Archive for May, 2006


May 24, 2006 | Family & Life

Today, The Chicago Sun Times ran an article entitled, “Where Have The Smart Girls Gone?” Pink, the singer, has a song out called, “Stupid Girls”. In the music video, Pink makes fun of Paris Hilton, the Olsen Twins, and Jessica Simpson. Pink has a point, a very valid point. People, mothers especially when J-Girl was growing up, were amazed I didn’t allow her to see Cinderella, Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. First of all, the witch in Sleeping Beauty caused me many sleepless nights when I saw the movie as a small child. Second, all the heroines were white, we’re black. Third, where were the mothers of these young, abused girls? Dead. Okay, Sleeping Beauty had a mom, but she didn’t have many lines in the movie. My final major problem with the movies was the theory that one day, a prince would come along on a white horse, slay the evil witch, or dragon, rescue the girl, and they’d live happily ever after. Yes, I know we write romance, but the hero doesn’t just ‘rescue the heroine’, he romances her as well. The heroine isn’t sitting on her pampered/in peril butt waiting for him. In today’s romance, she might slay the dragon herself, or help the hero kill it, tell her stepsisters to get out her face and get a life, or tell the wicked witch her face is green and she needs a facial. J-Girl had to go to a friends’ house to watch the Disney videos.

I told J-Girl, not to wait for some man to rescue her. She and her female friends are smart enough, attractive enough, to provide their own wayin their lives. As young black educated women, the statistics aren’t good she’ll find a young college or post college educated black male, not on the down low, doesn’t have children, doesn’t have a drug addiction, and my favorite, DOES has a JOB. However, I was amazed and pleasantly shocked, to see all the Brothers she hung around in college and has met. They’re the opposite of all the above and have jobs. But, the numbers are few, the women are many. Marriage is difficult today, it’s too easy to dump a relationhips and move on.

Pink sings, “Whatever happened to the dreams of a girl president? She’s dancing in the video next to 50 cent.” Pink states, she doesn’t think girls are stupid, they just ‘act stupid’, because that’s what they see. What the hell happened to Lindsay Lohan? Girls with money to burn, wearing shoes that would feed a family of twelve for months, tight outfits evidently three sizes too small, with a price tag, eight times too high, bumping and grinding in some overweight dude’s lap, or against a car, or against another girl. This is what today’s ‘real’ girl has to deal with.

One time, J-Girl and her friends decided they wanted to date gangstas. Not real gangstas. I’m talking the ‘wanna be’ gangstas. She discovered, they didn’t have any money like the ones in the videos, no real car, at least one that wasn’t about to be repossessed and no job. I called these guys, Cinderfellas. Guys looking for girls like J-Girl who have the means to provide them with the material goods. When J-Girls’ ex-boyfriend, asked her why she’d held the same job for three years, when he couldn’t stay at one for three months, I thought I’d kill him. Since when did job stability and a positive employment history be a bad thing? Luckily, she grew out of this phase. The spoiled brat that she is, couldn’t deal with visiting an apartment with no heat in the middle of a Chicago winter. Plus, she grew into herself and realized she was smart, she was talented, she was beautiful and damnit, she could do better! Blew his mind!

Young ‘real’ African American females have to contend with the hootchy mamas shaking their butts and weaves in music videos and think they have to act like them to get a guy. They try to wear the same outfits, but when you’re sixteen years old and a size eighteen, you can’t squeeze into a pair of fourteen jeans. But, they do.

Karrine Steffans, a hip hop dancer, has appeared in numerous music videos. She earned the nickname, Superhead. I ain’t even gonna explain that one. What a name to put on your resume. Karrine was on Oprah, crying about how she was done wrong by the rappers she worked and slept with. Her book, Confessions of a Video Vixen, was a hit, and now she’s gonna do porn. What a step in the right direction.

Men want smart women. They may date, sleep with and talk about the ‘hot women’. But they want a smart woman they can have an intelligent conversation with. Yes, they want her to be attractive, but as I’ve lived and seen, what’s beauty to one person, may not be to another. Usher, sang, “We want a lady on the streets, but a freak in the bed.” That’s nice honey. But what do women want? I’m hoping J-Girl and her friends continue to ask and get the answers they want to that question.

Thankfully, J-Girl and her friends, listen to Mary J Blige. Mary thought she was ugly, but she’s absolutely black and beautiful to me. She’s found her soul mate and she sings about finding love, not allowing yourself to be hurt and abused because you think you won’t find anyone else. Mary’s been there, done that, and come out better for it.



