Things That Matter

These 20 Pieces of Dating Advice from my Latina Mother Shaped My Love Life

Navigating the dating world is tough on your own. Thank the Lord for our Latina moms that shower us with (mostly) sound advice. The trick to this advice is following it without becoming a mojigato. I  remember my mom singing the praises of Bibaporu whenever we felt ill as kids. Now, when my boyfriend is sick I take care of him with this magical formula. Maybe my mom was on to something. Here are some other tidbits of advice I’ve received over the years from my beloved mama.

Leave the Pursuing to Him

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It is true that women are equal to men. However, there’s something honorable in the old-fashioned nature of a man asking you out. As much as you may like him, don’t ask him out. Cojetocon take it easy. Show your interest in subtle ways and let him handle the rest. This could set the tone for the entire relationship.

Embrace Your Sexuality, but Maintain Your Modesty

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Ask anyone to describe Latina women and the most common word you may hear is “sexy”. My mom taught me that every Latina women has a fiery vixen(her words, not mine) inside of them. The secret of embracing this power lies in reigning the beast. You should strive to catch a man’s attention without letting it all hang out. Show him a hint of skin without ruining the impression that he can take you home to mom.

Always Wear High Heels

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High heels will forever be a Latina’s best friend. My mom practically taught me to walk as a toddler in heels. In her opinion, they are the finishing touch on the perfect date night outfit.  My mom also told me to never date a man who ended up shorter than me while wearing my heels–or, at the very least, never date a man who has a PROBLEM with being shorter than me in my heels.

Highlight Your Coqueta Side–but Don’t Go Overboard

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Men love a woman with confidence. However, there is a fine line between confident and cocky. My mom taught me to never hold myself above others. We are all equals. With this in mind, you should know your strengths and play them to your advantage. Show off your assets(but never your ass).

Give Your Fierce Love Only to Those that Deserve It

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I learned from my mom that part of being Latina is loving deeply with a burning passion. There’s no doubt this keeps things interesting, but it’s important to slow down these instincts in the beginning stages of a relationship. You don’t want to drive them away, or worse–allow them to take advantage of your love. It is something that should be cherished and given away only when you determine the person is worth it. How do you determine this? By judging what their actions tell you.

Contain Your Crazy

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Along with a Latina’s fiery, passionate love, comes a trait some may refer to as… crazy(Hey, there is such a thing as a good kind of crazy!). Every Latina has a slightly loco side. The trick is to contain it in order to nail a great first impression. If you let it out too soon, your man may end up running for the hills.

Wear Makeup, But Not Too Much

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Makeup is a first date essential, but it’s important to not go overboard. Sure, you want him to see your bombshell self, but my momma taught me to think about the first morning spent together (“After the wedding, right nina?” she’d say). The last thing you want your man to be is shocked by your au natural face. A little correction and enhancement here and there never hurt, but make sure you’re recognizable.

Brush Up On Your Salsa Skills

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This advice could apply to both men and women. Dancing is such an important part of courtship for Latinos. Practice your skills regularly to avoid embarrassment and impress your date.  In my experience it is a fantastic way to bond with your partner and get back in touch with your Spanish roots. Time to hit up that salsa club!

Practice Your Cooking Skills

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My mom taught me everything she knows in the kitchen(once I was an adult and could appreciate it). Even though I believe cooking is in my blood, I had to practice regularly to enhance my skill set. What better motivation to practice than the opportunity to eat delicious food? My mom taught me to never be the type of woman who just serves confle for a meal(THE HORROR). There’s no better music to a Latina’s ears than hearing her man say, “Estay full.”

Always Keep a Clean House

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My mother remains infamous in my mind as the only person I know who hates candles. In her opinion, the singular way to make a home smell good is to keep it clean. Cooking and cleaning go hand in hand in proving you are “wife” material. Plus, keeping your house tidy relieves any stress of unannounced boyfriend or family visits.

Impress His Family

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It’s commonly known when you date a Latino, you are dating his family. Don’t shy away from them and do your best to make a good first impression when you are introduced. Smile often and be genuine. If you happen to get a stamp of approval from his mom, well, the rest of the relationship will be smooth sailing.

Show Off Your Partner

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Your boyfriend may see your fiery, passionate side, but does the rest of the world? While I’m not advising for a public make-out session at every opportunity, it’s important the world sees how lucky you are. Show your boyfriend you are proud to be with him.

Embrace Your Faith

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Having common religious goals is important in any long term relationship. It provides an important foundation to build values on. The religion talk is not one to have on the first date, but it is important to discuss before things turn serious.

Speak Your Mind…

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There are few and far between Latinas that have trouble expressing how they feel. Don’t shy away from your feelings. The right partner especially will honor them and do everything to make you happy.

…But Don’t Be Afraid to Compromise.

