My poor little son, I sometimes think, when I watch his three older sisters hovering over him. They pick his outfits. They style his hair. They talk about him incessantly and go on and on about how much they love him and how adorable he is.
They fight over who gets to hold him, push him, put him to bed. This guy, I think doesnât have a chance. What my son, Holt, has are FOUR mothers. But then I think, maybe this is a good thing. Not the having four mother parts, but being the only boy with three sisters. Hopefully, I think, he will grow up learning to respect and understand women, thanks to his three sisters. Though he canât find his nose yet, he is surrounded by stories ofÂ what their boyfriends have done to them, and what best friends have hooked up with their ex-boyfriends.
The poor dude hears A LOT of girl talk. So maybe heâll learn growing up, once he understands words, that itâs not cool to date a girlâs best friend right after you dump her. Or that asking for nude photos from a girl (which happened to my 13-year-old stepdaughter) is so way out of line, disrespectful and plain rude. Maybe heâll learn that he actually has to TALK to a girl at school or that girl will feel like he doesnât really like her. Maybe heâll learn that girls always look at menâs shoes.
I, on the other hand, grew up with three brothers. I can tell you what I learned from my three brothers about men. Absolutely fucking nothing.
Wait. Thatâs not true. I learned that when my older brother slammed my head on the sidewalk, it really, really hurt. I learned that when two of my brothers put my head in the toilet, it wasnât out of love. I learned that just because my brother pinched me first, and I hit him back, I most likely was the one to get in trouble. It took me 37 YEARS to understand men, with no help from my brothers, who were too busy playing sports and leaving me out.
I grew up with three brothers who pretty much made my life miserable and taught me that you will get a huge bump on your head when itâs smashed on a sidewalkâŚand also that they liked sports. Thatâs it.
The entire premise of my latest book, How to Raise a Boyfriend, is what men can do for their girlfriends or spouses to make them happy. Such simple things like giving out compliments, answering direct questions when asked, and not being late for a date. In fact, it was a 6-YEAR-OLD boy, a student at my daughterâs former school, who gave me the idea for the book in the first place. This boy insisted that I get off the elevator first â âladies first,â he said, unlike my boyfriend at that time who literally ran across busy intersections, leaving me behind.
Hopefully, my son will pick up such habits.
Already, I can already see him and his sisters, in the future, picking out Valentineâs Day presents for his girlfriends (assuming that heâs heterosexual). I can see them telling him how to dress on a first date. I can see them demanding that he calls a girl to thank them for a date, even if it wasnât a good one. I can also see them telling my son how to dump a girl in the nicest way possible. They will have lived through dealing with men, and Iâm sure they want their brother to not treat other girls the way they have been treated by some boys.
It shouldnât take him 37 years, like it did me, to figure out men.
If my brothers just said to me, âBe nice to men. Compliment them. Have sex with them,â I would have saved myself from a lot of bad relationships. Or maybe it took me 37 years to figure out men because my brother crashed my head on the concrete sidewalk, and so that part of my brain that was supposed to understand men was ruined.
You may not have a chance, my Holt, to ever pick out your own clothes. But pay attention my boy. There are too many women around you for you not to figure out how we work. You may still be dumbfounded by some women, but at least youâll have three sisters to help you figure it all out.