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.


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, May 2, 2008

No More Mr. Nice Guy?

Everybody wants a superstar
who got cars and ice
walks into the ghetto get pussy bar
makes all the girls look think twice
yeah sista he got money and thangs
but is he nice for you

High Post Brotha, Jill Scott


So my friends and I are leaving brunch on Sunday and we get stopped at the door by a group of guys who invite us to a weekly event they host, a discussion group on male/female relationships. We start talking about said event, its purpose and then the conversation veers to that age old question: what do women really want? These men looked us straight in the face and said: “Y’all say you want a nice man. But y’all really want a bad boy.” The three of us looked at each other and said to them, “We want nice men.” We were met with protests and anecdotal stories of women who are apparently saying one thing while seeking/dating/marrying another. So I finally asked, “Who are these heffas? And why are they messing it up for the rest of us?”

I’m not joking. Somewhere along the way the nice man became the punk. The men at the restaurant told us that while we say we want a nice man, we don’t want a nice man in every aspect of life, for instance in the bedroom. We don’t want someone who’s asking please at every turn. So in essence, they said, we still want a bad boy. I’m sorry, come again. Is there no room for a happy medium? Can’t a man still be nice and be able to put it down in the bedroom? We then had to provide definitions of nice vs. bad boy, since apparently there is no in between.

Nice to me means someone who is considerate and respectful. When I say I want a nice man, I mean someone who is a genuinely nice person, someone who takes my interests and feelings to heart, the same way I would his. I want someone who is respectful of me not just as a woman (his woman), but also of the relationship. Someone who will be honest with me, won’t play games with me, and won’t intentionally hurt me. Because let’s be honest, everyone doesn’t have nice as a character trait. Some people have to work at it. Some people are just selfish. Some people are straight up assholes.

Now, onto the bad boy definition. At the restaurant we ladies were characterizing bad boys as those without steady jobs and knowledge of 401ks. But all joking aside, it also is more about their treatment of a woman. To me a “bad boy” is someone who has run through women literally and figuratively and never learned how or cared to know how to treat a woman right, never learned about the essence and importance of wooing and courting a lady. It is someone who is looking out for number one and has too many ulterior motives to consider someone else’s feelings.

I think a lot of men fall in between too nice and bad boy. So what is the word for that? Human? When I say I want a nice man, I mean it. Or do I? The other day my male co-worker came into my office. He is nice. LOL! Soft spoken, considerate, intelligent, a hard worker, seems to have a plan. But as he was sitting there telling me about the women he’s dating, and I thought to myself, uh oh he is too nice! And then I thought, “Dammit Rum Punch this is going against everything you wanna write about in your post.” But hear me out. He is telling me about how he wined and dined a woman for Valentine’s Day, I mean took her to dinner, got a hotel room, decorated it with candles and rose petals and then had the spa staff come to give her a mani, pedi and massage. And then he sneaks into the conversation: “But we didn’t do anything after that, she was too tired.” Hmmm… And then he tells me about how he offered to give $200 to this other woman he’s talking to for her graduation photos (from college y’all, from college). So I sat there looking at him, thinking that these women are taking his kindness as weakness and punking the shit outta him. And instead of a. admitting that they’re probably really not attracted to him, or b. seriously enjoying his affections and appreciating the treatment, they look him right in his face and say, “I can’t be in a relationship with you, you’re too nice!”

And this is what’s fucking up the game! This too nice mess. What the hell is too nice? Seriously, ladies, I don’t think that we should share these inner thoughts with men. Why? Because now too many of them are walking around, moping, like, “The nice guy finishes last.” Or they just start snapping on you like, “Y’all don’t want a nice man,” and then go out and kill five people and rob a liquor store to compete for our affection.

I also think as I write this and talk with my mother about it, too many women are choosing not to be grown. They are purposefully playing games and testing these men, like let me see how much I can get, how much I can challenge him, how many times I can work my neck and snap on him. It’s like they want to push a man just far enough to see if he’s gonna come at her and choke her and once he raises his hands to her throat, she’ll know that he’s not just nice.

I mean my daddy is a nice, easy going, affable, man, but cross him and he will hurt you. I asked my mom, “How did you know that daddy could go from nice to kick yo’ ass in 0 to 60 seconds?” And she says because when she met him, he was already a grown ass man and she knew that he would take care of his household. She didn’t have to try him to see if he could handle the position, his actions and their conversations showed her that he would and could.

