principal if he could sit under the shade of the "white tree" (where most of the white students usually convened amongst themselves). The principal suggested that students could sit wherever they wanted to. Three white students disagreed however, because the next morning three nooses were found hanging from that very same tree. The three students were later found to be guilty of the infraction and were up for expulsion... which the school board and superintendent promptly overruled. The superintendent would later trivialize the threat as a joke, as opposed to a threat against Black students' sensibilities. The school administration would later fail to report the incident to the police or the FBI (such brazen incidents can and should be reported as a Hate Crime). The decision and subsequent indifference would cause racial animus to reach a fever pitch. A series of disagreements, racially charged fights, and arson would soon occur over the course of three months. Black students would continue to grow disenchanted and slighted by the school's administration and local law officials. These disagreements would eventually culminate in the assault of a 17 year old white student named Justin Barker, perpetrated by 6 Black Jena High School students: Robert Bailey, Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Theo Shaw, and an unidentified minor. Barker allegedly hurled racial epithets, a charge his family denies. Barker was taken to the hospital and treated for a concussion, bruising, and various other injuries and released two hours later, in time for a ring ceremony. The Jena Six, however were arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The overzealous District Attorney would then decide to increase the charge to attempted second degree murder which could result in the defendants being imprisoned past age 50. This blow prompted outrage from the Black residents of Jena, because the charges were disproportionate to the crime. On June 26, Bell's sentence would be reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery. According to my research, a deadly weapon would've needed to be used, to warrant being charged with such. The DA argued that Mychal Bell's tennis shoes he wore during the day of the assault and kicked Barker with, were deadly weapons. The all white jury agreed. The other defendants' charges would eventually be reduced, leaving Mychal Bell to remain in jail, facing 22 years in prison. All are waiting for their day in court, which will happen later this month. So many conflicting accounts and mishandling of this case. The public outcry and online groups supporting the Jena Six are warranted. The case has garnered national attention and has drawn the ire and support of black leaders and organizations. Jena's Black community are skeptical that the boys will receive a fair trial. I mean after all, their wariness is justified considering the glaring segregation and aloof attitudes toward the "noose" incident. The Jena Six should indeed pay if they assaulted Justin Barker. But they should pay with a sentence that matches the crime. Most murderers and repeat sexual molesters get off with with less time. How much responsibility do Jena High School administrators bear, by deciding not to address the root cause of the issue to begin with? They, in essence, instigated a terrible situation by choosing not acknowledge it. A prank is stealing the school mascot or T.P.ing the halls. Hanging nooses, racially charged graffiti, and the like are not mere pranks. It's hateful propaganda that has no place in the school system or anyplace else... not in this day and age. It's frustrating that in 2007, issues of race still abound. Technology, the current cult of personalities, media, and celebrity help exacerbate hateful language and inane rhetoric. The structure of most institutions and a dubious this White House administration continue to disadvantage many ethnic groups by fanning the flames of xenophobia, racial profiling, and not accepting that we're in the midst of the 21st century! A multicultural era, where we should be evolved by now. Instead, we're slowly regressing. Most of us are still scratching our heads over the outcome of Hurricane Katrina. As much as I'd like to think we'll reach some sort of resolution on race matters, the fact is, I don't think there will ever be a workable medium. Period. That would require cooperation from the powers that be. That would require those same powers that be, to relinquish some semblance of control by distributing justice and equality fairly and accordingly. Fat chance of that ever happening. Divide and then conquer. The most antiquated (and seemingly effective) method in the book. ... Why do hate and growing racial disparities still continue thrive and fester? The Jena Six deserve a fair trial plain and simple, and are being railroaded. P.S. I'm dying to hear Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly weigh-in on the Jena Six situation, if they haven't already.

