Step Yo Game Up

Fellas, good luck finding that Perfect Purple Flying Unicorn who lays golden eggs

Blogger's note: we take a break from Famous Movie Quotes I Don't Believe In week for today's special post... Oh and also, no - I'm not a relationship expert but I've been around and done some things and learned more than I needed and so I share...

I get it, I really do. It's hard to find The One out there. Finding someone to match your emotional and physical checklist who gets you and shares your vision of the future for both the immediate and long-term? Plus they (prayerfully) are employed, sane, with low drama thresholds? It ain't easy. I feel your pain.

Media outlets (mainstream and other) spend a lot of time telling women why they can't/won't/shan't find a man and what to do about it. A lot of that chatter usually involves telling a woman to improve herself, lower her standards, be more realistic, stop giving it away for free, earn more money, go to different places, get her mind right first, get her credit right first, do back flips six dozen times in the rain in five inch heels in a size 4 mini-dress while quoting from Deuteronomy and performing kegels to keep it right and tight, you know - basically make miracles happen time and time again.

But fellas, I gotta tell you... I've been listening to some of you out there on the Twitter streets and Facebook highways - some of ya'll need a miracle or two yourself. It's fine to have standards, in fact, I highly recommend that many of you raise yours; but some of ya'll are out there on your Ponce de León, searching for some mythical, unfindable treasure only whispered about as legend. And then when said creature remains lost to you, you complain regularly and loudly about how hard it is to find a good woman.

No. It is not hard to find a good woman. It is not hard to find a single, successful, professional woman who looks good and is about her business. It IS hard to find a woman with all of that who lives up to some fantastical ideology that may or may not exist in the real world. From Chris Rock's Never Scared:
"You're never gonna get a soul mate, the perfect person.
You're never gonna meet somebody that loves Seinfeld and the Wu Tang Clan.
It ain't happening.
Even if you meet the perfect person, it ain't gonna be the perfect time."

Not saying I totally agree with that but I understand what he's saying. Perfect doesn't exist. Guys, you know I love you, but Imma need for some of you to level-set. If you have been seriously looking and looking and looking in what is arguably a buyer's market and still can't find Ms. Right? It's time to make some changes. How? Five steps:

1. Get an impartial jury to calibrate your worth in the marketplace. Sounds harsh but there it is. You may think you are a platinum catch bringing much to the table. Ask around and find out if that is true. Not just looks but attitude, values, belief system, expectations, bed game, baggage, and yes, earning potential mixed in with the way that you treat someone all make up your net dating worth. I'd hate for you to think yourself a 9.5 when you're putting out 4.7 vibes. Water seeks its level. Figure out what yours is and act accordingly.

2. Where are you looking? Really? After a certain age you are not going to find who you are looking for in the clubs. People disparage online dating but the truth of the matter is by going virtual you cast a wider net into a much deeper pool of candidates. Looking for a woman with a refined palate? McDonald's may not be the spot. An extreme example but you take my meaning. Figure out where like-minded people are and get there.

3. Review your expectations. Do you have a 100-point checklist where 25 of those things are must haves? You are making it way harder than it needs to be. In the HR World there are BQs and PQs. A BQ is a quantifiable basic qualification that a candidate must meet to even apply for the role. For instance, a college degree. A PQ is a preferred qualification that can shift as needed. For instance, a degree in a technical field from an Ivy League university. Is it possible that your BQs and PQs need a review and refresh? The more nice-to-haves take up space in the must-have list, the harder it is to find.

4. An speaking of HR - approach your search for The One like you would a job hunt. Don't expect it to come to you, pound the pavement (virtual and real) looking for it. Find out where people found the ones similar to what you want and go there. Dress for success, do something that makes you stand out over the others, never assume the position is yours just because you showed up (ya'll don't hear me tho) and always, always know that word of mouth (the referral system) gets you further faster than anything else.

