The Day My Son Started Wearing Cologne

No one: —–

My 12-year-old: *sprays 2 pumps of Acqua di Gio and emerges in jeans*

“What in the JC Penny’s is going on??” I asked, inhaling the scent of masculinity and chiseled abs.

Puzzled, I clutched my proverbial pearls as the walls of my home morphed into a department store.

“Dad gave me some cologne, and I want to start dressing nice,” shrugged my son, who until now had treated jeans like lava.

Apparently, it was “glow-up o’clock” and he waited for Friday night ice-skating to make his formal announcement.

“Let me find out you have a 401k,” I said, as he put on a hat for decoration. 

And just like that, my little boy became a grown-a$$ man.

I’d say “The End,” but this is where the story BEGINS.

Since last fall, I’ve had more talks with my son about becoming a man than all the prior years combined.

Listen closely, moms.

We’re raising boys in a different time than our fathers (and even the fathers of our sons).

As such, it’s paramount to equip them with knowledge, because if we don’t have the hard talks with our sons, they’ll learn the wrong things from the wrong people.

In addition to the “birds and the bees,” here are a few cautionary conversations I’ve had:

  1. Even if it’s in a playful manner, don’t touch anyone. Keep your hands to yourself, unless it’s in self-defense.
  2. If a person of authority asks to speak with you regarding an incident (even if it’s a principal), insist that either I or your father be present. I will stop what I’m doing and come to you. But no written statements or testimony will be given without one of us there. Stay calm and remember #youhavetherighttoremainsilent. 
  3. If you experience something that should be reported, type your recollection of events immediately in your Notes app. This will preserve details before they fade over time.
  4. When you take pictures with people, keep your hands where the photographer can see them so there can be no misinterpretation of what’s happening behind one’s back. Make a peace sign, put your hands in your pockets or clasp them together. This may be extreme, but allegations can be too.
  5. Don’t joke about hurting someone (even yourself) or about causing harm. All threats, even jokes, are taken seriously.
  6. Stay out of group chats, and don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t want read in public.
  7. Have a firm handshake, look people in the eye, and be respectful.
  8. “No” is a complete sentence (whether someone says it to you, or you say it to them). No further persuasion is necessary. 

The term “boys will be boys” is canceled. In 2022, we’re molding men. 

Sometimes, it all starts with cologne.

Marked Safe from Old Spice, 






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By day, Meredith works as a full time legal assistant at a family law firm. By night, she’s working as the owner of Marked by Meredith, helping people design their homes, plan events and style their life. When she’s not preparing pleadings or painting a statement wall, she’s adventuring around Oklahoma City with her son, Grayson (2009), and her daughter, Sutton (2011). Meredith grew up in Oklahoma City, then studied Communication and Creative Writing at the University of Tulsa. In her spare time, she’s spending time with family and friends, fueling herself with coffee and learning how to be a new Cat Mom.


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