Wednesday, November 18, 2009


There is no more rigorous a test of a relationship, especially a new one, than the holidays. We've all starred in our personal Home Alone movie and not always by choice.
I, Yvette, would like to share an experience I had last Thanksgiving. I had been dating someone for about five months. The closer we got to what would be our first major holiday, the more uncomfortable I became. I wanted to ask him what plans he had but I thought I'd put him on the spot. I should have had an idea because I hadn't met any of his family. Not even the cousin he frequently spoke about.

After asking a few friends what I should do, I decided to woman up and ask. "Knowledge is power," I told myself.

"What are your plans for Thanksgiving?" I asked during a phone call. He laid out his plans, they did not include me.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Nothing", I answered, casually.


A few days later, we had dinner. It was awkward, conversation was stilted and all attempts were made to avoid talking about turkey. At the end of the evening, as I got out of the cab he said he'd call. The day before Thanksgiving, the call morphed into an email wishing me a happy one. Guess he didn't read our post, 'What's Up With Diss Email."

Oh, well I learned a lesson. This wasn't a 'love at first sight' relationship so there wasn't a mad rush to show me off to his family. He'd met mine, it was my birthday celebration. I never considered leaving him out. And in our family, we don't think the next sound you hear will be wedding bells just because you met some of us.

Holidays are simply holidays, to be enjoyed and not to be used as tools of disengagement. What did I learn? I should have asked sooner. I should've lowered my expectations based on his actions. Five months and no introduction to close friends or family? I don't think he was rude for not including me in his holiday plans, the email was. He should've manned up and picked the phone up.

Commitment or lack of isn't a social grace but how you handle it is. Maybe some of us are just too hot to handle. Ha!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We say they’re going down, especially in our hometown of New York City. What is it about New Yorkers who treat other New Yorkers like the Invisible Man, Woman or Child? How about a nod or a basic greeting, something more humane than walking onto an elevator and distributing the silent treatment?

Cell phones and BlackBerrys don’t help. Now, there’s really no reason to recognize anyone else, we’re too busy fielding phone calls and answering emails. Neighbors think nothing of getting on an elevator and holding conversations as if they’re the only ones on it. At the very least, a whispered, “Excuse me,” says plenty. It says, “I know this is rude to hold a conversation that has nothing to do with you and is invasive to the space we’re in.” Of course, if your phone rings during the ride it’s not your fault, you can either answer it so that the ring doesn’t become a Muzak tune or you can turn it off or answer it and quickly say, “I’ll call you back.”

Babies and their state of the art strollers rule. However, most caregivers and parents are usually very nice about acknowledging the space they’re about dominate as you’re squished into a corner. They’re also more apt to greet you - there’s something you can take to the first floor. But as these babies grow, parents will often let them practice their first steps getting on and off the elevator, this is fine as long as no one else is on it or waiting for one. Otherwise, there’s nothing much to do about precious moments like these except grin and bear it.

Getting off the elevator is another trip. Babies and their equipment get off first, then women and the elderly and then everyone else. In a rush to get off, no one thinks about the doors closing in the face of ‘everyone else’.

“I don’t like it when someone treats a public elevator as if it’s their private elevator” a friend pointed out. She explained that there’s nothing more annoying than someone on the elevator holding the doors open while having a conversation with someone off the elevator. That’s as bad as the person who can’t fathom waiting for another elevator so he/she slices in between the doors with their hand just as the doors were closing and everyone else who waited fair and square were thinking they were on their way.

Speaking of conversation, how soon we forget when an elevator works efficiently. We’re talking about ungrateful riders who get on and when they realize they’re on a functioning elevator as it stops for others as it stopped for them, they say, “Local,” as if the elevator did something wrong. Poor elevators and poor us if we get stuck on this one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Being twins, we’re used to questions. We’ve been asked them all from “Are you identical?” to “Which one is the evil twin?” Call us sensitive when it comes to some questions, but when a question makes you wince then it’s probably the kind that’s trying to peg your social status, your financial status, your love life, etc. Below are some that pass the wince test. (Please note that some of these questions are perfectly acceptable depending on how well you know the person who’s being questioned.)

1. Do you all have the same father? Families today, don’t look like they used to with overseas adoptions, interracial marriages and extended families. There’s no need to ask a question like this except if you are a doctor inquiring about a family’s medical history.

2. What does your wife/husband do? Just because a man is wearing a wedding band doesn’t mean he’s married to a woman. The same goes for a woman.

3. Are you two married? Asking a couple about their marital status could be uncomfortable if they’re not married and one of them would like to be.

4. How old are you? This age-old question stirs up all kinds of emotions after age ten. The only ones who can get away with it are doctors, lawyers and forgetful parents.

5. Why were you in the hospital? If you don’t know that means you don’t know the person well enough. And maybe they don’t want to talk about their hemorrhoid operation.

6. How big is your farm? This is another way of asking, “How much land are you rich enough to own?”

7. Did your son/daughter get a scholarship? This question could rub someone wrong for a couple reasons. One, it’s an underhanded way of inquiring about someone’s finances. Two, it’s a sly way to find out how smart or talented their kid is.

8. Is he/she gay? Who wants to know and why? This question is usually used as a tool to label someone. It’s also usually asked when a person’s sexual preferences have nothing to do with the conversation or situation at hand.

9. I love your ring, how big is it? We can understand the curiosity of knowing what two or three carats look like but are those dollar signs we see in that bubble over your head?

10. Do you mind my asking how much rent do you pay? Unless you’re a financial institution or offering to pay someone’s rent, don’t ask.