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    Black Girl.  Blue

    Saturday
    Jan012011

    Re-Memory

    Hindsight is not always 20/20. 

    Sometimes the more distant the image in the rear view becomes, the more likely it is that we’ll recall what never was.  Or at least distort it beyond recognition.

    And so it has been when I’ve reminisced about my time at my alma mater, a historically black university.  When using only my selective memory, I remember those four years as idyllic:  For the first time in my life I was surrounded almost entirely by beautiful black people who, like me, made the conscious decision to seek an education that, in addition to satisfying standards for accreditation, was informed by and infused with a history that had been cast aside by other institutions of higher learning.  Though I had been led to believe that households containing both black mother and black father were rare, here there was no shortage of students who came from two-parent households with figureheads who were real-life versions of Mr. and Mrs. Huxtable.  The campus was a beautiful fortress that was shrouded by trees, the bay and ducklings nipping at toes.  Real-life Dewayne Waynes, Whitleys, Freddies, and Shazza Zulus frolicked together in the moonlight. 

    In rose-colored moments, I loved every moment of my time. 

    In my adaptation, the festive postures displayed in photographs do not reflect just static moments, but are unobstructed reflections of my time at my university. 

    Yet, when I remove the spectacle of illusion, I remember that I felt entirely out of place from the moment of my arrival.  It is a feeling that I still haven’t shaken. 

    I vividly remember my first moment in my freshman dormitory:  The way that it looked (the long blue.green dimly lit walls); The way that is sounded (the shrieks of girls reuniting with long lost friends, punctuated by bangs of luggage); and the way that I felt when my new roommate’s stepmother (upon glancing at my long braids, flowing dress and flip flops) sneered, “Michelle (n.1), we can always find you another roommate.”  I wavered in shock, feeling as if I had been sucker-punched.  Down for the count.  Knocked out in the first round. 

    The depth of this statement, and all of its unspoken signifiers, still stings.  There remains a not-so-faint scar. 

    While watching my new roommate unpack I quickly realized that my style (from floor grazing dresses to baggy jeans and Timberlands) did not neatly fit into the matrix of boot-cut jeans, heeled footwear and Halle Berry cuts--traits that my roommate and her gaggle of friends possessed.  As they gathered around my queen bee roommate, shared tales of meeting crushes at the lakefront and picked out “Big Caf” outfits, any stubborn hope that my roommate and I would forge a friendship was dispelled.

    Looking back, I’m sure that being housed with her contributed to years of self-doubt.  While I would like to say that I didn’t care about the rejection, in moments of complete honesty I must admit that I was wounded.

    While that first experience with my roommate (as well as being berated by a group of Ques after mistakenly stepping on their plot and repeatedly hearing that I would be pretty “if only…”) set the sepia-tone for my time at college, my memories have also been tainted by the disappointment I felt at never having bonded with a core group of women-especially during my first three years.  While I generally had one friend to hang out with at any given time, I could most usually be found eating solo in the Small Caf, writing on the lakefront, or (after my freshman year), sitting on the stoops... 

    This is not to say that I was entirely despondent.  Like Booker T. Washington advised, I cast my bucket where I was.  In both my sophomore and junior years I became fairly active in certain “peripheral” organizations and activities.  And while I never really felt at home with these groups (for braids aren’t as righteous as locks), I usually had many casual acquaintances (who also functioned on the fringe).  Still, my time was largely spent in isolation.  While I secretly wanted to join the revelry of those who chilled in front of the Big Caf, attended off-campus parties and gallivanted on the lakefront, I felt that the best course of action would be to treat the rejection as mutual.  They didn’t want me, and I didn’t want them… (At least that’s what I told myself).  It was the blanketed mantra that  provided both warmth and comfort. 

    And yet, by my senior year, my hair “relaxed.”  My affiliations changed.  My clothes became punctuated with pink and green.  Suddenly, I was deemed pretty.  I could kick it with my sorors, obnoxiously belt out the Student Leader’s anthem, and roll to cabarets and parties with a whole line of women… I had arrived. 

    But it was too late. 

    I knew that my pass was only provisional.  I knew that I had only reached the outer-most ring of the inner-circle:  I was a student leader, but I was never bestowed with the dubious honor of becoming a member of their secret sub-group.  I was “Greek,” and while I had a gaggle of line sisters I walked alone.  I could never shake off the feeling that I didn’t entirely belong.  And now, I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to. 

    The rejection that I felt during my first few months became an intricate noose around my neck that, though fastened by someone else, was knotted by my own hands. 

