Thinking Like A Man and Why Relationship Advice Isn’t a Fad

I don’t know what happened within the last couple of years. I guess I wasn’t paying attention because I wasn’t bothered about being the last single Black woman on the planet (too busy having fun), but dishing out relationship advice is the new black. You can’t get away from it, I don’t care how hard you try. Call a friend and he/she is most likely going to bring up a relationship: the one they’re actually in, the one they imagine themselves to be in, that one fake, kinda-like relationship they’re in and out of or the one they’re “preparing” themselves for. Go to any house party or gathering and what goes on between men and women will come up every time.

We live for that stuff, and rightly so. It sparks debate and if you’re like me, you love a good one. It’s intriguing because everyone is going through something similar, but even more different. What are your deal breakers, how long should you date before you become exclusive, how many kids can one have, can you have sex with no strings attached, etc.? You could really talk about relationships forever and two days.

We’re trying to prove that point, and I’m so sick of it. Atleast for now.

Suddenly, there are gazillion relationship experts, and I don’t mean your BFF, Tiffany, who’s been married since she was 19. Everyone from single, married, divorced folks to bloggers, writers and preachers are telling us how to run our business. I guess we wouldn’t need so much counsel if we weren’t always asking for it. Clearly, we need help. Or do we?

Finally, some of the buzz from “Think Like a Man,” a movie loosely based on Steve Harvey’s bestseller “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” has died down. It was a great film and a realistic take on love and dating.

My thoughts on the concept as a whole? I don’t want to think like a man. Period.

I want to empathize with a man. Understand where he’s coming from, but think like him? Nah, I’m good. Women aren’t wired that way, and for good reason. To suggest such is a thing is smart, but it doesn’t make much sense in the long run, and if you want to get technical, suggest that men think like women, also. That ain’t gon’ happen.

Unlike so many of Harvey’s critics, I don’t think he desires to be the Relationship Guru Almighty helping us poor, misguided womenfolk (he’s made his fair share of mistakes himself), but I do think he’s a pretty smart man. He’s making millions by shelling out advice that many women will talk about with our girlfriends, but probably won’t take.

Let me let you in on a little secret. Every person on the planet could write a relationship book  and there would still be someone who has a burning question about what’s going on in her relationship. Why? Because people, especially women, are going to do whatever we want to do when it comes to our mates. You can give us some grand advice with a logical explanation, and we may consider it, but ultimately we’ll do whatever we feel is right at the time.

So as we continue to argue over women implementing the 90-day rule and shacking, etc., we’re still getting nowhere fast. There are some principles in the book that definitely make sense and are true, but I have an issue with relationship advice being conveyed as if all relationships, people and situations are the same. They are not cookie-cutter. Who’s to say that the woman who cheats with a married man will undoubtedly be cheated on in return when/if she gets him? Or that a man or woman who exhibits a behavior pre-relationship can’t change over time? We don’t know that for sure.

If I’m going to read a relationship book, I prefer one that caters to both men and women, like Hill Harper’s The Conversation. If we’re going to thirst for advice, it shouldn’t be so one-sided. Men and women should better understand each other.

The bottom line is this: we love advice and inspiration from experts. Seeing those women in the movie eagerly flip through Harvey’s book is no different from women crowded around televisions to watch Oprah do her thing. It won’t stop, don’t stop. The same problems we deal with today are the same ones they dealt with B.C. As long as that continues, there’s sure to be the need to ask what to do. And of course, there’s always one who will go against the grain and “touch the stove.” The neverending cycle begins again, and there you have it.

It reminds me of Chris Rock’s joke about the government withholding the cure to AIDS/HIV, but instead, selling expensive drugs. “That’s how a drug dealer makes his money…on the comeback.” In the words of the great correctional officer and rapper, Rick Ross, relationship experts will be “rich forever.”

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