10 Things Boys Should Know About Being Men


Right now I’m raising boys, but I gotta keep my focus on the big picture, because I’m also helping develop them into men. Men who will be boyfriends and lovers and husbands and fathers and coworkers (or bosses or CEOs or doctors or the President).

There is no shortage of posts containing thoughtful and heartfelt advice from mothers of sons in exactly this scenario. Mothers who want to teach their boys that they can be strong and powerful, yet sensitive and tender. BUT… this isn’t that kind of post. Sure, it’s ten key pieces of advice that I want my boys to know, but this is more practical, less profound. I’ll leave the sappy stuff to a more eloquent blogger. So here they are: 10 things boys should know about being men:

1. You’re supposed to be scented, not suffocating. I’m talking about cologne and body spray. Please, by all means, use it – because it’s far better than Eau de Armpit. But don’t layer it. Don’t bathe in it. Don’t douse yourself with it until people can smell you before you enter a room and for ten minutes after you leave. Smelling great is a definite plus, but making people’s eyes water with a cloud of manliness is not. Use basic hygiene first to make sure you smell good (soap! Toothpaste! Deo-for-your-B.O.!) and use the cologne as a light enhancer, not a funk-cover-upper.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2. Flowers are … okay. It’s nice to bring your significant other some flowers. I never received a bouquet of flowers and threw them down in disgust (and incidentally, if someone ever does that to you, kick that heifer to the curb). HOWEVER, flowers take precisely zero thought. They’re something you can grab at a gas station checkout, for goodness sake. If you really want to make an impact, buy something that shows you know what she enjoys. I’d be a lot more impressed by anything zombie-themed or, like, a six-pack of delicious cupcakes. Which brings me to the next point …

3. Expand your recipe repertoire. Ramen noodles and frozen pizza have their place in life – when you’re in college and broke (and speaking of college, don’t ask me to send you money if you’re gonna spend it on beer). But as you become a man, branch out a little bit. Learn to cook something. It doesn’t have to be beef tenderloin with porcini mushroom and smoked onion saute and a pea salad with creme fraiche and herbs … mmm … wait, what was I saying? Oh yes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, is my point. Have a good recipe for lasagna and some sort of casserole and learn to roast a chicken and bake cookies. (Especially cookies.) It’s not rocket science, but it’s definitely a skill that will serve you well.

4. If it’s overflowing, take care of the problem. If your toilet runneth over, you fix that crap without hesitation, right? Right. So the same should hold true for overflowing trash cans and sinks full of dirty dishes. If you ignore the problem, you’re part of the problem.

5. Be nice to your waiters and customer service people. How you treat the people who are there to help you speaks volumes about, well, whether or not you’re a jerk. Be patient and gracious and if you have a problem, understand that it isn’t their fault. Work with them, not against them, and you’ll get much further. Plus: you won’t be an a-hole, which is pretty much the biggest takeaway from this tip.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

6. Hormones, schmormones. Sometimes, women are in a bad mood. Sometimes, there’s very little reason other than a bunch of small back-to-back annoyances. When that happens, you should try to be understanding – and if you can’t be, then just step back and give them some space. What NOT to do is accuse them of PMS’ing or being hormonal. Just … no. While hormones do indeed cause some mood swings at certain times of the month, they are not the cause of every grumpy mood. Women have legit reasons for being pissed off that have absolutely nothing to do with our internal workings – we’re not delicate creatures who are at the mercy of estrogen fluctuations. However, that being said …

7. Periods suck. There’s no two ways about it. I don’t know one single woman – except for those in, like, maxi pad commercials – who is enthusiastic in ANY manner about the monthly visit from Aunt Flo (unless she’s had a pregnancy scare, but even then, the joy is short-lived). So what can you do? Be sympathetic. Be manly enough to buy tampons and Midol, and while you’re at the store, pick up some ice cream. I guarantee you’ll be the biggest baby in the universe when you come down with a case of the sniffles, so remember how nice it is to be taken care of when you’re feeling like crap.

8. Remotes are made to be shared. We all have shows we like to watch. Fine: Watch your shows or your sports or whatever. But if you’re asleep? The remote is fair game. Don’t doze off while clutching it tightly and then snap awake with a testy, “I was watching that!” when someone tries to change the channel. Seriously. When all you’re watching is the back of your eyelids, let someone else have a turn with the TV.

