Joy’s Rant List, Volume 57: My Celebrity Crush is Better than Yours

What’s good people!  I am dedicating this rant to two groups of people: my friends and family who can’t for the life of them understand what fuels my current obsession with Les Twins, and the Les Twins Clique – my Instagram family of fellow Les Twins fans – THEY GET ME AND I GET THEM. What most fans will tell you about the Twins is that they deeply affected their lives at a point in time that really mattered. That is my experience too. Let me explain…

In the last year I have traveled to Iceland, Costa Rica, Belize, and countless other little fun weekend things. Sounds exciting, right? Don’t be fooled.  One of the reasons I traveled so much is that I was becoming depressed.  So I tried to ‘travel it away’ – and I was also low-key looking for an escape plan if the shit hit the fan in the US. I have not felt … at home … in my own country for about a year now.  (Yes, you are assuming the right reasons.)  None of the things I loved were making me happy anymore.  I love video games, but somehow PlayStation became stale. I love to travel, but it was always over too quickly, and I didn’t want to come back. I basically just disconnected from everything.  Nobody knew this, but I was truly struggling with caring about, or being interested in anything…

And then NBC’s World of Dance came on the air.  And Larry and Laurent Nicolas Bourgeois blew my freaking mind.

WOD 1

I’ve always loved dance competitions and yes, I watch them all.  SYTYCD, DWTS, ABDC, random YouTube dance videos, you name it.  But when WOD came out, I heard that Les Twins were competing. My first thought was: “Is that even fair? Aren’t they, like, professionals or something?” They are.  But so were Fikshun, Kinjas, Keone and Mari, and hell, the Jabbawockeez have their own show in Vegas.  At the million-dollar level, everybody’s in! I won’t bore you with the details, just know that Les Twins won the show.  And they deserved to win and if you say something else I will come to your house and fight you in your face!  

Anyway… I fell in love with Les Twins on this show.  I had seen them before, but hadn’t really connected with them until now.  I love good choreography, and I had been expecting them to be good, but not a “HOLY SH…” level of good.  Normally, hip-hop dancers cannot evoke the level of emotion that you can get from ballet or contemporary dance.  Either the music doesn’t lend itself to that, or the dance moves are one-dimensional.  A pop-lock is always going to be a pop-lock. A windmill is always going to be a windmill, I don’t care how much you change up the music.  You can break dance to Celine Dione and it still just won’t convey emotion. (Sidebar: this is why every other hip-hop act got eliminated in WOD this year.) But Les Twins convey emotion VERY well.  The reason that they can do this so well is the same reason that some people don’t “get” them.

They are not ‘dancers’.  Ask them and they will tell you.  They are creators of urban movement. Think of them as “lyrical” hip-hop dancers. The moves they create are their interpretation of the melody and beat in the music. They don’t use many steps that have names, and they are self-taught.  They make up their own moves based on the song. Their ability to move their bodies in ways that nobody else has thought of – that’s what makes them artists. These two guys came on stage and made me FEEL something, using a song I had not heard before, and expressing themselves with original movement.  (Side note – they did put a windmill in their choreography, but I strongly suspect that it was less for the content of the dance and more to just prove they could do it.  LOL)

And then Laurent gives this speech about how his girlfriend left him, and that’s how they came up with the routine… SQUEAL!  I was done! Suddenly, I cared about what these guys were doing.

So, I won’t bore you further with the minutiae of how I became a ‘stan’ for Les Twins. It has everything to do with YouTube. If you want to gain a comprehensive understanding of who they are, just go to YouTube and look for their channel, or YakFilms, or LBF Channel, or LestwinsPlaylists or dozens of others.

Now this is where my friends became annoyed.  I spent 100’s of hours watching the Twins on YouTube after that first performance.  I even tried to make some of my friends watch their performances, hoping they would feel what I felt, but all I got was “Hmmm, that’s cute,” and “I saw them before with Beyoncé.” None of them were into it!  But then again, none of them are into dance the way I am either.  (Shrug)  But when I got on Instagram and started posting Twins-related stuff, I got an earful of “Why are you so obsessed over them?”

If you ask anyone in the LT Clique why we spend so much time obsessing over these guys, it’s simple. Watching them makes us happy.  It makes me smile.  It was watching them bring music to life through interpretive dance that pulled me out of my depressed state. I escaped into Les Twins.  They were my cure to a bad day or a sad day. Trouble at work?  Watch Their 2010 performance.  Sad about something? Watch their Ukraine SYTYCD performance.  Can’t get motivated to get out of bed? Watch their 2014 WOD performance.  hangout

Can’t sleep? Watch one of their ‘Hangouts’, where they just sit and answer questions and are generally just adorable, with their broken English and constant bickering (omg it’s so cute!!!)

 

Many days, I was mad at the world because the president of my country – where I was born and where members of my family serve in the military – thinks all POC are either ‘sons of bitches’, ‘rapists and murderers’, ‘terrorists’, ‘lazy welfare queens’… Sigh… I think that is what broke me down the most.  After Nov 2016, I just felt like my own country told me to go “get my black ass back in the kitchen and serve dinner”.  But watching these two gorgeous kids dance around and give ZERO FUCKS about what anybody had to say to them just gives me LIFE!  And furthermore, seeing them stay true to themselves and become so successful doing what they love makes me proud.  I feel pride like I’m their auntie, or older sister. Proud because they look like me, and they are amazing.

If you know me, you know that I am a big proponent of the idea that REPRESENTATION MATTERS.  Seeing images and videos of people that look just like you, doing GOOD things (not getting shot or going to jail) makes you feel better about yourself.  It makes you think that maybe you can do that – or maybe you can be first to do something else.  It’s just like having Obama as president.  Because of him, there are millions of little black kids all over the country that think they can be president, too. And because of Les Twins, hundreds of little boys across the country are finding that it’s okay to be a professional dancer.

Another reason I love them is their brotherly bond. They display open affection for each other and it is marvelous. In the US today, dance is not something that we encourage little boys to do.  I won’t go into the whole ‘toxic masculinity’ issue because frankly I’m tired of explaining it.  It has gotten so bad here that a young man or teenage boy can’t hug another boy, or show love to his male relatives, without being called ‘gay’. (I freaking hate that SO much).  But these two French dancers are sweet, funny, and affectionate with each other – like brothers SHOULD BE.  And despite being totally comfortable expressing their feminine side, they are beyond sexy!!  At least 85% of their fan base is female.  They are French models, after all.  It’s damn near impossible to Google ‘Les Twins’ and not find a picture of them looking sexy – they are a walking, talking, thirst trap. And they know this.  If you watch them closely, you can see that it’s all just funny to them (flirtatious asses). They need a spanking MOST of the time.  😊

Now you can begin to understand that when I speak about the Twins, it’s in the voice of an aunt talking about her favorite new nephews. In other words, if I can look at pictures of your kids online every day, for the last 5 years, you can tolerate my occasional posts about MY babies!!! True, they are grown men, and drop-dead gorgeous, but to me they are just adorable!  They are like golden-skinned dancing angels… that you probably want to bang.  I’m just saying – I recognize it.  But that’s not my true interest in them.  One person online asked “If you had the Twins alone for an hour, what would you do to make them remember you?” That’s easy: feed Larry, and beat Laurent at Tekken.  Like any good auntie should do. 😊

What really keeps my obsession alive is the other fans though.  Instagram is a worse time suck than Facebook or Twitter.  I’ve made a gang of friends on IG from following Les Twins, and most of them are all grown women with boyfriends/husbands, day jobs, and teenage children.  We are a support group for each other, because our other friends don’t understand us.  Each woman that I talk to has a story about how these boys touched their soul.  Deaths in the family, bad divorces, losses of home and jobs, family trouble – you name it.  All of us had something going on that our friends and family couldn’t reach, and somehow, Les Twins and their love of dance pulled us through.  And now we love us some Larry and Laurent!

Unfortunately, our significant others have had ENOUGH of our shenanigans!!  My friend Shannon told me that her husband is so vexed about her obsession with the Twins that he won’t even call them by their names.  He calls them Lefreqent or Lafro or Lefondue!! LOL!  She said he was cool with it for a while but eventually he got to the place where he didn’t want to hear another word about ‘those frenchies’.  LOL!!

When I started writing this blog, I struggled with what I wanted to talk about, and my boyfriend asked me point blank: “why DO you like them so much?” I couldn’t tell him exactly why at first. I told him about their brotherly bond.  He said, “So what? I hug my brother all the time, just nobody films it.”  I told him about how they live fearlessly.  He is a marine, so he side-eyed me SO hard on that comment.  Then he brought up a good point, so I had to quote him.

“The Twins had a marketable natural skillset that was unique to them, and they capitalized on it.  That’s what everyone wants to do in life.  Get paid to do what they love.  They had nothing to lose when they started, so why not dare to dream big?” And you know what? He’s right!!  Larry and Laurent had nothing to lose and nowhere to go but up when they first started. But instead of just getting some boring day job, they took a huge risk and chased their dream.  Most of us wish we’d had the courage to do the same when we were 17 years old.

The Twins also have great taste in music and have helped me discover a whole new generation of artists that I can support – 6lack, Syd, Troyboi, KidtheWiz, and more.  These boys know good music.  Even my boyfriend (who is a music connoisseur) liked some of the music that they found for me.  He hated how I found it though.  It went something like this.

Him: This is a good song.  What’s the album?

Me: 99.9% by Kaytranada.

Him: And how did you find this?

Me: ….um…

Him: Why are you hesitating? Just say it.

Me: Sooooo, the Twins danced to –

Him: I should have known.

(He happens to look down at my phone as the lock screen comes on)

Him: Ewwww, you got them on your phone too? Arrrrghh!!!  (walks off)

(Don’t worry, I made it up to him… 😉)

So, in summary, I love Laurent and Larry because they are the nephews I wish I had, and I have become invested in seeing them succeed, like any supportive family member.  The way they move is captivating.  And it’s not about the way they LOOK.  It’s about how they interpret the sounds in the music to make you HEAR it differently.  In some of their older performances online I have seen them dance to Missy Elliot, Dr. Dre and Busta Rhymes. Those are MY people. I KNOW their music catalogs.  And yet, I’m hearing little sounds and effects in these songs that I’ve never heard before. Why? Because Lau and Larry heard it and choreographed to that specific sound effect.  And now I will never listen to those songs the same again.  THAT. IS. GENIUS. And that also explains to me why I got on a plane to see them.  I don’t even like concerts like that.  I’ve only paid money and flown to another city to see Prince and Stevie Wonder. And now Larry and Laurent. True geniuses.

Wait, back up, Joy. Did you say you got on a plane to go see them?  YES!  I went to their dance workshop in Atlanta.  I flew in for the weekend just so I could meet them.  I didn’t even get a dancer’s ticket.  I was a spectator.  I didn’t dance because I had both my knees replaced this year (one last week!).  Clearly, I am on the bench.  For the month before I went to the workshop, I had all of these ideas about what I was going to say to Lau (the beautiful one) and Larry (the adorable one).  I was going to give them big hugs and tell Larry I was proud of him for taking care of his brother while he was injured.  I was going to tell Laurent that I was proud of him for building his empire, but that he needed to rest his body because everyone has their limits. I was going to show him my knee surgery scar and warn him what can happen when you don’t take care of yourself.  I got them birthday presents and I was going to hand them these gift bags and explain what was in them and they were going to be so happy. And we were going to hug and be buddies.  LOL

Let me tell you right now: I BLEW ALL OF THAT.

As I waited for them to show up and have my turn at the meet and greet, I had my presents ready! Then when it was my turn to meet them and take a picture, I put all my stuff down, so I could run up there and hug them and tell them everything I wanted them to know.  As I walk up to them, Laurent opens his arms and I give him a hug.  When I tell you that I buried my WHOLE FACE in this dude’s chest… LMAO!!!  And then I hugged Larry – and I was supposed to give him shit for this stunt he pulled with his limited-edition hoodies.  But I DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING!  I was so star-struck!  I totally forgot to do everything l had planned to do!  I didn’t say a single word to Laurent.  And after hugging Larry I told him “I have a present for you both!” Then I walked away and DIDN’T GIVE THEM THE PRESENTS!  I had to get one of their people to take it to them after the fact, since I was a slack-jawed idiot. Joy!!! WTF!!  Get your shit together girl!! I’ve met celebrities before, but for some reason I just blanked! Here is the killer: I am in sales, I’m an actress, and I am a writer.  I KNOW HOW TO USE WORDS, DAMMIT. What the hell happened?  Sigh.  Okay, next time I will do better.

