Steve Harvey: Tough Talk for Women About Men

Chivalry, sports and why you can't "talk to your husband like he works for you."

November 4, 2009, 3:43 PM

Nov. 5, 2009— -- "Good Morning America" special contributor Steve Harvey tackled a tough topic today: what women really want to know about men.

The comedian, actor and host of "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" also wrote the book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," which was an instant hit with women across the country and has been on The New York Times Best Seller List for 39 weeks.

Harvey sat down today with "GMA" to address women's questions, concerns and confessions about the men in their lives.

Lisa, who is married, wanted to know why men feel as if their wives or girlfriends are nagging them.

"What women see as perhaps a reminder, or asking them," the 42-year-old woman said. "So, I would like to know how we could change men to see it not as nagging but as a simple request."

The No. 1 rule, Harvey said, is that the difference between nagging and requesting is all about tone of voice.

"Nagging and a friendly reminder has something to do with the tone," he said. "It's the tone in which you say it.

"A lot of times the tone is taken from what you do all day," he said. "If you're at home with the kids all day ... you're in that 'talking to the kids' mode. And you sometimes lay that same tone on [your husband]. You can't talk to your husband that way."

And if you are in a supervisory or leadership role at work, he said, "you can't come home and talk to your husband like he works for you.

"You need to take the mommy cap off and the supervisor cap off."

Harvey also suggested complimenting the man in your life when he does something you like.

"You've got to find something that he does that you really like, and just compliment him on it," he said. "If you can't think of anything, just make something up."

Steve Harvey's Straight Talk for Women About Men

Michelle, who is 25 and single, wanted to know how to gently let down a man who she isn't interested in.

"You can't," Harvey said bluntly. "We don't care what you do.

"A restraining order is sometimes helpful," he joked. "Or you could fake a seizure."

Erika Lewis, 35, is single and struggling with an issue many women around the country are facing right now. Because of the economic downturn, she is dating men who are out of work.

"What advice would you give to me if I'm, you know, doing all the providing financially to make sure that he doesn't feel emasculated?" she asked.

Harvey said that if a man is working hard to look for a job, you should hang in there and support and encourage him in a smart way. But if he's just sitting around, then you have a problem.

"The economy's tough out there," he said.

He advised Lewis and all women to remember that a man's job goes right to his DNA: "Who he is, what he does, and how much he makes."

If a man is out of work for a long time, "you're dealing with a guy that's pretty broken," Harvey said. "All you can do is be encouraging."

Jacinta, 25, wondered how she could engage in watching sports with her husband.

"My husband loves sports, watches it all the time," she said. "I didn't even know there were so many ESPN channels. However, when I try to be engaged or ask questions, he looks at me like, what are you doing?"

If you aren't a true fan, Harvey advised, you should find something else the two of you can watch as a couple.

"He knows this is not sincere," Harvey said. "You're just trying to figure out why he's picking sports over you."

Men have to pay attention to sports, Harvey continued. "We've got to be abreast of this so we can participate as men the next day," he said.

Rina, who is 30 and married, asked why men aren't as chivalrous after they get married.

"Chivalry never changes," Harvey said. "It is just you stop expecting it and you expect less. ... He will do the same things if you keep expecting it and requiring it."

Harvey said he still opens the car door for his wife "because she is going to stand there and require that I do the same things. Chivalry doesn't stop, it is just that women stop requiring it and expecting less."

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