Thursday, July 31, 2008
1. The blacktress is officially booked on Quantas flight 740, departing San Francisco on October 11, 2008. I arrive in Sydney on October 13*-- holla!!! Eli Reed and other Aussie friends: I expect you to have 12 rugged men and 7 koalas waiting for me.
2. Tonight is date #2 with a hottie from NEW ZEALAND!!!
I mean, that’s practically like Australia (don’t tell him I said that—there’s apparently beef between the two countries), so it’s great preparation for the big trip. It also allows me to pretend like I'm dating Jemaine from "Flight of the Conchords" (let me look at my list....living the dream? CHECK! hot accent? double-check! love for a blacktress? mutha-CHECKIN' yes!)
He has even asked me to be his “summer girlfriend”—yes, please!! Best to go out with a bang, I always say!
3. This morning, I was on the Underground Railroad heading in the wrong direction (to the plantation), when a petite pregnant lady got on the train. Being NYC at rush hour, of course there were no seats left. She quietly stood and grabbed the pole, and I looked around momentarily. Not a single man, woman, or child got up. I got the woman’s attention and offered her my seat. She immediately accepted and I stood up over the young, able-bodied hipster guy who I had been sitting next to. He looked momentarily sheepish, then went back to reading his book on social theory.
I was so annoyed by this turn of events. Well, yes, I would have liked to sit, but I was more put off by the fact that I, a young blacktress, was the only person who offered to give this clearly-8-months-pregnant woman a seat on the train. She’s holding life in womb, for Christ’s sake! I can barely stand up in a pair of heels, so lord knows the day I accidentally get knocked up, I’m gonna need to take a knee every ten seconds!! And, on top of that, I noticed that when she sat down she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring—is she a single mom, struggling with the worry of how to raise this incoming fetus on her own?! My lord, if I had that weighing on my shoulders in addition to the baby weighing on my torso, I would probably be in a Jazzy Electric Wheelchair, much like this one:
The refusal of any man to get up off his ass and give her a seat reminded me of the words of a great poet—Nelly Furtado—in her hit opus “Promiscuous”:
“Roses are red / some diamonds are blue / chivalry is dead / but you’re still kinda cute.”
I mean, if that ain’t the gospel truth, I don’t know what is. If it was 1956, everyone with a Y chromosome would have gotten up when that woman came on the train, and some probably would have removed their bowler hats. Alas, those days of propriety are gone.
I guess I shouldn’t be so upset, though—if the old days were still around, I’d be sitting at the back of the bus.
*What happens to me for a whole day???? It’s like I’m in some transcontinental vortex where I cease to exist…..I smell a Sci-Fi channel original motion picture!
Friday, July 25, 2008
I really like your blog. Even though I am white and sometimes delicate, you make me want to be a strong black woman. I was wondering if I could ask you to do me a favor. I think you should blog something inspirational for a friend of mine who has recently given up on men.
You can lie if necessary.
Please? Yes? Okay, thanks!
-Anonymous (person you are friends with)
PS: Also, did you SEE the youtube clip I sent you from Sesame Street with Aaron Neville singing with Ernie? That is like the song of my childhood, and Aaron Neville's musical stylings are just outrageous.
I am more than happy to support your “friend’s” recent decision to renounce man-love. I am quite flattered that in a time of weakness, you have come to the blacktress for the ultimate boost. Here’s why I think it’s a good thing to give up on men—at least for a year or two while you get your head right.
One of the best things about swearing off the gender of your desire is that you suddenly have a wealth of time on your hands. No longer spending hours on the phone, obsessing over every detail of a 4-minute conversation,** or running to parties in the depths of the outer boroughs in hopes of playing it cool,*** you can focus on making the world a better place for you and your loved ones.
I’ve created a pithy list of all the things you can do instead of thinking about men. Feel free to print it, cut it out, and laminate it—you can keep it in your wallet next to your safety condom.
When You Let Go of Man-Love, You Can Spend More Time:
- Doing needlepoint and other crafts
- Animal Rescue
- Canvassing for Barack Obama
- Listening to Ani Difranco while crying into a pint of Haagen Daz
- Going to the gym (where I like to eat whole pizzas while sitting on the exercise bike)
- Traveling to foreign lands and starting a pop-music career.
