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Friday, 24 November 2006

Good Daddy Material

I remember sitting at the dinner table as a teenager one Sunday at home, with Aunty Lou in residence as usual. My three sisters were trying to embarass me in front of my mother, by asking me dreadful probing questions about some boy that I liked at the time. ‘Is he a good kisser?’, ‘Is he old enough for stubble?’ ‘Would he give you beard rash?’ – they asked over the roast dinner, my sisters are legends. I almost choked on a yorkshire pudding!

In the middle of all of the chaos and cringe, Aunty Lou asked (in a tone of complete indifference with a dead pan expression on her face) ‘Is he a good dancer?’ The girls went quiet. ‘Is he generous? Would he rush to the bar to buy you a drink?’. I sat with a curious expression on my face, my eyebrows almost joining together in shock. ‘I suppose’ I answered suspicously.

‘Well’ Aunty Lou continued, ‘that’s marvelous then, your uncle John was a great dancer, yes, that was a great asset to me for the years we were married, out dancing he was. Oh, and yes, he was always generous with his money at the bar, especially when the twins were small, and I was home looking after them. You will be set up for life, so……………………’ Poor Aunty Lou. I began to see boys in a different light that day.

I was in Dulwich Park yesterday, and as on many other occasions, I observed a dad, out and about with his two little boys – almost the same age as our two children. He always seems to be swinging them over his head by the leg, or allowing them to dangle precariously out of a tree, flying kites near electricity pylons, playing roughly with rotweillers - you get the picture. Hair raising stuff, really, you should see them. I have heard him complain that his wife thinks he is too rough with the kids. What does he have between his ears? Just one missed catch and its lights out for junior.

How do you assess the attractive guy you meet out one night is good daddy material, a potential good partner? I know it might not be what you think you are looking for at the time, but we really should encourage our little girls to consider these things (I am rather old fashioned, aren't I?). I always see that crazy man out and about and I wonder if he met his poor wife in a Lindy Hop club. Surely there must have been clues?

If she had her heart set on starting a family with that mad man, she should have ensured that he had a substantial enough income to employ a nanny.

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