Thursday, December 27, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
At some point in any new relationship, the most awkward of questions inevitably comes up. No, it's not "Will you pee on me?" (shout out to Kels!) or the classic "What are we doing?" (If you have to ask...). It's a question far worse, a question that has the potential to turn a solid, new relationship into a shaky one. That question is... "How many people have you slept with?" Damn! THE question! The question that, for some, is a defining point in their relationship.
There's only one problem, though: It seems like nobody ever tells the truth. As a man, I can say that it may be easier for us to admit to the truth due to "the double standard," but even men lie about their numbers in some instances to make the number more acceptable to the woman they're dating. A man that has slept with over 50 women may be a little reluctant to tell the truth to a woman who he considers his potential wife. That number may be trimmed down to 20 to 25. On the flipside, a man that hasn't had much experience with women and may have only had 3 or 4 partners may inflate that number to around 10 so that the woman he's dating won't think that he's a lame in the bedroom.
Even still, for men, more sexual partners means more sexual prowess and is more accepted in our society than it is for women...
Which explains why women are more reluctant to enter into sexual episodes than men. The weight that comes with "the number" is 100x heavier for women. They wear it like the Scarlett Letter. So fellas don't get mad when you try to spit game and she tells you to get the hell on! Either she's really not interested or she's testing you to make sure that you're worth potentially getting added to that unkind list. There is, after all, a reputation factor to consider. When that rep is damaged, it will be harder for her to find a man willing to marry her.
While women may be more willing to accept a man's sexual past on the way to marriage, you will find few men willing to marry a woman that has had an extremely large number of partners, as unfair as that may be.
I've had this honest conversation with females and most concur that they usually lie to some degree. There's a very complex system for some women that determines which ones counted and which didn't. This process of denial includes such things as not including guys who didn't last long, who were assholes, who were too small, one-night stands etc. Before you know it 50% of their past never happened; but should it matter? Should a new relationship be based on skewed numbers? Should it be a don't ask, don't tell thing?
Though I am a staunch protestor of dating Karrinne Steffans I personally think that playing Sudoku to help determine who you should be with isn't a good look. If you are confident that past behavior is past behavior you shouldn't let a number keep you from a good thing. I mean go get tested first, but after that, you shouldn't let a number keep you from a good thing. To quote the great philospher Cliffor "Tip" Harris:
"I've been told every nigga in the streets know she nothin' but a freak ho/when I look in her pretty eyes I don't see it though/Now she done showed me some things that I ain't seen before/but what we do behind closed doors is for me to know/...I done wasted plenty time contemplating, second-guessing, procrastinating, I'm gonna buy a ring and pop the question..."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Gene is back! In this post he wrestles with the loss of Ike Turner and Ike's impact on his life.
I was 12, when Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne starred in “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” At that time, I knew very little about Tina Turner outside of the song with the same title and can’t remember if I actually saw the film in a theatre, but I do remember being interested in the tale shortly after hearing about it.
My early childhood was pretty much spent listening to gospel and soul music from the 60s and 70s – which probably explains my not so mild interest in 80s music now (and to a lesser extent 90s music). And biographies and memoirs – especially of black people and entertainers – have always interested me more than any other type of book, so this movie was pretty much right up my alley.
So I saw the film. Loved it. Saw it a few more times. Unconsciously became a big fan of Angela Bassett. Read the book that the movie was based on. And became a bit terrified.
Between being somewhat fascinated by him and his story, I developed a bit of fear of Ike Turner.
The summer the movie came out was my first summer staying at home alone. I was too old for camp and not old enough for a job … officially. (Of course, I later discovered that there are camps for all people regardless of their age and that I could have worked somewhere, just not legally.)
Anyway, I don’t recall my parents giving me many “rules” about staying home alone beyond making sure the lights were off in rooms when I wasn’t in them. The placement of windows in our house meant that most of the house would be dark even during the day. I’m not scared of the dark. I never have been. But for some reason, every time I’d try to go up the stairs to the second floor – which was pitch black – I always saw Ike Turner's eyes illuminating through the darkness at the top of the steps. Not Laurence Fishburne’s eyes. IKE’S eyes. They were piercing. And druggish. Remember Scar’s eyes in "The Lion King" shortly after he killed Mufasa? Mix those eyes with Dave Chappelle’s eyes when he dresses up as Prince. Yes, THOSE eyes.
