Monday, January 25, 2010

Mama Told Me

Having a dead mother is incredibly different than having a live one. When a mother dies, the lessons don’t cease; they continue to resonate and repeat themselves like a beautiful mantra from the sky. For some reason, the mantra ran strong today and I thought I would share the five most important and memorable things my mother ever said.

  • “Show some leg”

Now, having been raised in very traditional Baptist Church, these instructions didn’t fly well with the missionaries, but it was Mother’s belief that mine and my sisters’ skirts should go no lower than the top of our knees. My sisters and I have legs like our mother – long, shapely, muscular, and thick. They are truly a work of art, and of course my Mommy wanted us to be as proud of them as she was of hers. What I have come to realize is that each woman has a special body part that she needs to show without fear or hesitation. Not every woman will have a small waist, dainty toes, and a coke bottle figure. But you got something, now show it.

  • “Nothing on your face”

She believed that bangs were for ugly people to hide their faces. I will never forget how hard she tripped when I came home from the salon with a side swept bang. So face tattoos, piercings, blemishes, and makeup were a no go for my Mommy. She wanted us to take care of our faces, rather than hide its imperfection. She also wanted us to understand that though your face is not the first thing people see, it is probably the most important and communicative part of our body. Its where all the expressions are, and people should see them.

  • “No scars on your body”

My mother wanted my sisters and I to be careful outside so as not to scar, and from then I realized that I would be stuck with this body for the rest of my life, so I should take care of it. Don’t put any and everything in your body – that goes for food, chemicals, medications, penises, anything. Your body isn’t a pair of shoes. You don’t buy new ones once the old pair is worn out. Don’t abuse your body.

  • “You can’t keep a man if you can’t cook”

I know this isn’t an absolute rule, especially if your non-cooking ass were married to a chef. But I have come to interpret that even if you get a man, you still have to keep him. You heard the saying that pussy comes a dime a dozen, and looks fade. What do you have that will make a man stay? Are you honest and loving? Can you cook his dick into submission? Do you have a serious understanding of money that will keep your house afloat through any economic tide? Whatever you got, use it, because we all know that men have roaming eyes.

  • Separate bank accounts

My Mommy never said separate bank accounts, but I think she would have if she lived long enough to see me date boys. By the time I turned eleven, we had lived three months without electricity. My father was unemployed and couldn’t afford to pay the bill. We sat our food on ice in picnic coolers and shat and showered by candlelight. I had, of course, given up on the hope of a birthday. But on September 16th my mother bought me an art set complete with oil pastels and acrylic paints. The irony is that I had to paint by short stem prayer candles that we’d bought from the corner store. No matter, this birthday went down in history as one of my favorite birthdays in the history of my life. I learned that with separate monies, you can achieve separate goals. I got my birthday and a couple weeks later, the electric bill was paid. Everybody wins.

I hope that you appreciate the fact that I shared my Mommy with you. She was a beautiful woman and she was cool and tempestuous like the ocean. But that woman managed to make six beautifully confident kids.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nobody Asked You

My green dress is not a dress, it's a t-shirt. My older cousin bought one of those deep V t-shirts from American Apparel and subsequently lost too much weight to wear it. I, who thoroughly enjoys the challenge of turning rags into a spirited outfit, requested that he give the shirt to me. Normally I wear that bitch in the summer with sandals and a belt at my waist, but seeing as the weather in Atlanta was uncharacteristically warm for January, I thought I'd sneak in a leg show while the opportunity was present.

I wore my green dress with a black leather jacket and black leather boots. I think the combination of all that leather and the length of my dress made this outfit a bit more scandalous than usual. The boys, of course, loved it - I think I caused a my share of car accidents on Fair St. - however, my female colleagues were less receptive to the site of my thick thighs.

You can always tell when someone is looking at you, and I felt as though I was standing before a tribunal while on my campus. It made me uncomfortable having so many women interested in the way I looked, and I began to wonder why women do this. Why do women feel the need to police each other's activity?

The moment I looked at myself in the mirror, I became fully aware of the length of my dress as well as the potential that excessive amounts of wind would put me in a precarious position. Bearing all of those awarenesses, I left the house anyway. However, women frequently felt the need to tell me that my skirt was short and that I knew I was cold. I came back at these women with clever quips, but at the same time I kind of wanted to tell them to mind their own wardrobes.

