Hopefully, if you have previously visited this site, you will know that I have a book for sale, “Virgin Parents – What It Doesn’t Say On The Tin” and will have already dashed off and ordered your copy. If you are still dithering here is a brief extract to whet your appetite. And don’t worry, the rest of it is much funnier than this!
February 7th, 2004
Men are nowhere near as good as women at talking. Women are brilliant at it. For them, it doesn’t matter if we are referring to simple idle chatter, perhaps relating to TV soap operas, fashion or what the woman at number thirty-five was spotted buying in Sainsbury’s last week, or whether they are considering matters of earth shattering importance. Important topics being, of course, TV soap operas, fashion or what the woman at number thirty-five was spotted buying in Sainsbury’s last week, for example. They can happily gab for hours on any given subject. A cursory glance at any itemised domestic telephone bill will highlight that female conversation can, and usually does, assume epic proportions. This applies as well to face-to-face conversation as it does to telephone calls. As for men, conversations are generally restricted to the topics of sport, beer and appraisals of members of the opposite and generally more vocal sex. Typically, their conversations will also be brief.
This cold and miserable Saturday evening, myself and the three gentlemen – Andy, Mo and Paul – who usually accompany me to Wigan Athletic football matches gathered in the Robin Hood public house in Ashton to watch them play an away game against Ipswich Town on TV. By way of illustrating the point in the previous paragraph, the sum total of verbal jousting that facilitated this little soiree was:-
Mo: “Are we going to the pub to watch the Ipswich game?”
Chris: “Yes” (with accompanying nods of affirmation from Andy and Paul)
Andy: “Robin Hood?”
Three brief nods of affirmation later and the die was cast; no requirement for an involved discourse on the meaning of life and the universe, nor even the expense of a telephone call.
The standard of football on offer on the TV tonight was sufficiently high to render any real conversational activity redundant. This was perhaps quite handy given the typical male’s reluctance to engage in serious conversation. Tonight’s encounter with Ipswich Town was a massive game for the Latics (not big enough for us to bother going all the way to East Anglia to watch it live, mind you) and the lads started at a cracking pace to keep us rapt from the word go. Our attention was diverted from the action before us on the big screen only to order another round of drinks from the bar. Jason Roberts should have scored after only five minutes, but no matter; by the time the clock had sneaked past the half-hour mark we were two goals to the good and cruising.
Although Helen and I had a firm policy that we would tell no-one about the pregnancy until after the twelve-week scan, we had agreed that we would make an exception with Andy, my best mate. The main reason for this was that I had “previous” with Andy in the “really big secrets that you should tell your best mate even though it’s a secret” department. When I got married the first time, only the direct family members knew in advance. As such I didn’t tell Andy, and I should have done. I know that he wasn’t very pleased about it, and rightly so. I now had a perfect opportunity to right this eight year-old wrong.
However, there was to be no grand speech or announcement. No fanfare or deep meaningful analysis of the whys and wherefores. After all, we are men and there is no need for such flagrant waste of language, not to mention drinking time. Amid the euphoria of the two-nil half-time lead for Wigan, and taking advantage of Paul’s visit to the bar to relieve himself of a tenner and Mo’s visit to the Gents to relieve himself, I made my move.
“Hey, guess what? Helen’s pregnant”
“Brilliant! When‘s it due?”
“Fantastic! Well done. Great news”
There was just time for the briefest of handshakes before our concentration had to be re-focused on the second- half that was just about to get underway. Wigan immediately went on the attack again, bombarding the Ipswich defence, continuing in the same manner that they had ended the first half. Ten minutes later Andy gave me a brief, playful and matey punch on the arm. “Great news about the baby, it really is. I’m really pleased for you both”. It was a nice touch, but at that precise moment in time we were both knew that the real motivation for his impromptu show of pleasure was the Gary Teale thunderbolt that had just hit the back of the net, thereby putting the game beyond any reasonable doubt for Wigan.
Shefki Kuqi, the Finnish striker, pulled one back for Ipswich late on in the game, but both he and I knew that in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter. I was going to be a dad, Wigan were about to overhaul his team in the league table and there was nothing that he, nor anyone else, could do to prevent either event taking place.