And Ike was tall when I saw him standing behind the banister. Like 5’ 11” tall, which was tall to me back then before I went to college and met 6 foot 5 18-years-olds.
I seriously tried not to be scared. Even then the thought of it was comical. Plus I KNEW Ike Turner wasn’t on the second floor. I wasn’t crazy. But I was very cautious. I seriously kept seeing dude’s eyes. Weirder things have happened, right? RIGHT?
I don’t know what I was scared of. Did I think Ike would beat me? I mean the pictures in Tina’s autobiography showed that Ike was real skinny, so I knew I could take him out if I had to, but then again, I’d never been in a fight … and uh, clearly Ike had, so I wasn’t so sure.
I don’t remember when my Ikenophobia passed, but it did. But my interest in Ike and Tina’s story didn’t. It faded, but I usually watched the film anytime I got a chance.
Fast forward more than ten years.
Either in 2004 and 2005, I was flying from Kansas City to Raleigh through Cincinnati and who had the nerve to be in the food court at the airport?! Ike freakin Turner!!! No lie. I wish I had the words to describe everything I was feeling, but I don’t. Disbelief would be the best word.
Disbelief on soooo many levels.
Ike was short. I mean like 5’ 5” short. And that man had a high top fade. A high top fade in 2004 or 2005. The chick he was with had on a wig that was easily bigger than Tina’s early 80s joint. I was like, are these people serious? Yeah, they were. Ike looked like he was totally unaware that people were gawking. Everybody else around me was staring and seemed as shocked as me. Ike freakin Turner was at the Panda Express. Ok, I can’t remember if he was actually at the Panda Express, but you know what I’m saying …
Then I got mad. At myself.
I haven’t been 5’5” since probably late elementary school. How did I let some concocted image of this dude scare me? And then I felt sad, because unless Tina is shorter than 5’5”, which is very possible, it showed how much of a mind game domestic violence is, because she probably could have taken that dude. I mean she DID take that dude, when she made up her mind that she wasn’t going to take no more.
So I kept staring and did what I do whenever I witness hilarious tomfoolery: I called my little brother. And then I got on the plane.
Fast forward last week.
When I saw the Yahoo! News “breaking news” banner announcing Ike’s death, I just let out a “LAWWWD!” Not quite the jump-in-the-casket funeral Lawd. I mean, I was at work. But the ain’t-this-some-ish type. And then I called my little brother again. And dude let out the same type of Lawd. LOL.
And then that fool asked me if Tina was going to sing at the funeral. WHAT?! My brother is a church musician, so he was probably genuinely interested. I told him I thought she would attend given the role Ike played in her career and that he was the father of at least one of her children, but I doubted that she’d sing. I’m not sure that Tina has any funeral songs in her repertoire. I mean, it would be interesting to hear her version of “I Won’t Complain,” but I figured that it probably wasn’t going to happen. And then my brother and I got off the phone.
Fast forward early this week.
Man, Tina said she ain’t even GOING to the funeral! WHAT?!
Her spokesperson said Tina hasn’t seen Ike in 35 years. THIRTY-FIVE YEARS! That shocked me on so many levels. That meant that I – ME – had seen Ike since Tina had last seen him! And while 35 isn’t old, it’s a long time to me. I’m not even 30 yet. And then I got sad.
Ike has called the movie and Tina’s book an exaggeration since they came out and even came out with his own book. And while I wasn’t there, I just don’t believe that Tina is lying about EVERYTHING. I found out yesterday that the character “Jackie” who was at the restaurant when Ike smushed the cake in Tina’s face was a fictional character, so that whole scene could be a lie for all we know. But I believe that most of the book and movie was close to the truth. And that’s when I thought about all that Tina must have gone through. I’m sure that I can’t even imagine it all. To not see someone you once loved and even made a child with for 35 years is serious, regardless of how much they hurt you. I’m not saying she’s right or wrong, I’m just saying that that’s some serious disinterest.