Me and the Twins!

I look good though.

Anyway, the workshop starts, and they split up the dancers and start going over what they will teach.  They choreograph on the spot – so you get to see them as they create the dance.  That’s pretty freaking cool.  It means every workshop has a unique dance to go with it.  But once they start the dance class, the difference between Laurent and Larry becomes obvious: Larry is there to teach a few steps and have fun, and Laurent DID NOT COME TO PLAY!!  He is so intense!  Like, you can feel the intensity from the back where I was sitting.  He made it clear that he was not messing around.  He had no patience for nonsense. And I understand this mentality.  My patience is short when I am in pain too, and Laurent was in pain. This man has had injuries by the pound this year, yet he is still out here dancing for the delight of his fans.  That’s love. If it were me, I would have told everyone to kick rocks. It would have been a workshop with Le Twin – Larry, because I’d have been at home! LOL

As the dance class starts in earnest, I realize that being a spectator kind of sucks.  I’m not close enough!!  I want to dance with them and be a part of the magic. But I am very self-aware, and I knew better.  These workshops are recorded and put up on YouTube. What will NEVER happen is the world seeing my crippled ass struggling through this choreography like a graceless three-legged English bulldog.  Nope! No sir!!  I wish I could have danced and gotten into it, but watching them from the cheap seats was still a good experience. Furthermore, I realized that the true magic of the workshop was the KIDS.  What Larry and Laurent are doing is encouraging young boys and girls to see dance as a viable lifestyle, not just something you do at home or in the club.  They are giving people confidence, encouragement, love, patience, energy… The real benefit of being at this workshop can be seen in these pictures:

IMG_5013       IMG_5079

This is my friend Shannon’s daughter. Taylar is a dancer, and when there was a free moment she jumped into the Cypher.  Her life was MADE when Laurent jumped out and started freestyling with her.  Look at the shock and joy on her face!  Standardized tests can’t do that.  And as the US starts to squeeze the arts out of school, opportunities like this become more and more crucial.  Les Twins are doing their part to keep the arts alive.

IMG_5074

This little baby is my friend Michelle’s son.  He has been waiting forever to show Larry and Laurent his dance moves. When the freestyle cypher started, he surprised her and ran out there all on his own – and was rewarded with a dance with Laurent too!  These kids both struggle with being shy or having confidence, and because they took a chance on sharing their talent with a room full of strangers, they got to get up close and personal with their idols.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

 

In interviews, Laurent and Larry have both talked about wanting to get more people to follow their passion – no matter what it is.  It was listening to this encouragement that finally got me to start writing again.  It started with a quick Halloween story about them, and hopefully will end with me publishing a full length science fiction novel.  I’m going to do what I love.  (I’m not going to quit my day job though because – bills.)

Now, here’s what else makes these guys special.  They love their fans.  It’s easy for celebrities to say that, but not all of them SHOW it.  Larry and Laurent take as much time as they can to give as many pictures and autographs as they can to the fans.  They don’t turn anybody down.  Laurent had to be dragged away by the event planner.  I know because I was right there, trying to articulate that I had given my present for them to one of their staff. I think I said something stupid like: “The present that you don’t know who it came from, that’s from me.  Don’t throw it away.”  Again – WTF, Joy?!? LOL.  I have no idea why I said that.  But let me tell you how FREAKING COOL this man is.  Since he wasn’t sure what I was talking about (neither of us was) and he knew it had something to do with the presents he got, he made sure to do an Instagram story with clips of them opening all the presents – including mine! YAY! They got it!

IMG_5166And as a bonus, he took a picture with one of the bracelets that he got from my homie Shannon, and she was beyond excited to see something she made for him on his wrist!  How cool is that?!? They are the sweetest guys!!

And if you thought my obsession was over, you are very wrong. I’m not giving up my babies!  They are just getting started!  And before you open your mouth and ask me why I would spend all my hard-earned money on a couple of French dancers, ask yourself these questions:

Have you spent money on a professional sports game? Have you bought concert tickets to see Bruno Mars, or Taylor Swift, or Jay Z, or whomever? Well, Les Twins are my choice of celebrity crush, and I will spend money to see them when I feel like it.  Did you get a hug from Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars? No? Well I got TWO hugs.  So STFU.  I told you – they make me smile.

Look at my babies! 😊 twins-world-of-dance-winners-ftr

Rant 57 Done, and I’m out!

Advertisements

Special Edition: #LesTwinsClique Halloween Story!

Twins Trap

I know, I know… my faithful readers have been waiting half a year for me to write something, and now when I finally do — Halloween special? Dafuq? Well, I haven’t felt like writing for a long time, and I finally found some inspiration – in the strangest place. Enjoy!

Disclaimer – if you don’t know who Les Twins are, they are Larry and Laurent Bourgeois: the French hip hop duo who recently blew up the stage at JLo’s World of Dance competition. You know what – I don’t have time to explain. Just stop reading, go search for them on YouTube, and come back.

Now if you know ME at all, or follow me on Instagram, then you may have noticed that I’ve been mildly (totally) obsessed with Les Twins for the last few months. I’ve made lots of friends in #LesTwinsClique and this story is for them. It all started with this picture:

kidnapped

We started joking around about ‘what would happen if we kidnapped Laurent’? THIS is what would happen….

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

Laurent woke up with a terrible headache. The room was dark, but he knew he wasn’t alone. He tried to lift his arm, only to realize that his arms were tied together in front of him.

“Hello? Who is there? Where am I?” His questions went unanswered, but he could hear breathing. Someone was close. The last thing he remembered was dancing on the sidewalk… and a girl asking for directions… What had happened to him?! All of a sudden, the lights in the room came on and he was temporarily blinded. As his eyes adjusted, he recognized the girl that asked for directions. He scurried back as she rushed him, but he had nowhere to go. Her face was only inches from his.

“Lau! You’re awake! I’m so glad. You had us worried there for a second. I was afraid that I used too much chloroform on you. Man, I would have been SO sad if I accidentally killed you! Oh – I’m Loni. It’s so good to see you again!” She smiled at him. Her eyes were big – too big, and too bright. She looked a little crazy.

“Yo, what the fuck is going on here? What have you done to me?! Where is Larry?!” he yelled at her.

“Larry is fine, don’t worry. He’s not here though. Just you. Just you. Only you. I love you so much.”

Laurent No Touching 2She reached out and ran her hand lightly down his arm, frowning when he flinched away from her. “You know, you should be nicer to me. I did save your life.” She stepped back and regarded him with an attitude. “We could have left you passed out on the side of the road, but I wouldn’t do that to you… because I love you. I’m your number one fan! Show some respect. Sheesh!” With that, she walked up a short set of stairs and closed the door, locking the deadbolt from the other side.

Great. He was trapped in some crazy woman’s basement. He had no idea where he was or what day it was. He felt in his pocket… no phone. How was he going to get out of this? Maybe he could reach Larry through their mental connection if he could just –

At that moment the door opened and another person came in. A different girl, bringing food and water. “H-h-hello. I’m Ka- wait no. No names. Just call me Hot Lips! It’s so wonderful to finally meet you! I brought you some dinner. Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?” Hot Lips placed the food on a nearby table and waited expectantly. She lowered her eyes and said to him “You know – whatever you want – you can have it. Just let me know.” She winked at him.

“How about my phone. Can I have my phone?” Laurent was really getting scared. How had these women managed to capture him? How many were there? He heard more footsteps beyond the door. Oh God. This was not going to go well.

“I’m afraid we had to take your phone. It kept ringing, and we wanted you to get some rest. You’ve been working so hard! And with your injury and surgery, we thought it would be good to let you sleep. And also… you were knocked out. Loni used too much chloroform, and couldn’t wake you up so she called me – and I fixed you right up! You’ll be fine, don’t worry.” She leaned down to hug him. Laurent could feel her — nuzzling his neck! His fear kicked up a notch. Exactly what were they planning to do with him? He was afraid he knew the answer.

“Hey, are you sniffing me? Stop it!” He tried to lean away from her but she held him in a tight embrace.

“No no no, Loni told me I could have 5 minutes with you. That’s what I paid for. I just want to hug you, and I really wanted to know what you smell like. I knew you would smell good. Thank you!” she said. As if he had had a choice! She kissed his cheek and ran up the stairs, taking the untouched plate of food with her. She knocked three times and Loni opened the door to let her out. Loni remained after Hot Lips had gone, watching Lau for a bit.

“So you are charging people to come in here and touch me?! What the hell is wrong with you? That is crazy. YOU are crazy! You have to let me go. I’m leaving NOW.” Laurent stood up and tried to run for the door, but as he reached it, it opened and a third person was there. This one was a guy. He put his shoulder into Lau’s stomach – “Oof!” – And picked him up in a fireman’s carry to throw him back on the couch cushions. He stared down at Laurent and cracked his neck left to right, bouncing on his toes.

“Hey man, I’m not gay…” Laurent swallowed convulsively and tried to back up to the other side of the couch.

“Bruh – what you think this is? I ain’t trying to GET with you. I’m here to BATTLE you!” The guy turned back to the stairs and retrieved a boom box from just outside the door. “I’m Joseph. And I want to prove to myself that I can go toe to toe with the best.” Joseph hit play on the stereo and started moving to the beat. “Trendsetter” started blaring into the room.

Laurent looked at the crazy man in disbelief. “Are you serious? You want to battle right now, while I’m tied up? I’m a fucking prisoner, and you want me to dance. This is so stupid. You could battle me at any time – just come to a workshop! You gonna lose, but you didn’t have to kidnap me! All of you are insane.” Lau leaned back into the couch with a disgusted look on his face.

“What’s the matter, you scared?” Joseph kept ticking and popping to the music.

Laurent WTFLaurent stared at the crazy man. His blood began to boil. He could feel his Beast Mode wanting to explode but he couldn’t get lost in the music. He had to get out of that basement. “Okay motherfucker. You wanna battle? Let’s go. I battle you WITH my hands tied.” He began to glitch to the rhythm. Loni squealed in delight. Joseph tried to keep dancing but he lost his rhythm because he started to just stare open-mouthed as Laurent opened a can of whoop-ass on him. Spins, splits, twitches, kicks, death drops, tutting, everything. As the song started to die down, Joseph admitted defeat. Lau was still dancing around the basement.

“Man, you are really amazing! I’m so glad I –“

Laurent used both fists to knock Joseph’s head into the wall. As he crumpled to the floor, Lau jumped over him and made another dash for the door. “HELP! SOMEBODY HELP M–”  he wasn’t able to finish the cry for help before he felt a cloth full of chloroform cover his face again. His last thought was “Larry help me” before everything went black.

——–

Larry SleepLarry woke up with a splitting headache. He reached for a bottle of water and noticed that his arms felt heavy. It’s like they didn’t want to move. He shook it off and got up to check his phone. Hmm. No texts from Laurent. He usually had 5 messages by now. He sent one to Lau instead.

Bro – where you at? We have to be at the high school by 3:00. Don’t be late!

He knew that would piss Lau off. Lau was never late. Sure to get a response from that. He jumped into the shower to begin getting ready. When he returned – still no reply. Larry called Lau’s phone but went straight to voicemail. Now he was getting worried. He remembered the pain he had when he woke up. He called Roy.

“Hey Roy – is Lau with you?” Larry asked. “We got to do a charity event today.” He crossed his fingers that Roy would have good news.

“Nah, bro. I haven’t seen him since Saturday. I thought you was with him. Wait hang on.” Roy took a moment to talk to someone in the background. “Yo, John and Rod say they haven’t seen him either. John said last time he heard from Lau was Sunday afternoon. Lau said he was gonna make an IG story dancing in the street.”

“I never see no IG story like that. He hasn’t been on Instagram at all, I checked.” A small sliver of panic started to run down Larry’s spine. “I got to find him. I’ll call you back.” Larry checked all the social media one more time to make sure. Nothing from Laurent, for almost 2 days… Where was his twin?

