Yesha Callahan

To Be Bourgie or Not To Be Bourgie?

This morning I was called ‘bourgie’ by my buddy SingleBlackMale. I can’t even recall how we got on the subject of him thinking I was bourgie, but it had something to do with me telling him that I considered his corn-beef out of a can, a ‘poor man’s meal’ & that it smells like dog food. Sue me. I don’t like meat out of a can. He then went on his tirade on how bourgie he thought I was. I wanted to tell him, if he couldn’t spell the correct term, than he shouldn’t be using it in the first place. Let him tell it, I’m bourgie because I don’t eat corn beef out of a can and because of my list of “You Don’t Expect Me To Eat That, Do you?” foods. I was steadily waiting for him to go for the gusto and say, “Oh and you talk ‘white'”, but he didn’t dare go there.

Being called bourgie is nothing new to me. Hell, even some of my own family members throw the term at me occasionally. What I find funny is that I truly don’t consider myself to have any type bourgeoisie attitude. I don’t walk around with my noise stuck up in the air, I don’t try to size people up in regards to where they live, what they have and how much money they make. I’m far from the high-society and tea at noon women. Although I may consider myself a little above average, I never consider other people below average. I believe everyone is basically dealt certain cards in life, and they have to play the hand they’ve been dealt. If anything, I’d call myself picky.

When you look up the term ‘bourgie’ in the Urban Dictionary here is what you find:

1. bougie 494 up, 106 down love ithate it
Aspiring to be a higher class than one is. Derived from bourgeois – meaning middle/upper class, traditionally despised by communists.
When my friend Miya wears a blazer or Lucy gets a massage I call them bougie cause we’re unemployed college students.
by indi Jun 23, 2004 share this add comment
2. Bougie 179 up, 30 down love ithate it
Adjective meaning extravagent, often to the point of snobbery. Usually used in relation to the conspicuous consumption of the urban upper-middle class. Dervived from “bourgeoisie”
“What kind of chips are those?”
“Organic Parmesan Oregeno with Olive Oil, they’re 4 dollars a bag”
“Man those are bougie chips”
3. bougie 96 up, 19 down love ithate it
Anything that is percieved as “upscale” from a blue-collar point of view. ‘Bougie’ (pronounced boo’-she) is a hacked truncation of the word Bourgeoisie, which refers to the middle-class in Europe, but refers to a more affluent class level in the United States.
In the United States, which lacks strict social classes, Bourgeoisie is sometimes used to refer to those seen as being upper class.
You can sit there and drink your bougie-ass microbrewed beer, but I still prefer my ice cold Coors original.
Did ya see Luthur just roll up in his bougie new BMW?
You can eat your bougie $25.99 salad from Central Market for lunch, but I’m hangin’ with Mikky D’s!

I remember over hearing a conversation two women were having and one of them threw the term ‘bourgie’ around, but it was in reference to a white person. I almost had to keep myself from laughing out loud when of the women went on to say, “Well, white people can’t be bourgie”. That had to be the funniest comment I’ve heard in a while because the term bourgeoisie was originally used in reference to Europeans. But nowadays, it’s mostly black people, who in my opinion, misuse and throw it around aimlessly.

Here is list of reasons why people have called me ‘bourgie’:

  • I won’t eat canned meat, hot dogs or anything remotely close to it. (an ode to Single Black Male, who by his own definition would be truly bourgie because he loves water crackers & caviar!)
  • A white guy once called me bourgie b/c I told him I prefer The Cheese Cake Factory, instead of Applebees. I mean seriously, maybe I just wanted a piece of cheese cake that day?
  • I occasionally get the “Oh, you talk so proper, like a white girl”. This always made me laugh, because after years of speech therapy as a kid and public speaking classes in high school and college, I can’t help it if I know how to conjugate verbs in English and French. But to make people happy, every once in a while I’ll throw in a double negative and some shit, damn & mother fuckers.
  • I prefer shopping at the Gap, H&M, Banana Republic, J. Crew and stores of that nature. You will never catch me in any Dereon, Baby Phat or any other clothing line that has big ass labels as part of the design. I prefer to keep it simple and not flashy.

