Willie D says he likes to write on Sundays, early in the morning at his computer, in a comfortable chair in his living room. It's the perfect environment for him to get "in my zone."
"I think Sunday is just a lazy day," he muses. "I'm even better now that the Texans aren't doing anything. So my focus is real good."
The Geto Boys MC's voice projects street-knowledge authority as much on a computer screen or the printed page as in one of his old songs -- say, "Mind of a Lunatic," "Fuck a War" or "Gangster of Love." Only these days, Willie D is slinging his unique brand of candid but common-sense etiquette as the Houston Press's weekly advice columnist, instead of spitting outrageously X-rated lines that even today would make the pre-Are We There Yet? Ice Cube blush.
This coming Valentine's Day, Willie will reach two solid years of Ask Willie D, his column that was an instant success and regularly ranks among the Press's most-read music stories each week. Lately he says he averages about 30 to 40 letters per week -- not counting the people who solicit advice on Facebook, whom he refers to askwillied.com -- which he admits has led to a sizable backlog. When choosing his four individual letters for publication each week, Willie says he tries to reflect a broad spectrum of content the same way he would the songs on a Geto Boys album; in other words, "It's not a box of chocolates...it's more like a fuckin' bag of Skittles," he says.
This Christmas, the Press asked our Answer Man to choose ten of his favorite letters from the almost 400 that have appeared in Ask Willie D. His selections cast a wide net, to be sure -- groupie girlfriends, ugly boyfriends, adulterous preachers, exasperated mothers, foot fetishists and so forth. The only thing out of bounds, he explains, is "anything that's spewing hate."
"I'm good with debate," Willie allows. "I don't mind having a difference of opinion and shit like that, but I don't do hate."
However, Willie says he likes to throw in an ignorant letter every now and then, "just to remind people [to] look at the shit we're still dealing with; motherfuckers really do still think this way." The overwhelming majority of his letters, though, deal with relationships, whether of the familial or the romantic variety. The gender wars are likewise perennially popular.
"There's a lot of gender hate," he sighs. "A lot of gender hate."
His role, Willie figures, is to be a simple voice of reason; read his column and you know how rare that can be in the world at large. But he's also heard back from readers who have recognized their letters and contacted him later to say he saved their marriage or their business or even saved them from committing suicide. ("I've been thinking about posting more of those kinds of letters," he reflects.) Asked if the column has given him better insight into humanity, Willie doesn't hesitate before nodding his head.
"I think what it tells me is that we've still got a good ways to go when it comes to treating each other well," he says. "Because all of us need to be somebody's baby. I don't care if you're 60 years old, 80 years old, you need to be somebody's baby. You have to know that somebody loves you unconditionally, no matter what.
"It doesn't have to be an intimate relationship," he adds. "But you gotta have somebody that says, 'Hey, man, you my world.'"
Willie says the Geto Boys will return in 2015 but, intriguingly, that none of his letters has yet inspired him to write a song. However, the 48-year-old rapper admits his younger self might be all over some of them.
"If I was still doing those crazy, wild, ridiculous-type songs I did when I first started, like 'Bald Headed Hoes,' I probably would have been inspired after reading that article with a guy who was giving himself a blow job with the vacuum [cleaner]," he says. "That probably would have inspired me to some extent to write something."
He pauses for a second.
"That shit was crazy," Willie smiles. "I hit the floor when I read that one. That's one of the ones where it was like, you gotta tell somebody right away."
My Girlfriend Is a Groupie
Dear Willie D:
I took my girlfriend to a Maroon 5 concert and afterparty. Since Maroon 5 is her favorite band, I went all out and bought a meet-and-greet package. I also rented a limo for the evening. The concert was great and honestly more than I expected from a pop-rock group; I'm into the heavier stuff like Metallica and Black Sabbath. After the show, as planned, we stuck around to meet the band, who graciously signed autographs and took pictures with us.
Once we got home, my girl couldn't take my clothes off fast enough. Her whole body was literally hot to the touch. As we made love, she started talking about how horny she was for the lead singer, Adam Levine. Playing along, I said, "if Adam was here in bed with you right now, what would you do?" Without hesitation, she proceeded to go down on me. The night was fun and adventurous, but I'm starting to wonder if my girl is a groupie. What do you think?
The No. 1 rule in sexual intercourse is "don't judge." Your girl wants Adam Levine, but the chances of her being intimate with the rock star of her choice are slim to none. She can, however, do anything she wants with a virtual rock star, and you're it. But you can't be that guy all the time. He's a fantasy. You need to reserve him for traditional celebrations like birthdays and special occasions.