Suddenly, a blazing pain ran through his skull. And he knew at once it was not his pain. It was Lau. He was in trouble. Larry laid down in the bed again to calm his mind, and focus. His brother was trying to reach him.

Larry help me…

Lau! Where are you my brother?!

I don’t know. Some girls have me trapped…in a dungeon. I feel sick.

Lau, you have to tell me where you are. I’ll come get you.

Use ‘Find my iPhone’. They have my phone upstairs. Hurry.

I’m coming.

Larry stood up shakily and reached for his iPhone. He turned on the locator to find his brother. What?! His phone was in Philadelphia?! “Hang on Lau. I’m on my way!” He dressed quickly and ran down to his car, jumped in and sped away.

———

After reaching Larry, Laurent laid perfectly still. He cracked his eyes just a little bit to see who was in the room with him this time. Sitting on the floor across from him were two young women. One, he recognized as “Hot Lips” – another was new. He listened in on their conversation since they hadn’t noticed him yet.

“…So I think I should be the one to do it. I’m a nurse. He’s been here for almost two days.” Hot Lips snatched a small package back from the other girl.

“Oh no way! I paid Loni a lot of money for this chance. I don’t care if you’re a nurse. It’s just a sponge, anyway. I’ve got this.” The unknown girl pushed off from Hot Lips and crawled towards where Laurent was laying. He closed his eyes again. She tapped him on the forehead. “Wakey wakey, Lau!” Laurent opened his eyes slowly. “Hi! I’m Reine. I’ve been wanting to meet you forever! Who would have thought I’d have this chance!? I’m here to give you your sponge bath.” Reine gave him a sly smile and started reaching for his shirt.

Laurent moved to block her and realized his hands were no longer tied. He got one hand between him and Reine and held her at bay. “Look. There is no way – NO WAY – I am letting anyone give me a sponge bath. So you can just go get your money back from your crazy leader.” He pushed her a little farther away and tried to stand up, but didn’t get far. Although his hands were free, he’d been chained to the table. Shit. No running for the stairs anymore. “Tell that girl – Loni? – tell her to come here. I need to talk to her.” He sat back down and waited as Reine walked towards the door. At the last moment she turned back.

“Can I at least have a hug?” Her eyes began to fill with tears. Laurent sighed. He hated to see a woman cry. And if this one wasn’t the one who had kidnapped him, well, he supposed he could give her a hug.

“Okay – come get a hug.” He opened his arms and she ran into them, jumping up and wrapping her legs around his hips. He took a moment to steady himself before they both fell over. After 2-3 seconds he said “Okay that’s enough. Get down.” She immediately jumped down and giggled, then ran for the door. He hoped she would forget to lock it but, damn, he heard the deadbolt again. He got as close to the stairs as he could, so he could listen to what was going on out there…

———-

“So how did we end up with a celebrity in the basement, Loni?” A new voice asked. “You know we’re all going to jail, right?” The voice was annoyed.

street dance 1“Look, Joy, he was dancing on the side of the road when Fabrice and I drove by. We didn’t mean to do it! But we had made so many jokes about it on Instagram that I thought I would just scare him a little bit. I didn’t know he would pass out like that!” she explained. There was an awkward silence, and then she continued…

street dance 2“So we were coming back from NY with this chloroform – don’t ask – and there he was on the side of the road! We passed him twice, and I thought: ‘what if I just wave it at him, to show him how easy it would be?’ He is too famous now to just be wandering around with no security. snatch himI just wanted to let him smell the chloroform, so he would get scared and get out of the street. But when I did, he passed out! I had to get Fabrice to help me get him in the car! We couldn’t leave him passed out on the sidewalk. What if someone had come and stabbed him or robbed him? So I brought him here. I saved his life!” she paused in her story. “But it was Fabrice who tied him up.” Loni tried to spread the fault out a little bit.

“Hey, why you gotta bring that up? I was just making sure he didn’t try to jump out of the car if he woke up.” Fabrice said. She gave Loni a dirty look.

“But why did you bring him to MY house?!” This was another new voice. It sounded kind of familiar… “My mom is going to KILL me! And this is WRONG!” The voice complained. He knew this girl. But from where?

“Haribo – quit complaining. What’s done is done. We will let him go soon. We just have to figure out how to get away clean.” This was Joy talking. “We have to convince him not to go to the police when we turn him loose.”

“But what if he won’t agree to keep quiet?” Haribo asked.

The room was silent. Then: “…We might have to kill him.” Joy said. The group erupted in a chorus of screams and arguments. Joy clapped her hands for silence. “Look, he’s no fool. If we lay out his options for him, I’m sure he will see that the best thing is to just pretend this never happened. AND stop dancing in the street.” Joy laughed.

“How can you laugh at a time like this?! We are supposed to be his FANS, not his ABUSERS! This is crazy. I’m going to go let him out.” Haribo started walking towards the basement, missing the look that passed between Joy and Fabrice.

———-

Laurent jumped back on the couch as the basement door opened. He looked toward the door and recognized the girl standing there immediately. The name Haribo made sense now. She was going to help him! He turned his best puppy dog eyes on her, and began to pout with a face he knew would affect her. “Please let me out, baby girl. I’m supposed to go see some kids soon. Do you really want to rob them of that chance? How would you feel if Les Twins didn’t show up somewhere and you were waiting?” He blinked his eyes innocently at her.

“Oh Lau! I’m so sorry this happened to you! I’m going to let you go right now!” Haribo took a step down the stairs but then a look of shock came over her face as she was pushed from behind. She lost her balance and tumbled forward, bumping her head on the banister. She looked up at him from the floor, blood coming from a nasty gash over her eye. “Lau…transition…” she mumbled. And with that she passed out. Laurent looked toward the door to see a new face standing there. This girl looked just as crazy as that Loni girl. She was staring at Haribo’s lifeless body, with a look of aggravation on her face. Then she turned to look at him.

“I told her to just chill. We were going to let you out eventually. But now we have to deal with her. Fabrice! Come help me with this girl!” Joy yelled back into the other room. Another woman he’d never seen before – wait, she was in the car too – came and grabbed Haribo’s legs. Joy gripped her under the arms and they carried her back up the stairs. Soon Joy returned and closed the door. She walked toward the couch with a weird smile on her face and sat down next to Lau on the couch. He moved back.

“So… how ya doin’? You mad? Ha! Yeah, you’re probably pissed. I would be pissed too. But hey, what’s a little stalking and kidnapping between friends, right?” She laughed, and it had a creepy maniacal sound to it. This girl was definitely not right in the head. For the first time, Laurent thought he might not ever leave this basement.

“Um, can I use the bathroom?” He needed to pee for real, but maybe he could figure out how to escape while he was out of the basement.

Joy stared unsmiling at him for a long time – long enough to make him uncomfortable. “Sure,” she said. “The bathroom is upstairs. Let’s go.” She produced a key to the lock on his chains (aha!) and led him upstairs to a small bathroom nearby. As they approached the bathroom, he noticed several more women in the hallway, staring at him like he was from another planet. Joy opened the door to the bathroom and pushed him inside, closing the door. Laurent looked for a window but none were in the room. He went ahead and used the bathroom, glad for a moment of privacy and to relieve himself. As he finished and washed his hands, he turned to the door – and screamed in fright! There were 4 holes in the door, all with an eyeball in them, staring straight at him! He heard bits of conversation through the door:

I knew it!

Anaconda!

Damn…

See? Told ya! Circumcision is an American thing.

While they were busy discussing his junk, Lau jerked the door open, startling them. He pushed passed them and tried to run for an exit, but he didn’t know where he was going. He turned left at the first hallway and found himself in an open living room. Haribo was bound and gagged on the rug, her eyes pleading with him. Did she need help? Unfortunately, pausing to worry about her cost him his one shot, as the gang of women tackled him to the floor.

“You’ve got to stop running away, baby boy.” Joy said. “We’re not gonna hurt ya. Promise.” She patted his cheek, then grabbed his ankles and began dragging him back to the basement. Lau didn’t resist. He needed to calm down. Larry was coming. He just had to stay alive long enough to get rescued.

——-

Larry pulled into an empty space at the end of the street and turned his car off. According to his phone, Lau was somewhere on this street. Maybe in the 3rd or 4th house. How to find him without being seen? He watched the block for a few minutes, thinking. As he sat there, he saw a woman come out of the 4th house. She got into an SUV out front and started driving away from him. He thought nothing of it except when she started moving, the phone started moving. She had Lau’s phone!! This girl must know where he was! Was he in the 4th house? Or was he in the SUV? Maybe they were taking him somewhere. Either way, he needed to know more about that SUV.

Larry started his car and followed it for a few blocks, until it stopped at a grocery store. The girl got out and went inside. Laurent was not with her. Larry got out of his car and investigated the SUV. His brother was not in there either. He felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Hi Lar-bear!”

Larry turned around, immediately disabling the woman and putting her in a choke hold.

“Where is my brother, bitch?!” He knew she knew something. And she was going to tell him.

The girl gasped for air and he let up the pressure slightly. “He’s… he’s back at the house. I was coming to get some food for him. I wanted to call you, but his phone is locked and I can’t wake him up.” She looked scared and frazzled.

“If you can’t wake him up then why do you need to get food for him?” Larry was suspicious of everything she said. Plus he knew his twin had contacted him. “Who are you?” he asked.

“I’m Anai’ah. I just want to help. I can take you to where he is. I promise.” She patted his forearm where he still held her tightly. “Can you let me go? I’ll take you to the house. Right now.” Larry dropped her but held onto her wrist. She reached for the SUV handle and he stopped her.

“No – you come with me. I don’t trust you. You could try to drive somewhere else. I know where the house is now.” Larry dragged her back to his car, pushing her into the passenger seat. He took off for the neighborhood he’d just come from.

Once they drove off, a second woman came out from behind the grocery store and got into the driver’s seat of the SUV to follow them back to the house.

When Larry and Anai’ah reached the house, he got out first, dragging her with him across the front seat. He was not letting her out of his sight. As they approached the door, he looked for any sign of a threat. Nothing. “How many people are here?” Larry asked her.

“Nobody anymore. That’s why I left to get food. The rest of them were afraid that they would get in trouble so they just took off. I would have left too, but Laurent wouldn’t wake up. I didn’t want to leave him alone. What if he needs to go to the hospital?” Anai’ah turned frightened eyes on Larry. She looked innocent but he wasn’t buying it. He let her open the door, then he put her back into a sleeper hold until she passed out. He then went through the house, looking for any other people. He didn’t see anything. Maybe they did leave? He remembered Lau saying he was in a basement. He saw a door and tried it. Locked. This must be it. He freed the deadbolt and opened the door to the basement. He saw his twin across the room, who was looking at him with an expression of fear on his face.

“Larry! No!” Laurent yelled.

“Lau! I’m so glad I found you my brother!” Larry said. He ran to his brother.

“You have to go! Now!” said Laurent. He tried to push Larry back, but his brother gathered him up in a hug.  At that moment, they both turned to the door as they heard a noise. The SUV driver – Lauren – smiled at them from the top of the stairs, closed the door and locked it.

No Larry

“Great. Now they have us both.” Lau grumbled, looking disgusted.

“But I knocked out the girl who left the house. And nobody else was here.” Larry said, confused.

“TWO girls left the house. They set a trap for you. They knew when you got here. ‘Find my iPhone’ works both ways.” Lau sat back down on the couch. “Get comfortable. They are going to come in here and sniff you, and try to look at your junk when you use the bathroom.” Laurent rolled his eyes.

“But maybe together we can escape. There’s only the two girls left –“

“Oh no, there’s like eight girls out there. And they are crazy. Well, seven. I think they turned on one of their own. Remember the film student from Philly? She tried to let me go, but they stopped her.” Lau sighed. “And there was a guy here earlier who wanted to battle me, but he left when I kicked his ass.” he said.

“Are you okay, Lau?” Larry asked.

