Generally, I like relationship books written by men for women explaining how men think and operate. Too many of us have difficulty fathoming how differently men function than women.
The book is divided into 3 sections:
The mind-set of a man
Why men do what they do
The playbook: How to win the game
In the first section he discusses what drives men. He boils it down to 3 things: profess, provide and protect.
Profess means he tells you and the world that you are his woman, his one-and-only, his lady — whatever term feels right to him. It’s key that he not only tell you, but he tells others. My experience is it’s easy for a man to tell you what you want to hear (e.g., “You’re perfect for me,” “You’re the one for me,”) but never say a word to anyone else about you. Steve says that if you’ve been going out for a while and your guy introduces you as “my friend” or by only your name, no descriptor, he’s not thinking of you as a keeper.
Provide means not only financially, but providing for you in whatever ways you need to be taken care of. He’ll make sure you have food, shelter and transportation at the least. Steve says a man will forgo buying things for himself if his family needs something.
Protect not only means to ensure your safety, but he’ll protect your reputation and dignity from others who try to malign you.
When I thought about the most prominent men in my past, nearly none of them professed, provided nor protected me. Some did one or two, but I’ve had no experience with one who did all three, at least not beyond perfunctorily. Does this mean I happened to have men in my life — both chosen and by blood — who were missing these important 3-p genes? Or they were just clueless of these things? I think instead that Steve is describing emotionally mature, grounded men who want to have a stable relationship and family life and understand the importance of doing their part to bring this about. I have yet to be blessed with a man like that.
Steve says that one of the biggest reasons women don’t get men to behave the way they want if because women don’t 1) have clear standards, and 2) let their standards be known. We can’t be nagging or demanding about what we want that he’s not providing or that will drive a man away. But we have to be adamant about how we want to be treated and what we expect.
Here’s a simple example: you want your man to open your car door for you and he just walks to his side. You should stand there until he comes around and opens it for you. You can’t berate him with, “Fool, where were you born? In a barn? Didn’t your mother teach you how to treat a lady?” Instead you simply smile when he sees his indiscretion and thank him as he runs around to your side and opens your door and you slide into the seat.
Steve says we learn to settle for less than we want because we think he should know or we don’t want to nag. He says men are simple creatures and a man wants to please his woman, but either doesn’t know what she wants or forgets quickly if not reminded. So he gets away with doing less and less of what makes her happy and she gets more and more resentful and frustrated.
When dating, waiting at least ninety days before having sex is a big part of Steve’s philosophy. He equates it to a job’s probation period, an analogy I’ve heard others use. On the job you have to show you have earned the right to keep your job and get benefits. You have to show up on time, work diligently, produce results, show you can get along with others, and often take initiative. He says it’s the same in a relationship — a man needs to show he is worthy of a woman’s intimacy before he gets the benefits. He says it also weeds out the men who are just looking for a romp in the hay and those who are serious about exploring a relationship. I think he’s right.
There are other sections on 5 questions a woman must ask any man she’s dating, the 3 things men need, why men cheat, and what strong, independent women need to do to be more appealing to men.
One of the parts I really like is that he encourages us to really take a stand for our dignity, self-esteem and goals and stop putting up with men’s disrespectful, immature and bad behavior. It’s a tough love tome. It’s true that many of us (all of us?), even strong women, have put up with bad behaviors far too many times.
This is a quick read, often funny, often insightful, sometimes reminding the reader of common sense that is not always common practice.