Momma’s Boy

This image was posted on Facebook by one of my friends.  It was a repost, so I cannot fault her too much for it – but as soon as I read it, I knew I would have to blog about it.  Clearly, this was written by some fifty or sixty year old woman, likely going through the emotions behind an impending empty nest.  Possibly her grown man of a son has not left the nest, though; maybe he just returned home after a bad breakup.  I imagine the son of this mother to be in his thirties.  Possibly employed, very probably still breastfeeding every night before padding off to bed in his jam-jams.

So what is my problem with this, you faithful blog followers might ask?  A lot.  When I read the line at the bottom and considered some of my own experiences in life, I realized that this is a terribly biased and wholly judgmental thing to assert – and it uses the veil of not judging as a way to do so.  Let’s examine its assertions:

His Mom says:  He loves his mom

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a momma’s boy   

As with all things, I believe there is a fine line between going overboard with anything and being reasonable.  A card and call on Mother’s Day and birthdays?  Probably a good idea.  Dropping everything and flying across the country, using money you don’t have to do so, to take your mom out for Mother’s Day brunch when you just lost your job?  Probably a momma’s boy.  Making a phone call to see how mom is doing once a week?  A nice gesture.  Calling every day and never moving more than fifty miles away from mommy so that you can continue to come suckle on her teet whenever she rings the teet bell?  Over the top.

A few years back, I was dating a guy that invited me to go out to brunch with him and his mother on Mother’s Day.  His brother was going as well and we were all going to have a nice time.  After a phone call with mommy, though, there was a sudden change of heart and I was left at home to go find myself some Quizno’s while mommy had her special time with her boys.  I wouldn’t have minded being left behind on Mother’s Day if only I hadn’t actually already been invited.  A few days before then, I had gone along with them when they bought her a gift card to buy new sheets for her bed – a $100 gift card I might add (that, combined with the expensive brunch, is more money than I have spent in all 29 Mother’s Days since I was born).  A few days after I was left behind while they went out to brunch, I was at lunch with her and a group of their family and friends (a “lady’s lunch”) and she spent the entire time complaining that my boyfriend and his brother had not done enough for her for Mother’s Day that year.  I almost vomited up my entire lady’s lunch at the sound of her ungratefulness, as well as the realization that I was dating what could unambiguously be coined:  a momma’s boy.

His Mom says:  He is nice to his friends

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a doormat

Some time ago I had a male friend that I saw get walked all over time and again by his friends.  His mom always said “oh … isn’t Matthew so nice to his friends,” and yet I sat back and watched him get screwed (literally) countless times.  One time a friend asked to borrow money – this being a friend that had showed himself to lie, not pay back debts, and who used cocaine.  Matthew didn’t want to loan him any money because he knew it would be used for drugs, but his mom convinced him otherwise with a simple “oh … Matthew, you were always so nice to your friends before you started hanging out with girls” (whatever that meant..).  So he loaned the friend some money and two days later the guy was arrested for possession of cocaine.  Matthew never saw his money again.  As in the case above, there is a fine line between being nice to your friends and being a push over.  Generally it’s when adult children have no boundaries with their parents that they also have a similar lack of boundaries with friends, as well as work.  All people – men and women – should set a line and never cross it – with anyone; although, mothers often no longer teach this boundary setting because then their kids will set boundaries on them as well.

 His Mom says:  He’s in between jobs

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a bum

Do I even need to justify this one with a response?  As with a lot of helicopter parents that do not teach their kids any kind of responsibility, as well as with the situations of men sitting in their parents’ basements playing video games rather than getting a job, the “he’s in between jobs” is simply excusing the fact that your son is unemployed (many times by no fault of his own, many other times by much fault..)  Just because a person calls something other than what it is, or is equivocal enough to leave room for excuses, does not change the reality of the situation.

 His Mom says:  He likes to have fun

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a drunk

There is a kid that lives next door to my father, that graduated from high school in May.  Every day he roams out of the house around noon in his robe, where he sits on the front porch drinking beer until his parents get home from work (did I mention he is only eighteen?).  He does not go to school.  He is not looking for a job.  Three or four nights a week he disappears around eight in the evening and comes home the next morning, often still drunk or high from the previous night’s events.  His mom says “he likes to have fun” and that he is just taking a year off to explore his options – on their dime.  Need I say more?

 His Mom says:  He has a healthy appetite

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a pig

At the end of that little inspirational picture that my friend posted on her Facebook page this morning (pictured above), it says that “…truth is likely somewhere in between.”  This is the one example of those “perspectives,” though, that I would actually agree is likely a matter of the truth (of more cases than not) being somewhere in the middle.  If someone eats excessively and has undiagnosed or untreated health problems, or spends more time sitting on the couch shoving hotdogs down his face than actually moving around, then chances are he’s closer to being a pig.  But if he is physically fit, has no untreated health problems, and just eats big meals, then he maybe does just have a healthy appetite.

One thing to remember, though, is that unhealthy eating habits always catch up with you eventually.  Excusing porking down six whopper-sized burgers as a “healthy appetite” because your son doesn’t gain weight quickly (right now) is never okay.

