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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