- Sending Facebook messages to that friend from high school you’ve been meaning to call, but haven’t gotten around to ‘cause of all the worrying about men you were doing.
- Engaging in discourse
- Singing along to the soundtracks of Broadway musicals (dudes hate that)
- Writing your first major motion picture—a period piece set during the Franco-Prussian War.
- Applying for jobs you actually might want.
- Saving your money for that big trip to Malta and/or Australia.
- Fighting the power
- Attending rock concerts and other live performances
- Re-reading the Harry Potter series and/or Searching the internet for still photos of naked Daniel Radcliffe in Equus.
This is just a small sampling of all the things you’ll be able to do with your newfound emotional and temporal freedom. In fact, I would say you’re not “giving up on men” so much as “giving in to yourself!”
Congratulations. I think you are on your way to becoming a strong black woman.
PS: I have seen the Aaron-and-Ernie duet, and I must agree that it is uplifting on so many levels. Let's relive the magic:
* Actually, I think the exact number is 345.
**“Oh my god, I thought he was going to kiss me, but then he paused—but was it more of a comma kind of pause or a semicolon?!”
*** Girl, we all know you came from Harlem to Sunset Park for one reason only…
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I sent in my application and paid my $195 Australian dollars (which is, sadly, about $194.50 US dollars) this morning, guys—Australia, here I come!!!
As I went through the 8-page application, I gave them all my personal biznass, and half expected to have to submit a blood sample and/or provide a retinal scan. Luckily, they just wanted to make sure I wasn’t a thieving immigrant looking to have major surgery done on their shores. Sample questions included:
What is your usual occupation?: BLACKTRESS
What employment do you intend to seek in Australia?: Michelle Obama and/or Beyoncé impersonator
Do you intend to perform medical procedures during your stay in Australia?: Only if you consider making people HANDLE THE TRUTH a medical procedure
Seriously, though, I’m really excited. And nervous. Where will I live? Will I find work? Will I find people to make out with so that my blog can thrive down under? What if I get attacked by one of the many venomous creatures that only exist in Australia (the only island that is also a country and also a continent!)?! I’ve been reading up on my soon-to-be home, and I’ve discovered many interesting factoids, which I will share with you:
- Victoria is home to Megascolides Australis the GIANT EARTH WORM! Measuring up to 12 feet long, it’s huge and gross, and I think might have been the basis for the movie Tremors.
- Australia did not become a proper nation until 1901, when the 6 colonies decided to come together.
- The notion of Australian citizenship didn’t exist until 1949; before that, they were British citizens.
- The average population density in Australia is only 6 people per square mile! The world average is about 117.
- I plan on visiting the following places simply for their names: Wagga Wagga, Poowong, Burrumbuttock, and….wait for it….wait for it….Tittybong! I am hoping to become the mayor of one of these places.
Sidebar: In Australia, comedians are known as ‘crackers.’ When I first heard the term used to describe Kathy Griffin, I thought it was quite racist and more than a little bit rude—until I got down with the lingo.
Monday, July 21, 2008
[I kid you not. Things to note: 1. she was “spawned,” much like a woodland animal, not “born” as we often think of ourselves; 2. she fails to tell us if the drawing she handed in on that first day was good—should she really be saying this is when she first became an artist?]
“…I have a misty watercolor memory of a public park where neighborhood children were taught arts and crafts…I owe a debt of gratitude to the powers that made that park program happen. From there came the spark that illuminated my young soul and ignited that unquenchable fire to express in watercolor what I see and fee. Thanks also to the coloring books and those books that require you to wet the darkened spaces that magically turn to royal blue and magenta. These were the building blocks, the first steps, and the activities that actually made me a visible person.”
[Um, is this some sort of twisted arts-and-crafts acceptance speech? Oh, and she's quoting song lyrics-- "misty watercolored memories..."--get original, lady! Also note the mixed metaphor of using watercolor to cause a fire. This woman is deep, and has a lot to share. Two pages worth, to be exact.]