Hopefully Tina is not bitter or still mad and is there for her son right now who may be dealing with the issues that stem from losing a father. But all of this just made me think about how we treat people. And the lasting impact that our mistreatment and disrespect can have on people.
This past year, I've seriously tried to become more mindful of the things I say or do that leave scars. I've failed often. Sometimes, miserably. And I'm sure I can't imagine the damage I've caused. But I'm trying to do better. It would be quite unfortunate if someone I once called my best friend was so done with me that our last goodbye was actually our last goodbye.
Gene also writes for YBPguide.com
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
When did Lil' Bow Wow decide he was gonna be hard? He still makes music for 13-year-olds, right?
Anyway, in this clip Bow Wow flips on journalist Toure' for disrespecting him and singer Omarion during an interview. I can't blame him for standing up for himself in what appears to be a botched joke, but it's funny to me to see dude act like he's about to go to a Walgreens parking lot to pick up some heat for Toure'...as he hides behind one of his lackies and tells his bodyguards to "handle that."
AND I GOT THESE GOLDS UP IN MY MOUF!
I'm mainly reposting this because, since I posted it back in May, I am still receiving comments on it regularly--mainly from frustrated, non-black servers. Turns out that if you've had a bad day on the job at a restaurant and type in "Black People Don't Tip" in google to find some sort of support group this post pops up. So you can imagine some of the feedback in the comments section. Check it out.
...So it's my last day in Las Vegas. It's about 2:36 PM. Me and my remaining two friends fly out in six hours. We check out of our room and make our way to the taxi line in front of the casino. The plan is to grab some grub, check out some casinos that we haven't been in over the last three days, and lose more money on the Big Six table.
Soooo... what do we want to eat? Some place where we can sit down, watch the game, and have a beer... a place that is nice and classy. A place where we'll receive Grade-A service and where they will appreciate our business. A place that is all of these things, yet delightfully tacky. So we head on over to Hooters... yes, I know.
So we hop in the cab.
"Where can I take you guys?"
"The Hooters over by the MGM Grand"
"You got it, boss!" He quickly weaves through the traffic on The Strip and takes us to the front of the Hooters casino, which is literally about three minutes away. We hop out, pay the fare, and tip him 5 or 6 bucks.
We make our way through the dealer tables and slot machines and find the small line to the restaurant. So there we are, waiting to sit down at the tackiest casino on Las Vegas Blvd. (relatively) and dressed the part. Are we in button-ups, slacks and dress shoes like we usually wear? No! We have on polo shirts, jeans and sneakers. Comfortable, like everyone else in this town.
When we get to the front, a beautiful girl in a tacky uniform looks at us, puts on her fakest smile and asks how many in our party.
With the smile on her face, she turns to a pretty Black waitress and says "They're all yours Kristen."
"Gee... Thanks!" she replies sarcastically.
This semi-rubbed us the wrong way, but we let it slide. Besides, this is nothing new. Black people don't tip, right? There's no way she would've guessed that the party consisted of a Regional Territory Manager, a Corporate Marketing Specialist, and a federal-employed Electrical Engineer...but should that matter? She takes us to our bench-styled table and asks for our drink order.
"Water and a Corona... Water and a Heineken... Water with a lemon for now, I'll probably get a beer later."
She's off. So me and my boys sit there and start discussing which casinos we're going to hit afterwards and the money that we have already lost thus far (Thanks for the gambling tips guys... you really came through in the clutch! *cough*).
Fifteen minutes of all this talking has my throat parched. I reach down for my... wait... She's still not back with our drinks? We see our waitress tending to another table and get her attention. We make the universal "I'm thirsty motion" and she walks to the back and emerges with a tray of drinks.
Waitress: "Sorry guys... here you are!" No explanation. "So what will you guys be having?"
Us: "Wings... Fingers and salad... The wing platter."
