In the world of Steve Harvey and Ray J. and Tyrese and blogs, when it seems like anybody can pen a book (or some tweets) and christen themselves experts in something that they probably aren’t really experts in, I’ve often wondered why (despite their lack of knowledge and experience) people come to believe them and put so much stock in what they say.

Recently, I ran across an essay by writer Helena Andrews questioning how she became the go-to advice guru for her single friends, despite not wanting the title or considering herself worthy.

Andrews writes:

In the last few days, I’ve received a bevy of text messages, phone calls and face-times asking my advice about various penis-in-the-vagina scenarios. 

In the last few days, I’ve received a bevy of text messages, phone calls and face-times asking my advice about various penis-in-the-vagina scenarios involving friends of mine in the possession of the latter.

I get all the who, what, when, where and why’s of my former single gals in arms who are all still out there in the trenches every Saturday night (or not). And I always dutifully respond with the wisdom and sophistication of a woman of my station. “Fuck that monkey shit!” and “Lawd, girl, leavemlone, leavemlone, leavemlone!” are my go-tos.

 But here’s the thing, I’m not married, engaged or otherwise officially sanctioned by whatever the governing body on Knowing What The Fuck You’re Talking about is. My only qualification? I gotta man. Whatcha man gotta do with me? Apparently everything.

… But they keep asking — I assume based solely on the fact that I’ve managed to banana peel my way into a committed relationship with someone I’m head over heels about. Really it was just dumb luck and perhaps the very smart planting of several seeds otherwise known as telling his homeboys that he could “get it.” Basically the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do to land a live-in, and it worked. 

I was on a panel about “black love” (see?) a few weeks ago and one girl asked when exactly do men decide to settle down. When I answered, “Whenever they hell the feel like it,” she seemed unimpressed, a bit deflated actually. So I pumped up her jam with some hot air about “attracting what you reflect” (huh?) and “allowing men to have their cake and eat it, too.” I’m positive she went home, wrote that down in her diary and then maybe prayed on it.

Her article (which is hilarious, by the way), made me wonder why we search for relationship experts in the first place.

Isn’t life the best teacher, and shouldn’t most of us—if we really paid attention—have learned enough about the ins and outs of dating and mating to pass ourselves off as experts, or at least steer clear of horrible situations?

While it’s great to hear another person’s perspective, do we really need an expert to tell us why to sidestep a player or not treat every person we meet as the enemy?

What say you Clutchettes and Gents. How do relationship experts become experts…and why do we believe them?

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  • The Comment

    retired prostitutes in their 70s gave me excellent advice. Didn’t make sense at the time but I’d be damn If my single years were full of adventure and I experienced little heartache.

    • African Mami

      You are the resident relationship expert!! I approve this message, and one you wrote about marriage a few weeks back.

    • Curious

      What was the advice???

  • Stanley

    Women don’t want advice. They mostly want approval for their already made decision. Men get drag to listen to whatever blame there is to get.

    • Patience

      Men don’t want advice. They mostly want to be told how to get sex and then blame women for not giving them what they believe they are entitled to.

    • The Comment

      LMAO!!!! Ya’ll funny!

  • “Isn’t life the best teacher, and shouldn’t most of us—if we really paid attention—have learned enough about the ins and outs of dating and mating to pass ourselves off as experts, or at least steer clear of horrible situations?”

    Obviously not otherwise everyone would be able to find and keep a partner easily. I would trust marriage counsellors because they have experience and training about how to have successful relationships and have learned from scientific studies. I would also trust match makers because they have heard from hundreds if not thousands of men and women about what they want, like, and dislike, and know which relationships worked, and what went wrong. Their personal lives don’t matter as much because it is much easier to see other people’s problems rather than your own and they may be operating just based on training and experience not on their personal opinions. I would not trust someone like Steve Harvey.

  • Paul

    The relationship advice industry is like the diet industry – ostensible “solvers” of problems that the advertising industry creates, but whose real goals are no less mercenary –

    to profit from your disatisfaction with YOURSELF AND YOUR LIFE.

    The reason people can’t “find” each other is advertising and the parasites it feeds won’t let them SEE each other.