9. Hole-y does not equal holy. You’d think those tattered underwear were priceless relics, the way you cling to them, but seriously: when your boxers or briefs develop more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese, it’s time to chuck those babies in the can and purchase some fresh. I mean, there is literally no point to a pair of undies that is essentially nothing more than a waistband with some strips of tattered fabric attached. When your junk is hanging out the front even when you’re not peeing, give them up. New underwear is cheap. Getcha some.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

10. No socks while sexin’. I’ve come to the conclusion that most mothers don’t mention this to their sons because they don’t want to think about their darlings doing “the deed,” even when they’re grown men. But I’m putting it out there because it’s important. Do you know how silly – how utterly ridiculous – a man looks when he’s completely naked except for socks?? I don’t care how cold your feet are. If you’re getting ready to “get down,” then please, for the love of all that is sacred: TAKE. THE SOCKS. OFF.

These may not be the wisest, most valuable pieces of life advice my sons ever receive, but they’re important nonetheless. If I can send a few less men out into the world in holey boxers and a cloud of cologne, well, I’ve done something right.

Related post: Your Penis Won’t Fall Off And Other Things Boys Should Know

About the writer


Rita Templeton is a writer and mom to four lively, imaginative little boys. She lives in Davenport, Iowa, where she maintains her sanity by blogging at Fighting off Frumpy (and occasionally locking herself in her closet with a box of cookies). Come say hi on Twitter @fightingfrumpy, Instagram, and Facebook.

From Around the Web


krissy 10 months ago

I laugh b/c my husband still dons socks while having sex, says his feet are cold, whatever, but yes it looks silly :) My sons are very familiar with hormones and pms, my oldest, having to see three pregnancies, gets that mommy is crazy and cries for no reason sometimes and is sad sometimes and has a hard time doing stuff when she can’t take her medicine (depression+panic disorder). I was always afraid if I had boys they’d make fun of me for crying all the time (I’m also a huge sap even without hormones), but they’re actually very sweet, and I’m hoping that stays with them forever.

Ralph Rainwater 1 year ago

To all of you women emphatically agreeing with #10, about not wearing socks by themselves — I honestly had no idea! I always thought warm feet keep me from getting distracted, protect my loved one from being chilled by my cold toes, and who’s looking at my feet anyway? Okay, lesson learned. Socks come off.

Dieter vonSchoenvortz 1 year ago

Have some class when picking them. Had a friend who’d pick flowers for his girlfriend all the time. From people’s yards, from restaurants’ flower displays, basically anywhere he could. We’d be in a drive-through and he’d jump out of my car to go pick flowers from the place’s plants.
So, hmmm, don’t pick flowers if they’re someone else’s. That SHOULD go without saying, but apparentLY it doesn’t.

Sock Lover 1 year ago

No, no, no to Number 10! Wearing socks increases both men and women’s ability to orgasm! Google it! Another fail for the fashion police.

Agora 1 year ago

Seriously, if the socks don’t come off by the time your pants have you might as well get dressed and hit the road.
Oh, and add this one: #11 No. Tightie-Whites. Ever. Unless you want to remind her of her dad. In which case she will never get that visual out of her head and will never have sex with you.

Chrissie Ashworth 1 year ago

I agree with all of these Rita, brilliantly written :-)

Kristin Barclay 1 year ago

I think I may print this post and then put it in my son’s 16th birthday card. He’s only 3 at the moment, but since his Dad doesn’t really live by any of these guidelines he needs to learn somehow. Maybe, I just have some fancy cake maker print it on his birthday cake. Points for originality, loss of points for public embarrassment?

Libby Brewer-Salley 1 year ago

True Leigh

Leigh Ann Murphy Dunn 1 year ago

LOL! but I think the last thing I will be talking about with my 9 & 12 year old right now is taking off their socks before they have sex…who does that anyway…wear socks during sex?! HAHA!!!!

Mayra Pacheco 1 year ago

haha! Love it!

Maxine Garvey 1 year ago

11? Your future bride was not put on this Earth to support you in your career decisions. This only works if you both Support Each Other!

12? Gifts on birthdays and anniversaries are always welcome (with attention to 2 above). Unexpected gifts (No reason – just that I love you) are more welcome.

13? marriage is a partnership. So is parenthood! Do you share of the raising. The kids will remember you for it. As will your partner.

Nuru 1 year ago

#1 for sure! Cologne should be something a person leans into not away from-deoderant is for riding the funk!
#2 I don’t agree-Flowers are very good and appreciated and take thought for a guy!

