Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

Ink-Stained Mondays : You Got a Friend March 22, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 8:22 am
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AUTHOR’s NOTE: I totally get that this is a women’s blog.  But I see y’all dudes out here lurking on the periphery.  This is for you.

Ladies? Send it to a man who needs to read it.  You know you know at least ONE.

I am 82 days short of my 40th Birthday.

As I approach said magical day, it is becoming apparent I need to step my mentoring game or something.

I was watching I Love You, Man yesterday, while waiting for history to shake itself out.

I took a pass on it in the theaters partly because I LIVED The movie but mostly because I have kinda grown weary of the whole Apatow/Paul Rudd/New wave White R- rated comedy thing.  Seen one, seen them all.

I am starting to have regrets though.  Not because I feel like I missed out on having Male friends, so much as I feel like men missed out on having a friend like me.

Someone to tell them it’s okay to be themselves and not some cardboard cut out of the man Madison avenue produces for you.

Someone to tell them that Fucking every girl in the world isn’t exactly a life goal to aspire to, even metaphorically.

Someone to tell them that just because you want to fuck every attractive woman you meet doesn’t mean you love women.

Someone to tell them that it is entirely possible to view women outside the context of a potential sex partner.

Someone to tell them that being a man is 360 degrees of existence.  Mind-body-and-soul

Someone to tell them that they would be surprised what they could learn from a woman if they weren’t trying to get under their skirt so hard.

I know I come off kinda know-it-all ish and aloof, but thats mostly because I know how y’all act when dudes don’t fit in your narrow little boxes.

But if you’re willing to Break out of that box.  Im here for you.

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall.

It is a beautiful world when you break out of that narrow confining box and Stretch out to be a whole man, as opposed to that stereotype you’re living.

It isn’t easy, though.  I never really lived it, but I can tell it’s a difficult path to go from Pinocchio to a real boy.

If you want it…I am here for you.

Otherwise….Keep it moving and try not to say anything stupid around me, Because I Will clown you.

 

Ink-Stained Mondays : More than a Pretty Face March 15, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 9:16 am
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As someone who has made a living watching people date (and mate) for the past 20 years, I have had a front row seat for the evolution of dating.  A particularly fascinating turn of events is the this notion that just being fine is enough for men.

*record skip*

Once upon a time, when a man took a woman who was viewed as an Extremely Attractive woman out on a date, there was a chance you would get a statue.  A vision of lovliness who is a joy to behold, but not particularly interested in engaging a date, but loathe to turn down the free food.

But hey, They Fine.  So, Dudes, being the visual creatures we are purported to be, Let that slide. We Endure boredom for the sake of the arm candy of it all.

Is this to say that all Pretty women are boring?  Don’t be SILLY.  But many are.

And the more classically Beautiful they are…the more*shrug* worthy they can be.

And for y’all dudes that love them Hot and Boring, God Bless You. More cool women for me.

But this isn’t what today’s post is about.

TODAY’S Post is about how Women have, in the course of embodying a more male style of dating, seemed to start making the same mistakes men make.

Got these dudes walking around thinking their sole responsibility is to be fine.

And MAYBE pay the bill.

Let me know how that works out for y’all.

Because THAT isn’t even working out for dudes, these days.

 

Ink Stained Mondays – Knowing a Tree By its Roots March 8, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 9:06 am
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While a considerable portion of who I am is directly attributable to my father, I am my mother’s child.

I am the Direct result of my mother and her choices.

She didn’t spit me out, I don’t look a whole lot like her, I don’t even act a whole lot like her.

But my temperament, my way of handling stress, my parenting style, my moral code, all came from her.

And I am pretty cool with that.

I haven’t always Put into practice the life, lessons she has taught me, but She never hesitates to tell me that she is happy with her handywork.

That I didn’t take the path she tried to lay out, but That I am probably the better for it.

The best lesson my mother ever taught me?

That She isn’t the only woman I need to respect off top.

My mother isn’t the card carrying feminist type, but she takes the humanity of women SERIOUSLY.

THAT lesson she passed to my brother and I and it took.

Not a whole lot of Gloria Steinem, Not a whole lot of bell hooks (I got that on my own), Just some Common sense that you should learn from Spending your childhood watching a woman demand equality and respect for her and all the women around her.

Those kinds of lessons are learned best from your mother starting from the crib.

Thanks, Mom, I love you.

