Friday, November 30, 2007

As I Am

"even when I'm a mess/I still put on a vest/with an S/on my chest/oh yes...I'm a Superwoman...yes I am"

-Alicia Keys

I want to apologize as one of the biggest A. Keys fan in the world for just posting this over a week after her album was released. It is truly an amazing revelation. And since we all know Alicia is classic BIC from waaaaaaay back, you already know the LP is chock full of BIC-appropriate lyrics.

You've heard "No One", "Like You'll Never See Me Again" , and "Go Ahead" (which reminds me SOOO much of my ex-boyfriend it's scary). Check especially for "Wreckless Love" and "Teenage Love Affair" for car jamming sessions; "Lesson Learned", "Where Do We Go From Here", "Tell You Something" and "Sure Looks Good to Me" are goosebump fodder. Get it in your life. TODAY.

Love it. Love her...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Big Payback

"You gonna pay what you owe!" -Riley Freeman


“I Have A Dream: Christmas 2007”



I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest concept of satisfying women in the history of our nation.


In just under a month, a great holiday, which stands symbolically in the shadow of Jesus’ birth, will come to pass. This momentous occasion comes as a great beacon light of hope to millions of women who have been shopping the Internet for months, surveying clothes, shoes, travel, expensive memberships, spa visits and rare vintage literature and photography, who have been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It comes as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their heartbreak.


Even after centuries of overcoming male oppression and disappointment, the Woman still is not free. Years later, her life is still sadly crippled by the manacles of mistreatment and the chains of neglect. She is still languishing in the corners of true love and emotional fulfillment and finds herself an exile in her own land. So we have come here today to dramatize shameful conditions.


In a sense we have come to cash a check. When women created Cosmopolitan and Mademoiselle, they were signing a promissory note to which every man was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all girls, yes, girls as well as women, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of passion, accountability, consideration, intimacy, affection and the pursuit of commitment.



Instead of honoring this sacred desire, men have given the Woman a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of amorous justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of passion of this nation. So, this Christmas will be a very special Christmas for us. We have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the new relationships of our hearts' desire and the warm blanket of Santa’s benevolence. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind the male persuasion of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of avoiding the malls or to take the tranquilizing drug of singular gifting. Now is the time to make real the commercial and completely fabricated reason for the season. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of despair to the sunlit path of red boxes with gold ribbons...or blue boxes with white ones. Now is the time to lift ourselves from the quick sands of romantic injustice to the solid rock of demonstrated devotion.


It would be fatal to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of Woman’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of Christmas presents and New Year’s kisses—and presents. 2007 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Woman needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the penis-bearing set returns to business as usual. There will be neither cellular silence nor cessation of texts or emails in relationships until the Man has granted Christmas wishes, however huge and however ridiculous. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of his sex life until the bright day of do-right emerges.


But there is something that I must say to my ladies who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining all we deserve we must not be guilty of undervaluing ourselves. Let us not seek to satisfy solely our thirst for material goods by drinking from the cup of coming up.



We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into sex without strings. Again and again we must make men rise to the majestic heights of meeting the expensive present force with the soul force.


As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking us, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the stocking is empty and our beds are cold. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies and minds are heavy with the fatigue of fighting against men’s degradation, humiliation and underestimation. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until we get what it is we have coming to us.


I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.


I have a dream today that I will look up to find myself in love with someone worth my time, someone who understands my needs—spiritually, emotionally, physically, materially…intrinsically.

I have a dream today ladies.


I have a dream that I will soon find myself in a new relationship with someone who writes me poems and love letters every now and then, just enough so that it’s a surprise every time. I have a dream today that I will be with someone who I never have to ask for the things I want. Someone who will know instinctively, just by mere mention, that for Christmas I want the new Gucci perfume, “Gucci”, that smells so good I want to lie next to myself and kiss the nape of my own neck-- except it won't be out of necessity.

I have a dream today that I will have a love that will want to step out with me in the new Marciano jumpsuit that inexplicably transforms my body into Pam Grier’s from Foxy Brown, and the new little Marciano sequin dress that’s mildly inappropriate on my body but makes me feel like a rock star. He’ll be fashion-conscious enough to know that both outfits would best go with the Gucci Dahlia High Heel Knee Boot, after I tell him.


I have a dream that one day that he will wake up next to me and think “how can I make my baby happy today?” And then know that a huge-gesture gift certificate to Origins would do just the trick.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day he will give me beautiful, brilliant babies—two boys and a girl (or the two girls and a boy the psychic/prophet predicted/prophesized in Vegas earlier this year). But for now, he will fill the maternal void in my heart with the Christian Louboutin Chiffon Peep-Toe Pump with the hint of pink symbolizing our future daughter’s future nursery. He will also give me a Sephora gift certificate with which I will purchase some fresh blue NARS Island Fever eyeshadow in honor of the boys.

I have a dream today girls.


I have a dream that I will find a man who shares my deep appreciation for cold weather, and wants me to be properly covered when he takes me to exotically cold locales and doesn’t balk when I pair my mother’s vintage rabbit jacket with a Young, Fabulous & Broke tunic, stirrup pants and no underwear.

I have a dream today.


I have a dream that I will cohabitate with a man metrosexual enough to buy me a gift certificate to Neiman Marcus and heterosexual enough to not know that I will use it to purchase every shade of red lipstick that Chantecaille manufactures.

