With the publishing of today’s “Bro’s Guide to Ronda Rousey,” Mel Evans has penned 100 of the special mix of humor and education that is “The Bro’s Guide.” This is truly cause for celebration. The Bro Jackson team pays homage here.
Shane Morris, Publisher, Bro Jackson
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to Good Girls who like Bad Boys”
Over the past three years, Bro Jackson has published over 2,100 pieces, from over 45 different writers. A huge bulk of that load has been shouldered by Mel Evans. This week marks her 100th post for us, and our writers and editors will be featuring our personal favorites of her “Bro’s Guide To…” Series.
I’m thankful to be our publisher, because of creative writers like Mel. Picking a favorite writer on our staff is akin to picking you favorite scab; but Mel is the driest, flakiest scab to pick—a light puff pastry amongst the tough shoe leather we have cultivated here. You don’t just pick Mel Evans, and let her writing go. No, like a tender, flaky biscuit, you look around to make sure no one is watching, and you delicately chew your scab. You gag. You laugh. You appreciate the fine little bits and nibbles. You gag again.
My favorite one of Mel’s scabs? Good girls who like bad boys—I think it just spoke to me. I’m a guy with a notoriously bad persona, complete with gold teeth and hand tattoos, while my other half is squeaky clean. I’m going against all the odds, and I know it. I’m like Suge Knight, and she’s like the truc … wait, nevermind. Bad example.
Cheers to Mel.
Rob Rich (NASCAR, Music)
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to what your Favorite ‘Love, Actually’ Storyline says about You”
I love “Love Actually.” I’m not sure where we currently stand on the spectrum of how okay it is for bros to say that out loud, but I don’t care. It’s a great movie, one of those entries you can add to the list of films you watch every Christmas out of some arbitrary tradition you’ve created, and I feel like the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve begun to appreciate Hugh Grant.
But come on. There are a lot of storylines in “Love Actually.” You get everything from political seduction to porn stand-ins to doing the maid at your little cabin by the lake you went to write after your girlfriend cheated on you with your brother. Shit gets confusing for a bro. Which storyline do I like best? Which storyline should I like best? What does it mean if I like a particular one?
Enter Mel Evans. She’s the heroine that bros deserve, and frankly, the one they need right now. She’s written 100 (100!) entries about everything bros need to understand to navigate this world of ours, a world that’s often pretty treacherous for bros. Fuck pimps, it’s hard out there for a bro.
Because I’m a douchebag, initially my favorite storyline was of course the porn stand-ins who chat each other up (while they feel each other up) and eventually fall in love, because, you know, boobs! But Mel doesn’t even address this storyline. As she shouldn’t, because while the storyline is charming enough, obviously if you pick this over the myriad other options in the movie, you just want to look at naked people.
Thanks to Mel, I took a long, hard look at all the storylines in the film to objectively determine which one was actually my favorite. Do I enjoy Rick Grimes as a younger, fatter, creepier dude stalking Keira Knightley and unnerving smile? Do I like Liam Neesons guiding his soon to be GoT-ing son to wooing a girl from his–I’m assuming–4th grade class via learning how to play the drums? Perhaps I like Collin, a cliché of epic proportions, travelling to America to meet girls in a hole in the wall and go home and bang them.
No, the correct answer is to like Colin Firth’s storyline best (the one where the dude’s girlfriend cheats on him with his brother dammit and he runs away to the south of France to write a novel on a typewriter at this lake house and his Portuguese maid is awesome and they fall in love even though they don’t speak the same language and then he runs to Portugal to tell her and it’s all amazing and lovey), because it’s about love crossing all borders and being undying and unending and all that shit.
But enough about the movie. Let’s talk about Mel. The girl has written ONE HUNDRED Bro’s Guides, addressing a number of the important issues facing bros today. It’s not easy to write that many bro-focused articles, and one always runs the risk of getting sucked into the bro-void, unable to think of anything but “sun’s out, guns out” and “cool story” aphorisms, never to return to the land of the normal. But, Mel Evans made this sacrifice. For you, bro. She made this sacrifice for you.
Robert Inks (“Better Call Saul,” “24”)
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to Nicholas Sparks”
There are two kinds of love: The kind people write about and the kind that actually exists. The former is a love that comprises skywriting, kissing in the rain, and the parts of Paris you pretend still exist even though that shit wouldn’t be a thing anymore were it not for the lugubrious machinations of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the Big Accordion Music industry. The latter mostly involves a steadily increasing number of situations where you’re unafraid to fart.
Nicholas Sparks is the man to blame for a lot of misconceptions about love, and your first, rightful instinct is to banish him to the List Of Things That Must Be Stopped and get back to smashing your Battle Beasts into your Barnyard Commandos and making “pew pew!” lazor noises at them. But that ain’t the game we’re playing, kid, and that’s why Mel is here.