“There were special people too who pulled me out of my shell by engaging me in that most fascinating of worlds, creativity-making something wonderful out of bits of nothing. I made a puppet out of strips of paper with flour/water glue. I named him Mortimer Snerd; he led to a phenomenal puppet show on the bay window of our first floor bedroom. What an incredible day that was...
“The people in my family are not plant people. Plants seem to be a luxuriant thing during those hard times when putting food on the table and a roof over the head were daily accomplishments. But, my sister was a teenager at last and she had a plant. I’m not sure what kind of a plant it was. I suspect it was some form of ivy in a clay pot. The first time I saw it was riveting; here was something non-essential, something growing-alive, something that needed to be recorded. My first real watercolor was of that plant. Then came a collection of flowers from a picture in a book. But the work that made me credible at last with my family (on my mother’s side, at least) was of a church in British Columbia. That watercolor will outlive me by many years and has been coveted by more than a few of my mothers relatives...
“Today I teach drawing to children. Some kids only want to draw ‘Mr. Underpants’ and they are happy, and I am glad they are happy. But, I look for the quiet one in the corner, the invisible one, and I search my bag of tricks for the right word, line, or color, that will light the spark that will allow the world to see the wonder that they truly are.”
[That is the very end of the letter. Some things to note in the last three paragraphs: (1) Mortimer Snerd, homemade hand puppet and actor, who debuted on the bay window for one night only, was an actual puppet in the 50s, popular among kids and adults alike. here he is:
(2) Perhaps the ellipsis from the hand-puppet to the plant seems jarring, and you’re wondering why I would have eliminated the transition sentence. Well, I didn’t. There was absolutely nothing that led from the good ol’ days of puppetry to plant people; (3) Note the bitter tone that exudes from the phrase “made me credible at last with my family (on my mother’s side, at least)—lord knows what dad’s side thinks of her wayward lifestyle; (4) Who is “Mr. Underpants”? Does she mean Spongebob SquarePants?; (5) That is the end of the letter. There is no request for an article to be written, no comments on our magazine and how it’s influenced her, no questions about our publishing process or recent issues. She just seemed to, you know, want to let us know a little bit about her. I really hope she has fellow artist elderly friends to share her stories with.]
Friday, July 18, 2008
For your viewing pleasure, here's a live version of Sojourner's stand-up show during Black History Month. Topics include:
Ps in Vs Without Cs
I hope you enjoy.
Oh, and remember: it's comedy. Let's not get our panties in a twist.
Monday, July 14, 2008
1. I am able to sharpen my social skills by meeting new people
2. My sense of superiority is increased when I receive emails from people who are unable to spell-check, telling me that they are “realy layed back and into all kind of stuff.”
3. I am reminded that there are a whole host of single men out there, just looking to have a relationship…or put their P in your V—and you’ve gotta be able to tell the difference.
4. Meeting randoms in heavily populated, well-lit environments is a good way to prepare for traveling to a foreign land where I’ll have to make new friends ASAP and stretch myself to my limits.
Last week, while bored on the plantation, I put an ad up on the personals section of CL—you know, CrazyList.org. Within minutes, the inbox of my alias email address was flooded with replies.
In the words of Sally Field during her Oscar acceptance speech, “You like me! You really like me!”
Unfortunately, not too many of my “suitors” were suitable—although I was quite glad I’d put in my post, “For the love of god, do NOT send me pictures of your man parts.” I think that really helped cut down on the potential pervy responses.
Of the 20 responses, about 2 of them were worth gchatting with and getting to know. And boy, was I glad I did. Take, for instance, J.R.
JR is a young man who lives outside of the city and was randomly checking out craigslist. His first email to me was:
Im Jacob... and i love you already... well from what i hear...
i cant wait to find out if you are really there ... cause you sound cool as hell.
I mean, how could I not respond? Sure, he could have capitalized here and there, and I appreciate a good apostrophe as much as the next gal, but in these two lines he displayed three very important traits: (1) the willingness to jump the gun and tell a stranger he loves them; (2) the knowledge of my innate coolness; (3) the propensity for over-using ellipses.
