Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I Am A Hideous Woman
My son keeps calling me Mommy.
In the past twenty four hours I made a big pot of Madras curry and a chuffing great big pot of lamb cawl (a Welsh stew, basically). Couldn't smell them at all in the kitchen. The smells must have intertwined and cancelled each other out. But when I popped out back to watch the dog (walnuts and wet, fox shit everywhere - don't trust him by himself) the entire back of the house reeked of both of them. It wasn't too bad a smell actually so I conducted an experiment. I grabbed a small bowl, plopped in a spoon of curry and a spoon of cawl. It briefly crossed my mind that I may be about to reveal a fusion-food so ridiculously tasty that I might pass out. A Welsh lamb curry - it seemed so obvious an idea. Sadly though it tasted horrifying. Even this would probably have tasted better.
Now, I'm not an ugly man. I'm not saying I'm especially handsome either. Not in the weird uber-masculine way that's quite popular in this part of the US, anyway. And by that I mean the kind that marries absurd layers of shirts (always two at a time it seems) with acres of hair gel, chugging massive quantities of gash like Bud Light at a bar whilst loudly singing/burping along to whatever God-awful country song is popular at the minute (that fucking appalling Party song is a particularly hated on of mine at the moment - and a song that I swear has a bit about an "afterbirth party" in it), only driving a man-truck and having a bash at chewing tobacco "to get a buzz on". Actually as far as the shirts thing goes I just can't get my head around the propensity of people wearing shiny, golf shirts. Any job I've held I've felt over-dressed because I'd wear a collared, buttoned shirt - whereas most of the other blokes would either wear a golf shirt that looks like your Gran's couch, or one of those hideous long-sleeved No Boundaries shirts with what seem like Norwegian Death Metal emblems all over them.
Basically what I'm saying is I do alright. And as a single man in decent shape, with an English accent wandering about central New York I could be up to my ears in Grade D muff. Oddly now I'm divorced I've started noticing people either brazenly hitting on me (mostly in bars) or kindly flirting out of habit (quite an odd encounter at Lowes when a lady asked me to say, "leaf blower" three times). I'm assuming it's mostly the accent. But there's the possibility with this being a small close-knit community that people are just being nice to the most recently divorced man in the village. Still, I'm not the kind of peculiar wherein not only do strangers frequently mistake me for a woman, but that my own kids think I look just like their mother. Just to be clear (and very thankfully for her) I don't. The lack of boobs and the fact I have a penis is the main tell-tale sign. But other than that there's the obvious fact that she looks like a woman and I look like a man (albeit a foreign one).
Still, my son has been habitually calling me Mommy and then quickly correcting himself. I don't think he's doing it to be funny either. The daycare lady that takes care of him has been jokingly calling him Fred the last few days - which I've also taken on board and have started doing every now and again. I also remember at university that a housemate decided on a whim to deliberately call another housemate Dave, even though that wasn't his name. I did very briefly consider that my brief absences from his life had forced him into a habit of his own wherein the parent who was mostly around was his mother. Therefore it could just be force of habit.
But no - I think it's just a verbal tick. At dinner last night (at which my daughter guffed Ranch dressing onto a chicken madras curry, by the way) he called me Mommy when asking for a drink. So I leaned over and deliberately whispered too loudly to his sister, "...he thinks I'm pretty!" Which he found so hysterical that it actually hurt my self-esteem. Which took a further whack when he quickly retorted that, "You aren't pretty. You're a Daddy." I don't have an especially fragile ego, but I must admit that for a second I did feel a small amount of pain that my son doesn't think I'm a pretty lady. To be fair while I'm an alright look bloke I would make a hideous transvestite. And I say that after working somewhere with an unusual number of them - one of whom looked exactly like the Amish bloke from Kingpin. Thankfully my son came back to me right away and said that, "boys can't be pretty." But then added, "but they can be pretty stinky" and gave me a look that lasted just a bit too long.
Serves me right for putting sprouts in the curry.