It is a tendency for women to police each other. Is it because we are protecting the values of our community, or are we made uncomfortable by the bold choices of others? When I cut my hair, I had girls coming to me saying, "I liked it better when it was long," or, "I don't like that color." My answer was simply, "ok" because their comments were as essential to me as a crucifix is to an atheist. Nobody asked you, is what I should have said, because seriously if I cared I would have taken a poll and weighed the data before I left for the barber shop.

As a kid, when girls used to bother me, my mom would tell me they were jealous. To me, it made no sense. In my logic, it seems that if I were jealous of someone, the most productive thing would be to find out exactly how to achieve what they have. It wasn't until years later that I believed her, when I realized that there are people out there who express their jealousy in anger. For instance, there is this girl on campus who seems to be imitating and emulating my persona. We used to be on kind speaking terms, but now when I see her she grills me like I killed her best friend. I understand it now, she is so frustrated by her inability to be me, that she now takes it out on me. Such is the dynamic of a hater.

I'm no saint. I talk shit about some of the garbage my fellow ladies wear: off-white cable knit tights as leggings still haunt my dreams, as do leggings that are see-through at this lumpy girl's lumpy cell-u-lit ass crack. I do try to avoid talking shit, and I will continue to try to be less of a hypocrite. At the same token, I don't make those comments known, because just as I saw myself in the mirror and decided that I was still going to wear my favorite not-a-dress in the whole world, you whores in your faux pas witnessed your own crimes of fashion and kept it pushing.

By the end of the day it got cold and I began laughing at myself for having misjudged the weather for the morning. Again, I was aware that I was actually cold, and I wanted so bad to get home and out of the cold. I don't need anyone to tell me how my body feels.

Why can't we just leave each other alone? Who are you to tell me what to do? Are you some sort of expert in fashion, morality? Are you Jesus? Are you my father? Are you even my favorite aunty? If you cannot give me a credible answer to any of these questions, then I would kindly ask you to put all your comments and suggestions down the toilet. That is, unless you are offering to buy my ass an alternative outfit. I never turn down free clothes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Night at the Metropolis

Dear Readers, I hate dating. It makes me uncomfortable, and I wish there were another way around it. I may have a bit of exaggerated anxiety when it comes to dating, but doesn’t everybody?

I’m afraid of being stood up, I would be humiliated by a bad date, I hate when people watch me eat, and I fear that the more things I order off the menu, the more he expects me to do him. An escalating price range subliminally begets escalating sexual expectations. Yet, despite the amount of discomfort felt on the first date, it still makes a girl feel special when a guy is willing to spend a little cash to hang out with her.

It made me feel just that when, on my daily walk to the Fields Corner library, a man asked me out. He spoke with such earnest enthusiasm as he complimented me, as if I were the most beautiful woman he had ever seen on this side of the Mississippi River. He was busy moving furniture into his apartment, so he handed me his business card and we arranged to meet each other for dinner. “Hey, Karen,” he yelled as I was approaching the corner, “ while you’re at the library, think about where you want to eat. I’ll take you anywhere you want.”

Glee is what I felt. This was not a college boy with a twenty dollar dinner limit. Here was a man who owned his own car dealership. On the way home from the library I saw one of the free magazines that review local restaurants and nightclubs and the like. I grabbed one and searched for a good review, and landed on a restaurant called Metropolis. It was located in one of the oldest and most expensive neighborhoods in Boston and the article suggested I try the veal scaloppini. The price was reasonable and the veal was free-range. Hell to the yes, I thought to myself.

At nine o’clock that night, he rang the bell and I sauntered downstairs in my velvet peep toe platforms to find a man in Walmart jeans and blue/red on white low-top Top Ten Adidas. You may not remember what those sneakers are, because their glory days in my city faded the year I finished high school. I began to fear that he would be turned away for wearing those clothes within five miles of the South End.

