Black Girl in a Big Dress is also beginning her festival run next month at The International Black Film Festival in Nashville, and the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta!
Just got some pictures and daguerreotypes back from a week away I spent with the fella’s family.
This is a branch of the family he doesn’t talk to or see all that often, so it was a great chance to reconnect. Even better, unlike visiting the distant arms of my RBP family where we literally had KFC for dinner (don’t worry, eating fried chicken on someone else’s dime is one of the exceptions that makes it okay to consume. Still, I didn’t like it), his extended family are the waspiest. They pronounce their “r” as “ah”s, they went to boarding schools, they start drinking at 4 p.m and don’t stop until after midnight. Hashtag heaven.
Of course, I did learn some things on my visit and will share them here. Feel free to use these tips on your next trip to New England. And please feel free to add any of your own.
Do try to date someone who’s family owns a house from the early 1900s. It will go nicely with your chalet.
Don’t continue to date them unless said house is at a cape or in the St. Lawrence River. Easy, land-locked vacations are for the weak.
Do remember to pack Dramamine. You don’t want to look like you’ve never been in an antique Chris Craft before.
Don’t get into the water! Even if the boat capsizes, do not go in! You’re bright. Figure it out. You may float on it, hydroplane over it, or drink next to it. But one drop of natural river water without a tonne of conditioner at the ready and your freshly pressed hair will kink right up and leave you looking like a q-tip. No one can unsee that. Especially wasps.
Do laugh at their jokes about how you are the only person of non-European descent who has ever visited the house. It is pretty funny when you think about it.
Don’t be surprised when even though your boyfriend has slept in the main, appointed quarters of the house his entire 4-decade life, he suddenly finds himself relegated to the servants quarters because he’s with you. It’s not personal, they’ve just instituted some new rules….this year. House virgins have to sleep in the servants’ quarters with the peeling paint and mold on the walls. That way they “appreciate it more” next time. You’d do the same with your chalet.
Do use the time to catch up on your reading. Proof is still excellent…or maybe it’s Doubt. I get those confused. You know what, bring both. Also, Faust.
Don’t be surprised when the patriarch of the family hands you a book and says he thinks you’ll love it. Spoiler alert, he’s going to give you a spoiler alert and it will sound like this: “It’s really interesting. It’s about sailors who were shipwrecked and became slaves. But here’s the thing. They were white slaves. White. Slaves.”
Do agree that white slavery is definitely the weirder slavery.
Don’t be surprised that two more days pass before the master and mistress of the house talk to you directly and that it only happens after they find out you ride horses.
Do be prepared to show photos of show ribbons or the conversation will be brief.
Don’t take offense to the hundreds of questions everyone has about your hair when you curl it that one time.
Do not let them touch it. No one needs that can of worms.
Don’t forget to drop words like “Main line,” “Colby College,” and “made pony.”
Do go ahead and answer when your boyfriend’s mom continually calls you by the name of his first black girlfriend.
Don’t correct her. Once it happens five times in a row, it’s just going to be awkward to change the pattern.
Do not hug and kiss goodbye at the end of the trip. That kind of showiness is for Southerners.
Don’t forget about to start planning next year’s trip early! And just wait, you might get moved up to the nice rooms.
What was it like the last time you visited your in-law types? Let us know about it in the comments!
For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
One of the most popular questions I get as an Oreo is;
“You’ve never dated a black guy?”
And then when I ask them if they want to see my piccolo or otherwise try to change the conversation, the next question usually is:
“Piccolo? Is that a euphemism for something?”
And when I say no and smile inside because I think I’ve distracted them, they say:
“But wait. Really? Reallllly? You’ve…never…dated a black guy?”
That’s when I usually try to direct their attention to photos of me at a Renaissance Faire and ask them to help me pick out bodice patterns for next year.
“How is that possible…?”
First of all, I haven’t dated tons of guys who share individual traits with me. I’ve never dated someone from my hometown.
I’ve never dated another Journalism Major from The University of Texas at Austin. I’ve never dated a guy who was 5’5” who wore a small in women’s blouses. I’ve never dated someone with a birthmark on his shoulder, a bellybutton ring or a hatred for the Oxford comma that rivals mine. I’ve never dated someone who’s the offspring of an engineer and an accountant and I’ve never been in a relationship with an only child.
Second, it’s not like there are all these hordes of black guys who I’m denying access from the top of my ivory tower.
Though if you know an ivory tower for sale, hook an Oreo up!
Honestly, apart from my own family members, I don’t even know that many black guys. And the ones I do wouldn’t be viable options even if they could sunburn.
If I were to try date a black guy (#spoileralert, never will, it’s against the rules) these are the only options I could choose from:
- That quiet kid at work who sat down the hall from me last year – Much too young. I’m not opposed to dating someone my junior, but there’s maybe a 10-12 year age gap here, which—as you can tell by looking at me today—makes him like 12 years old.
- That one guy at the office I see coming into the same entrance to my building – I think he’s gay.
- That older guy at work who wears the fun t-shirts – Married
- That guy who works one floor down from me – Moving to the northwest in a few months. I’m much too needy for that.
- That guy with the round face and beard – I think he is also gay
- That guy at swing dancing – We don’t even talk. He Balboas, I don’t Balboa. When we tried to dance once, he was so annoyed that I don’t Balboa that we nearly stopped dancing halfway through the song
- My hairdresser’s son – He really is 12
- That priest – He’s already pledged his life to someone else. Way to c-block, JC!
So unless I want to be a homewrecker, a Mrs. Robinson or an RBP, there’s no market for me.
Even when I was dating online, I was never approached by guys of color. All of my friends regularly got pinged by a Jamaal or a Kendrick or a Michael. But not me. It’s like they knew, nay, respected who I was.
…Could have also been the fact that I put that picture of tweenage me on my profile and that I talked a LOT about Renn Fests.
Who are the black guys you know? Do you want to date them? Let us know in the comments!
Remember that time Dr. Drew couldn’t get over my dating habits? Click here to reminisce.
Since Saturday, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the George Zimmerman non-verdict. Just like I tried to figure out what to say when all this started last year. Moments like this are what folks like me are here for. We’re supposed to say something hella pithy and clever and poignant and then drop the mic like BOOM.
The good news is, I have been saying a lot about the ol’ GZ sitch. The less good news is that the conversations have mostly been in my head. And they’ve sounded a little like this:
TheOreoExperience: Holygoodness, I love me a singalong! And on such a lovely Los Angeles summer night! Ha! Summer days, drifting away to ah ah those suummmer niiiiiiights.
Inner Voice: Psst! Pssssst! Psssssssssssssssssssssssssst! Check your phone! Someone just got an AP Mobile update saying that the verdict has come in.
TOE: C’mon. I just got my goodie bag. There are bubbles in here. I guarantee you the verdict is not going to make me want to blow bubbles.
IV: Who’s Bubbles?
TOE: My bubbles, I just– hey! I see what you did there. Stop being a child. We are at a Grease singalong. This is serious business.
IV: Travolta’s tight pants are serious business.
TOE: Yes they are. So stop distracting me. I’ll deal with this tomorrow.
IV: Okay. Sure thing.
IV: He was found not guilty of all charges.
TOE: WHAT?! WHAT THE EFFING HOLY MOTHER EFFING EFF?! HOW IS THAT–
IV: We have to write about this.
TOE: I know, I know. But seriously, tomorrow. It hurts my self to think about this and It’s hard to put coherent satire together when you’re singing Beauty School Dropout.
Every Day Since Saturday
IV: Why aren’t we writing yet?
TOE: Because…I just… I mean, have you…
IV: Oh, come on. You live for this stuff!
TOE: What a horrible thing to say.
IV: But it plays perfectly into your whole narrative.
TOE: It’s just too dark. I mean, as much as I like making jokes about this stuff, I kinda wish i didn’t have to.
IV: Yeah and I wish I had a unicorn right now.
TOE: Okay, fine.
IV: Wish in one hand, poop in the other, see which one fills up first.
TOE: I get it.
IV: When you wish upon a star, you look like a crazy person talking to yourself like that.
TOE: Okay!! You are not nice today.
IV: We’ve got things to do. Let’s hear what you’ve got.
TOE: Okay, well I thought about doing a piece about how a little Oreo fashion instruction could solve a lot of issues. Instead of hoodies, black folks should don turtlenecks and wigs–they keep all the brown from being seen, but aren’t as gangy looking. The right wig can also totally throw someone off the scene. I’m thinking a Whig era wig, you know. Also, I look amazeballs in a turtleneck.
IV: Hmmm, yeah, now all I’m thinking about is that poor boy. Fucking sad.
TOE: That’s the problem!
IV: What else ya got? I think we can still make something work.
TOE: Hmmm, I could make a list of names that were more likely to encourage a guilty verdict. I mean, if George Zimmerman had shot young Albert Van Beveran or little Larson Latimer or if he had murdered Mackenzie Morris, things might have been different. I could talk about how Oreos know this and so we’ll even change our last names if it arranges an anglo-tastic alliteration. Maybe throw in a list of things you can change your name to?
IV: Yeah, it’s still really just bumming me out right now.
TOE: What about–
IV: You know what. Why don’t we just call it a day maybe go out on a cat picture.
TOE: Sounds good! Can we do some kitten mittens?
IV: Wouldn’t have it any other way.
TOE: You’re good to me.
IV: I really am.
TOE: Thanks Craig for the tip on the gif!
IV: Who’s Craig?
TOE: This guy I work with. He’s cool.
IV: Right on.
TOE: Hey, IWS?
TOE: Is this maybe what’s wrong with, oh, everything by the way? The whole let’s just look at a cat gif instead of rising up and taking action as a society?
IV: It’s a really good gif.
TOE: Has everyone in my office seen me talking out loud to myself?
TOE: We have really got to get you a body.
(Click here for How To Write About Current Events Part I)
What are your favorite pieces on the Trayvon Martin case? Give us links in the comments!
Or, if you’re the emotional child that I am, what are your favorite make-yourself-feel-better photos or gifts? Leave those in the comments, too!
For Mor-eo Oreo: Follow The Oreo Experience on Twitter (@oreoexperience)
I apologize. I am abject. I throw myself on the mercy of the court.
I would never have cooked it if a dear friend hadn’t asked. And I would never have eaten it if it wasn’t
so amazeballs delicious… I mean… close to my face… I mean …the only way I could have saved those orphans. Yes! That was it! It was the only way! I swear!
I asked myself after eating if I felt more black. I replied to myself that no, I did not. I only felt ashamed…which is basically the same thing.
There are, however, some times when it’s okay to eat of the chicken… and sometimes I get it right…ish
Part of being a Oreo in working order is perfecting the time-honored tradition of not speaking up when you want to. No need to get confused for RBP who shout in movie theaters and are too loud on buses.
The truth is though,that whether you’re an RBP, trying desperately not to look like an RBP or are just someone who is alive, no one wants to hear what you have to say anyway. Generally, in life, when people say things to you, they are not looking for your thoughts on their quip in return. They merely want to exercise their ego and have their opinion go unchallenged. Most interactions are just there to prevent silence from killing us all.
For example, imagine two people in an elevator, then consider the following three scenarios and their anticipated outcomes:
Person 1: How are you?
Person 2: I’m just okay. Got some troubling news from home and am really unprepared for this meeting–just not sure if this is the right field for me anymore, but don’t know that I can incur the risks of a career change.
Person 1: (set self on fire)
See how awkward it was when person 1 told the truth. Tsk, tsk.
Person 1: (says nothing)
Person 2: (says nothing)
Person 1 and 2: (set selves on fire)
Ugh. Spending a whole minute next to a human being without admitting that you can both see each other even though neither of you really has anything to say and you’re both hoping to just get off this lift and to the meeting that you spent all weekend preparing for…awkward. Painfully awkward.
