Mindy Kaling’s 13 Rules for Guys

If you’ve seen The Office, you know Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor. Kaling recently wrote a delightful book called, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns),” and in it she outlines 13 specific things that all guys should do. Her rules are in bold; my responses follow each one. How many do women agree with? How many do guys adhere to?

  1. Buy a well-fitting peacoat from J.Crew (and get it cleaned once a year). I have a very well-fitting peacoat that I bought in Oxford. I clean it once every two years.
  2. Have a signature drink. Does Brick River hard cider count?
  3. Own several pairs of dark-wash straight-leg jeans. I literally just bought bootcut jeans. I don’t like them bunching around the tops of my shoes.
  4. Wait until all women have gotten on or off an elevator before you get on or off. Definitely. That’s standard chivalry.
  5. When you think a girl looks pretty, say it and make it about her (i.e., “You look so sexy in those boots,” not “Those boots are really cool.”) I like this a lot. Though I’ve learned that I should choose the delivery based on your relationship (or lack thereof) with the person.
  6. Avoid asking if someone needs help in a kitchen or at a party–just start helping. There are two types of people in the world at any given time (it changes): People who want to help and people who don’t want to help but want to seem helpful. Don’t ask. Just help.
  7. Have one great cologne that’s not from the drugstore. I’ve been fostering Old Spice Pure Sport as my “scent” for years!
  8. Your girlfriend’s sibling or parents might be totally nuts, but always defend them. Definitely.
  9. Kiehl’s for your skin, Bumble and Bumble for your hair. I had to look these up to make sure they weren’t a brand of washer fluid and some sort of bee excrement. I go for Aveno for the skin and American Crew for my hair. Both are a third of the price of Keihl’s and Bumble and Bumble, so they’ll have to do.
  10. Guys only need two pairs of shoes: a nice pair of black shoes and a pair of Chuck Taylors. I had to look up “Chuck Taylor” on Zappos. They’re Converse. And really? Low-rise New Balance won’t do?
  11. Bring wine or chocolate to everything. Tough for me to think of because gifts are so low among my love languages, but I like the sentiment. I like the idea of being the “chocolate guy.”
  12. Get a little jealous now and again, even if you’re not strictly a jealous guy. I’ve heard this before, and I get it, but it’s not easy to do. I’m not a jealous guy. I can pretend if it’s important, though.
  13. Don’t shave your chest hair. This really seems to depend on the woman, but in my later years, I’ve noticed more and more women preferring the hair. So I keep the hair. Trim other places, obviously.
So how did I score? Counting halfsies, we’re looking at 7.5 out of 13. But it was interesting to hear Mindy’s insights!

11 thoughts on “Mindy Kaling’s 13 Rules for Guys”

  1. These rules are not bad. Some do resonate with me. However, I find it hard to take manly advice from an LA tv star. Quite frankly, my impression of LA (while clearly biased and stereotyped) is one of hifalutin, uncomfortably dressed men. I think you should create a second entry with 13 other rules for men that come from a woman who lives on a ranch in Wyoming and climbs mountains or rides horses for fun. Perhaps your readership can pick the best mix of the two lists.

    • “After a long day herding cattle and baling hay, make sure to moisturize your hands before touching your gal. There’s nothing worse than having your sensitive lady parts being caressed by hands that feel like they should be part of your favorite worn-in saddle.”

      “Don’t use her grandma’s antique kettle as your spitoon.”

      “Remember that chaps and lassos are for outside the bedroom only. Splurge a little and make her feel like a lady by getting her some of them fancy underthings. I’ve seen some camo lingerie that would do the trick real nice.”

  2. I’m going to be a grinch and just say I was disappointed with Kaling’s book and regretted the loss of my valuable Audible credit. For the most part, her musings didn’t strike me as novel, just the random stuff we all (well I) already think about; the rest was just un-interesting.

    This list is a good example of that. Numbers 1 (have 1 nice coat), 4 (have manners), 8 (be loyal) and 13 (be a man) are common knowledge. The rest are mainly her personal preferences, I don’t know that they apply to all girls. For example, I disagree with 2(I couldn’t care less if you have a drink pref, mine is vodka tonic, does that make guys like me?), 7 (I love Old Spice), 9 (I hate expensive products), 10 (also didn’t know what Chuck Taylors were). The only ones I’d say are original and advice-worthy are 5 and 6, but even with 5, I’ve never had a man say I have cool boots- I’d only expect that sort of comment from a man if my boots had a utility knife attached to the zipper or something.

    Maybe I’m just grumpy because I’m still at work and sleepy.

    • I think your grinchiness is fair. A lot of the novel was Mindy telling us how weird she is (even though she’s really not that weird). I think she has a good sense of humor in telling those stories. The one thing I really admire is that even when she’s making fun of something, she readily admits to loving that thing. I can’t remember any examples offhand, but there are plenty of times when she makes fun of a celebrity and then follows the joke with: “But if I could be that person, I totally would!”

      I’m guessing a lot of the items on her list come from plentiful encounters with men who don’t fit the bill. She’s in LA; she probably sees tons of men who don’t have good manners and aren’t loyal, etc (actually, that’s probably the case anywhere, but I have the impression that there are a LOT of people in LA who are full of themselves…I mean, you kind of have to be).

    • Jill, I was surprised as well, but I came to realize that (as a 31-year-old), I only know the term because my dad used it all the time. To people of my parents’ generation, not knowing the term “Chuck Taylors” was like not having heard of a country called America or a food called the hamburger.

      By the way, I’m in no way calling you 60 years old 🙂

  3. Neha’s sentiments on the book sound right on the money. I suspect someone told her that america wanted to know her thoughts, and she could turn a buck giving it to them.

    As for the list, when it comes to manliness, I’m less worried about dressing the part than behaving honorably.


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