While restless last night, but in no mood to do anything one might consider productive, I decided to hop online and get a little AIM chat sesh fired up. Having once been heavy in the game, I now only use it every now and again, on those occasions in which I wish to do something but not something productive. Having reconnected with a few of my dunnigans and gotten their various life updates–marriage, Post-Graduation Psychosis, etcetera–I had occasion to get a nice little dialogue going with Ma Barker–known in some parts of the world wide web as Darth Vader–, one of the handful of ’06ers with whom I shared a redshirt year. In fact, while we knew of each other by virtue of being Black in an un-Black place, we didn’t really become properly acquainted until the summer after we were supposed to have begun our Psychosis. Instead of entering into the rat race, we flung caution to the wind and pursued that elusive white whale known as Spanish, and in that pursuit began the crew thickery.
Our affections for one another stem from not only mutual appreciation for the other’s intelligence, but also the fact that we could trade war stories and revel in our collective griminess. Because like T.D. Jakes says, “Those who grime together, rhyme together.” Or something. I’m Gracchus–For my elder-statesman status among the Elis–and she’s Ma Barker–a lovable, semi-criminal figure who would seem like a made up character in a John Waters movie if she wasn’t entirely real. Trust me, homegirl has a very particular brand of thuggery that just makes me happy that I know her. To further belabor this point, I supposed our interactions are something like when pirates get together and “arrrrrr” and drink pitchers of beer, except with collared shirts and college educations.
Anyway, like most people, Ma’s darthliness has been somewhat stifled by the fact that she has a real job. Much like every single other place in life, the rules of college don’t quite translate (especially if you don’t have money). Rather than roll to class twenty minutes late after being a shitshow at karaoke, she has to roll to work on time (after possibly having been a shitshow at karaoke). Still, her predilection for carousing with strippers has not been stamped out; indeed, it was the reinvigoration of said predilection that gave me cause to spin this yarn. Although, I suppose this isn’t a yarn if yarns are supposed to be fake for, this tale is utterly true.
Ma likes strippers. And I’m not talking about “she likes to see naked women”, I’m talking “she frequents strip clubs, dancers know her by name, and she has had out-of-champagne-room relationships with them.” Now, because she is a friend of mine, I give her lifestyle the latitude to be fascinating and not seem pathetic. This is also helped by the fact that she sees the decided amount of absurdity in it–a fact that we’ll come back to later. Perhaps I find it mostly acceptable because A: It doesn’t matter what I think and B: her tastes seem to be genuine; she likes strippers like women like tall guys. The whole thing is compelling in it’s ability to seem entirely regular.
In the theatre, I’m of the opinion that it’s the artist’s duty to tell the audience something they already know in an interesting way. Last night’s conversation with Ma was certainly that. Though I knew her affinity for women that remove their clothing for money, I knew not its particular nuance. I mean, it’s interesting enough to take Apple home and attempt to sweat her out. It’s even more interesting when you befriend Apple at her place of business–clearly with the intent to pump her out–and end up getting strung along through her life while clothed.
It’s one thing to see the inside of a stripper’s apartment–tough in it’s own right considering how dangerous such a scenario is for the stripper in question–it’s another thing to meet her hare krishna family at a hare krishna festival. No, you didn’t read that incorrectly (Sidebar 1: For the life of me, I didn’t even know there were hare krishnas in Ma’s neck of the woods and didn’t know one of their ilk could be a stripper). It’s something entirely different to discuss her college experience and getting her biology degree, an experience that didn’t include stripping because stripping is her post-bach work. Word.
It’s not totally crazy to sit on a stripper’s non-work couch; however, it is a bit peculiar to get drunk and watch Disney movies with them while not bumping uglies. Such things and others–like the purchase of organic shampoos and the like–might lead you to forget this person’s particular line of work, until you find yourself again in her apartment and said professional offers to dance for you. For a grand (Sidebar 2: Say what you want about stripping, but more than they are women who take their clothes off for money, they are hustlers. And I don’t say that in a disparaging way. Yes; the fact that they are getting naked or close to naked certainly helps their money-making venture, but in order to get people to continue to reach into their wallets, you gotta have a little something extra). It is only then, feeling mildly insulted by the business proposition and fully embarrassed for not seeing it coming from a mile away that you say, “Wait. You’re a stripper.”