The next time you're celebrating something special, top it off per a special night with Adam Levine. Take her out to dinner, or if you're good at it, cook for her. Set the scene at home with scented candles, wine and of course a "nothing but the hits" list of Maroon 5 music. Make her call you Adam until you believe that's your name. When the time comes to make love to her, take her mind back to the nights when a man would stand at a pay phone until daylight talking to his girl.
Don't just put it in her body, inject your love into her soul and make her beg for one more night even though the night is still fruitful. With this love, show her the meaning of romantic misery as she pursues rapturous confirmation measured in hours that feel like a lifetime. Let the firmness of your hands, the stroke of your tongue and the moisture of your lips be the wake-up call that serves as a warning that she will be loved -- and if she finds it harder to breathe, then so be it.
More Ask Willie D on the next page.
Dear Willie D:
I'm a newly single divorcée with lots of time and money on my hands. After dating and -catering to the same man for two years and being married to him for five years, now it's all about me.
I got to keep the house. Because it's so extravagant and spacious, it's perfect for parties, and I host some of the best parties in town. Sometimes my events can get a little wild. At my last party, my sister-in-law and I got into a big fight because I was in my room kissing a guy friend of mine. She took exception to me having just divorced her brother and kissing my friend in the same room that I once shared with her brother.
I don't understand; since she has never liked me, she should be grateful that I've moved on. A mutual friend of ours is hosting an annual event in a few days and I'm thinking about crashing it with another guy who I know will make her skin crawl. He is a real stud. What are your thoughts on my plans? Do you think I'm being childish?
Loving Orange County:
You're not being childish, you're being reckless. Inviting the sister of your brand-new ex-husband to your house and letting her see you kiss another man is borderline psychotic. The emotional remnants of divorce or any type of relationship where people decide to go their separate ways should be handled with extreme care and consideration for all parties involved.
This is bigger than a catfight with your mad sister-in-law. Even if you despise your ex-husband, you should be considerate of his feelings. How would you like it if he flaunted his new girlfriend in front of your family members and friends?
Nobody likes to be made a fool of, and some of the sanest people have been known to do the most insane things when put in that position. You don't have to be lonely, but put some time between your divorce and being on the scene with a new guy. I can appreciate you living life to the fullest, but do it with class. It would prove to both your sister-in-law and ex-husband that he let a good one get away.
Why Do Women Idolize Marilyn Monroe?
Dear Willie D:
Please help me understand this. There is documented evidence that Marilyn Monroe was a homewrecker and a loose woman, to put it mildly. So why do countless females look up to her and why are they so fascinated by her persona?
Putting It Mildly:
I used to wonder the same thing; not anymore. Besides her beauty, women are drawn to her because there's a piece of Marilyn Monroe in every woman. It's the piece that each woman relates to that makes her endearing to them. Marilyn was strong and fragile; fearless and afraid; happy and sad; lucid and incoherent; praised and scorned; innocuous and scandalous; liberated and enslaved; glamorous and disheveled; privileged and poor; desired and rejected.
She was also much more intelligent than people gave her credit for. The collective energy of her flaws, redemptive attributes, beauty, talent, smartness and her willingness to share her vulnerabilities with all of us is why Marilyn Monroe is so adored. To say she lived in a town where people make a living out of being fake, she was as real as they come.
Loving Orange CountyI'm Ashamed of My Foot Fetish
Dear Willie D:
I'm a big fan and a 22-year-old college student in New Orleans who just started coming out to women about my foot fetish. It's a secret that I have kept since I was a kid because I worried that people would think I was weird. Should I keep coming out about it or not?
You should absolutely tell women about your fetish, but that's not something you want to just blurt out on a first date. If she's not into that type of thing, you might spook her. Take some time and get to know her before you disclose your foot-job obsession. If you feel uncomfortable about discussing your fetish with your girl, you could see where her head is on the subject by first massaging her feet. Compliment her on how nice her feet look, then kiss them and watch her reaction.
If she's smiling, go ahead and suck a couple of those toes. If she seems pleased, keep going, but if she's giving you that "what the hell?" look, then back off and talk with her about your fetish, preferably at a later time. Most of us have some kind of fetish. Some guys are obsessed with breasts, while others are butt freaks. Personally, I think fetishes are cool as long they don't involve midgets.
I Don't Want My Kids Anymore
Dear Willie D:
I am a 27-year-old divorcée with four small children ages eight months [through] six years. A typical day for me is to wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning and dress myself for work. Then I wake the babies up, starting with the oldest so she can help me with the others. Once I get all of the kids ready, I feed them whatever quick meal I can whip together [usually cereal or Pop-Tarts].
Then I rush out the door for the 30-minute drive to my mother's [can't afford day care] to drop off the three youngest ones. Then I drop off my oldest one at school; I enrolled her at the elementary school in my mom's neighborhood for convenience.
