Posts tagged ‘Steve Harvey’

Follow Up: Steve Harvey, dating and the Quarterlife

A few months back I wrote this post about the Steve Harvey relationship book, Act like a Lady, Think like a Man. I got a lot of comments, a lot of my friends talking about Black women and men and relationships, and a lot of retweets on Twitter.  I also got some pretty interesting comments:

from Anthony C:

One of the hugest disconnects between men/women these days is that we’ve gone away from the fundamentals of properly dating someone and “vetting” them for a potentially serious relationship. Harvey utilizes a lot of common sense approaches that really are a hallmark of the over 40 club, but you know what? That stuff really works.

from Wise/d.l. chandler:

I’m glad you were able to gleam something from what I found to be pretty rudimentary writing. And I don’t mean that as a compliment. Harvey’s intellect (and humor, if one can call it that) is pedestrian at best. I think the blunt and ham handed approach of advise this man is schilling to the public is both deplorable and laughable. In fact, I dare say it’s going to cause more damage than add on to the wealth of the world.

I’m sure there lies good intention in his work, but having read a good portion of it, common sense and age should lead one to these so-called “insider” revelations far easier.

from Sweet Potato Brown:

I understand that Steve Harvey’s book is for the strategist, but people should be more reflective about why they think they want to marry. Otherwise, marriage will not bring them what they wanted, and they will hurt lots and lots of people, including themselves, for lack of self-awareness.

From Faith:

And yet you bought the book. And that’s all Steve Harvey married 3 times, cheating on his wife jerk trying to tell a woman how to act wanted. [editor’s note: LOLz]

Finally, from Elizabeth:

Thanks for calling out Mr. Harvey for suggesting, if not fully recommending, that women should be something other than who they genuinely are in order to ‘get’ a man!

You are fully self responsible – keep loving yourself first. And yes, pacing at any stage of a relationship is enjoyable.

Here’s the deal y’all:

Yes, I bought the book and read it because I don’t believe in making a judgment about things like this until I research it myself. One of the reasons I read the book is so that I could review it and let my readers know what I thought–a lot of people seemed to want to know and it only made sense that I gave the people what they want, right?

…I wouldn’t have paid full price for it though. Borders Reward card FTW!

But I digress.

A lot of people on the blog and on Twitter had wanted to praise my initial review. “Hell yeah! Who wrote this crap anyway?” But here’s the thing: I don’t think all of it was crap.

Yeah, you heard me right. I don’t think most of Steve Harvey’s points were total BS. I think it’s important that women and men have standards for the way they are treated and an handle on how to treat the people they date and have relationships with.

I think my biggest issue was the fact that it was decent message with a less than stellar messenger. Steve Harvey is a yellow suit wearin comedian who has been married 2 (or 3?) times with a mediocre morning show. Not sure how I feel about his positioning himself as a “relationship expert” when most of what is written in the book I’ve heard from my aunt, my moms, my sorors, and even my Dad. Aren’t those the people who can guide you in a better direction (hopefully) after all?

There was absolutely nothing new said in the book. Outside of the fact that the author(s) were Black and not white, it was really no different from He’s Just Not That Into You, a collection of things women “should know” about the way men act.

Which brings me to my final point:

Women are clueless about dating–and men are just as clueless, especially when they are quarterlifers. So why are only women given rules on how to act or think?

I’ve been single for 6 months and kind of back in the dating scene for 3, and I have to say that I sometimes feel as though I have no idea what it is  I’m supposed to do or am doing when it comes to dating. I only know that eventually I want to settled down get married and raise a family. I can’t always tell if a guy is “into me” or if he wants to date me, and even if he does I have no idea if he is thinking long term or one night. There’s never a clear way to tell what men actually want (beyond the bedroom–but I think everyone wants that at some level). No matter how many relationship books I may or may not read, this will pretty much be the case. All I know is that I deserve to be with someone who really wants to be with me, who makes me laugh, and who I can build a deep and meaningful relationship with. And I know I have the capacity to give someone else that in return.

On the flipside though, most men don’t know what to do or how to date or treat their partners either. Especially not in their 20s. So why is it that they aren’t told how they should act or what they should think or say? Why is the onus on women all the time? Also, with all the rules:

Is dating just strategy? Are we just playing this big game of chess until one of us wins the game and, apparently, the wedding ring? If so–then what the hell happened to dating being fun?

I agree wholeheartedly with the Sweet Potato Brown in the comments above, that Steve Harvey’s book apepars to be for strategists, for women who are approaching dating like a game of chess. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a husband or a life partner at all, but I think sometimes we try so hard to be a man’s wife that we take the fun out of learning about both ourselves and about the people we date. Yes we should have standards and be aware when things are awry and how to handle it, but we should also remember that things happen when they are meant to happen and not after achieving a certain number of chess moves in the  “game.”

In any case, I wanted to clear the air and bit and let everyone know that I really didn’t think the book was a whole bunch of crap. There was some good stuff in there. Too bad I learned it from my momma first instead of Steve Harvey. He doesn’t get he distinction of  “pioneer black relationship guru” in my book.


The Only Steve Harvey Post that Matters

Okay, I’ll admit it.