He walked me to the car, and before I could remember to put my seatbelt on I wanted him to take me home. I realize that the enthusiasm with which he complimented me was not because I was a breathtaking beauty; it was because he was either mentally ill or just really stupid. I had no idea how I missed this. He had impressed me by telling me that he was writing a screenplay, and I was glad to be in the company of a fellow writer. But he spoke for close to 10 minutes with awe and fascination about his editor, commending her for her ability to differentiate to, two, and too or their, there, and they’re. The Boston Public School system is one of the better ones in this country. How the hell did this guy miss that grammar lesson on homonyms.

It wasn’t until later, when we were talking about school and he only told me which elementary and middle schools he attended that I realized he never even went to high school, let alone graduated. I peeked into my black Iguana skin clutch to find his business card. I realized that he didn’t own a dealership, but that he worked on commission for a cheesy website. All my glamorous illusions were being shattered like a drunk driver’s windshield on the 4th of July.

We arrived at the restaurant and it was beautiful. It was tucked into one of Boston’s historic brownstones on Tremont St. The restaurant seated no more than 64 people, and the setting was comfortable, relaxed, and intimate and the maĆ®tre d’ was a warm hostess.

My date removed his bubble jacket to reveal a striped Sean John shirt, that would make Diddy himself laugh. It was a shirt that Marshalls has been trying to get rid of for about five years. He also had three large gold chains. This man was so 90s hip hop. It was embarrassing, because, I’m 2010 chic.

He spoke nervously and in depth about the most insignificant things. And I looked in his eyes and though he looked back at me, they were blank and distant, almost empty. Our waiter asked what we wanted to drink. I ordered water and asked about the veal, which he highly recommended. “That’s what I’m getting, then,” I concluded.

“Are you all set sir?” my cute waiter asked. My date mumbled something nervously, but he didn’t even look up. Mind you he no less than six feet and over 200 lbs, and my waiter was about 5’7’’ and pretty. Still the man across the booth was afraid to look him in the eye. When the waiter left, he asked me to order for him. I thought it was because he was going to the bathroom, but he just sat there. When the waiter returned, I ordered for the both of us, without question. Not because I wasn’t curious, but because I didn’t care for answers. I wanted out.

He kept talking nervously, but none of his thoughts made any sense. He talked extensively about things like parking tickets, even though I told him I don’t even know how to drive. He delved deep into his emotional pit, describing how his recently passed grandmother speaks to him in his dreams. I usually try not to mention my deceased mother until after the second date, to avoid low spirits. He expressed a conspiracy theory about white people and their hatred of blacks. Two of my closest friends are white and a half so naturally that discussion made me uncomfortable, especially in a tiny little restaurant where even the kitchen staff can hear your every breath.

Finally, to change the tide of the conversation, I asked him about his screenplay. I had to fight laughter with all my might. I won’t give too many details, just in case it actually does become a Blockbuster. It was a film about three urban woman trying to help their community. He couldn’t tell me how they went about helping it, only that they were about solutions rather than the problem. Then I asked about the main characters and he answered, “I want the role of Mary to be played by Mary J. Blige, but I don’t want her to be Mary J. Blige. I just want her to be Mary. I want Latifah to be played by Queen Latifah, but I don’t want her to be Queen Latifah. I just want her to be Latifah. I want the role of Kim to be played by Lil Kim, but I don’t want her to be Lil Kim. I just want her to be Kim.” I had to end this comedy of errors right there.

I skipped desert, though I love all things sweet, and on the ride home when he asked, “You coming over, Karen?” I answered, “Oh, I can’t, I have to get in the bed, but I had a wonderful time.” I had had a horrible experience, and not even free-range veal was enough to assuage the painful memories I continue to endure. It may be several months before I can ever date again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Drinks and Breakfast Sausage

I missed the last flight out to Atlanta and I had to return into the bitter Boston cold to get back home. So when the guy who I met earlier that day pulled his giant Toyota Tundra beside my suffering body, I was beyond relieved. I was already opening the passenger door when he offered me a ride.