Jennifer Noll 1 year ago

OMG with the socks. Take. Them. Off.

Barb Kinsinger 1 year ago

outstanding, mostly about the socks!!!!

Lisa Newlin 1 year ago

I feel like I can’t hold a guy to #10 because that’s one I frequently violate. But the cologne one is dead on. The other day we were going to the pool and I asked my husband if he put on deodorant. His response? “No. We’re going to the pool.”

What? I pointed out that’s when he needed it the most as he would be sweating. He looked at me like I was the idiot.

Rita Templeton 1 year ago

THANK YOU, Stephanie! I’m the author and am actually kind of appalled at the amount of people who don’t seem to grasp that it’s supposed to be humorous. :)

Rita Templeton 1 year ago

This is a humor piece, Aaron.

Rita Templeton 1 year ago

This is a humor piece, Karen.

Misandry is just as bad as misogyny 1 year ago

So, why is this directed at boys/men specifically? With the exception of #10, they all apply equally to women. especially #1 (Way too much perfume, can’t breathe!), #2 (Sex is fun, but it is NOT a cure-all panacea), and #4 (May I borrow a tiny spot on the bathroom bench to place my razor? Pretty please?)

Of course, these are just narrow and unrealistic stereotypes. But then, that seems to be what the article is addressing, for the most part.

More generally, so long as people – men, women, and everyone else too – communicate respectfully and consider the people around them, most of these should be non-issues anyway. So I’d suggest, forget the symptom and tackle the cause. Train your children, both the boys AND the girls, to be honest, respectful and considerate towards others, and most relationship ‘problems’ will solve themselves.

Hsiuwen Jao-Torres 1 year ago

I would add to the list: “asking for directions does not equal a sign of weakness.”

Kevin 1 year ago

Some are correct but are you giving your sons advice on how to court potential sex partners? Isn’t that unbelievably creepy?

Andi Wyer 1 year ago

No.8 does not apply!

Casey Frost Randolph 1 year ago

Don’t agree with number 2, getting flowers is great! But it is best to send them to work, nothings makes my day more than getting flowers for no reason other than to brighten my day!

Jessica Irvine 1 year ago

8 – what is that?!?

Stephanie Kruse 1 year ago

Good Lord people! The blog was written to b funny and give u a chuckle. Lighten up!

Justin Pace 1 year ago

The majority of those actually have noting to do with becoming a man…

Karen Housand Wittman 1 year ago

No boys don’t need to know any of those. There are WAY more important things to know when becoming a man.

Stacey Louis 1 year ago

ALL very important lessons.

Christina Ridley Kasprzyk 1 year ago

Holey does not equal holy! YES!

Wendy Halsey Czarnecki 1 year ago

‘s house and I think that he is still home because of the smell! I have told him repeatedly that he needs to use soap and a washcloth, but he just uses Axe to cover the smell :(

Wendy Halsey Czarnecki 1 year ago

William uses Axe deoderant to cover the B.O. I go upstairs after he has sprayed it and I literally choke. I cannot breathe, my eyes water … . And then you can tell when he walks through a room and you know for the next 10 to 15 minutes that he HAS been in that room! Sometimes he will go to his friend

Nina Peretto 1 year ago

9 & 10 please !!!! lol

Shamila Iyer 1 year ago

Great article, made me smile tx

Nicki Wiley 1 year ago

It’s been proven that wearing socks during sex helps you orgasm..so I’ll tell my boy to keep his socks on lol

Barry Lewis 1 year ago

This list started with accurate useful advice, then turned into another woah as us females & “how to” for men to make life easier for women, once again showing how our culture is programing us to view men as accessories to women’s lives, and that men should just accept any abuse perpetrated in the name of the menstrual cycle as penance for the actions of men of the past.

Nicolle Monoxelos 1 year ago

oh no no #10 i scream about it he looks like an old man and hes 35! come ome

April Witcofski 1 year ago

I agree with it all except with the flowers comment. They are my most favorite gift to receive ( whether they last forever or not), the point that needs to not be missed here is…. he thought of you!!!!

Aaron McAllister 1 year ago

This is why he needs a father pretty lame advise.

Jennifer Lee Plummer 1 year ago

Loved it! Number ten lol

Jennifer Smalley 1 year ago

I’ve told my husband about the socks. He takes them off now. I’m allowed to say what I like, as is he.

