I actually do think brown is a good place to start, specifically because it's a jack of all trades mediocre type switch. As mentioned before, it has a little of everything Cherry MX offers. Push fast and hard, it's pretty close to linear. Type slowly or softly, it's tactile. If you like the tactility, move to blue. If you like the linearity, move to red. If it's too light, try clear or black.
Besides, a lot of folks like them, specifically because they are the mediocre (read: average) switch. There's not much explicitly wrong with them, after all. I don't like them, many others don't like them, but that doesn't mean they are bad switches. Just not for us.
I don't think reds should be a first switch. It's too specialized, from my perspective. It's a light force linear switch, so you don't have anything to compare it to, really, and you don't know where to go next if it doesn't click for you (pun not intended).