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The Love Lessons Our Fathers Didn't Teach Us

Consider this; time is relevant. Try learning a subject matter or skill, and told you only have one hour to master the information. Or, consider how jobs put money into training you over a period of time before putting you in a position. Going in for an interview, you don’t just start telling them everything. You first need to gauge, and listen to what you need to respond with. These are just examples of timing. If we all just did what we wanted, and overstepped when we wanted; the natural order of things wouldn’t be “natural.”

I understand, biologically, you are a man and you think "manly" things, but also consider; biologically, I am a woman, and I’m also subject to my own biological trainings. If you texted “damn that’s sexy, or it turns me on to know how passionate you are," that prefaces what comes next Instead, you went into sex, from my perspective, without me understanding the context. I’ve never stated that I have to know you completely to have sex with you, but I did state I would like to get through the learning process. I atleast want to know your middle name before I know your favorite position; if that makes sense. Sex is easy, because as humans it’s natural; however, communication and finance are the top reasons for a disconnect.

These are the notes I had to write down to have a conversation with someone I knew via phone for about two weeks. This is in response to me telling him about my passion for writing, and him responding with "we are going to have great sex." My initial response was complete shock. How did we arrive here? Is this what people are doing now? Is this how you engage? Am I giving out the wrong signals? I wondered. Wait, am I applying everything my dad taught me? What am I doing wrong? Are my standards too high? Am I expecting too much?

Wait. Rewind back to what my dad taught me. Back to the basics. Conversation about men was very taboo in my Southern-Baptist, Christian upbringing. Mothers and fathers only knew to warn against dating and sex, it seemed. Therefore, I had to learn by watching and observing. My dad was an outstanding man, growing up. Very patient and gentle with me. Yes, I am a spoiled "daddy's girl." As far as how he treated women, it was different. He was respectable, but enjoyed the company of many beautiful women. Of course, he eventually married one; and financially, took care of everything. Emotionally, was he available? Was he conversational about the hard topics? Did he stop seeing other women when he wed? These are the questions I know none of the answers to.

As a child, you didn't get in "adult" affairs. You just listened when they were ready to divvy up information. I wish they considered we would one day become adults. I know that my dad felt it was his duty to financially take care of his family, and do things "women" traditionally (Southern) were not suppose to do. I could not look for cars on my own or take my cars to the mechanic, take out trash, open my own doors when men were around, stay out after hours with men, wear "risky' outfits, and (I definitely couldn't) pay for a date. Traditionally, this was great for the woman that wanted to be a "well-kept" stay-at-home wife. What about me? What about the woman that wants to be kept, but also wants to secure the bag? What are the rules that apply TODAY... to the ever-evolving man and woman? The common household, depending where you live, typically needs dual incomes. Also, more women are stepping into leadership roles and filling roles that were not typical, relative to the times my father grew up in. The gender biases are not the same. I say all of this to say, maybe we need a revision.

The dating game has changed. Studies show, in the 1960s (see Pew Social Trends link below), 72 percent of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51 percent are. Maybe it is because we are operating with outdated tools. For instance, I've recently witnessed men expecting the woman to pay for the date and show up with flowers. I've even had someone completely check out my profile and car before going on a date with me. Not to mention, online dating. There is a whole new level of games being played.

Speaking for myself, dating can be overwhelming and quite a drag. You are dating with the intentions of applying the rules your father taught you, and your date comes up with a new set of rules; causing you to question your dating rules entirely. Sure, Uncle Steve gave us the playbook, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man;" but what are we teaching our young girls? Maybe, if we gathered them together at a younger age, they wouldn't be so lost as adults. Essentially, in your most fundamental/elementary years, you are learning how to treat people and be received by watching and observing interactions from adults. So, what are we teaching them at that age about how to be treated by the opposite sex? Do the general rules still apply? Are they too young to learn? I will let you decide. I will say this; they are watching.

"We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up gender equality becomes a way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach a high as humanly possible." -Beyoncé


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