    While I would like to believe that I’ve finally loosened the chokehold, I sometimes still feel the grasp of those experiences.  It’s probably why I don’t feel entirely comfortable at events for “young, black professionals” (though I certainly am one), don’t have a large group of friends (I still only have one) and shudder at the idea of homecoming (for with whom would I kick it?)  I scoff at Facebook “friend requests” initiated by those who once ignored me (and who are now burdened with loveless marriages and 20 extra pounds) and look askance at those who only recall my last moments at our home, having recast their memory of me. 

    And yet, how can I fault them when I too would like to do the same?  I look at my alma mater as one does an old lover who could have been the one.  If only...

    ----

    n.1  Name has been changed.

     

    ©  blackgirlblue.com-2011.  All rights reserved.

    

    Wednesday
    Aug112010

    Blazin' Up

    Dating, for me, is a rarity. The whole concept of a man asking me out, picking me up, providing companionship for a few hours and then returning me to my doorstep has happened so infrequently that I can count their occurrences on one hand. What isn't rare, though, is my penchant for stumbling upon full-blown relationships that last for a period of only months. It's full blast from day one, but there's no leveling off; rather, the fullness of flight almost always ends in sudden crash and burn.

    While doomed to fail, these trips have always provided me with a narcotic-like high--and if Sade was correct in singing that, "it's never as good as the first time," it's no wonder that these relationships were so spectacular: Everything was a first. These romantic dalliances simultaneously provided me with both monogamy [often of the common law variety] and the euphoria of new love (or lust) without ever having to fuck with the grays of "just dating."

    I suck at "just dating" because, like in life, I have a hard time doing more than one thing (or one person) at once-so all of my honeysucklesweetness that would otherwise be spread around is concentrated on one individual. If he's the one thing that I'm doing and, therefore, has my nose open, an almost primitive desire to take care and provide comfort arises:  I'll want to fuck him, feed him and then smoke him like a blunt.  But you can't do that when you're "just dating."

    I identify with the romanticism expressed in the oft-quoted line, "it doesn't take a whole day to recognize sunshine." Not because of my ego, but because I believe that the decision to pursue passion/lust/love is not made through rationalization or conscious direction; rather, these emotions present themselves and, if strong enough, we are met with no other desire but to act.

    And while not evident, my disdain for "just dating" only tangentially has to do with a desire to forge a binding contract: I loathe the idea of a man's commitment arising out of a feeling of being bound.  It's simply that "just dating" requires my respect for and adherence to a set of rules that I find tiresome and that further compound my neuroticism.  Straining to construe/interpret/work/rework every word, gesture and deed (especially in a world of Facebook and Twitter--where you can see who else he has been poking, liking and commenting on in 140 characters or less), texting/flirting/kissing/touching others just to signal that there are other options (when I don't want to exercise such options) requires far too much hand-wringing and tempering of emotion.  I like the rush of yielding to passion, leaping before looking, and the risk of going down in a blaze of glory.

    And yet the crash is beginning to wear on me. I've fallen too many times to recount and, after each occurrence, vow that I'm in recovery. And I am.  (But relapse is, after all, a part of recovery).  It's a disease. 

    I know that I can't help but to jump. Repeatedly, foolishly and faithfully--hoping, but not expecting, not to fall again.

    

    Tuesday
    Aug032010

    High Tolerance

    There are quite a few things that I believe that I can handle better than most men: Alcohol (I don’t drink much these days, but my liver is still a wonderland); stomach aches (thanks to 4 years of intense training at the hands of the chefs at my alma mater's cafeteria) and heartbreak (I’ve become adept at scooping up the broken pieces of my heart in one fell swoop). All of these things have happened with such frequency that I’ve developed strong coping mechanisms. But the other thing that I’m almost sure that I can handle better than most men is a compliment given by a member of the opposite sex…and by “better” I mean that I (mostly) don’t ever feel compelled to act on such advances by attempting to shtup them. Moreover, never have such compliments resulted in the instantaneous engorgement of my otherwise flaccid ego.

    Not so long ago someone asked me if I get hit on every day. Well, every day would be a bit of an exaggeration—but not by much. For instance, just this morning I was propositioned by a brother on his way to work. (He has a corner office on the Block). Later, by someone who was visiting my workplace (this young man happened to be winking at me...while in handcuffs). Oh-and then there was that gorgeous so-and-so at Starbucks who interrupted me mid-sip to share that he thought that I was beautiful (at which point I noticed his bejeweled left index-finger). Yes: I get hit on, and hit on often—but not by men who I would consider as either beddable or dateable (and, of course, the former wouldn’t come without the latter).