August 08, 2007

Salope

The New York City Council is trying to flex its legislative muscle by attempting to get a bill passed, that would put a city wide ban on the poetic words: Bitch and Ho' in hopes of discouraging entertainers and young people from using them. Oh the horror! Councilwoman, Darlene Mealy voiced her disdain for the words, calling them "hateful and deeply sexist," and says they create "a paradigm of shame and indignity." While I agree with and admire Ms. Mealy's stance against those words how, exactly, does one eradicate the use of bitch? Particularly within a metropolitan structure as massive as New York City, where the word is as endearing as it is hateful? Bitch is commonplace in the fashion industry. It's used in New York's most famed and widely read gossip columns. It's uttered on the lips of fashionistas, socialites, gays, and hags alike. I use the word semi-regularly myself. How do you force a large body of urbanites to not use the word without stomping all over their constitutional and goddess given right to do so? I say you can't. Given the climate of the culture we live in, it's unrealistic to expect anyone, New Yorkers especially, to delete the word from their vocabulary. What the hell are drag queens and trannies supposed to use if not bitch?? Ms. Mealy's frame of thinking dictates that her argument will carry symbolic power against the derisive uses of bitch and ho.' In a statement to the New York Times, Village Voice columnist and media/popculture gadfly, Michael Musto opined:
"Half my conversation would be gone. On the downtown club scene the two terms are also used as terms of endearment. We divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love."
Another naysayer to Mealy's stance argued,
"Hell, if I can't say bitch, I wouldn't be able to call half my friends."
Still, Mealy says that Bitch and ho' are "vile attacks against our womanhood." Look, I don't agree with every expletive nor do I entirely condone the use of many, but as someone who uses colorful language quite often, If I were a New Yorker, I'd probably be a little resentful of Ms. Mealy's suggestion to ban my right to say Bitch and ho. In light of our current White House administration's dictatorial tactics and conservatives mouthing off about what a woman should and shouldn't do with her body, the last thing people want are even more bullying measures, that intercept personal rights and freedom of speech. I sense a need to bring this country back to its puritanical roots, and that is called regression. And I don't like it. Do I want to be referred to as a bitch or a ho'? No. But I don't take it as an affront to my own personal womanhood if I hear someone utter the words in a rap song or on the street. You can't force people, adults to delete certain bad-words from their arsenal of expletives. In fact, if the bill passed it would only heighten the appeal and usage of such and possibly do more harm than good! Determining when bitch is appropriate: commentating at dog shows and in describing female dogs, and when it's not: to chide a dumb ass or to playfully tease a friend or your favorite gay, can be tricky. We do have to take responsibility for our conduct and how we interact with one another but, forcing people in a country that is supposed to have substantial amounts of freedom, is a bit much. Enforcing change in vernacular via authority is a fluke and it doesn't really solve the problem. Why not exert the energy to combat poverty, homelessness, and crime. All three of those sad realities are indeed a bitch and should be tackled head-on.

June 15, 2007

TMI ! TMI-I-I-I-I !!!

