With his track record of two divorces and a third marriage, comedian, radio host and actor Steve Harvey is not the most obvious person to become a relationships guru.
But his 2009 book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” shocked the literary world by becoming the second-biggest non-fiction book of the year, behind only Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue.” More than two million copies have been sold.
Women, however, were not sated. They kept asking him more questions. So the Atlanta resident is back with a sequel, “Straight Talk, No Chaser,” which debuted No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. We spoke with Harvey recently before his book signing at the Borders in Lithonia.
Q: The book just came out. What’s been the reaction?
A: I’ve had a lot of people email me and say, “Great book! I can’t put it down. It’s a great complement to the first book.” And some people are even asking me to write another one. But I’ve been saying this is my last relationships book. I think I’ve said everything I can think of.
Q: Women are really curious. But you say in the book that they don’t always delve deeply enough into a man’s life, that they just take the man’s surface answer.
A: They’re afraid to ask. They so in their heart want a great relationship that they hear what they want to hear. They take that information and run with it. They say, “Wow! This is the guy! I found him!” In reality, they need to probe a little deeper. And this doesn’t make us liars. We’re telling you the truth. We just give you the truth in levels. Women get frustrated that they don’t get it all at one time. But you didn’t ask! Men take a beating for not giving all the information right away. You have to know how to get it.
Q: From your first book, the most controversial thing you said was no sex the first 90 days of a relationship.
A: Absolutely! A lot of women thought that was an absurd amount of time. But if you’re taking a relationship seriously, it’s not an absurd amount of time in the scheme of things. You have 90 days to figure this guy out. That’s the least you can do.
Q: But women are afraid that men might bolt if you give them that ultimatum, right?
A: We’ve created that pressure. Women think they have to compete with women who do put out. It makes for a great situation for guys. But it doesn’t do a whole lot for women. The women men are trying to take home to mom are those who don’t put out so fast. We don’t introduce mom to the fast chicks.
Q: You talk about standards in your book. I just interviewed Chilli of TLC, who has her second season of What Chilli Wants” coming out in January. She has this infamous list of requirements for guys. Are you cool with that?
A: Her list is fine. What women have to understand is if you have an extensive list, you’re going to have to be worth it. She’s already there herself so she should have expectations.
Q: But will she find a man through a reality show?
A: She’s barking up the wrong tree. You just open up the doors for guys who want to be famous or guys who want to be seen with her instead of a guy looking for true love. She’ll find someone once she gets off that TV show! What Chilli really wants is a good little show and hopefully, make some money!
Q: You were moderator for a “Nightline” special a few months ago about why black women have such a hard time finding a good man. Did you learn anything?
A: I understand the plight of women, that the dating pool isn’t expansive. But there are good men out there. If you understand how they’re approaching you and why they approach you, if you learn these things, it can help save you from some of the bad stuff. When Sherri Shepherd said she wanted a man comfortable enough to corn-row her hair when she takes her wig off, I said, “I’m sorry. Who is this guy?” I mean, the average guy is not going to do that! If that’s one of your things, we’re going to be stuck!
Q: In the book, you talk about the myth that successful women intimidate guys.
A: I break that down. That’s a ridiculous notion.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog