If a guy is excessively devoted to his mother and he's not obviously a manly man, then he will be seen as a sensitive guy even if he doesn't act like one. His mother might try to completely dominate his life, to the point of telling him who to marry (and if he disobeys then she'll try to ruin his relationship or at least ruin her life too), turning him into a Momma's Boy: hopeless with women, timid, weak, and lacking the spirit to stand up to his mother. His father will be absent or just as browbeaten. On the other hand, if he does stand up to her then he's not a Momma's Boy, even though she's still My Beloved Smother.
Young examples are shown sympathetically, older ones are usually Acceptable Targets because no one can be a badass if he always obeys his mother's instructions (unless she's encouraging him to be a badass which would make her more of an Action Mom). Note the Double Standard in this trope, as a girl with a controlling father is almost never Played for Laughs.
A young boy has a better chance of escaping mommy's patronage than an adult — who will, if anything, end up with a domineering wife instead. Sometimes an Oedipus Complex is involved. Rescue is unlikely: there aren't many Action Girls running around looking for poor oppressed boys. So there's the real danger that Momma's boy will grow old alone, until smother dies, when it's too late to change their ways and set right what went wrong.
To every Momma's Boy there is a Boy's Momma, of course.
Although the trope is usually played as inherently negative, it can also be portrayed in a more positive light, becoming essentially a gender-inversion of Daddy's Girl in which mother and son are simply very close and utterly adore each other, often to the exclusion of the father (if he's even around to begin with); and while the well-meaning mother might naturally welcome the idea of her son getting hooked, the usual doting and spoiling with which she treats her son might be a bit overwhelming for potential Love Interests... if she didn't accidentally scare them off with her overprotectiveness first. This form is still likely to be Played for Laughs, but in a more endearing way.
Compare Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas. See Mommy Issues for when this trope gets violent. See also All Take and No Give. The Distaff Counterpart, Daddy's Girl, is less often portrayed as inherently a bad thing.
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Anime and Manga
Gohan and Goten in Dragon Ball Z. In Dragon Ball GT, Goten is nearly thirty and still living with Mom, while Gohan is pushing forty and lives right next-door with his wife and daughter. Chichi is overly strict with Gohan and seems to have realized her mistakes and been overly lenient with Goten, but both sons love her dearly.
Ash Ketchum from Pokémon. Why wouldn't he be one? His mother is the only family he has, and he understandably flips out if something bad happens to her (see also: the third movie, Spell of the Unown). To be fair, even a non-Momma's Boy would flip if their mother was in mortal danger.
A quite weird case is shown in Detective Conan. Conan and the detective kids actually find a "haunted house" where a mother keeps her son locked in the basement to wait until Statute of Limitations past, even when the guy is guilty and does want to go to jail for his crime. Eventually, Conan helps the culprit convince her mother to let him go and turn himself in.
Kunio Murai from Great Teacher Onizuka is incredibly overprotective from his mother to an obnoxious and paranoaic extreme. He hates when someone gets close to her, dislikes thinking maybe someday she'll remarry, and his Berserk Button is people getting pervy over her.
Edward and Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist both dearly loved their mother Trisha, so much that they didn't want to accept her death and attempted to revive her.
Greece from Axis Powers Hetalia remains devoted to the memory of his mother long after her death, working to excavate the ruins and pass on the myths she left behind. This is not portrayed negatively (his mother was the great Ancient Greece, after all) and while some fanfics have his Sitcom Archnemesis Turkey mock him with this trope, it's usually presented as just a petty insult and Greece's relationship with his mother is usually portrayed positively/sympathetically in them.
Takashi in Nicoichi is extremely attached to his mother such that when she passed away in a traffic accident when he was two, he kept on clamouring for her without knowing she could never return, forcing his new guardian (and protagonist of the series) to assume the role of a mother and kickstarting the plot.
Bleach: Ichigo was one when he was younger. Yes, thatIchigo. Back then, he used to be a major crybaby, but whenever his mom appeared he would stop and would immediately smile. She was the center of not only his world, but his family as well. Her death is what caused him to be what he is today.
Side material for Fate/Zero says that the most effective counter to Rider is his mother. A completely Justified Trope: this particular Rider is Alexander the Great, who was a Momma's Boy in history.
Superman is very much a momma's boy and will proudly proclaim to anyone who asks (and those who don't) that his mother made his costume for him. (Though in the New52 era it looks like some kind of Kryptonian armor.)
Perhaps the ultimate example in comics is Peter Parker alias Spider-Man, although to be pedantic he really is an Auntie's Boy.
War Machine has some characteristics of this trope. He tries to do good deeds like stopping acts of genocide and thwarting likes of Norman Osborn so his mother can be proud of him.
In Cerebus the Aardvark, the pub owner Pud Withers is very devoted to his mother, to the point that his diary entries are addressed to her even though she's dead. He even apologizes to her as he's praying to Tarim for forgiveness for almost forcing himself on Jaka.
Norman Bates from Psycho must be the creepiest and most dominated example of this in film history. Even though he killed his mother, she still dominates him from beyond the grave.
Alex Sebastian from Notorious. He's not as obvious an example as Norman Bates, but his mother still has her hooks in good and deep. Alex manages to stand up to her by marrying Alicia. Unfortunately, Alicia turns out to be a American spy, and so Alex's mother is able to step in and exert control again
Lionel from Braindead (also called Dead Alive) is a perfect example. He's so emotionally dependent on his mother that after she gets zombified he hides her in the basement, unable to bring himself to destroy her. That is, until he learns she killed his father for having an affair. That knowledge lets him break free just in time for the final battle.
German comedy Ödipussi. He gets better, which is symbolized when he pulls down his mother's hat over her face.
Ernest Borgnine's title character in Marty. His cousin Tommy is one too.
The title character in Cyrus is one... except that he's the one that's manipulative and controlling.
In many European folk tales (for instance among the Romani), The Devil is sometimes described living in hell together with his mother and grandmother. (Since he can't be a married man obviously - marriage is a Catholic sacrament.) That makes this also a case of The Devil Is a Loser.
More "heroic" example: in Greek Mythology, the demi-god and hero Perseus was very protective of his beautiful mother, Danae. His adventures kickstarted when she was courted by an evil king who wanted her as his wife and him dead, so he tasked the guy with bringing him the monster Medusa's head, and thus began Perseus's Coming of Age story...
Another example from Greek Mythology is Hypnos, the god of sleep. He once sent Zeus to sleep so Hera could dick with Heracles without her husband finding out. When Zeus woke up, he was understandably pissed, so Hypnos ran off and hid behind his mother, Nyx, the Anthropomorphic Personification of night, and one of the few things in creation more powerful than an angry Zeus.
Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter. Since his mother Alice is mentally broken from many years ago and so is his father Frank, his grandmother Augusta raised him. She has him completely under her thumb, but while that is played for laughs, he eventually gains courage and his grandmother's pride of him during the Grand Finale.
Eddie Kaspbrak from Stephen King's IT is a former Momma's Boy with a domineering wife but manages to be kind of a hero too.
Another King example would be Larry Underwood from The Stand, though to a lesser degree.
The Doctor WhoEighth Doctor Adventures novel The Blue Angel is an Alternate Universe in which the Doctor is kind of one of these. (He's also Ambiguously Gay — Freud wouldn't have been surprised.) He's about forty and she's still trying to meddle in his personal life. To be fair, she's a mermaid who lives in a normal house in a nice little village and is therefore stuck in a wheelchair, and he's pretty far off his rocker — it makes sense they'd need each other's help. He lampshades it — as he has a bad leg when he goes to visit his mother, he comments on being reminded of Oedipus Rex. Interestingly, even in the several paragraphs of backstory about his childhood, his father is never mentioned, although an ex-boyfriend of his mother is.
The Silmarillion: Fëanor. He never knew his mother, but was ferociously devoted to her memory; he took personal offense when people mispronounced her name.
Similar to Percy, Nick Gautier in The Dark Hunters is a troubled magical teen who loves his mother to death, and insulting/harming her is his one Berserk Button - though comparing him to his scumbag of a dad comes close, too.
Paul Atreides in Dune. That Momma's Boy ain't no Momma's Boy!
Oblomov shares many characteristics with them, although his father isn't absent and also never shown to be a typical Henpecked Husband.