I wonder how other women are measuring a man. What is their measuring stick? Have they/we gotten so conditioned to bullshit that when a really nice guy comes our way we don’t believe it or know how to react to it? Are we always waiting for the other shoe to drop? If we proclaim ourselves to be nice women, then is it so hard to believe that there might also be nice men in this world? Shouldn’t niceness beget niceness?

Seriously ladies, we are gonna have to have a Come to Jesus meeting about this one. We are gonna have to gather all our sistas together and come to a consensus about what we want or keep our mouths closed about it. Cause I don't want anyone speaking for me. Cause if I hear another man tell me one mo’ gin, that I don’t want a nice man. I’m going to scream. And then I’m going to ask, “Says who?”

So, it’s Friday y’all! We encourage you to come out of lurker status, and tell the 5, about your criteria for a nice guy/bad boy. Men, what do you think about this whole situation? Do nice guys really finish last?

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

let's get married....in 4.2 years

A highly scientific (read: arbitrary and capricious) survey says I will get married in 4 years and 1 month. That would put me at age 31 when it comes time to jump the broom, around the same age as my Mama when she first got married. Although said survey is one of those chain letter-type deals someone sent me on face.book, its results are pretty close to where I always imagined I’d be when I said I do.

I probably decided on the early 30’s time frame as ideal for marriage as a result of my mother’s experience. She’s been sort of a benchmark for how things should go in my life because she’s my Mama and we are a whole lot alike. I suppose if she had gotten married at age 21, I’d be in some sort of frenetic panic right about now over my singlehood. But my Mama always taught me to be independent and to enjoy my life, taking every opportunity to do things when I was young and unattached that I might think twice about once I got married and had kids. Trust, she still had football parties on Sunday afternoons with her social club, the Royal Satins, and traveled to the Ba.you Classic every Thanksgiving while leaving us with my Grandmama. But I understood where she was coming from and admired that she had gotten her degree and started her career before she got married and had my sisters and I.

But since I’ve recently crossed firmly over into my post-25 years, marriage and all things remotely related to the institution seem to be encroaching on my space more frequently. Just a couple of years ago, I remember saying to someone that the marriage bug hadn’t hit my friends yet because I didn’t really know anyone who was getting married.

Yet, in the span of a couple years, engagements and marriages are on the tip of everyone’s tongue, parties and ceremonies are filing up weekends in my social calendar, and wonderings about finding a man with huz-band potential are clogging my dinner conversations. Everyone (read: everywoman) is either getting married or talking about the desire to do so although thankfully some women are bravely trying to avoid the topic all together.

Some of my single women friends are showing the first signs of marriage panic: holding on to that boyfriend who they don’t really like just a little too long or being a little too bitter when another woman, who they deem unworthy, gets engaged before them.

I’m definitely not above all of this angst and anxiety for I believe if you’re human and you’re a woman, with few exceptions, you’ve lamented and cried errr..... thought about getting married.

I WANT TO GET MARRIED! There, I said it! It ain’t so bad to admit it. I even got my dress picked out. Shouts to Rum for the inspiration. I sometimes let my imagination wander when I’m raising my glass for the lovely couple at an engagement party or wedding. I smile when I see two lovers on the A train, eyes locked, fingers laced, hips aligned and I clap with joy inside when I catch their pair of matching rings. Ahhhh marriage! Ahhh love really. I’m a loveaholic!

But even as I enjoy these sights and let my mind indulge in a moment’s romance with the idea of marriage, at this point in my life, I don’t feel that all consuming pressure to be married RIGHT NOW. I haven't yet been afflicted with that heedy neediness, what I imagine must be a swift suffocating chokehold, like an elephant on your chest that wakes you up in a panic in the middle of the night, wondering WILL I EVER GET MARRIED? I pray it doesn’t hit me and that if it does I’ll be able to roll over, snuggle back into my husband’s arms and think to myself…wheeww it was all just a nightmare.
I kid, I kid. I know some of ya'll are giving me a mean side-eye for that last line right there. But for real, while I'm not pressed to be married tomorrow or even next year I wouldn't mind making one of those grade-school style pacts with, say, a man. who is employed. with no kids. has a 401K. who is sorta kinda all-the-way cute (to me). shouts out to whoever the hell that is!

it'd go something like this:

mint julep: so if, in 4 years and 1 month, you're not married and i'm not married, let's do the damn thang!

guy: OKKK!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


definition: a bed of loose sand mixed with water forming a soft, shifting mass that does not support heavy objects.

