Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baby Just Hold Me

"Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist."

-Matt Barry

You can feel it coming. You look up; there he is--and oooh he is so sexy. You look to the right; a mirror--and oooh you are so sexy. The music is sexy, the sheets are sexy, the carpet is sexy. You could sop this man up with a biscuit and lick the bowl. You exfoliated, pumiced, shaved, oiled, plucked, waxed, toned, shampooed, conditioned, moisturized and even did fifteen minutes of pilates. The only thing you’ve ingested all day is a Green Machine Naked juice and half a banana. You're in fighting form. It’s been months. You like him, so you decide that waiting a requisite three months to make sure you really felt something may not be enough, so you wait five. More Rules than Sex and the City, but you figure for once you’ll give it a try. You’re about to be rewarded for your virtue and patience. The music is great; you feel like you’re in a late night VH1 Soul video. Jodeci. 1993 Jodeci. And he’s amazing, better than you ever thought. You’re so hot you feel faint. Your head feels like your neck just boiled over. Your lungs feel like they’re encased in armor. A lone tear slips down your cheek. You can't believe what's about to happen. Since you can so rarely get to where you want to go manually these days, you’re thankful for this man. You appreciate this man. You’re excited about what he’s about to do for you. It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming. You even say aloud that it’s coming, following which, he [understandably] takes a cue to follow your lead. It’s coming, it’s coming. Yes…yes…yeees...no? Suddenly all motion is suspended. Mr. ‘I Got This’ is on his back, smirking to himself, smiling at you, putting a hand distractedly on your shoulder, just enough to say “we’re making contact so you’re definitely not a whore” without further overheating himself. Because he, of course, just had an orgasm. You had…a good time.

There’s nothing wrong with "a good time". I’m not of the school of woman that gets absolutely livid when she doesn’t climax—annoyed, yes, but livid, no. I’m of the live in the moment and have a best-of average. But men are taught to expect an orgasm from the time they begin having sex. Women, conversely, are fundamentally taught not to expect very much at all. Instead, we’re guided towards looking forward to the icings and cherries of sex—the foreplay, the intimacy, and of course, the ever-popular being held afterwards. Sadly, I know women who engage in sex solely for the opportunity to be kissed and held afterward. Of course, my gut tells me that these same women lie there like child prostitutes during the whole thing, but the fact remains that sex is not something that’s wildly exciting for them. It brings a whole new life to the saying “men get laid, but women get screwed”.

The thing is, these are intelligent ladies who know what it takes to get off. These are not girls who learned the mechanics of the birds and bees in prepubescent bunk bed trysts in their parents’ house before stumbling out into the world with immature ideas about lovemaking. We are educated, brilliant women who waited until we were old enough and informed enough to be in touch with our bodies, at one with our sexuality before we invited a man to be a part of it. We, of all people, should know what it takes to make it to the big O. And that, as Ro recently suggested, may be the problem. Because we’re so educated about sex and so conversant about what makes it good, is the passion not slipping under the radar with all of our practical insight? Is all the sophistication and highbrow knowledge we’ve acquired about sex making us unable to fully enjoy it? Are we too smart to come?

If you ever played the piano or rode a bike, you learned that with some of life’s most gratifying accomplishments there comes a process of learning the basics and subsequently replacing those learned nuts and bolts with emotion, sailing on instinct and feeling. True genius, after all, lives there and not in topical education. And so despite all the intricacies we’ve come to understand about making love, it’s not rocket science nor is it the SAT. It always has been and always will be about the feelings behind it. No one who thinks hard about sex while they’re doing it is going to enjoy themselves as much as they could if they were able to release the tension and just be. The fact is that, often, knowledge creates inhibition. And inhibition has absolutely no place in the proverbial bedroom.

While I see a huge problem with women who are inhibited or have some issues revolving around sex that prevent them from climaxing, I’m also inclined to throw some blame at men in the situation. Because men have proportionately more sex than women, I’m of the belief that they sometimes opt to treat us like a number and not a name. Word to the wise: what worked for Tracy might not work for me. Just because most of your ex-girlfriends got bored after 20 minutes and pretended to come doesn’t mean you can close up shop with me when the clock hits the 21 minute mark. I am totally unashamed of the fact that I’m a 25-30 minute kind of girl. If you can’t hold it together that long, it’s not my problem. Anyhow, men are guilty of applying their “moves” that they think are so fabulous to every sexual situation rather than tailoring their efforts to the person at hand. That doesn’t help the situation. What also doesn’t help the situation is women who consistently fake. When you fake they think they did a good job. It’s just like training a puppy, just like giving Toto a bone for peeing right on the freshly-cleaned carpet. And what sense does that make?

And then the other major problem is a preoccupation with the relationship as an entity, as in where it’s going and what the sex “means”. This is the most valid, because it’s the hardest to discount. Intelligent women who are out of the promiscuous/experimental stage of their lives have sex less and less for the fun of it and because it’s readily available. The more experience we gather in life, we find that do want it to mean something. We realize more than ever that we hold tremendous value within us that we’re not [always] willing to sell down the creek for a little stimulation. We want the men we take to bed to know that, and if any little part of us senses that they either don’t grasp or disregard this fact, it can take us out of commission sexually. Because sex relies so heavily on confidence and self-esteem, when that’s rattled so is your good time. It’s hard to get yourself in an orgasm place with a man you’re not sure values or cares about you enough.

I’m not knocking sex without a finish. A good romp in the hay with no real completion is, after all, the equivalent of a 15 minute scalp massage. Far be it from me to come down hard on scalp massages. But sex is supposed to be something that both parties enjoy to the fullest, and I know I’m not alone in my silent-but-deadly resentment resulting from a man’s untamed elation following sex that didn’t benefit me the way it benefited him. It’s never fair that sex not provide us equal thrills with men, and it’s far from right whenever sex is something women feel they have to do to achieve intimacy.

Maybe the next time it’s just us and them, we should try to take ourselves out of the moment. Forget about Cosmo and Glamour and Kama Sutra and The [New] Joy of Sex 1992 Edition. Forget about how smart we are and what’s going to happen afterwards, and if they’re going to act right and how much they like us. Forget about the procedural technicalities of touching them here and doing this and that… just make it about your pleasure. Make it about how we feel about them, how they feel about us right then in that moment—make it something that comes from our hearts and not our heads. No pun intended.

The point here is to get all women to a place where we expect our own pleasure, not just to be a source of someone else’s. Getting kissed and coddled and held is wonderful, and if that’s truly your cup of tea, more power to you. But honestly, that exchange is not fair. If you’re bringing the ultimate gratification to someone, they should be doing the same for you—whatever it takes to get there. Doing your part to let go is important, but so is a man doing his part to help you get there. So no more freebies, ladies. Let’s truly make this the Year of Yes. Every guy you take up with should understand your position: yes, charity is the new sexy, but sex is not the new charity.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm Still Using Him: The Red Crayon Syndrome

“I really really wish that I could be happy for you/there’s just one thing that I need you to do/don’t you touch her like you used to touch me/don’t you love her like you really need me/don’t you love her like you used to love me…”

-Monica

There is no worse concept to me in the world than being with my ex. Of course, there was a time I thought I’d made a horrible mistake by breaking ties, and I still have my days that I miss him so much that I want to pick up the phone just to hear his voice. I still have the days that I wish I could sit and have a conversation with a man who knows me as inside out as he does, days I wish I could get his advice on things I know he’d be able to help me figure out. But I don’t. It’s just not a good idea to open the lid on the can of worms that took me so long to close. But, I have thought about the inevitable: that soon—maybe not next month or even next year, but one of these months or years here shortly in this life—I will learn that the man that I grew up on is starting a new existence with someone. Knowing him, she’ll be beautiful and fly, incredibly smart and clever and have a wonderfully magnetic personality. He’ll probably love her in a way that only age and time and experience can breed, a way to which I was never privy. I will become something far less than a love that helped make him the man he is; I’ll be a woman in his past, one of the stepping stones he had to saunter across to get to the Plymouth Rock of his soulmate’s heart.

