“Oma” is what my brother and I called our mom’s mom. I think it’s German. Could be Yiddish. And my Oma was a tiny little force of badassery. Growing up in Germany she had to flee when Nazis invaded and were total dicks. She got married at 18 and had my mom at 19. She was married 3 times. On her third wedding, in what I can only hope was with a jolly attitude of pure, “Fuck it” instead of wearing a wedding gown, she wore a T-shirt that said, “BRIDE” and had tees made that said “GROOM”, “BEST MAN”, “MAID OF HONOR,” and “BRIDESMAID.” She reminded me a lot of Lucille Ball. It was the voice, the sense of humor, and the attitude. Simply put, she didn’t put up with any guff and she didn’t fuck around. Here’s three pieces of advice she passed down.
ON SMOKING: “Michelle. If you’re gonna smoke, smoke right” she said to my mom, relenting and buying her a silver cigarette case engraved with an “M” for her birthday. (It was the ’70s! They had smoking sections in high schools!)
ON HOBBIES: “Stop complaining that you’re bored and just do something already.” My Oma discovered that she loved painting. She would recreate world famous artist’s paintings and was damn good at it. She could have done something way illegal and sold the forgeries as real paintings, but she decided not to go the way of that guy who Richard Gere played in that movie, and instead gave her paintings to friends.
ON CAREERS: “Why would you want to play the bass? You can’t even take it to the beach.” My uncle still plays stand-up base but Oma was right, you definitely can’t take it to the beach, it’s just not practical.
What advice has your Oma, or nana, or grandma, or other synonym here given you? I need some wisdom all up in my face right now.
Almie Rose is a writer from Los Angeles. She has a blog, Apocalypstick. In addition to Dating & Hookup she also writes for Hello Giggles, The Frisky, Thought Catalog, and Genlux Magazine. Her book, I Forgot To Be Famous, is out now. You can follow her on twitter @apocalypstick. Her favorite pastime is eating and drinking and sleeping and then eating again.
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