 

From Sit-Ins to Put Downs: Know Your Role March 4, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 12:06 am
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Of all the lessons that I have learned as a server for the past 20 years, easily the most poignant has always been the necessity of respecting those whom you serve and understanding the role you are supposed to play in their experience. When you evaluate the relationship between a server and his customer it should be clear where the hierarchy lies.What greatly complicates this relationship is when the individual doing the serving, for reasons of white privilege or reasons of class or reasons of just general snobbishness view themselves as being incapable of subordinating themselves to their guests.

As someone who frequently trains servers for service, I always like to make a point of bringing these kinds of issues up to my trainees in order forthemto  understand the unique challenges they are they are going to face in dealing with an African-American clientele.

When I first started trying to get peace messages across a was met with a lot of pushback.

“People are people”

“I don’t understand what the difference is”

“I don’t see color”

“why are they so sensitive?”

Customarily when I hear responses like this my initial impulse is to just throw up my hands and let them or succeed to a lesser extent than they could on their own, or just fail outright

I wish it wasn’t this way. As much as I’d even love to say that the situation never happened to me, alas I cannot. At the end of the day, there are certain truisms that cannot be escaped.

  1. Some people are bound to be offended
  2. some people have every right to be offended based upon the customer profiling and constant experiences they have
  3. the ability to treat each and every guest as independent people without prejudging is the most valuable skill you can acquire
  4. acquiring skill #3 will serve you in value in every facet of your life

Before you comment on this post I want to go back and think about your service experiences in the past. What exactly happened the last time you received a poor dining experience?

How did you respond?

Did you speak to management if so what was their response?

Do you feel like your issues were properly received?

What I would do in next week’s post, I will take a selection of your comments and address them individually giving insight as to how it is things could have been done differently on the part of both parties.

Thank you for your time. See you in two weeks

 

Ink Stained Mondays 8: Snark Addiction? Yup. February 22, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 10:53 am
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I used to take great pride in my level of connection.  Despite being a full time student, with a Family and a Fulltime Job, not a lot gets past me.

Lately, I have been Wishing I was less connected.

This whole thing where people Indulge their snark and indulge in Criticism of things that people don’t like.  ALL DAY LONG.

It has become a form of entertainment to denigrate.  So much so people watch people they CLAIM they wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire on TV for the express purpose of criticizing their every move.

Now MANY folks employ snark as their stock and trade.  That is how they get down.  Online and Off.  They are acutely aware that EVERYONE loves a dogpile, so long as they are not the ones on the bottom. That is part of the game, and I make a habit of avoiding the knocking of another folk’s hustle. 

The rest of you?  The joiners and those who just kinda see a pile form and decide you might wanna jump on?  You do know what you’re doing, right?

That’s a whole lotta negativity ya got there.  You know that stuff is highly contagious, right? 

The more time you spend clowning and generally being negative, the more your spirit tends to feed off that. 

Think I’m playing? 

Watch your mood when you snark. 

Watch how negativity makes you feel…not so much good, but content. 

Watch how you go LOOKING for stuff to snark on…and how disappointed you get when the snark doesn’t just flow immediately.

If you find yourself passing up on stuff you LIKE to seek things you KNOW you won’t just so you can feed your snark monster?  Then you have some issues with snark. 

Don’t get defensive right away, observe yourself FIRST…well revisit this next Monday. 

You know what they say about hit dogs…

 

From Sit-Ins to Put Downs: Why Dining Matters February 18, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 2:51 am
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Whether you

*swing through the drive-through at McDonald’s for a Royale with Cheese,

*Hit the buffet at Random Quasi-Asian (middle of the strip mall next to the Beauty Supply and the impromptu H&R Block office)Super  Buffet

*Hit down for your fix of random pre-fabricated Applebee/Friday’s/Bennigan’s

*Take a stroll down memory land for what USED to be fine dining for common folk, Red Lobster or Olive Garden

*Or if you, like me, get your anti chain restaurant on with any number of singular dining experiences

*Or if you get your white tablecloth sommelier and chef’s table on

We all like to get our eat on and let someone else cook and clean.

In the 21st century, with more and more two income households, the notion of a traditional family dinner is virtually impossible.

With every advance in technology and alteration in personal priorities, dining out is becoming less and less of a luxury.

Add to that the simply jawdropping number of choices and you have a completely different industry from 20 years ago.

The explosion of the restaurant industry has opened up opportunities and challenges in the Black community.  With each passing year, it becomes apparent that while it is clear that the Black dining market is growing, the level of respect that it commands is not growing at the same pace.