All of this brings to mind a familiar situation from childhood. We all remember sharing crayons, and we all remember the one brat that wanted to hold the most popular colors, even when she wasn’t using them. It was as if she wanted to ensure that if and when she did need that particular hue, it would be readily available. A common source of angst, granted, but not very courteous. Well, I was often that brat that wanted to maintain constant ownership of the red and blue, even as I primarily used the brown, black and pink. If anyone asked to use my idle colors, which I clasped tightly in my left paw as I drew with my right, I would say “I’m using it right now!” or “I’m not finished yet!”. What can I say; I was an only child.

I’m simultaneously excited about the potential of real partnership for my old love and confused about my own personal feelings. In a way, he’s become my throwaway; there’s no current use for him. And yet, when I think about the rich affection he’ll ultimately share with a woman who’s not me, all I can think about is that he is still, in many ways, mine. For years, he was my best of times and my most gut-wrenching sobs, my deepest sleep and my sleepless nights. He was my ecstasy and my greatest dissatisfaction. Despite my independence and feminism and wishes to the contrary, my love for him defined me. And it’s almost as if I want to tell the woman—who, for all I know could be years from even laying eyes on him—that I’m not yet done.

Women who have the balls to say goodbye to the familiar and move on are to be applauded. But you’re a fool if you ever think the break will be clean. Because a part of you always belongs to someone who loved you and whom you loved back, it can be hard to imagine that that same love is transferable. When you’re deep in love, you grow to believe that the love you share with someone is the first time either of you has loved that way, and in fact, you grow to feel it’s the first time anyone in the history of romance has felt the way you two do. It’s human nature. But the sobriety that comes along with the cold water of a breakup and a separation followed by the inevitable finding of someone new teaches us that while you can’t go home again, you can upgrade your property game and be happier than you ever imagined. And it’s one thing when you find someone new; there’s hardly a sense of sadness or angst, especially if the someone new is someone you really like and with whom you could see yourself long term. But when you come up for air from your new romance and realize that the exact same scenario could be going down on the other side of town with your ex, there is this bewildering realization that you still care. Which is scary. When you want nothing to do with someone, when you’re through with that part of your life and really ready to move on, what do you do with the feelings of entitlement to your past? How do you reconcile these irrational thoughts with the happiness you see in your own future?

It’s completely illogical to think that you can just erase a part of your life completely and it not matter to you anymore. There are parts of you that belong to that relationship and can never be salvaged from the wreckage of it, material things you’re attached to, memories that collectively describe the happiest times of your life thus far. It’s unfair to think these disappear. The same is true for your ex: there are parts of you he can never shake. And yet, there’s the need to let go of the things you can stand to lose a grip on. I believe that love is limitless; there is no finite amount in our hearts. We can fully love the old and fully love the new, albeit in different ways. There is a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone, and people switch these roles in our lives constantly.

Whenever I pulled the crayon stunt, I would usually end up being punished (or beaten) by my mother for being selfish. With good reason, because holding something just to hold it with no intention of using it is the epitome of egotism. Insisting on possessing something that is no longer of use to you or worse, no longer suits you, is exactly what children do. And as all children learn, not only is sharing one of the fundamental necessities of life, but learning how to let go is something everyone must endure. What I took away from drawing as a child was that you had to get in and get out, and never let your art be compromised. Use what you need when you have it, and if you don’t have the opportunity to use the colors you want, then either wait your turn or use another one. It may make what you’ve done even more beautiful than you’d originally anticipated. I eventually learned that passing on a color to someone else to use didn’t take away from what it may have already added to my picture. Or the fact that I’d had it first.

What can I say? I was an only child.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Step It Up

"I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks."

-Joe E. Lewis

Let's face it: there are two major truths about BIC. BIC can make you fat and fat can make you BIC. So, you should do your absolute best to fight the fat without driving yourself crazy. I realize that I live in Los Angeles, and I acknowledge up front that this post is slightly biased in that area. But I would be remiss if I did not talk about how great an outdoor stair workout is to get your workouts out of the way and be able to stay out of the gym for awhile. Now that it's getting cold, for some people this might be a moot point, but I'll share anyway. I'm getting back into being healthy (as we speak), because I've spent the majority of 2007 adding four inches of fat to my waist, and so I'm going to have to spend the next few months getting it off. Fun stuff, but one thing that makes it easier is having a workout I either look forward to, or at the very least don't mind doing.

Here in LA, we have the Santa Monica Stairs, which are actually two sets of stairs, one cement and one wooden. Most people do the wooden stairs, but to get a really good workout, I like to jog down the wooden, run the 1/4-1/8 mile to the cement stairs and go up and run back to the wooden in a cyclical fashion about 10-15 times. This workout is something serious. Now, you do have to be serious about your workout because it's tiring as hell, but I promise you will lose five pounds in one week, and even more if you cut out all carbs except fruit. Plus, there's a real sense of accomplishment associated with completing a stair workout. If you have your iPod, you can sail right through it. A little known secret to having major success at the stairs is drinking a large Red Bull about 10 minutes before you start. You'll never feel more energized. Afterward, you can stretch on the grassy knoll down the block and do your ab workout if you have one.

Word to the wise: YOU WILL BE CRAZY SORE after a stair workout. Sore like you never thought was possible sore. Sore like afraid you won't be able to walk anymore sore. Sore like 'not tonight baby I can't move anything or I'll die' sore.

If you don't live in LA, find some outdoor (or indoor) stairs in your city. It's great for your ass and legs, it slims you down so it whittles your waist. The only thing you need to get in the gym for aside from this is your back and arms, and if you're a girl who ain't afraid of a little military-style push-up and a plank stretch, then you can toss your gym card altogether.

Let's get fine for the holidays!

Note: if you truly, truly cannot locate a cool staircase to get down on, then I will share this tip my trainer Ximena taught me in '06 [read: my finer days]. Get on the stationary bike at the gym (not the one where you're seated in a bucket way, but the one where you can stand up. Peddle soft but quick for two minutes (like, soft for me is level 15 but I have very muscular legs, so I'd say at least 10 for the average person), then stand up and peddle very hard and quick for at least 90 seconds (it's harder than you think). Go back to soft for two minutes and then back to standing. Do this for 20 minutes and you're done with cardio for the day. It's so fast, and I'm all about the fast effective workouts. Okay, those are my tips. Happy sweating!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A True Thing

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."

-Irish proverb

"...lost my mama/lost my mind..."

-GLC

[my beautiful mommy on her honeymoon in 1980]

As much as we like to think it’s men that drive us crazy (and it’s true), there are other contributing factors to BIC that have little to nothing to do with the boys. For some girls it’s that their father was never in the picture or left the family and so their abandonment issues keep them either hostile, guarded or clingy. For some it’s that their parents got divorced when they were kids and they don’t know how to make a relationship work. For some it’s that they were raised in an impoverished home and they want a man to provide the type of lifestyle that they’ve always wanted. For some it’s that their parents had a wonderful, drama-free marriage that they desperately want to recreate by any means necessary. There are a lot of things that can make a woman act out in her relationships with men.

For me, my mother died when I was in elementary school. She and I were incredibly close. Despite her constant Black mama reminder “I’m your mama; i'm not your friend”, she was, in fact, my best friend. I was her miracle baby girl, the only child; and she was my extraordinarily fly mother with her long brown curls, her electric blue 80’s outfits and her blood red lipstick and nails. We talked about everything and went everywhere together. We even took our showers together. My mother was sweet and caring, but could get anybody told about themselves in 27.5 seconds flat. She was bold and outspoken, a country girl with an air of natural elegance. But because my mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was just a baby, I don’t remember a time that she wasn’t sick. I don’t remember a time when she had both her breasts. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid that she was going to die. And then she did.

It all seems like a lifetime ago, that earlier struggle to continue life without a mother. I had a great father, a father who loved me. But my father is old-school; he’s a provider, not a nurturer. So as we grew up and my friends began to hit their life milestones, even the girls who had terrible relationships with their moms as kids started to get closer to them. They had questions about their health and their maternal history, aware of the fact that at least a small portion of the writing of a woman’s life depends on what her mother has already etched in stone. I was aware of this, too, but I had nowhere to turn. And so I turned to men.