Waitress: "We're out of coleslaw and baked potatoes for that platter," she says to my boy.
My boy: "Well can you substitute fries?"...
My boy: "Oookay?"
Waitress: "Sooo... you want fries with it?"
My boy: "Can you substitute it?"
Waitress: "No... but I'll work it out."
My boy: "OK."
She's off again. For another 20 minutes, we don't see this chick. We came here to watch the game, so we're looking around to see if we can find her to have the channel changed. She's nowhere to be found, so we flag down the hostess that gave Kristen our table to see if she can change the channel. She did so, reluctantly.
A couple minutes later, a waitress that I haven't seen before comes with my salad. After she walks off I realize there's no silverware on our table. I walk over to the hostess to see where I can get a fork. She looks around for Kristen and then says "Ummm...I guess I'll get it for you."
When she comes back to the table with my fork, Kristen is right behind her.
"Kristen," she says playfully as she looks at us with Hooters-flirty eyes. "Your table is demanding. You should be taking care of these guys." She said it jokingly, but she was serious. We were asking her for too much.
Kristen tells us the food is on the way out. It quickly follows, but not by Kristen, but by the cook and another waitress.
Food was good. No Kristen. Drinks low. No Kristen.
Naturally our conversation shifts from the game to our horrible service. Was she just a bad waitress? Was it because we are young, black males (*Smacks down the ol' race card on the table*)? Was she just having a bad day? The "Gee... thanks" comment she made when she got our table kinda cemented our thoughts on the issue.
When we finally see her, it's with the unsplit bill. "Sorry guys, I just got busy all of a sudden," she said as she looked down to avoid eye contact. She tells us she'll take the bill when we're ready. We ask her to split the bill. She didn't even remember what we had ordered individually so she starts looking over the bill and asking us who had what.
Then she pulls out the ol' patented Hooters "let-me-sit-down-and-let-them-flirt-with-me-so-they-will-give-me-a-good-tip" move. We didn't flirt with her. It was awkward. She went to split it.
When we look the bill over, it looks like she charged my boy extra for fries that she had agreed to substitute. He was going to let it slide, but we tell him that the LEAST she could do was make sure that the bill was right. Besides, she hadn't done anything else.
She comes back, he brings up the discrepancy. She tells him that she told him she couldn't substitute. He reminds her that she did say she "would take care of it" and that she would essentially be charging him full price for half of a meal. Annoyed, she smiled, took his receipt and said she'd see what she could do.
She came back with the correct charges. She thanked us and bounced.
We sat there disgusted and disrespected by the lack of good service and started discussing what we should tip her. So there we are having a Rainbow Coalition meeting in Hooters.
We decided that she had made her mind up about the service she was going to give us when she saw us. Of all of her tables, we were obviously the most neglected. After researching stereotypes about tipping habits, the overwhelming majority of waiters and waitresses hate getting black tables because "we don't tip," according to them. Message board after message board characterizes Blacks as cheap tippers and as chronic complainers (which we do apparently because we want to have a reason to not leave a good tip). I've personally seen good and bad tippers across the board.
So herein lies the dilemma: Do we tip her based on the service she gave, which was worth week-old cow dung, or do we tip her like we would normally tip a decent waitress (I usually do 20-25%)?
If we tip her poorly, we buy into the self-fulfilling stereotype. She will feel justified in giving us bad service and will do the same to the next group of casually dressed young, black males--not realizing that we tipped her poorly for a reason and not because we're black.
If we tip her properly, JUST MAYBE we will get the point across that stereotypes are just that...stereotypes. And maybe she will be more conscious of how she treats Black people in the future. If you can reach just one...
We left 8 bucks. Not the best tip, but definitely more than she deserved.
Has anybody else faced this situation? Should we be forced to think in a group mentality and tip on behalf of an entire race? It's getting old. The more I think about it, the more I realize that acting on behalf of your race does little to change ingrained stereotypes.
Does the stereotype have any merit? What would you have done?
