Month: May 2011

Are We Twins? Dopplegangers? Or Just Two Black Chicks?

The phrase “you remind me of _____” is a tricky one. On one hand, you could be setting someone up for a spectacular compliment. Or you could be about to insult them royally. I think I experienced both this weekend.

I was chatting with someone I had just met and he said “Do you know who you remind me of?”

I crossed my fingers hoping he’d say Julie Andrews (she’s delightfully playful and silly and sing like the Dickens!) or Erica Jong (feisty, smart, feministy–I’ll take that) or Tina Fey ( I think I write like her…just whiter).

But he said none of those people.

Instead he said:  “You know the girl who played Angela on Boy Meets World…?”

I do know the girl who played Angela on Boy Meets World. That was my favorite show as a tween. It was party of ABC’s TGIF lineup and since I wasn’t doing things like going out or having friends over on Friday nights (because I was …um…just soooo popular that it was impossible to pick….um..yeah…) I watched a lot of TV. The actress who played Angela is Trina McGee and I loved her because she was a total Oreo! She was in an interracial relationship with the troubled best friend of the main character and had no friend of color to speak of. She was an inspiration and hero.

What she wasn’t, was someone who looks anything like me.

Here is a picture of me right now and  basically how I looked that night.

Totally candid.

Here are some pictures of Trina McGee.

Let’s see…

I have: a round face, short hair, round nose, hidden cheekbones.

She has: a long face, long hair, slender nose and a relatively defined bone structure.

Hmmm, I wonder what he thought we had in common.

I bet it was our pluck. It’s usually the pluck.

Who do people say you look like? Do you agree with them? And do you like it?

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!
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Win, Lose or Black? – Salon Visit

I was at the salon this weekend for my bi-monthly (….and by “bi-monthly,” I mean once every two months, not twice a month is ‘bi-montly’ correct? Because I hear people

She can't hear you. None of them can. I can, though. So stop yelling right behind my lye-covered head.

use bi-weekly to mean both twice a week and also twice a month. Anyhoo…) reminder of how I fall just short of the beauty standard. The salon is generally peopled with all of-colors, of course, my Oreo hackles are up. This weekend, though, I was pleasantly surprised…mostly.

Yes, to my left was a guy getting his dreads redone and to my right was a woman whose names had one too many apostrophes in it, but on the TV was the Netflix stream of Damages–an anglotastic show if ever there was one! When I saw how much attention everyone was paying to the show, I relaxed a little, secure in the feeling that maybe my Oreoness was rubbing off on folks and doing some good in the world….

…and then they started talking at the TV.

Seriously?! We were so close to Oreo bliss. Why are we shouting at Rose Byrne? She can’t hear you. And we were watching the pilot episode from like two seasons ago. The show is already scripted. If you were really concerned about characters’ welfares, even a letter to the show won’t do you good at this point.

~Sigh~

It’s clear that I totally don’t get most black traditions (seriously, what’s up with the diabetes?) and this one is no exception.

But I must admit, there are also some non-color antics that just don’t get either. (Don’t worry, John Hughes, you’re off the hook for the moment)

Sushi – Yes, sushi hails from overseas where mostly minorities eat it; but most sushi in LA is eaten by hipsters. Definitely appeals to the non-colored palate. I’ve tried sushi five different times in five different ways. My feelings on it ranged from ick to blah. I want to like sushi. It’s trendy, it’s cute, it comes with a whole lingo you can use to separate yourself from those out of the know. But it’s also cold and you have to awkwardly shove the whole thing in your mouth at once. (…deep breath, don’t…go for…easy… dumb jok– aaaugh! That’s what she said. #couldnthelpit). To make up for not liking sushi,  however, I will eat my weight in fennel and beet salad and petite filet.

Camping – To be fair, I’ve never actually been camping. I’m warming to the idea…slowly. I always thought it was the bugs and dirt and pooping on the ground that was objectionable to me. But I do like hiking and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, so I realized my objection to camping comes from a far more paranoid place. 🙂

What freaks me out about camping is the fact that you go into the middle of the woods with a group of people…who you cannot leave for like 3 days. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m an only child, but despite the fact that you’re in the wide open spaces, that feels very claustrophobic. I mean, I suppose you could wander away from your pack, but that’s always the set up for a horror movie, right? Especially if you’re black. I don’t know that killers will take the time to suss out and calculate your Oreo points.

The Bachelor – As mentioned, I’m definitely not above reality shows, but I kind of can’t believe this show is on the air still. Of course, I have zero problem with the fact that

an of color guy (or gal) has never been good enough to be held up as the American ideal–I mean, look at my dating history!

There’s just something unbearably creepy to me about the fact that in like 3 months of shows (which probably translates into about 4 weeks of shooting time), two people are supposed to get engaged! There’s something equally as creepy about the fact that I’m pretty sure that Bachelor just sleeps with everyone! I know that folks will casually date a girl or two at one time and that’s okay with me… as long as I’d never have to share a room or have brunch or go on a group date with whoever’s getting my sloppy seconds.

Seriously, someone must have caught something by now.

What do you think? Any of your group’s traditions you just don’t get?

