Saturday, February 16, 2008

Modern Lovers



My friend Holly (sometimes I think I should rename this blog "my friend holly," as I've mentioned her in several of the posts). Anyway, my friend Holly just gave me the cd The Modern Lovers, Jonathan Richman's fabulous band from the 1970s. With beautiful, beautiful songs like, "Roadrunner," "Girlfriend," and "Hospital," which has such achingly painful lyrics like, "I go to bakeries all day long. There's a lack of sweetness in my life. There is pain inside, you can see it in my eyes." Lines like that really get me, especially because he couples it with, "Now your world it is beautiful. I'll take the subway to your suburb sometime. I'll seek out the things that must have been magic to your little girl mind." Like he feels so broken but he's so hopeful when it comes to love.

Anyway, all of this to say that I love my friend Holly. She's a dear. And, she's pretty, well purtty, really (that's her in the photo). And it makes me so happy to have a friend like her, that likes the same music that I like, has a ridiculous sense of humor, wears really good shoes (is it clear from my posts that I have a bit of a shoe fetish? It should be--here's my latest purchase just in case it isn't), she's fiercely loyal, loves butches, and treats her cats well.  It's awesome, I feel so lucky to know her. And I talk about her a lot to my other friends that I feel equally excited about and, at times, in love with. My friends are great, really, and we've each worked hard to be really good, deep friends with one another. And, most of them (save two) are queer and all (save two others) are women. I LOVE THAT! How f*cking great is that? 

Still, often, the inevitable question about friends like Holly come up when I'm talking about her to other friends or acquaintances. Questions like, "Well, how come you're not dating?" or, "You guys should just be girlfriends," or,  "You should date her, she's pretty." Once or twice I've thought the same, I mean, I did spend Valentine's Day with her. And New Year's. And we drove up and down the coast to LA together. And we send each other texts that say I love you and that I'm so glad that we met. She's great! But, does that mean I have to date her? It is true. I AM so glad that we met. And I do, totally, love her. But, as you know, she's not my not my type. She is. Or her. That's number one.  And number two, I love having her as my FRIEND--don't ask me again. I like her cause she actually likes women. It makes me feel so much better about being a woman to have friends like her that have respect, integrity, and love for other women.  It makes me a little teary actually. Finding women, or people, that actually LOVE women is pretty challenging in this historical moment (that's my academic writing coming in), even on the isle of Lesbos. Everything on television pits women against one another and usually bends us over in swimsuit-like thongs as they do it. Or, we're told over and over that the only relationships that really matter to women are their partners (mostly men), or their children. Friendships fall by the wayside and we often can't remember that we need them, not as an alternative, but as sustenance. I love my friends for that and for reminding me how much I love women and how I want to treat women that I do call my girlfriend. 

But, I want to call my friends my girlfriends too, without the sex (I do enjoy that with the women I do date, I must say. But let's keep those boundaries clear:). I feel the same about my friends Marcia, Jil, and Laura (and Jaime, Nancy, Anna, and Maylei). But do I have to date them? For me, these friendships are love. Real, true, deep love. Maybe even modern love. That's it! We're modern lovers. Like Jonathan Richman. Or Pippin and Merry. In that way, I guess we are girlfriends. Or, as Richman would say, "G-I-R-L-FRE-end. That's a girlfriend, baby. And that's something that I understand."

Friday, February 8, 2008

You Can Hate on Me

Alright, I just saw Jill Scott in concert for the first time. Tonight, February 7th, 2008. In Oakland. One question: where the f*$k have I been?!? It was so much, so full, from start to finish. I loved it, her, the crowd, and me. And, I needed it. I needed her. 

Let me explain. 

My dear *husband* and I got there right as she took the stage--it was truly a date, as his husband went home sick--and I (we) was mesmerized from that moment on. She was beautiful, in her stance, posture, the lighting as it glistened over every inch of her body, her shoes.

I really loved the shoes.

And she wasn't playing. She came to do her thing to the absolute fullest, arms stretched wide, hips wider, shaking her whole self to the music. And it filled me up and made me feel so good I have to share it. I sit here as I write and feel good about my body, my skin, everything. A little turned on? Maybe. Well, yeah. But I'm not going to slip into my bedroom by myself just yet, or at all really. It's a different kind of turn on, one that has been missing or hasn't been reached in a minute, minus a bit of pretense.

See, I've been thinking about Black women a lot lately--in my writing, my teaching, my self. And I'm feelin' us. It's love. Everything, everything about us. The way we look, our hair, our lips, our freckles, our brown, hazel, "light" eyes, our breasts, our asses, our eyeliner, our manicured toenails, our legs, our straight perms. All of it.  And I'm not talking about the "I'm feelin' us, cause I date women and Black women are fine!" kind of way. That's true, but that's easy. It's a bit harder to actually LOVE us, love me, love that woman I saw in the aisle tonight and made eye contact with. And, I haven't been able to truly express that love because it doesn't feel like there's room to. 

Not when people talk to you like they think they are smarter than you. And I'm not talking about colleagues, I'm talking about the woman who serves me coffee. Or students. And she/they might be at times, but why you gotta talk to me like that? Or, when dudes grab your hand as you run for the train just trying to "talk" to you. There is something about this body, my body, Black girl bodies that people think is theirs. Or, at least, is theirs for the taking.

In spite of that, I'm going back to feelin' love. Real love and I'm gonna keep feelin' it. For me and for my girls, my sistas, my peeps. I want to go deeper, all the way with that love, which Jill Scott embodied tonight. As my 'other' friend said, and said it best; Jill Scott is channeling something, something comes through her from a higher place. And it's in me now, coming out and there's no way I can put it back in. And there's more to come. The real thing. 

And you can hate on me, hater.