Put yourself in this situation- you’re making a simple breakfast for two. You’ve dragged yourself out of bed, already cleaned the bathroom and are now stirring the eggs around in the pan while the coffee brews and the bread toasts. Your significant other appears beside you and asks what it is that you’re whisking up. Upon hearing what’s on the menu, he exclaims, “but those aren’t scrambled eggs, we have no cream! My mother always uses cream.” For some reason, the word “mother” hits differently this morning. You feel a wave of frustration wash over you and you have to stop yourself from throwing the pan across the kitchen. You’ve always suspected it but brushed it to the side. There’s no more avoiding it, it’s clear as day- your boyfriend is a mummy’s boy.
When I was in college, an annual ball would take place. The dress I chose for the night still hangs in my wardrobe. It was a backless, v-neck, jet-black ball gown. I paired it with pearl earrings and kitten heels. Modern and chic yet at the same time elegant- or so I thought. Once the ball was over and the photos were posted, my then-boyfriend felt the need to tell me that his mum thought my dress was revealing. He finished the remark with “and I agree.” But wait- hang on a second, I’m not friends with his mum on any form of social media. Plus, my profiles have a private setting. An image came to mind of mother and son, sipping on G&Ts and nibbling on a charcuterie board as they flicked through my photos with up-turned noses. Whatsapping a holiday snap or two into the family group-chat is the norm, but there’s something I find unsettling about a man who shares his girlfriend’s instagrams with his mum.
Another point to take from this ball-gown remark is the expectation that accompanies a mummy’s boy. That is, the high expectation of how you should behave, act, and dress, set by the mum, and echoed by her son. Behind my “inappropriately” revealed back, it was agreed upon that I should not have dressed in this way. In flaunting my back flesh, I had not met the highly regarded standards of “the mother”. Should a young woman plan her outfits with the opinion of a judgemental fifty year old woman in mind? Apparently so.
Dating a mummy’s boy is somewhat similar to living the life of a royal highness, without of course, the novelty of being a princess. You could, at any moment, be whisked off to the family home. You must therefore always be prepared for inspection and judgement. This means no high-fashion outfits, no bold accessories, nothing remotely colourful or patterned. Oh, you have your eye on those thick, clompy boots that everyone seems to be wearing these days? Save yourself the controversy.
What could possibly be more irksome than your significant other discussing your outfits with his mum, you may ask? Perhaps discussing the personal disagreements and upset that naturally occur in any relationship. There’s nothing quite like a mum’s advice, I’ll be the first to say. However, surely a mature dispute between two people in a relationship can and should be solved without mummy’s input. Unfortunately, when the going gets tough, the tough run to their mother to tell them what the unhinged floozy did to their precious little boy. You may be unaware that the mother has been informed. A way to spot this is to watch out for inexplicable stubbornness. No apology, no compromise, no backing down. Why? Well, he has been reassured elsewhere that he has done and can do no wrong, of course. If you get lucky, he may let it slip in a moment of heat, as you revisit an argument that has occurred previously. “Well, my mother actually said that you’re in the wrong here too.” If he has ever uttered a sentence of the sort, you have yourself a mummy’s boy. In fact, if he refers to his mum as “mother”, you should be on guard for a Norman Bates 2.0.
Having said all of this, there are, of course, some admirable traits that come with a mummy’s boy. A man who is of intense closeness to his mum would have to be a big softie deep down. There’s no way that he could have his hair ruffled in that manner and have a heart of stone. It can be seen as loving and cute, if you’re patient and tolerant. However, if you’re not? Best to watch out for these signs and run for the hills.