For my daughter:
A few weeks ago I wrote about what I learned about love from your father. I actually learned a lot more about love than just that so I will most likely write more about those lessons. But I also decided that I wanted to share some life lessons from before I met your father. This is a compilations of the life lessons I learned from the boys I dated before I started dating your father. I do think these experiences were valuable. These experiences led me to your father. Without these mistakes, I wouldn’t have been ready to let your father into my heart.
Who knows, if I start dating again, I might write about “the things I learned about love from the a-holes I dated after your father died” but let’s hope that I have learned to weed out the a-holes.
It might not seem possible but yes, your mother dated a few guys before she met your father. Not a lot. Remember, your mother has a hard time letting her guard down. But these lessons sum up my experiences and what I had learned from them.
Some people may be reading this and thinking, well what if she grows up and doesn’t like boys. That might happen. And I will love you no matter what. But I won’t be any help. If you should grow up and prefer the company women, we will find someone that is better qualified to give you advice. Because I can’t. I don’t even really have men figured out. I had your father figured out but he was not an ordinary man.
- Don’t be on someone’s hook. There is a whole episode of How I Met Your Mother about it. It’s when you aren’t in a relationship but you almost find yourself in some sort of pseudo relationship. I found myself in more of these than I can count. I would form a close relationship with a guy but I could never let on how I truly feel because I was too proud for that. I was sure that if I told these guys how I felt that I would be rejected and no one wants to be rejected. So I settled on friendship. These guys would come to me for emotional support and I gave it out. But almost inevitably, they would find another girl to give their affection too. I would be left baffled. It wasn’t fair. I had put in all these hours of emotional support and I was overlooked. Who knows? Maybe some of these guys were into me but we convinced that I only saw them as a friend. It’s fine to be friends with guys. But if you find yourself giving way than you are receiving, distance yourself. If he wants you, he will come to you. You are too amazing to waste your time on unreturned love.
- You are worth a nice dinner. This was also something I learned from your father. I put it here because the a-holes I dated before your father support this claim, just on the negative side. Be wary if you are brought to a chain restaurant on a first date. Well, your first real date. As I write this in 2017, coffee dates are apparently the thing. Most people meet online and meet up for coffee where they size each other up. They decide if the other is worth the cost of an expensive meal and, in my case, I would be deciding if this guy is worth the cost of a babysitter to watch you. Sounds depressing, right? At the very least, not romantic yet honest. By the time you read this, I have no idea what the modern dating rituals will be. Some really cool fad that doesn’t exist yet could be all the rage. But remember this for your first sit down, dinner date.
- It’s In His Kiss. It is a song by Betty Everett that was popular when your Grammy and Pappy where young. The concept was elaborated on in the movie 2005 romantic comedy Hitch. Will Smith plays a dating doctor and he is coaching Kevin James (who I have a bit of a crush on, though I forgot to put him in my list of celebrity crushes) and he tell Kevin James’s character that woman judge the whole relationship by the first kiss. Based on my experience, I think that is valid. Your father was a good kisser. The a-holes that I dated before your father…not so much. Does that mean if a guy isn’t a good kisser that there isn’t a chance? I wouldn’t say yes but you need to ask yourself if you think you can teach the guy to be a good kisser and do you want to do that. Also, while some kissing is skill, most of it is passion and chemistry and you can’t teach that.
- If you say you love him and he just says that was “random”, he’s not for you. Your mother may have not worn her heart on her sleeve but when she loved, she loved hard. Combine this with the fact that she is hyper-verbal at times. When your mother is in love, she likes to express it verbally and she will whenever she feels it whether it’s over a romantic dinner or doing something mundane like sitting in front of the TV and watching 20/20. Your father never once got annoyed with me saying “I love you.” He said it a lot too. And randomly.
- Never give up your dreams for a guy. A long, long time ago (1999, which is 18 years ago as I write this but by the time you are ready to date, it will likely be over 30 years ago) I studied for a semester in England. It was one of the best experiences in my life. I had found out about a program where I could return to England for six month after my college graduation on a student visa. I could sleep on the floor of my friends flat and pour pints for six months but who cared? I would be in England. And then I started dating a man that would become my ex-boyfriend and I didn’t apply. I was too caught up with this guy and his mediocrity that I didn’t do an experience where I would shine. They say it’s never the things you do that you regret, it’s the things you didn’t do. This is one of my biggest regrets. No guy is worth extinguishing your dreams. The right guy will wait for you.
- If something doesn’t feel right, just stay away. If you feel like you are being told lies, this isn’t a good sign. Stay away from the guy who has baby mama’s calling him for child support despite his claims that he’s sterile and only has one testicle. This would also apply to anyone with a criminal record or belongs to any groups that could be described as hate groups. If the stories don’t add up and your gut is telling you something, stay away. You are smart and you need to trust yourself.
- If you feel like you are settling, you probably are. It’s not always passion and fireworks but if you feel like you can’t be yourself and that you are missing out on life then run. I knew it was time to quit when I was dating a guy who like stay in on Friday night and watch America’s Funniest Home Videos. Granted it was before YouTube (which probably will be antiquated by the time you start dating) but it was after the Bob Saget years. Life is too short to be with someone who kills your spirit.
All these a-holes were good for something. They made me into the person I needed to be to let your father into my heart. So even if you wind dating your fair share of a-holes, they will shape you into the person you need to be for that special someone.