(The Root) — Something amazing is happening today. Your favorite musical icons from the 1990s are putting down the microphones and picking up the pens (or paying someone to do it for them) and writing books giving relationship advice aimed primarily at black women.
The success of Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is well-known, Keith Sweat's Make It Last Forever has sold more than 4 million copies and Tyrese and Rev Run's Manology is all over cyberspace. But these guys kind of cheated; they were already famous before they started peddling relationship advice, so it makes sense that their book sales would soar. How can you — mild-mannered, everyday citizen sitting at home at your computer — follow in their footsteps and become a relationship expert, too?
You're in luck! I'm an expert on relationship experts, and it would be my pleasure to guide you through the process. Like Rev Run, Tyrese, Keith and Steve, you'll need a flock to whom you can feed your infinite wisdom, and the best place to do that? Twitter. Timelines are literally clogged with tweets from self-made experts, and following in their footsteps is easy. The following tips and writing suggestions are sure to gain you a huge audience hungry for your bad advice in no time!
1. No experience necessary. Did you go to school to be a marriage counselor or life coach? Are you currently in a successful relationship? Have you ever had a relationship? Can you spell the word relationship? If the answer to one or all those questions is no, no problem! Not a single person will ask you for your credentials before jumping on your bandwagon and retweeting your wisdom from here to the moon. If it makes you feel better, you can twirl three times in a circle and say, "bippety boppity boo" before declaring yourself a relationship expert, but it's not mandatory. All you have to do is tack the title onto your Twitter profile and/or stick it on some business cards. Ta-da!
2. Point out the obvious. This is especially important at the beginning of your career as a relationship expert. In making painfully obvious statements such as "Love is great!" "Cheating is bad!" and "A man who loves you will not beat you," you create the illusion that you know something. This will come in handy when you go off the deep end later in your career.
3. Blanket statements are your friend. A good relationship counselor would probably consider each individual on a case-by-case basis, realizing that all men, women and relationships are different. But do you want to be a good relationship expert or a popular one? Hint: There is more notoriety, infamy and money in being a popular one.
So, remember: All women do this, all men do that. "All men want …" "When a woman does this, this is what it means …" Sure, it's inaccurate and problematic, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, am I right?
4. Everything is totally her fault. Remember your cash crop: lonely, vulnerable black women. Their exploitation means lots of attention and hopefully some big bucks for you. In order to exploit them properly, you must let them know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that their loneliness is their fault. You can do this by focusing only on women, their flaws and what they need to do to keep their men, rather than advising men on how to be suitable mates. If he beats you, it's because you let him. If he cheats on you, it's because you're not keeping his interest. If he won't marry you, it's because you gave up the cookie too quickly. No matter the angle you choose, the running theme should be "Black woman, what are you doing wrong? Here, let me tell you." It's proven pretty profitable for others.
5. "You're nobody until somebody marries you." Lucky for you, women are already bred to believe that finding a man, keeping a man and marrying that man is their sole purpose in life, so half the work has been done for you. For black women, who experience high rates of single motherhood (54 percent of black children in America live in single-parent homes), it is helpful to beat them over the head with this point to show them how badly they need your help and guidance. Dangle the promise of a wedding ring in front of their noses like a carrot before a horse so they'll follow you anywhere and pay you anything to get it.
Sure, you could preach to men about the merits of marrying the women they love, but why? Remember: This isn't about men. It's about women and how everything is their fault. Instruct your critics to address all hate mail to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Shame is a profitable tool; properly used, many black women will internalize this message and even help you in your plight.
6. Be clever! People love colorful language. If you're witty enough, they may just ignore the stupidity in what it is that you're saying. Tweeting the occasional
corny one-liner is a great way to get people on your side (extra points if it rhymes!). And if the entire Internet doesn't fall at your feet the first time, tweet it again. And again. And again.
7. Ignore your dissenters. Undoubtedly, you'll amass quite a collection of people who may disagree with you or ask you to clarify or defend your points (known colloquially as "haters"). The way to deal with them: Don't. Take extra care only to engage those who agree with everything you say; those who demand common sense and substance clearly do not have your best interest at heart. A hit dog will always holler — if anyone has anything dissenting to say, then you've clearly touched a nerve. Or, you've just said something stupid. Either way, don't acknowledge that and mess up a good thing.
8. Go crazy! Forget who you may be hurting with your divisive, one-sided, sexist advice. Controversy is what will get you those retweets and, eventually, that book deal. So once you have a good following, go all in. The crazier the better. Here are some ideas:
* A real woman sleeps in her makeup just in case her man sees her in his dreams.
* "Woman is more aggressive and assertive, but when you love her correctly she recoils to her natural form as Adam's rib."
* Don't buy your woman too many shoes; she just might walk out of your life.
* "Ladies: Carry dignity and respect everywhere you go! Leave carrying condoms to the women who need it everywhere they go."
* If he hasn't given you his Facebook password, he hasn't really given you the password to his heart.
* "Ladies' Tip: Your little black dress will win every argument."
The possibilities are endless!
Now you've got the basics. Go start a Twitter account, take a picture of yourself looking smart with your fist under your chin and hit the tweets running! You'll be as successful as Keith Sweat in no time.
Tracy Clayton is a writer and humorist from Louisville, Ken. Check out her website, brokeymcpoverty.com.
Tracy Clayton is a writer, humorist and blogger from Louisville, Ky.