Before we get into all the drama that is my daily existence, let me formally introduce myself. My name is Joy Newhouse. Some callers refer to me as Ms. Newhouse, Joy, the doctor or bitch. Take your pick. In any event I'm the Diva of the airwaves with the most controversial, highest rated late-night talk show in the Tri-State of New York. My show On the Line is syndicated in thirty markets, not to mention streamed on the Internet. In other words, I'm all up in the house!
Yeah, you're probably wrinkling up your nose wondering why if I'm so bad am I on "late night." The deal is this. The kind of stories I blast on the airwaves are not for the faint of heart. In other words "adult programming," "Rated R," "over the top." Get the picture?
I get all kinds of crazy shitcall-ins, letters, e-mails and videotapes. I've even had instances where desperate listeners have come up to the station demanding my personal attention and had to be dragged away by security. Imagine that! Mind you, I'm not a psychologist or some kind of expert, but I do have common sense and that's what I share with my crazy-ass listenersa dose of common sense and a reality check. Yes, my voice and brand of in-your-face advice reach millions one way or the other five nights per week.
Needless to say, I love my job. Every night is a new experience. When I first got into the radio game I got so many FCC fines for my potty mouth, that it was either move me to late night or lose my gig. I opted for late night. You see, I'm a straight shooter, no-holds-barred kinda girl. If I think you're an asshole I'm gonna tell you. As a result, my producer and best friend, Macy, works double time on the "bleep" board. And, trust me, I make a sistah work for her paycheck!
Me and Macy go way back from our teen years of growing up in Do-Or-Die Bedstuy in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. So I still have a little hood in me beneath my polished exterior and can get funky with the best of them. But Macy is usually at my side to keep me in check on the air and off. Truth be told, not only is Macy my best friend, she's my only friend. Sad, huh, that a successful woman like myself can count her friends on one finger? But it's cool. I'm not complaining. I have a good life. I live well, eat well, dress well and drive a brand-new Jag. My celebrity gives me entrée to all the hot parties and society events. That ain't half-bad especially for a chick that barely made it out of high school in one piecementally and physically.
There's no special man in my life. But I keep my pipes well-tunedlike now. I wish I could tell you what his name is, but for the life of me I can't remember.
"Hey, babe. Time to get up. Rock and roll." I shake his bare shoulder. He groans and squints up at me. A slow smile moves across his mouth.
"Hey," he says, his voice still thick with sleep.
We must have gotten in from the party about five this morning. Screwed until the sun came up then passed out. It was now almost three in the afternoon. Although I didn't go on air until ten, I need my downtime to preparepreferably alone. I use that time to go over the tons of letters and e-mails that come into the station to see which ones spark my interest, can cause the most eyebrows to be raised and still pass under the FCC radar.
"Come on, babe, I have things to do." I call him babe so he won't flip about me not knowing his name. Plus it sounds like I almost care.
Reluctantly he throws the sheet off and DAMN I remember why I picked him. The brother was hung and even at half-mast he looked lethal. He noticed me staring and grinned.
"Want some more?"
I think about it. "Maybe some other time. You wore a sistah out!" I grin then turn away and head to the kitchen before my carnal nature changes my mind. The sun is beaming in through the windows. I adjust the blinds, turn on the radio and listen to The Steve Harvey Morning Show. That man is a riot.
Compared to the rest of my apartment, which is pretty awesome, my kitchen would give Martha Stewart a run for her money. Stainless steel throughout, gray and white marble floorsreal marble, not that stick-on stuffdouble sinks and a cooking island complete with a hibachi grill. Trust me, it's not that I like to cook or anything, I just love the look.
"Can I call you?" he asks, coming out into the kitchen while fastening his pants.
My eyes roll over him. "Why don't you leave me your number and I'll be in touch." I give him my best I-promise-to-call-you smile.
"Yeah, sure." He turns and walks away.
A few minutes later I hear the front door slam shut.
Suddenly I remember his name. Randy Temple. I shrug and sip my coffee. Don't know why he should be offendedmen do it all the time. Some man somewhere is telling a woman right now, "I'll call you." Yeah, right.
