The cow is not for sale.

1 04 2009

I don’t generally write much about “the sex” in this space, aside from the occasional Chuck Grassley/boobies joke, because, among other reasons, several of my colleagues—and, god knows, by this point, probably my mother—read this blog, so, really.

Pimp daddy

But my post last week about divorced comedian Steve Harvey’s book of so-called advice for single women, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” has raised a lot of issues about women, sex and dating that I’d really like to explore a bit further. If this is the sort of thing that makes you blush, well, I really don’t know what you’re doing on this blog in the first place, but you might want to wander on over to something a little more PG.

Anyhow. Several of the folks who commented on and emailed me about the post articulated my problem with Harvey and his philosophy better and more succinctly than I could.


Blogger/author Robin Monique kicks Harvey’s ass around the block and offers some of the soundest dating advice I’ve heard, well, ever:

When should I sleep with him? Answer: When you want to and not a moment before.

What if I sleep with him and then he stops calling? Your value is not determined by your vagina. He can’t see that? His loss. Keep it moving.

Don’t I lose my power when I sleep with a man? As long as you’ve got two feet and the good sense to leave a situation that’s not working for you, you always have power.

When should I let him go? When you find that you’re more often unhappy than happy in the relationship.

How do I avoid heartbreak? You can’t. It is a part of life. Trust that you’re strong enough to get through it.

See the pattern? Your greatest relationship is the one that you have with yourself (or your God if you’re religious/spiritual). Setting your relationship behaviors around arbitrary rules rather than your own natural tendencies will all but guarantee a lifetime of confusion, anger and heartbreak.

Meanwhile, commenter TheProblemWithCaring picks up on a largely unspoken racial dimension of Harvey’s argument that I completely missed (edited for length; read the original comment here):

It seems to me that Steve Harvey wrote this book to all the “good” single women of color out there, who seem to be lapping it up. From the church to beauty salon to the late night tearful debriefing sessions with sisters, mothers, aunts and friends on “What went wrong with Mr. Right;” the answer always is YOU GAVE UP THE COOCHIE TOO EARLY.

It’s never that the man is just emotionally unavailable, a misogynist with intimacy issues, a commitment-phobe, fucking your cousin, or just not that into you. It always comes down to When Did you Sleep with Him.

It would fly in the face of the paradigm for women of color to say “BUT HEY DIVORCED STEVE HARVEY. I AM A WOMAN, BUT I LIKE SEX TOO.” It’s easier for Oprah and others to accept it and try to claim power from their sub-status as women (i.e. Our pussies are magic! Men cannot resist!) instead of trying to assert real power. Personally, I think Black women could do a lot for themselves, their communities and the world if they stopped listening to little dicks like Steve Harvey and started telling Black men, Eat my pussy, fuck me right AND call me tomorrow, or fuck off and let me date your brother.

There were also a few critical comments (though not many, leading me to believe I have a very naughty readership) that made the reasonable point that in a situation where a woman is looking for a long-term relationship and a man is just looking for sex then, yeah, by having sex the woman does give up a lot of leverage.

But, if you’re looking for a ring or just a long-term serious relationship, then dating a man who is very openly NOT looking for those things is a losing proposition from the start. Far too many women—the Carrie Bradshaws of the world, let’s say—drive themselves to distraction trying to get men who aren’t interested in commitment to commit. It defies reason. If you’re looking for a Volvo, don’t go to the Ferrari dealership, okay?

But—and I think this might come as a surprise to Mr. Harvey—it works the other way too. Not every woman in the dating pool has back issues of Modern Bride stashed away in her closet. You might need to sit down for this, Steve, but here’s the truth: Not every woman you date wants to marry you. We are not even close to that into you. Seriously.

If you have a mother like mine, you’re familiar with the maxim that no man is going to buy the cow when he’s getting the milk for free. But here’s a thought: The cow is not for sale.

Ponder that.

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22 responses

1 04 2009

preach on, preacher

never understood what made Steve think he’s an expert on anything other than making folks laugh

1 04 2009

Brillant again. Thanks!

1 04 2009

in the spirit of stephanie’s announcement that she is not for sale, i would like to announce that i am not a volvo. ladies, please act accordingly. tx.

1 04 2009

Right. Ladies, Joe is obviously a Hyundai.