Friday, December 14, 2007
I just caught wind of this story recently, but a black man from Long Island, NY is still in jail for killing a white kid after a "mob" showed up at his home in the middle of the night to confront his son. Of course, this story is full or racial overtones that made it newsworthy enough for the NY Times to make it a feature story (below).
Apparently Arron White, a 19-year-old black kid, was attending an all-White party when he was confronted by guys claiming that he had threatened to rape a white girl via internet chat nine months prior. According to reports, Aaron and the girl had resolved the issue before the confrontation, and the incident had been chalked up to being a misunderstanding. Supposedly, it was concluded that Aaron never threatened the girl.
Even still, he was asked to leave the party because of the commotion being caused by the accusations. He did so without incident.
After leaving the party, Aaron immediately started receiving threatening phone calls from the guys that had confronted him. According to Aaron, after telling him they were on the way to his house to confront him they called him "nigger" and said things such as "I'm going to f*ck you and your mother." ...
To make a long story short, Aaron woke his father up to tell him what was going on, the guys showed up and Aaron's father "accidentally" shot one of the white kids.
To date, the stories have not been corroborated and it remains the word of Aaron's family against the guys that showed up at his home.
For details on the story read the NY Times excerpt below.
Is there ever a time where it is justifiable to kill someone? The kids didn't have guns, but they were on his property. Does showing up at someones home with intentions on having a confrontation give the owner of that property the moral right to kill them? They were threatening his son, but should Aaron's father have left it in the hands of the authorities? Did the kid deserve to be killed?
The shooting occurred around midnight of a Wednesday evening during which Mr. White’s son, Aaron, attended a party at an acquaintance’s home in a nearby town. At the party, where the police said there was a lot of drinking, a group of young men, all white, accused Aaron White of having threatened to rape a girl, also white. The threat was said to have been made by e-mail nine months before.
Though he denied making any threat, Aaron White was asked to leave, and did so. A short time later, according to the police, a group of men led by Mr. Cicciaro decided to pursue him. By cellphone, Mr. Cicciaro told him that he and his friends were coming after him, according to the police.
In the interview, Mr. White said he was awakened by his son “from a dead sleep.” The son told him that Mr. Cicciaro and his friends were pursuing him, and why. He said he thought “they were going to kill him,” Mr. White said, adding that Aaron was “more frightened than I had ever heard my son in his life.”
Mr. White said he grabbed a weapon he kept for protection, a handgun he had inherited from a grandfather, Napoleon White, who brought it with him when he left Oneonta, Ala., in the 1940’s for New York. In an unsolicited aside during the interview, Mr. White said his grandfather had left not long after the Klan killed two brothers, both shopkeepers. (The police described the unregistered gun as “an antique.”)
According to both Mr. White and his son, Mr. Cicciaro and his friends used racial slurs when they arrived at his house. The young men later denied it.
Mr. White said he told the men to leave, and that after “a lot of posturing” they seemed to be ready to go, when suddenly Mr. Cicciaro rushed him and grabbed the muzzle of his gun.
Mr. Cicciaro’s friends gave the police a different account. They said Mr. White pointed the gun in the face of each of them, shouting, “I’ll shoot you.” They said Mr. Cicciaro never grabbed the gun but waved it away when it was pointed in his face.
Mr. White said that when he tried to pull away from Mr. Cicciaro’s grasp, the gun went off accidentally. Mr. Cicciaro’s friends told the police that Mr. White simply pulled the trigger at point-blank range.
It was in the frantic 911 call by one of Mr. Cicciaro’s friends, made from a car carrying the mortally wounded teenager to a nearby hospital, that a police tape captured the type of racial invective the Whites said they had heard throughout the confrontation. The cellphone had been left on, and Mr. Cicciaro’s friends were heard using racial profanities as they spoke among themselves, investigators said.
A Suffolk County grand jury indicted Mr. White on gun charges and a single count of second-degree manslaughter, which is a charge of reckless homicide. The police initially charged him with second-degree murder, the intentional killing of Mr. Cicciaro.
