Things I want my sons to know…

My sons learning team destruction

Always give your spouse birthday presents in bed. 

This rather baffling bit of advice is number 21 of 25 things the Good Men’s Project thinks a son should learn. Excuse me? What difference does it make where you give a present, as long as an appropriate and timely?

In fact, surely it would be better if one’s son knew how to take a hint. I want my son to know how to be aware of the subtle, and not so subtle, clues a spouse leaves to what they want surprised by. Oh, and I’d want my son to know it’s wise to set up some kind of alert so he knows when to start his sneaky observations.

I’m sure the Men are Good and their hearts probably in the right place, but some of their suggestions are cobblers.

For example, number three A guy who hugs a lot is comfortable in his own skin. No he isn’t, he’s drunk. I’d like my son to know how to avoid any party’s inevitable piss-head. 

On the face of it, number seven, Crank up the tunes when you have to clean the house, seems wise. But actually it suggest you don’t clean the house unless you have to. I want my sons to know how and when to keep their homes properly without being nagged into it, by spouse or squalor.

Or the homophobic If you like guys, I will fight for your ability to have equal rights in every way. The subtext is if you don’t like guys it’s OK to leave the gays to inequality and bigotry. 

And some of them are down-right dangerous. Take number 20, Radical honesty will get you very far in this world. Most people don’t have the guts to speak their mind, regardless of the consequences. Speaking the truth is all very well – especially to oneself, but radical honesty… not so. It means saying it how you see it, whatever. So “yes, your bum looks huge in that”, “hello boss, your halitosis is raging today” and  “no darling, it’s not you I think about when I’m having a wank” are how it will go. I want my sons to know that understanding the truth is always a good idea, but speaking it isn’t.

In at 15, There is nothing wrong with a Cuban cigar once in a while. Um, doesn’t matter how expensive or Cuban it is, it’s still carcinogenic. I want my sons to know that smoking is a mugs’ game, whatever way you do it. 

There are lots of other dubious ones swinging from the slightly nauseating Look deeply into the eyes of the one you are falling for to get a glimpse of his or her soul, to the slap-worth Read poetry. Looking deeply into someone’s eyes shows you, erm, their eyes and, sure, read poetry but only if you like it. 

My list of things I want my sons to know would also include:

If you are worrying about something, ask yourself if it will matter in a week, a year, a decade and decide accordingly.

Be polite. Rudeness is very unattractive and has a way of coming back to haunt you. 

Don’t try to impress the cool guys, they won’t always be cool. 

Take responsibility for yourself, no one else will do it quite as well. 

Keep yourself clean and tidy. Grunge might look great, but it smells horrible. 

When you’re on a night out, keep your money for your taxi home and your door key somewhere you won’t lose them. 

Oh and look after your mother, you don’t know when you’re going to need her… but you will. 

What do you want your sons to know?

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  1. says

    Great post. What a crap list (not yours, the other one). I think the problem with these lists is they are trying to be cool and appeal to the trendy. They're not realistic.
    What would I want my boys to know?
    Treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen is bullshit. If a woman likes you abusing her, she is damaged. Move on.

  2. says

    Sound advice Ellen. (I have three boys.) I think if anything I'd add: always have the courage to be yourself, be logical and calm under stress – and be kind. Always. Like you say, rudeness is not acceptable. Sincere good manners count a heck of a lot, they add charm to a person and make for a happier society.

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