Saturday, January 9, 2016

Slowly Warmed Plums

Today my son strolled out into the living room - naked - with a perplexed look on his face. "Daddy - what is this bit?"

My kids do have a habit of walking through the front door and shedding almost every item of clothing. Normally this is much later in the day. They seem to think there's a competition to see who can be ready for bed first. At 5pm. I say seem. Because I don't whip everything off they then mock me as if I'm utterly pathetic for still being dressed whilst they strut about in underpants. It's the oddest thing to feel inadequate about. To their credit they do have a tendency to look out the window to check if the sun is going down in any way first. If there's even the remotest hint of that then off it all comes.

Yep - it's all coming off.
  But today it was the middle of the day. My daughter was dancing in the living room. He'd wandered off into my bedroom. Where he was rolling around on my bed play-fighting an imaginary beast with his enormous sword. For anyone wondering I don't do any sort euphemistic, grown up version of this. He'd gone off in there because his sister was listening to her latest favorite Girl Power song. When he made a bit of a grumpy show of being forced to leave (complete with dramatic eye roll) she did change it to another song and gleefully yelled "look there are naked, hero men in this one - you like them!" Which was one of those moments where I really didn't want to know about any of this. So I carried on washing the dishes. A moment later he walked into the kitchen nude. With a quizzical look on his face. 

My son is five. And as such it's a safe bet that every other sentence includes a reference to parts of the body he finds somewhat rude. The context behind it really depends on the time of day. If it's after school then there's a darker, cheekiness behind it. Very much a "look what rudeness I'm saying!" tinge to it. In the morning or during the weekend and he's usually just being five. Very infrequently it involves actually pointing out or revealing something. Mostly his arse. On the whole though he tends to know that if he says or does anything along those lines in public then he's in trouble. However there is one now-famous incident where I showed up at his school gate to pick him up. My son - ever helpful - informed me instantly that he just told his teacher (context is unclear) that "my Daddy has a penis like me - but massive." The important thing to note here is he told her - and the horde of parents and teachers knocking about just as I was picking him up. Then I had to ask the mother of another kid if she could move slightly so we could squeeze past. And every single person there could tell I wanted to say, "you know - because of my massive cock."

Anyhoo - my son stood in the kitchen trying to point at under his willy and demanding I look. I was not prepared for this at all. And when there's absolutely no preparation for that kind of unexpected sight you cannot help but let out a very loud noise. Fifty percent of which is confusion and the other fifty percent is just the noise your brain makes to scare away whatever the hell it knows your eyes are looking at. Essentially my son had discovered that there appears to be this other part to his penis that isn't just the bit he can normally see. I don't even know if at age five you can call that part of the body your testicles. But he'd discovered something and wanted to know what it was. My brain raced. For some annoying reason the thought entered my mind that - in the seedier parts of the online dating world - testicles are probably called Tinder Eggs. "It's like I've got another elbow growing." He was entirely unaware of how close he was to an urban dictionary definition there. The only other thing he said was an "actually Daddy" statement where he gave me that look where he knew he was teaching me something I couldn't possibly know. Which in this case was to tell me a completely unrelated comment about how a boy at school told his teacher that one a week women lay eggs (a disturbing bastardization of the menstrual cycle, if ever there was one) when clearly only chickens lay eggs. 

Needless to say I did that thing you have to do of explaining to a five year old that it's just a normal part of the body. And resist any notion of talking about how puberty will cause enormous changes. I didn't quite think "don't mention pubes". But I think that's because I don't think I've ever thought it was reasonable not to. Fortunately in the middle of a three minute answer he wandered off to go put on a pair of just-dried underpants. Which was when I realized he did that earlier in the week too. Meaning he heard the ugly buzzer going on the dryer last Tuesday and knew  that was the alarm for Fresh Warm Knickers. So he wasn't just in my room contorting himself into uncomfortable shapes trying to figure out bits of his body he normally doesn't get a good look at. No - instead he's developed an odd sense of decadence that if the dryer is doen then he can warm hsi plums.

The boy's clearly weird.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Death Of The Gussett Moles

For a fleeting second I worried that my testicles had traveled forward in time from 2010 and were viciously attacking my shirts.

My daughter is going through some sort of growth spurt. The thing is she seems to be doing this every three weeks. Which - if I'm calculating this correctly - means that by this time next year she should be eight feet tall. Seriously though - it's deeply perplexing. Every month I seem to buy her a new set of everything. None of her pants fit. Her socks are weirdly too small. She's going through shoes like Imelda Marcos. And before you ask - yes I've checked to see if I'm just simply shrinking her clothes. Her brother's mostly seem to fit. He's growing too but not at the mutant, inhuman rate she is. And my clothes aren't oddly small of late. I do remember about ten years ago standing in my bedroom getting dressed for the day and being baffled that somehow all of my clothes were too tight. And naively thinking, "This is amazing - I seem to have shrunk everything I own. Even somehow clothes I haven't even put in the wash. And yet it seems incredibly selective as it's only my clothes that have shrunk. This is a complete mystery...." Back then I was fifty pounds heavier than I am now. And that mystery was a heady mix of potato chips, huge bottles of soda and a total and complete lack of exercise. Let me tell you I'm not especially ugly or anything - but fifty pounds heavier than this and I look like the lesbian version of me that really likes donuts and desperately needs electrolysis. Whereas now I'm alright. If we're thinking metaphorically I like to think of myself as cilantro. In other words I'm very much either your type or not at all. And that when you look at me you get the sensation that you'd either really, really like or be repulsed by the flavour I'd leave all over your tongue.

