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Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man

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ISBN-13: 9780061728969

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 08-28-2012

Pages: 256

Product Dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

The author of Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success; Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man; and Straight Talk, No Chaser, Steve Harvey began doing stand-up comedy in the mid-1980s. His success as a stand-up comedian led to the WB’s hit show The Steve Harvey Show, which has won multiple NAACP Image Awards. He was featured in Spike Lee’s film The Original Kings of Comedy. In addition to his nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve hosts a daily talk show on NBC, is the gameshow host for Family Feud and Celebrity Family Feud, and most recently NBC’s top rated new show, Little Big Shots. A philanthropist, he is the founder of the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois.

Read an Excerpt

Straight Talk, No Chaser

By Steve Harvey

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2012 Steve Harvey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-172896-9



The Making of a Man

I didn't have any business being married at twenty-four. Yes, I believed wholeheartedly in the idea of marriage; after all, my parents had been married for sixty-four years before my mother passed away. And I had every intention of duplicating what they had: a stable relationship in a home filled with love, strength, perseverance and wisdom. It was all I knew to do. So it made all the sense in the world to give a ring to the woman I loved and say, "I do."

And that was where the problem began.

In the weeks leading up to my marriage, I didn't have a steady paycheck to support my soon to be wife. In my heart of hearts, I knew this wasn't right. I'd even said as much to my mother; I told her I was going to call off the wedding because I wasn't working and it didn't feel right. My mother, being a woman who wanted to see her child married and knew how devastating it would have been to my fiancée to call off her dream wedding, talked me out of canceling the big day. Invitations had been sent out. People were looking for the show.

Who was I to rain on this festive parade?

Years later, my mother apologized and admitted she would never have talked me into getting married if she'd known how unprepared I was to be a good husband. By then, we were able to put our finger on what was missing - what was dooming my first marriage even before the spit on the stamps we put on those invitations was dry: I didn't know who I was, what I would do with my life, and how much I was going to make doing it. As I explained in Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, everything a man does is filtered through his title (who he is), how he gets that title (what he does), and the reward he gets for the effort (how much he makes). These are the three things every man has to achieve before he feels like he's truly fulfilling his destiny as a man and if any one of those things is missing, he will be much too busy trying to find it to focus on you. He won't have it in him to settle down, have children, or build a life with anyone.

In my first marriage, I didn't have these things lined up by any stretch. I had dropped out of college and went to work at Ford Motor Company. Later I was laid off and didn't get a job until a month after we married. It was a way to make some cash, but I knew it wasn't what I wanted out of life - that it wasn't my calling. And I was frustrated by it. How could I get a wife to buy into me and my plans for the future when even I wasn't enthused by them myself ? How could she know me if I didn't know myself ? How could she benefit from what I did and how much I made if I wasn't doing or making anything? I was frustrated, our financial outlook was in shambles, and we were always at it - always fighting about something.

Because I wasn't a man.

Sure, she'd married a member of the male species and I had some good traits. I was kind and trusting; I was a very good protector; and I made no qualms about professing to anybody coming and going that she was mine and I was hers. And some good, a lot of good, came from our union: my daughters Karli and Brandi and my son Steve. But I wasn't fully a man. And it cost us.

I wish my father would have warned me, would have sat me down and schooled me on the particulars of marriage. Perhaps he could've told me that a time comes when one needs to cut out all the foolishness - the screwing up in school, the fooling around with a bunch of different women. I wish he would've told me that if I didn't stop acting foolish by a certain age, there would be a cost associated with my lack of focus, with deferring my dreams of being an entertainer. Had he done so, a lot of pain would have been spared for everyone all around. He didn't share with me his thoughts on when a boy needs to focus on maturing into a man. He didn't tell me, "Steve, listen: you got a couple years to date a few women while you figure this thing out, and once you decide who you are, what you want to do, and how you want to make your money, go get a partner who can help you accomplish these things."

That would have been a great lesson for my father to teach his son. But this isn't the way of men.