Person 1: How are you?
Person 2: Fine, you?
Person 1: I’m good, thanks.
Person 2: (waits for Person 1 to leave the elevator, then sets self on fire…because of circumstances related to an unclear conversation that was had with the spouse over the weekend…but definitely not because of a crap elevator ride…aaaaand, Person 1 didn’t have to get involved in any of that sticky personal business)
See how easy it is to avoid having to deal with someone’s issues.
And it was with that spirit that I held my tongue after Zumba class this week when someone thought it apropos to say to me:
“Love this class! You sisters are so lucky, though! I look ridiculous, but you with those hips–you look like you actually know what you’re doing out there!”
What did I say to her? Something along the lines of: “Hahah..yeah….” as I grabbed my towel and water bottle and headed to the bathroom before the tears started to fall.
What didn’t I say to her? While any number of things would have been perfectly reasonable responses, Oreos do not speak up and make a fuss. Here’s a smattering of what the tiny sassy lady inside of me might have said were she not being squished into oblivion:
- “Sisters? I’m an only child.”
- “Yes, we are lucky. We just flip the switch and the machine in our rears does all the work.”
- “You realize that I am at a gym and a typical ‘problem area’ for women is their bottom, so your attempt at a compliment might actually be reinforcing my own body dysmporphia.”
- “I noticed you were terrible. But don’t worry, it’s not because you’re white. You’re just bad. Very very bad at this.”
- “Thank you so much! By reducing my ability to dance to the amount of melanin I have in my skin, you’re completely ignoring the hours and hours I have spent in dance classes, working with teachers, studying movement, practicing in front of the mirror, consulting with professionals, watching footage of myself and others and working on the self confidence necessary to remove the mental blocks to free physical movement….I figured that stuff was a waste of time!!”
- “Ummm… if you’re so bad at this, maybe you should keep your eyes on your own reflection, creeper.”
- (sets self on fire)
Just think what a ruckus would have been made if I blurted out any of the things I was “actually” “thinking” or “feeling.” More than one relationship has been ruined this way and even though you may be choking back words, as an Oreo, you at least get to choke them down with some lovely creme fraiche.
What’s the last dubious compliment you got? What did or didn’t you say? Let us know in the comments!
For more awkward artsy (non)conversations, click here!
For more awkward conversations where people clearly didn’t notice I was…um…black (shudder).. click here!
For the awkward result of a poorly worded engagement party invitation, click here!
There’s an article floating around the Intertubes at moment explaining how being a straight, white male (SWM) is essentially playing a video game on the easiest setting. The only video game I ever play is Katamari, so I’ll let the author of the post explain himself, because I’ll just screw up the lexicon.
He starts the article thusly:
I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon….So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?
First of all…WOAH! Taking on complicated, nuanced societal topics. Ummm, the Internets are for funny cat videos and re-purposed pictures of Keanu Reeves, thank you very much. The ego of some people using a free, worldwide distribution system to be all blahblahmyopinions! Ugh.
Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?
Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.
Second of all…WOAH! This sounds insane. Why are video games so complicated?! That’s why I like my Katamari. You just push a ball around and pick stuff up with it.
Now, once you’ve selected the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, you still have to create a character, and how many points you get to start — and how they are apportioned — will make a difference. Initially the computer will tell you how many points you get and how they are divided up. If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed. If you start with 250 points and your dump stat is charisma, well, then you’re probably fine. Be aware the computer makes it difficult to start with more than 30 points; people on higher difficulty settings generally start with even fewer than that.
As the game progresses, your goal is to gain points, apportion them wisely, and level up. If you start with fewer points and fewer of them in critical stat categories, or choose poorly regarding the skills you decide to level up on, then the game will still be difficult for you.
Third of all…WOAH!! “dump stat”? Haha! That’s a hilarious sounding thing.*
Fourth of all..WOAH!! This is just wrong! Look, I do everything in my power to escape the cruel joke the universe played on my by injecting me with melanin and making me look like an RBP. But being white is totes tough!! I mean, just look at the very well-reasoned comments at the bottom of that article and you’ll see! Not being a minority comes with some serious baggage.
