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, January 8, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

So the verdict is in. Black women get edumacted, but not married. They stay fabulous, fierce, and foolish about love. They are as hopless as a penny with a hole in it. And more bitter about it all than Starbucks coffee. In addition to that bitter label, they are also, mean. Never smile.

And so originally this post was going to chastise us y’all other Black women who do be stank actin’ and how we y’all need to get it together grouch and stop being so evil. Yes, I have gotten some reports back from the men folk – apparently we y’all is evil. Have a-tti-tude. Turning good men away based simply off their looks and chunkiness. Not even taking the time to get to know them. Tsk, tsk, tsk, Black women. We’ll You’ll never get a man like that will we you? No, we you won’t.

And then I was reading my favorite advice columnist Carolyn Hax and someone posed this question: Dear Carolyn: I recently read one of your columns where you said it was easy to be unhappy. Do you think it's easier than being happy? With now many years of experience under your belt, why do you think people protect their bitterness, anger, weaknesses and past traumas to the end, no matter what they lose? I've watched some people lose almost everything and everyone in order to hang on to what a friend called "their triumphant unhappiness."

Triumphant unhappiness. I like that. And so did Carolyn. And here’s some of her response:

Yes, I do think it's easier day-to-day to be unhappy. Meaning, when we're faced with these little decisions about how to perceive something, it's always a little bit easier to blame than it is to celebrate…

And it's always a little bit easier to put that blame on someone/something else: "Guys are such jerks" is easier than "I missed obvious signs that he didn't like me," or "I expected him to read my mind and be my little puppet, when in fact I didn't pay any attention to what he might have wanted or the ways I might have dismissed his feelings."

That's why I think it's harder in the short run to choose celebration over blame -- you have to take responsibility for more of your own bad outcomes. "He's a great guy" becomes, when it doesn't work out: "He really is a great guy, he just doesn't love me," or "I took him for granted, and didn't treat him the way he deserved."…

In the long run, though, those little easy choices make life so much harder. When you're cumulatively pessimistic and/or fundamentally negative, you're actively choosing to accept a lower allotment of joy…

There’s more. But we’ll just stop there. While this discussion may seemingly be based off one woman who wrote a book and needs publicity, and a filmed roundtable of Black women casually chatting about their relationship woes thinly veiled as a PR vehicle for Mr. Steve Harvey’s, thing that holds up the wobbly coffee table book, the reality is that there are a lot of Black women walking around who are triumphantly unhappy. Walking round thinking that the world owes them something cause they’re here. Who got sold a pipe dream. Who feel they’ve been dealt a raw deal. Who would rather mope around lamenting about what they should have, instead of finding the beauty in what they've got. And I'm not talking about that fabulous wardrobe. Please note that my high school graduate hairdresser has just as much Gucci and Louis in her closet - so I'm not sure what's up with all this, 'but I have fabulous Manolos, why don't I have man' mess. But as usual I digress.

Now I know what you’re thinking, is this the same Rum Punch who wrote this and this and this?!? Why yes, I am. And trust and believe that my ovaries do hurt when I help out in the church nursery and the cutest three year old boy comes over and tells me he misses his mommy Or when I see the Obamas my own parents slow dancing together. But that is not my right now. That is not my joy. And on the flip side, that was not my struggle - so that I could experience said joy. I didn’t carry no baby for 9 months, and now gotta feed it, raise it and love it. I don’t know about wanting to smack the ish outta your husband or the art of compromise that has to occur for people to be married for 35+ years.

And if there’s one thing the twists and turns of 2009, and 2008, and 2007 - lol- reinforced for me is that it’s hard to create a life that works for you. And only you. That doesn’t fit into society’s rules and expectations. That makes you proud. And yes it gets harder when mama starts asking for grandbabies. And old people start looking at your left finger, then give you that sad, puppy dog face look, then pat you on your arm and say, "don't worry baby. Your time is coming." And other people between the ages of 21-35, follow convention, or fall in love or need a tax write off, and start pairing off - and you wonder when is it my turn Lord, Jesus? When?!? Living a life focused on the 'when wills.' The 'I don't haves.' The 'this is great, but what I really want is...'

And while you're standing at your fence with 'their married grass is greener' syndrome, the bitterness is settling in. Getting nice and comfy. You got that promotion. But Keisha got that ring. Bitter. You got that house. But Sonya had her baby. Twins! BItter. You take that great vacation, only to get Melanie's wedding invitation in the pile of mail when you return. BITTER. And here you go, clinging to this bitterness, this triumphant unhappiness, making it clear to all in your path that if this is the boat you're gonna be in then you're going down with the ship and not accepting a life preserever, like it's going to kill you to be nice. Kill you to smile. To speak to strangers, or ummm at least your co-workers?

Not realizing that this thing, you been doing, working 8+ hours of, drinking through, complaining about, banishing a potential lifelong friend to the guest role of winter boo, this thing that you hate so much, that is oh so miserable, that you're spending waiting for something else to happen, for it to really start, ummm is actually your life boo. Like for real. Not for play, play. And you walking around mean mugging it like it talked bout your mama. Giving it and everyone else the stink eye. The other day on facebook, one of my friends' favorite quotes, said to her by a random dude on the subway was, "Smile, it won't mess your hair up." And I died. So, can we Black women, try to let some bitterness go, stop channeling Tupac 'Me Against the World', sweep out the darkness and make room for sunshine and rainbows? Try to smile? Laugh? Be *truly* happy with what we got? It won't mess our hair up. Or our lives.

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

Thursday, January 7, 2010

ok ma, and? or why single successful black women might need to get over themselves

*author's note: this post is long as hell shawty but i had a lot to say about the topic. enjoy!*

we all know her. we might be her.

self-proclaimed "professional"
dresses well
hair did
wants to be married with kids
but SINGLE, and secretly (or unashamedly) despising every minute of her singlehood.

i understand it's hard out here for a black woman. we gotta deal with a lot of shit. historically we've had to deal with a lot of shit. but just like jewish folks weren't the only group of folks that were ever enslaved tortured and massacred, we aren't the only demographic that has to make a way outta no way. it's hard out here for pimps. hoes. asian men. nigerian terrorists. baby right whales. walmart cashiers. you follow me?

but somewhere along the way, little black girls who grew up into accomplished black women picked up this attitude. this air about them. a couple of traits, frames of mind, or points of reference that have screwed up (some of) our heads and quite possibly hindered our own progress, fed our own relationship failures: a sense of ENTITLEMENT & an INABILITY TO CHANGE.

the common thread between the widely discussed washington post article on helena andrews and the abcnews piece (via blacksnob.com) on black women unmarried was the idea that because "successful" black women ("SBW") have worked so hard to get the degree(s), have toiled to buy homes, fancy cars, nice clothes, and the hottest shoes, spent hours at the gym getting their bodies tight, shelled out beaucoup cash getting their hair and nails done, and faithfully attended and tought sunday school at the neighborhood church they ought to have a "successful" black man.

they deserve him. he is their due. not to mention that they are more deserving of a man, and more particularly what they consider to be a quality man, than women who don't have degrees, don't have "they shit together."

first and foremost, i think, feel, and know that love is hard! true love is a privilege. to find the right person at the right time is a challenge. every person on the planet doesn't get the opportunity to have it. there is no formula for it.

and so to imagine yourself entitled to love, marriage and a baby carriage just because you have achieved those things that make you successful (on paper) or in the eyes of your mamanem doesn't necessarily mean you'll be successful in marriage. the skills and know-how you learned and used to get the degree, the job, the promotion are not AT ALL the same ones needed to find, attract, and keep a man who wants to be married.

the sense of entitlement really becomes apparent when you look at the SBW's reaction to married/engaged/boo'ed up women who they think are "less than." especially if these women are with men who the SBWs think ought to be with them.   prime example: the backlash against reggie bush on the cover of essence this month (check the comments). black women go HOARD when they think someone less than is getting what's theirs. let a man with a law degree wife a woman without a comparable level of status. how dare he!

sadly ladies, he can and he will. cause what you as a SBW bring to the table might not be what your targeted pool of men is looking for. and an entitled attitude won't change that. love doesn't work the way that grad school admissions do. you might could be mad that homegirl from state university got in over you, harvard graduate. but in love, you ass out. he gotta want you too and maybe what you present isn't what he wants. what do you do then?

which brings me to the second problem SBWs have: a hard time changing.

now helena andrews and her friends presented themselves as accomplished, successful, having standards but carrying an edginess, a bitch side if you will. ms. andrews might be a self-described “mean girl.” that's cool. you can be alladat. but SBWs who take on that mantle must also realize what comes with that in terms of finding a husband.

if your m.o. is to be tough/bitchy/attitudy/overly sassy/a mean girl then you have to understand what that means for your dating prospects. you have to be cognizant of how men perceive you.

let me give an example ya'll can identify with.: a friend of a friend is in her mid-30's and wants to be married. she's fly, attractive and doing it real big in her field. she's won lots of awards for her work. but she's also very brisk, curses a whole lot, and generally abrasive. and she don't want to change. she say she is who she is and that men oughta take her as she is.

i can get wit that on some levels. you are who you are. people can take it or leave it. don't go changing for the world. the man who can love you for you will come along. right?

WRONG. this is the lie, the falsehood, the myth that SBWs have bought into. you can't have it all. do you wanna be married or do you wanna stay the way you are and do what you wanna do for the rest of your life? either choice is fine but you can't do both. being in a relationship and/or married requires compromise, change over time. being less of yourself at times so your partner can be more. i'm not saying you have to do a 180 change to get a man but you can't continue to be every single fiber of who you are without some reflection on how every single fiber of who you are has (or has not) worked for you in terms of finding a man. and if finding a man is your priority you might have to change a fiber or two.

take michelle obama, the SBWs poster child for seemingly being able to have it all. michelle couldn't be the high powered executive and the FLOTUS. just wasn't gonna happen. she couldn't even be the local politician's wife and the big law firm partner at the same time for that matter. when barack decided he wanted to run she had to decide what she was gon do. the new supporting role she was gonna have to play for the family. she couldn't be running shit her way. she couldn't be resistant to change. right now she's sitting down while he stands up. that's part of the compromise of saying to yourself, i wanna be part of a we instead of just unchanged me.

or take ms. nicole from the video: prosecuting attorney, running for state court judge, atlanta falcons cheerleader, drives a benz, lightskinneded, long hair, unmarried, no boo in sight. she is doing the MOST. when she gonna have time for a man? cause men want to feel wanted and important. to know you have time for them in your life. that you aren't running all over the place (or so i'd imagine). nicole might wanna talk to some of her married friends and change some things. or not.  just keep doing what you been doing.

or other black woman who said she met a white man, they vibed over drinks and conversation. she thought to herself, "oh he's gonna ask for my number." but he didn't. another woman suggested she shoulda asked for his. "no! i don't do that." and you remain alone. why don't you "do that"? has not "doing that" been working for you thus far? you might wanna consider changing things up. if you're not comfortable asking for a number, suggest another outing. slip him your business card with your number. CHANGE what you normally do. or not. and be who you are. but don't expect different results.   you can't do both.

what say ya'll?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

what's the scenario?.?.?

It had been 6 months, and I had yet to meet the famous Dr. Savannah Moore. All I knew of her, was that she was an old-timer, senior executive who was on temporary relocation traveling to Singapore and Thailand, Botswana and South Africa all on the company's dime. And I assumed she and her husband were having a fcuking blast! Kids grown, done with college. Hubby retired, and enjoying the ride. Well, Dr. Moore returned to headquarters after her 6 month sabbatical and I met her. And in a roundabout kind of way, my admiration for this renaissance woman diminished, pretty much flatlined.

Upon participating in an office happy hour, I was informed that Dr. Moore is only married to her work. See Dr. Moore ain't married and never been married. No kids to boot either. Now granted Dr. Moore may have never desired to be married - it's her right after all. But I suspect somewhere along the way she didn't master the art of balance.
on to the next

Ms. Thang never liked me from jumpstreet. Felt another sista would steal her shine ain't their room for everybody? She was used to being the sole sister on top of her shit. She wrongly assumed she was the only sister savvy in international affairs 'til she met Bellini and got her bubble busted. So, that resentment continues to imbue our office dynamics. She's a snake and I know it - so I keep a distance... proof is in the pudding

A few months ago, I had short-deadline on a briefing. So a senior colleague and myself committed 72 hours to completing the project. Now Bellini, is a sucka for fruit. It was like 8 p.m. and I inform colleague - "I have raspberries in the fridge-time to take a break", but since I was relatively new I didn't know the code to the kitchen's suite. And the snake's office is adjacent to the kitchen's suite. Now my colleague and I summoned all bodies to reply yea if present - not a soul replied. So, fast forward a few months and the snake shared, "oh yeah - I was there that night working. I heard you guys. I tend to work late all the time. "But why?" I countered, "any pressing projects?" No not really. a dumb fool

Am I surprised that her former fiancee left her ass hanging and called off the engagement/wedding? Nope - 'cuz her sneaky ass is nasty and she doesn't have a life. What man in his right mind wants to wake up to that? When another colleague informed me that the security guard expressed, "She's fine, but her attitude is fcked up!" Yup, you're a nasty heffa. 'cuz for one, the security guard doesn't know you beyond a hello. So, if your ass can't extend/reciprocate a greeting in the morning... don't be confused if you can't keep a man let alone a nice one!

So during happy hour, the snake was quick to tell me under the guise of office camaderie of course, her man must have a laundry list of qualities. She fired off her list, like she was a drill sargeant. And I'm lookin' at her - like chill ain't we human after all. And of course all qualties evolved around money and stature - none about character. The former are fleeting and the latter has permanence. And she falls into the trap of most women seeking the relative tentative qualities and overlooking the most vital characteristic.

the verdict

Now Bellini, has been away for most of the chatter surrounding black women and their woes. I haven't seen any videos, nor read any transcripts. Chicas, gimme a fucking break! Half of ya in your current state - are not marriage material. You don't know how to compromise and you're not willing to put in work.

When most of ya were broke while accumulating degrees and shit, you should have been humbled by your former self. Humbled enough to realize your current state was a transient one.

Food for thought

One of my brothers is second year law student, made the law review his first year. Never been in debt until law school, and when he graduates next year will eliminate his debt within his first year of post-law school employment. His girlfriend graduates from her graduate school program in May. They've been dating since undergrad. Some may perceive him to be a catch upon sealing his fate as a lawyer. But perception is a bitch. He was a "catch" before he sealed his fate. His girlfriend knew that when he was the bookworm in calculus, had no clue my brother wanted to do law, because upon graduation from college he didn't what the hell he wanted to do with his life. Things that make you go hmmmm....

so, i figured I'd highlight two professional women of my company names changed of course. And although, I don't know them on a personal level - I know enough to know they're married to their work. Ladies, you must have balance. But you must master the art of balance first. Also, men are equal opportunist, plenty have told me so. Don't confuse your affinity and allegiance for brothas - it's not the same thing.



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reality Check!

I didn’t know that black women were facing their own epidemic; but now thanks to the media creating and reporting the news I am now informed! But I feel the media has missed the true story here, the breaking news isn’t that black women aren’t able to find black men, but that they are being plagued by bitterness. Teeth are being sucked, eyes rolled and necks snapped as men with Cornrows and cars without automatic windows dare to speak to educated and travelled women. The bitterness is spreading! Bitterness that once was reserved for disgruntled divorcees (think Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale) who had given their all to a man who kept it moving. Now this black plague has twenty-something professional ladies getting upset that the perfect black man hasn’t yet come to claim them. Especially after we have been building a perfect world for him to complete with his presence. After he finished school, dated Heather, Kim Lee and Maria! We’ve been patiently waiting, but if these men are trying to leave us alone in the worlds we created (think Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale with gasoline and matches). And with perspectives like these I guess Bitch is the New Black; which is a sad sentiment to begin with, but it gets even sadder when a twenty-something in a metropolitan area is saying it! I truly believe a simple reality check could cure this ailment of evil in these single, fabulous black women on the verge of bitter coldness!

Now, Amaretto Jenkins would be remised if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that life hasn’t happened the way most of us imagined it would. Even though I am an 80s baby I feel like dating on the road to marriage should follow something from a 1950s atlas. But 60 years later, most of us aren’t marrying our high school or college sweethearts. And most of us don’t have our grandmothers trying to set up with that fine Johnson boy from down the street. Oh how nice and so much easier that would be. But with integration, education, drugs and a whole host of other issues in the Black community the definition of a family changed and many of us women folk learned to make it, be it by a thread, on our own pr with the support of our Sister girl circles. But like I said I am an 80s baby so I feel like I should have something that looks like the Huxtables in which we are both professionals co laboring in building a household and raising children. And since the Cosby show was a top rated show for years, I know I am not the only black woman walking around with this expectation for herself. But alas, that was a scripted television show. Which means, that just like fairy tales, it came from someone’s creative warehouse...not reality!

But a lot of us took Claire’s example and went running. We got our degrees, homes, cars, fabulous closets full of stuff. We became well rounded women, but at the end of this we expected our Cliff to be there with his degree, home, cars and money to fill our closets with more fabulous stuff. But many of us are finding that there isn’t a Cliff there to meet us. And well many of us are feeling some type of way about that. After all, we have done our part, gone and gotten of these things, prepared a perfect world and yet there is no comparable Yang to balance out our fabulous Yin! And so the panic creeps in. Because the men we do recognize as our Cliff’s don’t want us…for whatever reason.

But the reality is that Cliff brought more to Claire’s table than just his profession or the material things that made up their home. Granted on the show Cliff and Claire were high school sweethearts, but the reality was that they were co labors who established a covetable household. If Cliff had been plumber and she an attorney would it not have worked if all things were still equal? Things like his belief system, how he handle his finances, how he wanted to raise children, how he wanted to contribute to the community, how he communicated and showed he loved her? Not to get all MLK about it, but shouldn’t women folk be judging men on the content of their character and not the contents of their wallets.

This news special made it statistically clear that Black men aren’t walking down the same paths into the adulthood that Black women take. And now that I think about it, I never hear black men alluding to the Cosby show as much as black women folk tend to. In fact black men seem to be ascribing to the Obama approach to relationship and families. I guess because they are real tangible people who have had struggles and probably will continue to struggle to make it work. But with women folks walking around with these ideas of the perfect man being able to match her dollar for dollar can they end up any way other than bitter? The reality is that black men aren’t making those same leaps into the professional world at the same time or with the same frequency that Black women are. Michelle Robinson was further along in her career and making more money when Barack Obama asked her out… if Michelle had allowed bitterness to seep in whilst she got her degrees and started her career... what example would many of the black children have today of male/female relationships-ain’t no more Cosby shows on Thursday nights! Right? Right!

I don’t think successful black women on the verge of bitterness need to settle, you can be with a man who complements you not mirrors you. And the reality today is hooking and marrying professional young black men of equal elk is like winning the lottery, because there are so many more of us than them. So where does that leave us? With the reality that we might have to change some of the expectations that we have in our heads. We all want to end up with Cliffs, but if we are called to marriage we have to trust that the right man for us will meet us where we are-be it our momma's house or on a weekend get away with our Sister circle.

If we flee from bitterness and become to open to accept the reality of today's dating world we can read books about Bitch is the New Black and laugh because it’s funny, not because it’s true!

See You In Seven

Monday, January 4, 2010

Black and Bitter Sweet?

One our readers asked us to comment on the Washington Post article, here is my response in true men-on-film-with-a-hint-of-monique-l-o-v-e.

Hel-lo…I am Courvoisier 2010, also known as Crazy Chic at times and this week I am going to say a lil’ something on the Bitch is the new Black.


(deep sigh)


Baa-by! I could go on and on about the issues that I have with this view of black women but I just can’t do it this morning, Shhhug-ar! I just don’t have the strength.

But I will say this…

1. NO woman has it all together. First assumption out the gate that we need to get rid of! Are there some women who have it a little more together than others… YES Baaaa-by! Yes! I would like to think I am one of them. (chuckle)

Second, does this make us GREAT mates? Not necessarily.

There is something ugly and stank (yes... I said stank) about women who think because they have it together financially, that they are together emotionally. That goes for black, white, green and purple people. Unlike this author and the ladies on the dateline special.... my circle of friends doesn't only consist of lonely, single black ladies looking for a man. Seems like these ladies aren't really living. They dibble dabbling doing all the finer things in life but are they making true human connections? Just curious.

Dating is difficult across the board, this is true. But how about we start with who we are, what we TRULY like and enjoy before venture out into the world of what we want in a mate. Most women don't know that until the late 20s and early (so I have been told). I almost want to say especially for sistas whose first goal and purpose in life is to be financial secure and achieve some sort of success. Note, this only my personal opinion but very few of us go to college to find ourselves. (chuckle)

And before I get heated... I am still waiting for these women to describe themselves without mentioning their 9 to 5 or past accomplishments. (snap, snap!)

Much luv until... next week peace :)

P.S. I will BE checking out the movie though because she does have a point worth hearing.