What 25 Years of Dating Advice from My Mom Looks Likeby Lauren Passell on May 10, 2012
Over the years my mom has given me a lot of dating advice — some of it I listened to, some of it I didn’t. I think I ended up okay. Like, better than Kim Kardashian. Not as good as Rita Wilson. She’s been with Tom Hanks since 1988! Somewhere inbetween Kim Kardashian and Rita Wilson. Anyway, take this advice or leave it. That’s what I did! (And Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I really do appreciate it!)
Age 3: You’re the coolest girl in the world.
There was a boy in my preschool class named Johnny, and one of my favorite songs at the time was Todd Rundgren’s Johnee Jingo. I wanted to tell Johnny that he had the same name as my favorite song but I was scared he wouldn’t care. My mom convinced me he would. “You’re the coolest girl in the world!” She said. “He’ll be flattered.” I don’t know if he was, but it gave me a big confidence boost.
Age 10: There are way cooler things than boys.
When I got older and all my friends seemed obsessed with boys, my mom told me I shouldn’t be. I never cared what people thought of me, I never tried to get a boyfriend. I was myself 100% of the time. I never worried about the opposite sex. I actually shunned boys and thought they were stupid for a very long time. And even when I didn’t anymore, even when I started thinking they were cute and I wanted them to like me, I pretended like I didn’t. I thought they were a weakness.
Age 14: But boys can make good friends.
In high school, I had a lot of boy friends (not boyfriends). They came over to my house, I hung out with them after school, and when school dances rolled around, they all wanted to ask me to be their date because I was safe. But I never really pursued them romantically, even when I wanted them. “They’re dumb, remember?” I told myself.
Age 18: Do not date the townies.
The only advice my mom gave me when she dropped me off at Gettysburg College, when we were driving through the small town, was “don’t date these people.” I ended up dating one, obviously. (Hi, Ben!)
Age 18: Become a Little Sister!
When my mom was in college, she wasn’t in a sorority, but was cool with the frat guys and hung out at frat houses all the time. She urged me to do the same. Unfortunately, I hated all the frat guys and I convinced myself that staying away from them probably saved me from getting into sketchy situations.
Age 20: Oh my God. Get a boyfriend.
After years of taking her advice and shunning boys, she probably thought I was a lesbian. Which I’m sure she would have been cool with. But when I showed zero interest in ANYbody, she started pushing me to date.
Age 21: From day one, treat a guy how you plan to treat him forever.
Don’t bend over backwards for him just to get him in the beginning, because then he’ll expect you to always do that. Set your standards at the beginning.
Age 22: Just make sure he’s nice. That’s it.
My dad is the best guy and the love of her life, but he has a short temper and every time they fought, she’d call me to remind me that the only thing that was important was kindness. Date the nice guy. Nice guys should finish first.
Age 23: Go ahead, stalk him.
Walk by his work. Be where you know he’ll be. How else is this going to happen?! Remember — be brave!
Age 24: Holy f*ck seriously get a boyfriend. I cannot be your boyfriend.
We are very close, my mom and I. And more than once she said, “when I die, you’re going to be all alone.” I think she thought she was fulfilling the role of a boyfriend, and she kind of was. We talked on the phone all the time, we went out, we got drunk, we spent all our time together, we shared everything. Moms make awesome boyfriends, don’t they?
Age 25: Okay, you have a boyfriend. KEEP HIM. He’s amazing.
I waited a long time to get a real boyfriend because I was waiting for a really good one. When I got my boyfriend she was so happy for me she really wanted thing to go well. She was invested. She’d always worry that SHE was messing things up with him. She didn’t want to be the reason I lost him.
Age 26: Don’t ever trust his ex-girlfriend.
Mom kind of always assumed that a girl talking to your man is no good. Since I spent a majority of my life not giving a rat’s ass about boys, I never thought like that. Maybe she’s right, but I’m very trusting, anyway. My boyfriend goes rock climbing with his ex, and I’m like, “have fun!”
Age 28: “When I die, you’re going to be all alone.”
I got myself a boyfriend for her, but that didn’t put her at ease. When I roll my eyes at the thought of having kids, she gives me the same line. She wants me to have a family like she did. She wants to bring a grandchild to Disney World. I guess the advice will never stop coming. (And I hope it doesn’t, whether I listen to it or not.)