For the kind of people who only allow themselves to cry at funerals for dogs and the part in Top Gun where Goose dies, Mel’s willingness to dive Kleenex-box first into the warm, treacly belly of the Nicholas Sparks beast (or worse, “Pitch the fuck Perfect”) is your gain. Her writing is a form of secret-sharing: She knows as well as you do that “The Notebook” is fundamentally ridiculous, but what she knows that you don’t is that it’s usefully ridiculous — and even more than that, if you’d take five minutes to step around your Manly Wall of Manhood, you’d realize that it might actually be sorta fun. But you’d never do that, so she’s taken it upon herself to dive in front of that bullet for you. She’s wept so you don’t have to.
Varoon Bose (“The Bachelorette,” NBA)
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to Ladies’ Feelings on the Ray Rice Situation”
After the horrendous Ray Rice incident in August of 2014, several of us wrote different reaction pieces, think pieces and other commentary that flooded our social media timelines. Much of what was written initially after Ray Rice’s actions involved the repercussions regarding the NFL, suspensions and football-related issues brought forward by major outlets like ESPN. I fell into the same trap. I myself wrote two different pieces delving into the ethics of fantasy football in relation to Ray Rice.
Mel Evans didn’t fall into that trap.
Often times she satirizes events happening in the pop culture world in order to explain it to us, the bros. Her humorous quips give us a look inside the female brain and help us comprehend conundrums such as which old man-young woman couples we should root for and which ones we should loathe. The point is, every time I read Mel’s guides, I learn something I wouldn’t have gotten from reading any other piece on the internet.
Her Ray Rice piece helped me understand something I couldn’t put into words. In my mind, Mel was one of the first on the internet to refocus the discussion to the most important takeaway from the Ray Rice incident. “Ray Rice Incident.” I keep calling it that incorrectly. Really, as Mel points out, it’s the Janay Rice (formerly Janay Palmer) incident. No, it was the Janay Rice domestic abuse case. It was Janay Rice who got cold-cocked into a lifeless heap in a casino elevator floor. It was Janay Rice who was the victim of assault by her fiancée. Not her fiancée, the starting running back of the Ravens. Her fiancée. Mel helped remind everyone that Janay Rice should not be forgotten in this event. We don’t blame her, she should feel no shame, and as writers, we should be doing everything we can to empower her and the thousands of women who face domestic abuse every day.
“We don’t blame Janay Rice.” As only someone as perceptive and astute as Mel can do, she wrote that five times, once after each paragraph. It was her reminder to the reader that Janay Rice should not once again be cast aside while Ray Rice faced the media spotlight.
Mel’s guides are generally much more light-hearted and whimsical, but I choose this one in particular because it was the piece I wanted to write a year ago, but couldn’t. I couldn’t because I didn’t have the thoughtfulness and all-around elegance that Mel provides with her weekly column for Bro Jackson.
Cheers to 100, Mel. Please keep writing Bro’s Guides forever so we can all be brightened and enlightened by your words.
Courtney Cox (The Lingerie League, NBA)
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to American Girl Dolls”
There are a few favorite Bro’s Guides that I was deciding between for this, but there’s something particularly fascinating about the breakdown of a perfect marriage between capitalism, sanitized history and girl power. Mel takes us through the subculture that is American Girl and updates those of us who haven’t kept up with the franchise since the introduction of the dopeness that is Josefina. It’s been a while. Mel’s descriptions of each girl throughout history as well as the questionable changes in the franchise are both a refresher for those of us who are well-acquainted and an introduction to the madness of characters who navigate the Underground Railroad, the Great Depression, WWII, etc. with flair before puberty. One of my favorite lines from the piece is, “If Pleasant Company was sneaking kale in with the historical line, Mattel definitely took out that kale and added more Splenda to replace it with the Girl of the Year. The social issues addressed by the characters’ stories fell by the way side with a stronger focus on . . . accessories.”
I had one of those American Girl Dolls that is supposed to look like you (the Just Like You/My American Girl part of the program) but there were only two options for my skin tone at the time (this is late ’90s), neither of which really looked like me or had hair that felt like mine. Shocker. Reading this article and looking back, I would have loved my doll to have a baby grand piano. And braces. Kids get everything these days.
More than anything, this article gives me nostalgia about reading the books and nerding out over the catalogs full of stuff I couldn’t afford as a kid. I think I’m with you, Mel, in terms of what my unborn daughters will be playing with at that age. I mean, I loved me some Addy and Molly as a kid (this is not to be confused with Adderall and MDMA, guys READ MEL’S ARTICLE) but I’m not sure a Mattel-backed American Girl brand is going to right the ship and give us more kale than Splenda anytime soon. Mel gives a great primer which I hope a lot of bros continue to read to understand their daughters’ obsession with overpriced dolls with every accessory known to man.
Brandon Curtis (“Bro Film International”)
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to Lady Detectives”
“A Bro’s Guide To Lady Detectives” wasn’t the first thing I read by Mel Evans, but it was the thing that made us friends. I still have the e-mail from the first time I reached out to her: 7/29/2014. We talked about, what else, lady detectives. I had a lady detective story inside me and I thought Mel was just the person I’d share my creation with. (She’s still marinating in the dark somewhere.) From that moment, I gained a wise, wonderful friend in Mel, “Lady Detectives” was just the beginning. Through our friendship and Twitter correspondence, I learned a lot from Mel, found the answers to a lot of mysteries about myself: Would I like “Downton Abbey”? Will I be a guest on a “Doctor Who” podcast? Both yeses, by the way.
Mel also has a monthly Jane Austen podcast she does with her friends Jessica Kent and Rachel Grandi that really underscores the one thing I knew about Mel from the first Bro’s Guide I read: she’s the smartest person in the room and she can pare anything down so that you understand it and become an expert in it. I know she works hard, but she makes it all seem so effortless. And the wit, fucking A guys, I make lots of bad jokes, maybe only bad jokes. She nails it always. It’s no mystery why you’d want to keep this one in a locked room (*see what I did there*).
Evan Barnes (“Game of Thrones,” Pac-12)
Favorite Bro’s Guide: “A Bro’s Guide to Tinder Profiles for the 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates”
Mel is one of my favorite writers on Bro Jackson. We’re all super talented, but she makes it look so easy being funny and informative. Case in point, the latest Bro’s Guide on the GOP candidates’ Tinder profiles.
I should point out one of my favorite songs of all time is “Lap Dance” by N.E.R.D. and there’s a point where Pharrell Williams compares politicians to strippers. So reading Mel having every candidate sell themselves had me howling, especially Donald Trump being censured for his big mouth.
What’s better than imagining Rick Santorum try to be slick about sealing the deal this time? How about Mike Huckabee trying to convince you he’s cool despite supporting the creepy Duggars and not liking Beyonce. You remember those Paul Ryan workout memes last year? Mel took it to another level with every candidate and I guarantee you’ll still be laughing in time for the primaries to start next year.
What I love about the Bro’s Guides is that you can imagine her explaining all of these to you over a glass of wine without insulting your intelligence. They’re creative, but it makes you look at ordinary things in a different way. Maybe it’s the Chicago comedy in her, I don’t know. So cheers to Mel and as she wraps up this slog of a “True Detective” season—which deserves even more wine and toleration—show her some love enjoying her Bro’s Guides. I know I do.
Kat Gordon (“True Detective,” “Dancing with the Stars”)
Let me take you on a journey. Mel Evans’ first Bro’s Guide was “A Bro’s Guide to ‘Pride and Prejudice.'” She pitched this to the editors for no other reason than that she is obsessed with Jane Austen. Jane Austen is a huge, important part of her life and if you get her started talking about it, just … settle in for a while. Same for the WWE. And if that doesn’t demonstrate how rare a gem Mel is, then how about these apples?
Her “Bro’s Guide to Disney Princesses” is one of her most popular posts on the site (even if she was wrong about how they screwed up “Frozen”) and one of her most interesting too, as she retells all the gory, violent, grim, Grimm fairy tales that Disney based their sanitized versions on.
Her “Bro’s Guide to Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies” is a MUST READ each year. There is nothing better than Mel writing intelligently about something this dumb.
Her “Bro’s Guide to the Female Stars of the WWE” got picked up by Bleacher Report Team Stream and broke the site for a while.
Lucky for us, Mel enjoyed her Bro Jackson experience and made herself at home. Since that first Bro’s Guide, she’s written 99 more. She’s one of our most prolific contributors and pretty much everything she writes is on point, both insight-wise and wit-wise. She’s a verbal sniper, causing you surprise yourself by laughing out loud in the middle of a genuinely informative paragraph. She has mastered the art of Death Valley-dry snark and she can take it to a new level when it’s about something feminist, and she’s one of the most authentic feminists I know. I can imagine her sitting around in Gloria Steinem’s well-appointed living room back in the 70’s bouncing back and forth between razor sharp man-bashing, pointing out the subtle flavors she’s tasting in Bella Abzug’s cherry cobbler, swooning over how cute Phil Donahue is, and quoting “Little Women” with Betty Friedan. Those ladies would have gotten whiplash from the sheer quantity and quality of stuff Mel knows and how thoroughly she knows it, and they would have understood, like us here at Bro Jackson, that Mel is an asset to the cause. She’s smart and funny and endlessly interesting, and we are lucky to have her. Here’s to another hundred!