The collusion of church and state is quicksand.

Lately, I've eschewed all discussions about the 2008 Democratic race for the nomination because the event has turned into circus. And the only circus I'm a spectator of is the UniverSOUL circus (DC its coming soon). Now don't get me wrong I watched the debates, but not their entirety -- I'm so over it (shout out to Amaretto). Plus, the reality of it all is there's no point squabbling about who would be the nominee. The events that have and will take place up until June season Barack for the general election yes, can't rule him out-- the numbers are still on his side or demonstrate the Clintonian prowess of Hillary to win.

Currently, mainstream media is having a field day part II over comments made from Revered Jeremiah Wright most recently at the National Press Club. It's all comical if you ask me. Now I'm not sure how I feel about Reverend Wright as it relates to Obama's candidacy. So, allow me to think aloud.

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines. In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman [and eventually a cardiopulmonary technician]...The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966surgery. For his service on the team...the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney,who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor,received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country? After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.
courtesy of Chicago Tribune the only national paper that had the gall to write such a story.

Now if you've had a chance to hear Mr. Wright speak since the controversy -- hear him in his entirety. No soundbites - please. Again, as I said before he didn't lie about anything, however, he hasn't said anything new either. I really don't feel Barack should have done his most recent press conference regarding the Reverend's comments. But as dark'n'stormy pointed out to me that press conference was for a mainstream audience -- not necessarily for me. Hmmmmm. good point. I talked to another friend in the media vis-a-vis urban radio and he said that mainstream media a la "liberals" felt reassured that Obama had fully denounced, distanced, and deadened the Reverend's commentary. Yet, can you really distance yourself from the man who manned you up, officiated your marriage, and baptized you kids? That's some deep shit. Although, Revered Wright would have you keep in mind "I'm a preacher and he's a politician." Ahhh... it all makes sense now.

Can we call a truce now? There are real issues to be discussed. And I'm tired of diversions, confusions, and sensationalizations.



P.S. Barack everytime you counter Wrigth with a press conference there's no where to go but down. quicksand! Stay afloat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Puedes oir me ahora?

Hola! Que pasa ya’ll?

Okay, so my title is supposed to say Can you hear me now. I apologize to all the Spanish speakers of the world if I used the wrong word or I didn’t conjugate correctly. I was trying not to use that ghetto Spangish that comes out after a few Mojitos where I just add an "o" to everythingo. Plus, it has been a minute since my introduction to Spanish in the seventh grade. Though I really should be a fluent speaker by now considering that I live in the Virginia part of the DC metro area. Everything in my barrio is in Spanish and then English. No seriously, it is. The ATM at 7-11 asks me if I want to complete my transaction in Spanish and underneath that English is offered. Say what now? Now you know just by following the rules of the alphabet something is wrong with that one.

And speaking of my previous miseducation, I remember learning about the adventures of Lewis and Clark, and the Louisiana Purchase with a little Manifest Destiny peppered in for flavor. I also remember my teacher stating that if it weren’t for the English coming over and doing the darn thing we’d all be speaking Spanish right now. Ha! Clearly I am a child of the 80s and my teacher would never have a job as a psychic friend. Times they are a changing mi amigos.

This past weekend I was wandering around my town when I realized I was thirsty. I went into a little restaurant called Chicken Granjero. Please picture with me families (this includes parents, an elderly member-possibly a grandparent, and a boatload of kids at least 3) dining on seasoned chicken, ensalada and Inca Cola. There was joy, balloons and chicken skin in the air. So I’m standing in line and all the transactions ahead of me are being conducted in Spanish. This really is common place where I’m from so I wasn’t stressing because usually when I approach the clerk gets their bilingual skills on and addresses me in English. But on this fair day in April things weren’t going down like that. “Hola” she said. This was cool because there are Spanish speakers of African lineage, so she could have thought I was one of those. But then I said, “Hi, I would like a lemonade” And then there was silence, followed by the scrunching of her face, the tilting of her head and her uttering the word “Que?”

What. Da. Hell?

