One thing I pride myself on is listening. And since I started blogging for ESSENCE, 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 Men some straight talk (no chaser)?”
My response was always canned. “ESSENCE.com is primarily visited by women and therefore, I write 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. 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 Men” because he never writes to Brothas.
Well, you know what? Pertaining to ESSENCE, he’s right…their community is 96% female so writing a piece on something like fatherhood may not fully resonate, HOWEVER, for this site (my personal blog), I can choose what and how I write. That being said, this one is for the fellas! Although ladies, I have a request for you on this, too. Give it a read and if you agree with the content, please help me get it in the hands of as many men as possible – post it on your Facebook page, Tweet it, Pin it, and email it!
The following are the 10 things I want every man who is single to know!
1) Most Playboys I Know Die Lonely
The most sympathetic I have ever felt for a client was when I was approached by a 48-year-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.
2) Being a Playa is Nothing Compared to Being a Gentleman
Chivalry 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 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 5 extra 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)!
3) There is Nothing Sexier Than a Man with a Plan
Yeah, 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 MEASURABLE 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).
4) If You Want a 10, Be a 10 First
Self-development is not just for the ladies. 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.”
5) Get a Mentor in Your Life … ASAP
Having 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 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.
6) Use Your Head to Protect Your Head
Yeah, you heard that right, protect your head! Diseases are killing us, Black men in particular. Most diseases 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 through 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.
7) Treat ‘Em Like You Want Your Momma Treated
We know the sun rises and sets with our mommas, even today, if someone went in too hard with “Yo momma” jokes about my mom, your 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 interested in romantically).
8) See My 10 Most Underrated List for Underrated Diamonds
This 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.
9) We Really Do Run This Thang, Let’s Run It Right
I’m speaking to my black brothas specifically on this one: I’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 “winning.” 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.
10) I’m Here to Help
I get paid (well) for giving advice, but this is an occasion I’m down to help Pro bono publico. I am asking every single male (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 who can.
There have been many talented, strong, and dynamic men who have helped me and continue to do so — I stand on the shoulders of my father, father-in-law, grandfathers, and uncles. It’s my turn to bear some weight, come get on my shoulders, Brotha.