I Waved The Slut Flag In My Mom’s Face During The Holidays And It Actually Brought Us Closer Together

Every holiday season, I know to expect a cacophony of yelling over clanking pots and pans, feeding a spoonful of mashed potatoes to one of my sisters to see if it needs more salt, and wine. Lots of wine. Usually of the sugary $7 white zinfandel variety my mom and sisters prefer. There’s also usually one fight, and at least three breakdowns after someone mentions our late father. Wine usually enables that as well.

One thing tends to alter the family dynamic ever so slightly each year, however: my boyfriend, or my boyfriend that year.

I don’t feel the anxiety of bringing a new boyfriend home for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with family, mainly because I do it almost annually. I’ve got it down pat.

For the last eight years or so, walking into the holidays with my family hasn’t been met with my mom or tías grilling me about my relationship status.

CREDIT: Teresa / Televisa

For the last eight years I’ve walked into Thanksgiving like that ^

For me, “Y el novio?” is more like “Otro novio? Que bárbara!” or “Y qué onda con este nuevo?”

CREDIT: American Idol / FOX

It’s become a running joke that the holiday season is new boyfriend season. Every Thanksgiving it’s a new guy to overfeed, and at Christmas it’s buying the same clearance Gap sweater for a different, similarly-shaped body.

I’m not a serial cuffer. The thought of being single during winter months, or any month for that matter, doesn’t scare me. I’m just an old-fashioned serial monogamist or serial dater. I’m 33 and I date, and my family has a lot to say about it. And it’s been a long road to get to not caring what they say.

As NPR reported last year, the number of single people now outnumber the amount of married people in the U.S., and there are more single ladies than brides for the first time in American history. More women are choosing to marry later in life than ever before, putting education and career growth first. I’m one of those women.

Though I did attempt marriage for a short stint in my early 20s. Since my divorce at the tender age of 25, I decided marrying again would not be my top priority, nor would finding my “one true love.” I don’t really think that exists, though love is a beautiful thing I’m lucky to have felt a few times.

However, this all equates to a greater chance of having multiple relationships and sexual partners, which means an increased likelihood that my family will have to stuff turkey meat into a new mouth every year.

I come from a particularly savage family that doesn’t hold back on the roasting one bit. Slut-shaming me mercilessly for having the audacity to date regularly and openly comes easy to them.

CREDIT: Jennifer Lopez / VEVO

And it ramps up during the holidays, with an onslaught of getting called a hoe, puta or cabrona descarada sin vergünza.

Sometimes the slut-shaming happens in front of my boyfriend, and I just shrug it off even though it’s pretty rude. There’s a reason why I’ve decided to bring my dudes home rather than live in perpetual hiding of my personal life.

Years back, my mom, in full chisme mode, told me that my cousin doesn’t like sex.

CREDIT: Giphy

That her mom — my tía — told her that my prima never has it because it grosses her out. I knew this to be total bullshit, and some way for my mom and aunt to try and flex on each other in typical competitive fashion, who has the purest, most angelic daughter of them all.

I made sure my mom knew to never go around saying that sort of thing about me for a few reasons:

CREDIT: Giphy

A) It only serves to perpetuate archaic, sexist and misogynistic notions with regards to women, sex and sexuality.

B) There’s nothing wrong with liking sex, so insisting someone doesn’t like it spreads unhealthy ideas about sex and leads people to not have important discussions about sex that could be potentially detrimental to their health.

C) This isn’t an issue if my brother, male cousins or other dudes date, so it shouldn’t be if I do either.

D) Just so she knows, I have sex and I like it, so I would appreciate if she didn’t lie about it. She can choose to simply not talk about it if it makes her uncomfortable.

My mom was stunned into silence, seeing as her baby girl just waved the slut flag in her face.

CREDIT: Jane The Virgin / ABC

Over time, though, it has been great for our relationship and how my family communicates.

CREDIT: Jane The Virgin / ABC

The thing is, I don’t think I should have to hide the fact that I date or have sex, despite what social and cultural expectations have told me my entire life. While my mom doesn’t need all the details, I’ve worked to create an open dialogue about my dating life, and give her the space to talk openly to me about hers.

If I’m not doing anything wrong — and I strongly believe I’m not — then why should I lie? I choose to own my sexuality, rather than have others decide what it is for me.

CREDIT: Mean Girls / Paramount Pictures

So when they come for me at Thanksgiving, Christmas, a baby shower, a Tuesday or any other time, I lean into their insults. You’re damn right I’ve got a new dude. I might have another new one next year. I’m not stuck with some asshole for the sake of being in a relationship. To each his / her own, and my own means I have more freedom, exciting career prospects and that my hard-earned paycheck goes all the way to whatever I want. And for that, I am very thankful.

Even with their slut-shaming and jokes, my mom, sisters and other family members will pull me aside and say “good for you.”

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