“Yes. They haven’t hurt me yet. But they are crazy, and they tackled me when I tried to escape. There is one who is charging money to the others to ‘play’ with me.” Lau said, making a face. “They are living out their little fantasies. And so far it’s been: sniffing me, battling me, trying to hug me, stupid shit that they could have done anyway, at any workshop. But I heard one say she would kill me if I thought to call the police, so –“

“So you’re going to behave yourself, right?” Joy said from the door. They didn’t hear her come in. She was standing there with Lauren and Anai’ah behind her. “Girls, for successfully catching Larry, you’ve got 10 minutes with them both. Have fun.” She stepped back as the women came hopping down the steps toward the twins.

“Hi!” the shorter one said. “I’m Lauren. I love you so much, Larry! We could be ‘Larry and Lauren’!!” She threw her arms around his waist and looked up at him with a big grin on her face. Larry tried to push her off but Laurent reached out a hand to stop him.

“Just let her do it. This whole thing is SO stupid.” Laurent said.

“Lau – you can make my dreams come true in 10 minutes, can’t you?” Anai’ah asked, a predatory smile on her face.

Laurent looked at her suspiciously. “I mean, what you asking? I told you already I am not taking my clothes off so…”

“No! I don’t want that. I just… Just sit on the couch with me?” She led Laurent back to the couch and sat him down in the middle. Then she picked his feet up and put them on the couch as well, pushing him into a prone position. Then she laid on the couch next to him. “I just want to cuddle.” She sighed.

Lau sleep 1Lau looked at Larry with an expression that said “See what I mean? Crazy.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly as Anai’ah snuggled into his chest. This was the worst day of his adult life. He was going to have to stop setting ‘thirst traps’ on Instagram. This was getting out of control, clearly.

Larry looked down at Lauren, who was still hugging him. She had her face pressed into his chest now. “Hey. Get off me. That’s long enough. You crazy.” He pulled her arms from around his waist – she tried to grab his butt along the way but he was too quick for her. “I’m not tied up like Lau, so guess what?!”

He swept out a leg, catching her in the calf and taking her down with a scream. He pulled her shirt over her head to disorient her and ran to his brother. Lau was ready, and jumped on top of Anai’ah, holding her down while Larry got his legs untied. But Lauren’s scream had alerted Joy and Loni. Both were at the door with a frying pan and a broom.

“Larry, I swear I will knock you out if you don’t stop acting up!” Joy threatened him with the pan. Loni used the tip of the broom to push him back down the stairs. Fabrice, Reine and Hot Lips all filed in after her, carrying more rope… and food.

Larry’s stomach started to rumble. “Aww, is Lar-bear hungry?” asked Loni. “If you behave, I will feed you myself.” She said. Larry gave her the finger. She frowned at him. Her left eye started to twitch. “You know, y’all are just so ungrateful…”

“Ungrateful?! You kidnapped us!” Larry yelled. “This is not right! Let us go!” He started trying to fight off the girls but they held him and tied his arms anyway. He looked to Laurent, who shrugged and mouthed the words “Where is Roy?” to him. Shit. He hoped Roy would miss them both when they didn’t show up for the charity event, which had already started. Unfortunately, he was usually an hour late so they probably didn’t even miss him yet. But Lau late too – and neither of them answering the phone? Surely Roy or John would come look for them.

“Okay, Loni – you keep a lookout for John or Rod or Roy. One of them is bound to be next, looking for them.” Joy said as she turned to Larry. “I’ll make you a deal. You stop acting up, and when your boys come get you, we will let you go. No harm, no foul.” She looked him in the eye, and he noticed that her eyes were unfocused and the pupils were dilated. They reminded him of every axe murderer he had ever seen in the movies. This girl was really crazy. He had to buy some time.

“Okay. What you want, B?” he asked.

Joy grabbed his bound hands and led him up the stairs and into another room. This appeared to be a child’s bedroom, as there was a twin bed in the room and posters on the wall. He eyed the bed dubiously. Joy closed the door and turned to face him, a grin on her face. “What?!” he asked. She said nothing. She walked over to the bed and sat on the edge, spreading her legs apart. She crooked a finger at him.

“Come here.”

Larry WTF

——-

Rod, Roy and John pulled up to the spot where Laurent’s iPhone had last sent out a signal. Larry’s phone was nearby too. The block was dark, and nobody was around. Laurent had been missing for about 2 days and Larry for at least 10 hours. They had to find their boys and rescue them. They rolled up slow on the 4th house on the block.

“Yo, I bet this is it. There’s Larry’s car out front.” Rod said. He reached down and grabbed his piece from under the seat.

“So here’s the plan. We break in, put down anybody in our way, and get the fuck outta there. You feel me?” John said. He couldn’t believe that his friends were in trouble, and it had taken this long to find them. But they hadn’t thought of the iPhone trick for a long time.

Roy hopped out of the backseat, carrying a bat and a machete. “Let’s go!” he whispered as he ran in a crouch toward the door, Rod and John right behind him. As they approached the door, they noticed it was cracked. Rod smelled a set-up.

“On my count,” Rod said. “One, two, THREE!” he said. He pushed the door open with little resistance. He went in low and John came in behind him. Rod started searching the living room and kitchen, while John staked out the exit and Roy tried all the doors in the hallway.

“Yo! Over here!” Roy called out in hushed tones. He was standing at the entrance to the basement. Rod and Roy went down the steps while John stayed on lookout.

On the floor in a pile they saw Laurent asleep, with Loni, Reine, Hot Lips and Anai’ah draped all over him. Loni was spooned in on his left side, Reine on his right, with Hot Lips and Anai’ah each holding a leg like a stuffed animal.

“What the fuck is going on in here?” Roy whispered. All three of them looked at each other and shrugged. Rod tiptoed closer to Lau’s head, careful not to wake up the sleeping women. He thumped Lau on the forehead to wake him up.

“Wake up nigga. You need rescuing, or you need more time? What the fuck, yo?” Rod whispered.

“Thank God!” Lau whispered back. “Yo, these girls are crazy crazy crazy! They kidnap me off the street and start wanting to live out their fantasies with me. And this is it. They want to ‘cuddle’. I’ve been on this floor all night. Don’t wake them up. If they scream, the dangerous one will come back. She’s really nuts. And she has Larry! Find Larry!” Lau said. He used his chin to indicate the hallway beyond the door. “She took him out there somewhere, a few hours ago.” Lau put his head back down as Loni stirred, hoping he didn’t wake her. She rolled over and rubbed a hand across his chest, but she didn’t wake up. Rod’s shoulders started shaking in silent laughter. “It’s not funny, asshole. We are in trouble! Get my brother, then come back for me.” He said.

Roy was already in the hallway, opening other doors. He came to the bedroom and listened – he could hear voices on the other side. He opened it slowly. What he saw shocked him…

Larry LazyLarry was sitting on the floor, with one girl feeding him and another with both hands in his afro, massaging his scalp. Another had her head in his lap, and appeared to be interviewing him or something.

“Really, my nigga?! We been looking for you for hours, and you in here getting your hair did?” Roy regarded Larry with anger and impatience. “Get up, let’s get the fuck outta here.” he said.

Larry looked at them with a sheepish grin. “I’m sorry.” He said.

“You don’t look sorry.” John said.

Larry shrugged. “I’m not.” He stretched his back and stood up. He introduced his captors. “This is Joy,“ he indicated the girl who had been playing in his afro. She smiled and waved. “And this is Fabrice,” the next girl waved with the spoon she had been using to feed him. “And this one is Haribo.” Larry indicated the one taking notes. She waved. Roy noticed a bandage on her head but said nothing.

“They have been taking turns twisting my hair and taking it down. I can’t lie, it felt good.” Larry said laughingly. He turned back to Joy, who opened her arms for a hug. He hugged her and then said: “This was fun, but if I ever see any of you again, I’m going to call the police on you.”

“Nope,” Joy said. “We had a deal. No harm, no foul. I’ll be at your workshop in Atlanta, son! And have we really done anything other than make y’all be still and rest for a day? Tell me you didn’t need some downtime.” Joy winked at him.

“You are crazy. I think maybe you should get some help… but I appreciate the food!” Larry said. Roy popped him on the back of the head.

“What’s wrong with you – you got Stockholm Syndrome or something? These women are criminals.” Roy said. He was so angry with Larry for not taking this seriously. “If you don’t want to call the police, I will!” Roy huffed.

“Hang on there, sweet cheeks.” Fabrice said. “Lau and Larry promised they wouldn’t. And we haven’t done anything to him that you can prove. He drove here by himself. All they’ve done is eat our food and take a nap. What’s so wrong with that?” she asked innocently.

“I made enough food for you to take home, too.” Joy said. She smiled at him sweetly. “Can I pinch your cheeks?” She reached for him but he slapped her hands away.

“Hell no!” Roy said. He grabbed Larry by the arm and pulled him from the room. Back out in the hallway they found Rod and John standing near the front door, with a bag of what looked like leftovers. Laurent was standing there too, looking ready to go. At least one of them was thinking straight! Larry and Roy joined them at the door. The woman named Lauren pulled out a phone and snapped a couple of pictures of the group.

“No – no evidence. No pictures” Loni said. Lauren erased them with a pout.

Laurent regarded the group of women one more time before they left. All of them were just standing there smiling, like they didn’t just kidnap two grown men and hold them captive for two days. He would never forget this lesson. He vowed that from this moment on, he and Larry would have at least one bodyguard when they were alone.

And No.  More.   Thirst.  Traps…

——–

 

The next morning, on Instagram…

(Apparently, Laurent’s costume is “Thirst Trap King”…)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

Joy’s Rant List Volume 56: Sex Crimes 101

Before I begin, let me apologize for the length of time between blog posts. I ain’t feel like it. So there. Happy now? Now, let’s just get back to business.

(I know many of my friends are married and hitting that 7-15 year period where you wonder: “What else can I do to keep it new? How can I keep his/her attention?” Many couples struggle with this, and I am here to tell you – I do NOT have the answers. But, what I CAN give you is a bunch of examples of “When Keeping It Sexy Goes Wrong”!)

I said that the next blog would be about “How Not to Do” sex. And, it is. Remember Taraji and Tyrese? You know them. They were the couple that tried to make a home video a while ago?  Well, they are back in their own spinoff series! And the name of this new series shall be: Sex Crimes!  LOL

Private Dancer (Who Can’t Dance for Money)

Tyrese’s 40th birthday was coming up, and Taraji wanted to do something special for her husband.  After the sex video fiasco, she knew not to ask him, but she definitely wanted to bring some sexy back to their bedroom. After doing a little research, she decided to take some exotic dance classes and learn a ‘private dance’ for his birthday.  But because she had procrastinated as usual, it was four days before his birthday, and there were no classes being offered!

Down but not out, Taraji turned to YouTube.  As expected, it was FULL of epic failures. After 3-4 hours of emergency room endings and redirects to goofy porn sights, she finally found some sexy moves and memorized a quick routine.  Okay – done!  She went to her bedroom to pick out an outfit for the dance. It was at this point that she realized she really needed to go shopping. All of her underwear looked, well, worn. She needed some new sexy clothes.  And, how was she going to unveil this “linger-ree”? All she had was the flannel bath robe her mom had given her three years ago. Not a good look. Well, moms was going to have to put in on this birthday gift for her son-in-law.

The next morning, Taraji went over to her mom’s house and snatched her fur coat (she wasn’t wearing it right now anyway). Then, she rushed over to Victoria’s Secret to get some Angel underwear sets and hurried home to hide everything in the spare bedroom before Tyrese got home. Finally, it was the big day.  Taraji woke him up with a “birthday BJ”, knowing he would think that was his present.  After finishing him off, she headed to kitchen to make brunch. She had already planned to use this as her excuse to send Ty to the grocery store so she could get the rest of the house ready.  When he left, she threw rose petals on the floor from the front door to the bedroom.  She lit candles and closed all the shades to set the mood.  She started the ‘Stripper Playlist’ that she’d put together from iTunes.

Listening to Beyoncé’s “Partition”, she was already feeling sexy… and relieved that there was no Brazilian wax to make her uncomfortable this time. Taraji put on her new Angel set and started her final preparations.  But after a few minutes she realized her thong didn’t fit right and was riding up the crack of her ass… “Whatever,” Taraji thought to herself, “It’s only going to be on for a few minutes.”  She put on her mom’s fur coat to top it off – because she remembered seeing that in an old Ciara video.  Now it was only time to wait for him to get home.

