Wednesday, June 25, 2008


"Babe, do I look like I can fcuk?"

"YO. You look like eating pu**y is a bullet point on your resume."

And there it is.

Coincidentally, I've been having this conversation a lot lately. Particularly with male friends, and then followed up and confirmed with females. Do you know anyone who isn’t all that attractive, but gets a whole LOT of ass? Or maybe someone who is super sweet and nice and charming, but gets NONE. Or the complete bitch whose phone STAYS lit up. Or asshole Jack who NEVER sleeps alone?

It’s puzzling at first, cuz maybe you ask yourself if you’d do them and the answer is a resounding no. Or perhaps, you just know them really well, seen the havoc they wreak in their lives and just can’t understand how people keep getting caught up in it.

It’s really not as simple as just, ‘Pu**y’s a hellavu drug’ (tho it is), or ‘Dick can blind you’ (tho it the hell can).

I’m pretty sure it’s simply because owner of said genitalia in question just LOOKS like they can dish it.

I had this real whore of a roommate when I first moved to Brooklyn. She’s a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother day, but the point is she used to get it IN! Every few nights chick would have a new dude in the sack. When my peeps came to visit for the first time, I basically pimped her out to one of my boys, who later said, “Damn, Wise. All I had to do was show up!” She didn’t have much in the way of face or personality, though she was a fitness fanatic so she at least kept it together physically.

My friends and I decided she had Pheromones. That was our thing. Anytime someone would pull somebody who was out of their league, or pull someone at ALL despite facial bustation, we’d say, ‘I think so and so got pheromones.’

Pheromones of course are: chemicals that trigger a natural behavioral response in another member of the same species. It’s like an undetectable fragrance that attracts the opposite sex. But even that’s only half the story.

Take a second please, and think about the people you wanna give it to right now. What is it about them? I’m not talking on a spiritual or mental level. I’m talking purely primal. Urgent.

Now think of the perfectly attractive, nice, cool people in your life who want desperately to hit you up. Why won’t you give it up? Why do you keep that person in the friend lane?

Real talk? Because they don’t look like they can fcuk.

It’s what ego-protectors like myself have been neglecting to say for years now, to the perfectly nice young men who try, to no avail, to get wit it. It’s the answer to the debate about why women (allegedly) prefer thugs to nerds. Why nice guys finish last.

Plenty of nice guys get it. It’s the nice ones who don’t look like they can work it that lose out.

Same with women. Bitches? Men love them because they carry their bitch asses like they can suck a mean one. Fast tail Lil.Wayne looking girls? Yessir. Dudes can see right through the Vase.line face and can tell they’ll do whatever. It’s all in the eyes. Meanwhile, there are scores of genuinely good women sitting at home watching Top.Chef instead of um...getting served up.

So fellas, if you’re not getting none, it’s not that light skinned dudes are back in, or that color contact nggas are back. It’s not that you have no game. It’s not even that you’re ugly or corny. It’s that you look like your bed game is limp.

Mamacitas, you go to happy hour every week with your girls, make up flawless, dress and heels tight…but it be the same one of your girls getting the numbers? It’s not that your ass isn’t big enough. Or that you’re not showing enough cleveland. Or that your weave’s crooked (tho I’ma need you to straighten that up, por favor). It’s just that THAT chick looks like Betty Back Shot. I mean, a dead ringer.

I could be wrong…but let’s find out.

What things make you look twice?

How would you describe Look Like You Can Fcuk Lookin Boy/Girl?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


[UPDATED WITH AN ENDING...scroll down...]

Tucked away in my parents’ attic, and in the corners of their garage are boxes full of me. All sorts of foolishness with which I cant bear to part. Things that are essential, but that don’t belong in my every day grown up space.

They’re about all I have left that resemble home.

I don’t even ask my mother about her new house anymore. I’m too preoccupied with the disarray of the old one. The only one I ever lived in until I went away to college. The address that my family has owned for longer than I’ve been alive.

