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, August 8, 2008

That's Just My Baby Daddy

Many years ago I was cool with this woman (and since here at the 5 we like to give pseudonyms, I’ll call her Erica) who was a single mother with a four year old daughter. She worked at a hotel for a pitiful hourly wage + shared tips. The job was not your typical 9-5, and she usually worked the early morning shift (clock in at 6 am) and weekends. When summer began she found herself in a bind. She couldn’t afford child care and could barely pay for her basic living expenses. Her child’s father who lived 3.5 hours away offered relief. He suggested that their daughter live with him throughout the summer (instead of her usual two weeks) and maybe even during the school year so that Erica could get on her feet. He worked a decent job and had a family support system aka his momma who could watch the child during the day for free. The offer seemed reasonable to me, but Erica turned it down. It seemed that she a. she took some twisted pride in skruggling and b. thought that sending the child to her father would give the illusion that she was a bad mother. I don’t even have time to get into the chorus of naysayers, her mother included, who told her not to send that child down to her father.

I could never truly wrap my mind around her decision. Surely if you had laid down and made a baby with this man then he could and should have to provide more than just monetary support, especially if he were more than capable. I’m not down with sending a child to live with crazy, but then that leads to a whole ‘nother post full of questions about making babies with crazy. But as usual I digress… Now, while Erica's situation was happening I was a pseudo nanny to my cousin’s daughter. He was her main caregiver while the mother of his child was attending school two hours away. He had a family support system which included me and his grandparents, and we worked together to take care of the baby while he was at work. Here in the midst of my single, no kids, life were two women handling the same situation completely differently.

Of course I was on the side of ‘send that chile to his daddy.’ But that’s just how I was raised. My momma would leave us with our daddy in a heartbeat. She would go get her weekly manicure, hair did, hang out with her sisters, work, pursue her PhD, whatever. She tells stories of how when I was a baby, and she was without me, people would ask, “Where is lil’ Rum Punch?” “With her father,” she would respond. Blasphemy! Was their reaction. "You left her with him," they would ask. "Um yeah," she would say.

I know that I have seen one too many talk shows where women (usually married) are lamenting about having to do the child rearing by themselves while the husband works too much, or golfs every weekend, or just lays on the couch and waits for dinner. I have even heard wives say, “I have three children, my husband included.” What the hell? Now he’s a child? No, he’s a grown ass man. Don’t go letting him off the hook from taking responsibility for raising y’alls child(ren).

I know that as women we like to carry that cross and that load around. Why is anyone’s guess. I, Rum Punch don’t get down that way. And so as I get serious about selecting a mate, I like to learn about a man’s idea of parenting. Oh the discussions I have had! I recently got into a heated argument with a man who tried to tell me that I was being selfish for even saying and thinking what I know which is that I will have to have some time away from the kids. Apparently me stating that I will have to get my hair done made me selfish cause I wasn't thinking about the kids. Excuse me? I'm just stating facts. Am I supposed to look broke down and not get my hair done? Oh I'm getting my hair done. And when I do I ain't taking the kids. Do y'all know I saw a woman bring a toddler and a baby in a big ass carriage to the hair dresser on a Saturday morning? What in the world? Couldn't no one watch them kids? Oh no, that is not the business and I am not the one! And then I asked him, what about if I have to run to the grocery store? If you are at home, I know you don't think I'm taking the kids. The conversation was not pretty y'all, there was a lot of yelling and him saying something about "You do whatever you want, those ain't my kids..." Ok my pressure is going up just thinking bout this, let me focus.

So while I know that those were hypothetical situations and that no one knows what they’ll do or won’t do until they get in the moment. But I know that when I think about who and what I want as a husband and hopefully, eventually father of our children, I envision a co-parent, a hands-on dad, a mothafuckin helpmate-someone who’s down (or clearly understands he has a role in this too) to change diapers, get up for feedings, dress the kids, handle the carpool, help with homework, feed the kids if I ain't home yet and on, and on. Some people I've met have called me crazy, said I was reaching for the stars, but I say, that I know how I was raised and what I saw growing up. A man can be a parent too. If us women would just let him.

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

Thursday, August 7, 2008

hook a sista up

In love and life, there are universal truths. Mantras. Standard operating procedures, if you will. Certain things that everybody just knows. Rules that aren't written down anywhere but that everybody is just expected to live by.

For women, it’s THE CODE.