And wait…

And wait!!!  It had been over an hour, and he was not back from getting bread and bacon yet!?!  That Angel thong was starting to irritate her butt because the whole damn thing was too small. When did she gain this weight anyway!?!  This was worse than that damn Brazilian! Plus, the fur coat was hot AF because it was June in Georgia.  She took it off to do a quick wipe down with some wet wipes and then get back into position. After waiting another 20 minutes, she reached for her phone to text him.

Taraji: “Where u at?”

Tyrese: “Ran into Omar at the store. We were rappin’.  Headed home now.”

She side-eyed the phone, but it was his birthday so she chilled.

Taraji: “I’ve got a surprise waiting for you…”

That should stop any more ‘detours,’ she thought. Ty finally got home, and she yelled out, “Follow the flowers!” Duh, like he didn’t see them.  He knew it was his birthday. Then again, it would be just like his dumb ass to sit on the couch and start playing Madden like he didn’t see the damn flowers… She could hear him on the stairs so she restarted her stripper playlist.  Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” was on first as Tyrese walked in the room.

“Awwwwww shit!!!”  He started grinning from ear to ear.  She led him over to the ‘throne’ chair that she had placed just for this occasion and sat him down.  She gave him a stack of Monopoly money and backed away.  Now it was time to blow. his. mind! She began her dance.  Some pelvic gyrating, playing with the fur coat, letting it fall open and then closing it back up.  She peeled off one shoulder, turned away, peeled off the other, looked over her shoulder at him, and let the coat drop. She noticed a flash of confusion across his face as she turned back to him. “What’s wrong, baby?” She asked.

“Ummm – yo, them draws are cutting you pretty bad, babe.  You have a red streak on your waist.  You okay?”  He was still staring at the underwear.

“Look, boy, I’m trying to be sexy over here.  I didn’t try these on before I bought them, and I have been waiting here in these tight-assed draws for you for almost two hours!  So this” – she indicated the red welt – “is YOUR fault.”  He started laughing.  “Stop laughing!!!” she yelled.  That just made him laugh harder.  She spoke seductively, “Well, what if I take them off…”

She continued her dance, and let the panties fall to the floor.  She unhooked her bra and came toward him, putting her breasts in his face.  He figured out what he was supposed to do and bit the bra, holding it while she pulled out of it.  She was now standing before him completely naked except for a pair of red pumps.  He was soaking it all in and there was clear evidence below the waist that he was enjoying this, although his eyes kept darting to the red line at her hip.  Ugh! Whatever.  She started to do the moves she’d practiced… Bend over, bounce your butt up and down, turn around and look back at him, make your ass clap…. Clap… Come on ass, CLAP!  Why is it not working?  What she thought she was doing was making it clap.  What he SAW her doing was bouncing up and down on her toes like an excited toddler.

“Umm – Babe… What are you trying to do?”  She could hear the laughter in his voice and just wanted to punch him in the face.

“I’m trying to make my ass clap! I saw it on the computer, but I can’t make it clap!” She bounced a couple more times but apparently it was harder than it looked.  So she just dropped into a squat and started slapping her thighs instead.  He was cracking up laughing and using the Monopoly money to ‘make it rain’ on her.  Good, at least that part went right.  She rolled her body closer to him, and grabbed the arms of the ‘throne’, ready to jump up and straddle him.  But the arms on the chair were wider than she had anticipated, and she couldn’t… quite… get… up… there.  She backed up to try again, this time throwing one leg over and then the other, but now she was tilted to one side, with her thigh on one arm and her calf on the other, holding on to him so she didn’t fall over.  She looked him in the eye and said “Hey big daddy” at which point he stood up, tumbling her to the floor as he proceeded to bust out laughing. Taraji grabbed the fur coat and her underwear before stomping off to the bathroom. She slammed the door while cursing him from the other side.  “…Trying to do something nice for YO’ ASS, and all you can do is laugh at me!”

Taraji flung the door back open to continue yelling and cursing. “See, this is why I don’t do this shit, but nooooo… It’s your birthday so I’m trying to keep it sexy for you, and you just laughing your ass off! Well fu-”

Tyrese grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to a stop. “Thank you baby.  That was the best birthday present ever.  I’m not making fun of you!” he added, as she continued to struggle.

Taraji gave him the evil eye, saying “And you better not tell anyone what happened. I swear Tyrese. I’m not playing with you!”

“Babe…“ Tyrese bent down to throw her over his shoulder and give her rump a resounding smack. “I promise I’mma do you right…” he proclaimed, as he headed back to the bedroom.

 

(If you would like more escapades of Taraji and Tyrese, let me know by liking and sharing. Peace!)

Rant 58 done, and I’m out!!!

Joy’s Rant List Volume 55: How NOT to Do It: Vacation Violations

Okay so I lied. The last rant said that the next one would be about sex. Well, I went on vacation and decided to tell you all about that instead.

So – sex next time. I promise. (Do I sound like every married couple with small kids? Yes. LMAO!)

Now, back to this vacation violation. I call it this because, while I had a wonderful time in Belize on the island of San Pedro, I also encountered so many violations that I felt I had to share them with you. I will be including the girls I went with, but have changed the names to protect the innocent.

Bootlegging Belize

So it all starts with my friend… um… Brandy. Brandy texts me and asks “What are you doing for Labor Day?” “Nothing.” I respond. “Wanna go to Belize? Southwest has cheap flights!”

Hell yeah, I wanna go to Belize! I bought the ticket before she had even given me any more details than the dates of travel. Done, son! Let’s go! … Where is Belize? Out in the water somewhere, right? WRONG. Belize is actually part of Central America. And if my raggedy “Americans don’t know shyt beyond Florida” ass had bothered to look at a map, I would have known what I was getting into.

Things I looked up about Belize after I got back:

  1. It is 3 feet under sea level
  2. It has no natural beaches (there is a man-made beach, but it erodes – see #1)
  3. It’s on the eastern end of Central America – dipping into the Caribbean. (That’s kinda what I thought but I really didn’t know.)

All I knew was that Southwest Airlines flew directly there from Houston. Hey – all I needed to know!!  The next step was to secure a hotel. One of the other members of the group that was going – we’ll call her Alizay – mentioned that she saw a Groupon for a discount at a hotel in Belize City. Several of the members of the group were interested in the discount price. But no ma’am. Not having it.

What Not To Do: Use a Groupon for Out-of-Country travel

I have heard that some people have good luck with using Groupon, but I have also heard horror stories. I’m far too delicate to be in a place with no air conditioning. Just because I am from the South doesn’t mean I LIKE the heat. Any vacation I take has to be at or above my standard of living at home. If not, hell, I can stay on the couch!

I also am not about that ‘Robbed in Rio’ life. What you ain’t gone do is have me hobbling down the street with a broken shoe and a bum knee, with mud on my face, trying to stop some teenaged Usain Bolt wannabe who has my purse tucked under his arm like a football. Nope. Avoiding that all together.

SHAWN!!!!

Shawn is my friend and travel planner extraordinaire. He, Eric and Rebekah are in a travel planning group that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND.  They have been planning my trips for 3 years now, and each one is to die for.  I wish I had gotten them in on this earlier.  If you want to travel with no worries, hit Rebekah up at Emotive Travel.  What I like about their group is that they will do reconnaissance on a location before they send you out. I even have my other friends using them now.  And I am SO thankful that Rebekah hooked us up with a good hotel – and at a good price! Because when we got there… But that’s later on in the story… First we had to actually leave Houston…

It’s Going Down in the DF

Okay, so we have only made it as far as the international terminal IN HOUSTON and we are already spending money. What is it about going on vacation that just loosens all your purse strings? I bought makeup. Y’all know good and damn well that I don’t wear makeup unless someone is going on a stage! But there I am, at the MAC counter, buying some limited edition nonsense.

(Actually, that lipstick was FIYAH! #noregrets)

Once we exit the MAC store, Alizay sees the Duty-Free Shop.

“Ooh! Duty Free! I haven’t been through there in so long!” She runs off like Alice in Wonderland and we have to remind her that we are about to BOARD a plane and what is she going to do with a handle of Ciroc on the flight? Girl, put that down.

We board our plane, have… a few drinks… on the plane and then touch down in Belize City. I’d like to take a moment to thank the pilot for not dropping us out of the sky. Because he tried. You know how you hit turbulence and you try to be cool about it? Like you pretend that you didn’t really grab the seat in front of you, and you giggle off the tension? Welp, everybody screamed on this flight. We fell about 50 feet. Enough to think we were gonna die. It was more than a roller coaster, I’ll tell you that! Suffice it to say, we were stone cold sober when we landed. Time to start over. First thing we look for? Duty Free.

As we peruse the selection of the same shit we see every day at the liquor store, Alizay begins to look for some “authentic” rum. From Belize. Does Belize even make rum? We don’t know. But lo and behold, there is some Belizean rum sold there. Uh, okay. Let’s skip that and get this Van Gogh vodka because I KNOW about that! And it was at a good price! That vodka was going to keep us tight for the whole weekend! That, and the Ciroc that we wouldn’t let her buy beforehand. Why buy watered down mojitos on the beach when you can get lifted with your own stash in your room?  If you don’t know the ‘refilled water bottle’ trick by now, you’re doing it wrong.

A Three Hour Tour

The next step in this adventure is to take a ferry from Belize City to San Pedro Island. Now here’s where my ignorance first kicked in. When we booked the hotel, Rebekah told us to be sure to fly in early enough to catch the last ferry out. No sweat. She also told us it would be about a 90 minute ride. Okay. Cool. Nice lazy ferry over to the island, kind of like a day cruise. Sweet!

NO.

What Not To Do: Be a Pirate in 2016

We get our tickets and watch the “porter” move our luggage off to the side with the rest. He then gives us tags for it and takes it all outside. We don’t see him leave because we are busy ‘turning up’ in the air conditioned building. But when they say it is time to board, we hand over our tickets and walk outside to “What the hell is this?!” They have stowed our luggage on a speedboat. Granted, it’s a large speedboat, but a speedboat nonetheless. And we board this speedboat and take off at a brisk 40-50 miles an hour. Alizay has never been to the Caribbean before so she is looking out the porthole window like a new puppy. For a minute… Now if you know speedboats, you will know that 40 miles an hour means you are bouncing across waves. Now think back a moment to when I said Rebekah told us this was a 90 minute ride. Yeahhhh. I’m surprised we didn’t throw up.

So there we are, out in the middle of whatever ocean (geography fail) on a speedboat with a hold full of luggage. And produce. And furniture. And a drum set. And a twin mattress. And a guitar. Who? What? Why? Y’all, they start pulling stuff out of the ‘hold’ like it’s a damn clown car. I feel like either someone was moving to the island for good, or we just discovered how they make their money in the off season.

When we first docked on San Pedro Island, all I could think was “Thank you Jesus and Rebekah!”  Our hotel was the best one in the area.  It was ‘downtown’ but still on the beach.  And the locals were very accommodating – if you helped them get their hustle on.

Portrait of a Hustler

hustlersLook at these little faces! Aren’t they cute?! Yes, of course they are! So adorable! And they are the new face of commerce in San Pedro. They are sitting under this table while their mother strings together beads for bracelets and necklaces. Then they hit the strip. These kids were throwing puppydog eyes and hawking their goods like grown-assed veterans. I bought a bracelet from the little girl, and then the little boy runs up. I tell him that I just bought a bracelet…

Boy: “That’s her business. We have separate businesses. I sell necklaces.”

Me: “Well, I don’t need a necklace.”

Boy: “Yes, you do. It will match that bracelet you have.”

Blank stare.

Me: “Okay well I am out of money today so come back tomorrow.

Boy: “What time?” He side eyes me.

Me: “Same time, same place.”

Boy: “Okay so I will come back to this hotel tomorrow at 10 AM for you.”

He leaves and I continue to enjoy my 10 feet of beach sun. (More on that in a minute.)

