Happy New Year!!! Hey ya'll. I'm back. I had a glorious holiday break. Hope you did the same. I wrote a million blogs, but I'm posting them in the order I wrote them-- which means you'll get a New Year's rant in about 12-15 days if I keep this up. I probably won't. I'm feeling a little random these days. Been on a 72 hour streak of happy feelings... but there's a blog about that later, so I won't spoil the moment. I wrote 2 or 3 a day some days, so we should be good on blogs every workday through the end of the month and into Feb... I think. I bared a little too much in some of these and there are a whole lot of you reading that I don't know. You'll have to forgive me if there are some things, I'd just like to keep to myself. Okay enough about me. On to the main event.
Many weeks ago, I hopped aboard the party train one Monday night with my boy Cliff. I invited him to my office holiday party I work with some of the most beautiful Black women in the world—inside and out-- and well, Cliff wanted to bask in their glory—even under the agreement that he was not allowed to holla (but could holla back). I behaved well at the company event—drank wine, chatted up some co-workers I wanted to get to know and work on projects with, managed to appear sane and responsible, realized how much I love working with Black people again, then bounced to the next event—a PR party thrown my one of boys’ company.
There—well there I behaved not so well. I’m always a lady, but I was a lady with one (or three) too many glasses of wine. The deejay got the idea to play Baltimore club music and I was taken back to my youth in the DC suburbs. In my tipsy brightness and on a bad knee that had been bothering me all weekend, I got low (“ahhh, pick it up, pick it up!”) and got back up just fine. I didn’t know I still had it in me. Gold star! I took the train home and giggled myself to sleep that I was not only young at heart, but in body too.
The next morning, I realized I wasn’t as young in body as I thought I was. I could barely walk. My right knee was swollen to the size of 2 fists. I wrapped it up to go to work and by the time I got there, my calf, ankle and foot were magnormous!
I’m not 22 anymore.
Over the Christmas holidays, I headed to DC to see the folks. Boredom got the best of me and I headed to the club with some of my NYC friends that are also from the uh-re-ah. Christmas night I made my way to Eyebar for what promised to be a fabulous event. I walked in—skipped the line because my girl went to HU with the promoter—and headed upstairs to the party. On the first floor, the average age was 25. Further upstairs, I was afraid to even brush anyone lest I catch a case. In a room full of 18 year old “men” with angular frames that hadn’t filled out yet and faces that were baby soft from lack of hair, I felt like a cougar. I got a glass of wine (the bar was less packed upstairs) and promptly descended the steps to party with the legals.
As the night wore on, I noticed something. All of the grown folk were in VIP with me, Ace, and Melinda. We were all dressed conservatively. Blazers and sweaters for the men; comfortable tops and shoes and other chill attire for the women. We looked like the grown folks we were. We were mostly chatting and small talking, trying to figure out how we knew each other (there’s only one degree of separation for all black people who went to college anywhere on the East Coast or South). As the Henny and Mo got to us, we began to dance—mostly two-stepping that involved plenty of fancy footwork. It was at that point, I noticed the kids—as I affectionately refer to anyone under 25—watching from outside the rope.
The girls... er, young women, had on sexy clothes—skin tight jeans and half tops in the dead of winter. Way too much make-up and way too done hair and stilettos that looked painful to walk in. When they danced they stood on furniture and wined, backed it up on some boy who hasn’t learned how not to get hard when a girl shakes on him, or they got low, low, low. (I didn’t even attempt it that night. I’ve learned my lesson.) I watched one young girl shaking to the floor to a song that I used to get loose to in my day.
Back when Love was still Dream and I was a tender 22, I would go to the club and Ace and I would challenge the Baltimore folks to dance. I had the technique, but they always won (B-more folks can out dance anyone on sheer stamina alone.) But there was a time when I was the girl in the middle of the circle, when it wasn’t a good night unless I sweated out my hair and my outfit before the walk to the car. Ahhh, youth.
Taking in the scene, it hit me. “It” being that grown is not a fashion sense, it’s a state of mind. No amount of make-up or hair, or heels can make you grown or make you look grown. You just look like a young girl playing dress-up. But you have to be grown to realize that. Two, there is nothing worse than a person of grown age trying to appear that they are less grown they are. Even if I had my 22 year old body, me in near-nothing clothes and/or gyrating around at the club would just look plain foolish. (And by the way, I found pictures of myself from when I was 22 while I was home. I was a size 3 with no boobies, booty or hips, and still starving myself because I thought I was fat.) And finally three, it takes time to get on the other side of the rope. You have to earn it, be around long enough to build your network (or bank account) so you are the person looking out from VIP and not the person looking in.
I smiled at the youth, watched them do what I no longer can and still be able to walk in heels the following day, watched them looking in VIP with overshadowed eyes at the grown folks on the grown side of the rope. I appreciated where I was and how far I’d come. The song changed, my moment of clarity passed and then I danced with a 23 year old in a t-shirt and jeans, who I taught how to two-step and properly twirl a woman.
Each one, teach one.