    To be clear, even if these men were beddable, dateable AND wed-able, I have no delusions whatsoever about whether these come-ons are an affirmation of my fineness: Not all men-but some men-will hit on anyone who just might have a [insert term for a sexualized vagina here]. And not all men-but many more men- will holla at any woman who is EITHER (a) fairly attractive; OR (b) has a fat ass. I know this, therefore I am humble. This is not to say that I don’t ever get approached by a Good Black Man (whatever that means)-but being complimented by a visually unflawed man occurs so infrequently that when it does happen I kind of already assume that his unfuckability is a latent defect.

    It seems, though, that men swoon at compliments thrown their way-even if the complimenter is only kinda/sorta/maybeinthedarkifnoonewaslooking attractive. Unlike women who casually shake off lustful glances and false cloaks of grandeur, men wear even perceived praises as crowns… and may actually try and act on them. (n.1) Can you imagine if men were complimented even half as much the average woman? (But then again maybe if women did hand out casual affirmations with greater frequency they, too, would become immune).

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    n.1  At least that's what many women fear. Have you ever given an innocent compliment to man who is married/taken on Facebook?! I once complimented an ex's newspaper article and his wife TRIPPED. But then again, he followed up with flirty chats and emails...so.... 

     

    ©  blackgirlblue.com-2010.  All rights reserved.

    Monday
    Aug022010

    In Brief: The Funk

    Some of my most memorable romantic liaisons have been with men who don’t shower everyday.

    Yes: I know that this sounds absolutely horrifying. I know that this statement is likely conjuring up images of both Tracy Morgan and Dennis Rodman (neither of who I’ve ever smelled-but they both just look like they stink)-but please, hear me out. I’m not talking about men who don’t exercise proper hygiene (for instance, by neglecting to apply deodorant, who fail to see the importance of washing their hands or who flout generally acceptable bathroom protocol), but about brothers who are comfortable with their own slight funk. I’m talking about the brothers who use Tom’s instead of Speed Stick. I’m talking about the man who has spent time overseas and whose nose has become offended by the chemicals that Americans use to stamp out any scent of humanity. Oh, and yes, I’m talking about he who is just too busy (after a night of spittin’ on the mic or strumming his guitar) to take a bath before falling asleep (on his hammock). To be clear, strong stenches are completely unacceptable…but a slight funk that is punctuated by Egyptian musk can be strangely alluring on the right person. 

     

    ©  blackgirlblue.com-2010.  All rights reserved.

    Saturday
    Jun132009

    Size Matters (But Don't Believe the Hype)

    There are certain things that are good only in theory (hereinafter, "G.O.T."):  Olestra, "Spray-on-Hair," and Joey (n.1), to name a few.  For quite some time, I have filed the Big Black Cock (n.2) away in the G.O.T. category as well.  I used to believe that it was only me who shruddered at the thought of having to stuff anything greater than 5.08 inches in my average-sized snatch--but it turns out that I am not alone.  While, as a youngster, I believed that it would be great to be able to brag that my husband was a doctor AND had a huge dick, I now realize that I would much rather have a smallish-to-average sized partner.

    My best friend and I don't typically rehash every detail of our sexual expolits to eachother--but when we do, the question of size always arises--and what follows never mirrors the dialogue in porn or in Zane novels (n.3):  There is never any joyous gesticulation when either one of us replies, "girl, he was this big."  Eyes fail to widen in envy when we've witnessed the other limp through the door while remarking that, "he tore it up." (n.4) 

    Rather, when dating a big boy our conversation is often filled with lamentation.  From roughly 1999-2002 (the time period in which my "BFF" was dating the college jock-come-Mandingo), our conversation was filled with how she dreaded sleeping with him.  From what she told me, he was (mostly) a thoughtful lover--making sure that she was properly aroused (and, when she wasn't, not complaining too much about her use of KY)... but there is no way that squeezing That into This is going to feel good. 

    This is not to say that there aren't any females who relish big dicks... Indeed, I know one such woman who constantly talks about the joys of ginormous phalluses (but, then again, she actually calls them "cocks"...)

    And this is also not to say that I've never seen a dick that was too small:  I once dated a guy who was so tiny that he couldn't fill a condom (the prototype for the "one size fits most" concept)...And while the sex was lackluster, it certainly was pleasant!  Sure, I could have used another inch or two-but at least I didn't go home limping in pain.

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    n.1     How could a Friends spin-off suck so much?!     

    n.2     While I use the term, "Big Black Cock," I use it merely in jest:  Indeed, my thoughts apply to large penises of all hues.

    n.3.   i.e., "Girlfriend, you need to get you some of that:  His thobbing cock made my sugar walls swell."

    n.4     Not that I would ever say anything so crude.

     

    ©  blackgirlblue.com-2009.  All rights reserved.