It takes me an hour and a few bucks on Air.tran to get home, yet I hadn’t been home for six months. Cuz it’s not really home anymore…

So you know I got two older brothers. Twins. There’s Boss of Me aka C-Boy. And there’s Anger Management. This kid is insane. And I love him to death. To this day people think he and I are the twins. We share our father’s forehead and our grandfather’s imposing eyes. He’s the one person in my family that I know would never ever judge me. He’s the one I call when I need someone on my side.

One day, a few weeks prior to Miami (bday trip. catch up!), he calls me. Needing someone on his side.

“Yo, I’m getting a divorce,” he says, always with the slightest awkward silent pause before knocking the wind out of me. His approach to bad news is a lot gentler than his twin’s, I notice.

“Oh.” I find that remaining neutral when someone is expecting a reaction is the cleaner, quicker way to uncovering their reaction.

“You took it a lot better than Mommy,” he says. My poor mother. The thought of her awake at night, alone in that big house, finds its way to the forefront of my mind, until I quickly sweep it away. Unequipped.

He goes on to tell me about how he actually left his house and has been staying with my mother. It only took all of a week for him to become indignant at the idea of him not living in the house for which he pays mortgage.

“Does Spider care?” I ask, of my 12-year old niece.

“I call her everyday and she says she wants to come stay with me wherever I go.” She’s a daddy’s girl and all, but what the hell do you expect her to say? She’s caught between two parents she adores and can easily con.

I should be more shocked, but I’m not. His relationship with his wife of almost ten years has always been complex. Not unlike our parents’ union. Our parents, who were married for 30+ years. I took for granted that there may not be a trickle down effect. I thought staying together forever even if you’re miserable was a part of the deal, part of our DNA. They say parents don’t have favorites, but in our fam we all know Anger Management gets top billing. So if anyone, I expected him to stick it out.

“It’s really bad, Gum. That’s why I can’t wait til Miami. I need to get the fuck away.”

“I feel you.” There’s a sadness and the hint of desperation in his voice. He could care less about being judged, but I’m the one he calls when he needs someone on his side. He’s my “twin.” No matter what, my home is his home.

“Well if you ever need to get away you know you can come hide out down here,” I say. “I keep a six-pack on deck.” This time there’s no signature pause. In fact, he barely skips a beat.

“Can I bring a friend?”


“This is the last time we’re going to discuss this,” I answered, and with it I expunged the image of my brother and some loose jump off bitch bunned up in my crib.

“I can’t bring a friend?” he asks again, this time a bit incredulous, but mostly full of mischievous. This annoys me to no end. First of all, he has never known me to indulge in mess. I don’t do it. And particularly not a family member’s mess. Anytime something goes down I revert to being the youngest child, banishing myself from the scene of grown folks’ talk. I am the family “Bennett.”

But it also pisses me off because he’s asking me to be ok with being uncomfortable, and that type of selfishness is only underneath the surface of his personality. He’s generally genuinely thoughtful and unintrusive.

“I’m out. I’ll talk to you in Miami,” I say, and hang up. Miami, though the scene of celebration for MY birthday, will be a respite of sorts for everyone but me.

“Gum, I want you to meet my friend.”

“No thank you.”

“Why not?”

“Because her being here is inappropriate, and I will tell her so.”

“Please don’t.”

“As a grown woman, she knows right from wrong. I expect this from you, but not from another grown woman.”

“I’m asking you to please say hello. That’s it. Her and her homegirl were planning to be here anyway so they decided to meet us.”

We lie to each other. That’s what siblings do. It’s not like friendships where honesty is mandatory. We thrive on being who the other knows us to be, not necessarily who we really are. The irony of course is that we know the absolute best and the painful worst of who we are and where we’ve been. Our essence. And maybe that’s why it’s a pain like no other.

But he could’ve lied better than this shit. At least show me some fucking respect and give me something elaborate, where I can at the very least commend you on the effort if not credibility. But this ngga is treating me like it’s my 13th birthday and not my 31ST.

