Steve Harvey is one of the original comedians features in the Original Kings of Comedy along with Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley. Like most people I really enjoy a good laugh and one of my favourite past times is going to stand-up comedy shows. I recently got a Steve Harvey DVD from a friend and began watching it and didn’t really laugh that much. Maybe my taste in comedy is just different (I enjoy Chris Rock, but Eddie Izzard, George Carlin and Bill Hicks are my personal favourites).
Now what qualifies a comedian to write a relationship book you may ask? Well it’s really so easy to get published these days. You can be a former playboy model and suddenly become a writer of books on autism as Jenny McCarthy (helped by Oprah) proved. Seems like in this consumer society we’ll buy just about anything thrown at us. This is even more true when that person is Oprah Winfrey. Apparently Steve Harvey was featured on the show and this of course helped increase the sales of this book dramatically, irrespective of whether it is any good or not.
My problem with this book is that in many ways it is putting men down from time to time. Harvey encourages women to withhold sex to punish men in different chapters. Well I don’t know any man who would like to be punished in this way. Surely the mature thing to do is be direct and open about whatever is wrong in a relationship. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus, we are both from the planet earth. And as such we have more in common than we have different.
The book starts off with a section “The Mind-Set of a Man” and this is probably the best section of the book because it’s tells women exactly what’s important to men. I really think he nailed it when he described the drives of men as searching for a purpose and finding a path to realising that purpose. David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man is the bible in this department and Harvey just points in that direction – remember, this is a book for women, not men! Another good analogy he captures is the way men see love differently from women. The Three P’s of Love – Profess, Provide and Protect are pretty accurate in a generalised sense. The idea that men need support, loyalty and the cookie (i.e. sex) is perhaps an oversimplification of the male needs. Harvey omits important considerations like male-bonding, father-son relationships, and so forth. After all this is what men need from women only.
The next section is aptly titled, “Why Men Do What They Do” and begins to unravel the foundation built in the previous section. Yes, it’s true that men first thing about sex before wanting a relationship. This is one of the most obvious facts and you don’t need to be an expert on evolutionary psychology to figure this out. Perhaps there are to many mamma’s boy in the world, but guess what there’s also too many single mother’s in the world. And teenage pregnancy is easily at an all time high in the history of the world – no seriously who’s to blame for this? Everyone – both men and women. Movements like Feminism has gone caused society to go from one extreme to another in the last 50 years. So it’s no coincidence we have what we have. Harvey’s ideas on cheating are sound and books like The Mating Mind and Sperm Wars go into much more depth for the curious at heart.
So what comes next? A section called “The Playbook” which is with everything from mature advice to childish games like the 90-day rule. Here’s where I really believe Harvey does not tell women what they are letting themselves in for when they begin playing these mind games. Harvey concludes almost grandly that men are trading money – cash – in exchange for female companionship. Well if I never…this is starting to sound like a really sophisticated guide to 21st century prostitution. Here’s how women pay men according to Harvey by hugging, kissing, women getting dressed up, going out with men, and lets not forget, sending explicit emails. Now you wonder why the porn business has exploded since the rise of the Internet? Maybe men are just sick and tired of these games. Women are supposedly objectified by media like Playboy and other magazines. So how come women play into this trap – this very game which modern day relationships and social dynamics between men and women are supposed to be without.
Much better books include: Why Men Love Bitches, The Secret Psychology of How We Fall In Love and How To Make Every Man Want You. This book is mostly likely aimed at divorced women or single mothers with all the talk of baby-momma’s and introducing children to men you’re dating. I’m not sure what sections co-author Denise Millner, wrote so it’s hard to say what was Steve’s ideas and hers. Its more likely she was the ghost writer of the book based on conversation with Mr Harvey.