Yes, the randomness above is what I’ve heard from people, and yes, as dumb as they sound to you, they sound even dumber actually hearing them first hand. According to Single Black Male, I’m bourgie, but I highly think that’s the case. But if there are any single ladies out there, he’s looking for a ‘bourgie’ girl, who’ll eat sushi one night and risk getting shot & killed while waiting for some take-out in SE, DC. If that’s you, shoot him an email! Until then, I’m not bourgie, that’s my word & I’m sticking to it!

  1. December 10, 2008 - Reply

    You’re not Bougie, you just have standards Chick, which people need more of IMO. Not only does corned beef hash in a can smell and look like dog food,I wouldn’t feed it to my dogs. I’ve been called Bougie a few times in my life, told I “talk proper” or like a white girl, and my all time favorite “prissy princess.” I’ve been referred to by these names by my own family to boot.
    I really don’t like how the urban dictionary defines “bougie” in as glossy or pretenious. I don’t pretend to have high standards, I just do. I don’t pretend or floss, I have what you see me with, and my reactions are genuine. You know Single Black Male, some people might call you bougie for eating sushi. I know when i eat sushi, I’m usually the only black person in the restaurant.

    • December 10, 2008 - Reply


      Believe me, SBM has his bougie tendencies, but I won’t embarrass him…lol
      Yes, I have standards, but I never force those on to other people..I have caught myself giving people the side-eye, b/c I thought their standards were questionable, but such is life. Everyone is silently judging everyone anyways.

  2. December 10, 2008 - Reply

    yes, you’re bougie if you don’t eat canned meat with crack-uhs! LOL
    When you set high standards for yourself and obtain them, you’re labeled as bougie.
    My friends call me bougie because I won’t buy ANYTHING from the “purse man” at the nail shop. So because I’d rather buy an authentic Coach/Louis/Gucci than buy one from Twiceberg Slim, I’m bougie. Because I don’t buy bootleg movies (with bad sound/image) to save a few dollars I’m bougie. Because I know how to use all the silverware/glassware in front of me at a fine restaurant, I’m bougie.
    Oh well, I’m happy to be bougie.

    • December 10, 2008 - Reply


      LMAO @ Crack-uhs! I like Ritz, can’t do saltines lol
      Shoot, I’m getting a purse straight from Japan in a few weeks..the original ‘purse man’…Ooops, did I say that out loud? I might get my bougie pass taken

  3. December 10, 2008 - Reply

    Ok, I’m gonna try to keep this gudda so as not to come off “bougie”…but, WHAT THE CANNED SHELTER FOOD FUCK does not likeing stale ass corned beef hash in a can have to do with a damn thing? I grew up mostly living with my grandmother in the PJ’s and I HATED pig feet, hog maws and chitlins. It was disgusting. I don’t do “deviled ham” and “potted meat”. Would I eat it in a storm…hell yea…but, is it my first choice? NO
    If I’m gonna eat corned beef hash, I’m gonna get REAL corned beef (from a kosher shop) and cut up real potatoes and use REAL herbs and spices…cuz I can DO that. If all those things makes you bougie…then I guess I am too. I love Cheesecake Factory…it’s classier. LMAO

    • December 10, 2008 - Reply


      SEE!! Gotta get the real corned beef from the butcher!! Single Black Male didn’t even know of that until I told him a couple of weeks ago!! What a sheltered food life he
      LMAO @ Chitlins, so why did I request HWSRN to bring me some back from his mother’s house?? I haven’t had any since I was 6 yrs old, but I still can smell them shits! lol

  4. December 10, 2008 - Reply

    Oh, and excuse my broken dialect and the misspelling of “liking”…I’d hate to come off “ghetto” *rolling eyes*

  5. December 10, 2008 - Reply

    People have call me bourgeois over the years due to having certain standards…But this is what sets one apart from following the herd…Recalling the times when I wouldn’t go into certain areas, eat certain things and fellowship with certain types…For that i was called “White girl” “snob” also…Don’t let anyone talk you out of your beliefs…

    • December 10, 2008 - Reply


      Oh, I’ve been called a snob several times as well, but it was usually by people who didn’t understand where I was coming from…

  6. December 10, 2008 - Reply

    If you can afford it, bourgie out!

    • December 10, 2008 - Reply


      nah, i’m quite frugal when it comes to a lot of one would never guess that i suppose.

  7. December 11, 2008 - Reply

    Ok. Let me start off by saying that you new theme is awesome. I love it!!!
    It puzzles me how people are so quick to throw someone into a category or stereotype them just because they don’t do or like something that the other person does or likes. I never quite understood that and I never will.
    I have been labeled before and labels are not something that I am very fond about. First, don’t label me because you don’t know me. Get a chance to at least know me then try to stick your label. Chances are that it still won’t fit because I am unpredictable. Secondly, don’t be mad at me because we don’t have the same taste or style. That doesn’t make me bougie. It just means that our taste and styles are no in sync. And last, just because I walk with my head held high and my words agree when I talk to you, doesn’t make me bougie. It only means that I was trying to ignore you and English was my favorite subject in school. LMAO!

    • December 11, 2008 - Reply


      Thanks! I needed something a little simple (as it turned out tweaking it wasn’t simple at
      LOL @ ignoring you! I know exactly what you mean…I have the act of ignoring down to a science!

  8. December 11, 2008 - Reply

    I’ve been called bourgie by a couple of friends and family members, but what I have found is that they have assumptions about people who buy certain things, shop at certain places, and hang out at certain venues.
    What I have found is when you drag some of those friends/family members to those places or introduce them to certain foods, some of them realize that they like those things and those “bourgie” folks they didn’t like are actually cool.
    However, some people hold on to those preconceived notions because it either makes them feel better about where they are in life i.e. no need for improvement or to protect them from the look of disdain from some “bourgie” folk…I do know that a a very small percentage of “bourgie” folks I know have a less than pleasant personality/aura.

    • December 12, 2008 - Reply

      @Chocolate Chiq

      “….I do know that a a very small percentage of “bourgie” folks I know have a less than pleasant personality/aura..”
      Yes the handful that I’ve referred to as ‘bourgie’ definitely had this negative aura about them…

  9. December 11, 2008 - Reply

    Uhhhh….I like corned beef hash from the can. Yeah, I know it smells like dog food, but I can’t help it! (LOL) Tell him Hormel serves the BEST dog food EVAR! (LMBAO)

    • December 12, 2008 - Reply

      @robusta barista

      I will definitely pass that on to my buddy…lol
      I’m almost certain he’s buying the store brands lol

  10. December 11, 2008 - Reply

    I kinda like vienna sausages… but other than that…. I think that liking real food instead of things that you don’t recognize is taking care of yourself. It’s only bourgie if you look down on others because they do like canned hash!
    I keep getting stuck in the middle of bourgie and ghetto (although I don’t identify with either one). I once had a friend call me ghetto because I’m from Memphis. I don’t know why that bothered me…
    I don’t buy bootleg DVDs because I know I would like to get paid for my job, why shouldn’t actors? I rarely buy fake goods because I can just about afford the real ones (TJ Maxx and Marshalls sells Dooney and Coach for a good price)
    I guess bourgie is a state of mind….

    • December 12, 2008 - Reply


      I’m not even going to comment on the bootleg movies I own..or better yet the music..LMAO!
      TJ Maxx has Coach?? I didn’t know that! That’s just in time for Xmas shopping!

  11. December 11, 2008 - Reply

    When people throw that word around, it reminds me of being a youngin’ and getting harassed bc I loved books, learning, and behaving, you know “acting white” (side-eye of extreme proportions), it is such an immature term…. my fellow grown folks disappoint me so, le sigh…

    • December 12, 2008 - Reply

      @Naturally Alise

      Grown folks tend to disappoint a lot…lol.
      It’s amazing some of the absurdness that comes out of some people’s mouths..and yes, I’ve been at fault at times as well.

  12. December 11, 2008 - Reply

    LOL. I wonder if anyone thinks I bougie because I like the same things you do. Like Naturally Alise said, I haven’t heard that in a lonnnng time. I prefer to describe myself as being able to fit in anywhere from the boardroom to the hood :-). Although, I prefer not to risk life and limb for chinese food.

    • December 12, 2008 - Reply


      You’d be perfect for SBM! LOL!
      Let me hook this one up!

  13. December 21, 2008 - Reply

    Nice Baby Phat information (i like it) I only think they are a little bit expensive, don’t you think? Bye Bye

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