We are neither the greatest communicators nor sharers of information. There's no manual that says we should know sometime between ages twenty-five and twenty-seven what we want to do with our lives and by ages twenty-eight through thirty, we should be settling down with a woman who is as committed to helping us achieve our goals and dreams as we are to helping her achieve hers. What we constantly hear, instead, is "You're young - sow your oats, enjoy yourself, have a good time, don't get tied down, don't get serious with any girls." And by the time we finish setting ourselves up financially and convince ourselves we're ready to settle down, we've fumbled through countless "relationships," leaving women by the wayside, some of them shattered and bitter because we thought it more important to add a notch to our player belts than to act honorably. We've gone for that gold star some men award each other when they have more than one woman at a time. And for your trouble? We get pats on the back - told over and over again that this is what we're supposed to do if we're real men.

Men hardly get pats on the back when they get married. Even more, married men, whether they're happily married or not, are constantly sharing the horrors of marriage with us, forever pointing out that all the freedoms single men enjoy come to a screeching halt when the ole' "ball and chain" gets attached to a man's ankle - that marriage is some kind of death sentence. Indeed, among men, conversations related to the ins and outs of marriage become conversations based on bravado and jokes, rather than the truth, which is that a marriage - one built on love, respect, loyalty, and trust - is the best thing that could ever happen to a man. Hill Harper pointed this out on a relationships roundtable we did together on Nightline; Hill, an actor who's written a few outstanding books on communication between men and women, insisted that single men would benefit greatly if married men admitted publicly that behind closed doors, they are saying to themselves and their wives, "Thank God for marriage. Thank God for my family. Thank God somebody supports me and patches me together so I can go to work the next day. This marriage thing is pretty all right." It is, for sure, the completion of manhood.

And it's high time we started teaching this to our young men early. We need to pull them aside and explain that there comes a time in which they need to cut out the foolishness. Because once we do we can get back to the business of finding one another, falling in love, creating a family, and spending a lifetime supporting and dreaming and growing - together. This is not something a woman can teach; a man who is twenty-two or twenty-three years old cannot have his mother sitting him down and talking to him about what it takes to be a man; she has no idea of the competition level on which we operate, what drives us, and what we face every time we head toward the front door and out into the world - no more than a man can possibly fathom what it means to be a young woman. We love and admire our mothers to death, but they can't walk in our shoes; men and women are much too different, and she will miss the mark - from the simplest things, like how to shake after you pee, to the most complex situations, like how to square off against another man and, without anyone getting hurt in the process, still be able to walk away with your dignity intact.

Of course, I realize that telling women they can't teach boys how to be men isn't helpful; the world is full of single mothers going it alone while the fathers of their children run from the awesome responsibility of raising them. And it seems that many men who commit to their families by staying the course are often psychologically absent, lost as they are in their work. But it's imperative that boys who do not have their fathers around to show them the ropes get acquainted with some positive, smart, strong male role models - an uncle, a counselor, a coach, a teacher, a neighbor - so that they have someone to talk to and that someone is vested in making sure that our sons learn the most important lessons.

For sure, I've been teaching this to my own sons, Wynton, Jason and Steve. And that training starts the moment I open my eyes in the morning. Every day, I have my sons wake up the same time as me - no matter what ungodly hour in the morning it is. If I'm hitting the treadmill and weightlifting at 4:30 a.m., so are they. If I'm going into the office at 5:30 a.m. and I'm working by 6:00 a.m., they're dressed and on their way somewhere too. \f they've got school or their study workload is a little heavy, they still have to wake up and, before they get themselves ready, text me their plans for the day - what they're working on and what chore they'll be completing before they sit down for breakfast.

This is what typical morning texts from my sons look like:

7:06 AM (JASON): Soon, I will be an official Harvey Academy graduate. I take one more test next week and then I'm off to make you proud of me. Today I will sweep the front courtyard and study. Love you Dad, talk to you later.

7:10 AM (ME): I'm already proud. Just give me something to brag about. Give your dad some great moments for his twilight years.