This Saturday afternoon, I bought Steve Harvey’s book, Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Latoya Peterson from Racialicious can attest to this. She ran into me in Borders while I had the book in hand.

Anyways, I read the book in its entirety this weekend. And as a womanist, I felt so very inclined to write about this book as it pertains to single women of color. Before I begin: SPOILER ALERT: I will be discussing some things the book that are not fully discussed in his TV appearances, namely Oprah.

The book certainly had some gems. I found the 5 questions that each woman should ask a man before getting in too deep was very informative. I liked the fact that it affirmed what I thought I knew, but really didn’t: which is that women have more power in relationships than we are willing to admit. We can decide what the rules are and how it’s going to go. I had never been encouraged to think that way until I read this book.

I bought the book for a number of reasons. Other than wanting to see what the hype was all about, my primary reason  was that I am newly single, having broken up with my man almost three months ago. I thought I’d read the book and see what kind of insight I could gain from it, since I am re-learning what it means to be single in my mid-20s.

Which brings me to the first issue I have with the book:

1. Steve Harvey’s book, in essence, is not for quarterlife women of color. It just isn’t.

When you are in the quarterlife, nothing is really final. You are still trying to figure out what you want, and what you don’t want. You are even trying to figure out what love really is, what it means, and what it does.

You’re not even entirely sure if you even want to get married and if you do get married when that will happen.

If you ARE in a relationship, you don’t even really know if your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner is The One or what it even means to find The One.  I know this feeling all too well.

So when I read a chapter in the book that discusses how women should tell a man when she intends to be married (ie, the date and the time), it really does sound like bullsh*t to me. Why is that? Is it because I don’t wanna get married? No, the exact opposite. Trust me, one day I do want to be married and raise a family.

What struck me as odd was that, as a quarterlifer, I don’t even know how to broach the discussion of marriage….which frustrated me while reading the book because, well, he gave no instruction as to how the discussion should be had or when to have it. Steve Harvey literally said: “just tell a man when you wanna get married and if he really loves you he won’t flinch at it.” Come on now, Steve. don’t make it seem like it is that damn simple because it really isn’t.

As I told my friends the other day, quarterlife dating and romance means being in a constant state of maybe. Maybe we’ll go out on a date. Maybe I’ll see her at the party. Maybe he’ll make me his girlfriend. Nothing is definite. Everything is a gray area. Yes, even those of you who are boo’d up will or have experienced this in some way shape or form. And more importantly, no book by Steve Harvey will change that.

Because of this fact, I maintain the Steve Harvey’s book is not written for my generation. It is written for single Black women over 35 who have bought into the idea that there are no good Black men anymore.

Yeah, I said it.

This book plays on the idea of the “man shortage” and Black women’s anxieties over finding a good man. And while there ARE some gems in the book, over all Steve Harvey is not speaking to me as a single woman in my 20s.  He is speaking to my mom’s generation, some of whom truly believe that good Black men really don’t exist. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Steve Harvey portrays independent, professional working women as women who are resentful of men who try to take care of them: taking out the trash, paying for dinner, providing for a family, etc.

…which is complete and utter bullshit. There’s no other way to put that.

As a professional womanist I was completely insulted at the idea that every independent (Black) woman out here is angry and resentful of any man who tries to take care of them by doing “manly” things: taking out the trash, paying for dinner, fixing things around the house (or getting them fixed), etc. And what does he tell women to do instead?

“Just be a lady.” A lady to him means never raising a finger if a man is in the room.

I’m sorry….are you a woman? Oh, you’re not? Because I’d rather a woman talk to me about what that means. That’s just me though.

Not only does he put every professional Black woman in a box, but he also perpetuates some very dangerous  stereotypes. I like getting doors open for me. I like when I go out to restaurant with a nice guy and he offers to pay. I like when I can get my computer fixed by my guy friend/companion/boyfriend/etc. who happens to work in IT.  I am as strong as they come…and I know I am not alone.

3. And lastly, maybe these relationship books really are a bunch of drivel. Or: what we don’t talk about when we talk about love.

Don’t misunderstand me here–some books I think are great. And yes, I DID buy and read He’s Just Not that Into You. And I did buy and read Steve Harvey’s latest effort. But…

What if  we wrote relationship books which focused not on finding and keeping a man, but on the idea of love as a concept, as an action,  and as a heart-to-heart understanding?

What if we focused on a love ethic that also tells us that in order to be ready for our mate/partner/gf/bf/jumpoff/etc. we must first love ourselves?

I threw these ideas around on Twitter this morning. @BlueMonarch made a great point: so many of us are taught that our self-worth is built on the idea of finding and keeping a man, making it hard for  flipping the script and talking about self love. I couldn’t agree more.

This might be a tad radical for what we are used to when we talk about dating and relationships, but we need to start really discussing love and what it means. We need to discuss love and its madness, it’s boundless energy. Its capacity to heal, and to teach us how to be softer, gentler, more understanding. But most of all, we need to understand how loving ourselves is almost directly related to the kind of partners we meet and the standards we set for our partners.

Steve Harvey, you made a valiant effort. But you are still missing the mark.