10 Things Every Single Brotha Needs to KnowReal Advice for All the BrothasOne thing I pride myself on is listening. And since I started blogging at Essence just a few weeks ago, I've had a lot to listen to because...well, y'all have had a lot to say what stood out the most is that no matter the forum (Twitter, Facebook,Essence Community, etc), a common theme has been "Paul, we love your articles and advice but when are you going to give the Brothas some straight talk (no chaser)?" My response was always canned "Essence.com is primarily visited by women and therefore, I'm writing for women" but there was one comment that broke me out of the mold! I found it while perusing one of my favorite blogs, Very Smart Brothas (www.verysmartbrothas.com). The comment was made by a Brotha named 'Obsidian' (disclosure: this person uses an alias so I could be referring to a Tonganese Hermaphrodite but my guess is, he's a Brotha) and he basically stated "Paul, isn't in the business of helping Black Men" because he never writes to Brothas. Well, you know what? He's right...at least, he 'was' right because it all changes with this post. I'm flippin' the script with this one and I need your help. Please help me get this to every single brotha you know. Post it on your Facebook page, Tweet it, Buzz it up, and Email it! The following are the 10 things I want every single Brotha to know!Most Playas I Know Die LonelyThe most sympathetic I have ever felt for a client was when I was approached by a 48 yr old, self-professed 'playboy for life.' I'll never forget the call, he said with a weak voice, "Paul, I'm looking for a companion but you only have 6 months." And then he added, I've given you that amount of time because that's the same amount of time the doctors have given me to live and I'd like to share at least one day with true love before I leave earth." We were not built to do life alone. Don't wait too long to settle down.Being a Playa is Nothing Compared to Being a GentlemanChivalry is not dead but we're killin' it...slowly.In our parents' day and before, boys were taught early on what it is to be a man and part of that was knowing how to treat a lady. And if you didn't learn it at home, you picked it up in the community by observing how the men treated women.Now, I go out and men will not hesitate to walk through a door before a woman let alone actually take the extra 5 seconds to hold it open for her. Brothas, really?? We know better, let's act like it (especially for the boys coming up...they'll be what they see)!There is Nothing More Sexy Than a Man with a PlanYeah, women often profess their love for an ambitious man but I've found that a man with something as simple as a basic life plan (and MEASUREABLE strides taken to achieve it) typically wins. I'm not saying to give up on your audacious 'Jay-Z take over the world' scheme but if all you have to show for it over the last 5 years is a studio in your basement, it's time to move on. Remember that all of your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).If You Want a 10, Be a 10 FirstSelf-development is not just for the Sistas. We want a woman who's got her act together (body that'll give Buffie competition, wittier than Kerry Washington, more nurturing than Florida Evans, and one that could give bedroom lessons to Karrine Stephens). That said, are we willing to take an honest look at ourselves to see where there is room for improvement.Don't let that male EGO stop you from being the best you can be.Michael Jackson said it best... "start with the man in the mirror."Get a Mentor in Your Life ... ASAPHaving a mentor is highly underrated.I couldn't have experienced the successes I have (professionally and personally) without the guidance of several mentors. This is the single most effective step anyone can take to self-improve. There are countless studies that all point to expedited development through the help of a mentor (and what's most fascinating about this research is the qualification of the mentor makes a marginal impact on effectiveness - so having basically anyone dedicated to listening and coaching you, will yield results). If you're not sure about where to find a mentor, see #10.Use Your Head to Protect Your HeadYeah, you heard that right, protect your head! Diseases are killing black men and most are linked to straight smashin'...not intravenous drug use. Black men lead the number of new HIV infections and it's literally and figuratively 'the brain' that's destroying us. The most popular question I get from high school and college aged men is whether or not sexual diseases can be transferred though oral sex...I've stopped being amazed and perplexed why this was even a question to now simply being evangelical about it.If you have ANY sexual contact (oral, vaginal, and yes...anal) wear a condom or risk being 6 feet deep. Sexual education is a category that we need MUCH more dialogue about.Treat'em Like You Want Your Mamma TreatedWe know the sun rises and sets with our Mommas, even today, if someone went in too hard with 'Yo Momma' jokes about MY mom, you boy's tie and jacket is comin' off and someone is hittin' the floor (of course, in all other areas of my life I exercise complete self-control...lol). This is true for EVERY man I know. So, just