He was a miniscule little man. He was thin as Giselle Bunchen, but probably wouldn't be able to see above her hip bone if they stood beside each other. He was unreasonably cocky, a tiny Jamaican pixie who owned a hair shop. He was a bite size heterosexual diva with no chin, so I knew that this tiny pixie was packing less heat than an unloaded pistol. (Note: testosterone levels are what make masculine features, like a manly jaw. His one apparent masculine feature was his facial hair.) As we rode on, he asked if I wanted to go out for drinks. The buzz from that nip of gin I drank on the way to the airport had worn off and I relished the idea of getting drunk on someone else's account. I said yes.

He took me to a bar and I to Pixie's disadvantage it was Latin night. In a sea of light-skin men willing to roll their Rs all over my chocha, I was clinging to the little man out of obligation. It was as shamefully embarrassing as wearing fake Coach to a Fendi fashion show. We eventually abandoned the joint for Kay's Oasis, a reggae club in Boston. This time I ordered a long island. The drink was so sweet, I guzzled it like a cold Gatorade. Big mistake, because in no time I was more open than a street walking whore. A tiny sober voice told me, no but I let him slide his hands inside my pants, made easy by the fact that they were a cotton rayon blend and I was, as usual, without panties. I danced against his tiny frame to the pulse of his fingertips.

"You ready to go?" he asked.

"Yeah," I answered. Though sober little voice inside me warned otherwise. I was beyond saving, so we left the club.

By the time we got to his house, I really wanted to just go to sleep. I was sobering up and aware of the fact that I wanted nothing to do with this Pixie man. I could barely keep my eyes open and I was fading fast. From a corner of the bedroom I could hear a ration of pills being poured from a bottle, but let's not jump to the conclusion that it was Viagra. I'm going to say that he was taking his multivitamins. Suddenly, a tiny little Pixie was on top of me, and so the battle royale began. He approached my vagina with a nub of a penis. It reminded me of a breakfast sausage. It had commendable width, but it was about as long as a Blackberry is wide. It made my tight vagina feel like a gaping hole. I told him I wasn't interested, but he tried as best he could to get me to do him. I denied his pleas and I managed to get some sleep.

Soon, I was awakened by the sensation of a vibrator and for a brief second, I thought I was back in Atlanta reunited with a certain toy in my top drawer. I opened my eyes and realized that it was the Pixie's. Clearly, this man is fully aware of his shortcomings, because he was armored with tricks. He tried to switch out his little toy for his even littler toy, but I grabbed the vibrator with all my girl strength. We struggled, but I wouldn't relent. Finally, he let go of the pulsating bullet, and I attached it to my lady. He slid his breakfast sausage inside me, and I was too focused on my own feelings to bother with what he was doing. Before I could even finish I had man-mucus splashing at me from what seemed to be all directions. Most guys pick a spot and aim, but he exploded on my shirt, my hands, my belly, and my hip. Who knew such a small wee-wee could be so messy.

I finished myself off and fell right to sleep, and it wasn’t till I woke up the next morning that I saw the mess he made on my body. I hopped up to shower, then decided that I may as well get ready to hit the airport.

"No, no don't do that. Take your clothes back off and play with me." He said play with me. I say play with me. Tester bottles at the Victoria's Secret Store say Play with Me. Men do not ask to be played with. "No," I said firmly, and then I pulled a line out of my bag of women tricks. "I don't feel good about myself right now," I answered, and finally he left my pussy alone. He lay back down, but he wanted pillow talk and what he said began to scare me. He wanted to come visit me in Atlanta, he was worried that I had a boyfriend, and he kept talking about me being with him and helping him around his house. He was whipped and I hadn’t even given him the good pussy. He was a desperate, jealous, 26 year old single man with three kids. He was fervently looking to lock down a relationship immediately.

I kept up the charade. I told him he could visit. He could stay for as long as he wanted. No there were no other men in Atlanta. Yes, I would like that. Really, I wanted to shut him up so I could get my ride to the airport. Since he jizzed all over my shirt, he offered to give me one of his. He handed me a tiny DKNY sweater that is probably DKNY Kids. Moreover, as he put on his jeans he said, “these are girl’s jeans and I didn’t even know. I had my daughter try them on but she’s too wide in the hips for them.” I didn’t comment, because I knew only mean thoughts would spill from my mouth.

When we got to the airport, he said “wait, I don’t have your number,” just as I was stepping out of the cab. “I’ll call you, I answered,” though I knew I never would.