I was flipping through the latest issue of Jane Magazine, when I came across the back stories section. I was struck and somewhat amused by Jane senior editor, Josh Lyon's story, "There's no such thing as TMI." Josh seemed a bit put out by the notion of there being a such thing as too much shared information. He relayed a story regarding recent a dinner gathering he had with friends, including a new person one of his friends was dating. Apparently they were all sitting around the table swapping sordid tales (much to new girl's discomfort), when one of Josh's friends mentioned she was experimenting with using a strap-on in the boudoir. Newbie had heard enough and finally yelled, "TMI!" ... which marked an abrupt end (screeching noise and all) to the seedy table talk. Josh wrote:
"TMI (short for Too Much Information) "is my most hated phrase in the English language. I live by the words of Roman playwright Terence: 'Nothing that is human is alien to me.' "
Josh further justifies why he believes it's absolutely crucial for people to share baseless bits of personal information about themselves, to strangers. He even went so far as to label those of us who've no desire to hear said information, as being insecure and neurotic about the heaping dish of skankiness being force fed to us. Josh made sure to absolve himself from that equation however, by citing the only exception to the TMI rule as immediate family members discussing their sex lives- (apparently his father gets nostalgic about the hookers during his time in 'Nam). Hmm, seems as if what's good for the goose is not good enough for the gander. Listen, I have been at the receiving end of some unsavory anecdotes told by people I barely know, or only know on a casual basis. My best friend and I swap some delicious, intimate, and intimately disgusting details with one another... but we're close friends. I couldn't fathom making small talk with some stranger at the bus stop or in line somewhere or with someone from work, about how often I get gas, how noxious it smelled, or the details of my menstrual cycle. I can just picture the scenario now:
  • Stranger: Good morning. How are you?
  • Me: Great... except, I had a sharp pain in my stomach this morning, and had to high-tail it to the loo. I dropped a major and soupy slip-sloppin' load. Must've been that curried stuff I ate. So... How are you?"
  • Stranger: Ummm... alllriiighty then. *turns away from me and shudders with disgust and dismay*
Talk of yeast infections, cooter creams, sweaty boobs and what have you would undoubtedly be met with gasps, disapproving scowls, and "La la la la, I don't wanna hear it!" songs. So the fact that I've no desire to engage the DHL deliveryman right before my lunch break, about the wicked case of mud butt he contracted the previous day does not make me a neurotic prude. Imploring the mailman not to go into explicit detail about his bowel movement and the dubious burrito he ate prior to blowing up the bathroom at my job doesn't make me insecure either! Why is my desire NOT to hear about dookey stories indicative of underlying insecurities or some related neurosis?? Josh Lyon couldn't be any more wrong with his assessment. It's not a matter of censorship or someone being an uptight prude... it's a matter of principle and keeping some things sacred and to yourSELF, not everyone is interested in hearing about his drippy experience with strawberry Nesquick and coke ('caine), or his friend's experience with a strap-on. It's also a matter of respect (of other people's boundaries and space) and social conduct. Someone walking into a shared office early in the A.M. (in the presence of their supervisor) before coffee has had a chance to co-mingle with blood and declaring, "I'm soooo sore. I've been having anal sex alllll weekend!" is not only discourteous but unnecessary and unacceptable work fodder. Save it for someone who cares, who is actually willing to listen and asks for the details during a break away from from everyone else, and who doesn't mind the visual it paints. A colleague and friend recently told me that while she's open-minded and have no qualms about listening to offbeat and titillating tales of sex, drugs, and doo-doo, people share a lot of nasty nougats with her she doesn't want to hear. Because she has no obvious barriers up, she ends up listening anyway... prompting the storyteller to get even more gratuitous with the details. I think the same can be said about me, but even I have a limit. Diarrhea, anal itching, dubious rashes outside the private parts, weird vagina leakage and stories of the like are examples of where I draw the line... particularly if I hardly even know you. There are even some subjects that I refuse to blog about, and the loads of dirty laundry I share are being read by people who are going out of their way to do so. I'm not forcing my tales down people's throats and belittling those who wish not to read my blog, labeling them as socially inept and insecure because they don't want to. Sharing and listening to delicious sex stories and gruesome details about bodily functions has a specific time and place... there is also a rhythm to delivering such information, making it fun to giggle over. Dumping it on someone unexpectedly (particularly if it's not dirty boudoir banter with a significant other) is rude, inconsiderate, and plain tacky and I reserve my right say whether or not want to hear it.

June 08, 2007

This Much I KNOW is True...

  • Star(mega)bucks in downtown Hartford, is a yuppie magnet and it puts me off. Hearing them utter the Starbucks lingo is irritating and prompts me to defiantly ask for a COFFEE OF THE DAY, MEDIUM SIZE PLEASE, as opposed to repeating the toolish,
    "I'd like a venti soy orange frappacinno mochachokalottayaya thingimastuff with extra foam and skim milk."
  • I also know that spilling scalding hot coffee down my gauchos, on a particularly hot day isn't soothing to my soul or my thighs.
  • I know that Paris Hilton's release from prison after having served a paltry 3-5 days (of her 23 day sentence), for undisclosed medical reasons (idiocy?) is indicative of there being TWO different realities in this country. One for the rich, blonde, & famous and one for US
  • I know that Cat's new whip is hot and that I had fun joyriding around town with her, this past weekend. I also know that having to use my feminine wiles and my voluptuosity to get her a decent parking spot, from the parking attendants across the street from my building, should NOT have had to happen. They needn't have asked us if we wanted some of their chicken afterward, because they were "African." The offer didn't do anything to placate either of us, so we declined. Apparently assholism spans a wide spectrum, I KNOW this to be true. I keep hearing the James Brown "It's a Man's World" tune playing in my head, when I think of this incident.
  • I also know that I don't like being called "dear" by women close to my own age. It's condescending.
That's it.

