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?