Jacob and I started gchatting and I learned that he was attending culinary school and would gladly cook for me. After about 20 minutes, I logged off, not feeling any sparks, but excited at the prospect of getting a free meal in the near future. The next morning, the eager beaver messaged me again. The conversation that followed epitomizes everything I love about meeting people on the internet. Note: there have been no changes made to excerpted text below (note the typos). Everything you read is as it originally appeared. Read and enjoy.
Jacob: do you mind if i b other you/
me: why not at all
[this shows you how willing I am to kill time while in the workplace. Lord knows I didn’t need to be chatting with a random at 10am]
Jacob: i had a really weird dream
me: what happened?
Jacob: growing up there was this really hip cd store called plastic fantastic....that was the setting
and they would let you listen to cd;s before you bought them
so cuba gooding was recomending me crappy music
[Why is he telling me this?]
JR:and then i went outside... and it was my old soccer team from high school... but they were playing football
and my dog was the quarterback ... standing up like a person and throwing the ball
me: you mean like air bud?
air bud 3: golden receiver?
JR: so cuba comes out and gives me the keys to his moped
yeh exactly and he tells me i need to go get more water for the team
and i end up riding my moped ..... being chased by robin hood the serial killer through my freinds house
me: my god
jr, this is intense!
JR: i k now it was terrible
so i found refuge in a pizza place
me: well, it was nice of
i've always liked him in films
JR: hes ok
bad taste in music
i woke up before i got my pizza... still scared of robbin hood
me: which robin hood?
men in tights?
or the animated one?
JR: neither... its like gotham city robin hood with a sythe
and a really big jacket like the talking heads
so then i took a piss cause thats what men do in the morning
and threw the ball for my dog
ate some breakfast.... and then i remembered youd be here
you are a peach.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Last night, I joined White strong black woman Katie Walsh at a networking event for those in the publishing industry. I normally shrink in fear at the idea of swirling my wine glass and explaining my worth to strangers, but if I want to take the blacktress global, I’ve gotta be BLACKtive and show the world what they’re missing. Armed with my biznass cards (holla at a vistaprint.com!), I made my way down to Nolita hotspot Sweet & Vicious.
Once inside, I was greeted with a scent that can only be described as a combination of wheat beer, overpriced margaritas, sweat, and the desire for validation from others. By the time I made my way through the multitude and found my crew, I was sweating like a ho in church—how could I network when I was a hot sweaty mess?
I walked to the back of the bar, in hopes of making it to the outdoor garden for a spot of cool air. Before I could get outside, I was stopped in my tracks by a sight so heinous, my feet when numb.
Mike the Predator.
Mike and I went on a date in the early summer of 2006, shortly after I was emancipated from the shackles of the Deaf. He was probably my fourth “real” date outside of college, and when he ducked out of the bar at 2 am and returned with a bouquet of flowers from a bodega (I kid you not), I thought I’d found a future baby daddy. From Saturday morning until our date on Tuesday, he was all up in my George Foreman (grill) sending texts, leaving messages, and asking me if I “was as excited for the date as he was!”
I was young. I was naïve. I had been weakened by the Deaf. And for some crazy reason, I thought he was seriously just that sprung over the blacktress.
I was wrong.
When we finally went out on our date
He showed up for our date 15 minutes late (-10)
He said he’d have something planned, and then just took me to a nearby bar so he could grab a burger (-5)
He asked me to come over his house and said he’d get a car service to drop me off at home. (ew. -5)
Being the fool I was, I still proceeded to make out with him in a private area of the bar, and after a few minutes, he UNZIPPED HIS PANTS AND PULLED OUT HIS FLACID MEMBER.
Needless to say, that was our last date.
I remember going home in tears, wondering why in god’s name I was releasing some sort of asshole-attracting pheromone (little did I know this was only the beginning of my dating joys in NYC). Soon after I ended up with the polar opposite of Pervy Mike—the Israeli, vegan, investment banker who did a semester at a black college, and would NEVER pull out his member out of turn.
When I saw Mike networking at Sweet & Vicious, with his slicked back hair and tan suit, he looked like a pimp who worked the docks of Miami, just waiting for an unsuspecting ‘fugee to be taken into his grasp. Or, as Katie put it, “he totally looks like he’d be a sexual predator!”
