Do You Need to "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" for Love?

BlogHer Original Post

Months ago, I noticed that comedian Steve Harvey had a relationship advice book on the New York Times Best Seller List. I sighed loudly. My husband asked me what was wrong. "It seems that once again I screwed up and didn't follow the rules - I forgot to act like a lady. You'll probably leave me any day now." My husband rolled his eyes and went back to reading the Wall Street Journal. I put the book out of my mind.

Then a few days ago, I came across an interview of Harvey by Chelsea Kaplan, explaining that "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" offers women the inside scoop on how to "win at the game of love." (Which before I delve into the interview, seems to imply that if women win, men lose, unless all contestants in this game are winners, but I digress...) Anyway, in Kaplan's MSN interview, Harvey shares the following insights:

1. Men are most driven by something other than sex (yes, really!) - Above all else, men are driven by who they are, what they do and how much they make, Harvey explains. "Until your guy has achieved his goal in those three areas, he will be too busy to focus on you... "If you can see yourself in that plan, then latch on to it, because once he reaches the level of success he's hoping to reach, he'll be a better, happier man for it -- and you will be happy, too."

2. Men "love" differently than women - Harvey explains that while a woman's love stands the test of time, logic and all circumstance, to expect that your man will love you back in a similar way just sets you up for disappointment. "A man's love," he explains, "is more simple, direct and probably a little harder to come by... When you've got a man's love, anybody who says, does, suggests or even thinks about doing something offensive to you stands the risk of being obliterated," Harvey asserts.

3. Men need to feel like they're appreciated - "When a man is at work, he is constantly on the lookout, sizing up the next man, standing ready to defend all of his gains," Harvey says. When your guy returns home, Harvey explains, he really wants -- and needs -- to be made to feel appreciated for all he does. And when you make your man feel like your hero -- even if he's not exactly Superman -- the more he will give in return, Harvey says.

See? All men really want is to go back to the time when women had nothing better to do than serve them and feed their egos. If we could just remember that, we'd have all the love we need. And since women fall in love with one person for all eternity so easily, we should be happy to give up all of our needs to make our special guy want to support us monetarily and obliterate anyone who insults us.

Although my favorite is really the first point. Obviously, women are never driven by who we are, what we do, and how much we make. We have to swtich on our male brains to understand those types of desires. Really, is there anything that you love more than a false dichotomy?

Therapy Doc at Everyone Needs Therapy:

I had no idea that I could have skipped the whole school thing and still called myself a relationship expert. Everyone is doing it now, and frankly, if I had known this, well, it would have saved me a lot of tuition and headache.

Steve Harvey, radio show host and stand-up comic is on a run, won't stop with that. He's come out as a relationship expert and has a book to prove it. Microphone in hand, ready-made readership, perhaps he has a leg up as an authority.

I sure hope the book is meant to be funny.... Being a man, Mr. Harvey can speak for all men, obviously, and all women. He says:

"One of the biggest misconceptions that a woman has is that a man has to accept her the way she is. No, we don't. I don't know who told you that," he says in an interview.

He's speaking directly, you should know, to Ingrid Michaelson, who writes the song, Take Me the Way I Am. Mr. Harvey continues, and this is the best part:

"We like the bright and shiny. If you stop wearing the makeup, stop putting on nail polish, stop wearing high heels, you'll lose us."

Pass the pie, please, the one with the whipped cream.

Crap! I fucked up again. I rarely wear makeup, never wear heels, and hate nail polish with a vengeance. How on earth did I ever find love? Oh, maybe it's not me. Maybe my husband is not actually a man... Unless - gasp! - different men look for different things in women? Naw, that's just ridiculous!

Liv at Ad Absurdo wrote:

According to, Mr. Harvey waxes poetic on dating pickles like "independent--and lonely--women," and the notion that if you're "cutting back" on sex, "he will have another woman lined up and waiting to give him what he needs and wants--the cookie." Hey, here's a novel idea. If your relationship is so shitty that you need to resort to mind games like withholding physical intimacy as a way to gain power, maybe you should be looking at why you're resorting to such manipulative measures in the first place. But hey, that's hard and might actually require some introspection. It'd probably be much easier to pop down to Barnes & Noble and buy Steve Harvey's book.

It also seems that withholding sex means that your male partner has a right to find physical companionship elsewhere, in Harvey's mind. Ms Smack at Smack Dab in the Middle abbreviates and explains:

...ladies, if you start dishing out the cookie crumb by crumb, he has a right to go elsewhere and he will.

What the fuck!

Not only are his life goals so much more important than yours and his needs have priority over your crappy day, but he is justified in going to get pussy elsewhere? Like hell, fucker.

My guess is that Harvey also thinks that women should not say things like "hell" or "fucker," as they are not ladylike. And don't forget, women who give up the cookie before 90 days are doomed. (Bah! Another screw up I made!!!)

Clearly, not everyone thinks that the advice in this tome is as fresh and useful as a truck full of dung delivered to an overflowing sewer or it wouldn't be a bestseller. Many women bloggers, like Prof. Pc at Staci's PC Blog love the book, or like Tracee at The Girl Revolution thought it had some valid points. However, if I followed anything that Harvey advised, I would currently not be happily married.

I should write my own relationship guide. Unfortunately, it will be very short. It will say, "Be yourself. Find someone who respects that, and who you respect. Have fun."

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants. She will be signing copies of her book, Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, at the BlogHer conference this week.


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