Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Keeping It Real vs. Keeping It @ Home

A couple of weeks ago, it was a straight up black Friday in the office. At first, Cocoa Girl thought her sense of smell was deceiving her. Yet, two minutes later and two rows over, Girly Girl discovered a plate of chicken wings and a vat of fried rice parading as somebody's lunch. Truth be told, upon first realizing what I was smelling, Cocoa just KNEW some negra had brought her grandmama's fried chicken to the job.

Much to my amazement, the perp wasn't even a Cocoa at all. Matter of fact, the worker wasn't even brown. This Asian cat was tearing up some wings, with nothing but his hands and hot sauce! I know his Korean counterpart, Little Miss Banana, was too through! Not that I would ever admit to agreeing with that chick about ANYTHING, but Cocoa still thinks that some stuff is just better left at home... Whatcha think?


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?

40 comments:

No Limit said...

This is really interesting to me. My two "real" jobs out of college have been working for a black-owned newspaper - where shortening and Louisiana hot sauce were everyday condiments - and now with Germans, who ALWAYS eat at their desks. Sigh. I guess I'll have some shaping up to to do when I come back to the real world. But baggy jeans? Nah, even I know better than that one.

Sangindiva said...

This is why I love you!!
You keeps it SOOOOOO Real :)
PULEEZE- School these fools!

Sangindiva said...

And WHY is there a Popeyes on my corner?
GURL, I'mma eat some today...
and think of you the WHOLE time! hahahaha!

Delaleuverses said...

I found it hilarious when you mentioned about the Asion grubbing on some fried chicken, OMG, that's toooooo funny!

As for Timbs, I see black men at my job wear them on casual days but what I don't understand is don't their feet stink when it's so damn hot outside in the summer?

Great post Miss Cocoa

T. Cas said...

I think my environment is a little different b/c the higher ups are vanilla, but most the employees are cocoa.

When it comes to casual Fridays or weekends, I usually just go without a tie, but still look clean.

When we have the Memorial Day or July 4th cookout, its time to show out. Even then, I still don't do the real baggy jeans and tims thing. Gotta keep it conservative even when everybody else is being flashy.

Maybe I put too much thought in to it, but I'm okay with that.

Knockout Zed said...

First of all, I'm pissed because the only Popeye's in Satan's Anus closed last month!!! Black owned and errthang.

Second, I WAS that ghetto nig with baggy jeans and timbs at the job on casual day, when I was in my early-mid 20s, at an all white firm. Anybody that tried to pull me aside to "straighten me out" was immediately deemed a sellout. I finally realized that I should separate my personal style from corporate style simply to avoid talking to white people about "urban" fashion.

They laugh at me on this job because I don't acknowledge casual days. I'm suited daily.

KZ

Cocoa Girl said...

Hey No Limit - nice to *meet* you.

I find no offense in eating the desk. Besides, it's pretty much standard practice at this point. I'm just like fried chicken in a place full of Jews...nah, kid.

Hey Sangin - You ain't never lied about Popeye's...while I would never bring it to work, I'd surely throw down on it after the gym!

Delaleuverses - Hola and bienvenidos! Girl, you MUST live in NYC. I don't think I've witnessed men wear Timbs in 90-degree weather anywhere else...

T.Cas - In your case, it seems as though your success might also come by way of you standing out from the pack. Depending on how "black" your colleagues at work act, your Vanilla sups might look at you as being "different."

Therefore, do you, like you've been doing. You're a manager, correct? Ya'll are supposed to stick out, anyways...

Cocoa Girl said...

I'm sorry Zeddie...NO POPEYE'S??? Do you guys at least have a Church's?

KFC done gone a little too bourgie, if you know what I mean...

JulieA said...

Great post!

My old job celebrated Juneteenth in the park across the street each year. It was always sort of odd to see a long line of white people lined up for fried chicken, ribs, corn bread and greens. There was one rule though, black folks ate first. I think out here 'Soul Food' is food for everyone, in the office or at home.
I don't live too far from Roscoe's chicken and waffles,and let me tell you, they are up in there, latinos, whites and black folks. At least once a week a group of office workers will go to 'Big Mama's Rib Shack' for lunch, or bring it back to the office. Mind you, there are only 4 of 'us' in the office, and 3 of us have never been there for lunch. :)

Miss Ahmad said...

i was working on a show last summer when we took a break for a crew meal and the sound guy ordered Chittlin's!

in the middle of the damn day!

now i don't eat pork, so i'm certainly not eating no damn pork intestines, nor was i comfortable with the way in which the non blacks were staring and pointing his plate.

