Help for men behaving stupidly Advice: Dr. Laura has become a talk-show star by showing men the error of their ways.

September 05, 1997|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

Men, it's safe to come out of the garage. Reek thee of manhood again! Because you have a soul mate in a "nice little Jewish girl who's cute as a button."

Not Fran Drescher. We're talking, of course, of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The reigning rage of talk radio has written a manly, help-yourself book.

"Now men have a non-bashing, yet challenging, source of self-examination," says the advance press for "10 Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives," penned by the good doctor herself.

A cross between Dr. Joyce Brothers and Mr. T, Dr. Laura fires bullets of advice during her syndicated radio show (heard locally on WCBM 680 AM). With her trademark close, "Now go take on the day," Dr. Laura verbally spanks about 20 souls daily -- 20 of the estimated 50,000 calls her show receives. But today, she's calling us.

"Good morning!" Dr. Laura says at 9: 30 a.m., Los Angeles time. Her phone voice is crisp, authoritative and sure of itself. Just like its owner.

"Why does my show work? I can't answer that myself. I can tell you what our research says." Do tell. "People said they are very attracted to my personality, very attracted to the fact I was doing values," Dr. Laura says. "And that I was funny."

And research says men like her show. "People have told me, 'You think like a man.' I don't know how men think -- I'm just a nice little Jewish girl." And, don't forget, "cute as a button."

"10 Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives" (due out Wednesday) includes chapters on "Stupid Sex," "Stupid Husbanding" and "Stupid Parenting." The only chapter missing is "Stupid Breathing."

While we had her on the line, Dr. Laura agreed to a consult. Well, almost agreed. The idea of playing radio doctor for this interview didn't light her fire. "I can't tee off on you." Why not? "Because because I'm afraid you'd get mad."

This from a woman who makes people mad for a living?

"Yes, but when people call for a long time, they form a relationship with me. I nag them, teach them and leave them something to think about."

But you don't know them, either.

"Right, but I trust them."

OK, now we're getting somewhere, Dr. Laura. It's a matter of trust. The Big T. You don't trust us! "I don't know you," she says, laughing. OK, she finally says. Dr. Laura will play radio doctor.

Let's start with Chapter 4 from her book:

"Stupid Strength: Uncomfortable with feeling weak, vulnerable, powerless, you use intimidation, force as positive-aggressive- ness to regain control."

Maybe I'm stupid, but what does "force as positive-aggressiveness" mean? Dr. Laura, a licensed therapist, cleanly and keenly explains "positive-aggressiveness." When I still don't get it, she poses a very penetrating question:

"Did you think Cuba Gooding Jr. was masculine?" she asks, referring to the Oscar-winning actor who played Tom Cruise's athlete client in "Jerry Maguire." "He was masculine, with a body to die for."

What's your point?

It was his head in his wife's hands, she says. She was holding him, telling him how wonderful he was when nobody wanted him. "It was a wonderful scene."

So, men, strive to be Cuba Gooding Jr. Next, Chapter 5:

"Stupid Sex: You measure your masculinity and power by sexual conquests, infidelities and orgasms." Are you saying men can't be proud or happy about pleasing a woman?

"Remember Rhett Butler, when he takes Scarlett to bed? She's finally with a man. And in the morning, she's wearing this big smile and dreaming of Rhett from the waist down for the rest of her life."

Your point?

"Well, when she sees him, she doesn't let him know she's just had the best night of her life. It's hostile."

Men, strive to be Rhett Butler. On to Chapter 7:

"Stupid Husbanding: Thinking that marriage is the honorable discharge from loving courtship, you continue to live as though your mommy-wife will take care of everything."

So, my mom brought me breakfast in bed (on a TV tray) when I was sick. Brought me ginger ale and wheeled the TV into my sick room. So, I have to buy my own medicine now and take it myself. So what?

"Everything has a time," Dr. Laura advises, "and your time has passed, old man."

Last question for the doctor. About Chapter 9:

"Stupid Boyishness: Having not yet worked out a comfortable understanding with your mother, your relationships with women become geared to avenge, resolve or protect you from your ties to mommy."

This chapter brings to mind Norman Bates of "Psycho" fame. How would you have advised Norman, Dr. Laura?

She's not stupid. "I would have just locked him up," she says.

Now go take on the day.

Pub Date: 9/05/97

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