I am as guilty of loving Disney princess movies as any pre-adolescent girl in my neighborhood. And I love sweet movies about unconventional romance, like Pretty Woman and Bend it Like Beckham. Boy meets girl, girl is feisty and cute and somehow doesn’t realize how beautiful she really is. Boy and girl fall in love, despite social differences (race, socio-economic status, religion). Those differences result in some kind of conflict which are ultimately saved by one overwhelming thing.
And when you go through life, you realize that love is complicated shit. It doesn’t work out as clearly as in the movies and there is no musical crescendo to notify you when you are kissing someone that this is the one. No laugh track when you accidentally bump heads reaching for a pen you dropped. No fairy godmother to dress you up in an outfit that’s just the right amount of pretty, classy and slutty to let him know what a goddess you are.
There are a few things I want my kids to know about love, and with it, sex. Some of it’s straightforward. Some of it’s not. But I want them to know the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Love is a powerful thing
Yes, it makes you want to run through fields of flowers and change your Facebook status for the whole world to see. But when you love someone and they love you, there is a power that you both wield which could be used for both good and evil. When someone gives you his love, don’t throw it on the floor and stomp on it and break his heart. Similarly, know that when you allow yourself to love someone, that you are becoming vulnerable in a way that you might never understand till it happens.
So give yours wisely. Accept it from others gracefully.
2. It’s going to make you want to do the sexy time
Sometimes you think you’re in love. Or maybe you know you’re not in love but you know that you’re in something and you don’t know what to do with it. Before you go giving it up like free Dum Dums at the doctor’s office, ask yourself:
“Is this how I want to remember it?”
“Is this the person I want to remember it with?”
“Will I ever be able to tell my kids about my first time without lying?”
And I know these things are going to be hard to objectively answer, but humor me and try it before running out to Walgreen’s for a value pack of Durex.
3. Love in the time of Chlamydia
Giving a shout out to one of my favorite authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez on this one (HOLLA!). I am going to teach you about STD’s and you are going to listen. If you’re going to engage, do it wisely and know what’s out there. And if what I tell you scares the shit out of you and makes you want to wait, well, good.
I don’t care how “good it feels.” If someone asks you to do it without a condom because it feels good, you better get your ass out of there fast. Because this is not the first time she/he has uttered those words and you don’t want to catch that shit. It itches, leaves you all raw and makes everything hurt really bad down there.
What? How do I know that? Books. Here’s one about Cholera. Now, scoot.
4. You are too young to be a parent
I thought I was wise enough. Old enough. At 31, I thought I knew everything I needed to know. And I’m not saying there is a right age and there is a wrong age…
But I am saying that I prefer you wait until you are settled. Until after you have been in relationships with a few people. Until you have a means to support yourself, your child a family. I had all of that at 31 and still ended up in a state of shock for the next six years of my life. Sometimes I think I still am. I think it’s a permanent condition after you pop kids out of your vagina.
I will say that I prefer you to be married too. I do. I think that while marriage doesn’t ensure against separation, it does offer some stability that a child needs.
And let’s just say that for some reason (say, if you’re gay) marriage is not “legal” for you, just know that I will be fighting tooth and nail alongside you for that right. I hope by the time you are old enough, the Supreme Court has already made a historical decision that won’t allow that basic freedom be denied to anyone.
5. I don’t care who you love
Ok. Maybe I do a little bit. But let me be clear. When I was growing up, there were a lot of “no-nos” when it came to relationships. I don’t really have many. As I said above, I don’t care if you are gay. I don’t care if you fall in love with someone who is a different race, religion, or is rich/poor as sin. As long as I can serve dinner in paper plates when I want to and not have anybody judging me, then I’m ok.
Yes, avoid sociopaths. Murderers. Rapists. Racists.
I want you to fall in love with a person who respects you and your love and wants to hold a boombox over his head like John Cusack in Say Anything. When you find a love like that, don’t ever let it go. Which brings me to my next point.
6. When you love somebody, don’t set them free
Ok, that’s the dumbest shit I ever heard. And I know Maya Angelou says it and Sting sings it. And as far as the whole caged bird thing, I don’t like birds as housepets, so I don’t really have a point of view on that.
When you love somebody, tie that person down. Don’t set them free so some other bitch can get her hands all over him.
Seriously, kid. Have I taught you nothing?
7. Don’t make decisions about love when drunk
Now, I am not saying I have done this. I prefer you just sip alcohol on very rare social occasions once you are older than 21. But let’s just say that hypothetically, you and your friends don’t eat that much one day and you decide to do shots of Shmirnoff and chase it down with Diet Pepsi (tastes great! less filling!) and you go to a party and you meet a really good looking person that night who holds your hair out of your face when all that cheap vodka comes back up and walks you home.
You do not love him/her. You appreciate him/her. And you can email when you are sober and offer to buy dinner to say thanks, but you don’t have to say I love you or offer any hoo-ha up. Why?
a) Because you are wasted
b) You smell like puke
c) You just need to get the fuck back in bed – RIGHT NOW
d) Didn’t I raise you better than that?
e) All of the above. Oh and drink some water before you go to bed. That’s better, dear.
8. I can tell you all of this but you will make your own mistakes
We all do. It’s part of growing up. It’s part of learning. Your father and I will always be here for you no matter what that mistake is. No matter how hard it might be.
I have hardly touched on anything when it comes to love in this post. All I ask is that you go forward with your eyes open, your mind somewhat clear and with the end goal of loving a wonderful, decent human being who will love you – the perfect parts and the not so perfect parts. Trust me, people who expect perfection are exhausting (another post, another day)!