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It is one of the most important parts of any relationship. Be careful to control your stubborn attitude and bend on any minor disagreements that won’t matter in the long run. Your relationship will strengthen from these tests.

Balance Your Relationship and Your Friends

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My mom always stressed the importance of never dumping friends for a guy. During the initial phase, of course, you and your man are going to be slightly obsessed with each other and wanting to spend every waking moment together, but resist the urge. You may need your friends later on(of course, you will need them anyway where you get married or not–

Growing up, I also heard some advice from my mom to my brothers about dating.

Don’t Let Your Machismo Take Over

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Sure, it’s important for men to protect their loved ones–but never to the point it becomes degrading. My mom used to say, “Be sure you are thinking with the head that is ON YOUR SHOULDERS.”

Take Care of Your Car

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A Latino’s car is the chariot for his dates, and he will forever be judged by the look of it. Keep it clean and working well so it doesn’t give you a bad name.

Treat Her Like a Princesa 

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Don’t be afraid to show your girl how you truly feel about her. Any woman loves to be spoiled, whether it be through gifts, attention, or acts of service. Don’t ever let her stop feeling appreciated.

Finally, the last piece of advice is one I think we should all hold dear:

Be Proud of Your Heritage

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Embrace your Latina side and never let anyone dull your pride. They are eternally lucky to be dating you!

Primos In Prison: Supporting Incarcerated Family Members

Things That Matter

Primos In Prison: Supporting Incarcerated Family Members

Hédi Benyounes / Unsplash

Talking about our primos in prison is taboo. If you ever had a family member in prison, you may avoid talking about it outside your family circle. The incarcerated family member then becomes a ghost, a cautionary tale, or a source of shame. We forget how they arrived in this situation and hesitate to offer support. Looking closely at issues that contribute to mass incarceration in this country can offer insights into the matter. It’s time we take a new approach to incarcerated family, and offer help in ways the correctional system refuses. It’s time to humanize our imprisoned primos and primas, showing love and empathy that we would want to see if we were behind bars.

Considering the U.S. census shows Hispanics make up 18.3 percent of the population, it is bewildering how they come to make up 32 percent of the Federal inmate population.

However, looking at social issues that plague the Latinx community, it is no surprise that low levels of education, poverty, and structural discrimination lead to incarceration. With the latest instances of aggression toward the Latinx community at the presidential level, it will be no surprise if acts of discrimination and targeting of Latinos continues to rise.

What other factors contribute to the incarceration of Latinos?

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The Pew Research Center reports that in 1991, 60 percent of Latinos were sentenced in federal court for drug-related offenses, and 20 percent for immigration crimes. Yet, these figures changed dramatically, with 48 percent of sentences for immigration crimes, and 37 percent of sentences for drug-related crimes in 2007.

The incarceration of Latinos is feeding into the conversation around the school to prison pipeline.

Credit: @LatinoPPF / Twitter

What is the prison experience really like? Netflix series like Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” and “Orange is the New Black” help pull back the curtain on the harsh realities of prison life. More than just TV shows, these depictions exposed micro and macro ways the U.S., home to the largest prison population in the world, focuses not on prisoner rehabilitation, but recidivism instead.

When we think about our family members in prison, we need to remember that they could be facing sexual violence, lack of access to mental health services, solitary confinement, and denial of their reproductive rights.

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It may be the case that an incarcerated family member’s situation is shrouded in mystery and whispers, but this need not be the case. It is not only time to confront these matters at the family level, but to address them at the social level as well. The first step may begin with actually accepting that inmate call. Ask what your family member is going through and share that with the family if he or she permits. You may feel a sense of hopelessness, but there is so much you can do to help not only your own family members but the greater incarcerated Latino community too.

Moving beyond thoughts and prayers—although they’re good too—here are substantive ways you can help incarcerated family members.

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  • Visit if you can. Even if it is only a few times a year, the impact of human contact cannot be overstated. Ensure you are on the approved visitor’s list before you go. Bring identification and arrive early. Be a good listener and most importantly, show that family love.
  • The experience of visiting prison can be inconvenient or even traumatic, so if you feel you cannot commit this fully then try a virtual visit. Apps like JPay offer inmate services like email, video visitation, and secure payment transfers. Send pictures of the family or a video of a holiday gathering.
  • If apps prove to be intimidating, try sending a letter. Have picture printed out—old school style—and include them in your letters. Families are full of births, marriages, and so many other beautiful life events. Share them with your primos and primas who can’t be there with you. If you feel like you simply don’t want to communicate with your incarcerated family member, but you still want to contribute to the cause in some way, join a prison pen pal organization and bring a sense of human connection to others.
  • Another way to help the family behind bars is to send books. The organization, NYC books through bars, understands how much books can help with the rehabilitation and the education process in prison.
  • With vulnerable peoples such as the trans community,  women in prison, those with mental health needs, simply raising awareness on their behalf can be a radical act of kindness.
  • Another act of solidarity with your incarcerated family member is to donate to the ACLU Prisons Project. “Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, we work to ensure that conditions of confinement are consistent with health, safety, and human dignity and that prisoners retain all rights of free persons that are not inconsistent with incarceration.”