imagine if we treated the ladies in our life this way...like you would want another man (or anyone else) to treat your mother? Keeping this perspective we will dramatically improve the value we place on our relationships with ALL women (not just those we're romantically interested in).See My 10 Most Underrated List for Underrated DiamondsThis was basically a listing of the most prevalent types of women that seek my services as a matchmaker and coach.I wouldn't normally ask this, but Brothas, I need you to take some business away from me.There are way too many diamonds out there going unnoticed. Check out that list and ask yourself if you have any of these types of women in your life right now.We Really Do Run This Thang ... Let's Run It RightI've traveled to at least one country on every continent and one thing has remained consistent: Americans may not be popular in all places overseas but the popularity of 'Black Male Americans' has not diminished. Of course, it's clear this is driven by music, film, and sports but let's accept the face value of it-internationally, Brothas are 'it.' Let's not let that power go to waste (I have so many ideas here but we'll discuss in another post). To whom much is given, much is expected.Let's be the reflection of what it is to be a man.I'm Hear to HelpI get paid (well) for giving advice but this is an occasion I'm down to help Pro bono publico. I am asking every single Brotha (any age) to contact me if: a) you are in need of a mentor. b) you need relationship advice. c) you think there is another way I can help you. I will personally answer every inquiry and in all cases I cannot specifically help, I will refer you to someone that can. I can be contacted via facebook at fb.com/PaulBrunson or twitter at @PaulCBrunson. There have been many talented, strong, and dynamic Brothas who have helped me and continue to do so-I stand on the shoulders of my father, father-in-law, grandfathers, and uncles...all Black Men. It's my turn to bear weight, come get on my shoulders, Brotha.
10 Underrated WomenHow You Can Stand OutIn my post last week we explored the 10 Underrated Men and Why You Should Date Them, this week it's the ladies turn! So, the myth goes, when it comes to dating, men have more options than Sunday brunch at B Smith's. Men (supposedly) juggle multiple women and have (if they wanted) a date every night. But the reality is far from this. The average number of dates a man has per month is only one AND despite the popularity of technology and dating, the majority (56%) of men on dating sites never receive a single message of interest-It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp (using my Hustle and Flow voice). But just like last week when I presented options for ladies to increase the availability pool, I'm giving men the same choices to expand the number of women they meet. Either 1) Expand your social circles. 2) Open your mind to new women. Today we're back to focusing on #2 - the following list includes the 10 most underrated women and what you can do, ladies, if you fall in one of these categories and want to stand out!5 foot 9ers (and taller)Social norms tell us that in romantic relationships the man should be taller than the woman.But with only 14% of the male population being over 6' tall, this leaves tall women with few choices outside of hunching over and wearing flats in hopes of appearing less statuesque, right? Wrong! Contrary to these "norms" I suggest embracing your height.Those attempts to fool the eye of a potential suitor don't work and actually make you appear self-conscious read less attractiveConfidence is sexy! Don't be afraid to wear those 5 inch platform stiletto Louboutins... put them on and walk tall!IntrovertedYou know who you are... at social gatherings, you're the wallflower or perhaps you don't get out to social gatherings because you're just fine reading at home or catching up on the latest from Hulu.That said, the one thing I promise you is that Mr. Right will not be found in your apartment.To get noticed, you've got to get out more. Start slow... perhaps this week you'll read in Barnes and Noble, the next week you'll join an activity you enjoy through a Meetup group (one of my favorite sites for singles to expand their social circles-www.meetup.com).Ms. Jr. BootyLong before Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce, men have appreciated an ample derrière.Since the beginning of time, a woman with larger backs was viewed as feminine and beautiful.But before you invest in butt implants or make a smaller investment in the Booty Pop (on sale at Target for only $20...yes, I had to research that), know that men DO have love for the ladies with a Jr. Booty.Remember, it's all about proportion - as long as your hip to waist ratio is 70% or less (divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to determine), you have a figure that will make most men look twice.Madame Business MogulI cringe when I hear the infamous line "he was intimidated by me" because 90% of the time that line really translates to "he's not interested in me because of some reason that I don't know so I'm going to insert the word "intimidated'". But if you're in the business mogul category, the "intimidation" factor could be the truth. For