It’s always been acknowledged that the way your father loves directly affects the way that you love and the way you accept love. Rarely recognized but equally as important is the way your mother loves and the relationship with your mother. Mothers are there to guide their daughters into womanhood, and while I believe that all women have a degree of craziness which is inevitably passed onto their girl children, it’s a mother’s direction that helps to normalize girls’ behavior. Every mother might not sit you down and tell you what’s what in the dating world, but the little nuggets along the way—not to mention the way you observe your mother with men—does a lot to mold behavior in relationships. When you begin to interact with men romantically, it’s the self-respect or self-loathing your mother has instilled that’s at work. The choices you make personally and sexually have everything to do with the maternal support in your life.

Mothers tell you how ladies act versus what makes a whore. It’s the moderation influenced by a mother that gives a girl the self-esteem to deal with all the unbelievable bull that comes with falling in and out of love and finding something true. Girls with poor relations with their father struggle with sex; girls with poor relations with their mother struggle with warmth—how much, how little, if and when. They maneuver awkwardly through their decisions about affection and they search for their own often warped perception of it in the wildest places. I’ve observed women with great relationships with their mother; they often enjoy natural, beautiful relationships with their men. I’ve observed women without great relationships with their mother; they struggle to understand love and the role it plays in their life.

Washington Irving said: “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavour by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts”. A mother’s love is your earliest God, your trust and your earth. Throughout life, it can waiver, but it undoubtedly provides the foundation for the woman you will become. A mother’s love controls your heart; and without it, you can lose your mind.

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Binge.

"There are only three things that women need in life: food, water and compliments."

-Chris Rock

The best thing about this Binge is that it's not that bad for you. I mean, it's not alfalfa and wheatgrass, but it gets a major pass on the waistline meter. Unfortunately, it's only accessible if you're in NYC or the LA area, but if you can get to either of those places, you have to make it. I will preface all of this with the fact that I am a frozen treat fiend. I love yogurt, sorbet, soy ice cream...I am a sucker for the frozen sweet.

Unfortunately, I have chronic sinusitis and can't eat ice cream (or a whole lot of dairy period) so I rely on froyo to get me by. Not that it's not dairy, but it's not as concentrated as ice cream so it doesn't give me an automatic sinus infection like the cream. In any case, the place to be (and it's been highly publicized so I don't feel like I'm putting anyone up on real game, just being Madison Avenue for something I personally love) is
Pinkberry. Pinkberry gives you loops of beautiful, light natural flavored yogurt and tops it with fresh fruit or granola (okay, or Oreos or Fruity Pebbles, but you ain't hear that from me).

There are tons of franchises in Los Angeles and several in New York. I'm positive they're about to go nationwide because people line up outside the place like it's the Apollo Theatre, no matter what location you stop in. At first I was convinced that it was some neo-Nazi attempt at getting Americans addicted to something and then slipping in Anthrax or some equally fatal chemical, but conspiracy theories aside it really is the truth. Not sure about New York, but in LA there have been many spinoffs of Pinkberry with the same yogurt. They all have hilariously similar names like Kiwiberri and Berri Good. One particularly good one, though, is Cantaloop, which is spreading like wildfire around the area as well. On one website, someone actually referred to Pinkberry as "the poor man's Cantaloop". Cantaloop is my preferred because they have the great natural flavor as well as blueberry and mango flavored yogurt. All I can say is THE TRUTH. Pinkberry, Cantaloop, whatever...all in the interest of helping you soothe the BIC wounds without having to go up a jeans size. I mean, you're already lying on the bed to zip up the eights...or is that just me?

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What's A Little BIC Between Friends

“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the courage to betray my country…”

-E.M. Forster To the left, to the left: My friend and I, highly intoxicated on her 23rd birthday.

I had a great friend that I met when I started college in 1999. She and I were fast friends and hung tight. We went everywhere together, did everything together. I introduced her to all of my other friends and as a clique we went out and stunted all over the city, shutting down clubs and opening morning diners. We had sleepovers in our apartments and cooked breakfast in the mornings on Saturdays. We went on road trips to New York to shop. She was my shoulder whenever I had a problem with classes, guys, family or other homegirls—she knew everything there was to know about me. I coached her through her personal relationships, her love life, school. We had an intensely personal relationship, more like sisters than friends. We talked about everything from sex to love to what we were going to do with our lives. I even showed her how to use a tampon.

When we were juniors, we got disgustingly drunk at a friend and her boyfriend’s house before a campus frat party. Somehow we managed to get intoxicated beyond normal function and our hosts let us go out into the night alone anyway. We were so smashed that we couldn’t even make the five-block walk to the party on foot. We instead made the liquored decision to pile our asses into a cab that dropped us off at the party, where we literally crawled upstairs and made such a spectacle that the campus police were called to pick us up (we were a few months shy of being legal). My friend was a little more gone than I was and had to be taken to the hospital by UPD, while I was quietly escorted outside by the fraternity organizers to sober up. A homeboy of mine found me an hour later passed out on the ground, twisted around the base of a parking meter a block up the street. He drove me home and tucked me in. When I’d been asleep long enough to sit up without vomiting, there was a knock at my door. It was my friend, in hospital scrubs. She had alcohol poisoning and because she’d been in the university hospital, there was most likely going to be a record filed with our school. There was a possibility of expulsion and/or parental notification. She was terrified, and I was terrified for her. To avoid any hospital bills going home to her ultra-strict parents, I lent her $400 that I actually needed at the time so that she could pay the bill off and have a better chance of her parents never finding out what happened. It was nothing to me; I loved her just like family and would have done anything to spare her the pain of her mother and father finding out that she’d been [illegally] getting effed up and forcing her to move home. I’ve never regretted that decision for one day, not even now when we’re no longer friends.

Earlier this year, I discovered that that same friend had a covert, sickeningly intimate relationship with a man I was no longer involved with, but that she knew had at one point been considered the love of my life. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out what was really going on between them; what I learned told me enough to know that neither of them had any real respect for me. I don’t regret the decision not to speak to either of them again, but the situation with my girlfriend leaves me wondering: just how do you handle it when BIC ruins your friendships?

We all know how frenzied love for a man can leave us, how quickly it can tunnel into mania, how so wrapped up in a guy we can get that other things fall by the wayside. What falls to the side, however, should never be our female friendships; we should preserve the sanctity of what our girlfriends bring into our life no matter what. This includes, of course, digging through our homegirls’ proverbial closets for men they haven’t worn in awhile, putting them through a quick rinse cycle and trying to rock them in the streets—even if you aren’t going far. There’s a fundamental wrongness in the concept that most women get—and that some obviously don’t. In this instance, my friend had many male friends and was adamant about the fact that men and women could be just friends, something she stressed even as she was aware of the crushes some of her male friends had on her as well her own reciprocation. She used her belief in the idea that men and women could be friends as an excuse for her to start several inappropriate relationships with guys in the lives of several of her girlfriends. When I cut off my relationship with her and shared it with our mutual friends, they each immediately admitted that they’d never trusted her because of incidents with the respective men in their life in which she’d behaved tastelessly. I remembered every example they threw at me. I had known about them then, but had never made a big deal out of her tendency to get too close to guys with which other ladies had intimate relationships. I’d mentioned to her before that many girls, including me, were uncomfortable with other girls being too close to the person they were seeing or involved with, but she voiced that she disagreed and I’d never pressed it. Now I wish I had.

Women have long been painted as the sex that would sell their best friend, sister or mother down the creek for a little piece of man, but it’s not a necessarily fair notion. Women can be fiercely loyal to their own kind; we know that often we’re all we have. Men can rarely be fully trusted, but the women in your life are priceless for their advice, guidance and genuine love. I have always tried to cultivate these types of female relationships; in fact, having lost my mother at a very young age, I’ve spent a lifetime structuring brilliant relationships with other women. And yet, I feel I am somehow to blame for how horribly my friend behaved. My father has always taught me that you teach people how to treat you, and so part of me acknowledges that I was at least in part to blame for the way things shook down between my friend and I.

