topher
Adult holding a toddler's hand as they walk on the beach

First of all I must be clear about one thing. I do not have a son. These letters are what I would have taught my son if I had had one. I am of an age now that many adult men could be my son, and many more young men. These are lessons that I’ve learned in my life, some taught to me by my parents, some I simply figured out through listening or spectacular failures.

The idea for this post came to me while speaking with a woman from India, describing how many men in her city are raised to interact with women. Some of the behaviors were surprising to me, and seem very foreign. Many of them sound like men everywhere in the world.

The topics will mostly deal with women and things related to women. Topics often avoided by men because they make men uncomfortable. Something I would want for my son would be learning to be comfortable talking about these things, and learning about them. I want him to be a grown up about these topics and be able to converse without either giggling or feeling sick. I recognize the difference between “sex stuff” and “human anatomy” stuff. To be a genuine ally of woman, a man who can be trusted in areas where women are often harassed and abused.

Topics will range from:

  • Menstruation
  • Menopause
  • Depression (this one of course isn’t strictly about women)
  • Pregnancy
  • Body Image
  • Body Function
  • Makeup
  • Nail Polish
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Sexual Assault
  • Racism

There could very well end up with more, but this is a beginning of a list of things I think men need to know more about, and be adults about talking about them.

I’m going to discuss the varying levels of trust and acceptability and timing that can occur with different women in their lives, from their mothers and siblings to partners, trusted friends, and total strangers.

It shouldn’t be the responsibility of women (with the possible exception of mothers) to teach men about how to properly understand women (or at least start learning). I want my words to reach the young men in my life and around the world, and show them how much richer their life can be living alongside women they understand and who trust them.

What This Series Is Not

This is not a series to educate you on the topics mentioned above. You have the internet for that. I’ll be providing links, and I strongly urge you to learn the science behind these topics.

What This Series Is

This series intends to teach you how to communicate with people, both men and women, about these topics. We’ll talk about propriety, sensitivity, compassion, and understanding. All things that make a man more manly.

I have one last piece of advice before we get started: put the seat down when you’re done peeing, every single time. Thank you.

Photo by Szilvia Basso on Unsplash

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