What Not to Do: Lie to Hustling Ass Children

The next morning, around 10:30, I am eating breakfast at a restaurant further down the beach. I ain’t thinking about this kid from yesterday. I see his little sister selling bracelets in the restaurant and she waves at me. Awww, so cute!! I sip some coffee. Brandy starts laughing and I turn around. There is Hustle Boy staring at me with a ‘gotcha’ grin on his face. He wastes no time.

Boy: “So – what necklace would you like?”

I was so ‘dead’ at this point that I bought two items off of him. I can respect his hustle!!

You Can’t Pool With Us – And Neither Can We

I’m going to skip some things in the interest of time. The hotel was bombhotel pool.JPG   Even though the beach was only 10 feet wide and covered with piers and boats. 10 foot beach.JPG

It was like trying to ‘profile’ at a shipyard.

And the whole ‘downtown San Pedro’ experience was cool. We had good food, a great staff, and even found San Pedro’s version of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer…Jwtgh.JPG

We called him Jesus with the Good Hair.

But this was not quite the level of 5-star luxury and amenity that I am used to. So we decide* to go further up the island to the more exclusive resorts. It was only a 20-minute speedboat ride.

*By ‘decide’, I mean I said I was going, and they could come or not but I was going, dammit. And they came with me. LOL

So we take a water taxi to the northern part of the island, and my first reaction is “I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE!!” Compare the pool from earlier with THIS pool…resort-pool

 

you-cant-pool-with-usStaying at this resort was outside our budget (remember the Groupon issue?!) so we only stayed for the day. But if you’re ballin’, holler at Rebekah and she can hook you up!  Notice how I took pictures in the pool at somebody else’s resort. And then had the nerve to make it a meme!!

This is the vacation equivalent of taking a picture with someone else’s BMW. (Side note, I totally took pictures in my editor’s BMW once.) Once we were done pretending, we were ready to head back to our hotel. The water taxi was supposed to be there at 7:00, so at 6:45 we are on the dock.

What Not to Do: TRUST THE DAMN LOCALS

Y’all. The water taxi company has earned my eternal enmity for this. Those futhamuckas left us out there on the dock because “we didn’t call to say we wanted them to pick us up.” BITCH, I TOLD YOU WHEN WE LEFT THAT WE WANTED THE 7:00 TAXI!!!!!! DID YOU THINK I CHANGED MY MIND?!?! WHY DO YOU POST A SCHEDULE OF STOPS IF YOU AIN’T GONE STOP HERE?! WHAT IN ALL OF THE PHUCKS?!?!?

And let me tell you something, city people, you don’t know what “pitch black” is until you are on an island with no overhead lights. Or lights of any kind.

In just 3 hours it went from this…

.pier-daylight

 

To this…

pier-nighttime

So, what started out as a visit to a remote part of the island turned into a scene from a B-movie slasher film. Jason was just waiting on his chance to come running out of the bushes with a machete. We waited and waited and finally found someone to call us a cab (the resort staff had almost all gone home). And then we took the cab ride from hell home. Not because of the cabbie – because of the streets.

LOOK AT THESE DAMN STREETS!!!

roads

This was a 45 minute drive through what I now know can NOT be my ‘home away from home’. Get yo’ infrastructure life, Belize!!

So we made it back and obviously made it home without incident. Make no mistake – we had a great time!!  But you’d better believe my next vacation is going to be better thought out, and I am going to save up more money to get into the fancy ‘can’t pool with us’ type of resort. And I will reserve my own transportation or just not leave the damn resort.

 

 

Ummm… Where is Bora Bora…? LOL!

 

Rant 55 done, and I’m out!    (Yes, sex is next. Ugh. Sigh… LOL!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy’s Rant List Volume 54: How NOT to Do It, Part 2: Natural Disasters

Welcome back, fam! I’m sitting here at my computer in the middle of another “system cleanse.” Of course, in typical “I forgot what I was JUST doing” fashion, I decided to start my next blog. For those of you who read the last installment and know what a “system cleanse” is, don’t worry! I am not more than 12 feet from my bathroom. LOL!

This chapter of “How Not to Do It” is not about actual disasters in nature. It is a nostalgic review of me joining #TeamNatural, AND the disasters I encountered along the way. For the uninitiated, “#TeamNatural” refers to women of color who decided in the last 3-5 years to stop straightening their hair (either through chemical relaxers or other means), and start wearing their hair as it grows naturally from their scalp. This is also referred to as being a “curly girl”. I put the stipulation on the time frame because women of color wearing their naturally curly hair just became a full-fledged-media-attention “thing” about 5 years ago. Women have been doing it since forever. How do I know? Well, what the hell do you think they did BEFORE Dudleys, Hawaiian Silky and Bronner Brothers came on the scene? Coconut oil is NOT NEW. Ask your grandmother. There are plenty of women who have been wearing their hair natural for decades, if not for their entire lives.

OG natural

I call them “Team O.G. Natural”

 

As for how *I* made the decision …

to go from this in 2011…                                            to this in 2013…

2011 long hair dont care                                      2013 big chop

It had a lot to do with Chris Rock’s movie, “Good Hair.” I think if we are being honest, a LOT of the recent influx of women going natural can be laid at his feet. His movie didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know or experience firsthand. It just reminded us of it all. But please believe that the transition period from the first picture to the last is a funny journey. Soooo many disasters…

Now the bulk of this rant will be about my current state of naturalism. I am still trying to do different ‘protective’ styles, and manage my ‘curl pattern’, and all that #TeamNatural lingo you learn along the way. Sooner or later, I will probably go the way of all the O.G. Naturals. If you pay attention, you will see that women who have been natural long enough either cut it all off or lock it all up. This picture is PROOF!

 

friends 4ever

#Team Natural!! Left to Right: 18 Months, 10+ yrs, 15+ yrs

I will skip the rest of the boring rationale behind why I went natural. It involved a hair stylist that was NEVER on time, and an unwavering belief in my own superior smarts [Editor’s Comment: *ahem* #TeamBadDecisions] and styling skills. Ask me if you want to know. Now WHAT I did –that’s where it gets interesting. Let’s start with general maintenance.

Step 1: Oil Changes

Once I cut my hair off and was completely natural, I decided that I could take care of it on my own. I had been managing just fine my whole life. Sure, I went to the salon to get cuts, perms, and color. But washing and styling it? Pffft. I got this. I decided to start looking for products that worked well with my hair. That’s what all the thousands of vlogs on YouTube told me to do. So I will run down the list of everything I tried, in order:

  • Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus line
  • Other stuff…blah blah blah
  • Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter line
  • More whack, expensive garbage
  • Miss Jessie’s line (I’m too broke for this!)
  • Carol’s Daughter
  • Pantene
  • Dove
  • Paul Mitchell
  • Everything else at Ulta…

After TWO YEARS of product junkie bingeing, I settled on Dove’s new line of Intensive Moisture shampoo and reconstructing mask for ‘coarse and curly hair’ plus Eden Body Works, Coconut Shea line of styling products. That ish is the bomb-dot-com! I have … exhaled…

(Side note: I took a break from writing this entry for about a month, and now I am COMPLETELY on the Eden Body Works product line. I’m exhaling again. #fickleass)

Now let’s revisit the time I spent at Ulta because here is your first What NOT to do!

Becky31) WHAT NOT TO DO: Let a random white woman color your natural hair.

That sounds racist. It’s totally not. Natural hair is a challenge. If you have not been trained how to handle it, you will f@#k it up. Period. Yeah, I said it. The color of the person doesn’t even matter. That was a shameless click-bait tactic. There are plenty of black stylists who don’t know WTF they are doing either. If you don’t understand the porosity, tensile strength, and moisture needs of naturally curly hair, you will dry it out, over process it, and break it all off.

Which is what happened to me when I went into Ulta on a product search.

Why Ulta? Simple. I had an Ulta card, and Sally’s was farther away…

 THAT IS A LIE!!! I WAS BEING BOUGIE!!!

I thought I could get what I needed out of the “refined and calming” Ulta store instead of the “Why is it always in the hood?” Sally’s Beauty Supply. My bougie butt paid well for the lesson in marketing and location. The reason Sally’s flourishes in the ‘hood’ is because THAT IS WHERE THEIR MARKET IS. I deserved what happened to me.

I now stay out of Ulta, and shop at CVS and Sally’s exclusively for hair products. But while I was in Ulta, a very nice young employee started talking to me about my hair. I asked her: “Where is your natural section?”…becky1

After 2 seconds of blank stare, she directed me to the organic section because there was not a section for ‘black hair’. Okay, close enough. I mentioned to her that I wanted to put highlights in my hair, and she said she was a colorist and that Ulta had a 50% off special going right then. Okay great! But c’mon son! I should have known ON SITE (racial profiling, I know) that Becky With the Good Hair wasn’t going to know crap about MY struggle!!!

Despite my internal warning signals going off, I get in her chair. She proceeds to bleach my hair. I tell her that my hair lifts very quickly, and try to remember all the things that my former stylist in Orlando (Wizard Billi) used to say, She just pooh-poohs me and says that all of that is just extra steps and that I will be fine. The color comes out great. The style … not so much.

Y’all… O_o

becky2You shoulda seen this little 20-something white woman trying to tell me how much I looked like Angela Davis. I think that was the only afro reference she had. I didn’t look a thing like Angela! First of all, I was transitioning, so I had a TWA underneath and stringy straight hair on top -hich she then tried to “pick out”. She kept telling me she loved it and I should wear it like that. But I peeped the sweat droplet running down the side of her face. I knew it was a fail. But at least the color was right. I walked out of Ulta with a multicolored, half-assed-blown-out afro. And a $70 chunk taken out of my wallet.

A day later, I still smell chemicals in my hair. Why, you ask? My hair has high porosity. You can’t just “rinse” things out of my hair. You have to get in there and really put an ocean of water through it. So I wash my hair again. And again. Trying to remove the chemical smell. I finally do, and I think everything is great. In my infinite wisdom, I decide to let it air dry. Because – stupid. And then I try to comb it. I can’t get the comb through my hair. Not even a little. I had a head full of dry, brittle, split hair.

Now here is where some black women would mistakenly think that their hair is just nappy. Nappy is not actually a thing.

blue magicSOAPBOX MOMENT: NAPPY IS NOT A THING. Your hair might be tightly curled, or zig-zag, but it is not nappy. If you can’t comb through it, it’s not because it grows that way or is not “good enough.” (Lord, the things we believe about ourselves…)   You can’t get a comb through your hair because the cuticles are raised up and your hair is overly dry. The hair strands will tangle and latch on to each other – it’s like Velcro. Your ends are probably split. Wet your hair and put more oil than you feel comfortable with into it. You should be greasy. Then start combing from the bottom and work your way up to the scalp. THERE WAS A REASON YOUR GRANDMOTHER USED TO GET OUT THE BLUE MAGIC GREASE TO DO YOUR HAIR.

ghetto grocery bag

Just let it sit. And yes this is a ghetto grocery bag.

Sadly, I can give you this advice now, but a couple months after I left Ulta, I had to cut all my hair off and start over again. SIX months down the drain!! If I knew then what I know now, I would have soaked my head in Blue Magic and a hot towel. Now, I can’t actually advocate for Blue Magic, because God knows what’s actually in it. But I DO advocate for oil. LOTS of oil. My rule (and it should be your rule too) is that if you can’t eat it, don’t put it in your hair. Examples of good oils to use: Extra Virgin Olive Oil – straight out of the kitchen. Coconut oil, saffron oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, shea butter and cocoa butter (which is what makes white chocolate, so yes you have eaten it). If it grows, it’s probably a’ight. I have never seen a seed packet that grows 2-2 dimethylcone.

 

Step 2: Protective Styling

So remember the first rant in this series where I said that to truly be a victim of your own stupidity, you have to COMMIT to your path, regardless of (multiple) failures? This is where we are now. I have been doing ‘curl pattern’ styles and ‘protective’ styles for the last two years. I have tried flat twists. Flat twist outs. Two-strand twists and twist outs, THREE-strand twists and twist outs. Most recently, Bantu knots (and knot outs, naturally). For those that don’t know, the “twist/knot” is the protective style, and the “__ -out” is when you take your hair down and wear it loose. I’ve watched hundreds of hours of YouTube videos and practiced until my hands cramped, trying to perfect “a look” I saw someone else rocking.

 2) WHAT NOT TO DO: Care about what someone else’s hair is doing. 