In a separate interview, Daniel Cicciaro Sr., a man of medium height with scarred hands from many years of work in auto repairs, seemed almost in pain as he maintained an air of self-control. With his wife, Joanne, sitting beside him on the porch of their home in Port Jefferson, he said: “I want you to know I have no animosity personally or racially toward the White family. I cannot presume to know what was going through his mind at the time he killed my son. But God have mercy on Mr. White.”
Mr. Cicciaro returned again and again to his son’s lack of racial prejudice and the unlikelihood that race played any role in his pursuit of Aaron White. “If going to this guy’s house to beat up his son was seen as some sort of racial attack, my son was so not-racist that the thought would never even have occurred to him,” he said.
He disputed Mr. White’s claim that the shooting was accidental: “If it was an accident, like he says, why didn’t he call the police immediately? He called his lawyer instead. And why does he come out with a loaded gun in the first place?”
During his interview, Mr. White, a tall, thin bespectacled man with thinning hair, spoke with a similarly painstaking deliberateness. He said he had the gun to “protect my family” and told his wife to call the police, but she told investigators she did not hear him.
After the shooting, Mr. White said, he and his wife did not call 911 because they were “in shock.” Since the killing, “I have not slept at all,” he said. “I never think about anything else.” He said he felt “devastated and remorseful” for killing the teenager. “But I thought these guys, this mob, was coming to hurt my child.”
Asked if he saw them as a white mob, Mr. White pondered for a moment. “I saw them as a group of grown men in my driveway. I was scared to death.”
In describing his background, Mr. White placed himself as the second of eight children, and he referred repeatedly and with deep affection to his grandfather, tearing up when describing the family lore about the Klan killings of his great-uncles.
When pressed, Mr. White said he viewed his grandfather’s world and his as different universes. He rejected any notion that he might have perceived what happened in his driveway through the prism of his grandfather’s losses.
“I did not mean to shoot that young man,” he said. “I grieve for his family. I moved out here with my children just like everyone else, to protect them,” he said. “I have never had problems with white people — if I did, why would I have come out here in the first place?”
Mr. Cicciaro said he was “baffled” by a charge of less than murder against a man who “walked 80 feet down his driveway and told these kids he was going to shoot them, and then pulled the trigger.” He said he was “extremely disappointed” in the criminal justice system.
Mr. White said he understood that disappointment, but added that when he picked up his gun, he only meant to “scare those kids off,” he said.
During the interview, he referred several times to his new home as “my dream house.” He recounted how his wife, Sonia, decorated the house with loving attention. “Stickley, Audi in the dining room; Henredon, Baker living room; Kashan rugs, the works,” he said.
They will be leaving that house as soon as they can, Mr. White said.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable keeping my family here. I know how I would feel if someone hurt my kid,” he said. “There wouldn’t be a rock left to crawl under.”
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
FEMA? Nope. Presidential Candidates? Nah. Neigboring states? Not a chance. Brad Pitt, people. Brad Pitt.
I must say that I'm very impressed with his "Make It Right" campaign to rebuild the lower 9th Ward in The N.O. He moved his family out to New Orleans to focus on the project and has donated $5 million of his own money to put the project together.
What's most impressive is that the goal of the project is not to gentrify the area for investors, but to build nice homes for the minority families that were displaced in the aftermath of Katrina. In addition, Pitt has employed world reknown architects to design seven different home models, which families will be able to choose from once the homes are sponsored and built.
Check out the makeitrightnola.org to view the floor plans and to see how you can purchase fixtures for donation or donate funds directly to the project.
I have a new found respect for Brad Pitt. For people thinking that he is doing this for publicity, I say---I don't care if he is or not. He's putting his money where his mouth is. Finally somebody is taking a bold step to make things right in New Orleans.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Shouts out to Gene for sending me this story. Is this any different from dinner and a movie in the U.S...followed by cheap, meaningless sex?
MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Bethan, 56, lives in southern England on the same street as best friend Allie, 64.
They are on their first holiday to Kenya, a country they say is "just full of big young boys who like us older girls."
Hard figures are difficult to come by, but local people on the coast estimate that as many as one in five single women visiting from rich countries are in search of sex.