May 25, 2007

Keeping Our Head Above Water...

Yesterday, after I was settled in at home from work, I caught an episode of Good Times on the TV Land network. Florida (matriarch of the Evans clan) came home, excited and breathless... ready to share with her family that she had just enrolled herself back in school, in hopes of obtaining her GED. Before she could relay the good news to her family, father James [Evans] interrupted, chastising her for not listening to HIS good news first. He had been hired for a better paying job with a construction company as a foreman, and the opportunity would possibly allow him to move up. Excited, Florida heaped praise upon her husband, before telling her family that she was back in school, and may finally have the opportunity to get her diploma after having dropped out in the 10th grade. Thelma, J.J., and Michael were ecstactic and hugged their mother. James (who dropped out of school in the 6th grade) on the other hand wasn't thrilled and a dark look came across his face. Suddenly he became discouraging and somewhat insulting... commenting, "Everybody knows that you can't teach an old dog new tricks!" He suggested that best friend, neighbor, and modern woman (for the time) Willona was the one, undoubtedly, putting such nonsense, as going back to school, into Florida's head. James also demanded to know what she planned on fixing for dinner. Willona proudly told James that she had finished school, got her diploma, and that it afforded her the opportunity to work at a clothing boutique. Florida challenged James (with Willona's encouragment) that if he tried to stop her from achieving her goal, he was gonna be faced with "One hell of a fight!" from her and suggested that she wouldn't be able to improve the quality of her (or the family's) life if she didn't see her education through to fruition. It was an intense episode. Due to my getting up to get a glass of vino and some Ramen, I missed the end. Good Times was filmed during the mid 70's, which wasn't that long ago. That particular episode, where James discourages Florida's desire to improve herself by turning into a chauvinist extraordinaire... brow beating and insulting his wife's desire to excel, prompted me to think about how difficult women... black women (as well as other women of color) in particular, had it during that time (and how difficult it still can be for us). I'm reminded of the whole concept behind (and need for) the womanist movement, encouraged by author Alice Walker and adapted from her book: In Search of Our Mother's Garden: Womanist Prose. The concept of womanism came to be, because women of color were left out of the mix during the feminist movement... which dealt largely with issues pertaining to white, middle-class women; and focused predominantly on suffrage and sexism. Racism and classism were not issues they related to or felt compelled to fight against. Womanism paints a portrait from the perspective of black women. When discussing issues of race or classism, the focus tends to be about the oppression of black men. Sexism tends to chart the plight and suppression of white women and how they overcame their struggles. It's rare to find literature that deals specifically with the oppression, suppression, and plight of black women, specifically. There are Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, but how many other black women have traveled tumultuous roads, paving the way and fighting for civil rights and liberties for women of color? We grapple with sexism, classism, and racism. Throw sexual stereotypes based on ethnicity into that equation, thanks to the rump shaking featured in rap videos and the media's portrayal of us, and you begin to understand WHY the Don Imus incident caused such an uproar, after he described the Rutgers University women's basketball team as being "nappy headed ho's." Many people seemed flummoxed about the furor that statement incited. Some martyrized him, saying that his constitutional right to free speech was being infringed upon... which is true, but so is our right to freely be WHO and WHAT we are, without having to continously apologize or go through this multi-step assimilation process, because people aren't happy with how we look. It's maddening, and I'm sick to death of it. Snoop Dog weighed in on the Imus controversy, by justifying his (and other rappers') use of the term "ho's", after the rap community came under fire (or were scape-goated) for desensitizing the masses to the use of the word ho'. Snoop suggested that it was okay for rappers to disrespect certain types of women by calling them the ugly name, because they're referring to the ho's living in the projects, not "a successful basketball team." That didn't really do much to help our cause, now did it? It's a neverending battle, particuarly when you consider that we already have 3 strikes against us. I think of some of my own personal struggles, particularly since I wear my hair natural, I carry around an ample rear end, and I constantly have to defend the reasons WHY I don't act like [insert stereotype here], WHY black women aren't one- dimensional, and WHY I'm not going drop my shit like it's hot for some ignoramus who has OD'ed on videos shown on BET... or WHY I want you to kiss my ample rear, when you pigeonhole me and women of color or chastise me for my blackness. I will gladly continue to fight the good fight and refer to myself as a 21st century womanist.

