I swore I would not do this. The fatherhood blog is the last refuge of the journalistic hack, the sellout, the idiot who can’t write about Afghanistan or Arvo Part, the smarmy guy who wants women to get all swoony thinking about how sensitive he is. It’s the kind of stuff that fills women’s magazines. And endless personal websites. Honestly, reading about someone else’s daily life – particularly if that life is so banal as to include breeding – is to me as exciting as listening to the country music on Radio 2.
I am only doing it under duress.
I can at least promise you that I will try to focus on the unusual aspects of it. I will do my utter best to avoid ending this series of entries with an acceptance-of-overwhelming-joy and love-as-I’ve-never-felt-it-before. You know all that already.
What can I tell you so far? Nutshell: Girlfriend of six (on-and-off) years is now 8 months pregnant. We never got married. We do live together. No, it was not planned.
Why have a kid? Well, it was pretty much what-the-hell for both of us. She’s 31, I’m 45. A friend once told me that his philosophy of life was that one should “go on every ride in the park”, and I realized that this was as useful piece of advice as any.
Am I looking forward to it? No, honestly, I’m not. In the moments in which I am not in denial I am simply petrified.
My friends have a lot to do with this state. Why is it that every single person – and I mean this, it’s every single person – tells you how awful it is going to be? And why do they take such glee in telling you this? They shake their heads with an evil smile and say, “You have no idea how much your life is going to change.” And then they regale you with harrowing stories of sleeplessness and feces. For the next year, they say, it is a life literally of shit. Shit is all you will know.
They are so smug to tell me this, I think, because they think I deserve it. It is my comeuppance. I have lived such a fast life for so much longer than a man is decently supposed to, a life, frankly, of pleasure and excitement, with far too many fashion shows and hotel rooms than is seemly for the middle-aged, that my enslavement to convention and domesticity will right a wrong. It will correct a sexual imbalance. Women especially are pleased to hear of my new role. It means I will no longer be out there serving as a dangerous role model for their exhausted, envious husbands. Everyone is delighted at my capitulation.
I will do my best, over the next few months, to surprise them.
Image courtesy of Cesar Cabrera.