You just don’t understandmorrowlight/shutterstock
Every mother of a boy comes to understand certain universal truths about what it’s like to raise a son. (These are the 11 things about raising boys mom wish you knew.) For instance, the volume will always be loud, the bathroom will always be smelly, and the love will always be unfathomably infinite. But what moms don’t know about their own sons could fill volumes—or at least the pages of a new report put out by Old Spice, The Struggle Is Real: A Wild Guide for Growing Up for Moms and Sons. The report reveals the results of an online survey of 550 moms of boys ages 10 through 17 and 550 boys ages 10 through 17, which Old Spice conducted with its research partner, Wakefield Research, and which dovetails with the launch of Old Spice’s new Wild Collection of “man fresheners.”
As the self-described “authority on all things manly,” Old Spice remains committed to making sure that all men smell fabulous, according to a spokesperson. Of course, that invites the question: When exactly does a boy become a man?
Is it from the very first armpit stink (as many moms might be tempted to believe, according to mom of four boys Deborah Gilboa, MD. (aka Dr. G), parenting expert, author, and board certified attending family physician at Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill Health Center, who partnered with Old Spice to parse and present the results of the survey)? Or is it the day he begins showering without being asked (as believed by the largest group of moms surveyed)? Or is it the day he gets his driver’s license? Shaves for the first time? Gets his first job?
There’s no right answer, but at least now we know the truth: Moms are clearly aware of the stink in their homes and look forward to the day their boys are mature enough to wash it away without being asked. Whether or not boys can tell that they smell, they’re looking forward to shaving, driving, and going to work, and they don’t put much stock into their desire to bathe as a litmus test of manliness.
Please talk frank about the stankDariia Pavlova/shutterstock
The majority of both moms and boys feel that any conversation about body odor is awkward. But boys feel equally just as awkward talking to their friends about body odor as they do to their moms. That said, it can be a challenge for anyone to smell his own smell, according to Dr. G, and given a choice between remaining blissfully unaware of one’s body odor, on the one hand, and enduring the awkward conversation, on the other, “no one is going to choose walking around smelling funky.”
That puts the ball back into Mom’s court, explains Dr. G. Ultimately, boys are more comfortable opening up to Mom than to Dad (the Wild Guide puts the difference as 51 percent being more comfortable with Mom versus 49 percent being more comfortable with Dad). Besides, as Dr. G says, “Moms always know best.”