Sure, there’s more than the Apples of this world. There are also the Danas; strippers of the middling sort who seem to be more in line with what the masses (who have little idea what they’re talking about) are wont to think: exotic looking and obsessed with astrology. Yet even they have a quirky wrinkle. According to Ma, strippers love Whole Foods. Her explanation was because they are often near the trendy spots in her given metropol. And since the decent to above average stripper, who, at the reputable club, can pull down between 2000 and 5000 a week tax-free, it stands to reason they can afford a close proximity to trendy. Though I also imagine Whole Foods has an appeal in being devoid of cheap cologne and middle-aged hard-ons.
Although we online cackled about this excerpt from her marginally hot mess personal life, Ma did at one point submit soberly that she needed to find some friends. Of all the absurdity that she spoke, this was easily the most profound in our conversation. As I stated way earlier, the reason I don’t worry about or pity Ma is that she’s fully aware of her situation for good or ill. Indeed, her ownadmission was not made with sarcasm or an attempt to troll for pity; it was merely the utterance of someone who is trying to navigate her way through “her quarter-life crisis.”
I’ve recently discussed the slim margin for error when having real life sex, but I think the margin for error for friendship is more slim. In this regard, the necessary critical mass that is found in school is less important than the variety found within said mass. Sure; there’s a friend group for just about everyone and often people don’t leave those groups, but should a person feel the need to change groups–which happens often enough–there’s usually something there for them. It’s not hard to move between the “scenes.” After school ends, as I’ve said previously, the access to multiple scenes is exponentially more difficult. But there’s more than that. Most people are not likely to say, “Oh, I can’t access a scene so I will do absolutely nothing at all.” Most give nothing a try at first–because they don’t know what to do–but eventually, the loneliness overwhelms to the point that they have to do something.
Outside of the easy route–going to a bar–I’d argue that people allow their predilections to more narrowly dictate their free time. Since that free time is much more precious than it used to be, most don’t waste that time trying new things. It happens sometimes–most often with a companion I would think–but people, for the most part, spend their free time doing something they know they like. Eventually the practice becomes a routine in and of itself–kind of like a leisure job–and the routine continually dominates because the only alternative is loneliness. While Ma enjoys the nakedness being shaken in her face, she more enjoys the connection to something familiar, something other than nothing.
Unfortunately, like everything else outside of college, Ma pays through the nose to sniff at companionship. And that’s what strip clubs count on. That’s not an indictment; it’s just more a realization that these clubs don’t sell in sex; they sell in a reprieve from loneliness. The ladies over at the Pink Pony are what your friends used to be. Not in depth, but in availability. Just give them that thumb print so you can get into VIP. Connection is just a credit card away. Ain’t that ’bout a bitch? Peace to Anakin Skywalker.
Penultimate Thought: I’m mesmerized by people who jump rope well.
Final Thought: Peoples’ guilty pleasures are exceedingly fascinating.
So, seeing as I not only work for my parents–who are Black–and live in their place of residence–where they are still Black–a good deal of my social agenda takes place in automobiles. Whenever I get down about this fact, I try to just tell myself that I live in the Iberian peninsula and shouldn’t move out until I get married anyway. This doesn’t actually help, but losery loves company. Anyway, while recently partaking in some vehicular shenanigans, lost in the throws of post-graduate catharsis, I broke one of my cardinal rules: I let out an orgasm noise.
Now I’m no one’s WASP–though my friend thinks I’m something of a prude/not terribly gully because I wouldn’t observe art in the British gallery nude–one of my general no no’s is is the nut noise. I mean, I barely like to make a face in the course of an orgasm. I don’t have anything against it per se–well, that’s kind of a lie, seeing as I have a cardinal rule against it–I just don’t care to express myself in that way. Clearly, I don’t look like a dead body when I fire off, but I try to keep the emoting to a minimum. I prefer to clench in such a way that you might think I’m holding in a sneeze, and then exhale as if I’d done some good reps on the squat machine. If it’s a particularly good session, I will allow myself the “I just dunked on you and got fouled” yell. Stuck pig squeals? Never. ‘Just kicked in the pills’ grunt? Please.