I look her in the eye and shake her hand politely, then turn back to my drink and my friends. My friends, to whom I confided about the situation just minutes prior as I saw my brothers walking into the spot.

I won’t go into details about how within minutes of meeting me Jump Off Bitch was in my face about what time we were leaving for the Jay/Mary concert. About how little effort it took to I give her the most vacant blank stare I could muster in response. About how she sat in the row in front of me at the show, next to my brother, who seemed more calm and at peace than I’ve ever seen him. How she rode on the back of the motor bike with him. How there was no other homegirl. How we ended up in a cab together when I wasn’t nearly drunk enough. How I took covert pics of her to send to my sister.

“Are you serious? Wow,” she says. Technically she’s my sister in law – Boss of Me’s wife – but she and I are family. I called her the next day to vent, and she was blown away by the entire scenario. “I know they having problems but he aint outta the house yet, and they’re still married. I’m sorry you gotta deal with that, Wise.”

I sigh. She listens intently as I give her a rundown of the entire weekend. I tell her about how I had the first conversation with her husband, my brother, about his cancer. It was just after the concert and we were waiting on our rides, and he and I held hands and walked down the street alone, huddled together just talking.

“He’s going through something,” she says slightly subdued. “And I can’t reach him.”

“Well, that’s to be expected right?” I answer. “I mean, faced with your own mortality how are you supposed to act? I don’t know how I would.”

“I told him to move out.”

Tucked away in my parents’ attic, and in the corners of their garage are boxes full of me. They’re large and take up lots of space, but no amount of neat folding or concise packing would make room for my memories. Fond and foolish. It is where I grew up. Where I dreamed of leaving. It’s been a constant for me. The place I could always come back to no matter how far away my dreams took me. The place with the walls and voices and laughter and faces that would always feel familiar.

Those memories are about all I have left that resemble home.

Monday, June 02, 2008


So yall already read this, right?

And been read this??

Ok, ok on with it...

Miami. March 2008. Day 1.

We’ve taken this exact photo a thousand times. Me, the shortest, flanked by the Amazons. My best friends are both six-footers, and in about 90% of the photos we’ve ever taken in our 15-year history, I’m making some sort of ridiculous face…compensating for the shenanigans that might be going on above my head.

In this case, we’re collapsing over each other at a South Beach dinner table, the bottle we brought in, underfoot. My eyes are struggling to stay open, though my mouth won’t shut up. I’m laughing hysterically. Gay Bartender’s hands are crossed on my bare shoulder. High as fuck, trying to be cute. Curly’s fingers are deep into my roots, playfully pulling my locs. She’s pointing defiantly at the camera. This is who we are.

DATELINE…Brooklyn, NY. New Years Day 2008.

“We all know I’m the worst. I don’t return calls. I disappear. I shut down when there’s a confrontation. But this is the one time I’ve gone above and beyond to save the friendship and she shit on me.” I sit up on the leather pull-out couch, last night’s clothes draping off of me. The loft apartment is dark, so I consult my phone to see that it’s already afternoon. Gay Bartender hands me a cup of coffee and takes a seat across from me.

GB and I go way back to 4th grade. 1985 or so. She was the black girl with the white best friend. All four of the other black kids in the class couldn’t stand her. Over the years – and we were together through middle, high school and even undergrad – I blackened her up and we were tight. I wouldn’t exactly say we were best friends, though I distinctly remember the first time she introduced me as such. We were close, but competitive. More like siblings than BFFs. In ninth grade we’d meet the girl who would be joined at GB’s hip.

Curly and I played ball together. She was tall and wiry and I loved lobbing the ball to her over her shorter defenders. But she was so skinny, she used to get her ass knocked around on the boards. She had a colorful personality and wardrobe to match. I’ll never forget the first time I met her she had on some red Cross.Colours jeans and matching rubber bands on her braces.