Women are all too anxious to be BIC when there’s a man involved. We want to challenge men, force them to act right. We want to jump on the first little sign of disrespect or unacceptable behavior and correct it, make sure that the guys in our life know how to treat us at all times. So why don’t we do this in our relationships with women? Why, when we see the small signs of indiscretion and the potential for heartbreak do we not throw up the “gurrrrl” hand and set the heifer straight? Most would say that it’s because we take those relationships for granted. But could it be even deeper? Could it be that we instinctively place a lower value on our female friendships and don’t take the same tender loving care with them, that we don’t respect the fragility of women/women relationships until we’re forced to do so? It probably varies from relationship to relationship, but there’s no doubt in my mind that many girls feel as though men are a variable while women are the constant. I’ve learned that you just can’t call it.

The important thing in all of this is self-worth. If there’s anyone in your life who doesn’t treat you with the respect that you deserve, then other people are not disrespecting you, you’re not respecting yourself. I urge all women to do a friend check every couple years. Sometimes, it’s just time for a cleanse; we outgrow people and friendships just as we outgrow situations and ideas that arise from these friendships. We stand for things that we later can’t take at all; we change and others stay the same. And in the worst cases, we find that a the flaw of a friend is actually a bond defect that makes a friendship we thought we had for a lifetime simply disappear.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

oh papi/i sit and/think about/all of the/things that we go through/and i wonder why i stay with you/but there's somethin in your backstroke..." -Teedra Moses

When I was younger, I used to get offended when my boyfriend called me a “freak”. I mean, I knew he meant it in the Rick James-superfreak way and not the E.T.-freak way, but I still felt like he was mocking me, accusing me of being some kind of degenerate. It wasn’t as though it was said maliciously; in fact it was typically said with a satisfied smirk. But the statement would shut me down sexually for days upon weeks. I’d be half-engaged in what we were doing and half-monitoring myself to make sure I didn’t do something too vulgar. I was embarrassed about the things I enjoyed doing, talking about, thinking about.

But I’m happy to report that those days are gone. It’s amazing what age does for your self-confidence; the insecurities and timidities just slowly melt away. Sex doesn’t control me at this point in my life, which is the beautiful part, but there’s no denying that age has not only made me more comfortable with my sexuality but it’s produced a sexual voraciousness I wouldn’t have imagined when I was a kid. If I could have my way, I’d get it at least every other night, twice on Saturday and spend a 52-hour stint in that luxurious bed at Mandalay Bay in Vegas one weekend a month. The peculiarity in this, however, is that when I was younger I was much more apt to hop in the sack on a whim. Even when I didn’t feel like it or didn’t feel like it was right, I always felt compelled. My attitude was “why not?” Now my attitude is “why?”

The oddest thing about male/female relationships is that they so rarely meet in the right places. When we’re younger, girls are easier and men are bouncing around so much that they end up hurting women, who later can’t get themselves together to trust in the relationships men are now ready for because of the way guys treated them when they were younger. Sex is a major illustration of this. When I was younger, it took little more than a smile, a lower lip bite (I am a sucker for a lower lip bite) and some music to get me on my back. I didn’t believe in things like soul ties and thought that if it didn’t work out with someone I got involved with sexually, it wouldn’t affect me adversely. It worked a few times, but it’s a terrible long-term plan to think that you’ll never get attached to a sex partner. Once a girl has experienced the high of making love to someone she’s truly passionate about, it’s hard to settle—and even harder to seek out—the cheap thrills. But there’s no denying that love is difficult to find and lovers you’re crazy about are far from a dime a dozen. That leaves us ladies with sexual appetites unfulfilled for long periods of time. Sex, specifically libido, can keep you in a bad relationship far too long and it can jeopardize a new relationship. Old hang-ups about it can kill the chance for something new and fresh with someone you truly like. The monster of desire is powerful. The allure of love is captivating. Which side is stronger: beauty or the beast?

Women have gotten a bad sex rap through the ages that has just begun to correct itself in the latter half of the 20th century. Scientists have said that we’re programmed genetically to only want one man, and if you consider that women are far more likely to be nesters, then there is probably some base truth to this. But if you wanna talk science, let’s talk about the fact that women’s bodies are just as wired for pleasure as men’s bodies. It’s not some weird phenomenon that women desire sex; we’re supposed to enjoy it. Women are, however, by nature the more sensitive species. This creates an interesting dichotomy for women who are more insatiable than others and yet share the feminine desire for security and devotion.

Most women are evolved to the point where they understand the consequences of their actions with a man, that attachment is always a looming prospect that they have to gauge the potential seriousness of prior to the…conjugation. And yet, there’s the sex—a welcome idea almost any time. You know you want to; we all do. But most of us have become smart enough to realize that the long-term effects of the choices we make hold enough weight to make us stop and evaluate the situation much more closely.

None of this truly answers the question of which holds the most weight between physical desire and emotional desire, and I suppose the best way for me to answer is through my own personal experience. After a year of celibacy, I made the decision to break it off for someone I really like. And now that it looks like things aren’t going to work out, I’m not only disappointed that the connection is gone, I hate hate hate that I don’t even have the sex, which was a very welcome addition to my life. He’s sexy, y’all, very, very sexy. I’m actually taking a moment to ponder the sexiness.

Okay, extras aside, I have to say that while it appears initially that what’s most important are the functions of the heart, the functions of the body are just as vital and important to a woman’s well-being. That being said, I’m of the belief that emotion and libido are equally weighted. Women have been controlled by their emotions, but they’re often just as controlled by penises.

But the bottom line is that when you’re dealing with sex, love is always somewhere at the heart of it—even love of self. And then there’s the fact that some women use love as a replacement for sex, and some women use sex as a replacement for love. I’ve personally been guilty of both, but I know that the ultimate objective is to find a place where both beauty and the beast can be satisfied. Of course this is far easier said than done. Men are always ready for sex; they’re not always ready for love. This can be said about women as well, but the percentage is disproportionately smaller. As women gain more knowledge, it becomes increasingly more pertinent whether or not our sex partners are available or looking for something more than a jump because we know better than to play with our minds or bodies. And when we know better, we always stop to think that we might be writing a check that either our ass—or our heart—just can’t cash.

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You So Crazy: BIC In Action

"what is up with this/tell the truth/who you wit/how would you like it if/I came over with my clique..."

-Destiny's Child

I need everyone to realize that I'm dealing with not only my own BIC but that of my closest friends and family on a daily basis. Because it's so prevalent and readily available for display, from time to time I'd like to share these episodes with you, either by story, photos, or the favorite for the most realistic illustration, instant messenger.

Below you'll find a very recent conversation with one of my best friends, Sarah (not her real name) about her new boyfriend Jay (not his real name). The BIC is palpable. The drama is high. The typos preserve the authenticity. And because all of my friends have adopted BIC into the vocab over the years, she even drops to term in here. This conversation, as a warning, is everything men say women are and more. Love it. Enjoy!

9:18 PM Sarah: omg, i cant believe that he didnt call

i half thought that he would

Me: i did too

you're still up

you're worried

?

Sarah: yeah

Me: i know

9:19 PM don't worry

it's gonna work out

Sarah: its not

Me: how do you know?

Sarah: i feel crazy, i feel like i made this whole thing up

9:20 PM i cant believe this

9:21 PM Me: made what up??

you and Jay?

nooo

you can't be serious

Sarah: no im serious

am i delusional?

9:22 PM i hate this

why does it always come to this

Me: :o(

you're NOT delusional

9:23 PM Sarah: i dont get it then

should i call him?

thre is just no excuse for this behavior

Me: you should clal

and ask what happened

Sarah: no

he is going to lie

Me: and let him know in a nice way it's totally a no-no

Sarah: they all know

they all do

9:24 PM how could i be so dumb

seriously

Me: you're not dumb

Sarah: and i have a paper due

Me: yoou like him

period

it's not a crim

e

Sarah: ashleigh

we planned my birthday together

!!!

and we have this concert together

9:25 PM that doesnt just go away

i amcalling

Me: and he just needs to call

Sarah: ahhh bic is back

Me: Call HIM

call him now

Sarah: i am

he wont answer

he obvisouly doesnt want to talk about this

Me: he NEEDS to

Sarah: OMG

9:26 PM should i leave a message

'i didnt

i have nothing to say

Me: leave a message

and then send a text

Sarah: nope

no need

i am done

Me: "called you...couldn't get you. gimme a call when you get a sec"

Sarah: nope

i hung up

he is scum

i am done

over it

9:27 PM he needs to go away

i am going to bed

Me: well let's talk tomorrow then

you might feel differently tomorrow

he might call and have a great excuse

at least hold out hope for your bday

Sarah: there is no EXCUSE

nope

nope

nope

i refuse

9:28 PM this is horrible

this is what i get for speaking?

for having a voice

i get punished?

