I got the call out of the blue, which is usually how my blessings come: An editor who published The Vow, the novel I wrote with Essence editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray and funny girl/writer extraordinaire Mitzi Miller of Mitzi Moments, wanted to know if I'd be interested in writing a relationship book with comedian Steve Harvey.
There was a catch, though: I had to write that bad boy by August 1 2008, which meant I'd have only two months to help Steve formulate his ideas, figure out the book's flow, and write it in a way that stayed true to his intentions, but was palatable enough for us women to read, listen to, and learn from. It was a tough mission, but mama needed the basement reno saying no to this one wasn't an option. Thus, our collaboration on his new book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man.”
Steve and I made quick work of getting his thoughts down on paper; I'd show up to his office or his home, lap top and mini digital recorder in hand, and type any and everything he had to say about love and relationships the good, the bad, the ugly, the utterly crazy. One day, he'd be telling me and any woman within the sound of his voice that men simply do not love like women do. The next, he'd be hipping us to the games men play, and how to tell if dude is looking for a serious relationship or a bed warmer. Or why men cheat. Or what it is that men really want from their mates. And, for the single women, how to get the ring.
There were plenty of funny moments; you'll laugh out loud at his story about the time he and his father-in-law posted up the boyfriend of one of his daughters on the couch and asked him what his plans were for Steve's daughter. When the boy said, nothing, we're just kickin' it, well, let's just say it wasn't pretty. “I’ll tell you what,” Steve said. “Let’s call my daughter in here and see how she feels about being the kicked one,” he told the boy. You'll fall out, too, at his hilarious list of ways to tell if you're nothing but a plaything, and smile at all the warm stories he tells about his parents' marriage, his early days as a comedian, and how he fell in love with his wife, Marjorie.
But understand, as funny as Steve is there were days when I'd walk out of that office feeling like my stomach was going to fall out of my body, I'd laughed so hard this is not a humor book. Steve was quite adamant that Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man be serious business, because relationships are serious business; he really is passionate about helping women understand the very simple creature that is a man. His mantra, which he'd make me, his The Steve Harvey Morning Show co-host Shirley Strawberry, and his marketing director Elvira Guzman repeat practically every day was this: Men are very simple creatures. If you remember that, he reminded us over and over again, this relationship stuff won't be so complicated.
It was, for sure, an eye-opening, empowering experience; on more than a few occasions, I'd leave his office shaking my head in wonder, like, well damn, why didn't I know that about my man? I tell you, he had me looking all kinds of sideways at Nick and thinking about all the things I needed to work on to help strengthen our relationship and myself as a loving partner.
I hope that Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man does the same for your relationship, whether you're single and looking, dating and hoping for more, or in a marriage that could use a little pick-me-up. You can pick up the book at any local bookstore, order it online (yesterday, it climbed as high as #20 on Amazon!), go to one of his many book signing (for my ATL folk, he’ll be in town in the Barnes and Noble in Buckhead on February 3, and at the Borders in Lithonia on February 9), or tune into Steve's syndicated morning show to hear how you can win an autographed copy.