But nothing about my life is convenient, because I have four children I can hardly care for. Their father pays only $250 a month for child support. I stress out a lot because I feel as though as long as I have all these kids, I will never get ahead financially or socially because they take up all of my time.
Being in a relationship is out of the question, because what man in his right mind would want a woman who has a bunch of kids? I don't even want them. I know what people think of mothers who abandon their kids, but I don't care anymore. I no longer want to be a mother. I guess I'm not asking for advice -- just venting.
This is a very sad letter. I will never understand people who bring children into the world and don't want to participate in their development. Kids are not clothes. You don't get to try them on and take them back when you realize you no longer want them. When you don't want your kids, you don't deserve them because it's not human nature to provide love and a safe environment for someone you consider to be a burden.
You appear to be on the cusp of a nervous breakdown. You should ask your kids' father or grandmother to take them in, and then see a professional to help you cope with the responsibility of parenting. Some people would give anything to have a child, while others are mourning the death of theirs. It would behoove you to count your blessings.
More Ask Willie D on the next page.
How Do You Feel About Artists Who Have Not Lived the Street Life They Rap About?
Dear Willie D:
For a skinny white kid with a shaved head who rode skateboards and wore Sex Pistols T-shirts, the neighborhood I grew up in was not a great place to be in 1988. The Mexican gangs were in full force in the area and both of the schools in my area were 85 percent Hispanic. I had very few friends. The Mexicans, of course, were against me from the start, and at that time it was not "cool" to be punk rock with the football-playing white guys. So I would get pressure from all angles.
At a young age, your music and lyrics really gave me some newfound confidence and motivation to get up in the morning and power through my challenges at a time when there was a lot of prejudice and a lot less tolerance for being different. Since then I've been through many tragedies with family, friends, relationships, etc. I'm grown up now, finished my education and have an executive position at a Fortune 500 company here in Houston, but I still stay with my musical roots and way of thought.
My question is directed to you and your contemporaries. You guys lived your music, and to see people using it as a singalong novelty without any thought of the experience it took to articulate the message, is it funny to you guys, or do you see these people as clueless, or is it just part of the business? I'm not saying that even I have any clue of what it took to grow up in Fifth Ward, and I am careful not to judge anyone because you never know their walk in life or what it took to get there. But there is always the thought.
I think it's important to recognize that not all rappers from the '80s and '90s lived the tough street life they rapped about on record. In fact, some of those guys were straight-up cowards who couldn't punch their way out of a wet paper bag with a hole in it. The difference today is with the popularity of the Internet, a lot more folks are able to earn money rapping, and the accessibility makes it easier to expose the imposters.
I Like Him But He's Ugly
Dear Willie D:
My aunt introduced me to a younger friend of hers. He is kind, considerate and generous, but he leaves something to be desired looks-wise. Because of that, I have been slow to warm up to him. He is the nicest guy I've ever met. We talk on the phone often and have been out twice. Each time we went out I actually had fun, but I hesitate to spend too much time with him because I'm afraid that I might start liking him.
If that happens, eventually he'll have to meet my friends and I'm embarrassed as to what they will think of him. What do you think about my dilemma?
What do you mean you're afraid you might start liking him? You already like him. You might even be in love and don't know it. Love is blind. It has a way of overlooking our imperfections and perceived shortcomings. I wouldn't put too much stock into what friends say. Besides, ugly dudes usually treat attractive women better than attractive men do because attractive men think they can always replace you.
Conclusively, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the more he'll be holding you, the better he'll start looking.
Keeping the Love Alive
Dear Willie D:
I have only been dating my guy for a year, and I already feel like the love is lost. He doesn't bring me flowers, he doesn't call to meet for lunch and he is only interested in sex about once a week. He used to be the most romantic man I had ever been with.
He says that nothing is wrong, he is just tired. Should I end it because it is a lost cause that will only go downhill from here, or should I hang on in hope that the love will rebound?
Dear Keeping the Love Alive:
Don't you dare think about touching that doorknob. Turn your sexy butt around and take a warm shower. When you're done, reach into that closet and find something nice to wear and spray on some Bond No. 9, then go directly to wherever your man is. If prying eyes prevent you from being intimate on site, find an alternative location and put it on him like you was a dancer auditioning for a -Beyoncé video.
All of us -- males and females -- go the extra mile when the relationship is fresh. As with a new car, we pay attention to detail and are careful not to damage it. But after we've driven it for a while and the newness wears off, we become complacent, carelessly hitting potholes, getting dings and not keeping it as clean as we used to.
I'm not in your home, but I'm sure there are things you used to do that your man appreciated that you no longer do. To expect anyone to be their same great, perfect self for months or even years into a relationship is not realistic, and if you leave that person to date someone else because the spice is missing, don't be surprised if you find yourself in the same situation chasing that new-car scent.