May 16, 2007

Sucio

Dear Mr. Man (and I use Mr. and Man loosely):
Every now and again, I see you in the A.M. as I wait in front of the Holiday Inn Express downtown, for my bus to arrive. You're usually wearing a t-shirt that illustrates the fact that you're a street cleaner. Perhaps this is your chosen profession, or perhaps that's what a judge sentenced you to do for committing whichever petty crime you indulged yourself in. Either way, I appreciate the fact that you clean up the debris, ciggie butts, that you sweep away the hocked loogies on the ground, shards of glass, or what have you. I'm grateful that you're working towards keeping the city clean (even if it's something you may not have chosen to do on your own accord). I'm glad you do that, even if you slither by me lasciviously with your broom and dustpan, and croon in the slimy sounding melody: "How you doin'?" as your eyes dance up and down in all their prurient glory... Usually I pretend not to see or hear you as I hide behind a mask of dark shades and disgust. Sometimes I suck it up, choke down the bile rising in my throat, and manage to mutter some sort of terse reply to your greeting. Perhaps the last time you saw me, you mistook the slight twist of my mouth (in disdain) or the sneer for a sheepish grin because this morning, you ambled by once again, and this time you stopped... right in front of me, much to my chagrin.
" 'scuse me sweeth'a't, you know how to get rid of text messages in a cell phone?"
I stared at you, at once flummoxed and agitated... I also rubber necked past you, and noted my bus at the stop light just down the street. I considered how long it would take me to reach for my pepperspray, and any nearby police cruisers in the surrounding area in case you decided to try something stupid. I pondered all of these things, in the brief moment of space and time you asked me that ridiculous question, before sighing exasperatedly and answering "What?"
"I got a lotta text messages in my cell phone and I don't know how to delete them. You know how to do dat?"
I glared at you from behind my shades again, and then shrugged indifferently before replying
"Go to your phone's menu settings and you should be able to access the tools you need to do that."
I rubber necked over your shoulder one mo'gin to see what was taking the damn bus so long at that stop light! "Can you jus' show me, 'cuz I don't know how to and I got a lot of them" you said, as you sidled, uncomfortably close next to me and flipped open your cell phone. I stared at you incredulously and said, "ummmm, I don't think so..." Then you shoved your phone in my hand and said, "I honestly don't know how to delete them" and you moved even closer next to me, almost shoulder to shoulder... I stared up at you, annoyed by this uninvited intrusion on my personal space , your phone sitting loosely in my hand, me ready to drop it on the ground, when I noticed you staring down my effing shirt. I angrily shoved your phone back at you and moved away, the nausea and loathing working it's way back up my throat... luckily the bus I needed was making its way towards me. You? You looked slightly alarmed at my reaction... and said, "Uh, okay sweeth'a't... thanks anyway" and skulked off. I hope you didn't think I'd be impressed or happy by your behavior! Perhaps it has been a long time since you've sidled up next to a woman, perhaps my enchanting scent drew you in and made you practically dry hump my leg... in any event I don't appreciate it... and your lamer than lame tactic was pure comedy and more importantly, it wasn't cool. You were going down the right road, if you were looking to get maced.
xoxo Coffey