Now this is not about how I feel about immigration, illegal or otherwise. I’ll have ya’ll know that some of my best friends are native Spanish speakers…okay that’s a lie. But I do enjoy the people and their many different cultures (read: unlike my Granny, I know they aren’t all Mexicans). I love salsa music, dance, and sauce. I feel a childhood isn’t complete without the memory of blindly swinging at a giant donkey piƱata full of candy. I do enjoy watching Telemundo (I’m also part of the
REC). And I know for a fact that “I Love Lucy” would have sucked if it weren’t for Ricky Ricardo and his rendition of “Babalu”.

Yet, I feel some type of way about happened to me on Saturday, and really what’s been happening a lot lately. Like I’m the one who’s wrong for daring to communicate in English. Are things shifting to the point that I need to look for “Yes, we speak English signs”? Maybe. I mean, for some reason America doesn’t have an
official language, I guess for the sake of the melting pot. So can I really be mad? But it’s just interesting that many different people have come to these shores and opted to subscribe to culture Americana (read: mainstream) and adopt English as their tongue…yet with these hermanos y hermanas I’m the one being asked to change.

Hello? Or better yet, Hola?

Well in case ya’ll care, I got my lemonade. Thank goodness I know enough Spanish to function, find the nearest bathroom and say the cat wears brown hats. But can I just mention that when a White couple walked in, heard everyone speaking Spanish, they gave me, the Black girl, a knowing and annoyed look before they turned around and walked out. I guess they hadn’t heard that there’s a new language in town…

See You In Seven

Monday, April 28, 2008

Analog Girl Interrupted

The world has been watching television for damn near an entire century. Like any form of technology, the appearance and functionality of TVs have evolved with time. It is human nature to continuously attempt to revamp and rework the wheel, even if there is no need to reinvent it. So I guess something like the upcoming digital TV conversion was only a matter of time…

I am sure most of you are aware of the pending death to analog broadcast television, mandated by Congress, expected to take place on February 17, 2009. The switch to digital broadcasting will improve the quality of television broadcasts and provide more programming options, while freeing the analog airspace for public safety communications.

I am one of few folks I know who still watch TV sans a cable or satellite hook up, a.k.a. free TV. I am a proud, card-carrying member of the rabbit ears crew (REC). There are still a few million of us around the U.S.

REC membership has many benefits. I do not have to wait at home for cable repairmen who never show up at their scheduled time. A small thunderstorm or light winds will not chop & screw my reception. A lesser selection of channels and programming has a direct effect on our CP status…CP stands for couch potato (I know what y’all were thinking). The more time we spend on the couch watching TV, the less time we spend being physically active. And why do they call it the idiot tube again? That's another entire blog entry right there...

But the number one reason why the majority of us REC members even joined the club is money. Poor folks and cheap people ain't feelin' such trivial expenses. REC members save beaucoup cash annually by avoiding service fees, monthly subscriptions, and the purchase of big-ticket items that come in large, flat boxes with words like "HDTV" on the front.

I own one television. We been hangin' tight since my freshman year of college in 1999. It was the first item I purchased for my dorm room. All black, 13" screen, remote control - pure beauty. Cable ready (just in case I got the hook up) and in color, of course. Been faithful all these years... Why give up a good thing? Many times, I've contemplated an upgrade. But I could never justify the outrageous price tags. (Outrageous by my standards, okay?)

I recently started looking at copping a used set from an ad on craiglist. You gotta admit TVs last a long time, if you don't beat 'em up. You will usually outgrow them before they outgrow you. Therefore, a 27" priced at $65 is my kinda deal! I don't mind if someone else wants to pay thrice the price and break it in before I... But if an older TV is not equipped with the new digital conversion technology, should I even bother?

Retailers are selling converter boxes for us REC members to use on our older models. Uncle Sam has even sweetened the deal with coupons for $40 off the price of the converter boxes; each household can receive two. The average price of the box is $50-70. Still a lil' steep if you ask me, but I always appreciate a coupon.

Most people I know could care less about this conversion crap because whatever they're watching is a few light years ahead of my '99 Sanyo. But I am irritated because I do not feel that all the kinks have been worked out concerning this conversion. There are already legal battles going over the patents for the converter box. And I don't believe the b.s. story about a need for airspace for public communications. Turn on your radio right now and start turning the dial... I promise you will find many settings that are pure static. That means no one is using the frequency dial. And some of the airspace will be auctioned off to wireless service providers. Doesn't sound like a public "need" to me.

Shot out to my REC members.

Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy