On How To Be A Man (Well…A Very Particular Type Of Man)

I see you're following tip #25 "If you ever see your father with this hair style, strangle him."

I see you’re following tip #25 “If you ever see your father with this hair style, strangle him.”

Bacon. Things wrapped in bacon. NBA basketball. Asses. Asses wrapped in bacon. Milkshakes. Music produced by the RZA.

Although I pride myself on being discerning and occasionally (and annoyingly) particular, there are a few things that always capture my attention, regardless of their quality. Yet, despite my affinity for each of these things, they all pale in comparison to my love for lists. Preferably random-ass lists found on the internet.

Naturally, when a friend shared The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide To Being A Man with me yesterday, I had to stop everything I was doing and consume. Created by @GSElevator and John Carney, it’s comprised of 60 or so tips on, well, how to be a man.

How do I personally feel about the list? Did it meet my measure of mandom? Does it ascend to the height of he? Well, let’s see.

Below is the entire list, with my comments in italics.

  • Stop talking about where you went to college. (Agreed. At a certain age, only politicians and male strippers still care about that.)

  • Always carry cash.  Keep some in your front pocket.

  • Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans. (Or, better yet, never buy a pair of f*cking khakis you f*cking nut-less monkey.)

  • It’s okay to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s. (In other words, act like a 17 year old Black male.)

  • The best public restrooms are in hotels: The St. Regis in New York, Claridge’s in London, The Fullerton in Singapore, to name a few. (Um…yup.)

  • Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row … unless something really good comes up on the third night.

  • You will regret your tattoos. (Eh. Just don’t half-ass them. If you want a sleeve, get a f*cking sleeve, not a skeleton key you’ll wish was a sleeve two years later.)

  • Never date an ex of your friend. (Depends on what you mean by “date.”)

  • Join Twitter; become your own curator of information.

  • If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will. (Hmm. Rosa Parks rode a bus. And so did Idris Elba in Daddy’s Little Girls.)

  • Time is too short to do your own laundry.

  • When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink. (Same goes for when you’re at Panera.)

  • If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.

  • You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means.  Approach life similarly.

  • When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go.? And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go. (Filed under “things introverts say.”)

  • People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.

  • When in doubt, always kiss the girl.

  • Tip more than you should. (Filed under “things bougie black people do”)

  • You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.

  • Buy expensive sunglasses.  Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them. (Nah. I’m good.)

  • If you want a nice umbrella, bring a sh*tty one to church.

  • Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.

  • Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home. (And your arteries as well. If you’re eating brunch every weekend you won’t be needing them for much longer anyway.)

  • Be a regular at more than one bar.

  • Act like you’ve been there before.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.

  • A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.

  • It’s better if old men cut your hair.  Ask for Sammy at the Mandarin Oriental Barbershop in Hong Kong.  He can share his experiences of the Japanese occupation, or just give you a copy of Playboy.

  • Learn how to fly-fish.

  • No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman. (Someone must read VSB)

  • Own a handcrafted shotgun.  It’s a beautiful thing.

  • There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.

  • You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.

  • Ask for a salad instead of fries (Pussy.)

  • Don’t split a check.

  • Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.

  • Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.

  • When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.

  • The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.

  • Be spontaneous.

  • Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists. (No comment. And, by “no comment” I mean “definitely!!!”)

  • Piercings are liabilities in fights.

  • Do not use an electric razor.

  • Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.

  • Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.? (If you push this back to 35, I wholeheartedly agree.)

  • One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.

  • #StopItWithTheHastags

  • Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer. (Yeah, we’ve definitely reached the “past my pay grade” part of the list)

  • Throw parties. But have someone else clean up the next day.

  • You may only request one song from the DJ.

  • Measure yourself only against your previous self.

  • Take more pictures.  With a camera.

  • Place-dropping is worse than name-dropping. (!!!!!!!!)

  • When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. And spend money to acquire their work. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  • Your clothes do not match. They go together. (So your clothes are in a relationship? Hardy har har. I’ll be here all night, folks.)

  • Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.

  • Staying angry is a waste of energy.

  • Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.

  • If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.