Think for a moment about how much you spend every month on food that you don’t have to prepare and you will rapidly understand how much dining out matters.

When was the last time you got through an ENTIRE day eating food that was prepared by private individuals?

Exactly.

What happens in that business matters to you whether you work in that business or not.  It would help you immensely if you understood it better.

 

Ink Stained Mondays 7: Beware the Ides of February February 15, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 3:36 am
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(although I’ve found out that the Ides of February is actually the 13th, I am going to have to cling to my previous ignorance and press forward)

So…Today is the Fifteenth of February. At some point the vast majority of you will find yourselves pondering.

And you may be asking yourself: Self? Is it worth it?

Was it worth the money?

Worth the time?

Worth the hassle?

Worth the inconvenience?

Did you get what you were looking for?

If you are not able to answer at least one or two of those in the affirmative you need to re-evaluate some stuff.  Take a few Valentine’s Days off maybe.

Check on your Hustle and see if your reaping and your sowing is matching up.

Because honestly?

If you are in a relationship and your Valentine Day isn’t working out like you would like it to, then you are probably making mistakes the OTHER days of the year.

If you aren’t in a relationship and you are out doing the most on VD then you may wanna ponder a new hobby.  Celebrating Valentine’s Day is usually best left to people who are positive they want to spend time together.

Absolutely Positive.

Let’s do better folks.  When you set yourselves up for bad dates on Valentine’s Day, it only magnifies degree of the fail.

Stop doing that to yourselves.

Please and Thank you.

 

Ink Stained Mondays- Love Conquers All February 8, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 11:09 am
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And now…some Poetry.  Sorta.

Part of the nature of being human is that  that attracts those who have been pushed down and had their lunch money taken by love is that you realize how much of a bully love is.

Love knows you need it.

Love knows that despite your superhuman feats in your career, you are predisposed to love another person, whether family or stranger.

At the very moment you believe yourself incapable of taking another step down the road that leads to love, you see something that inspires you.

You hear THAT song

You smell THAT cologne

You see THAT movie

You go to THAT restaurant

The Nostalgia rolls through like the Tide

You want that feeling again…and no memory of the pain you used to feel will overcome those instantaneous moments where it all just clicked.

You say to yourself, no.

I’m tired of losing.

I’m tired of being used and abused

I don’t NEED love to be happy.

Maybe you don’t.

But you want it…you know you do.

Because THAT feeling is singular.

You can’t fake it.

You can’t simulate it in an avalanche of sex and debauchery.

You can’t bury it under your work.

That desire will never go away.

It is what it is.

You are who you are.

Stop fighting it.  It’s as natural as breathing

Just be patient and don’t try to get love to be what it isn’t or do what it can’t.

 

From Sit-ins to Put-downs – Prologue February 4, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 10:21 am
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I am a waiter.

A DAMN good one.

Good enough to go dollar for dollar with the average American and trump them on most days.

About 85% of the time, I am at peace with how I make my money.  For a man with an ample serving of God-given talent, I am often considered by others what is popularly referred to as under-employed.

My Take:  I am a master craftsman in a Skilled service profession who performs at an elite level and is compensated at the 90th percentile of those in my field.

At the end of the day, the Money is pretty good, and I genuinely love what i do.

I am going on 20 years in an apron.  From random spots no one ever heard of, to 4-star spots under award-winning/book-writing/national tv-show appearing/reality show winning culinary geniuses, to well established regional and national chains, to strip joints, to music awards after parties, to national campaign fundraisers, to more lobbyist dinners than you can shake a W-2 at.

I have broken up fights over bills and run down folk trying to skate on bills and got robbed for some of my bills.
waited on such Bills as Duke, Cosby, and Bennett

Waited on John Mayer, Kerry,  and Lewis

Never waited on Denzel or Michael, but I waited on BOTH of their wives.

Waited on Tom Hanks AND the guy he portrayed in Apollo 13

I waited on Bill Gates (mind you this was more than a few Billion Dollars ago…Think right after Windows 95) and slipped food out of the restaurant to hit off the homeless dude who lived down by the parking lot where I parked.

I once walked up to a table of 4 where the shortest person was 6’10”. (Thompson,Mourning,Ewing,Mutombo)

If I never wait tables again in LIFE…I got enough stories, theories, and experiences for 10 full movies.

But what is MOST important to me is the peculiar relationship between Black People and the restaurant industry.