In Death series: Bobby from Memory In Death is this for his mother Trudy Lombard. He is told by Eve at the end that his Manipulative Bitch of a wife killed his Manipulative Bitch of a mother, and she would have killed him too. He knows that she is giving it to him straight, but he is unable to accept it. He is a victim to Eve cannot reach, and is clearly pitiable.
In John Gardner's Grendel, which is Beowulf told from the monster's point of view, Grendel was quite the little Mama's Boy as a lad.
It including hurling himself at his mother when he became frightened (or when he feels horribly displaced or 'obscene'), followed by a very vague implied comfort-nursing. Since Grendel is recalling it in first-person, he remembers this.
His traumatic growing up scene begins with straying out too far into the morning, following the scent of a newborn calf. He finds it to be "as sweet as his mama's milk". Once again, he remembers. How old was he when this happened... eleven, maybe?
In his adult life, he inverts from being a Mama's Boy a little, despising his mother's apparently inability to speak or desire to leave their cave.
And yet he always returns to her, with Mama trying to keep him from leaving her until he actually picks her up and puts her aside. Literally and figuratively. She didn't react well to "being put aside" and never tries to stop him from leaving again. Which is where Beowulf later kills him.
In Returnto Neverend, David Inari's reaction to his mother's death caused him to withdraw from society at large and stop visiting the land he and she had created. His fixation is responsible for creating the White Queen.
The Rifter: Fikiri. Represented as being very attached to his mother at a young age, and not growing away from her, and also being cowardly and petty. She is burned as a witch, and Fikiri blames John, whom he already hated, but this cements an undying enmity. Not that it’s shown to be wrong, in general, to love and look up to your mother: the warm relationship between Saimura and his mother Ji demonstrates that.
A Song of Ice and Fire has a few. In a number of flavours. In the outright creepy corner, we have Robert "Sweetrobin" Arryn and his Epic-class My Beloved Smother Lysa — this pair manage one of the most horrible takes on the trope you'd ever hope not to meet — the poor boy is so smothered, his physical health is directly impacted, not just his mental. In the mixed-bag section, we have Cersei Lannister and her two boys. One isn't what you'd expect in a typical Momma's Boy at all. Except, she went out to emotionally cripple our implusiveJoffrey quite handily. Tommen, however... is the trope played both sweetly and very, very straight. For more marginal examples, there are Brandon Stark and Samwell Tarly. Deliberate it wasn't in either case: but, they're their mothers' darlings. Thankfully, they are among the most lightly smothered you'll find still kind of meeting this trope. And, as far as Sam is concerned, it's unclear how much is actually a case of "really didn't get along with Monster Dad, so had only one other option". Most of their sufferings have little to do with this trope, in fact. There are a few more knocking about the series, both in the backstory and the main one, but these are the big ones.
Live Action TV
Dabney from Malcolm in the Middle takes this trope to a hilarious extreme when Dabney says "I know you think I'm a momma's boy", in which Malcolm replies "No, the momma's boys are laughing at you with their mothers!".
Ted from Scrubs, occasionally taking it to creepy levels.
Ronnie Corbett's character Timothy Lumsden from Sorry, whole point of the series, which outstayed its welcome despite British Brevity.
Brutus on Rome is controlled and manipulated by his mother Servilia, to the point of betraying his father figure to the death. Though at one point in season one he goes against her wishes, and sides with Pompey in the civil war.
Tiberius from I, Claudius is his mother's favourite. Unfortunately, this means that his life is not his own, and he is the constant focus of her manipulations. He may say that he resents her actions, and sulk a lot, but he goes along with her schemes.
To lesser degrees, there's also Sheldon, whose mother still treats him like a child and is the only person who can tell him what to do, and Raj, who is frequently lectured via web-cam by his parents in India, who he still calls mummy and daddy.
Leonard, meanwhile, is NOT overly fond of his mother.
Vinton Harper in Mamas Family. Despite being a grown adult, he still lives in the basement of his mother's house with his wife and always succumbs to his mother's strong iron will and a stronger temper. Even on the few occasions where he does back talks to his mother, he later feels guilty about it.
William, later known as Spike, in flashbacks on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He is devoted to his mother as a human (and it's his first defining relationship), and turns her into a vampire after Drusilla turns him because she was dying of tuberculosis. She's not particularly grateful, though, so he stakes her, though it obviously pains him to do it. This is also the root of his attraction to Drusilla, as his sire.
