Dating Advice From My Mother: “Don’t Talk About Your Cat!”


Editor’s Note: Shani Silver is a writer for Catster’s sister SAY Media site, This article first ran on xoJane, and we’re running it here (with permission!) so you can comment on it.

I wasn’t allowed to date while I lived under my mother’s roof. Instead, my mom wanted me to focus on my career and on supporting myself independently no matter what.

Having (kind of) accomplished that goal, my mom and I are now making up for lost time. I’m 31 and I pay my own rent, so it’s cool if I date now. My mom recently started passing along some pearls of dating wisdom that (having never talked to her about this stuff) I didn’t know she possessed. Turns out, she’s a genius.

Here’s are five of them:

1. Don’t smell

Being highly nasal creatures, my mother and I are very sensitive to smell. In fact, the only demand she’s ever made of me for when she’s elderly is that I don’t let her smell. Literally, I have to re-promise this every year.

It is very important to my mother that I smell nice at all times. She demands to know what kind of perfume I use (Mom, in case you want to send me some it’s “Vanillary,” by Lush), and often calls to confirm that I did indeed shower today. While this might sound like nagging, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I always try to smell nice on my dates because the last thought I want to pop up in a guy’s head is, “She smells bad.” I mean really, think about that.

2. Don’t talk about your cat

FINE, MOM. My mother is very concerned that my cat is the reason I don’t have a boyfriend. She’s also worried my cat could contribute to me smelling bad (see above). Apparently I’m not supposed to reveal this highly unsavory fact about myself until later down the line when the guy is already into me.

Again with the cat-lady stigma. I have one cat! She’s really cute! She keeps me company so I’m not sad all the time! How is this a bad thing, I ask you? If I met a guy with a cat, I think that would be really cool. Our cats could totally cat-out together.

Mom says no. Don’t reveal the secret. Keep it to yourself. No one needs to know. (Also, my mother hates cats.)

3. Working a lot isn’t a bad thing; Toddles works all the time

I’ve remarked on numerous occasions about how it’s been hard to make plans with guys because of our busy schedules. The whole “workaholic” thing isn’t a problem for my mother. She sees it as a sign of good character, and maybe she’s right. After all, if my stepdad does it, it must be awesome, right?

I tend to fear it simply because a huge component of dating is actually seeing each other, but I suppose mom has a point. I am very driven, and I prefer work to idle hands (I’m SO my mother’s child). There’s no way I could date someone lazy, or someone who doesn’t consider his work and career a priority. I think it’s a huge component of each member of a couple having her or his own separate life. As long as it means I see the guy more than once a month, I guess we’re OK. Score one for Mom.

4. Date someone generous

Notice she did not say date someone rich. There is a difference. While financial stability and professional motivation has always been a priority for my Mom, wealth hasn’t been.

Generosity is a whole other issue. I think my mother wants me to focus on it because it speaks to character. Giving to others, caring for other people’s happiness, and just generally being aware of how the people around you feel is huge. I wouldn’t want to be with someone totally inwardly focused or selfish. Good one, Mom.

5. Never date anyone you wouldn’t let your daughter date

Seriously, think about it. This is hands down the best piece of dating advice I’ve ever received from anyone, Mom or not. If you wouldn’t want to see your beloved pride and joy with the dude you’re going out with tonight, why is it okay for you to go out with him yourself? It really gives a different (and helpful!) perspective on dating. It also prevents you from wasting a lot of time with assholes. Thanks, Mom.

And you? Care to share any dating advice gems? What about “cat talk?” Let me know in the comments!

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