(caution: there will be generalizations….bear in mind this is not ALLLLL Black people, but a significant number…perhaps a majority, perhaps not, but always a significant portion)

I have almost always worked in places that have a significant Black clientele.  Usually that clientele exists because of the cuisine that is served.

Black folk LOVE to eat, but they love to eat what THEY want, the WAY they want, HOW they want.

The Restaurant industry thrives on the APPEARANCE of “the customer is always right” but LIVES AND DIES on getting as much as they can while giving as little as they can.

Restaurants have service and hospitality as their foundation.

Short of having someone wash your ass, or getting hair or nails done there is no more intimate act than the act of serving someone food.

There is an inherent subordination that takes place when your job revolves around putting on an apron and running to and fro for strangers.

Add in the dynamic of race and privilege and you have an intriguing sociological dynamic.

Toss in on top of that a compensation structure that is 95% VOLUNTARY and hinges almost entirely cultural expectations, the whim of the person who receives the service and their perception of said service, and you REALLY have something to talk about.

As someone who loves Black people with the passion of his own Kin, I am very protective and watchful of how it is that Black People are treated and served where I work.  As the senior server on my staff and the head trainer,  I am in the prime position to affect how my coworkers handle themselves when dealing with customers.  For the Next few alternating Thursdays, I will be addressing the challenges that have affected the restaurant industry and the Black Folk who work in and patronize said establishments.

 

Ink-Stained February – MY personal context for Black History Month February 1, 2010

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 8:14 am
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Despite what my knees and back tell me, I am still a young man.  Cursory conversations with Grandmother (may she RIP) always  put to rest any ideas of reaching out to AARP for the privileges that come with membership.

But while I haven’t reached geezer status, I have accumulated a fair bit of tread on the tires and I have been around the block enough times to say I got a pretty good grasp on how the last 40some years have played out in the lives of Black folk.

And to say that it has been a historic period for Black folk is to greatly understate the bittersweet nature of the time.

Black folk have made a major come up in the past forty years.

Black folk have also woke up to find themselves on the Sole end of a foot in the ass from the the very institutions that coalesced to bring about the foundation  of an America that lives up to the true meaning of its creed.

You know, that whole “All men are created equal” stuff.

1968 Marked a watershed moment in my History, and when I say  MY History I mean the history of the American People which I have always considered myself a part of.

People have the whole notion of the Whys and wherefores of Black History all screwed up.

For the cheap nickel tour of Black History month feel free to get your Wiki on, I will deal with my own history with it.

While Black History Month has been in February as long as I have been in School, I have had the unique opportunity of having History be taught to me with ME included in it throughout my life.

No one ever tried to sell me that line about Columbus discovering America.

No one ever told me that Lincoln freed the Slaves.

No one ever told me that Martin had a dream and President Johnson made it  come true.

From the door of Pre-School in the projects of Pittsburgh; from the day I was Old enough to turn the channel and see the news; from the day my mother found out that I was clearly not the average 3 year-old when I took to phonics faster than I took to the potty, I was blessed with the real story.

The Tooth Fairy put a quarter under my pillow, but My mother showed me her invisible wings that protruded out of the back she carried our household on.

I always left cookies by the tree  for Santa Claus, but I knew my mother would be the one wiping the crumbs  from her chin in the middle of the night.

I was a child in the sense that my mother allowed me to maintain my innocence organically, but when real life intruded, she let it, but not without her watchful eye.

When i was 6 my bedtime was about 8:30, but for one week in January, 1977, I stayed up and watched Roots with my mother.

There was no ongoing commentary that I am aware of, just me, a precocious boy who had more brains than sense, and his mother, a woman of intelligence that no test could measure,  in the projects of Pittsburgh, PA, watching history unfold on a screen.

Momma Ink raised me as though God told her that life was going to be like this.  She left me in public schools that white folk would NEVER send their children to and those teachers taught me a history that apparently doesn’t get taught to most children.

She never missed a chance to send me somewhere to add on to the story.

We attended a church where the Pastor had a passion for the Word and a passion for the History of his people.

I emerged into adulthood with the full story.

I may have grown up in the shadows of the last gasp of the industrial revolution, under the cloud of a neighborhood that was strangled and then devoured by the the changing times, but I understood what was happening and why.

Maybe YOUR history was a tale told by the victors, but mine was told by the victims with the sweat of their labor, the blood of their Savior, and the Tears of joy in anticipation of the victory that time and diligence would bring, as surely as  it came in a different incarnation for them years ago.