Friday, December 31, 2010

The Real G

“I can wear this to get my new Boo”, Grandma said looking at the picture of the model on the leggings package. The leggings were the Christmas gift I bought along with a sweater. It was as inappropriate as the slang term she used to describe her future mate. It’s in style, but not exactly what you expect an 83 year old to wear or say. I take responsibility for both the phrase and the attire. Each year buying grandma her hoochie clothes and telling her of my dating adventures. Last year I took to calling everyone Boo.

“I am going to bend over just like that!” she said leaning forward over mimicking the model on the package. “I am going to get my husband.” She sat there looking festive with her red sweater and Santa hat on, and she was serious. Sweet Lou, her last husband passed away shortly after Pop. She completed the respectable grieving period and it was on!

Grandma was married five times. There were her early husbands; Watson was her first and my biological grand father, Binns and Jenkins. Then Grandma married Knight, Who I considered my Grandfather. They were together for over 30 years until his death in the 90’s. We thought he would be grandma’s last husband, but at 70 years old she married Louis Williams.

I thought it was ridiculous at the time, a 70 year old woman getting married. It was the first wedding party I was a part of as an adult. I laughed with my brothers all the way down the aisle. The same way we laughed today.

“Oh I can get a husband tomorrow! If I want!” She corrected us.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe I am one of Grandma’s offspring. I am 50 years her junior and I am not as self-assured. I got consumed by the news specials on the single black women and the is a shortage of men; black men in particular are an endangered species according the media. It’s the rhetoric best selling books are written on, but not what a woman needs to hear to feel empowered. What about Grandma’s dating pool? She is in her 80’s, how many 80 year old men are still alive. Even if she dates younger, she’s looking at a man in his 70’s. If she’s really a cougar, 60’s. That doesn’t inhibit her confidence.

I have to channel the Grandma spirit. The tenacity of a woman who at my age left a husband and everything she knew in Louisiana to build a better life for her children in New York City. The seductive ways she used to attract five husbands. The spunk that corrected her grand children when they laughed at her declaration of her abilities to get another. Most importantly her confidence. I have to be more like Grandma!

I have to remember Grandma next time I doubt myself. I know that she will walk down the aisle once more to meet some blushing groom. I better not let Grandma beat me there!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Gift

My brother buys the best worst Christmas gifts. What began as a frantic last minute trip to Duane Reade, is now a family tradition.

“Richie, where are the gifts?”

“Oh boy, Richie got gifts?”

We all gathered together watching as he pulled out three boxes wrapped recklessly in disheveled red gift tissue paper.

“Awe, he wrapped it too”. I said sarcastically. Richie had one on me. I hadn’t bothered to wrap the Uggs I bought for my mom and aunt. Mom still pretended to be surprised even though she picked them out and was their when I made the purchase.

“I got the one for you Grandma.” he said handing her the box surrounded by tissue. Grandma carefully pulled back the paper trying not to rip it. Grandma doesn’t throw anything out not even wrapping paper. She tries to reuse everything. That use to be called being crazy, now it’s being green!

Grandma’s gift was bird house with a toy bird.

“Oh a bird and it sings!” Mom exclaimed.

“Turn it on Grandma.” Everyone wanted to hear. A few years back Richie bought her a rapping Santa. Maybe this one sang Mary J. Blige. Grandma flipped the switch. My Uncle John took the cage from Grandma who was puzzled. He opened the bottom.

“You didn’t buy batteries?”, Uncle John asked. We were all disappointed, but moved on to the next gift.

“This one is for you Aunt Twiggy.”

We waited for the punch line on the edge of our seats. She reveled a box with the words solar power and a picture of a cat.

“Oh, is it a calculator?” She pulled the cat out searching for the buttons.
“It’s not a calculator. What is it? It just a cat. Why is it solar powered?” she asked confused.

“Hey Aunt, push the arm.” I noticed one of the arms was adjustable.

“Oh”. She lifted the cat up to the light coming from the window. The arm started to move up and down. At this point I was in tears.

“Princess, I was going to get Aunt Twiggy something really off the wall, but I decided to hold back.”

The irony was this began as a thoughtless run to the nearest convenient store on Christmas eve, now required more thought than any of the other gifts doweled out that day. We lost Pop five days into 2009. He was bed ridden that entire holiday season. My family would be reminded of those last days, while the world put up their trees and sang carols. Richie’s gifts gave us some temporary relief. We craved it. We needed it.

“Richie, you can’t hold back. Next time bring it!”

“And you Mom.”

Mom pulled a wind chime out of her box.

“Oh Richie, I could use this.”

“Hey, That’s a good gift old boy.” Danny, the oldest brother patted him on the back.

“Yeah not bad.” I sank into the chair next to grandma who was still admiring her birds. The tears continued to flow.

“Princess. What did you get.” Danny pointed his iPhone in my direction. He was recording.

“Richie didn’t get Princess one.”, Mom said.

She was wrong. He did give me a gift. I could not remember the last time I laughed that hard. I felt relief. I felt peace. I felt love surrounded by my family. That gift was worth more than any novelty, I would certainly bury in back of my closet.

“Sorry Princess, I got you for your birthday.”

My birthday was coming soon and I had one more thing to look forward to besides getting older.

“Richie, I cant wait!”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Party On!

It’s the holiday season so you know what that means party, party, party! I had my university alumni party, my sorority holiday party, my condominium association party, a political activists party, a friends birthday party all scheduled for one week. My party was schedule was full for the entire week, then the Super Sistah invited me to what promised to be the party with the most dating potential, the Council's holiday party. I heard about this organization. The Politician told me to join months earlier for my future career in public service. The Politician is a friend of mine who holds a local office and he is hot. He is well dressed, in good shape, smart with a career and ambition and he was a member of the Council. In my world this is a combination that is hard to find. Perhaps at the party there would be others. I had one problem. My sorority party planned for the same day, but that would be mostly women. I couldn’t miss the Council

“What time does the Council party end?”


The sorority event ended at 9pm.

“Super, I am there!”

I am infamous for going to parties and not speaking to anyone (correction to any men). I have no problem talking to women. If I was a lesbian, I would be hot stuff, plus I am a great date. Men... that’s the problem (correction attractive men that’s the problem). In general I usually don’t have a problem talking to anyone I don’t find attractive. When I am at a party, I usually wait to see who is going to approach. My game has always been dress nice, look cute, do a two step, drink wine and they will come. They do come. The trouble is when they come they are usually not the ones I want to talk to or date.

The Wife (formerly the Bride you remember her for the wedding day post) as usual lectured me on my problem. “They don’t come to you anymore. The good looking men are use to women approaching them and they are afraid.”

“Afraid? How could they be afraid? They are hot and they are men. It’s their role to hunt. It’s their job to seek out what they want. What happened to the natural order of things?”, I usually quip back.

Before she got married the Bride was a professional dater. She went on many dates usually with decent men. Maybe she was right.

Either way it didn’t matter this was the Council's holiday party. It only happened once a year. I couldn’t let this pass me by without taking full advantage. I couldn’t go empty handed I needed something to break the ice. I needed a line. Not a corny line. Something simple something sophisticated; one that didn‘t make me seem like I was trying too hard. I knew just who to ask, Celeste the Thespian Lesbian. You probably think its odd for me to ask a lesbian how to pick up men, but I have seen this girl in action.

“I got gay bashed when I was in the 5th grade.” Celeste said. “After that, I always made sure I had a boy around, a cute one, because I had to have a boy toy.” She has since embraced her sexual preference and feels no need to date men, but retained her skills nevertheless.

“Men like to feel needed. Just ask them questions. Didn’t you say you wanted to join the Council? ”

I was considering joining the Council. I had it. I could start off with “Are you a member of this organization?”

“If they are then you can ask questions about how membership has benefited him. Get him talking about himself.”

It was perfect. On that bitter cold night. I met The Super Sistah at the chic lounge in the meatpacking district dressed perfectly in my form fitting a gray dress that was just too short to actually wear to work. The Super was the epitome of elegance in her purple sleek dress. Corporate sexy we were, pulling it off like pros and don't forget, I had my killer line “Are member of this organization”. Now it was time.

We looked out over the balcony and there was a sea of men all in suits. A beautiful well tailored suit is my weakness. I personally believe a suit makes everything look good.

“Hey Super. Do your people dance?”

No one was dancing. Everyone was just standing around talking, but the music was to loud for anyone to really have a conversation.

“Why do they have to be my people?” She always says that. The Super is Canadian and very proper. I get a kick out of calling her bougie.

We step out into the party and all around us people were kissing one another on the cheeks. The Super Sistah and I are both writers, bloggers and wall flowers. This is an awful combination if you intend on networking, but I had a mission. I had to speak to someone. I knew exactly what would take the edge off.

“Lets get the wine!” That was the best idea I had all night. Then I saw someone I knew.

“You look really familiar.”

“Poetry reading a few weeks back in Harlem.” She said. (I know, I know a She.)

I remembered the sister well. She did the poem about going to grad school. It was her. She had the same short afro but the blue cocktail dress was quite different from the leggings she wore to the poetry show.

“Are you member?” I asked (I know I wasn’t supposed to use the line on a woman, but if she was maybe she could introduce us to some men. Then the Super and I could get some cheek kissing action going.)

“No, I'm here to see if I could find a date.”

“You too.” I laughed hysterically.

“Good luck, I made eye contact with five guys and none of them spoke.”

She made eye contact. I never do that. There is was no hope for me. I aborted the mission and opted to instead to indulge in a glass of pinot noir and enjoy the rest of the evening as much as you can enjoy a party where no one dances or speaks.

As the party wound down, the Super Sistah and I retired to the balcony to beat the crowed to coat check. We looked down swaying to the latest R& B song and sipping the last of our wine.

“One day. We are going to be at a party like this and everyone is going to be there to see us”, I said.

“I already visualized it”

At tap of glass between two friends who bonded over a lousy job, broken hearts and love for writing. I looked over and imagined. We were two queens observing our admires.

“Hello.” It was the end of the night and someone was speaking to me and it was a man! He was dressed well, spoke well, but he was a little to old. He wasn’t dating material but a little conversation never hurt anyone.

“Are you a member of the organization?” He asked.

Wait a minute! That was my line. The one I was supposed to use to meet men, but only spoke to girl from the poetry reading. Here this guy was using it get my attention. Guess what? It works! He probably used it all night.

It was too late now. The party was almost over and people were making their way to coat check.

I responded the way any lady in my position would, “No, but I am thinking about joining”.