An open letter to the men in my life

Dear husband and child,

I am sitting on a late train home surrounded by two men. One in the seat in front of me. One in the seat behind me. The dude behind me has burped, coughed (with his mouth open, I can tell!!!) and propped his knee into the back of my seat – I know this because I feel his knee.

The guy in front of me is….letting off some gases.

There’s nowhere for me to go. No open window to jump out of. All the other seats are taken. At first I was so disgusted and grossed out, thinking that these were two of the nastiest people on earth. But I think that’s wrong. I think the truth is that they probably don’t behave like this at home. Near loved ones. They probably cover their mouths when they cough and help wounded birds on the side of the road. I’m sure when they walk in the door at home tonight, they’ll hang their coats nicely, put their shoes away and wash their hands. But here, in the world, they roam wild and free and dirty. No one knows them. There’s no wife, girlfriend or mother to scold them. Notice I don’t say boyfriend or husband because I’ve never met a sloppy gay man, maybe in the future I will, but I haven’t yet.

That got me thinking about the two of you. What are you like on a train or a bus? Do you sigh loudly? Do you wantonly take up more than your fair share of space? Do you burp, fart, cough a nasty open cough? I don’t think so. You are both clean, nice, considerate, well-mannered boys. Aren’t you???

I know you are. I have faith. But then again there’s probably some poor woman/mother walking around the world thinking she did a good job with these two walking germs. Or maybe they live in a zoo and this is the best it gets. I dunno.

So promise me that when you are sitting in your mass transit of choice, you’ll remember this and not do at least two of those gross things? Please?

Thank you,

Signed, the woman in your life who will be taking a long, hot, disinfecting shower tonight, xoxo

Prison Rules

***Spoiler Alert***
If you have a cute, sweet , clean little boy under the age of 10, stop reading. Enjoy the years you have.

A few weeks ago we instituted some new rules in the house for my son.
We’d started noticing an odor.
I know it seems I’m obsessed with smells – and I am – but this wasn’t just my disfunction. Other, more balanced moms were also going through it with their sons.
For some strange reason, 10 year old boys are hygiene averse.
Averse is the wrong word.
Oblivious. Completely clueless.
My son would walk out of a “shower” with dry hair and a dry back.
Do you understand what I’m saying?
He didn’t even turn around!!
You blame yourself.
Maybe I never taught him to shower, you think. Maybe I never introduced him to soap?
My oldest is a girl. At 10 she would take two showers some days. I remember her smelling like vanilla all the time. Did I teach her about showers and not him? And brushing your teeth? With toothpaste?
We took him aside and explained how important cleanliness was. Bought him a “big boy” deodorant.
We tried humiliation as a last resort.
Nothing changed.
So – on the advice of some other moms – this is how we roll now.
All showers happen with the door open and in our bathroom.
The shower must be longer than a minute.
Hair will be checked/smelled after for shampoo use.
Brushing teeth happens only in our bathroom so we can do a brush and mouth check.
Clothing must be worn right side out.
Socks must be changed daily, I don’t care how cool the neon green ones are.
No food of any kind is permitted in the bathroom.
You have two choices – clip your nails or paint them.
Make friends with a Qtip. Good friends.
Lights out at 9.
Here he is heading back to his cell.. er..room last night.

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