I have a dream.

I have a dream that we will marry in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay and honeymoon in Asia, but long before that fateful day he will have the resourcefulness to locate last season’s dark rinse Guess Leah Jean in a 29 that I so adored and didn’t buy, and love me enough to tell me he wouldn’t still want me as 27. I have a dream that when I use the spa visit and Pilates gym membership he gives me and I actually am a 27, he will lie and tell me I’m too skinny.

I have a dream today that I will love and be loved by a man that realizes and appreciates that I have expensive taste made far, far more expensive when it’s not my money being spent.

I have a dream my friends. I have a dream that contrary to what any analyst or highly principled person will say is just and/or healthy, one man will pay for what the others have done. I have a dream that one man will fill us up with all the love we’ve given—for every gift of time, adoration, sex, and actual matter that we have given to men we no longer love or even like, we will be repaid.

This is my hope. This is the faith I go into the holiday season with.

And when this happens, when we get to the mountaintop of this against-the-current brawl with love, we will
be able to join…hands (hmm)…and survey our booty (no, not that one) and say “It’s free at last! My spree at last. Thank GOD Almighty my spree at last!”

Happy Holidays!!


G. Steinem disclaimer: * *man not actually required**

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Skin-Caring

"Until you're twenty, you have the face that you are born with; after that, you have the face you deserve." -Unknown

I told y'all I was going to be shouting out my favorite skincare collection, Origins, over the next month. I've tried so many products in my lifetime and nothing has ever proved as consistent as Origins-- that is my guarantee. I live and breathe skincare, and I really don't have a high tolerance for grown women who don't know what the hell is going on with their own skin. Honestly, your face is all you got! So before I get started worshipping at the altar of exfoliation, if you're totally in the dark about skin health, I'm directing you elsewhere. I ain't got the time to explain!




Now. The rest of us know that, in this world, you gotta exfoliate. The greatest exfoliation product on the market, hands down, is Origins Modern Friction. First of all, it smells great but as I said before, absolutely EVERYTHING that comes out of this company smells fantastic. But the really great thing about this particular exfoliator is that it's not harsh at all. It gets the job done, it feels great, and it makes a difference after just one use. Twice a week you put it on your unwashed face, add a little water to form a paste, and then rinse with warm water. It's supposed to replace your face wash, but I still wash my face afterwards because I'm OCD about those types of things. Either way, it's a super on-point product that really helps  immediately in the deep cleansing arena, but long-term it makes a difference with discoloration and skintone. I promise that my combination skin is far less oily in the T-zone since I started using this last year.





Another miracle potion up for discussion is A Perfect World Antioxidant Moisturizer, which is hands down the best moisturizer Origins has to offer. Every skin type can use it, it's wonderful in the winter in colder weather, and it clears up bad breakouts in no more than two days. It even brightens your skin and evens out the texture. It also has some amazing antioxidant qualities that keeps your skin feeling good all day and protects against free radicals. And of course, the smell is ridiculously intoxicating. And while we're on the subject of the A Perfect World Collection, there is another product in that particular collection that makes me want to make love to myself three times in a row.




A Perfect World Intensely Hydrating Body Cream is, in fact, intensely hydrating. Unlike most lotions and creams, you are not able to write your full name in your legs with your fingernail thirty minutes after application. It's super rich and really improves the texture of your skin and makes you silky smooth and sniffworthy. In fact, it has me wanting to make some very bad decisions with someone, because the smell alone is pure foreplay. Still worth the use without le perfect guy because it's that great, particularly after shaving. But, if you can, get the man.


Just because.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Ultimate BIC Catalyst: PMS

"Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the only time of the month I can be myself."

-Roseanne Barr

I personally love PMS. Well, I love to hate PMS, anyhow. There's an unparalleled joy in being completely free to be misanthropic and filled with unsubstantiated rage. I received this email today that made me laugh. I think we've all been in a place where we felt like saying what this woman says in this letter.

**This, by the way, is an actual letter sent to Proctor & Gamble regarding their feminine products.**

Dear Mr. Thatcher-

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak Guard Core(tm) or Dri - Weave(tm) absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi - Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F - 16 in my pants. Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse"? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my "time of the month" is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills." Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine - hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from "Aunt Flo". Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out - of - control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi - pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: "Have a Happy Period." Are you f***ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle - manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong", or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have Chosen to take my maxi - pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex - Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that's a promise I will keep.

Always.

Best,

Wendi Aarons, Austin , TX

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Cirque du Amour

"What is broken is broken -- and I'd rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken places as long as I lived."

-Margaret Mitchell

Cardinal rule amongst women of a certain age (over 24 to be exact) is that you never sweat a man who doesn’t sweat you first, long and hard. I mean, c’mon. You know that you never call a man who hasn’t called you in over a week, you never spend money on a man who hasn’t ever spent money on you, and you certainly never call a man again who hasn’t returned your last call. These are basic lessons that young women just know.

When we’re girls, we are almost obligated to deal with the bull that young men offer. It’s a rite of passage to say that you’ve been in a place where you compromised yourself for love, where you were taken advantage of, misunderstood, and essentially played. There’s no shame in a young girl learning the hard way how to demand respect.

There is, however, shame in a grown woman learning the hard way how to demand respect, again.