7:11 AM (JASON): Yes, sir. Looking forward to making that happen. And when they mess up, I bring the pain, too. Like just this morning, all of them were supposed to be front and center down in our family gym at 4:00 a.m. to do a group workout with me. Hey, if I'm going to wake up and get on my grind before the sun rises so that I can provide their lifestyle, the least they can do is keep me company while I'm doing it. Well, 4:10 a.m. rolls around and I'm well into my workout and all of my sons were still knocked out; when I called Steve's cell phone, he told me they'd all "forgotten" the plan. I sent a text to Jason first, reminding him that just like in the jungle, the gorilla (me) is always on top of his game and the gazelles (my boys) aren't swift or strong enough to keep up:

7:59 AM (ME): Gorilla Silverback, 2, Gazelles, 0

8:00 AM (JASON): How'd you score two?

8:01 AM (ME): Gorilla takes what he wants. I get two points.

8:02 AM (JASON): I'm going to take one back this afternoon. Your Bible is in my room— LOL.

8:02 AM (ME): I told Ms. Anna to put it there. Now you can figure out why. Gorilla 3, Gazelles, 0.

8:06 AM (JASON): Dad how do you keep scoring all the time?

8:15 AM (ME): I never stop coming. This is from your insides, your guts, you hear? Your sinew. Your will to win. Your desire to show up and be counted. Your pride. Where is your pride for doing what you said you're going to do? If I didn't do what I said I was going to do, you all wouldn't respect me. My desire to be respected is so great in me that it pushes me to excel. Where is your pride?

I needed them to know that their father is cranking - that while they were sleeping, I was downstairs doing wind sprints and abs, and then at work earning a solid paycheck so that I could pay our bills to ensure we all have a roof over our heads, beds to lie in, and food on the table - a home. For me. For their mother. For them.

For all of us.

And I talk to them - constantly talk to them - about what it takes to be a real man. If more men truly understood what that means, it would really eradicate so many of the negative relationship issues we grapple with - fatherlessness, low marriage rates, divorce. The list goes on. My dad didn't talk to me a lot, but he showed me by example what it means to be a dedicated father and husband, taught me about hard work and the importance of using it to take care of your family; respecting your significant other and requiring your children to do the same; and being the best father you can be to the babies you make. Did I get it right? Not all the time. I failed at two marriages before I found my relationship stride. That is human. But each time, I drew lessons from the darkness - from the failures. And then I vowed not to let them happen again, not only for the sake of my wife and our marriage, but also to be that example to my children - my sons and my daughters - who are watching me and, like I did with my dad, using my example to get clues about how they should treat a love interest, and certainly how they should expect to be treated by that love interest.

Excerpted from Straight Talk, No Chaser by Steve Harvey. Copyright © 2012 by Steve Harvey. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Table of Contents

Introduction xi

I Understanding Men

1 The Making of a Man 3

2 Dating by the Decades: A Guide to How Men Feel About Relationships in Their Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, and Beyond 17

3 Are Women Intimidating? Myths Versus Facts 37

4 Every Sugar Daddy Ain't Sweet 55

II Finding a Man

5 The Standoff: He Won't Commit, You Won't Leave-Now What? 69

6 Let's Stop the Games: Asking Men the Right Questions to Get the Real Answers 93

7 Presentation Is Everything: Don't Let Your "Off" Day Be Her "On" Day 109

III Keeping a Man

8 The Cookie: More on Why Men Need It, Why You Should Keep It 127

9 The "N" Word: How to Get What You Want Without Nagging 145

10 Show Your Appreciation: A Little Bit of Gratitude Goes a Long Way 161

11 Dollars and Sense: How to Handle Money Problems with Men 177

12 The Art of the Deal: How to Get What You Want Out of a Man 193

IV Questions and Commandments

Ask Steve: More Quick Answers to the Burning Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask 213

For the Men … Ten Commandments to Pleasing a Woman 229

Glossary of Steve's Terms 233

Acknowledgments 235