Thursday 23 April 2009

Princesses and poor men.

Wedding anniversary night. Nine whole years married, despite me clearly having a series of debilitating character flaws that would have caused most women to throw their hands up in despair and head for the hills, long, long before we started picking out china patterns. My wife not only remains married to me, but also claims to intermittently enjoy it - which either says a great deal about her superhuman levels of patience, tolerance and forgiveness, or my truly startling prowess in the bedroom. It's a tough call, but I'll let you make your own minds up.
We have celebrated the event by really pushing the boat out: we have 'enjoyed' a really pretty middling takeaway curry and had a good sneer at Surallen's Calvalcade of Business Idiots (i.e The Apprentice). We have then done what every married couple with young children does when given the chance: gone to bed for a good hard sleep.
Sleep is sadly not arriving, however, because I have drunk most of a bottle of wine and am feeling 'a bit chatty', and because the curry its working its dubious magic and I am breaking wind, really quite dramatically, at intervals of around 3-7 minutes.
I am also occasionally giggling at the noise I am making. She really is a very lucky woman.
"Nine years ago today, I was being treated like a princess. Look at me now..." she says sadly into the dark.
"Wow, did you hear that one?" I interrupt. "It sounded just like a duck quacking..."
"Like a princess..." she reiterates, a touch manically.
"You still get treated like a princess..." I retort automatically, but without much conviction, as this is topic of conversation we have explored many times in the past and I cannot ever remember it ending well.
"Huh" she snorts. "Oh yes, just like a princess. Yesterday a child came into the toilet while I was sitting there, and forced herself onto my lap. I had to pee with a toddler bouncing on my legs. I bet that doesn't happen in Buckingham Palace..."
"You should have locked the door."
"If I lock the door they pound on it and howl, like rabid coyotes...what is that ungodly smell?"
"Amazing, isn't it? I've shocked even myself with that one..."
"Like a princess" she says, like mantra, and I can hear her fists clenching and unclenching in the dark. "Like a princess. Like a princess..."

Truth is, dignity is in short supply for everybody round here. This was ably demonstrated to me when my eldest daughter decided she wanted to join me in the bath this week. It was grim. I blame her mother, who has carefully instilled in both our girls the idea that the male body, and in particular the unique aspect of it, are subjects of universal hilarity that should be treated with both ridicule and utter contempt. This does not not mean, though, that she did not have questions...
"Daddy..." she asks, as I was towelling myself dry "...what are those things?"
I sigh exasperatedly. Not this again, I thought. Last time we went to the swimming baths and got changed in a family changing cubicle, both girls chanted "Wi-lly! Wi-lly! Wi-lly!" for so long and at such a volume that I was seriously worried that somebody might call Social Services, who would then be waiting outside when we opened the cubicle door.
"You know what that is." I say, crossly, trying to close the subject down.
"No, not your stupid willy" she says disdainfully. "The ugly things behind it."
I cover myself protectively with the towel. I realise that an explanation should probably be forthcoming, but am not quite sure what to say - primarily because, although we have decided on innocuous words for a 5-year old to use when describing other parts of the anatomy, we have not had the foresight to think of one for these particular appendages.
"They are my... (What? What? Come on, think, you can't say 'balls', she'll say it to her teacher) hurty things. They are the bits that hurt Daddy when you run into him. Or that time when you hit him with the broom. Or that other time, when Mummy tried to throw Daddy the remote control..."
"Oh" she says, clearly feigning understanding (which is just fine with me). Sadly, there is more she wants to know.
"Do all men have them?
"Yes, that's right. They do."
There is a pause.
"Even poor people?" she asks.

I've thought about it a lot since, and I still don't understand what the underlying logic was to her question. I love the idea though - if you follow it through, it could suggest that the ownership of a full pair was something of a status symbol, a mark of honour, something to be admired.
If only that were true. I can say with absolute certainty that it isn't the case in my house...


Pat said...

Ah, the old 'shouting about your private parts in the swimming pool changing rooms' trick, one of the many joys of parenthood that you're not warned about.

In my case it was Emily shouting "get away from me, big willy!" at the top of her voice. Oh, how I chortled.

Pat said...

Oh, and congratulations on your 9-year anniversary! We'll hit that milestone this October...hmm, what is it for 9 years? Polystyrene? Tupperware?

PDC said...

9 years is apparently either 'electrical or woolen goods' - at least according to Brewsters.
(Insert joke about sheep here)

aiddy said...

very funny. fay is in stitches, but asked me not to read aloud in front of the children.

ps we've been looking at the cakes. they are brilliant.