I could probably name 100 things my mother taught me about women, love, life, relationships and marriage. However, she neglected to tell me what I’d face once I decided to start dating. I’m sure she would have told me more had she known. Also, there are certain lessons my father should have taught me. That being said, by the time I started dating, the rules of engagement and the dating landscape had changed so drastically, that there’s no way she could have prepared me for this. And that, ladies and gentlemen is where I’m going to start.
I would say that I started, “real dating ” when I was a freshmen in college. But I started back in high school. Needless to say, even back then, dating was a big mess. Although, it was much more simple. I could take a young woman out (broke as I was) to grab a $2 Whopper without the cheese (and if she was special) she’d get cheese on it. Yeah, cheese on your burger meant you were pretty dope back then. All that being said, I was still learning how to approach a woman in a serious way. I remember sitting on the stairs of my dorm and thinking of my father, and how I couldn’t call him and ask him what to do. So I fell back on the teachings of my mother and there wasn’t much I could use other than…be myself (at least, that’s what I thought).
That was a good start. Although, a lot of the guys who were, “faking the funk,” were getting all the women, I remained calm, and stuck with what she taught me.
Being A Conversationalist Requires Skill
Listen, I don’t know about your parents, but my mom didn’t tell me that conversation is actually something I needed to be good at when engaging with a woman I liked. Sometimes I would find myself like… “so…. what … am I supposed to say now?”
Sitting there at a loss for words, blank stare and all, It was painful! It was gut-wrenching. Some grown men still deal with this issue. But I learned a value lesson. Great conversation is a skill. Some people have it, some don’t. But you can learn how to-be great at it. Problem, was, I was still green as hell and super bold. Not a good mix when you have no idea what to say.
One time when I was hanging out with the fellas (while in high school), we went to the arcade and of course they wanted to talk to girls. On the way there I was dreading the disaster yet-to-come. Once we arrived, they went straight to the girls. I tried to play it off and act like I was that much into a game of Centipede. But then the craziest thing happened… I walked over and tried to kick-game to a girl! Huge mistake. That was not me, and I got dissed because I didn’t know what to say. Of course, I never did that again.
Through each conversation, I learned a new lesson, and through that, I developed my conversation-swag. Now, I can talk to anyone, about anything. And it only took me 10 years ((sarcasm)).
Be Yourself Even When It’s Hard
As shown above, I had a hard time in my teen and post-teen years because, I truly had no idea what I was doing. No one told me about the pressure to-be someone else. I also didn’t know that being me would be so hard. I am still the same silly cerebral, slash, creative I was back then. When you’re a freshmen in high school, women were not checking for a guy like me. They wanted the rough and tough guy. The Al B. Sure look-alike. Sure there were some who thought I was cute, but I am dark-skinned, without the good hair. Yeah… good hair. But I’m tall (that was one superficial thing I had going for me). But it wasn’t enough. And I wasn’t the type of guy to yield to peer pressure.
I wore Timbs, baggy jeans, a New York Giants Starter jacket, skully covering my kinky hair, headphones with the foam cushions that you’d always lose, cassette tape that popped, and a yellow Sony walkman. That was me. Down-to-earth, musically obsessed, always staying true to myself. However, mother didn’t warn me about how lonely that would get at times.
Mother Showed Me What Love Looks Like
But she didn’t show me how to [give] love and affection. As soon as I turned 18, here they came. The women. the older, and the women who were around the same age as me. It didn’t matter, they came and I didn’t know how to handle them.
I went straight to college after high school and I remember when a much older junior (we’re going to call her, “B.”) was after me like lioness after a Wildebeest. Every time I tried to get away, she would smack my back leg, I’d fall down and she was all over me. She was really nice, and the odd part was, all the men on campus wanted her. But, she wanted me! I wasn’t flattered, because I was too young and naïve to the fact, and couldn’t believe that this beautiful woman wanted a cornball.
She told me, “you have to figure that one out.” Really? That’s the best you got?
B, was always very affectionate, caring, and talked to me like a man. I knew how to accept that type of love and affection because my mother showed me something similar. That being said, I didn’t know how to reciprocate the love I was receiving. That was something she couldn’t teach me. Responding to the affections of a grown woman are, “man issues.” Needless to say, I was shy, apprehensive and very cautious. I even called my mother to ask her what to do. She told me, “you have to figure that one out.” Really? That’s the best you got?
When It’s Time To Choose, Do It Quickly (and wisely)
But, who teaches you how to choose? What if you have two or three women that really like you, and they’re all nice and showering you with love?
I’m a young man, I’m not ready for this! No one told me it would be this hard. I learned a tough lesson though…
“choose quickly or deal with the consequences.”
Women are not one to wait. And even when they act like they’re being patient, if you take too long, they will either walk, find someone else, or give you the 3rd degree. Oh and, they won’t tell you their timeline. So you just have to know that you’re taking too long by the mental clock in your head. Basically, you have to guess. And you don’t want to run out of time before you reach the goal or, GAME OVER.
Whatever you do, be decisive about choosing a woman… or, don’t choose at all. Just stay single, but let them all know your intentions. And that’s what I did. I stayed single. I didn’t have a steady girlfriend until my junior year in college. And yes, I choose her.
No More Meeting At The Corner Store
When I was about 15, I remember hanging out with friends at the corner store, cracking jokes, grabbing some Jolly Ranchers, a couple of juices with the aluminum foil top, and just hanging out. Then, a group walks in…That’s when I saw the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.
She was dressed straight out of a Salt-N-Pepa video. Her over-sized gold painted earrings, black tights, red boots and 8 ball jacket made me reminisce the “Push-It,” video. But that didn’t distract me… for the first time I was going to tell her how beautiful I thought she was.
That, was how it used to be. This is how mommy told me it would be. You see the girl, introduce yourself and the conversation begins. That was then. Now it is all about how savvy you are online. From dating sites to social media,
In 2015 Pew Research center conducted a study about online dating. They stated that “1/3 of the people in marriages meet online.”
Now, you meet digitally. The innocent feelings are gone. People are now scared to initiate conversation. Instead of seeing the person live, they are online “catfishing.” Or, they are being dishonest about their relationships status. So you never know what you’re going to get. Dating in 2017, is truly a mixed box of chocolates.
My mother didn’t see this coming and quite frankly, neither did I. I miss the old ways of dating.
What Did I Learn?
In conclusion, I learned that my mother did teach me a few things about dating that I didn’t know she taught me until I was older.
- Mom taught me, as a man I would have to stand alone as an individual (as a man).
- If she doesn’t accept you for who you are, then she’s not worth it
- How to love myself
- She showed me what real love looks like
All the things I learned from her, including the lessons she didn’t teach me, all shaped the man you see today.