I Asked My Grandma For Dating Advice, And It Was Surprisingly Helpful
"Well, I started dating in the fifth grade, so I know quite a bit."
Hi, this is me. Single, sometimes awkward, and I've worn my shirt the wrong way more than once this week.
This is my fabulous and beautiful grandmother, Betty, and my handsome late grandfather, Marty.
They're pretty adorable. And growing up, they showed me what the real thing looks like. They did all the things couples should do: loved each other unconditionally, teased each other, and called each other out on their bullshit when necessary.
Since my Gram and Pops seemed to have this whole "love" thing down, who better to counsel me on my own love life than my grandma?
When I started the interview and told my Gram I'd be asking her for dating advice, she blurted out in shock: "WHEN DID YOU START DATING SOMEONE?"
I then clarified that I was, in fact, still single, but wanted to get some advice on dating in my twenties. She replied, "Oh, OK. Well, I started dating in the fifth grade, so I know quite a bit."
1. If you had been around in the time of online dating, do you think you would have used that to meet people?
No, I think I would have been too suspicious. I'd be very suspicious — I think I'd have to know they knew someone I know.
2. When should you introduce someone you're dating to your parents?
Agh. Well, it would depend. Probably a couple of weeks. Things moved faster in my day; my parents met Pops after a couple of weeks. And my father loved him because he drank beer with him. So, if you're bringing someone home, open a couple beers and it makes everything easier — but then again, we're Irish, so drinking always helps.
3. How long before you need to have "the talk" about whether you're "official"?
Well, me and Pops moved kinda fast. We met at Halloween. I was teaching school and he worked at a supply store. I needed to buy some Halloween supplies ... and I knew he worked there, and I knew he was cute. He asked me out, and we went on a couple dates.
After a few dates, I baked him an apple pie and I won him completely over. So after that we were "official." He wanted to lock me down after that.
4. On a first date, do you think the guy should pay?
Well of course! No question. I'm a bit traditional probably, but I think if he asks you on a date, he should pay. When you get more comfortable you can split the bill or whatever. Tell me some boy didn't make you pay for the first date?
Insert my nervous laugher here.
5. What's the most attractive quality in another person?
Honesty. When he says he's going here or going there, or something is happening, I wanna know "that's true." That's important to me. I always trusted Pops. You can't build a relationship if you don't trust each other.
6. How do you keep the magic alive after many years of marriage?
You kinda get used to each other. You know what fights to pick and what fights to not pick. Well, I don't like to fight. I'd rather go for a walk or go for a drive. But you're not necessarily doing these big romantic acts to keep the magic alive, you're just used to each other, and you find a way to like each other. They're your best friend.
Here are Gram and Pops on their 55th wedding anniversary (and still totally into each other).
7. What do you think is the secret to success when it comes to love?
You gotta be honest with each other. I mean, but I'm human, obviously there has to be a physical attraction, too! Having a lot of similar interests helps, too.
8. So nowadays, people don't really officially date, they just "hang out." Did you and Pops ever "hang out" before you got married?
Yeah, it seems like you gotta go through some hoops to get someone to say they like you nowadays. They're afraid of commitment. But you're a little afraid of commitment too, aren't you?
Long pause from me.
9. Do you think you should wait until marriage to sleep with someone?
For me, yes. Maybe someone else could take it lightly, but not me. I was too serious.
Imagine how awkward this question is to ask your grandma.
I asked my grandma if she had any final tips or words of wisdom for me:
We had a sense of humor — that's important. We could laugh at each other, and at ourselves when things don't go perfectly — and they didn't always go perfect.