A Mash episode finds Frank Burns wigging out after sometime-girlfriend Hot Lips announces her engagement to another man. He winds up blubbering to his "mommy" on the phone.
Frank was also frequently depicted as regarding Hot Lips herself as a kind of surrogate mother figure...making their relationship more than a little squick-y.
When Radar asked why Frank would be upset that his wife found out about his affair because it would free him to marry Margaret, Hawkeye responds, "He doesn't want to leave mommy.".
Nina from Just Shoot Me! dated a hunky actor who was really a momma's boy. It wasn't till the end of that episode that he showed how much of a momma's boy he really was.
Ducky of NCIS is a subversion, as due to his mother's dementia he's caring for her.
Jack from Three's Company. Although his mother only ever appears on the show once, his catch phrase is practically "Mommy!"
The Doctor Who episode "Vampires of Venice" had the villain's son be this. When Rory insults him, he goes after him with a rapier, eventually turning off his perception filter so he could rip him apart.
Luke Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures absolutely adores his mother. The adoration is mutual and not in any way creepy. In fact, their relationship is the heart of the show. Even sweeter because Luke is adopted.
Jason Teague of Smallville's fourth season is a scary example, functioning as his Evil Matriarch of a mother's Dragon. She's more or less destroyed his self-esteem to the point where he can't do anything else.
Mitchell on Modern Family is said to be this by his partner Cameron:
There's a fish in nature that swims around with its babies in its mouth. That fish would look at Mitchell's relationship with his mother and say, "That's messed up."
Cameron's not one to talk though as he's very close to his mother. To the extent that he doesn't believe Mitchell when he says she's always inappropriately touching him.
The 2009 NBC reality dating show called, appropriately enough, Momma's Boys, centered around three momma's boys whose mothers were along for the ride as the young men took part in the game to find a girlfriend. The show had many notable moments, among them:
One of the frontrunners for firefighter Michael was Erica Ellyson, the 2008 Penthouse Pet of the Year. Erica was terrified to tell Michael and his mother, Lorraine, about this fact, but she eventually came clean to both. Ironically, Michael was the one who expressed doubt as to whether or not he should ultimately choose Erica, while Lorraine actually encouraged him to choose her ("I have a choice between a doctor and a Penthouse Pet... and my mom wants me to choose the Penthouse Pet!"). Michael ended up not choosing Erica, but Erica and Lorraine had become close in spite of this. After the show and after the expiration of her contract with Penthouse, Erica went to Florida to visit Lorraine.
Jewish real estate broker Rob was clearly smitten with Camilla and was shown to have plenty of chemistry with her, but his mother, Esther, disapproved of Rob's choice because Camilla was black. Though she did not explicitly mention Camilla's race, Esther strongly hinted her disapproval of such by telling Rob, "Think of what the Passover table will look like," when trying to press him to choose a girl named Lauren. When Rob tried to plead his case by asking Esther, "What about my happiness?" in response to Esther's demand that he make her happy (by choosing Lauren), Esther coldly replied that she didn't care. Rob eventually caved in to his mother and chose Lauren to go with him on a romantic island trip, but was reported to have returned home from the trip after just one day, and without Lauren.
Khalood, mother of hockey player Jojo, famously insisted that her potential daughter-in-law not be black, Asian, Latino, "fat butt," Jewish, and so forth; Khalood wanted a girl who was "white, petite, and do what I tell her to." Her litany upset many of the girls, and created tension between them and her. When Jojo went out on a date with African-American Misty, Khalood demanded that the producers fly her via helicopter so that she could spy on them. Upon seeing Jojo and Misty in a hot tub embracing, Khalood became enraged. When the time came for the mothers to choose between two girls for one of their sons' two final dates (their sons would choose a different girl for the other final date), Khalood decided to deny both girls the final date and punctuated her decision by ripping up the plane ticket that was meant for whoever she had chosen. During her "final date" with Jojo, Khalood took the squick factor Up to Eleven when her comments about "her" Jojo being handsome and sexy came across sounding like she was sexualy attracted to him herself. Jojo, much to Khalood's disappointment, chose to go away with Mindy instead of going home with her. Khalood was offered counseling by the show's producers, which she rejected.