If I were to try sushi one more time, where would you suggest I go or what should I have? (I did learn to like coffee, wine and peas after all, maybe there’s hope).

Suggestions for a first-time camping trip?

Any insight into The Bachelor?

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For Mor-eo! Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

Africans: The Gray Area of Black V. White

Africa did give us giraffes - my favorite!! So I guess it's not all bad.

As an Oreo, it’s hard to know what to do with Africans. On one hand, they’re black, so spending time with them totally makes you look like an RBP. On the other hand, thanks to massive amounts of colonization, they’re kind of Europeany.

I was having brunch with an African friend (carefully, of course) and came up with this list of tips for hanging out with your friends from The Dark Continent.

1. Use the Proper Greeting. When meeting at the Marina or in Silverlake for brunch, be sure to say hello properly. A handshake may be too formal and a hug suggests a bit too much familiarity. Instead, opt for the double cheek to cheek kiss. This indicates that while you look like two regular black people, you definitely don’t act like them.

2. Sport Boarding School Sweaters. Most of my friends from Africa went to fancy pantsy boarding schools away from their home towns. These institutions fill their students heads with multiple languages and soccer rules of play. Tell your brunch date that it would be fun to swap school stories and sweaters so that both of you arrive in uniform. Normally a school full of of color kids shows up on very special shows like Dateline NBC and in Tyler Perry movies. No one want to go to those schools! But with the two of your preptastic v-necks proudly on display, heads will definitely turn…toward you and not to the exit.

3. If you Must Talk about “Africa,” Do So Like It’s One Big Country. Demonstrating an understanding of the fact that the continent of Africa is bigger than the US, China and Europe combined  and contains extremely distinct ethnic groups as divergent as the Berbers are from the Zulu will make you look really ethno-centric. Awkward! If you must talk about issues related to the origin of the diaspora, don’t make distinctions between Zimbabwe and Zaire, South Africa and Morocco, Congo and Cameroon. Also, don’t use the word “diaspora.”

4. Order Quiche. And maybe a mimosa. And perhaps a tartin of some sort. Definitely no chicken.

5. Refer to the other rules for extra protection:

What do you think? Do Africans count as Oreos? And if there are any Africans in the audience, what are theRBP of Africa like? How do you set yourselves apart?

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For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

What’s up, My Wenches!

Gramercy for stopping by m’lord and m’ladies! It is with great delight and pleasure that I announce my recent arrival at ye olde Renaissance and Pleasure Faire. Huzzah!

This horse wishes he belonged to a better union.

Okay, my spell and grammar check is going crazy, so back to contemporary English.

I was so excited this weekend to have gone to the So Cal Renaissance and Pleasure Faire. Even more excited to have gone with a Ren Fest n00b so I got to see it for the first time all over again.

I remember my first Ren Fest. Mom and Dad took me to the big one in Texas when I was maybe 11. I think I could hear my mom’s heart scream out “Noooo! You were supposed to be an engineer!!” as my eyes got wide with the realization that I had found my people and finally come home. (Cut to years later, when I took this photo. Mom was still crying.)

I also realized that as I was traipsing around with my RF cohort, all the things that I took for granted about ye olde Faires that he was experiencing for the first time. So here’s a little primer for enjoying the faire and getting your wench on (before you get her off!)

1. Just go ahead and look at the boobs. Tight bodices, corsets and low slung chemises, oh my! It is 98% likely that the first thing that you’ll see when you look up from your program are a pair of boobs. Like way more boobs that you’re used to. Don’t be alarmed. Go ahead. Look at ‘em. Chances are that sassy lass has her coin purse, a show schedule, her cell phone or self-esteem stuck in there. So enjoy it. No touching, though!

2. Don’t worry about facts. Yes, the period of history known as The Renaissance technically happened between the 1300s and the 1600s. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t see costumes from The Crusades, The Classical Period, Star Trek or Jack Sparrow. Ren Faires are in part an excuse to just enjoy dressing up. So greet your Bridge Captain with a tip of your feathered cap and make way for The Queen.

Sure, that's close enough.

3. You will get picked and probably kissed. Don’t fight back. Struggling only makes it harder. Apart from the jousts where they use actual horses and swords, the shows at Ren Faires are notoriously interactive. Generally between 1 and 5 “volunteers” will be chosen for any given show. If you’re chosen, this is not the time to be coy. The audiences like to see you be silly and since Ren Faires are a bastion for good natured debauchery, you’ll probably get felt up a little.

If you play your cards right, you'll get picked and kissed by my friends The Magnificent Humble Boys! If you're in So Cal, they're at the Faire. Go see them!

4. Food! Eat the turkey legs, drink the mead, smell the incense! It’s not just sexual gluttony that’s celebrated at these things. There is tons. And tons. Of food. Eat it. Don’t hold back. It’s good. And it’s on a stick!

5. If you’re of color, for the love of God, wear sunscreen! You’ll be outdoors. The sun will be out. Your shoulders will be exposed. You’re doing so well by being at a Ren Fest in the first place, don’t muck it up by getting all dark. Like I’ve said when summer comes, Always Use Protection.

What are your best Ren Fest tips or memories? Let us know and share your pictures in the comments below or at @oreoexperience on Twitter!