Ingrid Michaelson tells her guy, "Take me the way I am."
Whereas Steve Harvey and Frank Sinatra say, "If you want to keep me, better dress yourself up a little, darling."
Ingrid gets top billing, because she won a Grammy. And I like her view on relationships better.
Jessica Teller's photography can be found at Wers.org.
I had no idea that I could have skipped the whole school thing and still called myself a relationship expert. Everyone is doing it now, and frankly, if I had known this, well, it would have saved me a lot of tuition and headache.
Steve Harvey, radio show host and stand-up comic is on a run, won't stop with that. He's come out as a relationship expert and has a book to prove it. Microphone in hand, ready-made readership, perhaps he has a leg up as an authority.
I sure hope the book is meant to be funny.
It's so ironic. Only a week ago my doctoral students got the lecture on the reasons we in the academic community prefer the scientific method to other ways of knowing.
You probably are familiar with the scientific method. To pare it down: you (a) have a theory; (b) develop a hypothesis; (c) establish a logical research design to test the hypothesis; (d) test it; (e) interpret your findings.
It can seem tedious; research can take years from light bulb to publication, but at the end we have observable findings and a replicable experiment, empirical, evidence-based research. Scientific.
Other ways of knowing include common sense (Steve Harvey), tradition (religion), the media (newspapers, magazines, television, the Internet), and authority-- someone who calls himself an authority.
Authority is the tricky one. People say they have authority, meaning they have grounds for what they say, perhaps inside knowledge, an inside track. But often they don't have any grounds at all.
And you know that joke. FD tells it every time the coffee's not so great:
bad coffee = grounds for divorce.
Not apropos to anything, but I like it.
Almost anyone can be an authority. Journalists, for example, and staff at the Wall Street Journal afford authority to informants. A not-to-be-named source is
Someone close to the matter.Now there's an authority.
I tell my students,
"You can only hope, basically, that your professors are authorities, that the things they say have some validity, are empirically grounded. By virtue of their positions, that should be the case.kal ve'chomer, Steve Harvey.* If a professor can make things up, how much more likely is it that the Steve Harveys of the world, or the Dr. Phils and the therapydocs, even, make stuff up, too?
But you have to be skeptical about everything you learn, because there are new studies published every day in every area of the social sciences.
So how are you, the lowly student, to know if the people handing out your grades are staying current?
Maybe, for all you know, they are making things up!"
This is the real problem with common sense. Common though it may be, it still needs to be tested if you're going to call it scientific. (Much of what you get here at Everyone Needs Therapy has not been tested, either, I'm so sorry to have to tell you this. But some of it is. A lot of it is. No idea the percentages, sorry.)
By the way, I don't usually say this to my students, kal ve'chomer , which rhymes with doll-v'-go-mare, unless it slips out. The phrase is Hebrew for the following Talmudic rule of logic:
If an argument applies here, in an obvious case, then in cases that are even more obvious, it applies also. All the more so. For sure. Correct me if I'm wrong, if there are any logical Talmudists in the house.(See, people think religion is not scientific, and they're right, probably most require that leap of faith, but if you need a logical argument for something, find a Talmudist. Trust me on this one. You can trust me, another great line,)
So basically I'm telling students, and you, my friends, to stay skeptical and do your own research. Use Google Scholar, if nothing else is available. You can google it.
This is what I like about teaching research. I don't need to keep learning. My job is to inspire them to learn, my students. They should keep reading, not me, and should read the research with a strong twist of skepticism. (The best way to do that is to check the methodology in those studies. Methodology tells you everything.)
This is a great sideline, by the way, teaching research, although I am considering becoming a radio show host.
But back to media.
Media is another one of those ways of knowing. We think it an unscientific way of knowing, but it is still a way. Certainly, in this doc's opinion, there is quite a bit of good stuff on the Teev, everyone's communal way of knowing. We sit with our families or friends, if we're lucky enough, and learn from shows like Nature, Nova, the Weather Channel,the History Channel, Turner Movie Classics, Friends (just seeing if you're paying attention) -- shows that drip with validity.
So we do learn from media. It's not so bad after all.
And I'll bet Steve Harvey's book, a combination of common sense and media pazazz, isn't half bad, even if Sal Minuchin and Jay Haley** won't be retiring their numbers any time soon. At least we hope not.
And the people who wrote He's Just Not That into You, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (Simon & Schuster, 2004), without a PhD between them, have something to teach us, too, even if the book is not empirically-based. (No spoilers in the comments, please, most of us haven't read the book or seen the movie, although you can bet it is the numero uno destination for our next chick flick night out.
And for sure,you remember Dr. Laura from her radio days, the older Jewish woman spleening about family values. Dr. Laura actually has some training in family therapy, although it's unlikely she could explain the difference between a Cronbach alpha and a t-test (PLEASE FORGIVE ME, DR. L, I'M A HUGE FAN, HONEST, JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT YOUR USUAL MEDIA EXPERT), and her command of the DSM IV might be a little light. But that could be a good thing, we have so many pejorative labels floating about as it is.
I'll tell you the truth. Without our media gurus we wouldn't have anything to talk about at dinner.