the moguls out there, know that MOST guys are not daunted by an ambitious woman with a career path.However, men are very visual so you have to evaluate how you are presenting yourself, especially on a date.Be sure to change out of your power suit and opt for a dress instead. Also, put away your blackberry - show that you want to get to know him and that you're in the moment and not monitoring email to see if that deal closed. At the end of the day, men want femininity and if you're also a power player, consider it a bonus!Ms. IndependentBeyonce sang your praises in "Independent Women" and then she reinforced it with "Single Ladies"... then she got married (Gotcha!).You may naturally be a woman that doesn't like to depend on others for anything or perhaps the school of hard-knocks has shaped you into the self-sufficient woman you are.All of that's good BUT understand a key question a man asks himself before making a full commitment is "can I please her?"If the answer is no, he has evaluated that you take care of everything yourself (he can't even open the door for you), therefore, he is unnecessary in your life.You deserve to be catered to, so let go of the reins sometimes.Over 35 Years OldThere is no question that the dating game changes as your biological clock begins to tick. However, change doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's unfortunate that many women feel that they have a desirability expiration date, but that is simply not true. The dating scene for women over 35 is more vibrant than ever - I've never seen so many dating events/companies/initiatives for this age demo. Moreover, men wanting a committed relationship place core values and interests over age. The thing that will scare men off is when you let them know on the first date that you're looking for a husband and father to your future children and that the deal needs to be sealed within a year. Take the pressure off your date but more importantly, take it off yourself and you'll see dating can be a fun and rewarding experience.Single MomYou feel that you have no time to go out between work, PTA meetings and after-school activities.And when there is time, you can still think of 10 things around the house that need to be taken care of, but make sure your taking care of you, too.You also feel there is a stigma that a man will prefer a woman who doesn't have children so he can "start fresh."Not True!Especially for a man that has walked a mile in your shoes (reportedly, 2.6 million single dads are out there as the primary caregiver).Whether you find yourself with one of these single dads or with a guy who just respects your hustle, take the relationship slow and show your other interesting dimensions. Even though you love your kids like no one else, you still enjoy salsa dancing and sangria!The HomegirlHe calls you for advice on everything from where to take his girlfriend on vacation to professional decisions like should he take that job on the Hill in DC.You prefer jeans and a T over a mini-skirt and stilettos (like his other girls prefer).Sound familiar? Almost every guy has a Homegirl...a female confidant...someone with whom we share the closest of information but "just a friend."If this is you and you'd like to upgrade your status with him, don't fret... timing is everything. Some of the strongest relationships I know of started between friends.Don't change your style, but perhaps enhance it.Instead of a boxy T, wear a fitted T to accentuate your curves.Take down your ponytail and let him see that you also have an alluring side! Most importantly, maintain a frequent emotional connection-several studies show repeated exposure to practically any stimulus makes us like it more. So, the more you interact with him, the more he'll like you!The Plus Size DivaYou're a size 20 and not a size 2.You have a wonderful personality, but on Friday nights it's just you and the girls (your actual friends or just your appendages).One thing I've realized from matchmaking and coaching women over the past few years is that your size does not dictate your circumstance.As long as you are healthy and happy with your size, make no apologies for it - why should you?The key obstacle ladies face in this category is truly themselves. Your belief is your reality! Many men do like curvy women and there are countless surveys published to prove this point. However, what men looking for a committed relationship don't like is the Notorious L.S.E. (Low Self-Esteem). To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.Celibate and ProudThey say good girls don't give it up, but with 67% of people having some form of sexual contact by the 3rd date, it's easy to see how a good girl can go bad...and it's also easy to see why those that hold back from such interaction could be labeled prudish.Hear ye! Hear ye!Never falter from your conviction. Your decision to wait until you're married is a respected value...maybe not by everyone you meet, but trust me, your future husband will loooove you for it.Always be true to yourself and never make apologies for the decisions you feel are best. I rarely come across a man who, when GENUINELY interested in a committed relationship, balks at the prospect of waiting until the wedding night to get in between the sheets.