She and I were super cool, but she and GB were the pair. They were Every Day Friends, sleepover girls who spent weekends at the mall, and trying on make up. As we progressed through high school, they branched out with some shady cats, started smoking and fucking, and I wasn’t doing either. (I was however, getting pretty drunk on the other side of town). Nonetheless, we were a trio, but they were mostly inseparable, and I was more of the frequent guest star.

Years later after college, GB and Curly were roommates in Philly, then moved to Brooklyn. Having lived with GB myself throughout college, I knew that deep drama would ensue.

“I was home for four days, one of which was Christmas. And I have to basically spend enough time with my damn-near estranged mother, my grandmother who is slowly losing her mind, and my sister. And I don’t see Curly and the baby ONE DAY and she’s pissed at me.”

Back in like 2002 Curly had reconnected with one of her high school sweethearts. He lived in Florida then, and she in NYC. They had started making plans, were getting closer, and then one night he was gone. Shot in the head in a parking lot. And GB was nowhere to be found. She was bunned up with this chick that all of her friends hated. A chick who had manipulated her and caused a rift between her and Curly. Their friendship was never the same after that.

Curly had a kid 2 years ago despite several serious red flags. She lived in Brooklyn, a block away from GB, who was there with her, but her heart wasn’t in it. GB was the first to meet the loser who’d become her babydaddy, and was not pleased. Made it very public. Called me, the perpetual referee, to update me on the nonsense. He hit her. Was a coke head. Has a bunch of other kids. She’s convinced he’s gay cuz he came to the club wearing “gay ass sneakers.” Sure enough, the ngga was sitting in a jail cell when GB & I flanked either side of Curly's big pregnant self, walking up and down the hospital block, rubbing her back and timing contractions.

DATELINE…Brooklyn, NY. New Years Day 2008.

“We missed you last night.” I reread the text before sending it to Curly.

“You had fun?” I read her terse response and imagined her sitting in her dark living room watching her genius son identify obscure animals in one of his many wildlife books. I knew she was feeling some kinda way.

“You not being here created a glass ceiling on the fun. What’s up?”

“You know before Christmas I didn’t speak to GB for MONTHS? I would see her online sometimes and after a while I would just stop even saying hi. I sent her an email like you suggested and she literally didn’t respond. Not even to acknowledge that she got it. If that’s what best friends do then I guess I only got one left.”

We’re too old for this shit. These spats run deep. I understand and empathize with both. Because that’s what best friends do. I stand in the middle and listen. A part of me knows that this too will pass as it always does. And it will subsequently return, this chasm, this ugly gash in our family portrait. As it always does.

DATELINE…Miami. March 2008. Day 5.

“So Curly,” I say, before handing her a shot. “I was asking them nggas about 3somes.” Our heads cock back in unison. Bitter faces synchronize, too.

“You and two boys???” she asks.

“I didn’t say a TRAIN!” Our convo is lost among the many in the hotel room. “GB couldn’t believe I hadn’t had one since we got to Miami. Whore.”

“Don’t do it,” she says without turning toward me.

I pause. Listen.

“Drama. I didn’t even like the dude, then this bitch starts liking him when he started feeling me. So we did it.”

“When the fuck was this?” I'm incredulous.

“In Philly.”

My mind scrolls back to that period of our photo album. I didn’t expect to open this can of worms, but now that I’m all up in it I can’t help but simultaneously double over laughing and nervously squirm. “Who was this??”

“Remember Justin? That one from Cali?”

“Ngga, the CHICK! Who the hell was the chick?!”

This is a photo we’ve never taken. In our 15-year history we have never had this conversation. Philly was almost 10 years ago. The weight of this secret hovers above my head and I cant help but make a ridiculous face…as the next round of shots go down.


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  • So...Wise??

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    Our Nation's (HIV) way of Harlem, NY and Upsteezy NY
    I'm older than I look, and stupider than you think. But I'm quite proud of my sharp eye for The Ridiculous, and by Ridiculous, of course I mean Me.