Now depending on where you come from, THE CODE could involve any number of situations but generally when women speak of THE CODE they are referring to that unspoken universal truth that if your sistafriend has dated, slept with, liked, or potentially liked a guy...

he is OFF LIMITS to you!

As a general principle most women can get down with this but in practice the slope gets a little slippery. As with any law, it’s all in the application.

How long you known this sistafriend? Is she really yo sistafriend, homegirl, best buddy, acquaintance or your co-worker on your part-time night job who you sometimes go to chipotle with for burritos? Did you and ole' boy ever date? How long ago did you date said guy? How did it end? Did he ever get it in and if so how often and how good was the gettin it in? Are you still drunk off the D? Did you just stalk . . . errr like him from afar or did you let that brotha know you was feelin’ him? Was he feelin’ you and you just didn’t reciprocate (yet)? Most importantly, what does sistafriend know about any of this? Or is he FINE enough to let THE CODE slide just this once cause a man is a man is a man and every woman betta speak up or not get fed? The permutations are endless.

Perhaps a “hypothetical” is in order to illustrate the contours of THE CODE.

Say you meet a guy, we shall call him Bryan. Bryan is nice, friendly, intelligent, educated and willing to take you out and show you the city. On paper, Bryan is any SBW’s dream: no kids, owns his own home, stable job. So what's the problem right? Well, despite the fun ya'll have together, you don’t like him “like that.” Yeah, yeah I know beggars can't be choosers but you don't feel a strong attraction to him. And you prefer to keep the relationship strictly friendly, although you’re pretty sure that Bryan likes you.

You tell your friend Leslie about Bryan and how you like hanging with him but that you’re not feeling him beyond the friendship level although he stay trying to push up. You’ve known Leslie for several years and consider her to be one of your best friends. Leslie comes to visit you for some weekend debauchery and on Friday night you, Leslie, Bryan and some other irrelevant characters to this hypothetical hang out. During the night, you notice a little extra something between Bryan & Leslie but you chalk it up to harmless flirting, after all you yourself have been on the receiving end of Bryan’s advances. The next evening you end up on the town again, tearing it down with Bryan & Leslie plus the irrelevants. Once t'again your spidey sense alerts you to the vibe between Bryan & Leslie. By the night’s end, Bryan & Leslie ride off to kick it while you head back to the crib to crash in a drunken haze. By weekend's end, it's clear that Bryan & Leslie have just embarked on a "new relationship."


What would the Average Black Woman Do? Stab a bitch in her baby toe for fucking with your possible, back pocket dude? Not give a fuck, cause Bryan wasn't that cute (to her) and she wasn't feelin him anyway? Silently sulk for 1.5 years until Bryan & Leslie announce they gettin' married and then blow them both away in a rage of unspoken envy? Or stand up at their wedding and give a toast reminiscing about how she brought the happy couple together...black love ya'll black love!

To some THE CODE, under art. 6.9, strictly prohibits Leslie's poach. To others, the advisory notes of the Committee on Black Womanhood to art. 6.9 allow Leslie's behavior as long as she runs it by her girl first. Under what circumstances is this situation kosher (if ever)? And must one check with her girl first before crossing that line?

You ask 10 different women and you might get 10 different answers or 8 servings of hell naw with 2 sides of gurl stop, I will cut a bitch if she even tries!

What say you?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

make him a plate, puhleeezze!

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend who divulged her trials and trepidations in the love chronicles. Needless to say, there is a guy she's been diggin and seein' for a while. However, she's hesistant to clear the air and claim him (remember what I told you). Now my friend spends alot of time with this guy-- I mean they really enjoy each other's company.

So, in an episode where they're enjoying each other's company she decides to cook for both of them. So the fella is laid back watching t.v. while my girl is in the kitchen dicing and splicing vegetables, sauteeing poultry, the waft of seasonings permeating the air... dinner is served. My girl sets the table, makes herself a plate and commences to eat, and didn't make him a plate? WTF...

She literally informs him everything is ready, help yourself to a plate and utensils. Ummmm... that's downright tacky. What stopped you from making his plate? She utters something nonsensical in an attempt to justify her actions. She was pretty defiant and feisty too, about not his making his plate...

Now this story would have no relevance, except my homegirl would like to be a wife in the near future. Well, "honey you got to get on your good feet" rest in peace James Brown. I'm an adamant believer that if you want something in life you need to start mimicking behavior associated with such attainment - i.e. dress for success. So, if you want to be a wife you need to exhibit compromise, selflessness, and love. Ironically, this guy she is diggin' has been raised in a culture where women cater to men literally on hand and foot. The way Bellini rationalizes things, "girlfriend can not pass GO, nor collect $200" sorry about the Monopoly reference, folks.... But, I mean really something has to give.