How right she was.
Being so cramped it was impossible to network or look attractive, I left the bar shortly after arriving. Even Saturday morning, the idea that Mike was still alive, single, and able to stalk new victims still baffled me.
That is, until I met MIKE NUMBER 2!!!!
I was invited to a friend’s engagement party in midtown, where I partook of an open bar and yummy apps. Out of nowhere, I was approached by a clean-looking gentleman with spectacles and well-maintained facial hair. He introduced himself as Mike, and we proceeded to talk for most of the evening.
He was 33, lived in Greenwich, CT, and worked at a hedge fund.
Within an hour, he was asking me if I’d like to come to Connecticut with him.
Honestly, men have lost their minds. His readiness to bed me can only be defined as gall. No—hubris. Yes, hubris and over-weening pride!!!
After taking my number and accepting that I wouldn’t go home with him, I left and headed to another party with a new homegirl who is quickly rising in the ranks, where the theme was ‘bananas’—and it was indeed b-a-n-a-n-a-s, like Gwen Stefani says. There, I danced to Justin Timberlake with a man who can only be described as a walking orgasm.
Seriously, he was hotter than anything I’d ever seen. Even hotter than the crazy Greek.
After three JT jams in a row, we sealed our attraction with a smooch, and I walked off chat with my friend—CAUSE WE DON'T LOVE THEM HOS.
Somehow, me and the “walking O” started to talking again (after my gal pal pointed out that he was “eye-fucking the shit out of me”), and the fact that he HAS A GIRLFRIEND slipped out.
“Oh god, I feel like such a terrible person,” I said. Because, seriously, nothing’s more awkward than feeling like you’ve forced your lips onto someone who didn’t want them.
But I was wrong.
“No, you shouldn’t. I wanted to do it, too.”
Turned out hottie’s gf not only lived in Brooklyn, she was asleep, at home SICK, as he was flirting with me!!
Now, this is a hot ass mess. A woman can’t even sleep in peace when she’s got a boyfriend—dude will use any sort of excuse to misbehave.
“Oh, well, babe, you were in the middle of your REM sleep, and so I figured it was fair game….”
HUBRIS, OVER-WEENING PRIDE!!!
If I wasn’t certain men were dirty dogs, I then get a call from the bride-to-be from the engagement party and the following rings in my ears at 11am.
“Naomi, I am so glad you didn’t go home with Mike—he has herpes!!”
I KID YOU NOT, Y’ALL!!!
That fool was going to try to get me to cross state lines with him to Connecticut so he could give me herpes—the gift that keeps on giving!!!
Look, I know STD talk isn’t sexy, and is often quite difficult, but you better disclose that info ASAP—I’m not trying to be one of those couples in a kayak (“he has it. I don’t.”)!!!!
So, over the weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, I learned the following:
1. A man who pulled his P out in a bar WILL live to the tell the tale—even if you’d hoped he was dead in a ditch.
2. People in Greenwich have herpes—STDs aren’t just for the lower class!
3. A man who is hotter than Ethan Hawke making out with Angelina Jolie while James McAvoy watches DOES have a girlfriend, and WILL still make out with you.
4. "To Catch a Predator" needs to extend its search to working young men in NYC.
5. HUBRIS IS EVERYWHERE!!!!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Sorry for falling off the face of the blogosphere (is that what the cool web-savvy kids are calling it nowadays?). I’ve been at a loss for the funny—or, at least, anything funny enough to post. Although the return of Dexter to my on-demand menu has boosted my spirits slightly, I can’t shake off the cloud hanging overhead. Sojourner’s feeling a little off her game. I need another white valedictorian of a historically black college to get the world riled up or something.
As a woman of color and writer, I’ve learned that the only way to get over a writer’s block is to…write. So, in the spirit of breaking the cycle (of violence, oppression, and non-bloggery), let’s get warmed up. Here are some things I thought about blogging about, but couldn’t quite get off the ground:
Another female middle-school teacher was arrested for having an affair with a student.
Kelsey Peterson, a math teacher at Lexington Middle School, in Lexington, Nebraska, plead guilty to traveling across state lines with the intent of elicit sex with a minor on July 1. She started having sex with the student when he was 12 years old, and when rumors of their affair became public, she put him in a car and headed to Mexico.