The Following Day....

Sarah: can you believe my breakdown last night?

Me: umm...yeah

definitely

i ws actually having oen myself

Sarah: ashleigh

Sarah: i couldnt breathe

i was hyperventaliating

Me: you weren't

Sarah: i was

Me: oh my God

seriously?

Sarah: you couldnt see me

Me: i get like that sometimes too

Sarah: but i was freaking out

i cant control my emotions

Me: you haven't spoken to him?

Sarah: so his roomate (who i hate)

had his phone, borrowed it for the day

and didnt come home till 3am

5:52 PM which i believe bc his roomate is a f**k up

5:53 PM Me: see

i told you there was a reason

5:54 PM Sarah: yeah

i had to make an emergency therapy appt

bc i cant deal with things

5:55 PM anyway

how are you today?

5:56 PM (you should have saved our convo and put it on your blog)

5:57 PM Me: lol

i think i will put it up there

if you don't mind

Sarah: you saved it?

hahaha

change the name

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Do You Feel Sorry For Him?

"Take that; take that..." And that. And...that.

-Puffy/Diddy

Diddy's now on his fourth babymama, sixth baby...this time with a "blonde" lady from Long Island who says she's four months pregnant.

1

2

34

Can't stop. Won't stop...

Is this man just ridiculously irresponsible and a little clumsy with his pimp juice? Or is it more possible that Diddy just needs love and women target him because they know he raw dogs it and apparently doesn't mind creating life like it's his job? And most importantly, is anyone concerned about HIV in this love dodecahedron Diddy always has going on?

Anyhow, let's put it to a vote. Vote to the right in the Do You Feel Sorry For Him? Poll.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Ex-Factor

"i keep letting you back in/how can i explain myself/as painful as this thing has been/i just can't be with no one else..."

-L. Boogie

I would love Lauryn Hill if she released an album of Indonesian bird calls, but where is this Lauryn:

Because this Lauryn:

has been taken over by a big ass Sweet Potato.

YBF is reporting that our precious miseducated Lauryn is having yet another baby. First of all, who has five damn kids in the 21st century? Second of all, who doesn't think this is far from the last one? Lauryn is the ultimate in crazy. In fact, she embodies the entire concept. She has been completely gone off that BIC since she ran up on Rohan Marley's extra triflin' behind. Not to mention a significant portion of the genius of Miseducation was due to the fact that she was more than slightly unhinged from the soul whoopin Wyclef's married tail put on her.

Two clicks later, enter Rohan and his super sperm...effed up. It never fails. If nothing else from her record is taken into consideration (the crazy ass behavior in concert, the "off" interviews), the fact that she has given birth to [count 'em] four of this man's kids and he still isn't acting right and she still got back with dude to make yet another one is off the chain. One can only assume that she really wants to keep baby-makin with/out this man because she obviously continues to let him make it on some "that's what it's made for" rubberless action. It's a well-known fact that she's absolutely brilliant so it's not as though she's unaware of these consequences. One K.A.N. baby is one thing...hell, two is one thing; broads can get ruthless. But five?! And you're still not actually keeping him? BIC. And a losing hand kid...

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Where There's A DIC There's A BIC

I just had to speak on this DIC in Detroit who planned a party titled (and I'm not kidding): "Light Skin Libra Birthday Bash" where light-skinned women and/or Libras get in free all night. Of course, he had to cancel it after a major nationwide backlash. But there are a few highly mentionable tidbits in all of this mayhem:

1. I am so mad that the main woman the Detroit paper contacted to speak about the politics of this penned a book titled "Black Women Need Love, Too". I'm even more mad that her name is Pearl Jr.

2. I'm also mad that he's planning yet another event (purportedly for charity) to make up for any "pain" he's caused.

3. Lastly, I'm mad at how bootleg this flyer is.

The whole situation is unbearably wack. I can't.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Michelle: The First BIC?

Okay, okay. I have to interrupt the typical BIC stuff for something more pressing. With this blog, you never know, the next post could be slightly depressing. So I figured I'd make this one about something that makes me very happy: Michelle & Barack Obama. Since I'm making a valiant attempt at writing a women's blog, it hurts me a little that I don't support the only woman candidate, whom I happen to love. And I mean, I love me some Clinton's, honey! In fact, I worked for the Democratic party to campaign for Bill in 1996 when I was in high school. I had some very late evenings working hard in my [very] southern, conservative Republican hometown for a Democrat, but it was worth it. I'm such a huge fan of he and Hillary--hell, Chelsea too if you want to get down to the nitty.

But I'm all too crunk to bust it for a new family. I love Barack and I love his vision. I love that he's finally starting to grab his nuts in this election!! I love that he loves peace and wants real change in this country and I love how real he keeps it, how he's a lil hip-hop (with a very sexy phone voice) and is comfortable in the community but can swan in DC with the best of them (still maintaining a mean swagger). I love how he represents JC in his speech and in his ethics, I love his beautiful little daughters (who I believe would do wonders for the self-esteem of little girls everywhere), and I luuuuv Michelle Obama!! I can't ascertain or speak to her BIC level quite yet (although she has commendably managed to ever-so-slightly BIC-slap her husband with a couple tiny brow-raising comments), but the woman has it going on, you have to admit. She's super smart and incredibly articulate--and I don't mean that in the condescending way that people say Black people are "sooo articulate!!"; I mean the lady can put words together in a compelling and natural way that few people of any race or profession can. She works a speech like a pair of Louboutins (which she wears as she speaks and I love her for that, too). She pulls down hella bread (twice as much as her husband), she's statuesque and elegant, can get glamorous but generally keeps it sweet-but-street in that cool fly momma way, she's an amazing and dedicated mother and a supportive and sistafied (yes I said it) wife. I can tell the dynamics of that marriage are way similar to the type of marriages I saw growing up.

"Barack!! If I have to tell you one more time about these damn socks on this floor! I don't know what goes down in Washington but when you come home to Chicago, baby, you do not have a maid, okay?! And you really need to be at home early tonight because these girls are expecting you to be here and I need to feel like I have a husband tonight...are you listening to me?!"

I am so not mad.
In fact, JFK's aide is calling him the new Kennedy and since I'm such a Camelot groupie any way, you know I had to put together a nice little montage of photos to support this perspective. Now, I'm not saying Michelle is a Jackie (she's actually an upgrade in my opinion because the intelligence game is just stupefyingly tight with this broad), but she does have the poise and the naturally fly thing working. The kids are just about as adorable as little girls get (I think they're going to be some straight stunners in about 10 years actually), and the husband/dad/presidential candidate is handsome, charismatic and inspiring. I'm not pushing Barack on you (for now at least), but if you're not in the club at least take a look at his views and positions...he's pretty hot shyt in my book. And my book is pretty hot shyt.

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DIC- Because Dudes Can Be Crazy Too.

Exhibit A: Onst again, Kels wins the prize for number of missing screws. Because no one loves a crazy man like me, I've always been in love with him! But this goes over even my head.

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Uncle.

"everytime/I feel the need/I remember you/caressing me/and go back in time/to relive the splendor of you and I/on the rooftop that rainy night..."