May 23, 2006 | Family & Life

The following is a typical conversation between parent and young adult child. It is fictional only if you don’t have adult children.

The scene: Parent is sitting on the deck. It’s a beautiful afternoon. The sky is blue, birds are singing and the temperature is in the mid-70s’. You’re having an ice cold drink. Daughter comes out to join you. Great, quality time.

Parent: “Hi honey. How’s the job search going?”

Young Adult Child: “Are you saying I’m not looking for a job?”

Parent: (quizzical look on face.) “No, I didn’t say you weren’t looking for a job. I asked how the search was going.”

Young Adult Child: “I’m looking. I mean the tone in your voice sounds like you don’t believe I’m looking.”

Parent: “I didn’t say you weren’t looking, honey. Your Dad and I know you’re looking. Many jobs in your field may already be filled. A lot of graduates were interviewing early in their senior year or last winter.” (Bad comment, should have not said it)

Young Adult Child: (Now sulking) “So what you’re saying is, I really haven’t been looking? I mean I had a full schedule this last year. I’ve been looking. I’ve got a couple of interviews lined up in Rome next week.”

Okay, she’s really not going to Rome for interviews, but by the time this conversation is over, you may want to send her – in a FedEx box.

Parent: “Rome? Next week? Have you discussed this with your father? Do you have a passport? Hey, who’s paying for the trip?” (We know the answer to the last question, but hell, why not ask it.)

Young Adult Child: No, MOTHER. Not Rome, Italy. Rome, New York. I’ve been looking at airline ticket prices, but no one will discuss this with me. Daddy’s not speaking to me. I hate to ask you for money, but until I have a job, I have to. You don’t think I have interviews, do you?”

Parent:(Now wishing there was rum in her cold drink) “Huh? I haven’t heard you say anything about airfares and with the holiday weekend coming up, prices are sure to increase. As for Daddy, he’s been working on a really difficult deal at work and trying to talk to him at midnight, ain’t such a good idea.”

Young Adult Child: (Now whose voice has gone whiny.) “Now you’re telling me I spend too much of your money. I really do have interviews, see you still don’t believe me? I can’t wait to get a job and move out. I don’t think Daddy likes me anymore.”

Parent:(Hmm, maybe I should move out) I didn’t say you were spending too much money. We expect to pay some of your expenses until you find a job. If you haven’t found one in your major by the time we return from the family vacation, you can get a part time job. You shouldn’t take a job unless it’s what you want to do. And your father does like you. What gave you such an idea?”

Young Adult Child: “See, I told you, you were mad at me. And what about this family vacation. You asked me what I wanted for graduation. I told you and it turned into a family vacation. We’ve never been on a family vacation. I think I need a new cell phone. Will you buy me one?”

Parent: “Buy you a new cell phone? Why? You bought that one because all your friends have it. Considering how much the vacation is costing, I don’t think so.”

Young Adult Child: “So it’s my fault the family vacation is costing so much? And Daddy’s mad at me.”

Parent: (This child really should go to law school) “For the last time, Daddy is not mad at you.”

Young Adult Child:”Why are you yelling at me?”

Parent: “I’m not yelling -yet.” (Takes a sip of her drink. Thinks she’s having a heat stroke.)

Young Adult Child: “See, I told you, you didn’t think I was looking for a job. I really have.”

Parent: “Right.”

Young Adult Child: “What do you mean by ‘Right’? You’re hurting my feelings. It’s just like at graduation when you promised you’d come to the BBQ and didn’t come.”

Parent: “Okay, for the very last time, we didn’t KNOW where it was. You didn’t give us directions.”

Young Adult Child: “You hurt my feelings by not coming. Everyone else’s parents were there.”

Parent: (Silent. Understaniding why some animals eat their young.) “Well, what were we talking about? Oh, job interviews.”

Young Adult Child: “Well, can we talk about this later. I’ve got to meet my girlfriend. Here’s the information I got on flights. I tried to find the cheapest one. You don’t have to worry, I have Soro Sisters to stay with. You think Daddy will give me some spending money?”

Parent: (Okay, brain says don’t say this, but what the fuck)
“Just out of curiosity ( and pure evil on my part), how did you manage job interviews around the holiday? Won’t some companies be closing early?”

Young Adult Child: (Silence-stalling) “My interviews are after the holiday weekend.”

Parent:”Okay.” (This is also a party visit – gotcha)

By now, Parent is totally exhausted and needs a nap.