HERE IS A SECRET: IT DOESN’T F@#KING MATTER.

You can NOT “train” your hair. No matter what you do to your hair, it will ultimately revert back to its happy place – usually in anywhere from 2 to 4 days. And that’s even LESS time if you get it wet or live somewhere humid like the Gulf Coast. And once you get it wet….

 

shrinkage

You see this bull$hit?!

Shrinkage is the bane of my existence.

You have NO idea how much your hair is going to shrink up until it grows out. Right now, my hair can be anywhere from 5” to 15” long, depending on the humidity.

highlights 1 And the irony of ironies, people actually like my hair the most when it is in its no-effort, “I woke up like this” curly afro puff state.

Step 3: Adding that “flavor”.

I love having highlights in my hair. The highlights in this picture were professionally done on a trip to California. And I wanted that back. I love me some honey-colored streaks! Of course, in true “Joy can’t learn” fashion, I tried to highlight my hair myself.

3) WHAT NOT TO DO: Refuse to Listen to EVERYONE ELSE

Here is the thing: I think I’m smart. I think I can do anything. I think that I am capable. I don’t lack in self-esteem (brain-wise, anyway). So in my egotistical mind, why SHOULDN’T I be able to highlight my own hair? [Editor’s comment: #TeamBadDecisions for real!]

I actually did have a moment of clarity where I thought “You know, I should let Lamonica do this.” Lamonica Sharp, of So Sharp Salon in Pearland TX, is my stylist. She has rescued me from myself time and again. Most recently, she called me out because I hadn’t been to see her in about six months. She saw my blow-out on FB and said “You trying to set me up. Bring yourself in here.” So I made an appointment. Now in my mind, I am going to get a cut and color. And in Lamonica’s appointment book, she had cut. Not color. So when I start talking about highlights, she (correctly) told me she wasn’t prepared for that and to make another appointment. Cool. She was right. She was smart. She wasn’t about to take on something she didn’t have the right products for and have it come out crazy and have me blame her.

….But I wanted some highlights though! Hnnnnggghhhuuuhhh (*insert whiny teenager voice here*)

So I’m in CVS with my sister, and I pass by the area with hair color…

ego And my evil ego kicks in…

Ego: “Just do it yourself. I’m sure there’s a YouTube video saying how to do it…”

To the Internets!!!

don't do itNow here’s where things really get silly. EVERY VIDEO I saw on the internet said – and I quote – “If you have never done this before, do NOT try this yourself.” Or, “I am showing you only how to prep your hair, go to a salon to get the color.” Or, “You are going to damage your hair if you don’t know what you are doing. Seek professional help.”

egoEgo: “Nah Joy, you got this. You can do it. You’re smart. It doesn’t look that hard…”

 

Then my ace Ericka sent me a picture of her hair, where she had dyed it blonde herself. Ericka is the one in the middle with the short haircut. Her dye job came out cute!

ego

Ego: “If she can do it, YOU can do it, right?”

 

common senseSensible Voice: “Bitch, her hair is ¼” long. If she messed up, she’d be back in business in a week! You have 2 years of hair. Do you REALLY want to try this!?!?!?!”

 

ego

Ego: “…Do it.”

So there I am, in the Sally’s getting the Textures and Tones coloring system that I saw on YouTube. (Because I had already picked up the Feria color system from CVS and done a strand test and failed. That bougie chick just will not die.) I also picked up a cap with the little holes in it and accompanying crochet needle – because I had seen Billi do this once when my hair was permed. SEEN not DONE. And only seen ONCE. But now, I think I can do it. Because Ego.

My ego knows no bounds, y’all. Not only did I try to highlight my hair, I bought TWO DIFFERENT colors of dye so I could put in blonde and russet highlights and lowlights. Because I’m not a professional stylist, but I’ve seen one do it so… (So disrespectful!!!)

Let me break this down for you: I separate the crown of my hair from the rest. Tie off the rest and put it in a shower cap. I use the holey cap and pull out the pieces to be dyed (which hurt like a sonofabitch) and then applied the darker color to the lower part and the blonde color to the top. Then I covered all that with another shower cap. Then I let it sit for an hour. Because after the required time nothing had happened. Then I got scared and pulled off the holey cap – which stripped out all the liquid dye and caused me to have a back full of dye as it dripped down. Good thing I didn’t have a good shirt on. But there was dye all over the floor. I rinse out all the dye and wash my hair and deep condition it and PRAISE JESUS! All my hair is still there. But the color is not. BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE F@#K I AM DOING. I tried to convince myself that I had “subtle” highlights, and I almost believed it. Until my sister got in the car with me a couple days later and said “I thought you were going to dye your hair?” #fail

[editor’s comment: #TeamYouGoneLearnToday]

And do you know that I had to stop myself from trying again?! I actually had to call Ericka and get her to talk me out of getting in the car and going back into another Sally’s for more dye. I have a problem. I clearly cannot be left unsupervised. Luckily for me, I had to go to Atlanta for a meeting and Ericka suggested (i.e. bugged the crap out of me) that I go to her stylist to get color because he was a natural hair professional. #PROFESSIONAL. So I went. And he #SLAYED y’all! I felt bad for cheating on Lamonica, but Ericka wisely intervened before I could get in trouble again. Check out this color!!

 New Color

And also, after watching him I learned a few things about how to TRULY do a wash and go. I did one just now, and I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I did it!!! It looks great! On the other… I confirmed that I had been doing all these damn twist outs and shyt and all I had to do was run some damn gel through my hair and be still… Ugh. DAYS of my life lost to the twist out efforts. LOL

 

 

pookie-new-jackNow you know when this grows out I’m going to be right back in front of Sally’s looking like Pookie from New Jack City. “The products… they be calling me…” LOL

[Editor’s comment: Jesus be a ‘closed’ sign.]

 

But after two – almost three – years, I have at last learned the following:

  1. Pick a damn product and roll with it.
  2. If you are leaving “soul glo” stains everywhere, cut back on that coconut oil.
  3. You. Are Not. A professional.
  4. “Training” your hair is not a thing.

car profile But still…  I Got This

Rant 54 and I’m out! But, stay tuned for my final series installment which will come around to my favorite topic. Wait for it… Yeah, sex.

[Editor’s comment: Lord Jesus…]

Joy’s Rant List, Volume 53: How NOT to Do It (A new Series)

Hello world. I’m baaaack.  Sorry for the long hiatus (Lies – I’m not sorry). Actually, let me explain the rules I play by when I do this blog.  It must be funny.  It must be an escape for the reader.  It must be relatable for the audience (as much as possible).  Lastly, it must be genuine. I’ve had trouble being funny recently because…  Well, you know…  Life just ain’t been funny and folks are still trying to figure out why #BlackLivesMatter.  No, wait!  I promise!  I got my groove back.  So, let’s go!

Joy’s Rant List Volume 53: How NOT to Do It – Part 1: The Juice Cleanse

You know, a lot of people like to remark about how smart I am. I have 3 degrees from 3 different schools.  I am a chemist, and an engineer.  I have an MBA and a high emotional IQ.  I’m pretty awesome.  But I’m not awesome ALL the time.  Sometimes I do some pretty stupid things.  I’m talking monumentally stupid, definitely memorably stupid and basically egregiously stupid.  Sometimes other people do colossally stupid things too.  So, we’re going to discuss these near-miss Darwin Awards in this series.  I’m even gracious enough to go first…

Image result for darwin awards

A couple of weeks ago I decided to do a juice cleanse. I figured that it would be good for me, and it would jump start my metabolism.  I’ve been trying to lose weight (More Lies – Not really, but I kinda am) and eat healthier.  Truth be told, one of my besties, Dr. Ericka, started eating twigs and leaves… and then one day she was fine as hell.  When did THAT happen?  Say what?  You eat Kale? Quinoa?  And what the hell is “kwi-NO-ah” anyway?  Oh, it’s pronounced “keen-wah”?  Yeah I ain’t eating it.  But, if I can get fine like Ericka, then I will!!!

So, let’s pause to make sure you understand the fundamental element needed to cause good intentions to go horribly wrong (AKA bad life choices that can haunt you forever). If you want to know how you get into the pattern of doing something wrong, it’s so simple.  It’s what the previous generation called “hard-headed”.  COMMIT to the high potential for failure.  OWN your lack of research and information.  You must REFUSE to adhere to any instructions or rules.  Just, you know, go for what you know.  Now if you don’t KNOW anything about what you are trying to do, then guess what? You get this blog.  You might even BE in this blog one day soon.

Step 1: The System Cleanse (AKA “Colon Blow”)

So I decided to start my new healthy kale and quinoa eating habit with a good system cleanse. Many people know the benefits of the sea salt cleanse.  This works.  It always works.  That is key – it ALWAYS works.  You take 2 teaspoons of sea salt, mix it with room-temp water (4 cups) and then CHUG it.  Chug it ALL. … Then you wait… You normally have to wait anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for it to take effect.  And you will KNOW when it does.  This concoction will literally spray-jet-wash the inside of your colon.  You will push out anything between your stomach and your sphincter.  Eventually you will just be farting water.  No… FOR REAL… The abdominal pressure created by sea salt and water is hurricane force REAL.  Therefore, it is ill-advised to move more than 20 feet from your toilet for at least an hour, just to make sure your category 4 bubble gut situation is truly back to normal skies and sunshine.

HERE IS WHAT NOT TO DO…

I chugged my concoction, sat on the couch for about 10 minutes, and then absent mindedly decided to go downstairs to check my mail. My mailbox is about a 3-4 minute round trip in the elevator.  And just as I was getting to the mailbox to open it – KABLAM!  The shit literally decided to hit the fan!!  Well – almost.  With mail in hand, I had to decide what to do.  Do I try to fart-water-jog up the stairs to make my trip quicker?  Or, do I do the slowest ass-clinching walk of all time to the elevator and hope that if I stay still, I can hold it?  I chose #2.  (Ha! See what I did there!?!)

Anyway, I barely make it back into my place to jump onto the toilet. We are talking photo finish here, people.  It was close.  But I made it.

The End…? Of course not.  That hardly qualifies as monumentally stupid…  Surely, I have the ability to reach a Darwin Award level of greatness with my stupidity!  Let’s keep going, shall we?

Step 2: The Smoothie (ahem) Situation (AKA “Metal Mishap”)

I decided that I would purchase some kale and spinach mix and eat salad every day. I would even grab some grapes for snacks, and why not buy the strawberries and mangos and other fruits that I had seen at Smoothie King so I could make smoothies?  I had tried a frozen fruit smoothie at my friend Janelle’s house, so I knew I liked them. (Special shout-out to Paul who makes his wife awesome breakfast smoothies).  Plus, Ericka eats smoothies for breakfast every day with her twigs and leaves which is why she is all fine as hell now.

(Fast Forward One Week)

The frozen fruit is still unopened in the freezer. The kale and spinach mix is looking suspect in the refrigerator, and the grapes are about to go bad.  That’s the problem with organic fruit – It rots.  Wal-Mart fruit lasts for like 2-3 months.  McDonald’s is probably still serving 2012 fruit parfaits.

So I have this bad fruit and suspicious looking salad mix. Let’s mix it all together and make a green smoothie!  Why the hell not?  (*Remember my earlier comment about COMMITTING to the failure…)  A green smoothie will be healthy and keep me from wasting the paycheck I spent to buy organic.  Now, I didn’t research any recipes, read any directions or ask anyone anything about amounts for measuring.  I just pulled out my Hamilton Beach blender that I use for margaritas, put in a handful of kale/spinach, a handful of grapes and tossed in some Ocean Spray cranberry juice (for liquid) before hitting the “smoothie” button on my blender.