By the time you’re 25, you should be a trapeze artist in the circus of love, able to leap the tall buildings of empty promises in a single bound. You should slide gracefully from one swinging pole of a man to another until you are able to land safely in the strong, sturdy net that is the arms of the right one. Too many of us, however, have allowed one of those swinging poles to toss us, the beautiful acrobats, violently into the clown car where we’ve become all too comfortable. When you’ve reached official womanhood and instinctively know what you only thought you knew before, when you’re exhausted from the years of fighting for and against love with immature, emotionally undeveloped guys, you’re increasingly aware of who you are as a woman and for what you will not stand. Unfortunately, many of us, weary from those years of swinging at the dust left behind by the chimps we allowed into our minds, bodies and souls still look at hopeless situations like an oasis in the desert. We still reach out for the baton beyond our reach, even though we’re all too aware that it will slip from our hands. Of course, we have ourselves to blame.

But taking it one step further, a portion of the fault indubitably belongs to our men of yesteryear who leave us so damaged, so rock bottom, that we have nowhere to go but up. Most of us, when we were very young, had relationships that went off and on and round and round; and, in hindsight, we slipped in and out of these situations rather seamlessly. But nearly all of us got stopped in our tracks at some point by one person with whom love blossomed but truth withered and forever just died. Once we’ve picked ourselves back up it’s possible that our optimism—and solid belief that God just would not take us through the ringer again—makes us have faith in situations where confidence is wasted. At a time when we should all be focusing on the lions of the set—the solid, commanding protectors and providers that we all deserve—some of us are still caught up in the chimpanzee menagerie, hanging onto the old promises of the one that got away by looking for a new ape to finish the job the old one started. We still give power to the guys who never deserved it by continuing the legacy of pain and degradation they began in our lives. So what do you do when you’re unable to make a relationship work, or better yet, find a working relationship after failing so miserably in the one you would have liked to have kept for a lifetime? What do you do when one monkey really does stop the show?

When you’ve made a mold out of someone who’s done you all the way wrong for so long, it’s inevitable that you might find yourself unable to break out of it. Of course we’re perfectly capable of breaking out, but when stepping outside of the box doesn’t feel quite right, it leads us down the hedonistic path of poor relationship choices. Unfortunately, too many of us make the wrong man a benchmark. It’s not enough to say that someone should be "better" than your old guy; he has to be different in key ways.

Of course, the short answer to not letting anyone rain on your parade is not to let anyone rain on your parade. But anyone who’s ever been down that road knows it’s easier said than done. You’ve got to get back on the horse when you’ve been thrown off, but getting back onto the same horse defeats the purpose. We have to be open to change and trying new things. This year, I practiced my own personal “Year of Yes”. If you’re not familiar with the concept, author Maria Dahvana Headley wrote a book by that title chronicling her year of taking every date she was asked on. Now, I can’t do all that because I just don’t have the patience. But I did take most of the dates I was offered. I know a lot more about myself and how I behave, what I like and don't like, what kind of lover I am, what kind of partner I am and what kind of partner and lover I need. This is certainly a more drastic approach to figuring out what you need, but it’s more than effective.

Love is, indeed, a circus, and there are too many beautiful animals with cool tricks for us to linger any amount of time around the clown car. I know; they can just be so damn funny and fun to be around sometimes—but when the lights go down and the show is over, always remember: they’re just sad.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Give It To Mama

"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

-Charles DuBois

It's pretty crazy to go through with cosmetic surgery with a pre-existing medical condition, but that's not the only reason I'm mentioning Donda West.

I don't know how appropriate my quote is above, but it struck a chord in me because I think that it captures the mindset Dr. West had as she prepared for a surgery that she likely knew would risk her life. However it goes, she's no longer here and my heart hurts for Kanye because I know how it is to lose a mother, regardless of how she dies; and my heart hurts for Donda because all women know how deeply you can want change in life, so much so that you're willing to risk what is actually important--life and love.

On a different note, I want to congratulate Dr. West for the life she led: one of purpose, one of integrity and not only that, she did a fantastic job raising her son (recent ├╝ber arrogance aside)into an intelligent, spiritual, culturally-aware, grounded (yes, he's still pretty grounded)and enigmatic individual who commands respect. And she did it by herself. Most of us are unmarried and/or childless reading this, but trust: it's way harder out here for a single mother than it is for a pimp.

So give it to mama; she did a pretty good job. Prayerfully, she's in a better place being told the same thing.

Sidenote: Pretty interesting article Maureen Dowd has up today about women refraining from acting too much smarter than their men. Yes, it's still the 21st century, in case you were wondering.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Skin Caring

"Until you're twenty, you have the face that you are born with; after that, you have the face you deserve."

-Unknown

Anyone who knows me knows I am OBSESSED with skincare. I hate going to sleep without washing my face, and if I by some freak accident I forget to apply moisturizer and sunscreen I will either turn around and go home to get it or go to the mall to get a sample.

