Relationships

Dating lessons my mother taught me

Written by Penelope Farthing

If you couldn’t tell by my abrasive, somewhat acerbic writing style, especially when it comes to topics I am passionate about, I am a very cynical person. And you know where I got it? From my mother! She took a no-bullshit approach when it came to giving her girl-children important wisdom about the nature of men, and for that I am grateful. My cynicism has surpassed hers as I’ve gotten older (I attribute it to growing up in the age of the internet), but it has allowed me to navigate life pretty well, especially on the dating front. Here are some lessons she taught me that I think could serve a wider audience.

 

  • Don’t bring home a West Indian man

    It might sound crazy that my mom told me to eliminate a whole demographic of men in one fell swoop, but really, it’s no different from other mothers who tell their daughters “if he can’t use your comb don’t bring him home”. After her own negative experiences with men from that region, as well as that of her close friends, she was determined to hip me to the game of men in general, but definitely the antics that seem common to many men hailing from the Caribbean. And judging from the comments on my blog about dating Jamaican men, she certainly was not the only woman to think that way.

  • Always have your own

    My mom always made sure I had a stash of mad money, just in case a date went sour, in case I got a flat tire, or just in general. She drilled it into me that being completely financially reliant on a man is a bad idea, and that I need my own separate stash of cash in case of emergencies or in case the relationship ends and I need an exit quick, fast, and in a hurry.

  • A dog is cheaper than a baby

    Thankfully I’ve never been one to catch baby fever, but she reminded me that if I was longing to flex my maternal muscles, a dog would be a cheaper alternative.

  • Some things are unforgivable

    I didn’t need her to tell me this because I’m not a very forgiving person in general. The only other cheek I’ll turn is my ass so you can kiss both sides equally. I can only imagine the tongue-lashing I would get if I took back someone after cheating or abuse. I believe in love and think it’s a great and wonderful thing. But unconditional love, in my cynical mind is kind of…dangerous. You can love someone, and still be cognizant of human nature, too.

  • Everybody has AIDS until proven otherwise

    Way back when I got the birds and the bees talk, my mom told me this very thing. I got a full explanation of STDs and the dangers a wayward penis could present. There is nothing cynical about putting your health over everything else, even if it seems extreme.

  • Pick your battles wisely

    Everything won’t be perfect in married life. But knowing when to compromise, and knowing the difference between what to leave well enough alone and what needs to be addressed immediately can keep things hunky dory.

These lessons might be a bit strong and paints in pretty broad strokes. However, the essence of them are still valuable. What were you taught when entering the dating world? What lessons will you pass on to the next generation? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.

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