I wander into my office, coffee cup in hand, and plop down into my chair. This is my sanctuary. I think it's kind of cozy with its solid wood furnishings. Shelving runs along the wall where I keep photos of me and Macy at the many celebrity events that we've attended over the years, my broadcasting trophies and a picture of the projects. Yeah, the Marcy projects, that's where I spent my formative years. I keep it there to remind me of where I've been and never want to be again.
There is a box at the foot of my desk piled high with letters. Depending on the issue I can usually get to three or four letters, handle the call-ins and maybe squeeze in a few e-mails if there's time. I reach into the box and pull out a random handful, put my feet up on the desk and open the first letter. One of my main criteria for reading a letter over the air is that it must read like a story, all the juicy details and the "he said, she said." See, I run my show like radio of old where folks would tune into The Shadow and stuff like that. Only I kick it up a notch. Yeah, reality radio, baby. I spread open the letter entitled, My Dilemma
Damn, damn, damn!
I consider myself a woman of above-average intelligence. I am well educated, successfully self-employed in a very influential and highly visible position, and financially quite stable.
I have never had a brush with the law. I pay my taxes on time and make regular contributions to several reputable charitable organizations.
In other words, I am in the upper crust of your radio demographic. I am the sistah that your advertisers are dying to reach: I own a home, save and invest my money wisely, have a superb credit rating and regularly enjoy the finer things in life.
I have not one, but two master's degrees from Ivy League institutions,and a bachelor's degree from the finest women's college in the nation, thank you very much.
I remained a virgin until my sophomore year,and though I am now in my mid-thirties, I can count the number of lovers I have enjoyed on one hand. And I swear under oath that I have never, ever, not one, single damn time, had sexual intercourse without protection.
So how can something this ridiculous, this stupid, this low, happen to me?
I can't tell you how often I've talked bad about the women who call your show for advice because they find themselves pregnant and don't know who the daddy is.
I can't count how many times I've snickered,criticized, rolled my eyes, called 'em stupid, trifling, and some of everything else.
This kind of tacky ghetto farce was never supposed to happen to me.
You may have heard of me, Joy. I feel as though I know you because you are part of my life every night, from the time I roll into my California king-size bed until I drift off to sleep, counting my good fortune.
I am Simone Forrester, the nation's leading advocate and most visible and highly respected spokesperson for interracial identity and rights. I am the founding and current president of Multiracial Unity,Love,Tolerance and Identity (MULTI), the largest, most visible and influential network of its kind in the nation.
In that capacity, I appear regularly on national televisionand radioand in newspapers and magazines all over the country, and sometimes in various parts of the world. I have written three successful books on matters related to multiracial identity and earned a reputation as a leading expert on the topic.
I have won awards for my work,which is regularly called "groundbreaking,""powerful,""affirming,""life altering"and "revelatory."
But none of that is helping me now. I peed on that EPT stick and my world turned inside out in less than ten seconds. As I write this, I have just returned home from my doctor appointment, the one where they verify the pregnancy with a blood test and a pelvic exam.
I believe I am the only person in the world who knows that I have been carrying on simultaneous relationships with two men.Two men who are as different as, well, black and white.
My head is spinning, Joy.
My life is so successful because I have organized it to run a certain way,and it has been working just fine. Better than fine: wonderfully.
But now, my breasts are sore and growing like balloons. My stomach is heaving.
Everyday scents make me nauseous.
The most ridiculous things are making me cry.
Two months, the doctor said. Two months along.
As though that was perfectly normal and understandable, perfectly logical.
Which it might be, if not for my "dilemma."
Let's call it that, okay? My Dilemma.
As if it's not enough that I am in love with two menand yes, even though it may be considered ho-ish behavior, I have been maintaining intimate relationships with both of themnow I am pregnant. Despite the consistent use of both condoms and the Pill.
I could tie my brain in knots trying to figure out how the hell this happened, though we all know the small-print statistical probability with all forms of contraception, and our mama's sage warning: No form of birth control is one hundred percent!
Of course, I realize I have an option about this whole motherhood thing. I can get an abortion since, thankfully, they're still legal in the U.S., at least for the moment. I can carry the child to term and then give it up for adoption.
But since th...