Saturday, September 11, 2010

So, Two Feminists Walk into a Bar…


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via The Crunk Feminist Collective by susiemaye on 9/11/10

For some, the title of this piece would indicate that what follows is most certainly a farce, but it's a bit more complicated than that.

Last week, I took a trip to New York to visit my girls and to celebrate finishing up my book manuscript.  I was dead tired but so so glad that I had booked a vacation. Far too often I have fallen into the trap of going, going, going, even when my body and spirit are telling me, "sit the hell down."

So, for once, I listened. I hung out with Eesha P and Crunkista and other folks who are near and dear to me. I ate, drank, and was very merry. (There was even karaoke involved. Where's our record contracts?). And this is when feminist bar hopping come into place. Last Friday, E and I decide to head to one of her neighborhood haunts, a sweet bar with mahogany and marble throughout, killer nachos, and delicious lemondrops. As the night progressed (and we got delightfully hammered), there was much laughter and fun, including pulling bar patrons into an impromptu dance to the tune of "The Way You Make Me Feel." It was at this point that a couple of brothers sidled up to the two of us. (I mean, with dance moves like ours, it was only a matter of time). And hey, I'm cool with an attractive fella kicking game and being flirtatious, even if he is dressed like Diddy in the Hamptons. So while CJ* (a Wall Street "financier"–I'm just repeating what he told me) was doing his best James Brown/MJ footwork, and I was doing the classic SusieMaye shimmy and shake (watch out now!), I was indeed having lots of fun. I spied E from the corner of my eye and saw that she was engaged in earnest, and probably philosophical, flirty conversation with CJ's boy, Duke* (a brain surgeon–again, verbatim from the surgeon's mouth), who was giving the pensive Afronerd (complete with short Maxwell fro and glasses) in a big way. Extra cute. We end up kicking it with these boys (okay,30-something year old men), talking about race and ethnicity, having some more drinks, doing a little more flirting. CJ and I exchanged info, with him claiming he "wanted to talk about my book."  Side eye. But I get the game, and I appreciate the nominal interest in my intellectual life.

Things were going well, but, as they sometimes do they took a decided turn for the worst. Dr. Duke was all like "it's a disgusting habit that I rarely partake in, but…would y'all like to smoke a couple ciggies with me?" Then he pulls out a pack of Camel lites. (Side note: looks like you smoke all the time with that big old package and that well worn lighter, just saying). I agree it's a disgusting habit, but I don't apologize for my yearly ciggie so we go out there. E and CJ are off using the restroom, settling tabs, dancing the conga, I dunno. I just know I went outside and Dr. Duke and I smoked and chatted. We're talking about how the world is not post-racial and I'm thinking, alright E, he might be cool to kick it with it, when this fool says "And you know my wife….and my kids…." Um, what? (CJ eventually reveals he has a fiance who is pregnant with twins when he returns).

Now, we were far from heartbroken, but with enough drinks in a sister what was a fun night could've turned tragic, real quick. E and I exchanged glances with each other and kept it cool, wrapping up the convo (which included a strange detour into a convo about feminism that was extra ridiculous).  After one last round of lemondrops (hey, they had to pay for their foolishness), we settled our tabs and headed out into the rising dawn. This is when those fools wanted to know what we had planned for the evening. How about not doing you? Ha! We turned on our heels and sauntered off, giggling perhaps a little too loudly, leaving blue balls in our midst. Deuces, suckas!

So, what does this have to do with feminism? Well, E and I are crunk feminists all day long, so a trip to the grocery store could be a tale of feminist praxis. Still, after this experience I am left with less of a "damn-dudes-are-trife" kind of feeling (although some indeed are), and more of a "thank goddess I got my girls"  kind of feeling (hums theme to Living Single).  I have some amazing women in my life who I am so grateful for. They read book chapters and talk about teaching with me. We debate politics and politricks. We talk about family, biological, chosen, and all kinds in between. We cry, we laugh, and we love. So, I rebuke the notion that women can't get along, or that "chicks are so damn catty." And, let me tell you, it's not that I have some rosy view of interpersonal relationships among. I went to a women's college, taught at another, and have two sisters. I've had a range of experiences. What I will say is that being a feminist has enabled me to have richer experiences with other women (and men for that matter) because it helps me to recognize and honor affinity in expansive ways. Even after several whiskey sours.

*Names changed to protect the foolish


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