I suppose it stems from self-awareness. For as many times as I’ve been to the rodeo, I find myself wondering how much I’ve fully enjoyed the show. It’s not to say I haven’t had some stellar tussles, I just think there’s some disconnect between me and the moment (Sidebar 1: I know this feeling extends to other arenas that do not involve fornication, such as live concerts. I’ve also found that surprisingly, alcohol is a swell gap-bridging lubricant, but I shy away from its frequent use. I hear it’s known to cause fatness and alcoholism). I am fully a participant, yet fully a spectator. Couple this with the fact that, as my friend quipped, “sex was my business,” and I wonder if I’ve in some way squandered the opportunities I’ve been afforded. I’ve been lucky; I once enjoyed a certain kind of life and that life was generous to me. Of late though, I’ve been wondering more and more about this disconnect and what contributes to it.
On one level, I know it can be contributed to a former lifestyle. I operated under a certain group of assumptions that dictated my actions. Firstly, I devoted myself to the pleasure of the other person. The thinking being, if they’re happy, they’re more likely to be bout it which, in turn, makes me happy. Secondly, I believed–and still believe–that having sex with someone once is not noteworthy; indeed, repeat performances are worth talking about (though that’s counterintuitive seeing as repeats are often predicated on being able to keep your mouth shut, unless of course your dealing with a known floozy who has no respect for herself, which you should generally avoid). Put the above together, and sexual encounters become a semi-nerve wracking experience. It’s akin to high school sports: still very enjoyable, but with a seriousness about it that prevent it from being given the label “fun.” If you get into that routine long enough, sex indeed becomes more business and less pleasure.
A this juncture, a person could certainly make the argument that I cheapened the point of sex. Where I can’t go all the way there–refer back to the various stellar tussles about which I have little to no regret–but I can say the business approach takes the fun out of it.
All that doesn’t really answer the question though. So why don’t I make sex faces or squeal like a stuck pig? I think it comes down to being sensitive but not openhearted. With no hint of sarcasm, I can say I have the sensitivity part down; frankly, I think that’s the reason–and not necessarily my stroke–that I was once a success (Sidebar 2: Don’t get me wrong; my stroke’s OK, I just wouldn’t say, gun to my head, that is key to the magic). Sensitivity works with all people on all levels I believe, and I think it’s particularly important in the bedroom, or car for that matter.
But openheartedness is different. Being openhearted requires something that sensitivity does not: the entirety of your heart. Your heart and all your passions and fears and insecurities and hopes and all other things that make us feeling creatures. Sensitivity doesn’t require us to exist in the uncertainty of a moment; sensitivity, while when sincere is still governed by the heart is still influenced by the mind. To be openhearted, the mind cannot be given the same amount of influence. To be truly openhearted is to be utterly devoid of bullshit, willing to stand in the awesome and terrifying light of truth. If it sounds dramatic, that’s because it is.
And more important than this, the openhearted must possess the courage to ignore fear and step into the void. At its most epic, that is what sex is: a demonstration of one’s open heart. I believe this to be a truth that can’t be dictated by social mores or religious doctrine or any other external influence. Openheartedness is determined by the individual. That is where I am disconnected. That is where I struggle.
So for my many memorable rodeos, those of the openhearted variety are few and far between. This is one of the “it’s not you, it’s me” scenarios that actually exist. I suppose it’s because I’m afraid of being vulnerable, afraid that someone would know something about me. Revealed secrets can’t be gotten back. The great question I’ve been afraid to ask is this: What happens when you put your heart in someone’s hand?
I didn’t write all this to find a clever way of saying I found someone to hold my heart. That I’m still trying to figure out like everybody else. No, I guess I’m just realizing that squealing like a pig might be the first step to open your heart. Peace to American Graffiti.
Penultimate Thought: I’m tired of wearing jeans.
Final Thought: When you hate on other countries, It’s not a great idea to ask them produce more oil so you can lower your gas prices.
I was napping the other day and for some reason I can’t remember now and probably wouldn’t understood fully if I did, my mind drifted to one of the great comedies of all time, ‘Coming To America.’ The stellarness of this movie is beyond reproach; it’s got classic one-liners, Eddie in his prime, Arsenio before he fell off the face of the Earth, Sexual Chocolate…I mean, the list goes on.