-Mariah Carey

David--and I have his permission to throw his real name around on here--was a guy I had an intense thing with back in 2003. When I say intense, I mean I hadn’t been caught up in real, live passion—not lust, but passion--like I was with him ever before. I was 21 years old, and I was on the downswing side of yet another lengthy off-period with the love of/plague of my life (let’s call him SB), one of the times in which we officially weren’t speaking. I was peeking my barely legal head out of the shell of a very confused period, during which time I'd made a seriously bungled attempt at barefaced promiscuity by trying a one-night stand (lamely, with someone I’d met twice) and promptly ending up in a five-month liaison. While in the throngs of this relationship with One Night Stand, of course I always just wanted to get back with SB. But I refused to be the bigger person in the situation between us (there was always a situation between us). One Night Stand and I had amazing sexual chemistry, consistently synchronized orgasms, and the wackest conversation on Earth. Meals were excruciating; movies were refreshing. When I got to his house, we’d sit on his bed and he’d put his head in my lap, we’d gaze into each other eyes…and then we would proceed into the most desiccated dialogue you can imagine, always slightly more insipid than the time before. Whenever he kissed me, I just felt a strong relief that we would no longer be attempting to speak. We connected on only one level, and even though I thought he was just the finest thing that side of Texas, I got so sick of him I couldn’t take it.

Enter David. I met him one evening at my favorite weekend haunt, a little bar/club in the funky (read: Black from way back) U Street section of DC. He was a brilliant brother, eye-catching with a beautiful smile, effortless style, flawless skin and the sexiest voice. He had a gaze that wouldn’t quit and smoked a cigarette like he was selling them. He was a breath of fresh air in the burning building that was One Night Stand because the conversation was all that; the man was hilarious and had more layers than bean dip. There’s nothing sexier to me in a man than a wild sense of humor and deep insight. We clicked immediately. He was romantic in a way that was never over the top but always on time and easily the most passionate man I’d ever met—the Virgo in me couldn’t believe she was so gone that she would stop an elevator or do the things we did in the club after-hours. David was adventure and excitement, intellectual stimulation and challenge; a real man’s man, but tender and warm when it counted. Simultaneously—and it was almost too much--he represented the possibility of a mind-blowing love. One to which I, incredibly, could not envision an end. He seemed like such an incredible place to lay down, and I was always excited when I was with him.

But there was SB. SB with whom I was always in an argument; SB whom I vowed to leave alone every other week. The thing with David went on for three months, through the end of the spring and into very early summer. We had a great time, but the elephant in the room for me was always that whenever we were together, SB was out there somewhere with another woman. In the rare moments of silence between David and I, this was all I could think about. I was lucky to be with him. He knew I was insane and didn’t mind—and not in the same way SB did, relishing conducting the orchestra of my insanity with a Gipetto–like mischievousness—he just liked me. And I liked him, very much. What I didn’t like was that I didn’t get a stomachache when he didn’t call me because I knew he would. I slept well at night after getting off the phone with him. When he took my hand, it wasn’t because he had hurt me and wanted to make up. I didn’t call my friends every night to ask what I should do next, because it was fluid and easy. I felt too good, so I abruptly destroyed the relationship with unnecessary commotion and silly hang-ups. It was the only logical thing to do.

One of the major BIC components is a fascination and fixation with men who are wildly unsuitable. In the sidebar of this very blog, there is a quote from my cousin illustrating exactly that fact. There is something exciting about the moment you realize that someone is completely wrong for you. If it seems like you might be able to let him make it, you’ll be the exception to the rule, the anomaly, exotic in the world of compatibility. If it seems like there’s no way in hell you could ever end up together, there’s something intriguing about seeing just how it will end or how terribly it can crash and burn, how bizarre you can act, how extremely he can misbehave. When you’re a young BIC, this is acceptable and expected. As you age, making the transition from realizing the inevitable exhaustion in choosing the wrong person and having to bounce back after all is said and done can be too much to handle.

Many women also feel as though they have to work for happiness, that it shouldn’t come too simply or it can’t be trusted. I’m one of those women. I believe in hard work and sacrifice to get what you want, and being with the opposite sex is not excluded. I’ve always been drawn to relationships that took extra work, overtime that kept you on your toes. I’ve felt as if anything that came too easily wasn’t worth having. But as I get older, I realize that this mentality is part of the reason that at this point in my life I can look back and say with certainty that I invested too much time and too much effort into sinking ships and pipe dreams. Less than a month after my final phone call with David, I was back in the sack (figuratively and literally) with SB.

Psychologists say that women choose the wrong man because of family history or childhood, deep-seeded issues that lead them revisit the man they knew growing up in an effort to change him. Of course, women rarely change men. It takes getting to know your "type", finding out what's wrong with that type in relation to you, and finding someone with the positive characteristics to offset the negative ones that you so love. Easier said than done, of course. The negative characteristics are often the biggest turn-on of all, and you just don't get tired of them until you do. I guess I'm wondering most when that ends completely. I've tried dating so many different types of men since shaking SB for good, and the ones I've liked the most are all vaguely reminiscent of him, albeit in more palatable ways. Specifically for me, it seems to be winding down, but I can't ignore the sprinkling of the old SB magic in the men I see now, even in the one I'm currently jocking. The real issue is how likely it is for women to find true happiness with someone completely different than the type of man for which they typically fall head over heels. How long will we play the SB card knowing it's a losing hand?

My fondest memory of David, who now belongs to some lucky lawyer lady who I’m sure is all too glad to have him, is of us sitting in the window of my campus apartment watching the beautiful rainy night slowly turn into a gorgeous, five-colored sunrise. I had my legs in his lap and we were completely silent, which wasn’t the least bit awkward. He blew a little cigarette smoke out the window and half-smiled at me when he said “I feel like I’m in Love Jones…”. I laughed, but I didn’t speak the words that were in my head to say…that I did, too.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"I Forgot What You Said/Cuz I Was Gettin..."

"I'm a bitch/I'm a tease/I'm a goddess on my knees..."

-Meredith Brooks

I just had a thought and I’ll tread cautiously here for the faint of heart, but sometimes I just have to be me and I just have to be real. If you love me conditionally, if we’ve never gotten drunk together, or if you remember me in training pants, please stop reading now. Because
I want to talk about something that makes me happy. There are plenty of things that put a smile on my face in life, plenty of things in which I find joy. But there is something that I absolutely love. Let’s call it…toffee. I love toffee. I like when people give me toffee and I enjoy giving toffee, although it’s a gift I rarely give because its just so darn hard to find people worthy of the kind of toffee I myself appreciate. But when I find someone that I like giving toffee, I want to feed it to them until they're sick of toffee. Even though I don't know who gets sick of toffee.

Anyhow, what I really want to talk about is the fact that a lot guys often can’t find the kind of toffee I like, the kind of toffee I know a lot of women really like. Good toffee, rich toffee, rare toffee. Specialty toffee. Oprah’s Favorite Things-kinda toffee. A lot of times, when I’m expecting toffee, I don’t get toffee. I get caramel. Or peanut brittle. Or worse, some off-brand white chocolate fudge. I don’t eat fudge. I don’t like peanut brittle. I can live without caramel; it bores me. I like toffee. I feel like I make it clear that I like toffee. When I really care about someone, and I’m giving them great toffee, I expect them to be purchasing, gift-wrapping and slapping a big gold bow on my toffee. So imagine my disappointment when, upon opening a highly-anticipated present, I find…Werther’s Originals. Not cool.

And it’s sad because it makes the toffee that I give very lackluster in return. If I feel like someone hasn’t gone to a lot of trouble to go shopping and find the toffee I like, I just pick something up from Rite-Aid. Or the bootleg candy store in the hood mall. Why bother? And the thing is…I have a lot of girlfriends who don’t even like toffee. They’ll accept it as a gift, but they’d never spend money on it. I, however, buy very expensive toffee. Perfectly textured, gorgeous, honey brown toffee. So I get pissed when my toffee is brittle and stale.

I’m just saying.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Et Tu, Brute?

“I am not saying that woman’s inhumanity to woman is on the same level as man’s inhumanity to woman; it is not. But women have enormous influence over each other…”

-Phyllis Chesler

Damn, truth hurts. Here I am writing a whole blog about how women are insane, how men think/know that we're all insane, and it turns out I can dish it out and can't take it. Tonight while talking to my HGFL on the phone about the newest BIC developments in my life, she said the words that took my breath away: "babe, you're really crazy." Can you imagine? I spend hours a day delving into the cult of insanity that is womanhood, I've started an entire site devoted to the topic, and I know full well that my country tail is crazy as hell.