In any case, I'm a longtime Origins fan, and I wanted to take the opportunity to shout it out. You will never use a better skincare line, whether you have sensitive, dry, oily, combination or problem skin. Everything at Origins is botanically-based and they even have a new line of completely organic skincare, Origins Organics. Since there are about 20 products I can't live without from Origins, throughout this month, I'll post two great ones a few times a week until I've covered all the products they have that I've tried myself. I'm going to start with my face cleanser and a great new product that makes a good holiday gift. Checks & Balances Cleanser I love this cleanser because it can be used on all types of skin, and is great on mine (combination/oily), but also works on my friend Kim's (normal/dry). Very few good products do that! So you don't have to worry about breakouts and irritation. It leaves your skin feeling so clean, and like all Origins products, smells beautiful. Spice Odyssey Foaming Body Rub

Okay, I'm professionally advising you not to use this product if you're not one for the one-party stroke of the guitar, because trust me, that is exactly what you'll feel is going on as you're rubbing this product on your body. First of all, it smells amazing, like real Moroccan spices. When I first opened it, it made me think of frankencense and myrrh. Note: I do not know what frankencense and myrrh look like. This, however, looks and smells as though it could pass. It's a loose formula that you pick up with your hands, smooth in a little water in and apply. If you're feeling particularly hedonistic, follow it up with the Shedonism Body Oil and Shedonism Deeply Hydrating Butter Cream. This product would make a great holiday gift. The feeling is indescribable, and since I have to relate an imagined experience to every single new product I come in contact with, I will say that this makes me think of a snowy night I didn't know was coming and a long hot shower I didn't start before settling down in front of a fireplace with a bottle of wine I didn't buy, a man I can't believe, and a three-hour long iPod playlist I put together. Merry Christmas!

Another great skincare line I JUST discovered that is FAB-ulous, Chantecaille (pronouned shan-teh-ki). I'm sure all the beauty experts are more than familiar with it, but I was just perusing the cosmetics department at Neiman's last week and happened upon it. Everything in this line is completely botanical, which is great for the skin. In any case, I tried their Detox Clay Mask with Rosemary and Honey, a delicious-scented gray concoction that completely cleared up the shindig four stubborn pimples were trying to throw on my left cheek. I'm sure the rest of the collection is crazy, too. I look forward to finding out and I'll let you know...

It will be hard to be BIC when you look and feel so gorgeous, but I'm sure, like me, you'll find a way. Happy skin-caring :o)

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And Then There Was Me

"Hypocisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtue."

-Moliere

SB had an ex-girlfriend who was insane. She was so crazy that after wreaking complete havoc on his life--including pretending to be pregnant--she married someone with the same last name and named her first son after him, so that her eldest son had the exact same name. She was that crazy.

Well, when they reconnected on a cool friendship tip a couple of years ago and she revealed that she was still in love with him (surprise surprise), he would forward me her voicemails and we'd laugh at her texts/emails. (What wasn't quite as funny was the fact that he started sleeping with her again, a little known fact until after things had officially dried up between us, but bygones). Anyhow, it was hilarious how much of a lunatic she was. I used to have those really amazing laughs at her behavior, the good laughs where your hands go weak and you can't stand up for minutes after you've finished rolling on the floor.

Today, however, I am not laughing.

I accept that I'm a little crazy. I mean, I created a blog named...well, you know the name. But you never could have told me--or anyone who truly knows me--that I would ever be in the place I was in on Saturday when I did the most deranged thing I've done to date.

Ladies, I've spent years laughing at women who sent rage-filled emails, texts, and voicemails. BIC is funny, but I believe that if you really have something to say, the most effective way to say it is to say it with sincerity, humility and a little sweetness. There's not much worth flying completely off the handle about---not that I don't have a temper, Lord knows I do. But when there's a point to make, it's always better made with a smile and calmness. Lord, I wish I could have told myself this on Saturday when I was the girl calling three times in two hours and leaving a loud, angry voicemail.

I was immediately regretful when I closed the phone, not just because it was ignorant and embarrassing, but because I realized that I was the ex's ex. I was the crazy bitch whose lunacy seeped through the airwaves like ecoplasm (remember that green Ghostbuster's stuff?). And now that I still haven't heard from him, I'm pretty sure he agrees.

And the guy, who I've only been seeing--or trying to see, I should say--for about seven months, has not called me back. And I really can't blame him, although I question his compassion at this point. It's obvious I'm going through something; now might be a good time to put in a call.

But aside from that, really, truly going off the deep end is a hard pill to swallow for the girl who has always considered herself more of an observer of female behavior than a participant. It's a hard pill to swallow for someone who considers herself only fashionably BIC, but ultimately cool and calm to a fault.

There's goes that theory.

I spent most of yesterday taking long breaks from my work to try to work out what it is about this particular guy that has me acting like a straight up and down rubber room reject. Frankly, I've been in serious relationships before that I didn't take this seriously. So I'm trying to do some soul-searching and figure out what's up with me. I got some great advice yesterday from my homegirl Jaarmyia that made things a little better, but overall the answer hasn't quite come to me yet. All I know is that I wish I could rewind and do that whole thing over again. In fact, I had planned to do a post today about how to cover up BIC actions and play them off, but tragically, I've committed one that I can't play off in the least. There's a post for you.

Just wanted you all to know that you're not alone. Although ironically, that's exactly how I feel right now.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Do You Feel Sorry For Him??

"As far as the Salt Lake City thing, he's a Mormon and the Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, again, it's not a subject." -Roberta McCain, 4:21 PM CST "I didn't mean to say it..." -Roberta McCain to John McCain, 4:25 PM CST

Well, you guys were very clear in how you felt about Diddy and the babymama drama, and were overwhelming not sorry for Paul McCartney, either. Maybe a P.O.W can feel the love.

