“What five things would you tell your daughter about men?”

The question was directed at one of the guys in the car. I listened while they basically said “no letters, no numbers.” Word to Belle. There were also comments about pics and videos and how they are never really being for his eyes only. Eventually they got around to sharing how a man should treat a woman and what they would do if their future daughters dated guys like them. I tuned in and out. My eyes were on the road and I was singing something ratchet, but I still heard a few gems.

“Ladies, what would you tell your daughters about men and sex?”

I didn’t want to engage. I needed to focus on the road and convos like these always had my mind going. It would take way more focus to join the convo than it was taking for me to rap along with Waka and them. “Umm, I don’t know. I guess it depends on where she is,” I offered noting that men are different in different regions. My response was rejected.

A list of things went through my head but I couldn’t manage to rattle off a bullet list. Every time I was close to saying something, I realized that I didn’t really want to pass that info to my kid. Yeah, it might protect her for a while, but it’d likely damage her in the long run. I wouldn’t want my daughter spending years trying to undo the “wisdom” I instilled in her.

“I’m not trying to hand down my baggage. I’d hate for my daughter to be this guarded.”

Too heavy of a response?

See, I’ve received a lot of advice and I’m pretty sure that folks shared their knowledge with good intentions. But now that I’m older, I feel like they gave me their burdens to carry. Burdens that are hard to unload.

The question was on my brain the next day and the next. I still don’t have a list. I still don’t really know, but I think I would teach my daughter the following:

That she must start with love and knowledge of self.

I’d teach her early on that while being vulnerable might get you hurt, it’s the only way you can ever have true love.

I’d tell her that love is an action. And that being in or having love does not make you weak.

I’d tell her that trusting does not make her stupid and that having faith does not make her naive.

Instead of way to avoid being hurt, I’d teach my daughter how to process and embrace it. I’d urge her to look for the lesson in everything.

That some things are not about her. And while she should respect her partner’s process, she shouldn’t compromise her own. Que sera sera will be learned early on.

I’d teach her the value of intimacy. And along with my mother’s wisdom “don’t confuse good sex and love,” I’d also tell her that being detached and “f**king like a man” is not the same as being empowered and sexually free.

I wouldn’t hype her up on the idea of Prince Charming. But I wouldn’t pump her with fear talking about the scarcity of good men.

I’d teach her to value character over resumes and the importance of patience.

And I’d tell her that everyone’s views are colored by their experiences, mine included, and that she should filter accordingly.

What would you tell your daughter?

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