Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ms. Doctor.

I was walking near the hospital entrance today and saw three young brothers standing out front talking and laughing in the sunshine. One was slender with long locs rolled into an afrocentric hipster man-bun. He was animated and talking with his hands. Another was short and stout with flawless espresso skin and a close cut fade haircut. His mouth was gleaming with gold teeth. The third fellow was leaning on the wall chuckling in response to his comrades. His dancing eyes were a beautiful shade of amber and his nose was dusted with freckles.

They were beautiful. Seriously, they were. They greeted me in deference as I passed by.

Manbun: "Hey Ms. Doctor."
Me: "Hey gentlemen. You guys doing alright?"
All: "Yes, ma'am."
Me: "That's great. Have a good day, gents."
They smiled and all said it again: "Yes, ma'am."

I liked the way they all called me ma'am. Even though hearing it always jolts me out of this frozen-in-time idea in my head that I'm forever thirty years old, something about hearing it said in my direction feels maternal and special. I always return the favor, greeting the young men I see around Grady as "gentlemen"-- no matter who they are. Just like I do my own sons.


I could immediately tell they weren't being fresh. Just pleasant and respectful toward a woman that they saw as--dare I say it? An elder.

Gasp. An elder.


As I walked by, I admired the vast variations in blackness that each of them represented. All so different yet clearly unified in this cultural thread that weaved them all together.

And me with them.

Manbun reached for the door when I got to it and held it open. Just then I noticed that all three of them had their pants hanging nearly to their mid thighs. At first I was going to ignore it but then I decided to use my elder license instead.

Sure did.

Me: "Now you know I don't like seeing my three handsome little brothers standing out here with their pants falling down. Pull up those britches, gentlemen."

And yes. I said "britches."

You know what happened next? All three of them immediately pulled up their low slung jeans up over their hips. And all of them mumbled apologies and words like "my bad" and such.

Me: "Who y'all here to see?"
Manbun: "Our homeboy."
Me: "Is his mama there, too? Did she have to see what I just saw?"


Me: "If she is there, I know she don't want to see your whole behind hanging out of your jeans."

And yes. I said "whole behind."

Manbun: "Ha ha ha we hear you, Auntie."
Me: "Okay, but for real--what's the deal with your entire butt and drawers hanging out of your pants?"
Them: *looking at each other with amusement*
Me: "I'm serious, y'all!"
Freckle face: "It's just the style, I guess."
Me: *old lady scowl* "A style that makes  it where you walking like a penguin?" *shaking my head playfully*


Me: "Okay, gentlemen. Let me go in here and do my job."

*laughter as I walked through the door*

Manbun: "Hey Ms. Doctor!"

I turned around from the door and looked back. All three of them were standing in a row with their pants pulled all the way up and holding them at the waist. They all had these goofy, exaggerated smiles that reminded me of my own sons. Then we all burst out laughing.

I waved my hand at them and walked away shaking my head and smiling.

I told my team on rounds today: "If you stay with someone long enough, you'll always find a place where you intersect. Always."

No-- I don't like the sight of sagging jeans. At. All. And honestly? I'm not a huge fan of gold fronts either.

But I also don't like that video game Fortnite.
Or the random YouTube gamers I have to hear about nonstop from the backseat of my minivan.
Or dinner table discussions about Fortnite skins and virtual outfits for video games.


But what I DO have is a soft spot in my heart for goofy sons with silly smiles. And beautiful brown manchildren with knotty hair and easy slang who hold doors and also poke fun at me and each other. Just like the ones that stood outside of that hospital entrance today.

And just like the ones that came from my own body.




  1. I’m so glad you spoke to those young men and equally important, I like the way you did it. If we don’t stand in the gap for our sisters in correcting/ helping their sons, no one will.
    They may not always keep their “ britches” up, but they will never forget that interaction. The fact that a lady doctor spoke to them and corrected them in a kind, maternal way.
    We all need to speak up more because we ARE our brothers and sisters keepers.
    Keep up the good job of keeping it real and showing your community real love.

  2. I love how reading this makes me feel warm

  3. How can I just smile and smile at you? I LOVE THIS.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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