Jennell Hicks-Maher 1 year ago

Yes to everything on this. Especially the socks, the period, and dear god the body spray!!! Can that be a slogan?? Ax body spray- too much is a bad thing…

Holly Noonan Stewart 1 year ago

Number 8 is completely my Dad, down to the “I was watching that”. Oh really, then what was on? Nope…that’s been over a half hour!

Bree Leon 1 year ago

Overall a pretty superficial list. Meh. :/

Janice Cray 1 year ago

So good

Mary 1 year ago

Yes. Printing this and saving for my son. Thanks!

Amy Hamilton 1 year ago

Ehhh a little weak

Michelle Thuldanin 1 year ago

Okay, let me get this straight. Your man is coming at you, about to rock your world… And you are focusing on his feet??? How bitchy is it to tell him what he can wear to bed? How would it go over if he complained that you never take out your earrings first? Who cares? At least he’s paying attention to the hot action that is supposed to be happening, Ms. Wardrobe police. Geez.

Danielle Hudson 1 year ago

#10! Yes!

Leanne Arne 1 year ago

My favorite is 10

Sarah 1 year ago

No, this is seriously the best advice for boys growing into men. Good job, mom. Except who cares about socks?

KezUnprepared 1 year ago

Hahaha I LOVE this. I do love the sappy posts on this topic too, but nothing’s better than ironing out those issues most women (or other unlucky men) have to live with later on! 😉

Emily White Donahue 1 year ago

Number 8..my life

Anne Pollis D’Angelo 1 year ago

Love this!!

Jen Hollard 1 year ago

Lol. Number 10 is good xD

Nicole Eberly 1 year ago

Totally agree with #8!!!

Heidi O 1 year ago

Love that!! I had to show my hubby #10, because that’s definitely something I’ve had to teach him!

Cheryl Terry 1 year ago

OMG!! Number 10!!!!!

Shannon Konyndyk 1 year ago

Number 4!

Ashley 1 year ago

Omg, my husband needs to learn #1. He puts on cologne ONLY on special occasions, but he basically drowns himself AND ME in it. I start sneezing and can’t stop – I still don’t have the heart to tell him why. I loved this post! As a mother of three boys (and I’m done having kids so there will be no girls, sniff sniff), I’m going to keep this one close. :)

LaShanda Porter 1 year ago


Hannah Stiles Quinn 1 year ago

This lady gets pissy about #8!

Tracy Miller-Heasley 1 year ago

Made me laugh. Thanks.

Brandy Cope 1 year ago

I showed my bf this post AND my comment above. He looked at me and said, very seriously, “you know I keep them on for your protection, right?!”. Bahahaha!

Helen Kervin Melanson 1 year ago


Dana Garcia 1 year ago

“If you ignore the problem, your part of the problem” describes my husband perfectly. I’m using this quote daily from now on!

Eileen Franz Brandy 1 year ago

Please, teach your sons & daughters about #1 for their teachers’ sakes. I’m so tired of tasting body spray when my students walk into class.

Sarah Whipkey 1 year ago

So funny. I had to read it to my husband, even he was laughing.

Vanessa Janik 1 year ago

I have 2 boys..and a husband. This made me laugh. The cologne, hole-y underwear & remote hoarding… Totally relevant.

Dani Riley 1 year ago

Omg, #10

Maggie Carlton Buckley 1 year ago

These were fantastic!

Brandie Landt Shipp 1 year ago

8 boys (4 girls) here, notes taken! Thank you! :o)

Katie Seidel Nix 1 year ago

Hilarious and so so true. Also, the smelly cover up also applies to pre-teen girlies as well!!!

Patty Nyquist 1 year ago

Fantastic list.

Kellie Bradley Miller 1 year ago


LK Lancaster 1 year ago

OMG the socks! Haha yes!

Kara Lester 1 year ago

Ha! From a mom of 4 boys… I’m constantly working on raising decent partners for the future.

Drew Kristofik 1 year ago

Take the socks off = perfection.

Shelley La Gata Schneider 1 year ago

I’m dying right now. Thank you for the (truthful) laugh.

Jamie Garrison 1 year ago

#5…I have learned to do this over the years…from him as he was a server for a long time :)

Lori Claxton Vintilescu 1 year ago

hahahahaha, #10 ABSOLUTELY!!

Brandy Cope 1 year ago

#10! #10, #10!!!!

Shannon Wilson Gerber 1 year ago

9. Seriously 9.

Lisa Hansen 1 year ago


Enid Pyle 1 year ago

#2…Don’t buy the flowers, pick them!

Ashley Turner 1 year ago