I’ve always admired women who have a natural power when it comes to men. My natural live and let live attitude had often inspired them to err...leave.
After a few bad experiences, my only rule became ‘take no shit’. But I always felt I could do with a little more advice.
A few years ago, while writing an article about The Rules and caught in the research, I met someone who then stayed in my life for a while. After that experiment, however, I felt I shouldn’t stick to any strict rule when dating, apart from simple individual boundaries. But my attraction to this kind of literature remains, and the enthusiasm it gives me when chatting over relationships with my friends is invaluable!
So, when Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man came out, I wasn’t at all surprised to see it win the favour of one of the most popular TV shows in the US, Oprah, and once its author Stephen Harvey gave a hint of his advice to Oprah, the book became a sell-out sensation, as well as an inspiration for the recently released film.
The book attempts to explain to women the way men think about relationships; its theories can be strongly disliked by independent, sexually free and emancipated women, but somehow they leave us wondering.
For example, according to the book, all a man needs from you is support, loyalty and the cookie (as in, sex). However, he most probably will cheat on you, for three main reasons:
1. He can. Sexual activity is for him just like a run on the treadmill, it’s no problem for him to go back home, kiss you and the kids goodnight and make love to you afterwards.
2. He thinks he can get away with it. If he gets caught, he is going to lie and deny.
3. Because he hasn’t become who he wants to be and found what he really wants. Until a man finds his own place in the world he won’t be able to invest in your relationship and lavish you with time and attention.
Steve Harvey forgets this can happen also to us ladies, but the problem stands with the fact that a man needs to provide for you. The providing being a core need, Harvey happily provides us with list of questionable suggestions a lady should pretend not to be too good at - fixing things or lifting up weights for example - just so that the man can provide us help. As for the cookie, I think everyone knows by now that’s what makes the world go round. Keeping him waiting for 90 days seems quite extreme, but I’d say there are men out there who wait much longer for a kiss.
I wish I could proclaim that the book delivers a big secret and a manual for life, but like I say, I gave up on strict dating rules a while ago.
I felt instead that the book was rubbing in my face all the truths sometimes we women like to cover up with fantasies. The biggest of these being that The One will walk into your life and will know exactly what to do to make you happy; when really we all have different requirements and expectations, and being open and honest about them to The One can only help him get it right. There are no user manuals for people: we all are individual, with an infinite variety of backgrounds, boundaries and expectations. Relationships are mutual contributions of each into the other’s life, not a given mechanism. Luckily, there is no book that will ever tell you your own love story.