In fact, I have a small confession. One of the major reasons I'm so obsessed with BIC is because I've gotten my feelings hurt quite a few times in the past by men I've been in relationships with, as well as a couple male friends. The confession is that they all at some point called me crazy. And they weren't kidding. For some of them, my craziness made them love me more...and some of them, it got on their last nerve. I'd like to think that the former were the majority. Anyhow, I learned to embrace BIC and being thought crazy because there came to be just no way around it--and fortunately, it's true for every woman in my life so I've never felt alone. Every female family member and every girlfriend of mine has at least a handful of stories in which they acted out in a very BIC way. I'm in good company, but in all honestly, it doesn't take the sting away from the consequences of my own personal BIC just because my homegirls have been smacked down for their actions.

And yet, even knowing all of this, the words were like a slap in the face. I know she'll read this, and I don't want her to think I'm at all angry--I'm not. But I have to admit, I was hurt. For some reason, you can know something about yourself inside and out and be fine with certain people feeling that way, but when one of your ride-or-die co-conspirators cosigns on the unshakable fact that something is, in fact, wrong with you, it feels like you just got your training bra strap snapped by the cutest boy in the fourth grade.

It's hard to hear the real truth from your friends, mostly because you know it's deep when friends are compelled to keep it extra real. Most of the time women laugh through the tears together and say things to make each other feel better about doing, saying and thinking things they know aren't that sane/cool/appropriate/going to pan out well. But when one of us feels moved to say something to bring the situation back to Earth, the other knows immediately that there might be some tears without laughter down the road.

In my case, I'm in for a doozy. I've always been a little "off" and felt right at home with doing things that make me wake up the next day smacking my forehead with remorse. I'm impulsive and spontaneous and sensitive and emotional--I've learned to live with it. It's made my life interesting, it makes me more fun than not, it's made me extremely popular with some people and extremely not with others. In college, I got teased by my girlfriends for my favorite phrase: "I just felt the need to do something extreme." Eh. C'est la vie. It's just the way I am; I'm [relatively] unapologetic. My friends find my exploits hilarious most of the time. And then sometimes, they feel the need to keep it real. It can be a hard pill to swallow, to know that there's something about you that needs to be tempered and controlled.

We're all living in an age where we're urged to be comfortable with who we are and how we are, and we all desire the infinite coziness in our skin that true self-acceptance can provide. So it becomes a little difficult to deal when you realize there is a major part of you that needs to be put on a leash. Still walked ou-out, but not released to run free.

In my case, what I did to make my friend announce that I was indeed crazy is something that I can't take back--you can't retract emails, although I know several BICs in my life who've gone to great pains to hack into email accounts to delete something they sent. I'm not that lady. I feel strongly that getting all desperate to take something back is a waste of time and that we all just need to learn to trust our gut feelings...if you sent it, you probably meant it, so eat it and move forward from there. However, it's a possibility that the email might actually bring me a fair amount of pain in the coming weeks. The fact of the matter is, as much as it hurt to hear my friend say those words, they will work to shed light on the reality of the situation. If in fact my actions come back to haunt me, I'll be prepared. Whereas, had she just laughed along with me, the humor of what I did would never overshadow the hurt. Now that she's let the truth out, I'm able to deal with the consequences whether they're good or bad. That's what true friends do, say the stuff we don't want to hear when we don't want to hear it in hopes of making the real truth hurt a lot less. That's the beauty of female bonding, and the awesome beauty of friendship.

Thanks Ro...

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Very Necessary BIC

Not sure if y'all heard about the chick from Glamour magazine who
did the absolute fool in a presentation to a group of women lawyers by saying that dreadlocks and afros in the workplace(popular hairstyles amongst not just a portion of the population of Black women in this country but also others who are able to rock them) are a "definite no". Anyhow, she recently resigned (under pressure, I'm sure). But before she did, she got BIC-slapped by her boss, Cindy Lieve. Good for Cindy. Glamour's not my absolute favorite of the chick lit mags, but you already know I'm copping at least this month's issue...

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Watch The BIC HRC

"I have an idea that the phrase "weaker sex" was coined by some woman to disarm some man she was preparing to overwhelm."

-Ogden Nash

After all this woman's been through, I'm mad someone felt it important to highlight a
"snippy" exchange between Hillary [Rodham] Clinton and a constituent in Iowa. If I had her stress load (and her "I gets mine" wandering-eyed husband), I'd be doing Tarzan yells from the Senate floor by now. Either way, you gotta admit her BIC slip is kinda hanging here.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Man Up, Bitch

"A woman should soften but not weaken a man."

-Sigmund Freud

Recently, someone slashed one of my tires. I'd left my car sitting in front of my godaunt's house and I returned days later to find my tire punctured in five different places. I never found out who did it--it was either a BIC attack of a deranged ex of someone I dated (probably not) or a juvenile delinquent (probably). Speculation aside, the short version of the story is that with Kimberly following me in her car, I had to pull over into the parking lot of 7-11 right up the street from the house once I realized the tire was ruined. I figured it was nothing to get a random guy to toss on my spare until I could get a new tire. Nothing, however, is better reserved as the word for the reception I fielded sitting on the hood of a car with a tire that was completely flat. Kimberly and I watched in disbelief-turned-horror-turned disgust as guy after guy walked past me without so much as a nod to my tire. Two guys asked for my number out of the window of their own vehicle, in plain view of my clearly lopsided one. I responded that I'd be more inclined to give out my number if I wasn't stranded at a convenience store. They sped off angrily. Yet another man walked past me, looked me up and down licentiously, glanced at my tire, went inside to purchase beer, and then came back to ask what I was doing that evening. I responded that I was probably going to be sitting there in front of the 7-11 since my car was currently inoperable. He promptly launched into a lip-licking soliloquy about how he was a gentleman and wasn't going to ask me for my number, he was instead going to give me his so that when my car was working, I could call. Finally, I called a guy that I'd seen casually before that didn't live too far from where I was marooned. He replied that he was napping, but would be glad to help me out in a few hours. Finally, a man stopped to help me. He said that he hated to see a beautiful woman in distress. I reminded him of his daughter, he said (notably, he turned out to be Flava of Love Deelishis' father; imagine that). He had to be over 50 years old.

In an effort to make this a tale of two cities, I won't single out LA. Months after the tire debacle, Kimberly and I made the difficult financial decision to take the train from the airport in Chicago even though we had five sizeable pieces of luggage. Chicago was city #5 in a six-city tour and it was nearing the fourth week of our being on the road. We were exhausted, money was waning, and we'd just spent the night in LaGuardia Airport in NY after a couple of hellish breakneck days in NYC...just to give you a sense of how we must have looked. Sure, we had on old sweats and looked a hot ghetto mess. Not to put extras on it, but attactive but downtrodden women are usually the #1 group of chicks to get help when they need it. Imagine our surprise when this theory was lambasted by the throngs of unchivalrous men in the Chi. We watched in more disbelief as men watched us struggle onto the train and up two flights of stairs in the CTA station with the bags. One man actually pushed physically past us, shaking his head at our gall. Finally, a good-looking young guy in a suit showed up and helped us out. This was well after our hourlong mark in town.

Gone are the days when men did things for women no questions asked, gone are the days when it was a man's job to serve women in need. Men today either want something in return for their trouble or they don't want to be troubled at all. It's all completely pay to play. Chivalry is not dead; it's pimpin' on the corner smokin' a fat one.

When I was very young, probably about nine or ten, my father who never doles out relationship advice doled out relationship advice. In fact, it's probably the only love and romance counsel he has ever given me in life: never go out with a man who doesn't open doors for you. Daddy is what you call a man of few words; his favorite saying is my grandfather's oft-used "it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." In other words, when my dad speaks, you listen. I can firmly say that my love life would have been exponentially better up to this point if I had made it a point to consistently heed this advice. Had I been on the lookout only for men that opened doors, it would have ensured that I a) didn't allow men to come over without taking me out, and b) always dated men with cars. The moral of the story is, however, that men today are less interested in opening doors than opening women's minds to the fact that they just don't feel like it.