And if that weren’t enough, it is, in my less than humble opinion, one of the great date/icebreaking videos ever. Think about it: If you have a honey coming over, it’s a movie with just the right comedy to romance quotient, which is one of the great macking subterfuges.
As you might imagine, I’ve seen this film more than a few times. Frankly, I think you have to have renew your viewings every year just to keep your Black card in working order. Obviously, as I have grown, I’ve seen more flaws in the film, most of those being on the bougie Blackademic level that is useful and compelling in heavily regulated doses. Eddie is won over by the pure and virginal light-skinned girl while her dark-skinned sister comes off as a floozy. When you step back, that’s mildly problematic. It’s not right to demonize dark-skinned sisters, especially when light-skinned girls are stank anyway.
But I digress. After many viewings and cackles of delight, I came out of my slumbering stupor and realized this incontrovertible fact: Lisa McDowell had no reason to be all pissed at Akeem and throw the earrings he gave her at him before getting off the train, obstensibly breaking up with him because Akeem’s dad came into her room and said he was in America merely sowing his wild oats and had no intentions of being serious with her. If you think about it her reaction was borderline absurd for the following reasons:
1. While I can see being hurt by such a revelation, the facts of the matter leading up to that point belie what King Jaffi said. If you recall the movie, there’s nothing that should really lead us to believe Lisa and Akeem do anything other than have long talks, cultural outings and a romantic kiss or two. And also if you consider the device of Lisa’s sister Patrice being cast in the light of a harlot, it stands to reason that her (light-skinned) sister does not spread her legs so easily. Let’s not forget this simple movie fact: Unless the movie shows you or tells you, a hypothetical act DID NOT happen thus, Lisa and Akeem did not go to Pumptown.
2. She’s hurt by being deceived, but let’s consider what the guy lied about. He was a prince with the heart of a romantic who wanted to find true love and felt his power and influence would get in the way of that. He didn’t hide a baby mother or a stint up north; he said he was a goat herder rather than the eventual ruler of a nation. Upon finding this out, can a person really be all ticked off?
3. If Akeem was truly sowing his wild oats why would he: A) Lie about being wealthy and only demonstrate his wealth in a covert manner, which backfired anyway because another person was given the credit for his lavish monetary deeds and gifts and B) Befriend a woman he finds intriguing, endure the insults of her wack boyfriend while never mentioning the fact that dude could never see money like his, and C) Do meaningful relationship-type things–minus sex of course–with said chick after wack boyfriend is out of the picture? That makes no sense. Now, I could possibly see a person posing as a commoner for sport, just to see if he could bag chicks without the money, but this wasn’t the case. And while she didn’t know if he was creepin’ or not, her gut and logic should have told her otherwise. I mean, come on, Lisa. When have you ever known a dude to treat a mere wild oats sowing jump-off like Akeem treated you, in public no less? It does not happen. And if anything that resembles his actions were for the spoils of a jump-off, you would have needed to been spreading your legs.
4. She didn’t have the moral high ground to go throwing the earrings back in his face. She didn’t seem to have a problem wearing them beforehand, even after the note attached said they were from a secret admirer who was not Darryl, her man at the time (Sidebar 2: What if Darryl hadda been like, “Where’d you get those earrings?” What could she say? I thought they were from you? If she said that, she’d hae been a liar because she had good enough reason to believe they were from him, but wore them anyway. She can only stand on the fact that Darryl was douchely). So when the truth finally comes out, she treats dude like she caught him red-handed. Akeem shoulda been like, “Yeah, these were from the same guy who has made no overt attempts to reveal his wealth or extort a sexual compensation to recoup the cost of said earrings, dinners, etc.”
5. Even with all the evidence casting him in a favorable light, the guy STILL renounced his throne. Sure, you could argue that people will do anything when desperate, but to say he had truth and righteousness on his side and did not need to do such things is a gross understatement.
Again, I can understand why she would be taken aback by the truth coming out. That’s pretty heavy stuff, but her reaction does not hold water. He treated right, wasn’t sleeping with her and the only thing that you could classify as a lie was his withholding the fact that he was filthy rich in order to possibly meet a woman who loved him for him, though this lie did not prevent him from being anonymously generous with his wealth to not only her but others.
