Thursday, February 24, 2011


"Mommy?" she said timidly. "I saw that picture of the lady."

"Oh?" I said, continuing with some mundane task. "What picture?"

"That one with the lady." She gestured vaguely to her chest. "When she was doing this." She put one hand behind her head in a pin-up girl-ish pose.

"A lady? She was standing like that?" Forget the mundane task. Now I'm paying full attention.

"Yeah. It was a lady." Her hand is in her chest area again. "But she was lying down. Like this." She showed me the pose again.

"Hmmm. And what was she wearing?"


"Oh." Let's see . . . I don't often fancy naked pin-up girls; my son is three years old, and, while he might very well be interested in naked ladies, having been an avid connoisseur of breast milk, isn't likely to have found any in his Lightening McQueen coloring books. That leaves Daddy, now doesn't it? Has this *%#@! taken leave of his mind?! What is going on?! "Um. Wear did you see this picture again?"

"In your bathroom. What was she doing?"

"In my bathroom? Are you sure?"

"Yes. She didn't have a shirt on. It was a pink paper."

"Ooooooohhhhh." Just like that, Daddy's life is spared. "That's a card from the doctor. It helps ladies by showing them how to check for lumps or bumps so they don't get sick. It's from the doctor. That's all." It was a breast self-check card. Oh my.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Don't Mess With the Hair

There seems to be a lot going on with Black women's hair this week.

First, there is Justin Bieber and his lack of education about indiscriminate touching. He reaches out to touch Esperanza Spaulding's hair during an interview with her. This is a bad move. As I am continuing my own hair evolution (I'm rocking kinky twists now) I can attest that most Black women I know--and actually, some Latina women I know as well--do not appreciate when white people, especially men, touch our hair. That goes double when they don't even ask. It feels like petting. A dog. I often wonder why the thought even arises. Is it because my hair's just so "weird" or what? What will touching it tell you?

Then there was Iyanla Vanzant's return to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" after her abrupt departure 11 years ago. One of the most intriguing revelations to me was that Barbara Walter's folks immediately demanded a change to Iylana's ethnic hair styles (and her clothes) when they produced Iyanla's show. "It's too harsh for TV" they told her. Of course, it had not been too harsh for the months and months when Iyanla was turning into a star on Oprah's show. So she let them straighten it in order to curl it. Even Iyanla admitted that this was a foolish move.

Then there's this weirdness about Beyonce Knowles, who is being accused again of lightening up. I can't attest to its validity, but it's disturbing.

I'm not sure I even have a comment about all of this, but I think it's all worth a second thought.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It Happens Every Year

It seems to come in cycles. First, I realize that job postings will soon be released. So I search them. Then realize that people are interviewing. I hope for one. Then I realize that other people are planning for the next year. I wonder if I should, too. It all feels so uncertain.

It's easy to get caught up in the joy of teaching and planning and pretend that I'm fixed in the office I love, working with the students who challenge me, thinking of the possibilities for the future. But the truth is that it's all very temporary. I'm temporary.

So, now I'm reading So What Are You Going to Do With That? Again. I'd love to just to keep doing what I'm doing, where I'm doing it. But with some stability and, you know, some remote possibility of tenure. Ever.

And I guess I'm going to add "Have an unexpected, exciting career" to my life list. I hear the circus is coming to town. Maybe that will be the ticket . . . .