WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.

SO LONG, FAREWELL...

The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, December 21, 2007

He's In Love With a Stripper?

"Somebody has to entertain the married men of America."
-Chris Rock

So I watched an episode of Shonda Rhimes’ new show Private Practice. Here's the story in a nutshell: Taye Diggs who is recently divorced from the angry Black woman (but they still co-own their practice) is sent a stripper by a colleague. You know, to cheer him up or to get his mind off the fact that he’s divorced. Even though every time he goes to work, he has a constant reminder…But I digress… So, the stripper shows up at his house and begins her little dance and Taye notices a rash on her ass. Cut to the stripper at the medical facility getting treated by another male doctor, that guy from Wings. Cut to all of the women at the practice being jealous and seriously insercure that there is a stripper in their midst. They seemed to have forgotten that they were intelligent, professional and equally attractive women. The show ends with angry Black ex-wife yelling at Taye about how his next woman can’t be a stripper. As if.

So this show got me thinking about women vs. strippers. As a former gentleman’s club* employee (and by employee, I mean waitress and by waitress I mean someone who served drinks and food on occasion), I know my skrippers. And I think that women could stand to learn a few things them and about strip clubs aka the Underworld. So here’s a short list:

1. First off, very few strippers are thinking about your man. They are instead thinking about those dollars. Instead of being worried that your man is at a strip club, looking & flirting with and being "tempted" by other women, you should be worried about how he can spend hundreds of dollars on drinks and random women. I have seen married men spend close to a thousand dollars and wondered, “do they have some secret strip club fund that they put money into? Cause if I’m going through the bills and I see that mess on our VISA bill, ain’t no way…” But again, I digress…

2. Now, here’s a little secret about men. Are you ready? Come close. Men are insecure. Tell us something we don’t know, Rum Punch. When men are together they are even more insecure and they are nasty. But their nastiness is a story for another day. Anyway. Men love to one up each other, show off. And strippers know this. And they exploit this.

Please tell me why a man will not buy a woman a drink at the club (who he may have a chance with) but will buy the stripper numerous drinks (who he has practically no chance with). It’s because in the club women come off holier than thou, like don't even waste your time trying to get this juicy stuff, be on some: 'I am worth more than a $10 goose and cran so don't be thinkin the panties will be tumbling down...all you did was buy me one drink and now you think that means I hafta talk to your ass...and now you wanna dance with me just cause you bought me a drink...' which is noble, by all means do you…but your ass might be thirsty the whole night.

Now, strippers don’t come off as whores per se but they do sell the fantasy, yes the fantasy, the idea that maybe if the man works really hard, (by using his money) he could have their juicy stuff. They boost a man’s ego, they caress his hand, stare him in the eye, they listen. Well they might not really be listening, they might be doing algebra equations in their head, figuring out how much money they can sweet talk him out of, but they give the illusion of listening. And yes ladies, men have issues and they want us to listen. Shoot, even as a waitress, I “listened” to more personal stories than I care to remember which eventually led to a loyal customer and a good tip.

3. Now this one can be hard for us ladies to wrap our minds around but very few men care about a woman’s flaws. Well, unless they’re crazy visible. I gotta tell you that there were quite a few strippers in the over 35 category who were wrinkling and getting cellulite. And they still made money. Never mind that some of these men's wives were probably the same age and had similar aging issues...In the strip club those things seem to go unnoticed by men...

Oh, but when women come into the strip club we are looking hard at each dancer, critiquing everything, her face-she ain’t that cute, her body- look at those stretch marks and that c-section scar, the way she walks, her messed up weave, questioning why she is all greased down shinin' like she bathed in Vaseline and baby oil. Men don’t care about that mess. If she is naked, looks decent that way and can shake her ass especially real fast, then that is all that matters. They have gotten their money’s worth. So this means that men don’t care about how you look naked. They just want to see you naked. Think about it, marinate on it and then embrace that back fat! Now, I’m not saying show your back fat to everyone…Just that when you meet the person you think is worthy, don’t let insecurity take control…

4. Lastly, men know that strippers are not that bright. They do not come in expecting to have discussions about Iraq and the 2008 elections. And they love a woman who can hold an actual conversation, so in the real world, of stripper vs. woman, the “woman” would win most of the time. I say most, because there are some shallow guys out there.