No; you can’t refute the above and yes; I do need a job. Peace to Frenchie Faison.
Penultimate Thought: Text messaging is the devil.
Final Thought: I think the best Law & Order team was Brisco and Green.
Recently, she added a new colt to the rotation and had yet to decide whether or not she would give him a shot at the title (I mixed so many metaphors right there that I am almost ashamed). While he was a nice guy, she deemed him a bit too paunchy and in need of some paunch loss before slapping stomachs could legitimately be placed on the table. She had a requirement, a requirement he didn’t know about, of fifteen pounds or (no) bust.
The above was of course contingent upon the rest of the rotation fulfilling their dictal obligations. But, as is wont to happen to everyone who has ever engaged in the Life, ole girl hit a drought. Worse, her MVP went on sabbatical and thus she has been deprived of the catnip. Sadly, among singles in the post-modern era–or any era really–such dire straits tests the resolve; some power through the rough patch and emerge with standards in tact; others open the gates to Jerusalem and let the heathens in.
As you may have guessed by now, my friend, in need of some quality time, forwent the fifteen pound double secret ultimatum and let the young colt saddle up. Remember, he was a nice guy, nice enough looking sans paunch, and history has often shown that the its the people who you don’t expect that lay the pipe illest. Here, history was apparently on sabbatical.
His grade: F-.
And here’s the rubric as to why:
1. He had man boobs. “A legit 32B, possibly a C depending on the bra”
2.He was a tongue down the throat kisser. “I literally had to tell him, ‘Whoa buddy, too much tongue.’”
3. He was a hard sucker. “My nipples hurt.”
4.It lasted 5-8 minutes maximum “I wasn’t even that mad because Iwas so bored.”
5. He wasn’t packing “I mean, his dick wasn’t even big.”
When I heard stories like this in school, I’d laugh and heckle. When I heard this the other day, I shook my head with legitimate sad feelings in my heart. See, it’s different in real life. You don’t have that critical mass of people with whom to make up sexual follies with–for free no less. Out in the world, you’re very likely frequenting a limited number of places–work, your home, maybe a social place (assuming of course you have the money to do so); not only don’t you have to time or money for critical mass, you very likely don’t even know where it is.
On the occasions you get to slay, the margin for error is much slimmer. In school, you have bad sex on Tuesday, that situation could be reasonably rectified by Wednesday, if not Tuesday depending on the time of the incident. Bad sex in real life is often only followed up by the realization that good sex is some oasis in the distance.
While my friend, who will usually try to find something redeemable about someone she’s rolled in the hay with, just sort of shrugged off the performance, I sat outraged. I just don’t understand what some guys are doing when they get in the cut. On one hand, I blame the women that allow them to just be bad and never tell them, but I mainly think the onus lies with the guy. I fully believe that every guy can be OK at sex. Not great, but OK; I mean, even “unremarkable” is leagues superior to F-.
Let’s take our friend’s rubric for example and note the little, little things he could have done to better this for himself.
1. Some dudes have tits. While it’s best not to, it is something that happens and shouldn’t preclude them from procreating. HOWEVER, the ratio of your boobs to G has to be proportional. Namely, the bigger your boobs are, the greater your swag must be. Use any fat rapper as an example and it holds Kool-Aid. This guy was “nice” which, doesn’t mean he has no G, but if “nice” isn’t followed up by “charming” or “charismatic”, you needs must have less boob.
2. Just don’t put your tongue down peoples’ throats. In my opinion, when your first kissing a person, less tongue is better. Granted, I also think tongue kissing should be reserved for people you know like that, but if you feel the need to slip some pink, you should not be hitting wisdom teeth. You should be more like a kitten drinking milk, using just the right amount of tongue and savoring the moment.
3. Don’t suck hard. It’s foreplay, not liposuction.
4. I’m not a marathon man, but you need to stretch out that first go-round to a reasonable length of time. This is your audition and in order to get a callback, you’ve got to put up competitive numbers. There’s no getting around this. In the cases where you just can’t hold out, there has to be something that you do very well. In these instances, this is where you can use as much tongue as you like (sort of). Frankly, I think you have a borderline obligation to give her some love below if you can’t break the couple minute mark/ get it up. In my least fine hours, this theory has served me well.