What my friend failed to realize about herself is that if you won't make his plate, you won't launder his linens, or do a whole lotta stuff for your man. And granted he's not her man, but perhaps that's why.

Ladies, make his plate puhleeezze!



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Amaretto Says: See It!

On Friday the Vice President of my department called a staff meeting from 11am until the end of the day (which VP believes is 5 even on a Friday). Well I’ve shared with you all before how meetings around these parts typically go, so understand that everyone was rumbling and grumbling about the impending summit. So I got my pen out ready to doodle as the VP shared the sate of the business, which…if a Magic 8 Ball could tell us any and everything, would have read that our outlook was not positive. But as a token of appreciation, Mr. Veep brought (well let’s be real the company bought) tickets for us to see The Dark Knight, complete with money for concessions. So what did Amaretto learn from yet another meeting? Recession? Smecession! Let’s go out to the movies and buy ourselves a treat!

Does it sound like I’m braggin’? I hope so, because I am. Only because I was pleasantly surprised by the VP and the movie, not because I’m a jerk or anything. And it turns out the TDK was a good flick, a little lengthy but the hype can be believed. So I was telling my friend about my Friday afternoon delight and he was all salty. Then because we had run out of things to talk about, we started making lists of movies every man, woman and black person should see in their lifetime. And because today is a slow news day, Imma share my list (in no particular order) of movies I think everyone should see.

Drum Roll Please….

Girls Behaving Badly: Kill Bill Vol I
I love wiggling my big toe. It’s just awesome this movie, Vol II? Not so much. I say see it, not because you’ll be wondering if Uma Thurman is really as pretty as people say or think, but because the fight scenes are just that fabutron!

Feel Good: Shawshank Redemption
This is one of the Bestest movies ever! Talk about transcending race to forge a friendship. This movie is so good I sometimes want them to make it a sequel or a franchise or an epic a la “Star Wars” or “The Mummy”. But if they did that it would just ruin it. And Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are just too classy to go for that.

The Musical: The Sound of Music
Sorry J Hud, “Dreamgirls” don’t get it! Everyone needs to see this movie! Hello? There would be no Gwen Stefani “Wind it Up” video if it weren’t for Maria and the Von Tramp clan. I love, I LOVE this movie! Even though it’s about an Austrian Family it really is a little piece of Americana! Do, a Deer a female deer. Ra a drop of golden sun… These are a few of my Favorite Things. In the end, it had me wanting to make a dress from some curtains.

A Drama: The Godfather I and II
I mean I don’t think I need to explain this one. One of the most quoted movies of all time! To the Mattresses! It’s nothing Personal Just Business! Just when I thought I was out… And something about an offer. My heart melts when Sonny gets it in Far Rockaway. And GF II shows us how it all began! Is there a better scene when Michael becomes the Don and closes the door on Dianne Keaton’s face as his ring gets kissed? Is there?

Documentary: We Are Together
It’s about a South African family affected by the HIV and AIDs epidemic. Wow, there were so many tears ya’ll, so many tears. But if you can’t find it because it’s one of those Independent fru-fru things then go on and support "Fahrenheit 9-11" and get a laugh at the President.

The Black Experience: The Color Purple
Now granted we’ve traded our farmland in for pennies and the appeal of the big cities and now the suburbs, but I think this movie showed the multi faceted world of Black folks even though it was set in the 1930s. You got your church folks, your juke joint goers, your abusers and endurers. You got your fools and your wise ones. And you got White folks making Sofia work for them after they put her in jail…Now if that’s not the Black Experience then have Soledad give me a call!

A Good Tee Hee: Friday

Smokey. Need I say more? I do? Well you ain’t got to lie Craig. Puff, Puff Give Man, puff puff Give! Oh Chris Tucker, before you found the Lawd and Jackie Chan…you was one funny dude! And you were the reason that “Next Friday” and “Friday after Next” sucked like drinking a triple-thick milkshake through a straw.

And that Ladies and lone Gentleman, is my list! And I have more, but you know, gotta keep the mystery going. So what do you think? Don’t agree? Then feel free to show me yours, since I’ve already shown you mine! ;)

See You In Seven

Monday, August 4, 2008

Best Friends Forever?

