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Let me start this journey with a confession.
When my wife and I went for our 20 week scan and subsequently found out we were having a girl, I was disappointed.
I had told people I was neutral in this regard – I’ve seen humans lie before, and they usually lie in this type of setting when attempting to avoid controversy. I guess that’s what I was doing, which annoys me, since I must be more conditioned in the ways of correctness than I had previously thought.
I didn’t really feel much of anything in the build-up, but as soon as we reached 19 weeks, there was a change.
I’ve always wanted a boy. Before, whenever I had dreams of me with my child – boy. I had about twelve names locked and loaded – boys.
When Freda told the first people we were so happy when we saw the little hamburger between the legs, I wore a fake smile for the first twenty milliseconds, promptly followed by a verbal exchange over differences of opinion on the meaning of cute.
I didn’t grow up with any sisters, so I have no familial experience with developing females, other than the standard phenomenon of briefly fancying a cousin. The prospect of having my first child, whilst simultaneously having to figure out and tend to the wants, needs and desires of two women, scared me.
But people I take seriously told me the father/daughter relationship is a special one. It seems this is an actual thing most human males agree on, with the possible exception of a certain period in the life of Billy Ray Cyrus.
After all, as a farmer, when cows or ewes give birth to female offspring, I am usually overjoyed. There’s logic to being happy with female offspring in the natural world. This must then be true for daughters too.
My illogical feelings disappeared, swiftly replaced with the heaps of excitement initially robbed by my foolishness.
Naturally, the next thing to do was to start observing these creatures in the wild. Cruelly, the implications of the impending arrival of a yet-to-be-named infant female landed me in the midst of yet another scandal.
Having to eat opposite this ruined lovely food and lovely service at Wagamama.
It absolutely ruined what was a lovely lunch with a friend, the service and the food was delicious but this really ruined it – I hate feet at the best of times!
It was absolutely rude and shows manners have gone down the pan. It really put me off my food.
Service was great and the food was lovely but I couldn’t believe staff didn’t say anything to him.
It’s a sign of how people don’t care about other people anymore. He even had the cheek to turn around and glare at my daughter who was being a bit loud.
His toenails were rank as well.
The harshest part is, I was looking at her daughter with fascination – this was going to be my life soon. I hadn’t even noticed she was being loud. I did notice she was quite messy – she could do with a bit more training if I’m being honest, but it turns out she’s just a kid – a kid of a mother battling a most crippling disease.
If only this lady used her words and divulged her irrational fear of feet, I would have been more than happy to oblige her.
I recently had a surgical procedure done to a dislocated kneecap – the elevation of my leg, on top of my jacket, was for the simple reason of pain relief. My big toe in particular has previously been the victim of the odd human stampede, which is very much a job hazard in my case, but hey – it’s a toe. They’re often harmless.
I have heard of this type of Homo sapiens before, with its irrational fears. I never quite know what the flavour of the week is, but I know – where two or more humans gather, almost all of them will be anxious. I thought I was safe, my spot seemed to be a few metric units away from other beings.
A member of staff did actually talk to me, but only to share a charming story of how he likes to visit said establishment on his day-off to have some fried chicken and maybe drink a few beers.
He had many tattoos and long hair, a bit greasy – he too must have given her bad vibes. That’s possibly why she didn’t talk to him either, or perhaps because she begrudged us our sharing of yarns.
The one thing we agree on is Wagamama being a very satisfying culinary experience.
All in all, it provides quite the teachable moment, and that’s what I’m really pleased with, although I’m not quite sure which version is closest to the truth. I wouldn’t want to lie to my daughter or misrepresent the facts.
I might explain to her the importance of communication, and how people might sometimes be more approachable than you think. Language is the very reason we’ve reached such great heights as a species.
Or, if you choose not to express your feelings to people with whom you share a common area, and rather opt for a social media rampage where you victimise your precious little self in the hopes of scoring a free meal, people might think you’re a bit of a twat.
I really do love our human language, but I think people are way too uptight about it.
There’s a certain beauty in the way we’re able to express ourselves.
A monkey can not express to another monkey why she is an exceptional specimen with an intoxicating effect on him. The closest he comes is probably the equivalent of let us fuck.
Similarly, he can not express the pain of heartbreak in the vivid way we can, though nothing says heartbreak quite like the hurling of faeces.
I think it’s important to recognise both extremes.
I have no particular feelings about swearing, I use it as often as it’s the most fitting accessory to the actual feeling I have, regardless of the situation or the people or subject I’m addressing. I don’t see the point of changing my range of verbal expression once my daughter is born. It often seems like people are preparing their kids for a world in which they’ll never actually live.
Why should children behave differently than adults in this regard? Is it not better to help them understand the power and gift of total expression, and teach them to use it responsibly?
That to me seems quite reasonable.
I guess if I get a phone call from an angry teacher one day, claiming my little girl said something like fuck you you fucking fuck to her, I’d have to calm her down and explain that my daughter has clearly been angered or upset by something she did or said, that she has this weird condition of saying what she means, and a bit of soul-searching by the teacher would likely reveal an apology is due.
Language is a means by which we share information, and we have some real good stuff, but we didn’t need to go all anxious on it. It had to be clear and efficient to allow us to gossip with precision, the original method of determining whether a new member in the community could possibly be a rapist. It had to be effective in describing our most intricate feelings as well as a growth on the grundle. We then decided to bolt politeness and countless other made-up bits onto it and the whole thing became more and more convoluted – now we have to think a lot before we say something. Quite bizarre.
I don’t have an issue with politeness, my philosophy is simply to treat people in a way that you would like to be treated. If someone approaches me politely, I’m more inclined to inconvenience myself to help him, and vice versa. It’s useful, therefor it should have a place in language. If he botches his approach, he might get a fuck off, and he may duly reciprocate if the shoe is on the other foot. Anything else is just confusing.
No wonder that poor lady felt so confused when the situation called for the use of words. Natural selection has some cracks to slip through, and all our linguistic booby traps certainly aren’t helping those individuals. Thankfully, when she had her episode a bit later, she had the latest evolution of the human language at her disposal – emojis – which, I concede, are way easier to use. My favourite ones are the face palm and the middle finger.