5. Dick size is something you can’t do anything about, and if it’s not something you can hang your hat on, you just have to make sure your game is airtight in other areas.
Before my friend got off the horn, she wryly quipped, “See, this is exactly why you should take the car out for a test drive before you buy it.” Perhaps more importantly, we should be asking ourselves every now and again, “Does my lot sticker say ‘Fully loaded’ or ‘Needs work’?” Peace to the fundamentals.
Penultimate Thought: Supreme Obnoxiousness of the Week: The Michelle met Stephen A. Smith at a bar and, while drunk, continually said “HOWEVA” to him, even after he made it clear it was not funny to him.
Final Thought: The sun is better than lots of things.
Seeing as I’m trying to write a bit before I’m inevitably compelled not to, I went ticking through possible topics and came back to the only thing worth talking about–because it encompasses most things worthy of discussion–sex. And just so you don’t think I didn’t really give it an effort, here’s a bit of how my process went:
- Family? Generally fine, and anything worth talking about is none of your business.
- Politics? The Black guy won. Some of the female folk are salty, saying it’s an example of how sexism supersedes race, but never neglect to mention that a Black guy won. Yes, they even let a nigga try to be president before a white lady. Considering who benefited most from Affirmative Action over the last forty years, I’m willing to make that trade. And frankly, Hillaryites, he won because he didn’t seem like “business as usual.” Your girl did. If it makes you feel better, I think Michelle Obama could’ve given you a run for your money.(See that was only about a paragraph).
- Gas prices? They’re high and I ride the bus.
- Economy? We’re not at the point of using the dollar as wallpaper. Yet.
- The environment? We are fucking up. And going green costs green.
-Religion? They’re might be a God. Or they’re might not.
-R. Kelly? WOW.
See? I’m forced to go with what I know. Now the question is, what am I going to say? After wrestling between two topics–I’m gonna keep the truly juicy one in the hopper for now–I decided to let a summer Saturday morning guide me. At this time of day, I feel relaxed and reflective. And it is with this mood that I type. This is something of an open letter to the women who have made my life interesting.
To Whom It Does Concern:
As I stroll down memory lane, there isn’t a question in my mind that I have some degree of G. Though I am human and am unfortunately subject to bouts of wackness, I tend to think that I am worth a young woman’s time and energy. I blame my dad. Loyal to my mother, a devoted husband and father, never mistake for a second his swag. The guy’s a Scorpio. I blame my mother, a woman of grace and passion who set the bar for thoroughness so high that I could always proceed into situations with the notion, “Girl, you ain’t badder than my mama.”
Shit, I even blame my brother, who stayed leanin’ with that nice guy swag. What can I say? It’s a family affair.
Still, despite my genetic dispositions, I must take the time to say thank you. Without you, Id be just another clown spouting off with sad hypotheticals and far-fetched innuendo. Because of you I never have to lie. Now I could easily spend the time worrying about the pathos and effects of such a life–and I have. But those are night time thoughts. Right now, the sun is out and I can spend a lot of time smirking at the follies of my youth. Did we really try to do it one hundred times in a month?
Let’s set possible beef aside for a second. On days like these, I cackle with delight at the thought of too-small sweatpants, senior film projects, broken futons, extra-long twins, sultan beds, no bed, trundle beds, guest beds–with your cousin in the next room. We even got it done before the cops could catch us.
Some people might think it’s crass that I would spend time to say, “Hey, I appreciate that we did the do,” but when I think about, I think most show a lack of respect because they don’t. The do ain’t no right. And while I appreciate a a go at the rodeo as much as the next man, I’d be lying if I said that any vagina would do. Whether you knew it or not, no matter the level of our seriousness, you very likely had sex with my frontal lobe before you did with my lower one. As Aristotle noted, “A man should steer clear of chickenheads.”
I appreciate that you allowed to learn and improve. If wish I could say you always got more than you expected. But we know that’s not true. Sometimes I wasn’t “ready”–things could happen so fast that my manly parts were on tape-delay–; sometimes I feel asleep and sometimes the fight was over before it started. And while I’m sure you might have cackled with a homegirl or two, you generally kept my name out the streets, as I attempted to keep yours. At times, I wonder why you didn’t let me get chewed up. I’ve come to the conclusion that it came down to respect, and that humbles me still.
