Diary of a Mad White Black Woman

Diary of a Mad Black White Woman – Hair Quiz

Dear Diary,

I know, I know, you’re already chastising me for ignoring the goals I so painstakingly wrote out in you just a few short weeks ago.

Nothing personal, I just gave it a thought and decided that I should try “loving myself as I am” for a while. And by “loving myself as I am,” I mean “I don’t want to get up an hour earlier every day, so maybe we just let these pants out; and am I really going to open up my Rosetta Stone Finnish every day? Isn’t that what google translate is for?”

raw

But there is one thing that I feel I have no choice but to commit to.

I changed up my hair recently and it has really captured the imagination of my friends. And coworkers. And absolutely and complete strangers. And TSA agents.

And I have heard their cries.

Normally, the hair conversation goes kind of like this:

THEM: Did you…. Change your hair?

ME: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the roar of this kettle. Shall I make you a cuppa, or do you have time for a proper brew?

And then we usually move on.

This time, for some reason, it’s been different:

THEM: You changed your hair!

ME: I’m sorry, I was re-watching my favorite dressage clips and couldn’t hear you over the beautiful tinkling hooves. Which do you prefer, a counter canter or a flying lead change.

THEM: Okay. I have to know…

ME: Well, the difference is simple. A counter canter–

THEM: So, this one… is it real?

ME: It’s pretty unbelievable to watch a steed take to the air like that, but yes, it’s very real.

THEM: I mean your hair. Is it real?

ME: Well, you can see it, so it’s not imaginary.

THEM: But is it like… yours?

ME: Well, as far as I know, no one’s coming to arrest me for theft.

It’s about now that the conversation tends to shift to anything else. Often because this is also when I start setting things on fire as a distraction.

raw

But now, even above the roaring flames, folks just keep going.

THEM: Okay, but like… I’m dying to know. Beyoncé’s hair. Is that real?

ME: I don’t know Beyoncé.

THEM: And like Viola Davis… I know she took off her wig in that one episode, but what about the like the Golden Globes… is that her hair?

ME: I also don’t know Viola Davis.

THEM: Yeah, but like.. .what do you think?

ME: …

THEM: …

ME: I think that I prefer the counter canter. It’s not a rated move per se, but it’s very necessary.

I’m not sure what has increased everyone’s attention to this detail, but I will do my Oreo duty to smile, nod, and do what I can. To that end, I have created the following quiz that I will be handing out to friends next time they ask about the hair of people I know nothing about. Will let you know how everyone scores next week.  xoxoxo

 

 

How Well Do You Know Hair?

It’s vitally important to know if a black lady’s hair is growing out of her head, or if it’s just attached there by magic and white tears. It’s also sometimes hard to tell what’s going on up there. So why not test your follicle strength with this very easy quiz.

Look at each photo, then choose the answer below it that you think is the best way to answer this conundrum. 

 

 

 

A. Real
B. Fake
C. I don’t know
D. I don’t care
E. Wait, what? Why does anyone care?

 

 

 

A. Real
B. Fake
C. I don’t know
D. I don’t care
E. Seriously, I’m not sure how this matters much at all.

 

 

 

 

 

(source)

(source)

 

A. Real
B. Fake
C. I don’t know
D. I don’t care
E. Honestly, this woman works incredibly hard smashing barriers left and right, do we really need to reduce her down to what her hair is forced to look like for the sake of being camera ready.

 

 

 

 

 

A. Real
B. Fake
C. I don’t know
D. I don’t care
E. Are your teeth real? What about your chin and nose bridge?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. Real
B. Fake
C. I don’t know
D. I don’t care
E. What? It’s just a question.

 

 

ANSWERS!

If you answered mostly:

As, Bs, or Cs,  – congratulations, your guess is as good as mine.

If you answered mostly Ds – congratulations, your sentiment is the same as mine!

If you answered mostly Es – you might want to make some time for a proper brew and a think.

 

 

BONUS!

Another fun hair conversation I had this week:

HIM: Look at this picture of David Beckham

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ME: I mean, I’m not complaining about this, but why are we looking at pictures of David Beckham? This is our office. 

HIM: What do you call this hair style?

ME: Cornrows.

HIM: No, that’s not it.

HIM: Yes, it is. Those are cornrows.

HIM: But he’s white.

ME: …

HIM: It’s not cornrows if they’re white, right?

ME: (cheerfully finds match)

 

Also, diary, “test your follicle strength.” I might be more proud of that than of anything I have ever done.

 

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If I met you for the first time at a dinner party, what am I most likely to ask you? Let us know in the comments! 

Still confused about how hair works, check out these handy guides!