This week's Do You Feel Sorry For Him? is pretty darn amusing, considering the BIC in question is 95 years young. John McCain's precious (and remarkably sharp) mother, Roberta, made some very incendiary comments about Mormons relative to his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. While McCain immediately tried to distance himself from the comments, the fact is that the woman said it sitting right next to him. You'd have a hard time convincing me that he doesn't share the same views although he can't vocalize them, and it's gonna cost homeboy some votes (and you know he doesn't have them to spare with Guiliani swanning about the country like he's already commander-in-chief). So tell me: is John McCain a helpless victim of Roberta's senior citizen candor? Or did John McCain get what he deserves for parading his nearly century-old mama around like a French poodle? Scroll down and vote!

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A Rose By Any Other Name

even though she gets on my nerves/she take s*t that she don’t deserve/tell me what’s a woman like that worth?”

-Jaheim

give her your love/with a dozen roses/make sure that she knows it/it comes from your heart...

-Stevie Wonder

I love the story of how my parents met and fell in love. It’s beautifully complicated and real, down to earth. My father was a reluctant party, unwilling and unready to fall in love with an amazing woman. He was pretty much yanked into it by my no-nonsense, sick-of-the-bs mother and her balls the size of Texas in dealing with him. She called his bluff and walked clean away from him and let him miss her so badly that he finally stopped dating the dozen women he was dating. I won’t get into details, but I find my parents’ love story to be refreshingly contemporary for a 70’s romance. Most people have a fairytale for their parents’ union--my parents’ sounds more like a season of Sex in the City (season six, to be exact). Even with the hesitancy and reluctant ultimate submission of my father, I know for a fact that he always spoiled my mother with flowers. Sidenote: had I been my mama’s homegirl back in the day, I would have told her to drop her no-good man. Come to find out, though, my mother had some remarkable foresight in the situation and couldn’t have picked a more devoted husband and father.

Fast forward to present day. We as women frequently sign up for some straight BS and have been conditioned not to expect much from men. We’ve become accustomed to guys calling for the first time after 10 pm, having our first date in one of our apartments, going too far and doing too much too soon. It’s the new way of the world. Old-fashioned gentlemen are few and far between these days and it’s highly possible that modern women aren’t even able to appreciate them when they do peek out of the bushes. Why did we give up the flowers?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when women began to feel as though it was okay to accept less than everything from men, but I suspect it has a lot to do with the way we outnumber them. With two plus girls to every boy depending on age range, it’s likely that many ladies have given up the ghost and decided to park it in the first musical chair their ass can squeeze into before the record scratches. Changes in family structure also contribute; fathers are increasingly less present in the home, and without a standard nuclear parental structure (major qualification: with mentally stable parents), many women are just encouraged to find someone, not someone nice. Men are also given more time to play around with than ever. They don’t have to start being real gentlemen until they’re dangerously close to 40. Since most of them pop the top off the cherry pie filling around 14, this then means they’re given roughly 26 years to be “young” and otherwise uncouth.

And then there’s the inter-gender peer pressure. It’s considered almost shameful in this day and age, even amongst our own sisters, to be too old-fashioned romantically--especially when women are so new-fashioned in every other area of life. We live alone far longer, we don’t rush to have childen, we have fabulous careers, we make plans to live life to fullest—it’s embarrassing to slip in there that you want a knight in shining armor, too. It’s deemed too much to ask in a society that fundamentally believes women can’t have it all.

We also live in a society that has taught men that their penises are soo special (Cosmo flies off the racks) and orgasms are sooo wonderful that if we can just get the penetration, we’ll be pinching ourselves with joy. All we want, it’s been conveyed, is something we can feel. Well, I for one, think it’s about time we reverse the myth. Because I feel a lot better with something I can hold. Honestly, I’m talking simple here, like a poem. A sweet letter. I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah…love the quality time, love the boner, love the masculinity—really, we love it. But let’s get real—it’s a [turkey] burger without fries. And yeah, society now tells us we don’t need fries, either, but again… get real.

All the psychology of it aside, what the hell is going on here? Where are the flowers? No one’s asking for bushels of red roses here. Get a tulip, a baby’s breath, a damn chrysanthemum. And quite honestly I’m not even a “flower” girl. I have no green thumb and flowers need too much attention. So, find out what I do like and give something thoughtful. Not expensive. Thoughtful. Sweet.

The act of giving a woman something she treasures does not sign a life away; putting a smile on a woman’s face for all the smiles she creates does not castrate. Since I truly believe something needs to be done about this phenomenon, I’m creating a holiday for which I’ll be circulating an email. In fact, expect one of those annoying forwards that you get at least four times before the actual day of action and continue to pop up in your inbox until 2010.

Thursday, January 17 is Giving Her Something She Can See Day.

D**k in a box excluded.

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Opportunity Cost And A Loss Of Interest

"The cost of a thing is the amount of … life which is required to be exchanged for it."

-Henry David Thoreau

"i can't blame it on love, naw/cuz common sense it plays its part/i can't blame it on you/cuz you don't rule my heart/i can blame it on her/cuz she can't be that smart/messin wit you she gone get a broken heart..."

