Ladies…is an urban adventure of friendship, style and substance whose characters jump from the pages written by this generation’s Truman Capote – Phillip Bloch
Last week, you met Vikki and this week I’d like to introduce you to Krissy. Krissy is probably my favorite character in the book and she was so much fun to write. Hope you love her as much as I do! Ladies Who Lunch & Love is a novelization of the Essence magazine column I wrote for nearly five years, “The Girl’s Best Friend.” Cheers!
Ladies Who Lunch & Love will be available on Tuesday, August 11th.
Chapter 3 – Hedging Her Bets (Meet Krissy – Excerpt)
The unique click-clack of six-inch stilettos walking up the steps of my apartment hallway got louder and louder. It was undeniably the signature sound of Krissy. It was the signal that a good time was in store. Krissy is always a popped Champagne bottle bursting with life. She’s the number dialed when it’s time to shake the world off. If fun had a college, Krissy would be the dean.
“I’m not coming back to your place until you get an elevator,” she puffed through her fire-engine red lips. I don’t know why she’d opted for such a bold lip color. Her lips were loud and clear without any lipstick. But that was Krissy. We hadn’t seen each other since Miami, so we’d planned a night of catch up and fun.
“It’s three damn flights!” I closed the door behind her and motioned for her to take off her stilts.
“Don’t worry, boo, I brought my slippers. You and these damn floors.” Yes, I don’t want my floors scuffed so I make people take off their shoes. One of the perks of living in a brownstone in Harlem is having gorgeous hardwood floors. Plus, luck had been on my side when I found this floor-through apartment in a renovated building in SoHa. To be clear, I don’t mean SoHo, which is the area in Manhattan that is “South of Houston” Street. No, I live in SoHa, a gentrified area in Harlem that is south of 125th Street. More “non-natives” live here. The rent and mortgages are higher because of it.
Friends who live in Brooklyn tease me about Harlem still being the ghetto. Depending on the season, time of day, and block they might be right, but you get so much more for your money than any other place in Manhattan. Well, at least that used to be the case. Nevermind, the point is that I still live in Manhattan and don’t have to take an airplane to Brooklyn every day. My address says, “New York, NY!” Enough said.
A Harlem native, Krissy always shuts the argument down with her ode to the virtues of being from “Harlem, USA.” It’s not even a separate city, but don’t say that to a real Harlemite, Krissy included. She is arguably the queen of Harlem. Stylish to a trendy fault. Outspoken with a distinctively uptown accent. Can walk into any restaurant, bar, liquor store, and Popeye’s chicken in Harlem and get “hooked up.” Krissy is synonymous with Harlem. But she lives on the Upper West Side. “I didn’t have to live in Harlem all of my life to love it. I earned my George-and-Weezy moment, and I’ve moved on up.”
Full of all her brilliant contradictions, my most brash sister-friend plopped her curvy frame on my sofa, grabbed a pillow and asked, “What’s for dinner?” Once a month we took turns cooking, watched trash TV, gossiped and talked about our love lives. I loved when it was her turn because Krissy is an exceptional cook. Truth be told, Krissy is exceptional at everything she does, except dating. Upwardly mobile though she was, Krissy had a penchant for downwardly spiraling guys. Black guys, white guys, Latino guys, (and one Korean) it didn’t matter. If you were down and out, a deadbeat, good for nothing, “waiting on a big settlement check,” you name it…you were the man for Krissy.
“I’m taking you out to the Red Rooster instead!” Krissy looked at me and rolled her eyes. You would’ve thought I killed someone given the epic pause she took.
“Nope. Not gonna to do it. You will not drag me down to that sadiddy ass place with all of those old people. Nope. Not happening tonight, bruh.”
“It’s not like that, and you need to try some places other than the Shrine and Moca. We have options these days. After what just went down with Carlos, you need a nice banker or lawyer.”
“I don’t want a nice banker or lawyer.” The last three words in a mocking tone.
“Oh so you’d rather keep having to bail your boyfriends out of jail every other week.”
“I let his ass stay there last time, remember. Anyway, bail money here or there is better than some prissy, controlling, narcissistic, arrogant, overcompensating, little dick metrosexual. I deal with their asses at work every day. I certainly don’t need to be fucking one. Nope. I’ll go home and order in. You go to the Rooster and hobnob. I’m tired and not feeling that situation. At all!”
This was going to take some of my reserve mojo to get her to go. “After dinner, they’re having an ole’ skool hip hop party, and we’re on the VIP list.” She didn’t budge and instead sat there with her red lips tightly pursed.
“DJ Poison Ivy is spinning.” Her favorite DJ had been hired for the night when my good friend, the general manager, called in a panic about a canceled DJ. I saw it as an opportunity and recommended Poison Ivy. Still, she didn’t move. “OK, damn! If you go and you don’t like it, I will go with you to the Shrine.”
“What!? You at the Shrine? I might walk hot coals to see that. I know I’m not going to like it, so I’m down. I want it on record that I’m going under extreme protest. Let me run home real quick and change.”
“I got you boo,” I returned the mocking favor. “You have at least four outfits in my closet from times we’ve passed out here. I had them cleaned. And they all match your pumps.” Krissy gave me that “you such and such” look. “Exactly. You’re not going to get home and call back saying you’re tired. Or not call at all and pretend like you “accidentally” fell asleep. I know your moves, hookah!”
“I hate your ass,” she exclaimed while pulling out makeup from an enormous Chloé duffel bag! Krissy never went anywhere without a full-on makeup kit. She was always Boy Scout-prepared to kick it. “I’m telling you the minute some geriatric Don Juan comes up to me, we are out! So get your slow whine ready ’mon! We’ll be at the Shrine in no time. Bwoh bwoh!”
“I thought the Shrine only played Fela’s music like the Broadway show?” Krissy just shook her head at me and walked into the bedroom to change.
Ladies Who Lunch & Love, the dazzling debut novel from former Essence magazine columnist and NAACP Image Award nominee, Nathan Hale Williams, is the story of four fabulous New York society women navigating life and love while sharing their gay best friend. Not your typical snobs or real housewives, these ladies are down-to-earth, relatable women who know how to have a great time even when confronting life’s challenges. Over the course of a year, our narrator and the ladies go on a journey that forces them to examine their lives and choices, yet enjoying the glamorous side of NYC living like you’ve never before seen.
Nathan Hale Williams is an award-winning filmmaker (Dirty Laundry & Love for Passion), producer, entertainment attorney and television personality. Nathan is the co-author of Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World and contributing author of For Colored Boys…, which won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Nathan starred in Sundance Channel’s #1 rated original series, “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” as well as Showtime’s “American Candidate.” He recently moved to Los Angeles after living in Harlem, New York for fifteen years.