  • Always bring a bottle of something to the party. (And don’t be the triflin negro who leaves with one.)

  • Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.

  • Don’t use the word “closure” or ever expect it in real life. There may still be a mortally wounded Russian mobster roaming the woods of south Jersey, but we’ll never know.

  • If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs(Some very practical goal post shifting here.)

  • Drink outdoors. And during the day. And sometimes by yourself.

  • Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.

  • If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.

  • You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.

  • Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious. Cut it out with the vintage Polo and that ’83 Wagoneer in Nantucket.

  • The New Yorker is not high-brow. Neither is The Economist. (Damn, I wonder what brow VSB would be. Basement brow? Sewer brow? Zion in The Matrix brow?)

  • If you believe in evolution, you should know something about how it works.

  • No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.

  • Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you. (Hmm. I agree with the first part, but not sure about the second.)

  • Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.

  • Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading …”

  • Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.

  • Hookers aren’t cool, and remember, the free ones are a lot more expensive.

  • Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.” (What if it’s at the end of the day?)

  • Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born.  Add a few cases every year without telling them.  It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.

  • Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.

  • Remember, “rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” (As are lists.)

That’s it. Any additions or subtractions?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Maybe Ridiculous, But Accurate, Advice That’s Totally True

Don't stop, pop that, don't stop, pop that pop that pop that.

Don’t stop, pop that, don’t stop, pop that pop that pop that.

So you know how on the road to riches and diamond rings, real nwords do real things? Well that’s the same way I feel about some of the relationship advice I’ve been given while I was holding back the years.

Wait. What?

Exactly. Since everybody knows I’m a motherf*cking monster, people like to drop off nuggets of wisdom. A lot of it is bad. I’m no stranger to bad advice, or good advice and doing the exact opposite. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some ridiculous, but true, relationship advice. We kick nothing but actual factuals around these parts. Attention, some of this will be insensitive. So let me preface the whole post by saying, “no offense…” because if I say “no offense…” that means you can’t be offended. Capiche? Capiche.

1. If you don’t want to date ugly people, don’t talk to ugly people.

Most people, men and women, are average. I’m an average Joe. Perhaps even a wee bit below average since I’m of 3-status. I could have been a pilot, could have been a doctor. I could have been a pimp, could have been a mobster. But no, I’m a 3. Either way, I have had the fortune of making the acquaintance of women with whom I made macaroni due to the fact that they spoke to me. They gave me 3 seconds and I gave them 3 minutes. Maybe even 4. Point is, the reason you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover is because you don’t know what lies beneath. The problem is that man and womankind are largely superficial even if folks don’t want to admit this in public space. It’s okay. I’m only human, flesh and blood, a man. It’s so simple its stupid. But its true. Let Panama Jackson be your cuationary tale. It can happen to you.

2. Don’t take financial advice from a homeless person, but listen anyway.

So one of THE stupidest plots in movie history is in Tyler Perry’s (shocker!) The Family That Preys where the homeless guy that Alfre Woodard is always helping is actually a financial genius who just hit a rough patch, but somehow through a brilliant story arch and excellent writing is a former Wall Street wunderkind who is advising Alfre on her portfolio. Look…we just talked about judging a book by its cover and all and, well, yeah. But seriously, if a homeless guy is giving you financial advice just wait til somebody who isn’t holding a cardboard sign that says “will rap for food” gives you the same nugget. Same goes with NOI members telling how to season your porkchops. That should not come from memory. What am I getting at here? When taking relationship “advice” just listen to the spirit, not the letter. I realize I’m preaching the choir, but most time advice isn’t wrong, we just get wrapped up in the messenger. Which is fair. But its not…point is…everybody can do wisdom. Everybody just isn’t good at specifics.

3. If you have any relationship ambiguity with a person, do not drive for longer than 2 hours anywhere, especially after dark.

According to Duncan Pinderhughes/Blade Brown, learning about cars is a form of examining human reproductive behavior via one if its many procreatory environs. Or something. Well, not only is it a good place bone when you’re 17  its also one of the most intimate settings you can have with somebody. For one, its you, them and the open road. People do a lot of thinking in the car and if you somebody is sitting there that you have feelings for or vice versa, well at some point during a long car ride, its going to be awkward if those things aren’t discussed. Plus you’re stuck. Somebody has something to say, you’re gonna hear it. And there’s nothing you can do about it. If you ain’t ready to discuss something with somebody, don’t do the car ride. Actually, 2 hours is a long time in a car with a person who has something they want to get off their chest. So basically, put them on public transit.

4. If you think you go together, you probably do until somebody says that you don’t.

Some of the funniest conversations that I seem to have nowadays center around the general confusion about what is really happening with new boos. Like. I’d give you examples, but then I might incriminate at least 47 people I know. That’s no bueno. Incrimination is not whats hot in these streets. Point is, if you  have to have a conversation about what’s really going on, there’s a good chance that you got together. If you can be a hashtag, you probably are a hashtag. Remember that and you’ll go far in life.

5. Read VSB. You will live long and prosper.

Bong bong.

What you got? What totally sound but semi-ridiculous advice to you have to share with the people. And P-I-M-P but why?


Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Should I Wait For Him To Get His Money Right?


Recently, a few of my friends have come across the sentiment that men don’t want to even date seriously if they’re not in a certain place financially. Can you explain whether this is really a thing or an excuse to … Continue reading

Now Here’s Some Bad Relationship Advice….

In my family it’s my cousin James. He means well, but really, his advice is the kind to have you sitting in a jail cell on a Friday night while he’s out with your skittle-flavored vodka and that dime-piece you finagled from Whole Foods, aisle 9.

James is the provider of some of the worst advice ever. For instance, while at a family barbecue when I was 22, James suggested that I should take two shots of Henny followed by two shots of Grand Marnier “because I could handle it”. “Borrowing” my Grandmother’s Crown Vic? All my cousin James. In his mind, Grandma didn’t really use it anyway and it was a shame to have it sitting in the driveway all pristine and getting no real burn. I paid for that one dearly.

That damn Cu’n James.

Have you ever had skittle-flavored vodka? One of my kids god parents introduced me to soaking skittles in vodka. It tastes like Kool-Aid for real.

And speaking of my child, she will be 4 years old on Sunday. Where has the time gone?

Back to the terrible relationship advice. If there’s one thing that everybody has an opinion on, it’s relationships. Hell, our entire blog was founded upon the principles of love, peace, and hair grease. We’ve probably doled out bad advice here on occasion. Though real spit, at the end of the day, nearly all (good) relationship advice can fall into three categories: 1) you should talk to them and not me; 2) treat people like you’d like to be treated; and 3) trust yourself and your instincts.

Oh, and if you feel compelled to have to snoop (no gin and juice) to prove to yourself what you already know, you should probably just walk away and realize your mind has already decided what your heart hopes isn’t true.

Anyway, much like my cousin James, I’ve heard lots of terrible relationship advice over the years…here are some doozies…

1. “We ain’t getting no younger, girl let’s just get married…”

Well, that was from Jagged Edge’s song, “Let’s Get Married”. Which isn’t bad advice to give to your homeboy as long as no women are in earshot. There are just certain pieces of advice that do well with men but women will take as being devoid of though, sensitivity, and compassion. And that’s probably true most of the time. We’re men. We do man sh*t.

2. “Put yourself out there. What’s the worst she can say, ‘no thanks?’”

In theory, this is perfect advice. But you know that beer commercial about superstition and football that says “it’s only weird if it doesn’t work”, yeah. Anybody who has ever put themselves out there and been rejected KNOWS that “no thanks” is never the end of it. There’s always the awkward silences then there’s the pain of realizing you just made yourself look like a fool. Not only does it hurt, but NOW you have to avoid said person for at least a few weeks because no amount of humor is going to make the situation any less embarrassing.

3. “Women may say “no” but they really mean yes. They want you to take it..”

Otherwise known as the rape special.

4. “You should give him a chance, he seems nice and he says he changed…”

It seems like most women have that one homegirl with very little common sense. I could be overexaggerating but I’ve witnessed that exchange in person. More than once. More than twice. It usually doesn’t end well. Optimism is the key to life though and you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, plus two wrongs don’t make a right…and nothing’s wrong as the night I left you guessing…all that jazz….you’ve got the jazz, we’ve got the jazz…..

5. “You should surprise him at his job or house when he least expects you to be there. Men LOVE surprises.”

This shouldn’t be bad advice but it usually only comes from a friend trying to convince somebody who is only dating another person that they should effectively take a chance on setting themselves up and hoping for the best. Plus, men do not love surprises. At all. Trust me.

So what is the worst relationship advice you’ve heard? And what’s the worst relationship advice you’ve followed? It’s Friday. Dish it.



10 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Son About Women, Dating, Relationships, And Sex

"Son, I just wanted to show you first hand that there are, in fact, other fish in the sea. Hopefully my ridiculous jeans don't distract you from that point.."

The last couple days of VSB — writing a “fatherly advice” piece for my teenager daughter, and following it up with something for a son the next day — was a plan I’ve had in mind for a while. I thought they’d be pretty well-received and relatively easy to write, and it’s a topic everyone — parent or not — could relate to in some way.

Anyway, with this in mind, I sat down yesterday afternoon ready to write the post about the son, expecting it to be as “easy” as the daughter piece was, but something unexpected happened: It dawned on me that there were actually two completely different sets of dating and relationship tips I could give him:

A) 10 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Son About Women, Dating, Relationships, And Sex If I Want Him To Be Thought Of As A “Nice” Guy, and…

B) 10 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Son About Women, Dating, Relationships, And Sex…If I Want Him To Actually Be Happy

Now, I don’t mean to suggest that you can’t be a nice guy and completely happy at the same time. It’s possible and shit. And, for the sake of the entire community, it’s probably the best way to go. I imagine that cities like Portland and Charlotte are full of happy nice guys, and, if I had a G-IV, I’d definitely fly there whenever I wanted to hit an organic farmer’s market

But, giving my son the same type of “look out for your own self-interests first” type of advice I gave my daughter yesterday — which is what I’m about to do — creates a guy that, while he can still very well be a “good” guy, fathers would probably advise their daughters to avoid. “Woman dating with her best interests in mind” seems to = “empowered” while “man dating with his best interests in mind” seems to = “asshole.

Oh well.

1. Do not even entertain the thought of being married or having children until you’re (at least) 34 years old. 

Now, I realize this doesn’t seem like ground-breaking advice. You’ve probably heard the same thing from your mother. But, what makes what I’m saying different is that while your mom wants you to wait until you’re fully mature and ready to be a husband and father and blah, blah, blah, I’m advising you to wait for one reason: Options.

Why 34? If you take advantage of the great genes your mother and I passed on to you and live the life you’re supposed to, by the time you reach that age, you’ll be successful enough to have some sort of social and/or financial status. And, if you take care of your body, you’ll still be youthful enough to really enjoy it. If you accomplish these things, you will have a better and more attractive range of romantic options than you will at any other point in your life. Asking you to wait until then to choose a life partner is me just wanting you to make the most informed choice possible. You don’t want to be the guy who puts all his chips in too early and then gets all unsettled and unhappy when realizing he could have gotten a better deal if he just waited.

I know you like sneakers, so think of it this way. Why shop at Foot Locker when you can drive a few more miles and hit the Nike Outlet instead?

2. The best, and most consistent way to get women to want to sleep and/or be with you? Act like you don’t really care about whether you’re able to sleep and/or be with them.

This may be the most difficult thing on the list to grasp. Even grown men aware of this truth have trouble pulling it off, as doing this is the equivalent of taking a starving man to the Cheesecake Factory and asking him to act like he’s not hungry.

But, as history has proven time and time again, your success with women is usually directly correlated to how unfazed you are by them. Also, the more beautiful the woman, the more you should probably act as if you barely even notice her beauty.

3. During high school or college, there’s a chance you might be attracted to a woman who attempts to coerce you into doing “boyfriend” duties (hanging out, being a confidant, eating salads with her and shit, etc) without any actual boyfriend pluses (sex). Do not fall for this trick.

You may be tempted to think that just hanging around and being the friend will assist you in finally getting some. It will not. The longer you stay around and continue to volunteer to take her panties to the laundromat, the less likely she’ll consider you to be a romantic option.

If you’re not careful, it may even get to the point to where she’ll complain to you about her man problems — in graphic detail, no less — despite the fact that she knows you’ve been pining away like a…pining-ass motherf*cker. If this happens, dead all contact with her, and  also make sure to steal all of her remote controls.

4. First dates should always be fun. And cheap.

This is your opportunity to set the tempo for the entire relationship. It’s also your chance to vet and see if she’s the type of asshole who needs a $90 steak in front of her to have “fun.”

5. There are thousands of reasons why you should always practice safe sex, and I’m sure you’ve heard each of them before. Here’s one I’m pretty sure you haven’t: Playing the pull out game always makes you feel like an idiot.

I’m not going to lie to you. Unprotected sex does feel indescribably better than wearing a condom. No sense in bullshitting you about that. But, the jump in feeling pales in comparison to the prolonged awkwardness you’ll feel when going raw, pulling out at the last moment, wondering if you pulled out in time, wondering how the hell you managed to cum on her knee, pausing this intimate moment to perform post-coital clean up, wondering if you pulled out in time (again), getting back in bed after the clean up and finding out the hard way that you didn’t do a very thorough clean up job, and feeling bad because you’ll start asking yourself if you’re too damn old to playing the gotdamn pull-out game.

6. Only sleep with women who have something to lose.

Hoodrats and hoochies can (definitely) be sexy, but 5 to 25 minutes of pleasure isn’t worth the considerable potential downside if things go down hill. Basically, never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have casual sex with a woman who’d consider it the best day of her life (and the lives of everyone in her family, including her son) if you happened to get her pregnant.

7. The grass is never greener.

Although all women have their own personal quirks and idiosyncrasies to go along with some physical differences, there isn’t much variance about what makes them them. Seriously, if you took 100 random men from Jakarta and 100 random guys from Jacksonville and asked them to list the 10 things that most annoy them about their wives, the lists would look exactly the same.

I’m bringing this up because there may be a point in one of your relationships where you experience a bit of malaise and start fantasizing about how things would be with someone else. When this happens, remember that a relationship with whoever you’re fantasizing about will eventually reach the malaise stage too.

This leaves you with two options

A) End relationships as soon as they leave the honeymoon stage (not the best option)

B) Make sure you commit to the right person so that your love for and attraction to her will help you deal with the inevitable “meh” period (the best option)

8. Smell good.

I didn’t pay much attention in the anatomy and physiology course I took my freshman year in high school, and the way women respond to a guy who smells good definitely makes me think that I must have fallen asleep on the day they explained that a woman’s nose is directly connected to her vagina.

9. It may not seem this way when it happens, but breaking up with a woman can be one of the kindest things you can do as an adult

Look, while we can dick around until we’re in our 40′s and still end up finding a wife and building a family, (generally speaking) women just don’t have that same luxury. If you’re in a situation where you know things probably aren’t going any further and she’s at an age where she’s expecting them to, end it. Shit, even if it’s a good relationship, end it.

You’ll both feel like shit for a while, but you both will eventually get over it and realize it was in both of your best interests.

10. From now until the day you die, your penis will be fighting a never-ending battle with your brain to see who will lord over your body, your decision making, your choices, and your future. You cannot let your penis win, but you also cannot let anyone shame you into feeling bad for being a man. 

This will not be an easy task. Your penis is tricky, dastardly, diabolical, deceiving, deceptive, and indefatigable. Basically, you know how Dick Cheney kind of looks like a penis? Well, imagine that your dick is Dick.

Thing is — and this is very important to note — I’m not asking you to suppress or ignore your sexual urges. They are not bad. In fact, they are very good. Just don’t be the guy who allows those urges to completely dominate everything he does.

That’s enough for me today. Did I forget anything? Also, people of VSB.com, what advice would you give to your teenage sons?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)