Allie and Bethan -- who both declined to give their full names -- said they planned to spend a whole month touring Kenya's palm-fringed beaches. They would do well to avoid the country's tourism officials.
"It's not evil," said Jake Grieves-Cook, chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, when asked about the practice of older rich women traveling for sex with young Kenyan men.
"But it's certainly something we frown upon."
Also, the health risks are stark in a country with an AIDS prevalence of 6.9 percent. Although condom use can only be guessed at, Julia Davidson, an academic at Nottingham University who writes on sex tourism, said that in the course of her research she had met women who shunned condoms -- finding them too "businesslike" for their exotic fantasies.
The white beaches of the Indian Ocean coast stretched before the friends as they both walked arm-in-arm with young African men, Allie resting her white haired-head on the shoulder of her companion, a six-foot-four 23-year-old from the Maasai tribe.
He wore new sunglasses he said were a gift from her.
"We both get something we want -- where's the negative?" Allie asked in a bar later, nursing a strong, golden cocktail.
She was still wearing her bikini top, having just pulled on a pair of jeans and a necklace of traditional African beads.
Bethan sipped the same local drink: a powerful mix of honey, fresh limes and vodka known locally as "Dawa," or "medicine."
She kept one eye on her date -- a 20-year-old playing pool, a red bandana tying back dreadlocks and new-looking sports shoes on his feet.
He looked up and came to join her at the table, kissing her, then collecting more coins for the pool game.
Grieves-Cook and many hotel managers say they are doing all they can to discourage the practice of older women picking up local boys, arguing it is far from the type of tourism they want to encourage in the east African nation.
"The head of a local hoteliers' association told me they have begun taking measures -- like refusing guests who want to change from a single to a double room," Grieves-Cook said.
"It's about trying to make those guests feel as uncomfortable as possible ... But it's a fine line. We are 100 percent against anything illegal, such as prostitution. But it's different with something like this -- it's just unwholesome."
These same beaches have long been notorious for attracting another type of sex tourists -- those who abuse children.
As many as 15,000 girls in four coastal districts -- about a third of all 12-18 year-olds girls there -- are involved in casual sex for cash, a joint study by Kenya's government and U.N. children's charity UNICEF reported late last year.
Up to 3,000 more girls and boys are in full-time sex work, it said, some paid for the "most horrific and abnormal acts."
"PREYING ON POVERTY?"
Emerging alongside this black market trade -- and obvious in the bars and on the sand once the sun goes down -- are thousands of elderly white women hoping for romantic, and legal, encounters with much younger Kenyan men.
They go dining at fine restaurants, then dancing, and back to expensive hotel rooms overlooking the coast.
"One type of sex tourist attracted the other," said one manager at a shorefront bar on Mombasa's Bamburi beach.
"Old white guys have always come for the younger girls and boys, preying on their poverty ... But these old women followed ... they never push the legal age limits, they seem happy just doing what is sneered at in their countries."
Experts say some thrive on the social status and financial power that comes from taking much poorer, younger lovers.
"This is what is sold to tourists by tourism companies -- a kind of return to a colonial past, where white women are served, serviced, and pampered by black minions," said Nottinghan University's Davidson.
"LIVE LIKE THE RICH"
Many of the visitors are on the lookout for men like Joseph.
Flashing a dazzling smile and built like an Olympic basketball star, the 22-year-old said he has slept with more than 100 white women, most of them 30 years his senior.
"When I go into the clubs, those are the only women I look for now," he told Reuters. "I get to live like the rich mzungus (white people) who come here from rich countries, staying in the best hotels and just having my fun."
At one club, a group of about 25 dancing men -- most of them Joseph look-alikes -- edge closer and closer to a crowd of more than a dozen white women, all in their autumn years.
"It's not love, obviously. I didn't come here looking for a husband," Bethan said over a pounding beat from the speakers.
"It's a social arrangement. I buy him a nice shirt and we go out for dinner. For as long as he stays with me he doesn't pay for anything, and I get what I want -- a good time. How is that different from a man buying a young girl dinner?"