Y'all Show Your Love as 5 and a Possible Present: Raspberry Martini

Raspberry Martini:
A classic with a feminine twist. Strong, sweet, and to the point. I am a 20 something teacher who is known for her Type-A personality and humor. Read my entries and you will find musings on my adventures in education (or lack thereof), dating (or lack thereof), and weight loss (or lack thereof).

**Ring Ring** You have reached the Sprint voice mail of..."


Friend: "Hey, Raspberry Martini, I saw that you called…What's up?"
Raspberry Martini: "Yea, I just haven't heard from you in a while. Just wanted to see what was going on. What have you been up to all summer?"
Friend: "Nothing much, just working…"

***Awkward Pause***

Friend: "You know, we should hang out some time."
RM: "Sure! what are you doing this weekend?"
Friend: "Well…um, let me get back to you, I think My Baaaaby may have something planned."

Situation sound familiar?

You call your friend, she doesn't return your call for days. You ask her to hang out, and she never seems to have the time. Your sporadic phone conversations usually come back to one topic. Sometimes you don't even know if you are talking to the same person anymore, and wonder if her personality has been hijacked by some unknown force. Is this friend on drugs you ask? No. Decided to practice Scientology? Nope. Is she mad at you, you ask? No.

She's been dickmatized!!

Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic (all a part of my charm), because most have been there at one point or another: a budding new relationship, a delightfully consuming new beau. Everything he says is incredibly sweet, intelligent, unique, or hilarious. Not to mention, he makes your body tingle like Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. Suddenly, weeks have passed and you have been conspicuously absent from every social outing with your girls. And you can't understand why, lately, your friends seem to be annoyed with your conversation. Could it be that for the past six months every sentence starts with, "Well *insert mushy boyfriend pet name here* says/thinks/does/feels/ …" Let's face it, while we may be happy for you, and we may want to hear about your happiness (to a point), not everybody is going to think your new man shits diamonds.

My female friends tend to fall into one of two categories concerning new relationships: either they pull a temporary disappearing act (natural when building a new relationship) and return to normal, or they permanently distance themselves because their life becomes a constant orbit around their new Prince Charming. I always feel awkward when his happens because I understand the tempting time warp that your new man can become. However, when you are on the opposite side, you can't help but feel some sort of resentment and hurt that your friend has indefinitely placed you on the back burner.

Do I sound bitter? If so, it's because I am going through this situation with someone I considered a very close friend. We used to talk / text several times a week about any and everything, share secrets and inside jokes, confide in each other about major life decisions, and hang out regularly. We were girls. Now we rarely speak because she returns calls days later and rarely initiates phone calls. She always states, "We should hang out sometime…" like we are schmoozing at some C-Class networking event, but somehow plans never seem to materialize. I chose to keep mum with my feelings and gave her her space in hopes that she would come around at some point. However, when she moved in with her new man without telling me, I knew that our relationship had taken a detour, and I had no idea where we stood anymore. I felt completely left out.

When I finally spoke to her about my feelings, she said: "Well, I don't have a car, so I go where ever My Baaaaby goes." Let us all pause for the lameness of that excuse. At this point, I don't know what to do aside from mourn a formerly close friendship. Her boyfriend is a nice guy and a great catch, but why does that equal disappearing into his world? I am at a loss about what to do, or perhaps, more accurately, frustrated that I can't really do anything about the situation. Do I bring it up again at the risk of alienating her even more? Or do I disappear as well, and if our friendship ever goes off pause mode, hope I can let go of the resentment that has festered.

Internet Diva facade aside, I am a tad bit jealous. Not only because she spends all her time with him, but as I said, he is a great catch. In my present singleness, I would love to have someone to cuddle up with and perhaps build a future. I am still waiting for my catch. Damn, sometimes I'm still waiting for a decent bite or nibble (literally and figuratively). However, mostly, I just miss my homey.

This situation taught me that all relationships take work and dedication. As we grow older, acquiring more responsibilities and commitments, time and energy become increasingly scarce and therefore sacred. I guess as my friends start to pair off, get married, and procreate, our relationships will change and shift. Is this all a part of growing up? Unfortunately, it is. How you and your friend decide to navigate the new terrain of your friendship will help you decide if they are there for a reason, season, or a lifetime. What I've learned from being on the other side is that through life's changes it is important to continue to nurture all of your relationships---romantic or otherwise. You never know, three days can easily become three years – and life doesn't have a pause button.

Keep it Shaken,

Raspberry Martini