Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

You Nice For A Black Girl

"When the world gets in my face I say have a nice day."
--Bon Jovi

My soror came to LA to celebrate my thirrr...thirrrt...*cough, cough* birthday. You get the point. Anyway, I stopped at the post office to pick up my mail before heading to Santa Monica for dinner and drinks. I'm in the car looking over my birthday cards with the window rolled halfway. My soror nudges me and quickly whispers, "Roll up the window." This older dude, about 50, rolls up on his bike to my car. He looked rough around the edges. Not the kinda rough where I thought my life was in danger, but I could tell he's lived a hard life. He notices I'm in a brand new car.

Dude on Bike: Your car so shiny and bright.
Me: Thanks. Then I go back to reading my mail hoping he'll go away.
Dude on Bike: I wash cars.
Me: Okay.
Dude on Bike: Can I wax your car?
Me: Not now.
Dude on Bike: Well can I wax that ass?

Yes girl he went there. I could've told him to take his left handle bar and stick it, but I didn't. Without thinking I replied, "You have a nice day" and went back to looking at my birthday cards. Out the corner of my eye, I saw a look of embarrassment bloom on his face. I could tell he felt real small. He apologized a number of times. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to disrespect you. I'm really sorry." Then he rode away. What did he expect me to do? Drop MF and N-bombs, move my neck and talk about his mama? Afterall, that's what us "angry black women" do. He deserved to get cussed out after what he said to me. But my reaction didn't fit the stereotype he was after. I didn't get all Shenaynay on him and he didn't know how to handle it. Even if I was hood, I still deserve respect. His nasty comment bothered me a bit because, if you read this blog, you know I can't stand to see brothas disrespecting sistas.

Sometimes I feel that the negative stereotypes of black women has been endorsed more within the black community than mainstream society. How many times have we heard some brothas say they don't date sistas because we're all mean, gold digging, bad-attitude carrying women? Not all sistas are mean. Just like all Asian women aren't docile and all Latinas aren't firery and highly-sexed. A few years ago I was in Oakland checking out jewelry from a street vendor. The vendor was a brotha, looked to be in his 50's. We started talking about news, life, etc. At the end of our talk he says, "You're nice for a black woman. If I had met a black woman like you years ago I wouldn't be dating Asian women." I can't remember what I said. I'm sure I was thinking WTF?. I don't know who he dated to make him jaded about sistas but what's sick about his comment is I think he saw it as a compliment.

That incident was not the only time a black man has said that to me. That belief about black women, I think, is one reason why so many of us have been pushed over to the unmarried category. It's probably the same reason why this white dude I met at a bar was shocked when my soror told him she was a doctor and I had a master's degree. He probably would've had a stroke if I didn't have rhythm. LOL. Seriously, it's frustrating that I'm automatically labeled Miss Bad Attitude or Miss Baby's Mama before opening my mouth. It's bad enough when it's coming from someone non-black. But even worse when you're own people are prejudging you.

It's funny. The older I get the more I really understand why people like James Baldwin and Josephine Baker sought out places where they just could be themselves. A place where they could just be Josephine and James and people didn't automatically make assumptions based on their black skin. I'm not saying Europe is a raceless heaven because I know from experience that's not true. But why can't I just be a cool lady instead of a "nice black woman"? In our "post-racial" society when can I just be? Me.


  1. Miss Jenee, I don't always comment on your articles, but I love reading them. Articles like this one deserve a reread every now and then.

  2. Thanks Wax! I appreciate that you came back for a re-read. Your compliment made my day. Thanks for the support.


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