Be warned, this is purely a defense mechanism used by children. They are caught in between being a child, dependent on their parents, and be an adult, not quite able or ready to cut the string that bind. If they’ve been living away from home, it’s very difficult to return to the nest, although they love being caught in the safety net. Their behavior should not be taken to heart – unless they’re still living with you, five years after graduating.

JGirl really should go to law school and become a defense attorney for white collar criminals. She could get Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling acquitted in no time.
I can hear her argument now, “It’s not their fault they lost billions of dollars. Someone should have been watching them. Can you show me the actual dollars?”



May 23, 2006 | Family & Life

When your child reaches maturity, you discover and rediscover certain things about their personalities you may not want to know. JGirl and I haven’t had a serious conversation about sex – yet. We had the basic talk about sex, where babies came from, how to avoid infections, what to look for in a boyfriend. The typical mother – daughter conversation that could end up in an argument. Not yet, so, so far, so good.

But what I didn’t know is JGirl loves shoes. Before she gets angry with me for discussing this, and we’ve got four more days to go. Let me say this: she has great taste in shoes, and she hits the sales rack first, finding hot looking shoes at fifty percent or more in discount price. I’m trying to remember if I had a shoe thing. Yes, I did. And we’re talking Joan and Davids’, Ann Klein, Ann Taylor and the higher the heel the better. So, I understand. However, our spare room looks like a shoe store. I’m wondering if I could, perhaps sell a few pair? Naw, she’d yell at me and then make me buy her new ones. I could try to wear hers, but we don’t wear the same size.

What are shoes? Why do women have a love affair with them? Why do stores have larger, brighter shoe departments for women, than for men? At JGirls’ graduation, an Honorary Doctorate was presented to Cloris Leachman, the actress. The woman is from Iowa and is eighty years old. Last movie I saw her in was Scary Movie 4. We won’t dwell on her acting in the movie, but damned if she wasn’t wearing the hottest pair of four inch pale peach shoes! She wasn’t tottering, she strutted down the aisle with no assistance! Cloris, you go Girlfriend!

Then I understood, JGirls’ affection as well as every other women’s love of shoes. No matter what outfit you’re wearing, it can be jeans, capris, an old suit, whatever. A hot pair of shoes dresses it up, makes us look good and we can find a pair at any price. Even Payless has great looking shoes. Just ask Star Jones, of course, she’s no longer a spokesperson for them. We may not be able to afford Manolos’, but we can find shoes to make us feel like we’ve spent five hundred dollars for a pair.

When walking down the street, check yourself when you look at other women. What do you look at first, second and third? Somewhere in the top three are the shoes. Men don’t check out other men’s shoes. But they will check out women’s feet. And since it’s almost summer, in order to wear sandals or any open toed shoe, a pedicure is required. Of course, suffering a pedicure with parrafin wax and oils is a real drag, but we don’t want our shoes to suffer with ugly feet.

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May 19, 2006 | Family & Life

I’ve been busy, not writing, living. Living and enjoying life with my family. Observing mostly how we interact with one another and how proud GMan (that would be hubby) and I are of our children.

JGirl graduated from college on Mother’s Day. Leave it to her and Drake University to make it all about the students on Mom’s Day. It was a beautiful ceremony. I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry at her high school graduation either. I must have cried myself dry at her eighth grade graduation. I sat in awe. Didn’t we just sent this girl off to first grade? Didn’t we just have First Communion? There are two other girls she grew up, and they also graduated. I find it amazing how beautiful, intelligent and spoiled they are. They’re on their way to living a successful fun filled life. At least I hope so, I definitely enjoyed my single life. So much so by the time I was twenty-eight, Mommy wanted to know if she’d get grandchildren before she was too old to enjoy them. Still took me another two years to find GMan, but Mommy and Daddy enjoyed their grands for many years.

JGirl is now a young, unemployed college graduate moving back home. Anybody else experienced this? Still experiencing it? JMan isn’t happy about her return. He placed second singles in Boys Tennis Conference. Awesome job!

People say her return will be an adjustment for us. I’m here to tell you, the adjustment for us won’t be as bad as it will be for her – if she makes it so. She’s afraid she won’t fit in. For the first couple of weeks, she won’t. That’s just the plain truth. We’ve developed our own routines and habits. She’ll feel out of place, but she is a truly loved member of our family. Hope she realizes this. I’m looking forward to seeing her face, talking to her, yelling at her, hugging her.

Next week, I’m going to do a Top Five List of Things I’ve Learned from JGirl. Monday, we’ll start with shoes.

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