I kid you not.
While there are many ways to look at this, I think you know what Sojourner would say:
If this doesn’t show you how hard it is to find a decent man, I don’t know what does. Year after year, gainfully employed, intelligent (and cray-cray) young women, faced with the bleak truth of single life in a small town, have no choice but to get them while they’re young and impressionable and try to make love work. So blinded by the need for affection, they ignore all laws and common sense, risking jail time and registry as a sex offender just so they can find a moment of true love—it really is enough to make the baby Jesus cry.
I’m suffering from Black Mama Drama to the Maxxxxx.
For those of you who don’t have black mothers, let me explain. While yes, all parents/guardians like to stress out their children and have trouble seeing them as adults when the time comes, the single black mother is a different, fiercer breed of parent. With the strength of Audre Lorde and other blacktivists she has raised her children, living a life of sacrifice from the moment she chose to carry them to term. Currently living in the house that mamadukes built, I have discovered I am damned if I do AND if I don’t. When I “stay out till 3am, keeping whore hours” (yes, this was said) I do not want to spend time with the family; when I stay in on a Sunday afternoon, I am treated to a torrent of anger over my “pigsty of a room”—I have to ask myself if slavery days were ever really over.
The Hunt for Bindi Continues…
With the aforementioned black mama drama, the decision to move down under is becoming clearer and clearer. My E.T.A. is October 21, 2008—just when springtime is coming. (I’m going to laugh in the face of god and nature by experiencing two summer seasons in one year) I’ve overcome the biggest hurdle yet: finding a place to get my hair did. Serengeti Hair and Beauty, in the heart of Sydney, will handle my nappy scandals for the low-low price of $90-$150!!! AAAAAHHHHH!
Um, the blacktress is going to have to start a haircare fundraiser, stat.
I think I’ll begin my search for the Emmy-nominated child-activist with the Taronga Zoo, in Sydney. Perhaps Bindi will be cuddling a koala, and will have her guard down so that I can swoop in and befriend her.
Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!
The rejection by the Biblical Teacher (that’s what I’m calling him now) is still hurting Sojourner, which shouldn’t be the case. While the first weekend of crying and watching Dexter was to be expected, I try my best to live by two mottos: Ass, gas, or grass—nobody rides for free; and Erase, replace, embrace new face. But for some reason, I just really feel like I f-d up a good thing, and I’m going to die alone, found only by authorities after the melted pint of ice cream I was consuming combines with the scent of my rotting carcass to create a smell so foul the neighbors had no choice but to call and complain.
I found myself thinking of another time I was jilted by a fella I really thought I had “locked down.” At the time I was ranting on the phone to a friend as I perused the Pizza Hut menu. I figured I had nothing to lose—certainly not pounds—since I’d already relapsed into old habits.
After she and I hung up, I turned my phone back on to order my trans-fat pizza pie for one, and I was suddenly struck by the almost maudlin words on the back of Pizza Hut’s flyer.
“At Pizza Hut we strive for excellence. If we do not give you your receipt or fall short of your expectations in any way, we would like to hear from you.”
Do you know my first thought?
“I wish men were like Pizza Hut.”
Unlike most self-absorbed guys, who say they are “working through some stuff” and/or “going through a lot right now” (striving for excellence in their own way), Pizza Hut is willing to be called out on it! If, Pizza Hut lets me down during their process of achieving excellence, they not only expect, but ask for phone call. As far as I’m concerned, that makes Pizza Hut more attractive than any man I’ve ever known.
Okay. Now I know that blurb was written by a team of clever advertising executives, most of whom minored in psychology, solely to inspire me to say, “fuck you, Dominos! You don’t care about me!” And yet, I felt like Pizza Hut was proving to be more comforting in two sentences than any heterosexual relationship I had ever been in. And that, I thought immediately afterwards, is a damn shame.
So, in summation:
When your black mama drama gets to be too much to bear, and the repeated viewings of your favorite tv show don’t get you going, apply for a work visa in a foreign country and be glad that you can buy pizza anywhere.