-Jaguar Wright

Women, I’m convinced, are too hard on themselves. Every time an issue comes up in a relationship we’re so busy trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with us. What did we do? What did we say? What didn’t we do right? How could we be so dumb? I’ve been a culprit. Since I’m the type who keeps her foot in her mouth, is frequently overly dramatic and more than a little crazy (my mother called me “Wild Woman” from the time I was two years old), I’m always trying to analyze what may have gone wrong on my part. What I’ve learned about romance is that there are only a couple of things that women should suspect are going on when a relationship appears to be going south or a man seems to be acting differently. We either think that we’ve lost our appeal or there’s someone else. There’s also the lesser-acknowledged something is wrong with him or something is going on with him, but we won’t talk about that here. If a man is reading this he’ll say “See? Women always wanna make it about them; I just have a lot on my mind.” We’re not talking about that; that’s another post. Something on his mind is another post. This is about when the something on his mind is another lady or getting rid of you.

What really sucks is that you can’t always see this coming. You’re floating along, having a wonderful time, and yeah there becomes something that seems a little off from time to time, but things are so good you don’t speak on it. Soon, the something reappears for longer periods until it’s all you can think of. You imagine it’s your imagination. You flex a few BIC muscles and then drum up the nerve to talk to him, who assures you that it’s your imagination. A little time goes by and suddenly, you absolutely must say something again because it seems to have gotten worse. In fact, it’s eating away at the entire relationship. He acts oblivious. One day you have an epiphany: it’s not just your imagination. It’s real and he’s lying. When the sex was phenomenal, the conversation was good, the laughs were plenty and the vibes were great and then suddenly nothing is good at all and you can distinctly feel him pulling away in the places you want to hold him tighter, there’s only one question to ask: is it a matter of opportunity cost or a loss of interest?

It completely depends on the type of man you’re attracted to, but I happen to attract and be attracted to extremely cocky men who feel they’re never without a plethora of choices. There’s a clear high associated with loving such a man, but there is also clearly a downside. If he feels he always has other option, you never know when he may feel he wants to exercise other options. More importantly, with a man like that you can never count on the fact that he won’t choose to exercise said other option at the height of your emotions. Men like this tend to be hard to please and easy to alienate. They’re constantly looking for the next girl to conquer, and you hanging around can put a kink in that. In other words, the opportunity cost of being with you gets too high and they have to cut their losses to save their net worth.

Conversely, it may or may not be this same type of man who fits the bill of the other relationship-buster. Men have short attention spans, after all. Here today…gone today; it’s not unheard of. Sometimes it can be revived, and sometimes it’s just not gonna happen. In other words, the interest rate is too low. Too often, however, men don’t just say this. Maybe it’s general cowardice that keeps men from letting us know they’ve lost interest, or maybe it’s fear of BIC. Both are valid.

It’s not fun to realize that a man isn’t ready to settle with you because he’s concerned something better might come along. Because frankly, I’m of the belief that you can’t do any better than me. Let me run this down for you: maybe, just maybe , you can find someone finer, but she won’t be more brilliant; maybe you can find someone more brilliant, but she won’t be as fly; maybe you can find someone more fly, but she won’t be sweeter; maybe you can find someone sweeter but she won’t be more grounded; maybe you can find someone more grounded, but she won’t be more talented; maybe you can find someone more talented, but she won’t be as spiritual; maybe you can find someone more spiritual but she won’t be more giving; maybe you can find someone more giving, but she won’t be as fun; maybe you can find someone more fun, but she won’t be a better lover. Period. There’s a sweet peace in realizing that ‘you can’t replace me’. So a man thinking he can upgrade doesn’t hurt my feelings—it makes me despise the fact that I spent time with someone stupid.

And that’s the point of this post. I think that women need to realize that opportunity cost doesn’t belong to him—it belongs to us. So interest has been lost? Sell your damn stock and sink it into something certain to appreciate. Because honestly, do we really want a man to come to us and tell us he’s lost interest? Or would we just much rather go through the BIC process and move on naturally? I can’t call it for anyone else, and I know it's easier said than done, but I don't need anyone to sit me down and tell me they’re not ready—I was born at night, but not last night. If I feel it, then he’s doing something wrong and isn’t worth the time. It’s taken me some years and some serious trials and tribulations to get here, but I’m finally here.

I hope you’re here, too.

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What Real BIC Is Made Of

"lemme show you howta do this, son..."

-Jay-Z

This requires no introductory quote. This is an email sent to a man last night from one of the head BICs in my life. Yes, that's right: an email. You read right. Enjoy.

Okay I will admit that I over-reacted yesterday in the parking lot and threw a little bit of a tantrum. I'm prone to that. I am spoiled, selfish and used to getting what I want. I don't like to make concessions and HATE not getting my way. This is how I am and I'm pretty unapolegetic about being spoiled. Its part of being that way I guess.

As far as the text asking me what I want want. The shortest easiest answer to that question is more than you are offering. Essentially you are offering sex with no strings attached. Sex is sex. I am not eager to jump into this kind of situation. If you wanted to fuck me, you should have tried in college. I was young, naive and trying to figure out sex and my sexuality. I probably would have been up for it. As for now, I guess my response would be "why?".

