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  1. He’s not your ATM
  2. If you show up to my house looking like a stripper, I will make you go away.

I nodded my head for rule one, but was like “whoa! wait a minute!”  for number two. Not because I am, or was, a trashy dresser (except for the sexy black boots I bought last year that are all kinds of scandalous…) or because I want my boys to date someone who doesn’t value herself enough to cover herself appropriately – but because of the volumes of judgement that come with using the words “like a stripper” and because who cares if she looks like a stripper – clothes (or a lack of them) don’t tell me the contents of a person’s heart.

And that’s what I care about for my sons.

And I know it was all meant to be foolish and fun, but I couldn’t help but take it very seriously.

If my boys ever get past the stage of being geeks, where they get past being awkward and shy, where they actually get out and meet real girls…looking like a stripper or even being a stripper is towards the bottom of my list of concerns…

I want them to meet girls who love and respect them, who understand they are broken souls with deep and powerful challenges stemming from their childhood. That my boys are precious and need a girl with a combination of sweetness and tough love.  They are the sons of a mother who suffered from depression who took too long to leave their alcoholic father.

So I don’t much care if she comes to the door looking like a stripper. And I might not appreciate knowing that she sexts. I’d prefer that wait until after their married or at least long term committed, but who am I to judge?

I was once found wearing nothing by a teen boyfriend’s mother when I was 16. I was no angel. I was (and still am) a really fucking good person. Loyal and kind, genuine and generous. Lots of great qualities that have nothing to do with sex and our opinions over whether teens should be having it or not.

They are. Not all of them, but lots of them. And they’re still good people.

My revised 4 – Understand that if you come along and my son tells me that you are important to him, I will respect you. I don’t have to like you. I figure I probably will, but if I don’t for some reason – I’ll try to find ways to connect with you even if I don’t agree with everything you do or believe. Unless you’re doing illegal shit which could get my son in trouble with the law. In which case I will call the police or crimestoppers or do something to put a stop to those shenanigans…unless it’s pot. I’m not going to go apeshit if you smoke a little weed. I’d have to call the troops out on my family and a goodly number of friends if I was uptight about that.

And I can’t make you go away. So I can scratch out #5 completely too.

If you’re not good for my son or he’s not good for you, I might hope to hell and back that you do go away. But I can’t and won’t do anything to make that happen. That’s not my place. At some point that will become his choice completely, but it will never be in my power to control who he loves or how. So nope…can’t make you go away. Don’t want to.

On to number 6.  Why – Yes, he is a mama’s boy!  At least he was. All my boys were at one point or another. We have our moments of closeness and not, but overall I like to believe we are solid.

And, I’d like to think the whole mama’s boy is a good thing. They say men who love their mamas are more likely to treat their wife well. I would revise that to say men who respect their moms are more likely to treat their wife well. My ex loved his mom, but did not respect her and that carried on to  our relationship as well.  So yeah – love is good, respect is the real thing.

And I do want to know that he is treating the woman in his life well. If there’s one thing in life I would like to say I’ve accomplished it is that. To have broken the curse of wife abuse in this generation. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping.

So we get to 7.

Here, I can only half agree. No – this mythical girlfriend of one of my sons – is not in charge of him. But if he’s chosen to love her then he can bloody well listen up and take heed if she’s talking and it’s making sense. If she loves him, and he her – then it’s not about being in charge or being right but of trying to figure things out together with each other’s best interests at heart.

And so now we’re at 8.

Yeah, sorry about that – but I’m not entirely sure he is a gentleman. He dresses up good (when he wants to) and he bathes regularly and he says please and thank you and apologizes when he burps and farts (at least most of the time) – but I’m not entirely sure he knows what it is to respect a woman. Their dad was not too great at that. There was lip service to equality but when the chips were down girls are mostly just for sex and not to be trusted.  I’ve tried to teach them otherwise, but my actions proved my words a lie for far too long in their lives and I’m not sure the damage was repairable. I’ve worked on patching it up, but once boys get to believing they are superior it’s really hard to convince them they’re not.

So number 9 – it should be obvious by now that I do not know how to avoid jail. But that’s okay because I’m not likely to act in a way that make a trip to jail necessary…

And finally – if by some glorious chance some girl does make my son happy enough to ignore all the relationship woes his parents went through and can bring himself to feel in love enough to take a woman to be his wife and not just shack up with her or simply become a baby daddy – then I hope I’m a good mother in law.

One that will be welcomed (not dreaded – hated or scorned) by my daughters in law. A mother in law that will be allowed and encouraged to spend time with the grandbabies…

Not some old boot who missed her chance at happiness because she set her son’s happiness on what she would choose for him instead of trusting that he could choose love for himself and choose wisely…

And now that I trashed that list, I wonder if tomorrow I should write a real list of rules I would make, if I could make rules, about dating my sons.