I distinctly remember that in high school a friend invited me to tag along with her to a family barbeque. It was a no brainer of course. Go hang out and score free food, I was in. As we pulled up to the massive house in New Jersey, my Logan raised mind thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” I instantly felt inadequate and though I was most often at the top of the bougie totem pole in my surroundings, I knew this may be something different. It was in that moment that I knew I was not fully bougie like I may have originally thought, but intermediate.
Growing up I always stuck out in my neighborhood. At the time, Logan in Philadelphia wasn’t a super bad neighborhood, but let’s just say that currently I may be slightly afraid when visiting my parents. But either way, when I was young, it was definitely still an inner city neighborhood and most of my friends were from slightly rougher upbringings than myself. I was one of the only ones with both parents in the household. My dad made a pretty good living and I went to all the magnet schools that Philadelphia had to offer.
All that to say, I felt like a pretty well-rounded, educated little black girl who may have even been deemed bougie by her neighborhood counterparts – that was well, before this cookout. The barbeque is where I actually stared bougie in the eye and realized that I was more like Regine from the projects and was thrown straight into the arena of “We vacation in the Hamptons” type kids.
They were all very nice people, let me say that. So there is no shade about having a nice home and a packed out barbeque. But these cousins and their friends were something I was totally oblivious to. They were flipping their hair and so stoked about their upcoming Hampton matriculations. Nothing against Hampton but I got slightly worried about my own impending Hampton application if these were going to be my peers.
So essentially, I was bougie compared to my neighborhood friends but my little boug was no match for them and that has pretty much been the story of my life. I never really fit in at the ends of the spectrum and just fell somewhere in between. I didn’t fit in in the hood because I was told I spoke proper and was too smart. (What a dumb thing to be teased about right?) Yet, I felt completely inadequate when introduced to the Jack and Jill clique.
Ultimately though, being exposed to many facets of people, races, settings, etc. have definitely helped make me even more of a well-rounded person. I pride myself on being able to adapt to different situations. I flow pretty seamlessly from professional to slightly ratchet. Though I don’t think that extreme corporate America and I could ever really get along. I work in a company but I work in music. Somewhat corporate but not like sales corporate. Anyway, I digress.
That barbeque was literally like a wake-up call for me. Who were these people? Haha! And why did I feel absolutely no draw to want to really be like them? Yes I want to achieve certain success and eventually have a big house with barbeques, but I never want to be those folks. So I guess intermediate bougie is just my thang and I’m cool with that.
Is there no space for the intermediate bougie? Where do they convene? Are there meetings? If so, I am down to attend.
Photo is originally from Very Smart Brothas. Their t-shirt without the intermediate was available on their site.