1 04 2009

Here’s something else I don’t understand: the term “leverage” when used to describe dating. According to Mr. Harvey, you should withhold sex for x amount of time, thereby retaining/upping your value? So, you are NOT sleeping with a guy in order to retain your power? And then what, the moment you have sex, you have no power? Where does the power go? It immediately transfers to the man in a frenzied coup? And should a relationship ever be about a power struggle? Especially from the get-go?
It’s just so bizarre that we would still be talking about men and women like this in 2009.
plus, you are right, sometimes, we’re really not that into you. sheesh.

1 04 2009

Steph that was so funny… I am loving your blog. XO

1 04 2009

OK, interesting post …. But do you realize how dumb you look for this gif image of Harvey? Can you even define the word “gangsta” properly? Why would you dare post something like that? Oh yeah, you want attention …

On the post itself, you aren’t defined buy when you sleep with someone. BUT you are defined by how many people you sleep with and if you have more than one partner at once. I’m sorry, in my book, that makes you a whore. If you do anything that puts you in a position to be on a Maury “You’re NOT the father” episode, you have whorish tendencies.

on maury: google “This May Concern You” and “Maury Povich”

if you want to learn how to make a parody of something or someone (and you clearly need this lesson), click this:

Eagerly awaiting your response,

2 04 2009

Damon: question: if a man sleeps with more than one partner at a time, is he also a whore? This is a genuine question, I am not trying to bait you into an argument or anything.

2 04 2009
Her Bad Mother

“BUT you are defined by how many people you sleep with.”

Seriously, Damon? In what universe? Seems pretty random basis for defining an individual. Why not define ourselves by how many different pairs of socks we have, or how many avocados we’ve eaten in our lifetime, or how many times we’ve seen “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”? Or, I don’t know, whether we’re good people or not, whether we effect some positive change in the world?

(For the record, going around calling women ‘whores’? Not a marker of being a good person or effecting positivity.)

2 04 2009
Zombie Joe

Seriously? Calling her out as a whore or having “whorish tendencies”? Just because a woman has had sex with more than one man does not make her a whore. Would you say the same thing to a guy that has wracked up a number of sexual partners?

Seriously, his views on relationships are about as useful as Bella from Twilight is as a role model for young women growing up. Aside from his out-there ideas, the man is divorced. How much could he really know about women and relationships.

A whore? Really? I don’t think so.

2 04 2009

Some questions:
Are men defined by the same standards? Are men who’ve had lots of partners thought of as ineligible for marriage? Do men typically want to marry women who don’t enjoy sex?

2 04 2009

Dear Damon:

I love when people post comments about whores but don’t know proper English. So here’s some help for you:

You said: “On the post itself, you aren’t defined buy when you sleep with someone”

Next time, try: “On the post itself, you aren’t defined BY when you sleep with someone”

which still makes no sense. Hope this helps, Damon! Because calling someone a whore is more effective if you can spell or use the language properly.

2 04 2009


I’m having some trouble understanding your post. Could you explain a few things for me?

You are using “you” in the general sense, right? So that “you” refers to “people.” It almost seems like you are calling the poster a whore, which would be way out of line.

So what you (Damon) are saying is, if a person sleeps with a large number of sexual partners throughout a lifetime, and/or if a person is dating more than one person at the same time, and also having sex with them, that you consider that to be a negative lifestyle.

Are you referring to men and women, or just women here?

Why do you believe that having multiple sexual partners a bad thing? You seem to think that but you do not say why.

Also, if we’re getting into definitions, whore means somebody who has sex for money. Someone who has sex with multiple partners or sex outside of marriage is not a whore.

2 04 2009


Way to go! You really have some insight there.
I am so happy to see that not EVERYONE has been educated enough to stand up-right. I am not even going to get into the hypocritical debate that you have started (the people who commented after you are doing a great job on their own).

How could someone who lives in the world still think that a woman should only sleep with one man at a time? Women are people and people have the right to do whatever the hell they want with whomever they want as many times as they want. And it’s not just about sex, but obviously that’s what we’re talking about here.

And by the way, if you do not realize that the picture of Mr. Harvey is meant to be ironic, then, seriously, where are you from?