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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!

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman – Buyer’s Remorse

Dear Diary,

I finally caught up on this Barney’s kerfluffle. Apparently, the chain has hired a civil rights expert to investigate their policies and determine if they’re in the wrong. This all started a couple of weeks ago when a 19-year-old African-American man, Trayon Christian purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt. Outside the store, undercover police officers detained him because they got a tip that the card he used to by the belt was fraudulent. Christian was held in a cell for a couple of hours before being released sans charges.

Shortly after that, a 21-year-old black woman, Kayla Phillips told the press that she experienced a similar incident when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag. Her temporary debit card didn’t have a name on it; and though the sale went through, police surrounded Phillips after she left the store.

After reading about both of these stories, I was, natch, horrified and embarrassed.

These folks were so close to being model Oreos, then ruined it by making the wrong purchases. I blame myself for not being more vigilant.

Sure, going into a Barney’s with intent to buy is a great first step, but you’ve got to follow it through by picking up the right items.

This is the belt that Christian tried to buy.

And try not to buy something so black. That's just doubling down on a negative.

And try not to buy something so black. That’s just doubling down on a negative.

It’s reversible. Nothing says “not quite up to snuff” like being reversible. He might as well been picking through a bin of hypercolor shirts. Next time, try a Paul Smith contrast-stitch belt and add a pocket square. Trust me, including a $200 16-inch quadrilateral of pashmina to any purchase will throw everyone off the scent.

Second: A handbag? A whole handbag? When you’re black and you’re buying something that big, it looks like you’re just trying to find a place to hide your pressing comb and welfare baby. Instead, get a clutch. An Edie Parker, a Tila March – the smaller the better. If all you can fit inside is one credit card, that’s fine. Just make sure it has your appropriately hyphenated name on it.

We don’t go to Barney’s for function. We go to Barney’s to make a point. I hope that these points are more strongly made in future.

They should take heart though. Sometimes, even the brightest Oreos make the simple mistakes.

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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!

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman: Name Changing

Dear Diary,

I’m sure you’ve read the news (being the sentient bundle of pages that you are) that the rapper formerly known as Snoop Dogg (sic) will now be going by the name Snoop Lion.

Sigh.

I guess it’s neat that he is both a cat and a dogg person.

I understand the temptation to change your name. Not only did I go by “Arden Rochelle,” “Diana,” “Allison” and “Sable” at various points during junior and high school, (Apologies Mrs. Livsey, Mr. Young, Mrs. Koepsel for making you indulge me), but I’ve also done it the legal way and not just the ‘surely-this-will-alleviate-some-of-my-unpopularity-oh-what-it-doesn’t-piss-it” route as well.

But Snoop’s decision reminds me of just one more reason why I can’t get on board with RBP music. Nothing wrong with choosing a nom de plume, just make sure that it makes sense.

Snoops aren’t even the best kind of dog.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are.

Nor are they any kind of lion.

Just for “fun” I decided to enter the dark world of rap for one terrifying moment (Don’t worry, I brought safety equipment: pepper spray, Olympic dressage pass, Quiche) and looked up what my rapper names might be. Suggestions included:

  • A Velvet
  • A Butter Love
  • Serious Mystique
  • Bootie A Cakes
  • A Blunt
  • A Missy A
  • W Tang (which I’m pretty sure is taken)

These names make no sense. And neither do others Flo-Rida is not a name, it’s a state that everyone forgets is Southern. Method Man sounds like the documentary that accompanies the DVD about how Dustin Hoffman gets into character. And Mike Jones is someone I once auditioned against for All-State band.

Oreo me just can’t help it. I like the good, solid names of people who make good, solid music: Wolfgang, Dick Hyman, Dweezil.

Also, thanks to a typo I just made, I realized: you can’t spell rape without “rap.” I’m not saying that correlation equals causation but whatever, words don’t lie. Unless they’re told by a liar.

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What do you think of Snoop’s decision to dive into Reggae?

What other names do you go by? Why are you trying to hide from yourself (not that I oppose, just curious).

Let us know in the comments!

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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!

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman – Doggie Style

Dear Diary,

I know that as an Oreo, I should favor tiny, teacup-sized dogs that fit in Hermes bags, take to wearing tiaras and always look scared to death to be alive.

Everyone in this photo is crying on the inside.

I do love all animals, so those shaky little pets are on the list. But, and I hate to admit this, I have a special place in my heart for Pit Bulls.

On paper, this is a terrible idea! Pit Bulls are often associated with the ghetto, they’re banned from many public places and when people see them coming, they often hold their children close and dash to the other side of the street… so Pit Bulls are basically the black people of the dog world. And since they’re kind of black, as an Oreo, I should avoid them at all cost.

Was either unexpectedly approached by a pittie or an RBP. Hard to tell.

But I can’t help it. I love them!

Sure, they have big giant jaws…but those big giant jaws turn into big giant love!!

My what a big smile you have!

They also have big, giant hearts. Yes, these dogs are strong, but they’re also sweet, loyal, dedicated and often misunderstood…which is…you know, not at all how I see myself, even a little bit…

I didn’t realize how much I loved these puppers until my January video, Geeky Pet Names, where I got to work with Angel City Pit Bulls – a rescue org in Los Angeles that everyone should check out and support.

These dogs are also great metaphors. And as a I writer, I’m always looking for one of those that I haven’t exhausted. The video below is a great example of a how a little love and a little understanding can change a little life. It’s also a great example of something that will totally make me cry my eyeballs out at my desk at work. The meeting I’m about to go is gonna be totes awks now with mascara streaming down my face.

As an Oreo, I also know that I should stick to my WASPy roots and not display so much schmaltz and sincerity like I have over these dogs. So here’s me buttoning up my collar before I head off to the courts (that’s tennis courts, not courts of law, in case my black was still showing). After that I’ll swing by the club (yacht, not night) and see if I can’t get some little guy on a leash (no awkward innuendos in that last bit, right?)

-OreoExperience

 

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Got a pittie? Tell us about ’em!

Got something that makes you cry at your desk? Tell us about that, too!

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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!

Diary of a Mad Whitish Black Woman – Ash Wednesday

Dear Diary,

Definitely some pros and cons to Ash Wednesday as an Oreo. On one hand, few things makes me feel like an accomplished Oreo than sitting in an Anglican church during high mass Ash Wednesday services and staring at the lily (of the valley) white version of Christ showing us what perfection looks like.

On the other hand, ashes don’t show up as well on dark skin—thus everyone is reminded of the fact that you’re black in the first place.

Can we not get these in white or something? Maybe a powder blue?

Ah, well, I suppose the only way to correct this is with the right Lenten sacrifice like I did last year. And why not throw in giving up sugar to boot? (seriously, this is the first day in a year of working at my office that I haven’t had the dessert they have for us every day.)

And in a moment of non-snark, I’m gonna say that I’m glad I was there, even if the dark on dark was bad for my Oreo image.

Head’s up diary, shiz is ‘bout to get real….(that’s how black people say that, right?)

I used to make a bigger deal out of being religious than I do now, and frankly, I used to be better at being religious so that kind of makes sense. Folks who know me know that I like to swear and I like to drink and I like to have sex. So I may not come across as “religious” but I am…kind of. I’m equal parts full of faith and doubt and I look at the world with equal measures of cynicism and wonder.

But I do believe in God. And I like to go to mass. I figure that all the things I love about the world and about life—love, beauty, mystery, magic, emotion, potential, giraffes, meter, balance, fervor, possiblity—I figure that all those things have to come from somewhere and for me that somewhere is God. For others that somewhere is the Universe or Mother Earth or Krishna…I think I’m not really sure how that one works or…nothing. And that’s okay with me.

So there.

Seriously! Best. Animals. Ever!

I was raised superBaptist in an ultra conservative environment that claimed God was all about grace—that we didn’t have to do anything in particular to make God love us. Somehow, though, those same grace-loving congregants still had a lot of things you had to and couldn’t be. (liberal = bad; pledging your virginity to your parents = good — wtf??)

So that was confusing.

I’ve gone to mostly protestant churches since then. Floating into congregations when I was feeling guilty and directionless. And floating out again when the churches got too cliquey or too political—either direction. I love inclusion, I’m liberal as fuck, but I go to church for God stuff. Not politics stuff. If you wanna talk politics, meet me at the bar after mass, but for that hour, I just want to be reminded of the saints and of grace and of forgiveness and love and beauty.

My church growing up mocked High Church tradition. Catholics were basically pagans, they said. I mean, yeah, the superBaptists believe in Mary just like the Catholics do, but we sure as shit don’t pray to her. So it was made clear to me that while I may not always be superBaptist, I definitely was not to be a Catholic.

But…They didn’t say anything about being Episcopalian. You know, Catholic-lite. I’m a huge Anglo-phile, so the Anglican church made sense to me. I like cathedrals. Yes, they were phenomenal wastes of resources for oft-impoverished communities, but my goodness are they wonders of architecture.

And the Vicar of Dibley worked in one. How bad could they be?