If you have a family member in prison, it is important to their own recovery and reformation to know they have people who love and support them.

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With an array of opportunities to help our family members in prison, it is important to note that reintroduction to society can pose a major challenge for former inmates. These are areas where you can help too. Our imprisoned family members may have been victims of the system, they may have survived the only way they know how, or maybe they just made a mistake. Whatever the circumstance, the key is to remember they are human, and most importantly, they are familia. So ask yourself, for their sake and the sake of our community, what can you do to help?

READ: Cyntoia Brown Was Finally Released From Prison After 15 Years– This Is What Resistance Looks Like

A Dating Website For Uniformed People Claims A Married Cop Suing Them Isn’t As Innocent As He Claims

Culture

A Dating Website For Uniformed People Claims A Married Cop Suing Them Isn’t As Innocent As He Claims

If you’re in a relationship, hold on to them tight. If you’re not, good luck out there because the dating world is mad crazy. Trying to meet people, especially online (is there any other way?) it is rough. Millions of people are trying to find love via dating websites, which means the competition is steep. It’s also challenging to make people not swipe left, meaning, getting someone to be interested in you based on your picture alone is the ultimate goal. So what makes people interested in someone else? If you’re a woman attracted to men, it’s pretty much the same thing since the beginning of time: tall, dark, handsome, and a man in uniform. That brings us to this hilarious yet unfortunate story.

A Florida cop has filed a lawsuit against a dating website for using his picture for marketing purposes. Oh yeah, and he also happens to be married.

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Before we go on, we know what you’re thinking: this cop lied to his wife, set up a dating profile online, and got caught, so now he’s suing the company, acting like he had nothing to do with it. 

However, companies of all sorts have been caught in the past for wrongfully using images without permission simply because they came across a random image online. Also, the man is hot! So, of course, these online dating websites would want to attract users by using the image of an attractive young police officer (in uniform) as a way to lure in people who are starving for love (or something else, wink wink). 

David Guzman alleges that he had no idea his image was being used as a marketing ploy for online dating websites until his friends came across his advertisement.

Credit: @Kaygirl8Lawana / Twitter

According to court documents, last year Guzman said his friends told him that they had seen his picture and informed him like ‘hey, dude isn’t this you?’ Another person who found out: his wife! Yikes!!

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that his wife asked Guzman why his picture was on a dating website, and he responded to her by saying he “had no idea.” Okay, like that’s going to be enough for her to believe him. By the way, the advertisement that accompanied his picture said: “Bulletproof vest? Nah, it’s all muscle” Catchy and enticing! But yeah, he said he did not write that either. 

The 33-year-old police officer contacted the owner of the dating websites and demanded that they take down his picture from UniformDating.com.

Credit: @joshuarhett / twitter

NSI Holdings, owner of Cupid.com and UniformDating.com, didn’t take down the picture. First, they demanded that Guzman show identification, which he did promptly. Then NSI Holdings alleges that they found a dating profile that included his name, his age, and his birthdate and his email address.

Their argument is they have a right to use his picture because he apparently has a dating profile. They’re saying that either Guzman or someone close to him, started a profile and used his information. NSI Holdings also found that the person attached to that dating website did go on UniformDating.com and “that creation of the profile was a momentary dalliance.”  

Furthermore, people who use NSI Holdings dating website sign the terms and agreements which state that they can use your image and information as they please “to reproduce and broadcast the information contained in your profile including your name, photograph” and other submissions “for marketing and other purposes,” without compensating the user. Now that is some kind of bullshit. 

Guzman alleges that the company has still not taken down his picture, and he’s not rolling over and taking this kind of harassment.

Credit: @FCN2go / Twitter

It’s unclear what Guzman is asking for in his lawsuit, aside from the company taking down his picture, but we’re sure some monetary payback is in order.

“Defendant’s use of plaintiff’s image, likeness and/or identity in connection with a dating service impugns plaintiff’s character, embarrasses him, and suggests — falsely — that he, a married person, is presently dating and seeking out other partners,” the lawsuit states according to the New York Post

Legal docs go on to state, that Guzman is “a married man and respected member of his community who has been caught with a profile on an online dating website.” Or perhaps he just got caught with his pants down, so to speak. No! We remain Team Guzman. 

Who do you believe? Let us know in the comments.

READ: Check Out Some Of Yesika Salgado’s Best Clapbacks To Creepy Men Hitting On Her On Dating Apps

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