I'm at a point where I feel the need to be convinced. Convince me why you are worth it. You probably can't, and that brings me back to my short answer of more than you are offering. There is not going to be anything spectacular enough about sex with you that justifies the concessions you are asking me to make. This isn't an insult to you, your abilities or whatever male pride you hide behind. Its true of any man. I just don't want to pretend or lie or deal with the bullshit your offer entails. I don't want the false chivalry. Pretending to be a gentleman and walk me to my car so you can grope my ass. A true gentleman would have offered to meet me at my car upon arrival and walk me in. I not saying this to say I need that b/c I don't. I'm saying it to say that I see through the bullshit and can't accept it. You can take this how you choose. I'm not saying it to be petty or mean or whatever. I'm saying it because its true and I deserve better.

I like you. I think you are cool and laid back and easy to chill with. I wish you the best, but we probably shouldn't hang out together because this will keep popping up and it will continue to be an issue. Maybe I didn't articulate my point as clearly in my text messages yesterday but this essentially my point.

Oh, and as far as not believing how I am coming at you. I didn't mean to be disrespectful, but I'm assuming you didn't either. No hard feelings. And its your call, but I'm not expecting a response.

And....scene.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

A Day Early But All Love

"I know some sisters who only see each other on Mother's Day and some who will never speak again. But most are like my sister and me... linked by volatile love, best friends who make other best friends ever so slightly less best."

~Patricia Volk

We were born not even a year apart, and have been inseparable ever since we knew the other existed. We share a highly dysfunctional family that has bred some of the best senses of humor you'll ever know. Our grandmother insisted that first cousins were "the closest thing to sisters" and we've known nothing different in our lifetime. Together, we exacted revenge on family members who hurt the other, plotted some of the most hair-brained schemes known to man, and got into tons of trouble ("THIS IS HOW WE DO IT!!!"). She was my sister when I was still an only child, and we take turns being little sister/big sister all the time. She was the first person I told when I lost my virginity, the only person who knows some key things about my life that will go unmentioned to anyone else forever.

She embodies ride-or-die, never balks when I behave badly, and always laughs with me at my biggest mistakes. She never takes *%&^ off of anyone, and while she's the only person I know personally (that's not on television) that can make mean sexy, she has one of the best hearts of anyone I know. Men love her. Kids love her. I love her and she's made my life so awesome on so many different occasions.

Happy Birthday To the Co-Creator of "BIC", my beautiful cousin Tyra Oliver, who will be falldown drunk tomorrow night--and possibly tonight as well. I love her for that, too.

Unfortunately, I do not have my fav pic of us as kids scanned, so I'm forced to use this one from her law school graduation party with hella other fam members in it. But it's okay because I love them, too (her brothers Ryan & Ross--r to l--on either side of us and our little cousin Syd).

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

If You Build It They Will Come

"It seldom happens that a premature shoot of genius ever arrives at maturity. "

-Marcus Fabius Quintilian

Fellas, it’s hard to get y'all to focus sometimes. At least hard to get you to focus on what we want you to focus on. We’ve all had the “hey…my face is up here” experience with one of you we’ve just met. But once you’re officially signed onto the exploratory committee for possible instatement, otherwise referred to as dating, there are other considerations in that same vein. Like “hey…those lips don't talk!"

Little known to the male set is that there’s a rhyme to female reason. The motivation for women to withhold sex so long in a relationship, outside of general respect/religious/regret concerns, is to get as much of ourselves [read: not booty] into the relationship before men are completely distracted by breasts and other such concerns. What men often fail to comprehend but women know all too intimately is that once sex is introduced into a relationship, it can be difficult to back up and insert what we wish they knew. There is a precise point in a relationship when it’s the “perfect” time to introduce sex, a time when you guys know you could fall completely and in fact feel yourself doing so and when we know you well enough to be glad you see the special part of you that speaks to that special part of us, a time when sex is the Ziploc bag for a relationship, sealing in the freshness and preserving the sexy. If this perfect balance isn’t struck, however, and we put out too early, it’s hard to get y’all to take anything we say seriously, let alone to take the relationship seriously. It’s really rare to find a situation in which we wait long, because generally that’s harder on us than on you, but there is a distinct too early category.

First of all, if it’s too soon and you know that you’re skilled at sex, you feel as though you can reel us in with the sex. If we enjoy ourselves, you always have an “in”. We hate this.

Sex is a part of life. We all enjoy it; it’s what makes the world go ‘round. We’re supposed to enjoy it. But it should NOT run your life. Everything is not about sex! And it’s so much better with someone you genuinely like. Women know this. And actually, men know this too, but for some reason you guys so rarely have a desire to control yourself. So, take what you want from this, but hear me out: don’t sweat the sex. Sweat the girl. The girl deserves time and effort, the relationship deserves attention and a shot. Think about the fact that there’s a reason you were interested in the woman in the first place—if that reason has proved to be invalid, then you should have moved on. Trying to get your rocks off before exiting stage right is not cool. If the reason you initially liked her still exists, respect the relationship enough to give it a real chance before introducing sex, because that is going to invest her heart and in effect, test the relationship’s strength. Get to know her, work on your connection with her so you have something to hold on to. The relationships that survive sex and BIC and all the scary accessories are always the best anyhow. The true beauty of it is, if you truly like her, you can’t lose.

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Holidays Bring Out The Sweet Potatoes and Turkeys

"presents and cards are here/my world is filled with cheer and you..."

