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It plays upon the worst insecurities of men and women – but especially the African-American women who make up a large portion of its target audience: “We’re (men) pretty confident that your willingness to be in a relationship with us supersedes all the things we do that look suspicious, because we know you’ll work through the suspicion – that it’s more important to you to be with us in our imperfection than to leave us and be alone.” And there, loud and clear, is the two-fold message that African-American men are not capable of a deep, abiding, faithful soul connection and African-American women are so afraid of being alone they’ll accept that and the destructive behavior that goes with it. Sorry, Steve, but we do not exist on this earth to settle for scraps from one another.Inside of us is the ability to love and love deeply.To paraphrase Eleanore Wells of The Spinsterlicious Life.com, marriage is not a better life—it's just a different one.In fact, the pressure is so strong, I sometimes get the suspicious feeling that everyone else out there is more afraid of us being single and having options than we are. I went on a date recently with a ruggedly handsome, intelligent and funny guy.It was a great night, filled with stimulating conversation, laughter and, in the end, high-quality intimacy. Because I have the emotional muscle and maturity to understand that our backgrounds, entanglements and existing commitments preclude us from that kind of a connection.It is extremely difficult for most folks to accept that things outside of us cannot fill the need for soul connection. In it, women must fit into one of these categories: slut, sidepiece, old maid, gold digger, failure, lonely independent achiever, loser or perfect paragon of virtue.

Is it my intention to exclusively date or eventually try to marry this guy? In other words, I don’t want to marry every man that I date.

I can enjoy a gentleman’s company without feeling the pressure to explain why he and I are not monogamous or why I’m not devising Operation Bridezilla in order to get hitched to him. If people gave advice or shared their experiences in an attempt to be relevant rather than “clever,” they might actually help someone. I can sum up my opinion of the book in two words: Negro, please.

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For single African-American women, the pressure to create a pair bond and get married can be relentless.

It could be argued that Harvey’s book is shallow, misguided and totally missing the point – which would make “Act Like A Lady” akin to so much of the conversation on dating and relationships among African Americans.The assumption that marriage is the highest goal and ideal state of being for an African-American woman – or any woman – is all wrong.

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