The strip club is a fantasy world, a break from reality. Men are loved and adored by women (yes, they’re paying for it, but they seem to forget that important detail). For a few hours, they don’t have to hear about the mortgage, the kids, the job, or get yelled at for not picking up their draws off the floor. They can just be. Strippers serve their purpose, they do their job and they do it well.

Now I’m not saying give your man a free pass to the strip club (because a strip club regular is not a good look and becomes an easy mark) but maybe you and your man can visit the strip club together and spice things up a little bit. But please don’t go in there hating on the girls. Because a stripper will cut a bitch. I know you’ve seen Player’s Club…

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday! Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday!

*These are my observations of men who patron “real” strip clubs that have signs out front and a liquor license. If your man is a regular at the hole in the wall strip club, where it’s B.Y.O.B., and any woman can come in and give $5 lap dances for the night so she can make her rent money…y’all have issues and you may need to seek counseling.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

when planning a trip with friends goes horribly wrong...

I always end up being friends with people who make me go hmmmm why am I friends with you again? Cause see a lot of extra people tend to befriend me. Extra boughetto, extra crazy bout splitting the food bill, extra dramafull to the top and over flowing, extra self centered so that it's always all about them when nobody wasn't even thinkin bout yo ass. I mean I am a friendly person-kinda. Inside I may be thinking grrr go away leave me alone I don't want to be bothered but i guess it's this baby face all round and young looking these huge welcoming eyes that just draw people in like oh let me be her friend. The problem is that I'm so easy-going and laid back. I usually let others take the lead not because I can't lead but more because I usually dont care, could give a f' either way. Unless it's about spending my money..

So me and some friends are supposed to be going on a little trippy trip in a few months. And these friends fit in the extra sometimes want to ball outta control when they travel category. But one friend got us the opportunity to buy tickets for this event and being as I loves a weekend trip to just about anywhere I was like sure. However, I had to invite my girl rum punch cause she's like my sista from another mother and we are >< on a lot of things. If I call/text/email her and say homie do you want to go... she's down before I even finish that sentence. Gotta love easy-going down ass people. These are the variety of friends I should be cultivating. And I figured she could help equalize some of the extraness because I prolly wouldn't be going otherwise.

But it's always hectic when you're trying to plan the logistics around the schedules of a few working professionals, especially working professional black women. Who all have opinions. About travel. And where to stay. And how to book. And what hotel star class to book. And what name hotel to book. You see where I'm going with this. And generally I'm cool with such things cause usually I don't care unless somebody's tryin to make me spend more of my money i want to or than is necessary. So now we're having a difference of opinion basically about every detail of the trip because the friends want to the less cost conscious route (read: pay way too much for hotel) while me and rum, being the seasoned travelers that we are, don't want to take that road.

Cause really, this is only a weekend trip, granted to the other coast but dammit man let's not spend over $1000 on it. As my co-worker said when I relayed the situation to her, "that's a passport trip!" Exactly. And we still gotta get the event ticket (I said it was an opportunity hookup, not a free ticket hookup) + flight + car + multiple outfits + shopping money + eating money. Why would I spend over $400 on the hotel alone just so I can say I stayed at XYZ hotel. If we doin it right, we won't be spending that much time at the hotel anyway.

So this morning I woke up with my mind staid on....errr I woke up a bit hazily actually cause the office christmas party was last nigt and a sista got tore down on those pomegrante martinis and I said to myself, mint julep, you a grown ass woman dog! Why is you letting these chics punk you? You not gon let him punk you, son. Why would you pay double or even $50 more per night for a hotel room when you found a less expensive one on your trusted discount website. Just cause they don't believe in the bargains, just cause they turn their noses up at the process booo to them. I'm booking my hotel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the state of music, vol i.