And there are rules there. Which not everyone likes, but I relish. I came from a world where there were no rules. Where Mom would say one thing, then punish me for believing it. One day, I was the family’s enemy, the next day, I was a confidant—hear stories about parental sex life that no 12-year-old should hear. I was by turns a terror and a saint, the family treasure and the source of all of its problems. Things I was praised for one day were causes for punishment the next.  And that was unbearably difficult.

 

As such, I have a very hard time with grace. You mean, God just loves me? Without agenda? There’s nothing in particular that I have to… do to make sure I’m doing what He wants??

While many find this wondrous, I find it terrifying. My life is run by rules. I worry over every single thing that I say, wondering if I’ve hurt someone’s feelings irreparably. Am I being funny enough right now? Am I being too funny? Am I being nice enough? Or do I seem fake because I’m being too nice? When I hug a tall person, do I reach up to put both of my arms around their neck or do I hug them around their waist like I’m a child? Did they even want me to hug them in the first place? Does he like me? Does she like me? Do they like me? Should I have laughed more? Cried less? Kept a straighter face? Is it okay to talk about this? Can I ask about that?

And I become paralyzed in my relationships. Unable to move forward because no one gave me the g-d rule book.

And to say that there are no rules in life is false. That is something we say to shy people to hopefully get them to break out of their shells. But we know better. Every game has rules. Most of them very complicated rules. I mean, you You would think that curling was pretty straightforward. But no, I was listening to an NPR story about it and they wouldn’t shut up with the rules!  Even in the grace-loving church I grew up in, there were rules. If you raised your hands at the wrong time or prayed with the wrong version of King James English, you were totes talked about.

There are norms to which we are expected to conform. And to break those rules—to smell funny or to not like Star Wars or to be really into Prairie Home Companion—is to invite concern.

And so I take great comfort in going to mass. Because there are rules. Those rules are written out for you in the order of worship so you know what they. And those rules about about things I can handle. They don’t seem to care too much if you like to swear or like to drink or like to have sex. They just want your attention for this one lovely hour.

In the old, Gothic cathedral where I go to services, the organ music tells you that this is fucking serious. That you are in a special place so shut the fuck up and pay attention.  The crossing and kneeling and standing causes you to get out of your head and do what you’re told. And up there at the front of the church is a big ol’ Jesus pleased that you’re following directions.

Who doesn’t need a thumbs up every now and then.

I get that that’s stifling to some people. But for me, nothing is more comfortable. I do love God. And I want to be better at being…better. But I’m arrogant as fuck and praying is a humbling thing that is hard to do. Exhibiting the love that deities tell us to exhibit is really really challenging. It’s painful to be nice when thinking my former bestie who put the kabash on our friendship because she didn’t like my dating habits and hurt me as badly as any guy ever as. It’s devastating to talk to my ex-husband and not demand from him an explanation as to why he didn’t love me but married me anyway. My heart explodes whenever I get an email from my Mom that begs for support while ignoring the fact that she gave me so little. And it’s way awkward to pass homeless people and wonder if I’m being safe or an asshole for telling them I don’t have money when I totally do. Not a lot, but more than they have, so why be so fucking stingy with it.

It’s damn near impossible to remember to turn to the God who I think gave us stories and dreams and hope when I have a diva manager threatening my contract for only making 3 horribly sexist jokes in my latest spec instead of a few more. It’s hard to stop and pray after another interview that won’t bear any fruit. Hollywood isn’t always a meritocracy.

But for that hour that I’m in mass, I can make it work. For one little hour, I get it right. I say the right things. I move at the right time. I pray the right prayers. For one hour, I’m in a gorgeous building, hearing gorgeous music and smelling gorgeous incense that reminds me that I think that God deserves my best. For one hour, I can commit to being a person who forgives and who gives of herself as much as she truly wants to. For one hour, I’m not bitter and mad at my bestie, or my ex or my Mom. For one hour, I get it right, and I feel good about that.  Because I’m pretty sure I fuck it up every other hour of every other day.

And maybe, maybe, if I can make this one hour work, I can make one more hour work. And then an hour after that. Until eventually, the good hours outnumber the kinda shitty ones.

I look forward to that time.

And until that time, I can at least give goodness this much time. It may be only an hour, but it’s a start.

(And don’t worry. Tomorrow, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled snark.)

Diary of a Mad White Black Woman – What’s Up With All the Black People?!

Dear Diary,

When I choose my weekend events, I do so with a purpose! Whether it’s a dinner party based on Myers-Briggs Personality Typing or a trip to Medieval Times, I expect to be the only person of color in attendance. Maybe one of two or three. But I certainly don’t expect to blend into the crowd due to the fact that the crowd looks like me!!

