Last Saturday (17 September) I attended an event called ‘The Big Conversation’, which was a conference/seminar hosted by the man known as the “real life Hitch” – Paul Carrick Brunson. Paul is the ‘modern day matchmaker’, and along with his wife Jill, runs a relationship coaching service – One Degree From Me – from his native Washington DC. UK women’s magazine Ivy Munro organised the event, so that those of us here could be treated to a sample of what Paul’s business offers.
Now I would just like to branch off from the professional route for a second, because this post wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t express to you how totally, amazingly, and devastatingly handsome this man is. It’s actually mesmerising. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself speaking to him face-to-face and not hearing a single word, because you’re just trying to understand how someone can be THAT good looking. *Sigh*
Fortunately, being the professional I am, I was able to pull myself back and focus on what he was saying during the seminar, and it was really rather good. Now, I’ve been to a few relationship-based seminars, but this one was slightly different, because Paul encourages us to be honest with ourselves and tell it like it is. The values you hold, i.e what you are willing to die for, are important in choosing a partner, and they should match as closely as possible, so it doesn’t just begin and end with enjoying the same movies and music. We also learned of the four personality types:
Analyst – one who believes they are almost always right
Supporter – always likes to feel valued
Promoter – usually has big ideas, but they don’t always materialise
Controller – very goal orientated
I’ve identified myself as a Supporter (and a couple guys I have asked since have said they are a mixture of all – help a sista identify with you at least !). Paul then made everyone in the room (including the bar staff) stand up, then to take a seat when a value he named wasn’t relevant to you. I sat down when he told those of us who identified ourselves as a Supporter to sit. It turned out that various life values he was suggesting were based on those of a pre-chosen male attendee, who was then invited up on stage for a possible live match-making! Paul chose a lady who was still standing to go up on to the stage and be honest and say whether she was attracted to the guy. She said no, but the second lady invited up said ‘yes’. I don’t know if anything has progressed between the two after they walked off stage hand-in-hand, but it would be a nice result! As much as it made me cringe to see the young man judged physically in front of a crowd, I was impressed that Paul acknowledged that physical attraction is important. I find that a lot of people try to downplay this fact, maybe for the sake of being politically correct, but I think that no matter how much you may have in common with someone, if there is no physical attraction then the relationship won’t be 100% the way each of you deserve it to be.
The rest of the first half was both educational and entertaining. Three female volunteers from the audience were invited to show the rest of us what their techniques are when it comes to approaching/chatting up an attractive man they might spot. It was hilarious, but I completely rate those ladies, because I don’t have a clue what I would do – especially in front of a crowd! The simplest and most effective way is to smile, give your name and pay him a compliment… Hmm… I’ll try…
We discussed the true or false nature various newspaper headlines in relation to the mainstream media’s portrayal of black people in the UK and the black family. Paul also gave us homework that encourages us to work on self love, including listing five things you’ve done over the past 24 hours that you love yourself for, acknowledging mistakes you’ve made in the past 24 hours and what you’ve learned from them, and standing in front of the mirror looking at your full body and telling yourself that you love you.
The ‘conversation’ part of the event featured a select panel of media and culture experts. They included, among others, comedienne and producer Angie Le Mar, ITV news presenter Charlene White, my good friend and fellow blogger & journalist Uche Chukwu (Let’s Go Deeper), culture media expert Chrissa Amuah, journalist & social commentator Roger Ajogbe and my co-Blogger’s Delight-er Simone Bresi-Ando (founder of I’mPOSSIBLE). Each panellist made valid points in relation to the questions raised regarding black relationships and self, and at certain times it got a little heated, which definitely proves that a part two is necessary!
The after-party is where Paul Carrick Brunson proved to me that he is the man and very good at what he does. He arrived fashionably late, but wasn’t impressed with the way guys and girls were not mingling and interacting with one another, so he took to the mic and ordered all the men in the room to line up at the front, and once the DJ started the tunes, the ladies had to go up and pull whichever guy they were attracted to and dance with him. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I did it. I went up to the guy I sort of had my eye on through the day and pulled him for a dance. Shout out to Roger Ajogbe! (Note: I’m currently typing this with one hand because I’m hiding from my embarrassment behind the other!). That move by Paul is what got the party going the way it should.
Well done to Tayo Arewa and everyone from Ivy Munro for a well organised and enjoyable day. It proved that whether you are single or taken, we can all learn something new about ourselves and each other. More, more, more!