My profile picture.
Anyhoo - that's not the case now. I'm not shrinking all of our clothes. Although apparently I've hit some sort of critical mass where the general wear and tear I inflict upon my clothes has all hit at once. Most of my favorite things either look old or suddenly have a hole in them. I found myself sat in work last week aware that every single thing I was wearing probably had about four weeks of life left in it.

I went on a little vacation several months back. During which I left three shirts behind. Two very much my favorite two. I left them because they both somehow had a hole in the left elbow. I somehow also managed to rip my coat. A day after getting home I lost another very nice shirt to the exact same problem. After doing my laundry I realized that a pair of very nice grey pants had a hole in the leg. In the two months since then I've had the same left-elbow-hole problem in two other shirts. And yesterday after getting back from a hike I noticed that the blue sweater I was wearing had a hole in it. In the left elbow. All of which can only mean one of three things. One - I have the sharpest left elbow on planet earth. Two - at varying times of the day I fall into a deep, epileptic trance that is the only moment that my conjoined, hedgehog-twin comes to life and tries bursting through my skin. And three - I'm doing something very weird with my left arm.

I might need a shave.

I'm ruling out the first one. Because if I have been placed on this earth to be shining exemplar to all those around me (and let's be honest - you all kind of sense that it's probably true) I doubt it's to show my fellow man how to ruin perfectly nice shirts. It's probably got something to do with different ways to cook a potato, if I'm honest. But certainly not destroying decent shirts.

And believe me when I say I really like nice, collared shirts. Actually that's not really big enough. I really like nice clothes. Good quality ones that fit properly. Not in an arrogant sense. I promise you there's no vanity there. I'm not wandering about trying to get people to see labels or be impressed that I have on designer stuff. Unless it's shoes obviously. It would make total sense to me if people dropped to their knees and asked if they could lick whichever pair of Cole Haan or Aston Grey shoes I might have on. Yes - I'm acutely aware that last sentence is massively hypocritical to the one before it. And as far as clothes go it's not even in that sense in Crazy, Stupid, Love where Ryan Gosling (PBUH) takes Steve Carrell shopping. Because in that Gosling is so terrified that people might see how lonely and insecure he is that he hides behind the fact that he is possibly the most fuckable man on God's green earth (plus he wrote a damn good album nobody really heard about too). No. I just like wearing stuff that I feel good in. That's about as complex as it gets. I'm certainly not walking around thinking "come and get it ladies...". You know the type. Those blokes that lick their fingertips and smooth down their eyebrows with it. Or worse - a mustache. I assure you I don't have a vain bone in my body. Or anyone elses, for that matter. 

Like a lot of guys there was a period where I really didn't make too much of an effort. Buying clothes was a very functional thing. I didn't ever go wandering about in mom jeans and whatever polo shirts were on sale at Old Navy. But quite honestly I didn't have much of a sense that anyone would find me particularly attractive. So I didn't really think about how to look better than I did. I used to go to one store to buy $3 t-shirts. And I don't really even like t-shirts. I'd buy all my shirts from one store because they were the kind that looked half decent under a jumper and never cost more than $10. Because like a lot of people I had that sense that if I'm wearing layers then you might not be able to tell that I'm mostly out of shape. I've never really felt all that comfortable in jeans either. And I always wore shoes. Trainers always made me feel like I was twelve. So I've always worn decent pants, collared shirts and shoes. But in that History lecturer way. About four or five years ago that changed when someone flirted with me. Which I hadn't noticed happening in years. Actually I had to be told they were flirting with me too. As silly as it sounds I sort of learned then that it's perfectly okay to get some semblance of enjoyment out of looking nice.

I used to be plagued by gusset moles. Up until about four or five years ago. Every five or six months I'd suffer the horror that half of the knickers I owned somehow had massive holes in them. At the time I came to the conclusion that either a family of rampaging moles were living in my underwear drawer feasting on my underpants. Or that I had unusually abrasive testicles. Thankfully in hindsight it was neither. Just to be sure I did check my drawers (both kinds) and there are no moles in either. Pretty simply - I bought terrible underwear. Much like going out for $3 t-shirts I just didn't think about it much. So I promoted myself to better ones. Not great ones - but better ones. Since then I've moved up in the world and spend the money on good ones. And if I can make one difference in the lives of any men that might read this thing - go and buy decent underwear. If only because they feel so much better. They do look a lot better too. Granted it isn't going to have the same effect as a woman in good underwear. Life just doesn't work that way. But the fact that you actually give a shit about what knickers you're wearing does mean something.

Plus frankly I don't like the idea that there are men across the globe - stood in their bedrooms looking down at another hole in the underpants - and worrying that they've got cheese-grater testicles.