Paranoid Adulterous Pastor
Dear Willie D:
I am a pastor who just returned from a spiritual retreat with my church and found myself in bed with a married member of my congregation. The whole time we were making love, I kept thinking about Deuteronomy 22:22 in the Bible, where it states, "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die."
I have asked for forgiveness, and since my God is a forgiving God, I am certain he will spare my life. However, I am not so sure my church member's husband is a forgiving husband, and I know my wife won't be forgiving. My wife is a very jealous and vengeful woman. If she found out about my infidelity, she would kill the woman and me or at the least try to assassinate my character and have me forced out of the church. The incident took place two days ago and the crazy woman has already sent me over 50 text messages talking about how good it was and how she misses me. She even had the gall to get defensive when she called and I told her I could not talk because I was with my wife. I hope my premonition is inaccurate, but I have a feeling this thing will implode at any moment. Accordingly, I am paranoid.
People usually come to me for advice, but I am stumped as to what to do in this case. If you were in my shoes, how would you handle it?
Your biggest problem is not what you did but who you are. I'm not saying it's right, but people cheat all the time, forgive one another and move on. In your case, because you are a man of the cloth and your profession is rooted in preaching the importance of values and morals, you're held at a higher standard. Accordingly, you are expected to have zero tolerance for temptation.
The way I see it, you have two viable options. You could take the player option, whereby you would go to the woman and say, "Look, although I enjoyed what happened between us, in the eyes of God, it was a mistake. You're a wonderful woman, but so is my wife. She doesn't deserve this and neither does your husband. The text messages and calls have to stop. I'm sorry, and I hope we can continue to share the same church home." Reference God, sin and obedience whenever possible. That always gets them.
If she doesn't respond favorably, you may have to put your big-boy pants on and switch to option two, which would require you to man up and confess to your wife. Lay out all the details, throw up a Hail Mary and hope like hell she forgives you. This is risky, but not as risky as allowing Crazy Woman to tell her side of the story first or you lying about it, because chances are she has evidence of the affair stored somewhere.
Now touch your neighbor and say, "It ain't worth it! I keep looking over my shoulder and peeping 'round corners -- Hallelujah!"
I'm 15; I Smoke, I Drink and I'm Sexually Active
Dear Willie D:
I have had sex with five different boys and a 22-year-old man. I do it because my parents care about their jobs more than me. They are almost never home and when they are, they're either working or sleeping. I can hardly remember a time when they were there to help me with homework or answer a question about a pressing issue; they left that to babysitters and housekeepers.
Because I seldom spend quality time with them, I feel like I don't even know them and they certainly don't know me. For a long time, I was Sweet Polly Purebred. I did everything their way without question. I was their perfect little angel.
But now I don't care anymore. We are always fighting and I'm always on punishment. But since they're never around to enforce punishment, it doesn't mean anything, so I still do whatever I want.
My grades are falling off now. I went from a straight-A student to barely maintaining a C average. My personal life is a disaster. I'm really not a bad person; I'm just acting out because I'm mad. I want to get back on good terms with my mom and dad and leave alcohol and drugs alone.
I also want to get my grades back up and stop being promiscuous because I don't want to be labeled a slut. Can you tell me how to get back on track?
I'm convinced you are a good person. The root of your anger is your resentment for your parents' overzealous work ethic, but before you attempt to correct their behavior, you need to correct your own. Stop drinking, doing drugs and having sex, period! You're too young for the consequences.
Schedule a family meeting with your mom and dad during a time that you think both of them are most likely to be home. The gesture will intrigue them because family meetings usually involve serious discussions that kids want no part of. Tell your parents how you feel about having always been left with babysitters and housekeepers. Give them examples of times when you faced issues alone and wished they were there to aid you or to simply say, "It'll be okay."
It might even be a good idea to tell them that you recently stopped drinking, doing drugs and having sex. If that don't snap them back to reality, nothing will. Even though the information will be disturbing, they will probably be so grateful that you have already self-addressed the situation that they will do anything to make sure it doesn't happen again. They are also likely to have a newfound trust in you because you fessed up to some serious transgressions that you didn't have to.
Parents are often in denial about the emotional effects their busy work schedules have on their children. Innocently enough, as long as they're living under the same roof, putting food on the table and buying clothes, iPhones and Xboxes, they don't think of the limited time in teaching and disciplining their kids as negligence.
Negligence is a form of abuse. That's why there are so many rich and middle-income kids with major behavior problems. Most parents work their butts off to give their kids life's luxuries, but what good is it for a child to gain the world yet forfeit her soul?
Catch up with Willie D every Thursday right here.
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