The art of letting go
You know you're old when you don't mind forgetting stuff. When your brain simply doesn't have the real estate for new people, products or past mistakes, overpopulated as it is with what really matters, like the extended version of The Fresh Prince theme song and your iPhone password.
With a year's selection of cringeworthy moments, from celebrity catfights to the Kardashian takeover of the universe (formerly known as Kanye West), I'm all for a little cerebral cleansing. So as 2013 creeps up on us, I'm letting go of bad memories right along with the requisite bad habits. Visions of reality show sugar daddies will no longer dance in my head, because it's out with "ratchet" and NSFW and in with what's actually suitable for work.
Because honestly, what can the image of Erykah Badu's sister's glittery booty cheeks do for me in 2013? I'm sure I can refund the five minutes I spent watching Badu and her body double luxuriating in a bath of what appeared to be blood for something more productive, like cleaning out my own tub. Bedazzled naughty bits are the last thing I want to see flashing before my eyes as 2012 comes to a disco ball close.
As a general rule, OPVs (other people's vaginas) aren't what I'm about in the dub-one-tre. What deposits go in or out of another woman's lady wallet isn't any of my business, despite popular and political opinion to the contrary.
I'm looking at you, Stevie J and Rep. Todd Akin, two men who couldn't be more different when it comes to just about everything—or more alike when it comes to side-eye-inducing statements about a woman's right to choose.
In a move that had reproductive rights doing a reverse running man, the Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Casanova de la Ghetto told his pregnant mistress, Joseline, "You're supposed to handle this off the rip. Right?" My eyes deserve reparations for the labor of watching Mr. J and Jose-line's tacky telenovela. In 2013 I'm swearing off all the vile minions of minstrelsy.
Of course tomfoolery isn't confined to cable TV. The embattled Republican congressman from Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin, decreed 2012—A.D., not B.C.—The Year of the Dumdum when he told a local TV interviewer that in cases of "legitimate rape," a woman would not conceive because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Now "shut that whole thing down" is a punch line I wish was down for the count. Every time someone says it, a rape whistle loses its zing.
As the starting bell rings for the New Year, I'm coming out the corner to knock out the noncontroversies that have gotten more play time than Chad Johnson is likely to see again. First up: the nonexistent hullabaloo over Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas's hair, which according to "the media" Black women couldn't wait to hate on. But where were are all these scrunchie-snatching sistas foaming at the mouth? I don't know those ladies, and I'm pretty sure they only exist in the mind of a lazy social media intern who was late for lunch before pitching the "Black Women? Still Angry!" story.
On the heels of Ponytail-gate came Serena Williams's homegrown heel-toe, more commonly known as the Crip walk, performed after winning Olympic singles gold. Some deemed Serena's happy dance inappropriate and classless; sports writers rushed out the gate to prove that opinions can be like free expired birth control— tempting but probably not worth the angst. Can't one of the best athletes in forever get her Compton on every now and again?
Really, when it comes to leaving the products of your environment back at the house, no two women should have learned that lesson better than Kiana Howell and Makeeba Graham. Both women allegedly rocked the latest in cocaine coiffure while attempting to smuggle drugs from Guyana through New York City customs—in their hair weaves. Is this what Madam C.J. Walker fought for? Now when anyone innocently asks to "touch your hair," you should probably ask for a warrant. I'm not here for that, 2013.
In truth, wigs might aid in bad decision making. Just ask Nicki Minaj, who, while sporting a Kool-Aid-colored headpiece, decided to unleash a tirade against her fellow American Idol judge Mariah Carey. You know keeping it real has really gone wrong when Dame Barbara Walters calls you out from her throne on The View. Let's hope dahling Nicki will swear off too-tight toupees next year.
If the forgettable moments of 2012 have taught me anything, it's that there is absolutely no place to hide in the endless Twitter ticker of silliness. But as the bad news piles up (Tyler Perry Defends Kardashian Casting!), the good news (Issa Rae Gets a Network Sitcom Deal!) gets buried beneath the crushing weight of so many SMHs and WTFs. Here's hoping that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, like a hypnotist snaps her fingers, we can pretend all this never happened.
Helena Andrews is the author of the essay collection Bitch Is the New Black (Harper), which has been optioned by Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes.
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