My mami is a very traditional Latina. She cooks, cleans, and caters to her children and partner with love while reprimanding with a chancleta, if need be. Mami also shares her opinions about everything. I’m furrowing my brows too much? She tells me I may need botox when I’m older if I don’t stop. I’m cooking arroz blanco and chicken? She reminds me (see: commands) to use a specific stovetop. I’m traveling to a foreign country? She becomes the Latina Barbara Walters and lays out the happenings and current events of said country. And don’t leave your personal belongings unattended!
It’s no different when it comes to dating. Mami tries to pass along words of wisdom every chance she gets, even if unsolicited. I take some of her advice. The rest I ignore while she yaps in my ear in Spanish about this or that. She’s my mother and I love her, but I just want to live my life and make my own mistakes. However, as much as I hate to admit it, she isn’t always wrong. As a matter a fact, Mami has provided me with great consejos in love that I will share with you all today:
1. Never leave home without lipstick. Because according to Mami, you never know who you will meet. She’s right. I think it’s important to always look your best. When I look my best, I feel my best. I’m confident and perhaps more alluring…and maybe that will help me attract “the one.”
2. Always bring money on a date. Mami raised me to be self-sufficent, especially financially. That’s because my father wasn’t consistent or dependable. Mami raised three kids on her own with little to no financial help from my dad. Her advice is good. Maybe my date will refuse to pay, or, in Mami’s words,”in case you’re stranded and need to take a cab, mi hija.”
3. Always tell someone where you are going on a first date. It’s about safety, after all. She especially emphasizes this for online dates. Mami isn’t a fan of online dating for anyone. She thinks it’s odd and fears we will all encounter serial killers. So, tell a friend where you are going. Check in on Facebook as an extra precaution. That way people know your whereabouts in case the police have to come looking for you.
4. Don’t let a man disrespect you. Don’t take any crap. Love isn’t pain or allowing disrespectful behavior. You should be able to speak your mind and not walk on eggshells when you’re in a relationship. You should be able to be yourself. That’s what love is about. She wishes that my sister and I will have a better love story than she did with our dad.
5. Play hard to get for a while. And she’s talking about our lady parts. As a traditional Latina, Mami believes women should take their time to get to know a man before bedding him. I agree with her to an extent. Women should think before they leap into bed with a man, at least if they want to get serious. Time, however, is relative. Great chemistry and a strong connection can occur in a month or just after two dates. It depends on the couple and the people involved. At least that’s how I see it.
6. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Mami often preaches this to me regarding dating and relationships. You know if this is the right man for you. You know if you’re happy. And we all want to be happy. Mami recognizes this and tells me this often. Do whatever feels right, Sujeiry. Do what makes you happy. Even if she doesn’t approve? Well, maybe not.
7. Be vulnerable yet strong. This lesson is important and one I have appreciated. For a while, it was difficult for me to be open to love and let my guard down. It’s not easy to do so when the relationship between your parents is so irreparably broken. When all you’ve witnessed in love and marriage is arguments and infidelity. But I am trying to be soft while being the strong, self-sufficient and loving woman that I am and was raised to be. It is essential to a successful relationship.
So, take my mami’s lessons in dating and apply them to your life as you see fit. Remember that what brings you happiness is what matters. Listen to your gut. Be a strong woman while loving. Hold your head up high and strut your stuff because you are phenomenal. Do what Mami says or beware of the chancleta.