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FOR one reason or another, us poor dads always seem to have a lot of explaining to do. We’re forever finding ourselves in trouble, digging holes for ourselves, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, plunging ourselves into embarrassing situations, and inevitably ending up in the dreaded doghouse. It just comes with the territory.
And, more often than not, there’s a perfectly innocent explanation – like the time I romantically set up a secret ISA bank account with the sole purpose of saving a few quid every week in order to surprise my wife with a holiday cruise for our silver wedding anniversary.
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MY daughter has moved into a new flat in London. You know the kind of thing – smaller than a broom cupboard, but the rent’s higher than the cost of living in a mansion up north.
There isn’t even a lounge – just a barely-furnished kitchen Hannah shares with three other flatmates, and it’s in desperate need of a settee.
As luck would have it, her Grandma (my mum) had a spare settee at her house in Middlesbrough – a red leather recliner from Barker & Stonehouse no less – so yours truly was called into action.
The Blame Game
Sofa, So Bad
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CLEARLY, it’s important to try to make a good impression in front of your children’s friends. And, yes, it’s true that I haven’t always managed it.
There was the time, when my daughter was 14 years old and three boys called for her. Hannah opened the front door with a full view into the kitchen where I was cooking, dressed in my baggiest shorts and T-shirt, and on my third large glass of red wine.
I happened to be attached to my iPod and was singing along in a little bubble of my own. To the throbbing guitar strains of Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down”, I turned into Freddie Mercury, grabbing an imaginary microphone stand, dancing to the end of the kitchen, going down on one knee, then trotting back.
OVER the years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that us men get the blame for everything. It’s one of those inevitabilities of life, like night following day, toast falling butter-side down, and Donald Trump being offensive.
What I hadn’t realised, however, is that we are now getting the blame for what our wives are dreaming about. It doesn’t even have to happen in real life for us fellas to end up in the doghouse.
Take my friend Mark – dad of two daughters, respected doctor, and my occasional tennis partner.
He couldn’t help noticing that his wife was giving him the cold shoulder. You know the kind of thing: giving monosyllabic answers to his questions; finding reasons to leave the room when he walked in; sighing more than usual; and generally wearing that disturbing veil of disapproval.
WHEN you get to my age – 54 next week – and having endured the intense stress and high blood-pressure of bringing up four children, keeping fit becomes a higher priority.
My wife, therefore, bought me one of those wristbands that monitor how many steps you take, and computes your sleep patterns. It’s called a “Jawbone UP2 Fitness Tracker” and it quickly became an obsession.
Synched to my phone, it shows how many hours of deep sleep I have each night (not many), how many hours of light sleep (a few) and how many hours of being awake (lots). It doesn’t show how many times I get up to use the loo or how loudly my wife is snoring, so it has its limitations.
Lost For Words
IT has been a recurring theme of this column over the past 25 years that us dads – well men in general come to think of it – get the blame for everything.
Yes, I know it’s a generalisation, but let me tell you about last week’s “bread incident” as an example.
It began when my wife phoned me at work to say she wanted to meet me because there were some potential “bargains” she was interested in at Thomas Watson’s auctioneers in Darlington town centre. She likes a bargain, my wife, and it can be dangerous when she’s left to her own devices, so I agreed to meet her outside The Black Olive delicatessen, on the way to the auctioneers, at 1pm.
Shame, Set & Match