Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Heartstrings, hats and homosexuality

Sigh. Another week, another inevitable series of blows to my pride, like the pounding of tiny hammers. Let's just take a little look at the events that have served to gently erode my self-esteem in the last seven days, shall we?

1) We are all in the car, driving back from visiting my inlaws. Despite the lateness of the hour, our eldest is chattering away like a drunken monkey, filling the car a with a constant stream of good-natured gibberish:
"I love my Mummy," she sings. "And my sister".
"Ah, that's nice" says The Wife. "Anybody else?"
"Tatty Ratty" she says firmly, waving her revolting, dribble-stained toy rabbit.
"Aha. Any other people?" suggests TW, nodding in my direction in a way that she perhaps thinks is discreet, but is in fact anything but.
"No, I don't think so..."
"What about Daddy?"
"No," she says airily. "I like Daddy. But I don't love him..."
I wince visibly. I imagine the snapping of paternal heartstrings can be heard even above the road noise.
"That is not very nice..." chides her mother.
She thinks about this for a while.
"I was only joking you" she announces. "I do love Daddy."
"Just not as much as my Mummy and my sister..."

2) My wife and I are attending Parents Evening at the local school. I am delicately reversing the car into a parking space, when my wife suddenly notices the hat I am wearing. It is a knitted woolen hat, of the type favoured by snowboarders, skateboarders and The Youth in general, and in truth it has little business being on the head of a 37 year old man - but then, I am am not wearing it to be urban or edgy: I am wearing it because I am getting old and my head increasingly feels the cold. Sadly, it becomes apparent that I am also wearing it wrong, in some mysterious way:
"What the hell is up with your hat?"
"I'm parking the car dear, could you not shout at me until I've done that? Only the last time we hit a car in a car park it was a Porsche, and the repair bill was pretty costly..."
"You look ridiculous."
"It's a hat. You've seen it before. Many, many times."
"You don't wear it like that!"
"I'm not sure how else you can wear it? You just sort of put it on your head."
"No, no, no. You can't even dress yourself properly, can you? It should go over your ears."
This seems slightly unfair. It is, after all, my hat, along with my head, and indeed my ears. I feel that I have reached the age where I should be able to arrange these three things in a way that best suits me, without a Fashionista harpie shrieking at me (though I do inwardly concede that if my hat were pulled down further over my ears I would not be able to hear her, so there is some merit in the idea).
"Take it off," she commands.
"Take it off, in case anybody I know sees you looking like that."
I put the handbrake on. It makes the same grinding noise as my teeth...
"What?" I ask
"There will be people in here that I know. The teachers, other parents..." And she rips the hat off my head, and confiscates it away into her handbag.
"But that is my hat..." I say, both pointlessly and helplessly.
"The way you wear it make you look like a mental patient" she informs me.

3) In a few days, I'm off for a long-planned weekend away with 'the lads', if such a term can be given to a group of men with an average age of 40, who are all married with kids. This trip has been discussed at some length, and my wife has prepared our children for my absence during the coming weekend by explaining that "Daddy is away with his friends", and that while he is "off with the boys" that Mummy and the girls will do lots of nice things together.
However, it appears our eldest has misunderstood the nature of my trip in one very significant way, as is proven when she meets me at the door when I come in from work.
"Come with me, Daddy", she says, taking my hand, and leading me to the dining room. Another five-year-old girl is sitting there, clearly her friend from school.
"This is my Daddy" announces my daughter.
"Hello..." I say
The other girl nods disinterestedly.
"My Daddy is going away at the weekend with his boyfriends..." adds my daughter.
"They are not my boyfriends" I correct her, perhaps a touch too quickly.
"They are..." she insists,
I close my eyes sadly. I can see the inevitable chain of events unfolding in my mind, whereby the visiting girl informs her parents (who in turn inform everybody else we know, and possibly post the news on the Internet) that I enjoy the odd weekend away with my boyfriends. This will make the school run next week a whole lot more interesting...

1 comment:

Misterimpatient said...

WRT Item 2 in this week's dissertation, I have several wool hats which I wear because, like you, I feel the odd chill on top now and again. When indoors, including in my car, I seldom cover my ears as doing so reduces my hearing. This is especially critical when driving as I want, always, to be able to hear the crunch and crumble of metal around me as I park.

When around my wife and selected others, my ears are always covered. No need, I think, to explain why.