Can there only be 1 black person at a time per gender that can dance, sing, and entertain. . ?

give me a break. . . and then we wonder why nouveau artists don't get a fair chance to breakthrough in the music industry. Moreover, what about our legends. Say, what you want to say about Ms. Janet, but she is a legend. I mean who can bring a whole concept album like Rhythm Nation with the bold social commentary and the deftness of dance. Oh and by the way her eponymous album Janet -- classic. Yet, every female artist that can two-step beyond the electric slide is a bona fide dancer and is compared to "Pleasure Principle" Janet -- don't think so.



video
Ahhh. . . yes, I had to take it back.


It seems like every male artist that does a single with a high pitched voice is the next Prince -- don't insult his higness that way.

First of all, can you sing, dance, and write your own shit -- that then makes other artists want to sing your shit and it gives them a hit??? I mean I once had a conversation with my "40 is the new 30" club and we're discussin' Your Highness'. (oooohhh.... I'm bout to take it back) So, I ask them who's version of "Do Me Baby" did they prefer Prince or Meli'sa Morgan. Personally, I prefer Meli'sa -- it had the rawness necessary for a song of that content, but "40 is the new 30" were only feeling his Highness -- I think that's a generational thing.




Let's put things in context for a minute. The same time Prince was out so was Janet's brother -- Michael. How come 20 years ago we could have at least 2 male artists as dynamic and different as Prince and Michael Jackson, yet they both go on to stellar careers? Why, 'cuz the people let the artistry speak for itself. I mean there are dozens of talented artists that can't even crack Billboard's 100. I mean where is Res, Teedra Moses, Eric Roberson, Van Hunt, Donnie??? Where my bands at? Mint Condition -- I mean there must be something in the water of Minneapolis 'cuz plenty of musicians come out of that city. And there's a whole bunch more that I know you can add to the list.



2008, just bring the music back.

cheers,
Bellini

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

That Good Hair Girl

When it comes to women there are a few rules all must follow.

Rule #1: Never ever ask a woman her weight. Unless you’re always guessing 95 pounds, whatever number you chose (even if you are dead on) will be too much.
Rule #2: Never ever ask a woman if she’s PMSing. If she isn’t, she just might start because of your stupidity! Besides, it’s not something that we can control anyway.
Rule #3: Never ever ask a woman her age. Except for Mr. Robert Kelly, who should always always ask!

But when it comes to Black women there are a whole extra set of golden rules that addresses our hair.
Rule #1: Don’t ever ask if it’s ours. Of course it is!
Rule #2: Don’t touch it! Hair touching is by invite only!
Rule #3: Don’t get it wet! Unless you want to see us turn into gremlins, keep the water away!

Our hair is a very big deal! There is a billion dollar industry devoted to making us hair happy. Whether relaxed, pressed or natural we are willing to spend a couple hours and dollars to get our hair done just right. And after our do is done, we are even willing to sacrifice comfortable sleep to ensure our style remains intact.

Somewhere in our childhoods we learned the difference between nappy hair and “good” hair. If your braids were long and laid flat you had good hair. If yours were short and sometimes one stood up in the air, well you didn’t have the good stuff. If your hair was shiny and silky thanks to a white great-great-grandfather or some Cherokee relative it was good. But if your hair wasn’t manageable or only shined with the help of blue magic hair grease, a hot comb and a brush, well no one was envious of what you had. And as little girls looking for validation of the beauty we saw in our mothers and grandmothers in the magazines we read or even in the mainstream we saw little to none. And it was hard not to believe that having good hair made you beautiful…

But thankfully times have changed, and so have our standards of beauty.

Currently I’m in pursuit of some good hair. But good hair for me is now something that is strong and healthy. For seven years I have been flirting with the decision to go natural. Second to the notion that my hair will be healthier for it, I’m really curious to see how I am going to look. This has been a very frustrating process ya’ll! And if I wasn’t a patient person before, this journey has made me even less patient!

Knowing that I couldn’t pull off a TWA I opted for braids during this period of growth. As the stylist tugged and pulled every strand of my hair with synthetic I realized that I was going to look totally different. And I began to get nervous because I wondered about my white co-workers reactions to my transformation. Sure I had had braids before, but I was in high school or at a job that wasn’t in a professional setting. The Senegalese Twists I opted for were a compete protest against the conformed Anglo office look and I worried if my actions would be viewed as rebellion. If these coworkers would wonder what happened to their good little Amaretto. And for an entire weekend I began to regret finally making a decision to go natural.