I had to ask him to move, 'cuz i didn't want to sit next to him any more!

Supa said...

"contemplated criminal intervention on behalf of The Race"


OMG Cocoa you SLAY me!!!!!!

i like liquor and tv said...

OK I'm hating cause we ain't got NO Popeyes around these parts. The chicken situation in my city is weak.

Casual Friday is only meant for dudes that wear slim fit jeans and penny loafers. Or women who wear tshirts over dress shirts with a long jean skirt.

I remember showing up to work with a piercing on my face. Some people just acted like they didn't see it while others just asked me if it hurt. But my team knows I'm crazy so they weren't suprised. But when we had some big meeting with upper management the following week, I decided to take it out just for those couple of hours. But when I went to put it back in the hole was closed. I was fuming. Sorry I rambled on, but I'm still mad about that.

The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

okay we got a popeye's 'round the corner...say dude was smackin' and lickin his fingas at work at his cube...damn "with nothing but his hands and hot sauce!"...that's funny...ya'll don't have a cafeteria?

P said...

I must admit.

I feel weird eating watermelon, chicken, and any of that stuff in front of folks, just like Miss Ahmad said, 'they' just get this look on thier face.

Dave Chappelle said it best in his "Killing ME Softly" stand up: "Look at them. . .THEY LOVE IT!"

Single Ma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Single Ma said...

LMAO @ the asian grubbin on fried chicken. I wonder if the hot sauce was texas pete? LOL

I gets my grub on. Got a bowl of sliced watermelon on my desk right now! Greedy azzez 'round here don't look and point, they look and ask if they can taste it. Hellz Nah!

Seriously, I'm a very picky eater because there's so much I'm allergic to. I hate sammiches so I usually stick to what I like, which is chicken chicken and more chicken...like Bubba and his shrimp.

Whenever my team plans an outing, they say "hold on, let's ask Single Ma what she wants 'cause you know she's picky." ha!

They got chicken? Yep. Well, I'm in! LOL

Cocoa Girl said...

Hey Juliea - Hmm...have your colleagues ever discussed why three out of four have never eaten lunch at the BBQ place?

Miss Ahmad - I know you're lying. Period. I refuse to believe such. And I was born in Alabama!

Hey Supa!

LQ - No Popeye's? Dang, girl? Ya'll got Rally's, tho, right? The absolute best is Lee's Chicken in Alabama. The sweet tea is insane!

I'm sorry about your piercing. Did any of your colleagues inquiry as to what happened to it - so you could at least complain!

Hey Sarccastik! He might have been smacking and finger lickin' but at least he had the door closed for it!

P - Girl, I feel you. I can eat watermelon on the job, if it's in those little chunks from the cafeteria. But I am not holding a big slice of that ish in my hands in public - ANYWHERE!

Where did the watermelon stereotype come from, anyhow? Was it the cheap fruit? Did black folks grow them a lot?

Sorry, but Cocoa has a ton of questions today!

Cocoa Girl said...

LOL, SingleMa! I just save the chicken for the weekends!

JulieA said...

Cocoa girl, Big Mama's Rib Shack is okay, but since both of my parents are from the south, the food just doesn't taste as good as home cooking. If Mama's is the only soul food you've eaten then you can't taste the difference.:)

Anonymous said...

Juliea,

Big Mama's Rib Shack...You must work or live near Pasadena of Altadena. My hometown

CreoleInDC said...

Hmmmmmmmmm...Me thinks me wants a biscuit. With strawberry jelly smeared cross the top and steam rising when I bite into it. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

I used to work in downtown DC and would always be amazed at what the female government workers wore to work on Thursday's and Friday's to be ready for the club that night. Too much. *sigh*

Knockout Zed said...

Our KFC sucks and there is no Church's Chicken!!!

@Miss Ahmad
That African ordered chitlins? Where the heck wuz y'all ordering from? Everypartofthepig.com?

KZ

i like liquor and tv said...

naw CoCoa, we ain't got not Rally's or Checkers either. We suck. I think there was a Lee's in Huntsville, AL, but I never tried it out.

Suprisingly no one asked where my piercings went.

