June 4, 2011

Stuck in 1975

I love my mother. I truly do. She is my best friend. My rock. My ace. My biggest cheerleader and sometimes my biggest critic. But lord knows she can get on my nerves. And truthfully, it’s not intentional at all. My mother has the BEST of all intentions….except when it comes to dating. It’s just that her mind is stuck somewhere between 1970 and 1975- the very last time she’s had to actually DATE.

My mother and I are 27 years apart. That’s a full generation. I’ve been able to talk to my mother about anything. And that includes boys and dating. She was there when I first got my heart broken.  When I got engaged (and she actually knew about the whole thing). And of course, she was there on the day my divorce was final, holding my hand across the table at breakfast while I had tears fall. This isn't to say my mother hasn't had her fair share of heartache and pain. But this is some new age stuff she just simply can't comprehend.

Since I’ve been divorced, my mother has really been an advocate for me getting back out there, taking my time and finding the right person. When I tell her my dating stories antics, she sort of sits back and listens. Her approach can be so old-fashioned. She’s not the kind of lady who says, “Why don’t you call first?” or the type that thinks that men shouldn’t properly court you. She still thinks something is odd when a lady has to pay for a date or has to open her own car door (or any door)…or doesn’t wear a cute dress and lipstick on a date no matter WHAT the activity calls for. (Ok…that’s the one rule I will adhere to.)  She still has faith that guys will do what they say. And that the right, nice guys are out there. Granted, my mother grew up at the height of both civil rights and women’s lib. She also was dealing with a generation of men who rarely had homes absent of fathers or men who didn’t carry the load financially. They were men who were really still were big on “meeting dad and making a good impression”.

God bless her soul. She has no idea that dating has changed since her days. And the way she raised me is coming to bite me in the ass.

The 21st century has brought about a lot of things. Women sometimes can outrank and outearn their male counterparts. Men expect you to come to the table with as much if not MORE than them.  It’s not enough to be smart, beautiful and sweet. You have to have your own and be all put together, even as a woman. She raised me to be this southern, gentle if not demure girl with a tinge of womanism and a dash of modernism.  I’ve tried to tell my mother...there are a million pretty girls. So what I can cook. So what I can be the modern housewife and still earn a living? There are plenty of married/involved, can’t cook, marginally attractive successful women in this world.  You taught me to take my time in a world that is now microwave. No one wants to work for anything worth having. Not when there are tons of options. Not when there are women that can fit casually into their lives. And not when men aren’t looking to have commitment on their radar. Men are not sure if a relationship is a “goal” for their lives. And if you lack in any department, you will suffer in the end.

My mother was born in a small town in Georgia and raised in ATL.  This was pre-Magic City/Fake Black Hollywood.  This was back when ATL was pretty segregated and everyone knew everybody in every little neighborhood. This was before the whole 12:1 ratio that is plaguing women all over this city. My mother has no concept that her baby, her jewel, is just a number in the female lottery. No one wants to feel like an option. And no mother wants to see her daughter treated like an option, especially when you are their pride and joy. Their hopes manifested.  My mother always says “You’ve done things I could only DREAM of doing….go places that I can only DREAM of going”. I just smile, holding back the tears…because I am sure heartbreak wasn’t one of those places she dreamed for me.

I love my mother. I truly do. But she has no idea how hard it is out here. How embarrassing it is to lay all of your feelings on the line to be embarrassed..and hurt. To then have it taken to cyberspace for the world to see. To be highly educated and have goals for yourself, only to be told by the media that these are the reasons that you are singly. That you must lower your standards. That you, black woman, are only worth $5 in your lifetime. And finally, that no one will find you attractive (if you listen to these so-called “psychologist”) although you were raised to see that black is INDEED beautiful. No one can appreciate your beauty but you.
...and your mother.

I love my mother. But she truly has no idea.

We are living in a different time. I’m a dime a dozen I guess. What she thought was a carefully, crafted  one-of-a-kind jewel is actually absolutely expendable.

I love my mother.

But she’ll never understand the 21st century rules of dating/love.

God bless her for trying.


  1. Yeah, although they have the best of intentions, moms tend to be out of touch when it comes to this kind of stuff. Bless their hearts.

    I love that she raised you this way though - and mine did the same. I wouldn't trade that. We're just the more modern, way less naive, version of the traditional "lady."

  2. Well I am old skool like your mother and my friends both male and female friends keep telling me that the dating scene has changed and I have to be more aggressive and approach men and ask them out etc. that is not how I am. I was raised old skool ie when a man is truly interested he will let it be known. I realize I am in the ATL and men have several options but I just can't change who I am/what I belief in and how I was raised. I want to be chased (I will show interest and what have you) I just got to the point where I will call 1st that was a milestone lol I think we let men off the hook by saying the dating scene changed if these thristy women would sit back and let a man be a man we wouldn't be having this convo. IMO



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