Well Black Woman hair rules 1 and 2 were violated that Monday. Oh, the questions! Lawd, there is such a thing as a stupid question. And I heard them all that Monday. They wanted to know who had done it, how long had it taken, did it hurt. Personal stories about seeing black women with braids on the street and them wondering about them were shared. It was like my hair decision had made it okay for them to ask me what they always wanted to know. Or share that they wish they could do that with their hair (insert eye roll here). The whole ordeal makes me wonder how they’ll react to the actual afro that’s growing beneath.

I forgot black woman hair Rule #4: Never ever criticize it! After all we’re sensitive about our sh*t!


Whether our hair is relaxed straight, laid in locks or a strong afro puff our hair is a crowning jewel many have refused to see as beautiful. And the new standard of beauty proves that we all got good hair.







See You in Seven

Monday, December 17, 2007

Introducing a Possible...Bahama Mama


Editor's Note: as the name suggests, this blog features the views of 5 very different women and the possible -- meaning from time to time we will feature other writers beyond the 5 in the mix. Today we debut our first possible, Bahama Mama. Hope you enjoy!


Bahama Mama: Chilled and sweet with just enough hidden intoxication to keep you on your toes. A mother of two who is following the unorthodox map of a quarter life crisis. Grasping at life with the eager hands of a child and forging a path to build strength, character and knowledge to pass onto her children. For it is not expendable riches that keep generations wealthy, but indispensable wisdom that allows us conquer all of life's pitfalls.



My favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Carol. Okay, it is actually the story of Ebenezer Scrooge that is my favorite. It doesn’t matter how the story is being brought to me, whether it’s an adaptation of the Charles Dickens original, the eighties flick starring James Belushi, or the animated version featuring none other than Mr. Fred Flintstone, I always enjoy the tale. This is my flick of choice because at the end I always think about the different stages in my life. If I had the opportunity to go back, like Ebenezer, I wonder what goals, passions and dreams I would cling to.


I know that if I looked back on my life as a child, one of my goals would not have been to be a single mother of two, in her mid-twenties with so many questions to life unanswered. I ran this by my therapist ( and yes I am a black woman who goes to counseling!), and she logically told me “your twenties are a time when you’re finding out what to do. You’re finding yourself.” I laughed a bit derisively, ‘cause clearly this woman didn’t know the stress that I was going through. I didn’t have time to find myself. Between the drama with their father, working and meeting the needs of my daughters who are a day shy of being a year apart, my mind could not fathom the thought that I even had the right to find out who I was. Because it is the thoughts of many Americans that by the time we have children, we should “know ourselves” or “have it together”.


It wasn’t the pain of childbirth, or the sleepless nights that followed which had me looking around and thinking “what the hell?” It was the shock that set in after I began to comprehend that I was too busy for me. I was so lost in being a mom, a girlfriend, a daughter, and all the other labels I carried, that I started to fold under the pressure. But like many black women before me, my back was bent, but not broken. My spirit was ailing and in need of some serious medicine. So, I stopped and thought about me. As moms we tend to take care of everyone but self, but how can we love and nurture our children, when we don’t love and nurture ourselves? Its impossible ladies.


I began to think about all the things that I wanted before I had children. I thought about the hobbies that I liked to do, the people I liked to be around and I started to make time for me. It was hard, but I handed over some responsibility to their father (and we’ll talk about that later!), and did me. Heather Headley said it best “I need some me time”. It doesn’t matter what you do with those moments, which should never be stolen because you have a right to not cook dinner all the time, or to hand the kids over at bath time. Read a book, go to a movie, do anything that YOU want to do. And ladies (moms, wives, girlfriends, lovers) contrary to what some think, we all need that time to step back, look at our lives, and reassess the situation to make sure that we are happy. Though my life is no where near what I envisioned it to be at this time, I’m learning, growing and becoming a damn better person in the process.