Thursday, January 26, 2006

Keepin' it real vs. keepin' it at home?

Quiet as kept, I’m really a little bourgeoisie and just don't let down my ghe(tto)-dar too often, ESPECIALLY when at work. Now, before you go getting all po'd at me, let me assure you that it's NOT that I believe everyone at work should resemble the person in the cubicle next door. Rather, it's more so that I KNOW the office powers-that-be expects everyone on the job to, well, to resemble the person in the cubicle next door. Unfortunately, it’s a game that we all must play when working in Corporate America, and while workers DO have a right to be pissed about it, let’s first ask ourselves: If a sistah never spots any of cubicle cohorts rocking talon-length manicures with panoramic scenes of South Beach - IN a white bread office - then why on earth would she go into work wearing that H.A.Mmy mess??? And, trust me, many of them rock the nail decals, too. They’re just savvy enough to cop a bottle of that good stuff before reaching the office on Monday morning!

But, hey, who I am to be judgmental? Fresh out of college and at job #1, I was broke but managed to maintain a penchant for eating out every meal of the day (I know: whole 'nother blog!). So, I, along with the two other resident black chicks always dined in at this cheap-a$$ fried-fish joint around the corner from work. BUT I nevah – I repeat, NEVAH! - brought that stuff back to the office. Why not? I was fully aware that neither my JAP, fabu Brit gay-guy, old-monied, or new-money bosses would have found that move too cute! They were snobs, but I knew this from day one, so I always proceeded accordingly. I also had enough sense to know that fried imitation crabmeat had no place alongside eel rolls, Edamame OR my promotion! Some things have always been just a matter of common sense to me, which pretty much explains why I was shocked by the (Afro-American?) antics of the only straight, black male to ever work for our supa-white P.R. firm. Brother obviously wasn’t up on G'Al Reynolds' tips for being "ethnic" on the weekends

1. TIMBS. Yes, as in the boots. If you work at a Manhattan public relations firm, where 85 percent of the office is female and 90 percent is white, you should not/cannot/must not wear Timberlands to the office on casual Fridays. This rule should be even more apparent when said white women at work find it okay to comment, “Oh, [Cocoa Boy] you dress SO cool. We were just talking about how you look like you just stepped off the cover of Vibe magazine.”

2. POPEYE’S. Every day, I shrank in disbelief as, every day, I watched homey lug that blue, red and yellow logo’ed plastic bag into the office. A sistah knew (all too well, ya’ll!) what lay ahead. Dude would even rip off a piece of box and empty onto it ‘bout 55 ketchup packets to create a mountain of “sauce” for his spicy legs and biscuit. Folk, if you have never seen or smelled shortening, Louisiana Hot or anything fried in your office – especially if the two 85 and 90 percent reasons above apply - leave yo’ sh!t of similar persuasion at home, or in the “restaurant!"

3. BAGGY JEANS. At one point during his brief tenure with the firm, a sister got so fed that I even contemplated criminal intervention on behalf of The Race. Why on earth did this Cocoa Boy think he could roll up in the office channeling the likes of Chingy and T.I. when all the other males were khaki'ed out like Bob Saget?

QUESTION: How have you - or another employee - ever let the 'black out' while on the job?



HarlemSongstress said...

Oh no gurl--gotta keep ALL activites that so much as come close to resembling a stereotype under wraps. Now catch me at home that's a different story-lol Obviously that man needed to sign up for 1)The Unspoken Rules: Learning Your Office Culture 101 and the 2)IceBerg Theory 80/20: How It Relates To Corporate America seminar! Praise GOd for big brother/sister programs that are designed to help young adults learn proper ettiquetee and how to conduct yourself in corporate America...

Cocoa Girl said...

WOW...I didn't know about any of those things. It's no wonder why in the beginning I could never keep a job...LOL!

Since harlemsongstress didn't want to fess up, I'll start... My few 'black at work' moments always involved liquor, music and gay white men! A terribly fun yet deadly combination!

HarlemSongstress said...

Ok Cocoa G--I'm putting my own self on blast! Let me say this first--I CAN spell...I JUST CAN'T TYPE!lol So let's pretend I spelled "etiquette" correctly in my first entry-lol :)

The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

oh my god...does he still have a job there? know everytime ya'll seen him...ya'll were like..."this mofo crazy"....everybody ain't got hometraining....that's what my mom would say....that's funny....ya'll need to pull him to the side, and let him know what's the deal (assuming he's still working with you)...good post

Single Ma said...

I tend to be a little more conservative at work than I am at home and in the company of my people, but aren't we all. I agree with you about the Timbs and baggy pants because that is not appropriate for office attire. Some people confuse "casual" Fridays with "chilling-at-the-house" Saturdays".

However, I gotta play devil's advocate on the food. I don't particularly care for Popeye's chicken so I can only imagine what ole boy looked like tearing off the lid to hold his "sauce" (by the way, dat wuz funny). But I eat what I like to eat and can care less what anybody in my office thinks. I don't "eat out" often (not part of my budget and aint goin broke to maintain an image), so I'll bring a barbecue sammich loaded with hot sauce and vinegar right quick and dare da mofos to look at me wrong.

Somebody need to tell them that black folx don't eat things if it don't look done so STOP asking us to taste sh!t all the time. Just like I said when you brought that sh!t to work last week, Hellz 2 da Naw!!

Cocoa Girl said...

LOL...SM. They do ALWAYS ask to for a "taste," after oogling us like we're out of our got-damn minds, mind you.

Sarcas - he actually only lasted at that job (surpise, surpise) 3 months. LOL

Supa said...

Great post, CG! LMAO @ the popeye's chicken and ketchup mound! And some of my ghetto-ass co-worker bring back FRIED FISH for lunch, and eat it in the office. That is the WORST. Gotta love it.

I tend to keep my ghetto actions at a respectable minimum while at the C.S.S., yet there has been a time (or two) when I had a personal phone call and I ended up letting out one of those big, raunchy laughs, or a heartfelt "guurrrllll, no!" when some bit of scandalous info came from the other end...Hey, I have my own office, but a sista can get a tad loud. lol

But still - I don't mind being a proud black woman at the job (after all, that's who I am), but I do shun the GHETTO actions in my midst. :)

Get ready for this one...sometimes we walk in on our cleaning crew playing dominos on the job. lol

Cocoa Girl said...

LMBAO - I didn't even know that folks STILL played Dominoes!!! Let alone on the job! Now, that ish is hilarious!

Thanks for checking me!

Supa said...

Hey, thanks for giving me the heads up on Oprah and The Memoirist. I'm at home for the rest of the week. I'll be watching!!!!!

PS - Girl, bones (dominoes) are still BIG out here on the West Coast!

Cocoa Girl said...

I know...I remember the line:

"Domino, muthaf@cker!"
Doughboy, Boyz N' Da Hood

U didn't know, I knew bout all that, huh???

LOL said...

Sometimes I can get a little ghetto with my hair. I had a (fake) mohawk a few weeks back, but come monday, I had to curl those edges over to make it look like only one side of my hair was twisted up and the rest was layed to the side. I do love the color in my hair too, but cherry cola red is as far as I have gotten.
I figure, I want the part, so I WILL play the part.

Cocoa Girl said...

TJ - you are a trip! I would never have thought to save my mohawk in such a fashion. I probably would have busted out a wig...oh, wait a minute...I already have worn one to work!!! LOL

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