The Author of 2002's 'Why Men Love Bi**hes' Is Heartwarmed By All the TikTok Attention

Something unusual occurred on last week's Sunday Times (U.K.) bestseller list. Right there, in the top 10 list of bestselling paperbacks, was a book titled Why Men Love Bi**hes. Yet, it wasn't the provocative title that made the relationship guidebook's presence on the list at No. 9 especially unusual, nor was it the fact that the book originally came out back in 2002. Instead, it was how the book turned into a recent bestseller that became a story: Members of Generation Z from around the globe have discovered it and expressed their love for it on TikTok.

"I think it makes people laugh," Sherry Argov, the book's author, told Newsweek during a recent interview when asked why she thinks the book has become a viral sensation. "I think that people find it uplifting. That's my sense—that it's relatable."

Sherry Cropped
Author Sherry Argov, whose 2002 dating manual has become a hit on TikTok. Sherry Argov

This is hardly some little-known title plucked completely out of obscurity, though. Why Men Love Bi**hes: From Doormat to Dreamgirl—A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship and its 2016 year follow-up, Why Men Marry Bi**hes: A Woman's Guide to Winning Her Man's Heart, were bestsellers not long after their original releases and have sold consistently since. However, the hashtag #whymenlovebi**hes has been used 9.7 million times on TikTok alone as of this article's publication, and fans from a whole new generation have caused a recent surge in attention and sales.

TikTok users from Los Angeles to South Africa—literally, all over the globe—are extolling the words contained in the colorfully named dating manual. (Pieces of advice include: "Men control the world, but women control the men" and "The nice girl makes the mistake of being available all the time.") Among those showing love for Argov's work is Sarah Elizabeth, an English actress and podcast host. On Thursday, she posted her 14th video dedicated to reading and decimating advice from Why Men Love Bi**hes.

@sarahelizabeth2020

Why men love bleeps part 14- also come have a glow up with me on IG #whymenlovebitches #baddietok

♬ original sound - Big sis sarah🙏🏻

Argov said she's yet to reap the financial benefits of becoming a recent viral sensation, but she expects that to be just around the corner. During her talk with Newsweek, she also discussed the difficulty of getting the book published in the first place with a title like that, as well as some misunderstandings people may have about its contents.

Read Newsweek's conversation with Argov, who's based in Los Angeles, below. This interview has been edited and condensed for the sake of length and clarity.

What was your reaction to finding out that your book became a hot trend on TikTok?

When I heard about the videos and saw a few, it warmed my heart. Especially during difficult times, for women to be inspired by my book is very endearing to me. I can only be grateful and appreciative.

My book has always been a word-of-mouth book. Women tell one another about it; mothers tell their daughters, and daughters tell their mothers. That it appeals to both generations simultaneously, for me, is very, very special.

Are you on TikTok yourself?

I am now!

I was going to say, that would be a good way to market your book now.

Yeah, I just joined TikTok, but I also found this trend is not unique to TikTok; I've seen many of these videos on YouTube as well.

Why Men Love
Argov's 2002 book that recently became a bestseller again. Sherry Argov

Confession: I haven't read the book. But from what I've gathered about it, Why Men Love Bi**hes seems to contain a lot of bite-sized pieces of advice that might seem particularly suited for an app like TikTok. Do you think that maybe is why it's taken off on there?

There are a lot of quotes and sound bites that can be excerpted, and that makes sense–the à la carte. It may also be the advice—things your parents taught you, like stand up for yourself; don't believe that other people are better than you just because they act like they are; and go hard in the paint, as they say in basketball. Which is what I do with everything in my life, including my career and my books. Don't let self-doubt replace confidence, faith and belief in yourself. Those are central themes repeated throughout my books. I think that people find it uplifting. That's my sense—that it's relatable. It deals with central issues like dignity, and that never goes out of style.

The title is provocative by nature, so do you think people are surprised to find an empowering message for women when they read what's inside?

Sometimes. I can see why people might think that. It's okay whatever people think, because I get paid the same whether they love me or hate me. I apply all my principles in the book to my career. Don't imitate and believe in yourself. I can also tell you there's not a lot of resources for women on how to be confident and how to lead with dignity and self-worth.

Do you think a book like yours may be particularly popular at this point in time, especially with the ongoing pandemic, when people are seeking some comfort?

I hope so. I think it makes people laugh. And I think it reminds them how to get back to the center. I think the pandemic is making people reevaulate their priorities. People are also reading more and maybe buying more self-help books. When I read what people say to me, I want to give those women a virtual hug. One woman reached out to me and told me that she grew up in foster care and never had any role models or parenting. She said my book felt like a big sister to her, teaching her about life.

Although it's an entertaining book, the message is serious.

Since the book has taken off on TikTok, have you gotten more messages from younger people than you did, say, maybe a year or two ago?

No. I think that I think that even though TikTok is making the news, my audience is still mostly women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They don't spend as much time on social media.

Maybe for people on social media, posting a video is kind of like their own version of a letter to you. Have you received a nice, unexpected paycheck due to the recent spike in sales?

Not yet. I'll certainly be looking. We shall see. That's all I can say; I have to remain politically correct. I could say, "Hell, yeah! I hope I get paid!" Getting paid is not a bad thing, let's put it that way.

Do you know what your next project will be?

Yeah, I'm rereleasing Why Men Love Bi**hes with a lot of new content within the next year. I also have two other books that I'm working on that I have pending trademarks.

Were any bookstores initially hesitant about carrying a book with a title like Why Men Love Bi**hes?

They didn't even put my book in the bookstores in the beginning because of the word "bi**h." I literally had to drive around to bookstores and ask bookstore managers to order 20 or 30 copies, and I promised that I would come back a week later to sign them. When I say, "I go hard in the paint," I mean it, because I literally drove to almost every freestanding store in California, Arizona and Nevada to ask them if they would get 20 or 30 books. I went back and signed the books so they would be given front-store display. Then I got a call from the publisher, who said, "What are you doing in California that's making the sales spike?" Soon, Barnes & Noble placed a national order for every store on a trial basis, and it's been a bestseller ever since. Nielsen has a "relationship best-seller" category, and it's been on that list for, I think, close to 1,000 weeks.

Did anyone caution you against using profanity in the title?

Absolutely. No one put the welcome mat out for me between between the bookstores and the publishers. I received 57 rejection letters. 57 publishers told me no, and one of them told me "yes," but only if I changed the title. I found a small publisher who agreed to publish it. Also, I don't have an agent. I don't have a manager, and I don't have a publicist.

I've just been very lucky, and my readers matter to me. They really do. I want to continue to just make people laugh. When you're down and out, at least as a woman, what you want is your girlfriend, or your mom, or your older sister to make you laugh. And then to give you the advice that makes you feel uplifted, and the combination of the two is a good combination. I don't want somebody to talk down to me and to label me and tell me everything that's wrong with me. No, thank you. I'll take laughter, a clear perspective, and a pep talk any day.