Frankie Howerd Rather You Than Me: Frankie and his mum are very close. His dad isn't on the scene because [[his mother threw him out when he discovered that he was a child molester.]]
The Suzi Quatro song "Mama's Boy"; she wishes he was more manly.
The Wilco song "Misunderstood" has the line You know you're just a mama's boy.
Britney Spears says "Go run to your mother" after a rather Dramatic break up in the song of the same title. Implying the boy this song is about is a mommy's boy.
Mr. Burling: You're twenty-eight, you have a ridiculous job, and you still live with your mother. Arthur: Well, yeah, but not in the "ooh, still lives with his mother" way people are thinking when they laugh about it. I just live with her because we get on really well, like friends, so why pay rent? Mr. Burling: That is precisely what people are thinking when they laugh about it.
The title character of Albert Herring is often teased for living under his mother's thumb. Being crowned King of the May only heightens his shame, and he decides he needs to cut loose in the worst way.
In Pokémon Live!, Delia sees Ash as this, although he wants to get out of it and be a man. It turns out Delia wants Ash to remain like this in order to protect him from Team Rocket.
Extra credit for being a more spiritual sort of "motherhood" courtesy of the Jenova cells Sephiroth was originally infected with, and also courtesy of Jenova not even being determinately female or necessarily even fully aware of it. It's definitely how Sephiroth acts about the whole affair, though.
He might just have delusions that his imaginary Mother loves him and would like him to turn the planet into their own personal family barbecue, then using it as a transport to go to new planets to eat at, as it is unknown how Jenova can even communicate with him.
Cloud is a positive take on this trope, having been raised by a single mother.
Good ol' Seymour Guado from Final Fantasy X. The guy's got some massive Oedipal issues. Though the hate he has of his father completely overrides the love for his mother. Unlike a certain other Final Fantasy Momma's Boy...
While Morgan's friend Brady loves his mother Maribelle dearly, he criticises her at some point because, since she once was a My Beloved Smother to him, he turned out to become this and couldn't save her from death.
In Baten Kaitos Origins, one of Sagi's defining character traits is his love for his mother, and many of the decisions he makes throughout the game are attempts to help or please her. It later leads to one of his best moments.
Badass and Scary Black Man Sig in the Jak and Daxter series, who reminisces about his mother telling him stories and handing him warm milk and his "little Poopsie Bear" when he was a child. (He's about the only character whose mother has even been mentioned besides Keira, which puts him one up on the rest of the world.)
Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side's flamboyant artist, Mihara Shiki, loves his mommy and doesn't mind saying so. In this case it's not exactly presented as a negative so much as simply an indication of his quirkiness - for example, in one of his events he drapes himself against a bust he made of his mother, lamenting that she's not there right now, giving the heroine the impression that his mother is dead... but no, she's at home making dinner.
Jin Kazama from the highly-popular 3D fighting series Tekken.
Teruteru Hanamura from Super Dangan Ronpa 2 really loves his mom and it's even stated to be one in his profile. This is what drives him to murder because he wants to get out of the island so he can find out if she's okay, since she's also an Ill Girland a Workaholic. He also he has a brief flashback after the first trial as he tells how he is worried about her declining health due to overwork in her restaurant, and he screams for his mother before the execution starts.
Zaboo from The Guild is this trope to the comic extreme. The last few webisodes of the first season center on the guild helping him break free of his mother, treating her as the most scary and powerful boss of all time
Played even sadder with Donnie's love for his mom in Demo Reel. Why? Because she committed suicide when he was a kid.
Walt, Larry and Igner of Futurama are a trio of this trope. They allow themselves to be entirely dominated by their mother, Mom. Igner is a retard, Larry is a coward, and Walt has the worst Oedipus Complex you'll ever see.
Walt:(right after being insulted and slapped by Mom) "Some day I want to marry a girl like her."
Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy, who lives in his mother's basement.
Tobey, a young Evil Genius who can bring his city to its knees with his large robots and gives the title heroine a run for her money...but is very often thwarted when his mother appears, snatches away his controls, and drags him away by his ear.
Prince Zuko - his mother was the best and steadiest influence on his life, until she vanished mysteriously. When he struggles with the morally right thing to do, the idea of what his mother would want of him is never far away.