This is how I normally do it. Can you find me??

 

Imagine my shock and consternation this weekend, then.

It started with my weekly riding lesson. This time I was on a new horse named Calvin–a beautiful red rome who looked like he galloped out of a fairy tale and into my cross-ties. As per usual, I was the only one of me at the barn.

That all changed when I walked across the street to the Equestrian Center. There was a rodeo going on and though I prefer English riding to Western, Western is still pretty impressive, so I sat down and that’s when I saw it.

The stands…the arena…the holding areas…all full of black cowboys!! It wasn’t the shadow cast by the hundreds of Stetson hats over faces that made those faces look dark. It was the pigment! To my left, black riders. To my right, black riders. On the microphone a black announcer announcing more black riders.

The black I usually see at horse events.

Normally when I’m around this many black folks, I’ve gotten lost on the campus of an HBCU, am at Roscoes or have wandered into a check cashing place.

I didn’t know what to do. I knew I should run, but I wanted to see the horses, so I sat and assured myself that the trip to the spa I was taking later that afternoon would right the balance of black in my life.

It didn’t.

A bit flustered from my day at the rodeo and from the fact that the parking structure I had to use looked like something that Theseus would have to solve, I tumbled into the lobby of the spa, expecting to see …well, not so many black people.

The lobby looked like a Southern Baptist convention. Behind the desk, in front of the desk, tons of black people!

Diary, I did not cultivate a love of all things anglo and deny myself listening to Miles Davis as a kid so that I would just end up surrounded by RBP at a moment’s notice!

I was too shocked to sound any of the Oreo distress calls, so I couldn’t even ascertain if these people were friendlies.

Luckily, the lights were dimmed, so it was just as matter of moments before I couldn’t really see anyone else anyway.

Thank goodness the deep tissue massage was extra deep to flush out the additional stress.

You would think this was where my crazy dark day would end. But no! Fate had even more in store!

I made dinner plans with a friend and while I was waiting for him at the bar, a guy began chatting me up. He asked me lots of polite questions about myself and gave me his card…. And he was black

WHAT THE FU–!?! Diary, I spend a lot of money and time straightening my hair and wiping the ethnicity from my voice. Why such a fluke of a day?

I will meditate on this while playing my flute and enjoying some apple, pear and beet salad. And hope that tomorrow goes better.

 

The rodeo did have mutton-busting, which looks like this (only with a tiny black kid instead). So that was...fun.

 

 

-OW

How do you solve a bad day? Let us know in the comments!

What happens when you find yourself surrounded? Read here to find out!

Even when they are friendlies, don’t get too cozy. Read here to find out how to protect yourself!

Why do I not generally accept business cards from black guys. Watch this video to see!

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For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
And subscribe on youtube! (Check the youtube page for the brand new music video “White (on the inside) Christmas!”
Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

Diary of a Mad Black White Woman – Chicken and Waffles and Shame

I wonder if this restauranteur would have understood.

Dear Diary,

I guess I had it coming.

I did break an Oreo rule and consent to having a late night dinner at the RBP hangout Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. But I was in the company of four non-colors, I thought I was safe. I thought for sure that everyone would see me for who and what I really am.

Sam, Chris and Steve parked first and put our names in at the door. At Roscoe’s, you cannot take a table until all members of your party are there. I was still looking for a parking space with Jason, so we were the two lagging behind.

(Ugh! That means I was late–another RBP thing! Man was I off my game)

Jason and I finally got to the door and Sam went up to the host.

“Our party’s all here now.”

The boys stood in a semi-crescent shape and I was standing in the middle of them, feeling safe and secure and protected by my blanchetourage.

The host looked me right in the eye, pointed at me, smiled and motioned for me to come towards him.

“And what party are you with? How many are you?”

I looked back to the boys, dumbfounded…and then I realized.

He didn’t think I was an Oreo hanging out with comedians after a late night show. He thought I was…an RBP, waiting to go inside and meet more of colors for a late night transfat celebration.

Luckily Sam came to the rescue, as I was too shocked to speak, and answered for me.

“She’s with us. Like I said, we’re all here now.”

The gears slowly turned in the host’s head, but he finally got it. Just in case he was still unclear, I did ask him where the “loo” was and if he knew how close we were to the Getty, the Museum of Modern Art and  the Equestrian Center.

Working in restaurants can be really stressful–I’ve seen Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares! So I suppose I can grant him some leniency. What are your best/worst restaurant experiences? Let us know in the comments!

Click here for the time I turned this sitch around to avoid a line. Or to see the time the gmail stepped over the line.

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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!