-Donny Hathaway

With Halloween officially behind us, I, along with the entire consumer products industry, can officially say it: Happy Holidays! ...I think.

I’m religious, so I’m excited to be able to officially begin saying Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving. Just as excited to be saying Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Any-Third-World Country’s New Year. I love the holidays. It’s a time of so much festivity, beauty and love. Speaking of love—because it always comes back to that--there’s a very ‘what am I supposed to do’ air of angst floating around these days with a lot of ladies I know. It’s because the holidays are coming and girls are caught up in the age old quandary of not knowing what kind of relationship (if any) they’re currently sporting. There’s one young lady I know who isn’t sure whether to go home to her family for just the holiday or for a couple of weeks—which could all be cleared up if her “significant other” (and I use that term so loose it’s bunched up around my ankles) would just give her a solid indication of his own holiday and New Years’ plans and how they include her. Yet another one is deeply in love with a man who (gasp) is also deeply in love with her —should she have him out to meet her parents? Yet another friend would love to spend the holidays with her lover and his children, but he’s not sure where they currently stand—he really cares about her and is terrified of falling in love with her, so he intermittently holds her close and keeps her at arm’s length, which does not holiday plans make.

And then there’s me, inexplicably embroiled in a severely casual relationship and wanting to ask my new friend out to my family’s place in Texas, but not wanting to feel like I seem presumptuous, which I most certainly am. And unfortunately all that confusing verbage was necessary to fully express this thought. Inviting him probably is too premature—not chronologically, more situationally —but there is a school of thought amongst women that believes the holidays make all questionable requests a little more acceptable. It’s wintertime, people are happy and cozy, giving gifts and sharing smiles…and it’s highly possible that an off-the-chart level of BIC is cleverly disguised as holiday spirit in these sentimental days at the end of the year. Can the holidays make or break relationships?

First, there’s the question of travel. If you two met in a central place like college or wherever you reside and are from two different places, then there’s the issue of the “big visit” to your parents’/family’s home. This thought takes me back to the day I boarded a plane to go visit my ex in his hometown. I was unprepared for what I might find when I got there—I was just excited to see him. But it’s important that women understand that visiting the home, either him visiting yours or you visiting his, is a big deal. Meeting his friends or vice versa, seeing him in his element, how he moves, interacts, how people treat you based on your relationship to him—all of these things have the capability to change things between you for better or for worse. In my case, it changed it for the better. I felt more connected in a relationship where there was always an issue of mystery overdose, but I’m certain it’s just as easy for that type of visit to create a total disconnect if you’re unwilling to reconcile the person you see there with the one you intimately know.

There’s also the major issue of meeting the family, who might be inclined to read more into the situation than they should. The last thing you want if he’s visiting your family is for them to embarrass you with inappropriate questions and expectations. My cousin and I always joke that our husbands should meet our extended family at our respective rehearsal dinners when getting out is not an option. Likewise, consider that his family might send you running for the hills. Moms and dads are one thing—but depending on how deep his family goes and how close they are, you might be dealing with grandmas and aunties and cousins and sisters. Stunting your relationship around spectators (depending on how your family behaves) is a big choice to make. They might see things you don’t see and might not be prepared to face. Sure, it’s possible your dad will love him and he’ll love your dad, which will propel the relationship further. It’s just as possible that they’ll make each other uneasy and you irritated and uncomfortable in the process. Crapshoot city.

Second, there’s the question of gift-giving. If you’ve been seeing someone for the majority of the year but you’ve never given each other anything, you have to think about what, if anything, you’ll give them as a holiday present. Most women are nervous that they won’t receive a gift in return after spending a fair amount of time deciding what to give him, which is much more about the embarrassment of looking as though you spent a fair amount of time presuming you’d get something back (other than sex, which most men consider to be the greatest gift they can give). And we all know that this potential snafu of giving and not receiving creates a BIC-induced resentment that can manifest in some highly destructive ways. The real combustibility of this is in the fact that it’s not something that can be avoided, unless you’re willing to be extremely calculating. It’s not as if you can discuss presents in a heart-to-heart. You can’t send a “we need to talk” text (which, once again, is never, ever a good idea) about holiday gift-giving. Of course, you can drop little “I saw something I think I wanna get you for Christmas”, but who wants a gift you had to hint-drop your way into getting? Don’t answer that if you’re particularly trifling.

Lastly, there’s the issue of exclusivity. The holidays can convey how important or unimportant you are to him in the scheme of things. If you two are not exclusive and there are other women (or worse another woman) in his life that come before you on the totem pole, the holidays might shed a very bright light on that fact. He might be not be able to visit you because he’s visiting her—in which case, you have to realize that if she gets holidays, you are clearly the other woman. In which case, you have decisions to make. Maybe your new year shouldn't include him, in which case, the holidays have served to be not just an end to the year but an end to the guy.

Let’s not even talk about New Years’ Eve, which real BICs know is only 45 days before another holiday with the potential to disappoint.

Love is beautiful, but relationships are work. The holiday season is a special time of year, but there’s no Christmas break from your hopes and concerns about where your relationship is headed. If anything, the importance of such a major holiday coupled with the onset of a brand new 365 with all of its changes and resolutions delivers a whole new set of concerns. At a time of year when everyone is praying for peace on Earth and goodwill towards men, let's face the fact that ladies everywhere are silently hoping for personal peace and goodwill from them.

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