Legendary Snickers-hurling, van-driving, anything-welding badass Mr. T has declared himself to be "Just a big tough overgrown mama's boy". Suddenly the term loses a lot of its force as an insult...
"I am a Momma's Boy. I PITY THE FOOL WHO AIN'T ONE!"
You're telling me the guy who had a rap song using the line "Treat your mother right, treat her right." is a momma's boy? You don't say.
General Douglas MacArthur's mother always told him he had to grow up to be as great as his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (Lieutenant General, and military governor of the Philippines for a time). Also, while he was a bachelor, he kept a mistress in a hotel, unbeknownst to his mother.
Jorge Luis Borges was like this too. One example: when he was in his 60s, he was offered some wine, and his mother said, "The boy doesn't drink wine." He had become blind at that time, if you wonder why his mother still had to care for him.
Jake Gyllenhaal appears to be this, if one of his interviews with Jimmy Kimmel is any indication. He told a very lengthy anecdote about her getting him a present, describing her as a "badass chick" for her sheer persistence.
Professional Wrestling has WCW wrestler Buff Bagwell and his mother, Judy, who was made one-half of the WCW World Tag Team Champions in 1998 with Rick Steiner. Both Buff and Kanyon would fight in a "Judy Bagwell on a Pole Forklift" match in 2000. It was also rumored that Bagwell was fired from the WWF in 2001 because Judy was calling the WWF offices to complain about Buff's travel schedule. However, it was also likely due to his notorious stinker of a match against Booker T on the July 2 Raw.
You'd have to be suicidal to tell Genghis Khan he wasn't "manly", but he did love his mother, Hoelun. She was his advisor from time to time, and also helped raise boys who were orphaned in his raids.
Michael Jackson adored his mother Katherine, and apparently so did everyone else according to his memorial ("Mrs. Jackson... and Joe"). If I recall correctly, one of the first things Michael did when he became a successful solo artist was to throw a big birthday party for her, which nearly backfired horribly because she is a devout Jehovah's Witness (they compromised by having all the gifts "wrapped" in plain brown bags).
Javier Bardem; he notably dedicated his Oscar win for No Country for Old Men to his mother (In Spanish, no less), and cites her career as an actress as his inspiration for becoming an actor himself.
Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champ Lennox Lewis' autobigraphy was even entitled "Mommas Boy". Not that I would call him on it or anything.
Franz Liebkind: The Fuhrer wasn't a mousy little mama's boy! The Fuhrer was BUTCH!
Hitler loved his mother, Karla, so much that he put Eduard Bloch, the Jewish doctor who cared for her when she was dying of breast cancer, under special protection of the Gestapo and allowed Bloch and his family to emigrate to the United States.
The Roman Emperor Severus Alexander, who was only fourteen when his mother arranged for him to come to power. She was known as 'Mother of Augustus, and of the camps, and of the senate, and of the Fatherland', in case anyone was in any doubt about who was really in charge. Eventually, they were both murdered.
Elvis Presley made a promise to both his parents that he would take care of them once he made it big, and he kept that promise, even bringing them to live at Graceland. Their graves are there, right beside his.
Johnny Cash: (Elvis Presley) was a kid when I worked with him. He was nineteen years old, and he loved cheeseburgers, girls, and his mother, not necessarily in that order (it was more like his mother, then girls, then cheeseburgers).
German author Erich Kästner (whom you may know from the book that became adapted as The Parent Trap) was this in Real Life and also wrote many characters like this in his books.
Ronnie and Reggie Kray were notorious London Gangsters, "but they loved their mum".
NFL receiver Andre Johnson, after being goaded into a fistfight with opposing cornerback Cortland Finnegan, was later asked in an interview what his mother thought about it. He responded that he'd rather not say what his 'Momma' said about him fighting.
Speaking of NFL players, the very first thing that linebacker Ray Lewis, considered one of the game's toughest, most physical players, bought after he got his first contract? An apartment in the city he moved to play in for his mom, down the hall from his apartment. The two still have a close relationship.
Russian NHL winger and current super star Alexander Ovechkin is an admitted Momma's Boy. He is single and often stays with his parents, while his mother cooks and washes for him.