I do get a little worried, however, when I hear some of the tripe served up on shows like Oprah, who should know better than to sponsor a show on hormone replacement therapies, for example. I worry that people believe what they hear because they believe in Oprah. If she hosts it is must be true, so they ingest things that might be dangerous, all because an authority clapped her hands.
This makes me uncomfortable. And it feels unethical, the way the media can lead us astray.
But back to Steve Harvey, talk show host/relationship expert.
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reviews Steve's book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment in the Wall Street Journal (February 7, 2009). A title like that alone deserves a review.
What it all comes down to, according to Mr. Trachtenberg, is that women can improve their relationships with men if they would only try to understand men better. Being a man, Mr. Harvey can speak for all men, obviously, and all women. He says:
"One of the biggest misconceptions that a woman has is that a man has to accept her the way she is. No, we don't. I don't know who told you that," he says in an interview.
He's speaking directly, you should know, to Ingrid Michaelson, who writes the song, Take Me the Way I Am. Mr. Harvey continues, and this is the best part:
"We like the bright and shiny. If you stop wearing the makeup, stop putting on nail polish, stop wearing high heels, you'll lose us."
Pass the pie, please, the one with the whipped cream.
A patient tells me, "You have to see this show, Mad Men. It's about the fifties, and how a woman's worth and primary purpose was to serve her man, her husband, literally."
Yeah, I know. I lived it, baby. From pouring the water at dinner, to serving them fruit cocktail for dessert, then clearing the table.
Maybe some of you are old enough to remember this song. Frank Sinatra is the crooner. Wives and Lovers. (1964) Pre-feminist era.
(B. Bacharach, H. David)
[Recorded June 12, 1964, Los Angeles]
Pretty marvelous, huh? Let's find another pie for Frank. You would think Old Blue Eyes and Steve Harvey were soul mates.
It still blows me away, that song. And it's catchy.
Does this mean, that Steve Harvey has climbed into bed with Frank Sinatra? I understand it, almost, in a bygone era, this sexism of the forties and fifties, a couple of short-lived decades in which women could stay home, men could go out and hunt. But now?
Especially now? Post-feminism?
Is Harvey saying, in the year 2009, that a woman who has worked a 12 hour day, who returns from a hard day at the office, the store, or worse, has been home parenting children, alone, making a home, should not takes off her nylons? They're so comfortable, after all.
Should she not throw on a pair of sweats, scrub the make-up off her face? Should she make dinner wearing heels? Shake the martinis rather than roll out a yoga mat? And if she's not hot enough, he'll be off to find someone bright and shiny?
In that case, as Mel Brooks said about the Indians, excuse me, Native Americans, in Blazing Saddles, Lazzan gain, (Yiddish, rhymes with doesn't rain). Let him go. Who needs him?
Or does it mean that he fully intends to stay bright and shiny for his woman? I do love a guy in a crisp shirt and a tie, let me tell you, the right tie, and it's a wonderful feeling of joy, art. But this is a condition? I should insist on the tie?
Hi dear, don't you dare take off that tie! Like, ever! I need the bright and shiny. Take off the tie, dear, and I'm out of here. Oh and by the way. I don't like the loafer look, very pedestrian, so if you don't mind, get yourself some Pradas and keep 'em on until I say, take them off.Now that's more balanced, don't you think?
Better to get our messages, from today's rock stars, pop stars, American idols. Ingrid Michaelson would surely tell Mr. Harvey where to find his hat. Objectify ol' Ingrid, and she will tell you exactly what she thinks of you. Listen to this.
Take me the way I am
Adorable,our counterpoint relationship expert and spokesperson for 2009. I'm voting for her.
But really. Ingrid. Let's talk. Sometimes it's nice to compromise. Move in a little closer. Find a middle ground for the fun of it, to stretch the relationship, change just a little.
The way I am? Why would I always want to be the way I am? It will get boring if I live long enough. I can try out something different whenever I want. Even someone else's suggestions.
Oh! And mazal tov on that Grammie! It's so hard to resist the You go, Girl thing. Got it from the media.
*(kal ve'chomer rhymes with doll-v'-go-mare, Hebrew for. . .if it applies here, all the more it should apply there).
**Salvador Minuchin and Jay Haley are the Fathers of Family Therapy
Lyrics to Wives and Lovers
Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up, soon he will open the door,Take Me the Way I Am Ingrid blogs, by the way.
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger, you needn't try any more.
For wives should always be lovers too,
Run to his arms the moment that he comes home to you.
I'm warning you,
Day after day, there are girls at the office and the men will always be men,
Don't stand him up, with your hair still in curlers, you may not see him again.
Wives should always be lovers too,
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
He's almost here, hey, little girl, better wear something pretty,
Something you wear to go to the city,
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music, time to get ready for love.
Time to get ready for love, yes it's time to get ready for love,
It's time to get ready, kick your shoes off, baby....,
Written by Ingrid Michaelson
If you were falling, then I would catch you
You need a light, I'd find a match
Cuz I love the way you say good morning
And you take me the way I am
If you are chilly, here take my sweater
Your head is aching; I'll make it better
Cuz I love the way you call me baby
And you take me the way I am
I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair
Sew on patches to all you tear
Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise
And you take me the way I am
You take me the way I am
You take me the way I am