One of the benefits of being single over thirty is that I can give my son, G, dating advice without fear of him saying 'What would you know? The last time you went on a date, Britney Spears was still a virgin!' He's just turned thirteen, and I'd be lying if I said the thought of him going to parties and kissing girls didn't make me want to reach for my migraine medication, but the good thing about the inevitable is that you can prepare in advance for its arrival. The idea of the parent/son dating talk probably sounds a bit Growing Pains/Who's the boss/(Insert any cheesy 80's sit-com here), but where else is he going to learn this stuff? YouTube?
A GIRL IS NOT YOUR PERSONAL PS3. This is a piece of advice he won't need until he's at least sixteen (god willing), but any woman who still harbours vivid memories of trying watch a movie while fending off tentacle attack will agree that it's wisdom that needs to be imparted.
BITCH IS NOT A TERM OF ENDEARMENT, EVEN IF YOU HAVE YOUR ARM AROUND YOUR GIRLFRIEND WHEN YOU SAY IT. Being privy to other kid's conversations while waiting to pick up a sixth grader from school has led me to question the wisdom behind any parent letting sixteen year old boys babysit their younger siblings. This will probably sound strange coming from a card-carrying Hippie, but had I been blessed with a daughter, my advice to her re. dealing with boys like this would be to do what their mothers should have done and smack them upside the head.
IT'S NOT WEIRD FOR A GIRL TO ASK YOU OUT. Hopefully this won't still be an issue by the time my boy starts dating, but it is now so I'm addressing it. We can't expect girls to be confident and secure in themselves if they can't ask a boy out without being labelled desperate, so with that in mind I have given my son the following piece of advice: if a girl you like asks you out, shut up, smile and say yes.
BE CAREFUL WHAT MOVIE YOU PICK FOR YOUR FIRST DATE. This isn't to say that girls only like Rom-coms; my regular readers will know I have a pathological hatred of them. Nor am I about to make the gross generalisation that girls hate action movies; millions of women loved every kick-arse minute of Kill Bill and Terminator II. I illustrated my point to G by recalling the first date I had with his father, in which I had to sit in the dark with someone I hardly knew for the longest one hundred and seventy-seven minutes of my life. Factor in the sex scenes, and I think you'll concur that Braveheart was not the ideal first date flick.
DON'T HOLD WOMEN TO RIDICULOUS STANDARDS. Fear of dumb grandchildren was the motivation behind this one. I would like to confess here and now that in spite of my feminist leanings, I love Two and a half men. I'm of the belief that it's okay to laugh at the questionable wisdom spewed from the mouth of an ageing man whore, as long as you realise that taking it seriously means that your i.q is on par with the vitamin content of an M&M. This is what I reminded my son of the day he looked at me with his soulful brown eyes and said: 'Mum, I'm going to marry a girl like Candy one day.'
THERE ARE LIMITS TO CHIVALRY. I don't think there's anything wrong with a guy holding a door open for a girl whose arms are loaded with shopping, or offering to take on some of the load if he can see she's struggling. Manners are a wonderful thing for a guy to have, providing he's not patronizing about using them. It's one thing to offer to pay for dinner, it's another to order for her. Any guy who stands between me and a bacon cheeseburger is bound to end up eating alone.
BEING DUMPED SUCKS. Contrary to popular belief, boys do have hearts and they can be broken. G would kill me if he knew I shared this with you, dear readers, but one day last term he came home from school looking like someone had ripped out his heart and played Saw Monopoly with it. 'She likes someone else,' was all he managed before running to his room and slamming the door. Once I knew it was safe, i.e when I heard the PS3 booting up, I went into his room with a cup of hot chocolate and we had a talk. I told him what my mother should have told me at his age, which was that your first love is never your only love. Being spurned is like a kick in the guts; it hurts like hell and makes you want to heave uncontrollably, but the pain and the sickness do subside, and there are plenty out there with more discerning taste who would kill to love you...and I'm not just saying that because I'm your mother.
A V-CARD DOES NOT HAVE A FIXED EXPIRY DATE OR FREQUENT FLYER POINTS. Thankfully, my ex had the sex talk with our son when he was twelve, (*sends out mental high-fives to every other single mum who's glad she had a boy), but G did come to me recently and ask when it was okay to lose his virginity. My answer was a three parter:
a) Losing your virginity, life changing as it may seem, does not make you any cooler, and amassing a collection of conquests does not garner you legendary status.
b) Losing her virginity does not make a girl fair game, nor does it make her a ho.
c) You're only a kid once, so forget about sex for now and get back to burping the alphabet, telling Michael Hawk jokes and watching =3 with the sound down, thinking I don't hear it (a YouTube reference, for the uninitiated).
The best I can do as a mother is provide a good example and give advice that comes from the heart. Whether or not my son chooses to heed my words, I can still sleep better at night knowing that I've done my utmost to prevent the unleashing of another Guido/Stud/Legend onto society, and keep him out of the cross hairs of Daddy rifles.