Thanks for being there when I got it right.
But mostly I want to say thanks for letting me lay in your hair. Curly, wavy, straight, weaved, relaxed, braided, brushed, teased, tossed and occasionally sweated out. If you do the math, I’d say a staggering majority of our time spent in bed wasn’t spent tussling. It was spent talking, laughing, debating; wasting whole days naked for the sake of the skin. And you would bring me safety as I slept. Warm milk has nothing on you.
It’s always good to see you on the lane. Take care of yourself.
So while sifting through bills I can’t pay and mail I neglected to open because it resembled a bill I couldn’t pay, I couldn’t help but notice how many ways in which my name gets butchered on a daily basis. While I understand it’s a doozy, I don’t get why two middle names and a hyphenation just cause people filling out paperwork to go into anaphylactic shock.
Jonathan T Pittswiley? Jonathan M Wiley? I mean even my own school, a place that’s supposed to be well-brained, doesn’t have the computer capacity to do anything other than spell Jonathan Toussaint M Pitts-Wiley on anything official. Word? Nobody thought, “Hm, that looks kind of stupid. Why don’t we just go two middle initials? Sonsobitches even put that on my diploma after I filled out the paperwork requesting that they do exactly not that. This was especially annoying considering that, given the various internationals and ethnics in the joint, my name probably ranks in the bottom third with regard to degree of difficulty.
The above aggravation of course all assumes that people get the “P” of Pitts-Wiley. Many a time people have heard an “F” and stand somewhat amazed when they see the first blackest Irishman their eyes have e’er before seen. And yet, the whole ball of wax can still be surpassed by the fact that people cannot read and thus have neglected to remember their fundamental. W-I-L-E-Y. There are two definite vowels, one sometimes vowel, and one crucial “L”. It’s a long “I”, people, a long “I”. Somehow, people manage to read “Willy.” Really? Really?
Still, the one that chaps my ass the most–and the one that worked me into a lather enough to sit down and write this–is when people think my name is John. My first name is Jonathan; J-O-N for short. I detest the name John; it’s common and bland. Jon? That has a little mystery. It kinda forces you to say, “There’s gotta be more there.” John? That’s about it. And don’t get me started on those clowns with the Johnathan spelling. That’s wacker than John because it tries to play both sides against the middle and incorporate it all. You’re either Jonathan or John, buddy. Pick one. And while we’re on the topic, I’m not terribly fond of the Jonathan derivative, Jonathon. It lends itself to jon-a-thon, which would only be cool for a 21st birthday party theme, and the rest of the time it’s probably being uttered by that annoying acquaintance that you don’t actually like. That’s just no good.
Obviously, there are instances in which a person could just not know. If I introduce myself as Jon and you never see my name in print, the onus is essentially on me. But if you’ve known me and had occasion to see my name in print, I’m damn near offended by the error. In the digital age, there’s almost no excuse because we very likely communicate in some electronic form that states my proper government (kind of like on this page). So many times, on invitations, place settings, mail, I’ve seen my government just abused. It’s gotten to the point that I approach these scenarios with a touch of apprehension. I’m a guy that’s big on names, you know that, so imagine my disappointment when I see my name spelled wrong by people who are supposed to know better. My name is Jonathan; my peoples call me Jon for short.
Speaking of which, if I introduce myself as Jonathan–which it looks like I’m going to have to go back to–do not automatically shorten it to Jon; one, because you don’t know me like that and it’s rudely assumptive and two, because your dumb ass will probably make the mistake of thinking “John” in your head, then you’ll very likely type “John” into your phone and the next thing you know, you’re on the slippery slope toward pissing me off with a John Pitts-Wiley evite. I can see it in your eyes when you do it.
Now, as I’ve stated in the past, I have about eleven different appellations derived from my government. Eleven. Depending on who you are and where you fall in my life, you’re free to use any number of them–I really stress the who you are and where you fall thing because people who use nicknames out of their jurisdiction get liked less. I wish I could say that wasn’t true, but it is. Still, sometimes it’s good to get refreshed with the basics:
My name is Jonathan Toussaint Miller Pitts-Wiley; my peoples call me Jon.
Peace to the Last Real Niggas Alive.