His Mom says:  He’s a good son 

  His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He was a terrible boyfriend 

The bottom line is that if the guy really does treat you borderline-assholish to cow-tow to mommy, if he isn’t just nice but lets himself get pushed around, if he spends all his time on the couch rather than looking for a job and paying his own bills, and is drunk most days before three o’clock in the afternoon – saying “he was a terrible boyfriend” is probably much more accurate than saying he is a good son.  Ultimately, what love does more than “accepts and doesn’t judge” is allow bias to completely blind a person from seeing what is really going on right in front of their eyes.  One of a mother’s principle responsibilities to her son is not to excuse his bad behaviors, or enable him to be irresponsible; it is to teach him to be able to go out in the world as an adult and make it on his own.  To form lasting relationships.  To have the street smarts to not get screwed over.  To have the economic smarts to make wise decisions and to do everything he can to stay gainfully employed.  To have the emotional understanding and morality to do what is not only fiscally responsible, but morally right.  It is to teach someone to be an upstanding citizen in the world, who can survive without still having to thrive on mom’s milk.  Before teaching people that a negative or less-than-nice perspective of someone’s son is a bad thing, consider how well-adjusted in life and relationships he is outside of his mother’s arms.

Top 5 Worst Dates of All Time

You know you’ve had them.  We all have.  A person you meet has a lot in common with you; you seem to get along well, for some reason or another you think they may be date-able.  Either you or they take the plunge and ask “you want to go…” and next thing you know you’re shaving on a day you wouldn’t normally shave and rolling on an extra dab of deodorant for just a little extra protection for the big night – the big night of disappointment.  Be it an awkward conversation, a comment that ended up being rude, bad service, or a tragic series of events gone afoul, the fact remains that we’ve all been on them:  bad dates.

It doesn’t always have to be a first date, sometimes you are well on your way to coupledom – it even could be with a (current or future) spouse (you will note, #3 was a date with my husband).  Here are my top five worst:

#5 Let’s Not Beat Around The Bush, Here…

My least horrible date of all time was with a guy that I had hung around with a little while in community college.  We were in a few classes together and long story short, friends led to him asking me out one day towards the end of my last semester in community college.  On the evening of that terribly tragic night out, though, he picked me up and drove me straight to the town make-out spot and said “let’s not beat around the bush, here … I want you, you want me …” Twenty minutes later I was at home, still hungry because I had thought we were going out for dinner.

#4 The Night I Was Promoted To Therapist

And then there was that one guy that I also met at community college, a little bit before #5.  This one was slightly worse only because I had gone out with him once or twice before the worst date occurred.  I had started actually liking him, and we had a fun time.  And then we went to the harbor for smoothies and to watch the boats one day and he ended up unloading all of life’s problems on me.  His childhood was awful, his family was dysfunctional – an hour and a half later, I learned he had been diagnosed bi-polar and obsessive compulsive.  I felt like I should charge him an hourly fee for my time.

#3 Macaroni and Cheese Gone Bad

My poor husband, being made an example.  This date is more humorous than bad, but it nonetheless makes it on the list.  When we had first started dating, my husband and I had a conversation about variations to making macaroni and cheese, which turned into a “well let’s make some and hang out and watch movies!”  On the blessed evening, we watched Blue Velvet and made macaroni with barbeque sauce in it, and (again, my poor husband) thought he would wax eloquent and suggest we drink some wine with our mac and movie.  As I learned that night, though, he doesn’t have much of a tolerance for alcohol, and so three or four glasses in he was pretty tipsy.  This wouldn’t have even been an issue if only he hadn’t gone in to describing for me an article he recently read about women and arousal.  Another thing I learned about my husband that night is that when he drinks he talks louder, and louder, and louder until he is yelling in your face.

#2 We’ve Got A Bleeder!

A real doosie, number two was with a guy I also met (surprise! surprise!) at community college, immediately after I moved to California.  When I first came I knew very few people, so was pretty amenable to just about anything.  Even going out with a guy that had no car to drive me in, who had planned a romantic evening of playing video games in the family room of his parent’s home.  As this winner of an evening came to a close, I was walking outside to my car and – despite all of my cues that a goodnight kiss was not going to be given – he forced one on me anyway, biting down on my lips so hard that I bled the entire way home.  The next day in class, he was referring to me as his girlfriend and then broke up with me three days after that when he saw me flirting with another guy.

#1 What Women Want

The #1, all time worst date I have ever been on wasn’t even supposed to be a date.  A guy I met at my first California job asked me to see the new (at the time) Mel Gibson flick, What Women Want and while I said I wasn’t ready to date (having just broken up with my boyfriend), I was still willing to hang out with the guy.  When I showed up at the movie theater (we met because, as it turned out, he didn’t have a car either, and was trying to conceal that from me), he clearly had made it a date despite my protests.  A part of the way through the film – I think around when Gibson does that horrible pantyhose in the bathroom number – he asked if I would be offended if he put his arm around me.  I can still remember, vividly, myself replying “look, I am not ready for dating and I really would be offended.”  And yet, he put it around me anyway.  This was not what made it the worst, though.  No, no, no, fine blog followers – this date had not even gotten to its worst point yet.  A few minutes after putting his arm around me, Don Juan who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer began scratching himself, which he proceeded in doing for the remainder of the film.  I thought he must have something wrong with him, so never hung out with him again.  Of course years later, many of my male friends informed me that he wasn’t actually scratching.

So there you have it, my Top 5 Worst Dates of All Time.  Lessons learned?  Apparently dating guys you meet at community college is not a good idea.  And bring a credit machine so you can charge an hourly rate for therapy if things end up going that way.  Being married, Date Nights that go awry fortunately can be remedied by going home and heading to our separate corners of the household.

What are your five worst dates?