A child is a humanoid parasite that comes in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it happens to host on the woman you’re interested in. Sometimes it hosts on your good friend, a former bar guerrilla who swore he would never reproduce, and this renders you speechless.
One day, you run into him on the street and, grinning, he lifts the anti-nuclear, electromagnetic-shielding fabric nest covering a contraption that resembles a portable charcoal kettle BBQ (it’s a stroller). Behind the nest is a scrunched-up fist of a face, swaddled in a blanket. “This is Ben,” your friend says, as if this actually explained everything.
In another scenario, you’re about to meet the human child of a woman you’re trying to impress but all you know about it (the kid) is that its name is Stacey and it’s old enough to ride a bike.
The child’s actual age, and what you can/should say in either of these cases, eludes you. You freeze with panic. Should you do the squeaky ducky voice? Or speak with authority about worldly things? Ask questions? Watch your mouth? Swear to impress?
Here’s DailyXY’s guide, using guy-friendly height-reference measurements – foods and bar furniture – paired with simple suggestions about what to say, and how to say it, when presented with a child.
Height: Whole BBQ chicken
Instructions: Squeaky noises acceptable; confusion about child’s gender totally OK; ask to hold, don’t drop, return.
Height: Loaf of bread
Type: Six months, under a year
Instructions: Squeaky talk OK but say your name and shake hand to look amusing; confusion about gender is OK; ask to hold, compliment on size, when setting down, arrange in sitting position, prop with cushion if available.
Height: Thanksgiving turkey on legs
Type: One year old
Instructions: Skip the squeaky talk; quick, aggressive game of peek-a-boo is a great ice-breaker; look for gender indicators if confused (bows on bald heads, caps on boys, colours of clothes); compliment on walking.
Height: Pig roast, vertical
Type: One-to-two years old
Instructions: Talk normal – unless squeaky ducky voice is your regular voice – but skip bitching about your boss and traffic; repetition and primitive humour extremely popular so consider falling off chair, repeatedly, to impress; chasing games also very popular.
Height: Bar stool
Type: Two-to-four years old
Instructions: Compliment on bike, outfits, hair, trucks, dolls; ask smart questions; exchange secrets; talk about both death and God is OK.
Height: Bar level
Type: Five-to-seven years old
Instructions: Everything except stripper ex-girlfriend, antidepressants, stock market crash, erotica or gambling problems is OK as conversation subject (check with parent if not sure).
Height: Bar with a bottle of beer on it
Type: Seven years old and up
Instructions: Asking for advice is OK, asking out for a beer is not; skip heavy stuff; know your shit so you don’t look like an uneducated asshole if asked to “prove it.”
Image courtesy of John O Dyer.