The result? It was a lumpy green mess of strange bits and pieces of formerly edible fruits and vegetables.  It was watery and thick at the same time.  Imagine finely ground mulch and freshly cut grass – in a glass.  So that’s what I decided to call it – salad in a glass.  I took a chance and sipped/chewed a bit of it.  And you know what? It wasn’t that bad.  But then I poured it into a glass and realized that I had made about 40 ounces of this salad smoothie concoction.  You just can’t drink a 40 oz smoothie.  You lose all street cred.  That is not the 40 they talk about.  At any rate, I put the rest in the fridge to save for later… And then forgot about it until the following day…

A day and a half later, I open the fridge and see some tri-layered green-brown-clear liquid in the glass. What the hell is this?  Apparently – you can’t “hold on” to a green smoothie.  I tried to stir it up to rekindle my decent experiment from before but…nah.  Down the drain.  There is no “do over” for salad in a glass.  I actually did make another smaller batch because it really did taste alright though.  In the future, this will be how I take all my veggies – pulverized for quick chugging.  I only savor meats and desserts.  I mean, if you are supposed to eat better to be healthy, then eating salad really is like taking medicine, right?

Don’t forget that I’m an engineer and scientist! If at first you don’t succeed, set up another experiment!  The next smoothie I tried was a frozen fruit smoothie.  I’d seen this done before. Well – I’d been nearby when it was done, and that counts for credit.  Of course, I didn’t really pay attention to what making a smoothie entailed.  And remember how I didn’t research any recipes, read any directions or know anything about amounts for measuring the last time?  Yeah, it didn’t occur to me change any of those conditions for this experiment.  (COMMIT to being hard-headed!)

So, I threw in slightly less fruit than a handful, poured out some almond milk to make it creamy (in my mind) and added a touch of stevia because I didn’t trust the fruit to be sweet. What came out of the blender was the best hand-made sorbet ever!  It was SO delicious!!!  And it probably was low calorie, right?  It was just frozen berries, almond milk and water!  YES! We have a winner!  So I poured out a glass – but once again realized that I made too much.  What to do with the rest?  I knew the refrigerator was not an option (See how smart I am!?!)  Well, usually when I make margaritas, I just leave the leftovers in the pitcher and then put it in the freezer.  So, let’s do that.  I’ll come back and eat the rest for dessert!  YAY for healthy desserts!!!

A few hours later, I come back and open the freezer to find a pink rock sitting in the blender. My fruit smoothie was frozen solid.  Why? Because there is no alcohol in this smoothie like there is in my margaritas to keep that pleasant slushy texture.  But I was jonesin’ for something sweet.  I tried to take an ice pick and chip off some smoothie, but that took too long.  So then I tried to run it under the hot water tap, but it burned my hand where I was holding it.

HERE IS WHAT NOT TO DO…

Next, I decided to try and quickly soften the sorbet the same way I soften ice cream – by putting it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. …Yes, you read that right. Yes, it’s what you think.  I put the ENTIRE PITCHER from my blender in the microwave and hit “plus 30”.  FIVE seconds later I remembered, “Hey fool! There are metal blades in the bottom of that pitcher!”

HERE IS WHAT (ELSE) NOT TO DO…

I wanted to make sure that the metal didn’t spark so I got close to the microwave to SEE if I could see it sparking. I wanted to be able to remove it before it exploded.  Now here’s what I didn’t take into account: the spark would BE the explosion.  Not enough reflexes in the world to avoid that.  And my face was inches from the microwave door!  This was monumentally stupid!  Not only did I put metal – SHARP BLADES of metal – in the microwave, I then proceeded to WATCH it up close to see if it would explode!!!  They say God looks out for babies and fools.  Clearly, they are right.  I came to my senses and removed the pitcher, put some hot water inside it, stabbed it with a steely knife (Eagles!) and then ate what ended up being shaved ice.

Now you know why they put warnings on blow driers for you not to use it in the bathtub. It’s for people like me.  Remember – I have THREE college degrees.  I didn’t use a single one of them while I was staring at sharp metal cooking in a microwave!  And I did eventually get my act together and got a nutri-ninja smoothie maker.  No more oversized portions.  No more microwave shenanigans. But just remember – I almost blew my face off trying to melt a strawberry rock.

Rant 53 and I’m out! But, stay tuned for my next installment – How Not To Go Natural.

Joy’s Rant List, Volume 52: I’m Glad I Got That Off My Chest

It’s funny that this rant is volume 52. That used to be the measurement around my upper chest. lol

Well, family, it has been almost 5 months since I had breast reduction surgery. And I told you all that once I was back to normal I would give an update. All I can say is…

I AM DELIVERT!!! I’m not a “J” no more!! I like cotton bras! COTTON COTTON COTTON COTTOSHALAHAMABRAYA!!!

(Side note – if you didn’t get that reference, you need to see this: I’m Not Gay No More)

In my last blog I gave you the rundown of what it was like living with 42-J breasts. It was … not fun. It had its perks but by and large I was suffering under the weight of having large boobs. Literally. They were about 15 pounds. But I had a GENIUS plastic surgeon. Dr. Arturo Armenta – aside from looking like he just left the set of Grey’s Anatomy – worked magic on me. He took out SEVEN POUNDS of breast tissue during the reduction. As a comparison, my godson Jacob was born the same day and he weighed seven pounds. I was literally carrying around the equivalent of twins in my shirt. Dr. Armenta took out HALF my chest – and I am still a DDD. And he was also able to keep the nerve endings alive in my nipples. That is a big deal. In a reduction this large, the surgeon normally can’t save the nipples and they end up just being lifeless decoration. Lifeless. Decoration. Can you imagine going through the next 30 to 40 years of your life with no nipple action?!?!  Dr. Armenta said that although I was not the biggest reduction he’d ever done, I was in the top 5. So here’s how the pre-surgery conversation went…

Me: Okay, look, doc. I really want to go down as small as I can – BUT – without losing feeling in my nipples. Can you do that?

Doc: No promises. I think I can, but it is a real concern. I’m thinking –

Me: Triple D? E?

Doc: (side-eyeing me) More like Double D.

Me: Okay, then let’s just say that I want to be as small as I can be while saving the nipple.

Doc: Um, okay –

Me: Let nipple-saving be the main priority during surgery.

Doc: …Look, I’m going to do what’s best for you. I think you will be happy. But I will do everything I can to save your nipples.

Me: Thank you, Dr. Armenta!! (whisper: wit’ yo’ fine self!)

I was gonna hook him up with my BFF but he’s married. Oh well. I still would recommend him to anyone in the Houston area looking for a good plastic surgeon.

So remember this dress from my “before” rant?

Look how my boob reaches my elbow... Ugh!

Look how my boob reaches my elbow… Ugh!

Well here is me, in the SAME dress, after my surgery.

First night out on the town (with no bra!) Freedom!

First night out on the town (with no bra!) Freedom!

I know right?!? So this is what has happened all through my wardrobe. It’s not that I have dramatically changed my height or weight, but that everything I own now fits the way it’s supposed to. This dress went from ‘sausage stuffing’ to ‘sexy’. My blazers now button, and I don’t rip out the inner linings. I can buy a two-piece suit off the rack. I DID drop 2 dress sizes – mostly because I formerly had to buy larger dresses to accommodate the boobs.

Here is a before and after bra shot.bras

See how the smaller new bra fits completely inside the older bra? Additionally, see how the new bra is PRETTY and the old bra is BLAH!! As soon as I am sure that everything is settled, I am going to go buy all new bras. I couldn’t resist and I bought a couple already.

 

 

So you may be wondering – how was surgery and recovery? Well let me break it down for you month by month.

Month One

Painkillers. Is it time yet to take the next painkiller? Well how much time? That long? Fix it Jesus! I was in pain for the entire month. I am SO thankful to my editor and one of my employees for coming to take care of me. And what’s funny is that before my editor left, she gave specific instructions to my employee like “Don’t talk to her – she will not go to sleep.” And “Don’t bring her anything salty to eat. Fresh fruit only.” Can I tell you I would have given my left ovary for some popcorn?!? LOL! I know it was for my own good though. I healed like a champ. And lost another 10 lbs on top of the surgery! Although, the loss of the giant boobs revealed the hidden gut that was under them. I’ll work that off later. Everything was either numb, or in pain. And my boobs were chunky squares. It was like having two boxes of animal crackers on your sternum. But it got better…

Month Two

The boobs are rounding out. They are more like square pillows now. But. Everything. Itches!!! OMG! All those healing stitches itch like the devil. And remember when I said I wanted to save the nerves in my nipples? Well – they were definitely alive. The left and right nipples were doing their own interpretive dances.

"Birds in the sky... You know how I feel..."

Left Nipple: “Birds in the sky… You know how I feel…”

TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!!

Right Nipple: “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!!”

Every so often – like every 36 seconds – my nipples would erupt into interpretive dance and I would have to rub them to calm them down. Now I know why I was encouraged to take time off from work. I can imagine I would be fired if I showed up in a meeting, and every few minutes I did this:

Farmer Ted

Month Three

Whew! My skin is healing. Even though the itching has abated, now I have to work on controlling the scarring. So every morning and night I am rubbing shea butter into my skin. I was using cocoa butter, but all that did was make me greasy. On a lark, I tried my whipped shea butter by Nature by Design (www.mynaturebydesign.com) and it did in a few hours what store-bought Palmer’s cocoa butter couldn’t do for days. I really think it helped my skin heal faster. Although I continue to look like a pervert as I slap a glob of shea butter into my hands and then rub my boobs for 10 minutes. I look like a low-budget amateur porn star for 20 minutes a day.

In other news – I can work out again. Now I want to try to keep off this roughly 20 pounds that I’ve lost, and get this gut under control. Yoga is a snap now. No more suffocation (I am delivert!)

I went swimming for the first time and – just like the rest of my wardrobe – I now know how this swimsuit is supposed to fit. Apparently it is supposed to COVER my boobs. Who knew? I went from stretch marks on my swimsuit to having (gasp!) extra space up top! LOL! I also can swim easier and faster than I did before. But my stamina has taken a hit. My first day back in the pool, I could only do about 1/8 mile. 8 laps and I was winded. But it felt good to be back!

I also tried push-ups and discovered that I have been doing them wrong my whole life. No wonder I never had good definition in my arms! I wasn’t going all the way to the floor! With roughly 10 inches of breasts in front of me, I was only getting about half-way to the ground before my boobs hit and I would push back up. When I tried my first post-op push-up, my first thought was that if my life depended on my upper body strength, I was a dead woman. And crunches! Now I can reach my elbows to my knees! Boobs were in the way before. I really think I am going to be able to get my sexy back by summer time. I thought I could get it back by my birthday, but fried chicken and wine slowed me down.

The New Me – Finally!

Pssst. Hey. Over here. Guess what?… I’m outside without a bra on!!! For the first time since I was 10 years old, I went outside without a bra on. I’m free!! I can do things other girls take for granted! Special thanks to my ace Ericka Goodwin for my very first ladies’ tee – also known as a babydoll tee. I have never been able to squeeze into one of those – hence all the Hot Topic men’s tee shirts. But she sent me one in the mail and it fit! Praise the Lord, Saints!!

And speaking of clothing – true story: A couple years ago, I had bought these little maxi-dresses for lounging around the house. They are hideous, but they are just for lounging anyway. Well, I bought them because I was excited to finally find a maxi-dress that had room in the bodice for my gigantic 42-J boobs. Fast forward to my post-reduction self. I put my ugly little maxi-dress on and guess what? That was not a ‘bodice’. That elastic was the WAISTLINE. What used to gather right up under my breasts now goes down to my navel – like it was supposed to do in the first place. Who knew? LOL! When I tell you my whole torso was boobs – mannnnn…..

One other thing before I go. I got my swagger back. Those of you who have known me for years know that I had a certain ‘walk’. I lost that walk when my boobs got so heavy that it took all my concentration just to keep my hips and knees in alignment. Now – with the lighter me – I am in ‘full swing’ again! I didn’t realize how much I missed my natural walk until I had it again. I strutted around downtown Houston for a good 20 minutes yesterday, just to see if it was real. And based on a couple of stares, yeah, it’s real. LOL. But the walk is only half physical. The other half is mental. And now that my physical body is able to walk without pain, my mind has re-released my strutting theme song. Yes, I have a real theme song that plays when I walk and it is “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. I got my strut from John Travolta. It looks good on him but better on me. Ha!

Killing it.

Killing it.

 

So – new lease on my wardrobe, new outlook on going to the gym – 2015 is going to be awesome! And I now have what one of my friends dubbed “college titties” because they are lifted and firm again. You know what time it is? Time to STRUT!

Rant 52 done, and I’m out!