This week’s question comes from @Trinka_B:
What is the most important thing your Mom has taught you about women?
Excellent, excellent question. Funny enough, when I’m in the car driving to the studio in the morning, I often call my mom (and that’s “Mrs. Olusola” to all you young folk out there lol). We have such a strong bond and we can chat about practically anything. On one of those drives this week I called her to ask this specific question, and I can’t tell you how delighted she was to answer it as she began recalling stories of her life growing up as a kid on the island of Grenada. She first brought up how she lived a somewhat “Victorian” life. That statement struck me a bit, and I asked her to explain what she meant. “Well,” she started, “I wasn’t really allowed to act like the other girls I knew. My grandmother raised me, and she had me doing lots of chores like mowing the lawn, cutting grass, and also teaching me the proper way to ‘act like a lady’. That’s not to say I didn’t have a good company of guy friends, cause I definitely did. They just knew I wasn’t like the other girls who hung out all night with them or went to parties with them cause in my grandmother’s eyes, that wasn’t lady-like. I think guys knew to treat me differently.”
I then began to question how that upbringing influenced her when she was older cause as I looked through old pictures, it was evident to me that she blossomed into a very attractive woman (I know eeeeveeryone and their dog says that about their mom, but I'm telling you she was a catch!) and I’m sure guys must have hollered at her left and right. “Guys would definitely ask me out in my college years, but I always set guidelines. I’d tell them, ’Sure, we can go out on a date and we can hold hands. But don’t expect to get much further than that.’” I’m sure that turned off plenty of guys because if I remember college well (and I only graduated four years ago), boys usually expected a little more from a date. She told me that even after she was married with children, one of her guy friends from college called her and said, “You know, Curl (that’s her nickname), so many of us guys liked you back in the day, but you intimated us! You wouldn’t let just any guy come up and talk to you because of the kind of woman you were! We didn’t know how to approach you!” What he’d call “intimidation,” I’d call “respect.”
That’s one of the biggest lessons my mom taught me: men should treat women with respect, but it’s a lot easier for that to happen when a women demands respect from herself first. Let’s be honest: men can be dogs. And as idealistic as I am at times, the terrible yet honest truth is that when a woman does not respect herself first, guys will often take advantage. That’s why my mom has always advocated that women should conduct themselves in a manner worthy of respect so that guys can’t play games with them.
The other reason guys felt intimidated by my mom was not only because she didn’t allow them to step all over her, but I imagine it was also because she decided to never to be dependent on any guy for her success. She was highly driven, highly intellectual, and consistently focused on obtaining a great education to build a life for herself, regardless if a man came into her life or not. That was the second great lesson I learned from my mom: women should strive for success independent of any man. My mom states, “I think it’s hard for guys to not want to be the main bread winner; it seems like it’s in their DNA. But I knew I wanted the ability to fend for myself in this world.” That’s why she left her tiny island after high school, moved to the US to obtain her B.S.N. at University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL, and then eventually transferred to Loma Linda University where she graduated with her M.P.H. “Those are some of the best decisions I’ve made. My education made me confident in pursuing my dreams. Also, if anything happened to whoever my husband would be, my abilities would help me support my family. If I didn’t have skills myself, I would be up a creek without a paddle.”
Now, I think in today’s society, my mom’s value system would be considered very “conservative” based on her upbringing. However, in my opinion, many girls want to uphold these values but act opposite to what they regard as true because of their fear of not finding a potential partner. Some girls suspect that they must “give in a little” and lower their standards in order to win over a guy, or they’ll never date or get married. But I strongly trust in the principle “like attracts like.” If a girl believes in respecting herself and being an independent person, in due time they will attract the man who’s searching for those same qualities in a woman and in the long run will be happier. It’s the reason that almost 28 years ago, a psychiatrist from Nigeria approached my mom to go on a date, and after getting to know each other they realized they were two individually whole people who complimented each other well, and they fell in love. My mom always says that “it was worth the wait.” In the same vein, those are the same qualities that I find attractive in a woman (like mother, like son, am I right? lol). I like a woman who, for a lack of better words, “is a boss”; she’s smart, sure of herself, and respects who she is as human being. Moreover, because I travel so much for my work, a woman who is independent, has their own amazing thing going for them, and doesn’t always need me to be around to be happy is quite sexy to me :)
I hope that answers your question, @Trinka_B!