Mama, you really give the best advice. I feel like I can come to you with anything and everything. You always seem to have the answer.
But there's one subject I have to discuss with you. You see, Mom, you shared a lot of wisdom surrounding the topic of dating when I was a little girl and especially as I transformed into a woman.
You filled my head with ideas about the man I should marry and the life I should want myself.
You remember: the white picket fence, the hubby working in banking and the four kids?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized something: A lot of the things you told me just aren't true. I know you didn’t mean to lie to me or to mislead me, but you just came from a different time in a different world. I get that.
I love you, Mommy, but the dating advice you gave me was downright old school.
1. "Always marry someone who loves you more than you love him."
What she meant: "Marry a man who’s less attractive than you so he'll never leave you. If you don’t love him as much as he loves you, you won’t ever get hurt."
Why it doesn't work: This is f*cking bananas, Mama! Why would I want to marry someone who I don’t love with all of my heart? You’re telling me to settle, and it's just not how I plan to choose my life partner.
I want to love someone I can’t get enough of, someone, who, if I lost, I'd never be the same. I want a love I deserve -- not one I’m fine with.
2. "Marry someone who can take care of you."
What she meant: "Date guys in finance because they have a lot of cash. Marry rich."
Why it doesn't work: I want to make my own cash money. I don't want to rely on a man to provide for me. If I have to ask my husband for money -- if I let him control our finances -- I'm handing him all of the power. That can't be good, Mom.
3. "You should think about marriage soon."
What she meant: "Tie a man down when you're young because you won't be hot forever."
Why it doesn't work: I’m not looking to get married right now. I can barely take care of myself, let alone another person. I’m enjoying my young, single life.
If a man isn’t going to want me because I’m not young or hot enough? F*ck him. And speaking of f*ck him…
4. "Always be a lady."
What she meant: "Don’t swear or be crass. Always be respectful."
Why it doesn't work: F*ck no. I curse like a sailor and the man I marry is just going to have to get used to it or he can walk the plank. Bye, Felipe.
5. "Be a man’s second wife."
What she meant: "If you’re the second wife, a few things happen: You’ll probably be younger and hotter than he is; he’s established in his career and is now looking for a forever partner; he’s ready to be a daddy"
Why it doesn't work: I’m not going to list “divorced” as one of my dating requirements for men.
Sure, I see the merits of this and obviously I want to be with someone who’s ready to have babies when I’m ready to pop a few babies out, but I don’t want to be some shallow replacement or some PYT to fill a void in this dude’s life.
6. "You’ll be so obsessed with your babies you’ll never want to leave them!"
What she meant: "Be a stay-at-home mom. Don’t focus on a career. Your life purpose is bound to motherhood."
Why it doesn't work: My mom was a stay-at-home mom and it was really great… for her. I have a career and I’m not about to give it up just because I want children. It’s not because I don’t want to focus on my babies; I just don’t want them to define my entire purpose in life.
I’m meant for so much more than this, Mom! You did you, let me do me.
7. "He won’t buy the cow if he can get the milk for free."
What she meant: "No man will marry you if you behave like a slut."
Why it doesn't work: I’m sorry, is it 2015? Let me check my calendar. Oh, look at that. It is 2015! I won't be judged for being a sexually-free woman. I wear my explorative nature like a badge of honor.
The guy who marries me is going to be impressed with my skills; he’s not going to slut-shame me.
8. "Don’t discuss the past."
What she meant: "Leave all your baggage in your last relationship and start fresh. Definitely do not ever show him your real 'crazy.'"
Why it doesn't work: Sorry, Mom, but this just doesn’t sit well with me. Why would I hide who I really am from the man who's supposed to be my soulmate? He should want all of me, not just the tame parts.
Full disclosure: There are very few tame parts.
9. "A good wife learns to love sports."
What she meant: "If you have any hope of keeping your man, you’ll have to learn to like sports so you can watch them and cheer for his team(s)."
Why it doesn't work: You know what? I hate sports. I will always hate sports. Another thing: Sports are on basically all the time. There's always some professional sport team in season at any given time of the year.
I’m not looking to give up Sundays and evenings to watch some sweaty guys throw their fat bodies at each other. Hard pass, please.
10. "You better learn to cook."
What she meant: "No man is going to want to spend his life with you if you don’t know how to make dinner."
Why it doesn't work: Mommy, I know how to cook, but I did not pick it up so I would be a better candidate for wifedom. I happen to like cooking. When I get married, I’m sure my husband and I will take turns cooking dinner -- and even cook together.
Will I be starting dinner early with my curlers in my hair so I can look perfect and serve a gourmet meal for my hubby every night? Hell no.
11. "You'll never get a husband if you eat like that."
What she meant: "You better never let yourself go because he'll find somebody new. I’d suggest starting by putting down those cookies."
Why it doesn't work: If I choose to eat healthy, it’s to look good for myself and take care of my body out of personal responsibility. If I gain 10 or 15 pounds as I move into the bleak arena of middle-aged life, I'm OK with it; it's the reality.
If weight gains are going to be enough to make my husband walk out on me, good riddance. In a perfect world, there would be no men at all -- just fat, happy women.
12. "Don't be too intimidating."
What she meant: "Don't spend time on your career. Always make him the main focus. You’re there to be his supporter, not his partner."
Why it doesn't work: Mama, I know you meant well by telling me this, and I know having babies was all you ever wanted to do, but we’re different and this is a different time.
I want to be more successful than my husband and I hope he loves how passionate I am about my career.
A healthy marriage means supporting each other and pushing each other to be the best we can be, not acting like stepping stones.