1. Sunscreen. You have to put that shit on like every time you go out in the sun. Every. Time.
I’ve had one sunburn in my life and yes, I was thrilled that I got to stick my toe in the waters of white life, but that thing stung like crazy! And so much aloe! I had to drop like $4 just to feel better.
2. Boring interactions with authorities. Imagine this: You get pulled over by a police officer and s/he just asks for your license and registration. Or this: You walk into a high-end store and NO ONE follows you around making sure you don’t steal things (this happened to me at Ralph’s the other week..No offense Ralph’s, but if my RBP takes over and I decide to rip off a store, it’s not gonna be for some fennel and sourdough).
Or this: You’re a kid in school and when you act up, the teacher wonders if you have ADD, talks to your parents and comes up with an action plan and DOESN’T call you a thug.
Where’s the excitement in any of that? While yes, profiling is insulting, annoying and inaccurate, it does make your average minority’s life a touch more exciting. People do expensive things to chase adrenaline rushes all the time. Who needs skydiving when you can get a random gun in your face?
3. Dull, predictable hair care and beauty products. Sure, some white people have difficult hair, but you can generally go into any place that sells hair stuff and just buy it. You don’t get the action adventure of traveling to three separate places to find the right combination of products that allows you to actually reposition the hair on your head. And that sucks! We evolved from hunters and gatherers, we crave adventure and scarcity, we want to fight for what’s ours. And being brown forces you into hours-long pursuits to find stuff that works on your scalp and makeup that actually matches your skin.
4. Not being able to get into college. One of the big comment trends in the above article is about how it’s harder to be white because thanks to Affirmative Action, poor, dumb brown kids are taking the place of deserving white kids at schools.
And that’s totally true. Because when I think of a college campus, I basically picture South Central. Nothing describes the look of a college campus more than “basically a still from The Wire” or “kind of like the set of a Spike Lee joint” or “wait, this is Harvard, I thought it was Madea goes to Cambridge.”
I mean, goodness, look what Affirmative Action did to the White House.
5. The boring ol’ benefit of the doubt. When life is too predictable, with no bizarre threats to keep you on your toes, complacency follows. Then depression and soon you’re writing passive aggressive blog posts and not living up to your potential. Just think how much more exciting it would be if you had odd systemic threats lurking around corners.
Like, you could be Florida’s George Zimmerman who tracked and killed an unarmed kid who was leaving you alone and then ONLY get arrested after everyone in the nation threatened to disappear your state. ORRRR you could be Florida’s Marissa Alexander who DIDN’T kill her terribly abusive ex-husband after he ran after her threatening her life and you could get 20 years in prison!!
C’mon!! Which makes a better facebook update: “still livin’ life, yo” or “holyfuckingfuck!! i’m going to be removed from my children’s life because I tried to protect them against a known abuser, thus making it more likely that since they’ll grown up without parents, they’re more likely to continue the cycle of violence that I was hoping to shield them from!!! hashtag HungerGames.”
Even with these burdens, I’m still committed to my Oreo lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy not having to worry about the angry angry sun and getting jobs that I’m not qualified for, but if one more person at Zumba says something to me like “You sisters are so lucky–you can do all those moves ‘cuz you’ve got natural booty,” I might go all Marissa Alexander on them.
And Bonus: Slavery totally had TONS of benes that only a certain segment of the population got to take part in. And to think, RBP have the nerve to white about the peculiar institution like it wasn’t kind of baller.
I’m starting with a quick review of the Oreo basics. Won’t you join me?
Not sure you’re using the term “Oreo” correctly? If you’re still reading, you probably are. But click here to double check.
Why go white? Lots of reasons!
Stuck talking to an RBP or someone who thinks you’re one? Remove yourself in 3 easy steps!
What do you think? Is there an easier gameplay setting? Wanna hang out and play some Katamari together? Let us know in the comments!
*Seriously, though, what’s a dump stat?