Listen Up, Females. This Man Is Talking.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- In the basement of the Cherry Hill Mall, Dante Moore, a first-time author from Washington, sits at a table tucked between two security gates in the entrance of a tiny Borders Express. Piled neatly on the table: about 20 copies of his book, waiting to be bought and signed.
Few passersby stop -- mostly women, mostly African American -- and they laugh a little at first when they notice the book's cover. They are tentative, but they are interested. After all, the cover is eye-catching: a man towers over two black women sitting in desks (those awful ones from high school with the wooden writing surface attached to the spindly metal chair, remember?) with the book's title, "The Re-Education of the Female," scrawled on a chalkboard. The "students" are listening in rapt attention. This must be every man's dream.
Moore's slim treatise purports to explain how women should go about sex, relationships and marriage -- according to men. Here is his mission as a self-described reeducator: "I want to express my anger and frustration as a man with the women I feel are miseducated, misinformed, and ill-prepared about their responsibilities in getting and maintaining a relationship with a man of quality," he writes in the introduction.
Moore, of course, considers himself just such a man. Read his book, ladies, and you can snag a catch just like him. Your responsibilities include cooking, staying skinny, wearing sexy things around the house and doing whatever your man tells you to do (because, Moore writes, "Here's a little secret, ladies: men never really ask for anything. They command. . . . And believe me, what you won't do, ten broads around the corner will.")
There have been several other books of this unvarnished ilk, recent releases that have both horrified and fascinated women: bestsellers such as "Rules of the Game" by Neil Strauss, and "He's Just Not That Into You" by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Evidently, what men need in order to be happy remains mystifying, despite all these books, so Moore hard-boils it down to three things: food, relaxation and, you know.
Moore himself is approachable, almost welcoming, behind the book-laden table. He's heavyset, 33 years old and still baby-faced, dressed in a crisp white button-down shirt with some gold embroidery on the chest, and jeans. He's well groomed, his longish hair in twists and pulled into a half-ponytail.
Moore, a computer engineer, wrote his book because, he says, he just wants to help women in their relationships -- because he loves women. He was raised by women. He's met his father maybe three or four times, but grew up in a house in Temple Hills with his mother, two sisters, two aunts and two female cousins.
When Moore was a boy, his mother told him to treat women like queens: "My mother used to say, walk them home from school, grab their books, give them gifts, blah blah blah, yada yada yada," he remembers. "I went like that for maybe two years, and I probably lost every girlfriend that came along."
One day, Moore says, he realized how wrong his mother was. "Once I started being myself and saying, 'look, I'm not going to do this, this, or that for women,' the phone didn't stop ringing," he says, laughing.
Moore's girlfriend, Khanequa Tuitt, who's at the book-signing, recalls that when she first read his manuscript, she only got past the first couple of pages before calling him to curse him out. But now she's come to terms with his views. She's started "trying to stay away from wearing frumpy, flannel stuff," even when she's cleaning, for example.
They'll have been dating for two years come November, and she describes their relationship as exclusive. "He's wonderful," says Tuitt, 30. "He's one of the good ones."
Moore says he believes in true love, but hasn't truly experienced it -- otherwise he'd be married by now. (He has an 11-year-old son, Dante, but Moore says he was, until a few years ago, "a testosterone-filled cloud" and unable to focus on much else.)