5. Last but not least, if the last four things don't work? Seek professional help. No, I'm not calling you crazy, I'm saying hie thee to a professional matchmaker or life coach... credentialed, not these Social Media idiots turning bad Hallmark quotes into careers. Let's take the job analogy again, if you couldn't find a job on your own, wouldn't you consider letting an agency or headhunter help you? Of course you would. Just food for thought.

Once you find some candidates? Well, that's for another post. So fellas... I wish you well. I wish you luck and I wish you love. Nuff said? BougieLand, agree or disagree? Thoughts, comments, insights? Do share...

Confident is the new sexy (and the old one too)

And we want it...
So who is it that gets you going? Denzel? Lenny? Brad? Laz? Idris? Halle? Meagan? Gabrielle? Angelina? What do they have in common? It's more than "fine n fit" or easy on the eyes... it's the attitude. That confidence that oozes out of them anytime a light shines their way. It's in the walk (does anyone have a better walk than Denzel?) and the talk. It's in the eyes. It's that certain "oomph" that says "I'm here and you know you know it". Even if it's just in the public persona, it's enough to make us believe something special is there.

Good Lawd, the things that a confident man can get away with. The difference between, "Do you think you might want to do this tonight?" and "Let's do this."? Mmm. That's a whole other topic, let me get back on track. 

I get asked over and over again by men and women alike - what's attractive? What's sexy? What catches someone's eye? You can call it what you want: "That Thing", "Swagger", self-assurance, self-esteem or confidence. It works. This is one characteristic of bougie people that I'd like to pass on to the world. We act like the world is ours when we wake up and we don't need nobody telling us the time. But we're nice about it. That's confidence.

Don't have it? Working on it? Here's a crash course...
Confidence 101
1. Figure out who you are. The good, the bad and the ugly 
2. Be okay with number one 
3. Understand that not everybody else is at number two. 
4. Give not a damn about those people mentioned in number three. 
5. Leave your house as if you are being filmed. Even if you aren't looking hot, walk like you are rocking the hell out of those basketball shorts and wife beater. Head up, shoulders back, easy stride. Fellas, ladies, it's so not bougie to shuffle along like you're on your way to prison.  
6. Smile. I know you don't feel like it. Do it anyway.  
7. Speak. Even if you're not spoken to. "How are you doing today?" If they don't answer, nod and keep it moving.
8. Make eye contact. Number 5, 6, & 7 mean nothing without this. 
9. About number seven, have something to say in case someone follows up. "Umm" is S.No.S. (So Not Sexy) 
10. Never, ever, ever let 'em see you sweat. Your insecurities, your bad day, your baggage from your last relationship needs to stay strapped down and tucked away for private time. As a friend of mine used to say, don't carry your funk on your face. 
And if you can't get past number one... fake it until it's real. Who's with me? Who has one to add? Thoughts, comments, universal cosign (just joking)...

What does your brand say about you?

Step yo' game up ~ sell your personal brand as a "product of choice" not cut-rate generic

I know, I know - I hear your collective groans. Everyone is just sooo tired of talking about "creating a personal brand", "maximizing a brand", "making the best out of Brand You." Believe me, I know. As a writer and small business owner, I get at least 30 emails a week with kindly folks wanting to help me with my branding strategy.

But what I've come to realize is, business or no business - everybody has a brand. You are born representing your parents' brand but soon enough you are out there on your own and the things you say and do shape how your personal brand is being perceived.

A "product of choice" is generally wildly successful. A brand that you will pay more for just on name alone. It's usually one that invokes good feelings just by hearing the brand name - Coca~Cola, Godiva, Häagen-Dazs - all good. Enron, BP, Exxon - not so good. Same thing with people as a brand - Adolf Hitler - not good. Mother Teresa- good. Both company and people brands experience ups and downs. Google - are they saving the world or taking it over? Kanye West - misunderstood artist or selfish megalomaniac? It's all in perception.

Let's take for instance my lying, cheating, can't-keep-a-promise ex. In the beginning, his brand was highly coveted. Successful, accomplished, wrapped in an attractive package and accompanied by the all-important feel good factor. But over time, the product was not as advertised and eventually did not work as promised. The feel good was minimized by the encroaching belief that I had been completely hoodwinked by the pitch and the packaging. This leads to an erosion of consumer confidence, lack of brand loyalty and eventually you get to the point where the mere mention of the brand makes you angry. 

Do you want your brand to be the BP on the block? Let's look at a few other examples: 

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who had begun a relationship with a fella. Not too long into their communications, he began telling her about all that had gone wrong in his previous relationship including the fact that he didn't believe he was very good in bed. What flavor of brand marketing is this? You admit straight out the gate that you can't keep a woman or satisfy her? You've torpedoed your own brand out the gate. That's like a mini Snickers bar saying on the package - you're going to need to eat 10 of these and we're going to make you fat. WDDDA? Just go ahead and place yourself on the bottom shelf of the Wal-Mart in the hood next to no-name one-ply toilet tissue.

I had another conversation with a male friend of mine who was attracted to a woman in his apartment building. Having just moved in, he was checking her out and strategizing the best way to approach her. She also attended his church and he listened to her give a stirring speech about how she was praying for God to send her a good Christian man now that she was living right and ready to settle down. After checking her out for a few weeks, he noticed that she went from buttoned-up professional by day to Love-in-da-club chick by night. Well, not in da club per se... she'd taken to bringing some of her one night stands home and they didn't always make it to her front door before the love part jumped off.  Her brand marketing was in direct conflict with her product AND she clearly didn't understand her target audience. If you want a good Christian man, you shouldn't be giving it up to random club dudes in view of God and everybody. 

You see what I mean about what your brand says about you? Your packaging (appearance), your pitch (speech), your promotions (what you write, tweet, blog, email), product placement (where you live, eat, work, go) and your performance (actions) all tell a story about your brand - are you being the best representative of you? Think on it and share your comments below.

Naked don't last all day

Step Yo' Game Up - bring more to the table than your bed game (or the promise of fierce bed game).

Sure, I'll admit it... I appreciate a talented, energetic, considerate bed partner as much as the next person. But as BougieMom is known to say, "You gotta get up sometime and then what?" Or as a friend of mine's Grandmama used to say, "Naked don't last all day. When you put those clothes on and have to do more than breathe heavy, whatcha got to say for yourself?" Amen.

I'm thoroughly sick of folks trading on their looks and sexability (yeah, I just made it up) like these are the only marketable commodities they possess. A person has got to be more than just the sum of their parts. All of their parts. Mental and physical. I could insert a few jokes about sex parts and size here but I'll keep those to myself. 

Ladies - your hotness will catch you a man. For now. To keep him, you best do more than keep your weave tight and your Brazilian right. If your entire trap and keep plan involves Kegels and a stripper pole, you have quite the awakening coming to you.

Fellas - we appreciate that you get down with the get down. Your ability to make a woman forget her own name and scream out yours is a talent for sure. But it's only one string to your bow, you can't play the whole fiddle with just one string.

Girls and Gents - Allow me to present five things that can be as sexy as great sex: 

1. Thirst for Knowledge - You don't have to be the smartest or the brightest, but you have to be agile with your mental game. Care about something other than rims and shoes. Read a newspaper. Too much? Okay - a magazine. Know about what's happening in the world beyond the latest video or Real Housewife scandal. Mental midgetry is less attractive and  harder to get rid of than toe fungus. I can't do anything with stupid. And even less with stupid that doesn't mind staying that way. Smart is the new sexy people - embrace it. (It was actually the old sexy too...)

2. Conversational Skills - Sure, I look at you with my eyes but my ears have the override code. I don't care how good you look, I need something to talk about over cold cereal on a  rainy day. Overheard in the Starbucks: "I gave her looks an A and her conversation an F." You don't have to be a brilliant orator, but have something to say. Find five things that interest you and find five things to say about each. Give me something other than the shrug (fellas) or the giggle (ladies). I am telling you that a less than attractive person who talks a good game has caused many a panty or boxer to hit the ground. 

3. Ambition + Drive - Nobody likes a lazy ass. I don't care how tight and fine that ass is. Get it up and get it moving. If you wash lettuce for a living, get out there and be the best damn lettuce washer ever seen... and see if you aren't slicing tomatoes by next month. Forget what you heard, freeloading ain't sexy. If you are over the age of 23 and not disabled in any way, you need to be hustling to pay for your own stuff. If someone wants to buy you things, great. You still need to work on that rainy day fund. Cause there's always gonna be a rainy day. Does anything say sexy quite like hustle?

4. A Hobby - I mean a REAL hobby. I once had a dude tell me that smoking the sticky-icky was his hobby. FAIL. Read, garden, watch sports, old movies, write a journal, cook, re-grout the bathtub, save the planet, swim with dolphins... do something semi-creative/productive for simple purpose of recreation and relaxation. I'll even let you fellas play Madden until 3:00am if it doesn't interfere with the rest of your world. A person who shows a passion for living in one area, generally shows it in others.

5. Honest Emotion - Nothing is as sexy as someone who knows who they are and what they believe. It's all the better if they are not afraid to share it, speak on it and act on it. Even if you disagree with their viewpoints, you have got to admire the utter realness of saying, "This is how I feel. Take it or leave it." Sometimes that much honesty is brutal to encounter but there's something to be said for always knowing where someone stands.

So what you say you BougieLand? Anything to add to my "sexier than sex" list? Thoughts, comments, feelings? The floor is yours.

I'm sorry, I can't with überEmo Dude

Step yo' game up - don't be überEmo Dude.
emo - as I'm defining it - emotional to a fault, dramatic to a fail. Take that to the nth power and you have überEmo.

A BougieTale: I was dating Ron the Banker in San Francisco. I chatted about him briefly in my post about Purple Rain awhile back. Yes, I dubbed him Ron the Banker and I've never been able to think of him as anything else. Though the phrases "stank-breath" and "fungus fingers" also come to mind. Believe me when I say - you DON'T want to know. (Talk about gamekillers!)

Moving on. Ron took me to see Titanic. I'm a romantic at heart, I loved that darn movie though admittedly it took forever for the ship to sink. Someone behind me shouted at the screen, "Drown already!" Much as I liked the over the top love-survives-anything plot line, right about the time that Leo was looking kinda blue about the gills and pleading "promise me you'll go on"; I looked over to see Ron the Banker sobbing. Not a little dignified tear but out and out boo-to-hooing, snot running, gasping for breath sobs. He reached for my hand, grabbed on and said, "Swear you'll never leave me like that." 


After a few beats of really uncomfortable silence, I patted his hand and muttered, "You'll be alright." A few days later, he came by (without calling first - no!) and said he had a gift for me. The box was beautiful. I opened the small square package to find... a toy castle. It was plastic, painted silver with fake crystals on top the turrets. "Oh wow," was the best I could do. He gave me a big hug and said, "This is until I can get you the real thing. You're my queen."

Okay, stop right there. I already hear you all saying "that sounds sweet" but believe me when I say I cannot properly convey the pressed and urgent pathos in his every word and look and thought and deed. His favorite conversation killer was, "I want to know every single thing about you. I want to get deeper inside your mind and body than anyone ever has. I want to be a part of you." A little bit eew and ick. Ninja, back it up. Slow it down and let a sister breathe.

I told him, "I'm not the one to talk about every waking thought and feeling. You're going to have to just let me breathe a little bit." It didn't take. When he was happy, he called to share it. "Let's go bike riding in the park." When he was sad, he called to share it. "Come sit and look at the Bay with me." When he was "in the mood," he called to share it. "Do you know what I want to do to you right now?" When he saw something he thought was amazing, he called to share it. "Have you ever really looked at fog?" Brother, no. Just no.

I invited him out to dinner to share my mounting concerns. "You just feel things more strongly than I do. I don't require quite this much sharing." This caused him to pout. Visibly. In Public. Ruined a perfectly excellent dinner at Houston's on the Embarcadero. He was short-tempered and surly for the rest of the meal. I was so through, I paid before they brought the entrée just to hasten the end of the evening. He said that me paying for dinner was "the flyest thing any chick has ever done for me." 

As we walked up the hill towards his car, he put his hand back in the universal 'let's hold hands' gesture... seriously. After the temper tantrum in the restaurant? Seriously? When I declined the honor of holding his hand, he muttered, "You are so hard to please. I stay awake at night trying to figure out how to be the best me for you. And you can't even see it."

Let me stop again. I had just moved to California. At this time, I hadn't been there for more than a few months. I knew eight people total. Three of whom I was dating. So if Ron the Banker was borderline bunny-boiling crazy, I didn't see it right away. But can you guess who got cut first? Now granted, I'm just not prone to excessive mood swings but even if I was, there's no reason to broadcast every emotion as they happen. That's exhausting. It took me two months to break up with Ron the Banker. Mostly because I was afraid he would a) turn stalker b) turn suicidal or c) go overdramatic. He went full-out C.

He sent me emails and voicemails with subject headers like, "You are my air." WDDDA? A few months later, I was waiting at the Union Square Cheesecake Factory for a to go order and I saw him standing in line waiting on a table. He had his arms wrapped with python grip around a girl who looked a little like me. Her facial expression was definitely one I was familiar with. It said, "How did I get here?!" I'm not ashamed to say that as he turned his head my direction, I ducked and cowered behind a booth under the pretense of tying my shoe. I did not rise until they called my order out. And then yes, I fled like the hounds of hell were chasing me.

You know what the most irritating, karma blowback thing is? The other guy I was dating at that time- I was dying to know what he thought and how he felt. I wished he could've been a bit more emo. I had no clue what was going on in his head. And when I asked, all I ever would get is, "Babe, we cool." Arrgh. Something in between "We cool" and "You are my air" works just fine, thank you very much. 

So tell me BougieLand, what are your thoughts on the überEmo Dude? Is it that we expect men to be a tad more stoic and contained than women? Or is too emotional just too damn emotional no matter who it's coming from? The floor is yours...

Gamekillers - A Tuesday Top Two

Step yo' game up - Don't kill your own game

Let's start out by talking about game. What is it, do you have it, if you've lost it - how to get it back? Wow, that's a lot and I can't just give away the secret sauce. Let's do this instead...

Definition: Game is quite simply, how you play to win. At life, at jobs, at love, at lust... the ability to skillfully maneuver your way to where you want to be... is game.

How do you get it? Like any skill you can be born with it or you can learn it. Some learn it well, others just don't get it. Some learn it, have it and then kill it dead. And that's the worst. There is nothing quite as tragic as seeing someone who was once on their game and fell off. Way off. It happens. And when it does, there's always a gamekiller in the mix. That one thing you did to turn a FTW to a FML.

Take for instance, the case of "Daria" - up and coming director at a large telecom company. Daria was on the fast track, heading for a Vice-Presidency, if not for that unfortunate habit of attending company functions, getting plastered and sleeping with men that were not her husband (who also worked at the company). Daria's gamekiller was lack of professionalism (to put it nicely).

Take for instance, the case of "Mark" - wannabe ladies' man. He had the looks, the bankroll, the address and the trappings. Unfortunately he knew it and could not resist telling everybody, all the time what a great damn catch he was. This ninja would buy a woman a drink and make sure to tell the bartender (loudly) to run a tab on his AmEx platinum card. Before you could compliment him, he would tell you how he was constantly being approached by modeling agencies but he didn't want to walk away from his six-figure job for that. Mark's gamekiller was narcissism.

Just for kicks, here are a few polls to see what you think are the worst gamekillers out there.

Personally, I think the not giving a damn ruins all sort of game, but I'll let you all weigh in on that. BougieLand, what say you? What kills game with the swiftness? Do you know folks who consistently wreck their own game but don't even recognize it? Do share...