It's no wonder BIC runs more rampant than ever. Here's the sad truth as publicized by Sex and the City: women want to be rescued. We deal with all the headaches of dating and looking for "the one" in order to find someone who is going to rescue us from the often heinous task of finding them. And it's no secret that, beyond that, we want someone to rescue us from the difficulties of single womanhood. It's always been an uncomfortable process, but it's become downright painful with men rolling around in their unapologetic disregard for us like pigs in mud. It's as if the attitude is "be a man about it, lady." The things women used to rely on men for we now have to be prepared to handle ourselves--fixing things, changing tires...all the heavy lifting of life that men are equipped for and women have to bust their asses to handle we just have to bust our asses to handle.

This would be all good and well except for the fact that I know way too many women who are all too excited to get themselves into a position where they can service a man with their "female" duties. They can't wait to slip up in some man's kitchen and get down to the business of cracking eggs and pounding meat. The thought even of scrubbing the toilet of the right man in blissful domesticity brings on a smile. Conversely, I can't name a man--and I know plenty--who is the least bit stimulated by the thought of getting their woman's car washed and making sure her trash is taken out. In fact, men today aren't looking to do a thing for a woman, they're looking for what women can do for them. Men today expect women to be super-beings who don't ask for assistance unless they really, really need it--and after they've received said help, they better be ready and able to pay up.

It's not just limited to the "man" duties, either. Although I can't tell you when it was, I feel certain that there was a time when women were safe to assume that they would be protected by the men in their lives. Those times are gone. Not to say that men have ever done backflips in anticipation of being of service to ladies; it's just that there was a period when there was an appropriate amount of time they put in before women were expected to feel indebted somehow. It used to be "my pleasure, ma'am". Now it's "same time, same tiiiime!" Young women out in the world today, even and especially beautiful women I would suggest, have to be prepared to take care of all of the minute details of life without a man's help. I say beautiful women because it's no secret that gorgeous broads learn to rely on the help of men at a young age due to how often it's offered. But I'm telling you, in these times and in Los Angeles specifically, beautiful girls are a dime a dozen. So don't run out of gas or need help moving. In fact, don't require protection at all. Learn to protect yourself because men to catch your fall are few and far between. We already outnumber them as it is. In fact, looking at the entire body of evidence, the best advice here is apparently to be willing to settle for a man who won't do anything but eat, crap and give opinions. That way, anything beyond is a cherry.

A friend of mine dated a man recently who put it all in a ridiculously precise nutshell. After announcing that he wasn't ever going to be a "servant" to his woman like some other men he knew, she asked him to clarify his statement. "You know," he said, "I'm not gonna be running and getting things for her like a bitch." "But what about if she was having a baby and got sick in the middle of the night?" my friend asked. "Wouldn't you get up to get her ginger ale and crackers?"

He stared for a minute before offering the only response that felt natural: "I mean...she knew she was pregnant when she laid down."

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Friday, October 5, 2007

I Think I Just Met My Husband

“The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing . . . and then marry him.

–Cher

It's getting hilarious, actually. The number of calls from my friends claiming to have found the one. In fact, since more of them started slamming their ships into the 26YO port, more and more of my girls have been finding that they guy they're seeing or the one they just met is in fact hubby--at least hubby #1. Or at the very least, Mr. Live-In Boyfriend. I've never heard so much serious talk about relationships. It seems to have happened over night, the dreamy tone, the contented smiles. And out of the blue, sex is the last thing that's brought up, and when it is details are scarce as though we're all above crass discussions about penis size because our relationships are suddenly very sacred. Of course, sex is still my first question but I think it's been established that I'm a bit immature. My juvenility aside, these guys are coming out of nowhere and turning these women out. I can't leave myself out of this equation...we all know my imagination is very vivid. I can't say that I haven't imagined myself in a...I can't say it, so I'll say "situation". (Is there something wrong with a woman who wants to get...settled, but can't say the word? Methinkso. But I digress. ) The situation at hand begs the question: are these guys really "the one" or are we just really desperate?

I am convinced at this point that the women of our generation (the first Y'ers) are completely throwback. We're the vintage queens. In our lifetime, we've rocked the bell-bottoms of the 70's, the colors of the 80's, and brought back the 90's as if they'd been gone far too long. It's completely possible we're bringing back the marital standards of the 60's.

The last two generations were ├╝ber-independent. Most of them had a laser focus on career, even moreso than the generation before them, simply because women have increasingly more opportunity. Consider celebrities for a second. Let's stretch over a two-generation span. Jennifer Lopez has definitely taken her career to heights Elizabeth Taylor never did, even though it's nearly inarguable that Liz exploited the crap out of herself in her day. Women just keep getting savvier and bolder, working smarter and not harder. For some reason, nowadays this seems to include jumping the broom.

My personal belief is that young women of our generation took one good long look at the frustration and occasional bitterness of women in their late 30's and 40's who can't find love and can't get pregnant and have decided to plop their tails in the first clean seat available in this musical chairs-esque love game we all seem to be playing. Especially since in this day and age, the concept of "work" is so subjective. Wanna get married and have kids right now? Go ahead. You certainly don't have to give up your career, because you can work from home. In pajamas, as the Newsweeks of the world like to remind us every chance they get. While breastfeeding.

But the beauty of getting married later in life, as our predecessors have found, is that they truly know who they are as [BIC] women before they force a man to live with it. They know themselves inside and out. It's undeniable that the road from mid-twenties to mid-thirties is paved with golden nuggets of very necessary lessons. If we get married too early, it's probable that we don't learn these lessons at all or we learn them too late.

The flip side of all of this is that young women today live in such an unstable dating market with a large majority of men that either have no interest in or are completely incapable of fidelity that when they roll up on a guy who's at least moderately sane and financially solvent who can pronounce the word "marriage" or even utter the phrase "live together" without vomiting, they're all too happy to start surfing http://www.tiffany.com and calling up the preacher (to book the church, not for counseling). No matter that three years later a healthy chunk of them will be divorced and speed-dating with a premium membership on http://www.eharmony.com or http://www.faithmate.com.

What's looked at is the here and now of the situation. The "I won't have to sleep alone now", the "I can have as much sex as I want with a man who's obligated not to cheat on me now", the "what's mine is mine, what's his is mine now"of the situation. At the same time, the other issue involved is one we hear about from every telesociologist you can name: everyone's in a rush to get married these days because not only do you get to have a big huge party or a "free" trip to Vegas, there's absolutely nothing to hold them in a "marital agreement". The days of "the old ball and chain"? Gone. The chain at least.

Marriage is the new Girl Scouts. Remember? "Just try it, honey; if you don't like it you don't have to stay", complete with the throwaway "okaaay, but if you quit now, you're a quitter...". We all know that most kids still quit. And most people today still get divorced, even if it means being called--drumroll please--a quitter.

Which brings me back to my "I've found him!!" phone log. A whole lot of people are talking about finding "the one", but not a whole lot of people are talking about kickin' it for sixty-plus years. And understandably so. That's a hell of a long time to put up with one person, especially in this day and age where people are ever-evolving, changing careers, zip codes and sexual preferences like pants. Very few of my friends feel that marriage or moving in would lock them in a situation in a threatening way. They all feel like they have an out--and I have to agree. While I feel as though I take commitment very seriously (albeit by sprinting in the opposite direction), if I look deep inside I find that I just don't feel as though "commitment" in this era is do or die--even for me who thinks it should be. It's simply do now, and reevaluate periodically to see if you want to keep doing.

So as wrong as I think it is, and as much as I disagree, I'd make the argument that getting hitched for a lot of us right now is just putting a boyfriend on layaway. True, if you decide not to purchase you lose your deposit, but not having to break off that final chunk of change leaves that much more for the next purchase. And if marriage is layaway, moving in is asking the salesperson to hold the dress for an hour and being told the limit is 30 minutes.

In the same vein, we all know what we do with a bangin outfit we can't by any stretch of the imagination afford: buy it with the resolve to sleep with it in our closests for a night (or two) before deciding to a) wear it around the house and then take it back or b) wear it out and take it back (don't front; you've done it). Both options are highly trifling, but it just doesn't stop us girls. We want to look fly. And so we do. No skin off our backs. Someone will buy it and keep it. The pictures and the memories and the high of feeling beautiful for a night--the orgasms of our short attention spans--are good enough.

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