2 04 2009

I’m wondering how a discussion on “when to sleep with someone” turned into “whore” name calling for multiple partners?

And when does this “whore” label wear off? “Hypothetically,” if had 2 boyfriends once 15 years ago does that still make me a whore today if I finally decided on the right one for me? What about if they knew about each other? Is there a whore statue of limitations? Are boys subject to this whore label? Why didn’t Steve Harvey just title his book “men are whores, hide the cookies?” Should women really give a crap if men are calling them a whore because they don’t conform to some “ideal” role that is in that man’s head?

LOL. Ok, On a more serious note – I still don’t understand how people throw around rules so easily in a society that is known for it’s complexity and diversity. But I suppose that is my own demon to bear. Or is it bare? 😉

2 04 2009

OK, this clearly is going to take some time. But I’m going to respond to everyone here. Hopefully, I make sense of my rant.

@Lisa: the answer to your question, yes, he’s engaging in whorish activity. Make it habitual, and you’re a whore. Male or female.

@herbadmother: you’re right, I probably over stepped in a moment of fury because of that picture. YOU DEFINE YOURSELF. Your actions give people reason to see you otherwise. … on calling people, not just women, “whores” … read the Bible. It’s in there. It’s my personal belief/moral. You’re fine to disagree with it. And I have no problem with that.

@homeslice: thank you for correcting me. we all make mistakes, right? I’m sure you’ve made yours as well. Besides, it’s a comment. Who cares?

@carriep: wouldn’t call the poster a whore. I think she’s a talented writer, who I don’t know from Eve. And I do consider sleeping with many sexual partners over a lifetime or more than one person at a time to be a bad/negative lifestyle. (see: AIDS, other STDs, children who can’t find their fathers, etc.) In my view, it’s a MAJOR part of what’s wrong with the world. But if that’s the route you choose, it’s yours not mine. I have my morals, you have yours. Same with opinions.

@chaz: good sarcasm. you can read the other comments above in this rant to get this gist. … on the picture of Steve Harvey: HE IS NOT GANGSTA, GHETTO or HOOD or anything remotely close to that. That’s not ironic. It’s classless and stupid. Disagree if you want.

@Kristy: again, the comments above should suffice. on rules: You define/set your own morals/rules, right? And you live by them? There’s nothing wrong with trying to share what you believe with someone else. If they disagree, so be it … and you best be ready, because people disagree all the damn time a la this comment thread.

It’s been fun. Know that I really do appreciate the dialogue and you all making explain myself better because my rant WAS piss poor and I shouldn’t have called out women without calling out men to the same extent. Sorry bout that. … that picture of Steve is still not a good look, though.


2 04 2009

I have always found the concept of discussing “when” to sleep with someone a rather infantile and depressing proposition. If it feels right, and both parties are into it and wanna do it — who cares if it happens over 2 or 3 or 10 or n “dates”.

And — honestly, do you really think that boys are leaving *just* because they’ve gotten their rocks off? REALLY?

They couldn’t be leaving for one of the MILLION other reasons that relationships end, right?

I guess — to sum up — I just think that the same old response of “you slept with him too soon and that’s why he’s leaving” is a complete load of old bollocks. Relationships are insanely complex things and to try and solve an unsolvable equation with a single variable (early sex) is specious and silly.

Did you not get that job you really really wanted because you wore a blue blouse instead of a white one? Or, was it because the HR manager decided they didn’t like you that much?

Same thing, different perspective, both are just as likely as the other.

Humans: can’t be explained by simple silly posits.


2 04 2009

Thanks for the clarification, Damon. Thought you may like some, too.

But you did say by your book, didn’t you? I didn’t check


2 04 2009

@becca oh snap!!! 🙂

2 04 2009

@becca; It’s alright. You’re like Steph … you want to call people “ghetto” or “gangsta” and don’t know who they are.

That’s fine. I’m done here. I tried to be a reasonable person. I just leave you with one last opus. I’m sure you’ll vibe with it:

9 04 2009
the problemwithcaring


Deuces? Really?

9 04 2009
Urbzen’s 100th Post! « U R B Z E N

[…] the meantime, keep checking back at for your daily (?) dose of vice, virtue and, of course, sex jokes. And if you can’t get enough here, your lame ass should follow […]

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