Zed I agree, KFC sucks. We do have a Church's though, but there's something about those gigantic chicken legs that scare me. And I don't trust no 5 piece for $1.99

Knockout Zed said...

@L and TV
We got a Lee's. I just don't truss it. My old man loooovvvveeeessss Church's. I got a problem with that genetic freak chicken myself. I'd eat the fried okra, though.

KZ

T. Cas said...

@ cocoa - yeah, I'm a manager. But some of them dress anyway they want to. I try to stick out in a pack.

@ everyone who eats Church's - that is the nastiest chicken in the world. Only thing good there are the biscuits. LOL

Cocoa Girl said...

Juliea - LOL @ Big Mama's name, but I feel you. My fam is from Bama and these folks in NYC swear by some crappy BBQ. They just don't know any better, that's all...

Anon - P-Town in the house! Or, whatever it is they call Pasadena...

Creoleindc - I love Popeye's biscuits, but I always feel a little stereotypical standing in line at that place, especially when on 125th & St. Nick. Just saying...

Zed - Dude, I never liked Church's...you must try Lee's...

LQ&TV - And I don't trust no 5 piece for $1.99...

LOL!!!! Aren't you in GA? How is it possible that you don't have a Rally's or a Lee's?

T.Cas - You go, homey!

Miss Ahmad said...

Cocoa and KZ I promise you the dude ordered Chittlin's with greens on the side or some shit, proceeded to eat them and then fall asleep on the job.....

he was just that kinda African!

The kind who was lusting after the 16 year old talent, and chasing after every white woman he came in contact with, ordering chittlin's that his mamma didn't cook.....

but I'll give him this, the mofo could dress:-)

Anonymous said...

My question is this.. Why when you eat fish at work, Fried or otherwise, why does someone always ask "Is that fish?" That comment is followed by "It smells like fish". I usually say, What is it supposed to smell like?....

Cocoa Girl said...

Miss Ahmad - Truly unbelieveable, just living up to every stereotype of the black man.

Anon - That could be the 8th wonder of the world...so true, astute. And, nah, I don't have the answer:)

i like liquor and tv said...

No I'm in North Carolina right now. We ain't even got no Krystals. We got a LOT of fast food places here, but none of the gully ones.

Single Ma said...

Hey Cocoa, check out this this MSN article. "What NOT to Wear to Work," it reminded me of your post. LOL

Single Ma said...

Oops, do over!

This article!

Single Ma said...

Dayum! Neh'mind!

*stomping away*

dpm said...

This shit is funny! I actually work with Cocoas and any given Tuesday or Wednesday or you guess a day, they'll be frying catfish in the kitchen, cooking mash potatoes, roasting chickens etc...

I rarely eat it, but I love that we can do so.

And I aint mad at the brotha rocking baggy jeans either. You gotta bust out on Whitey er' now and then. Just to let them know who they f**%ing wit!

solitaire said...

Ain't no Popeyes out here in Western Canada and it has a sista seeing RED! And I REFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE to eat KFC. Damn them! Trans fats fools!

Anyway - baggy jeans, grown Black men... WHOMP WHOMP. (sounds the buzzer)

IT'S GOTS TA GO!

beautyinbaltimore said...

You can not be "hood" all of the time. When you are in the office you must behave in a certain manner. Check me out if you have the chance. beautyinbaltimore.blogspot.com

Errata said...

cocoagurrrl!,

I heart you very very much. we share too many same sentiments and your individual LINGO too! haaa

where my dowgs at! LOL

Im glad I got to read this, I was starting to think maybe I was uppity or some nonsense. I have a negroe in the office committing many mentioned sinneries against the race, he even greeted a 'suit' with HEY YO WASSUP WHASSUP (???)
..I lost my wind.

Kenny said...

Wow, I must say that Al Reynolds picture is the funniest thing I have seen yet! ahhaha.. good thing im not on someone's job otherwise i'd surely get weird stares for laughing hysterically

Cocoa Girl said...

Hey everyone -

Sorry, but Cocoa is just now coming back to this one...

Kenny - That G'Al Reynolds joint is the sheer hotness!

Errata - Truth be told, your company probably loves that dude more than you.

Stereotypical black, black folks have a way of making (ahem) others feel comfortable.

Channel - I will check you out for surely! Thanks for stopping by.

Soli - You are TOO crazy, girl.

DPM - Long time no see, brotha? You must be scared for your waistline up in that joint, huh?

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. »