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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Tell me more

My son has a new girlfriend and it looks kinda serious. They've already done that Facebook "In a relationship with ..." thing, which pretty much amounts to plighting your troth these days. 

I must admit I'm worried. I don't want him to make the same mistake I did. But it's quite likely because of the way boys pick partners. 

Here's my own set of criteria nowadays: 1) nice tits 2) makes me laugh.

Now I know what you're thinking. 'How crude and unsophisticated'. And you're right of course. But it's a huge advance on what I used when I was younger: 1) nice tits 2) makes me cry. 

We guys are slow learners. It takes a lifetime to make a little progress and we hardly ever use sensible standards like pleasing personality, compatible attitudes and lots of compassion. So what we get, very often, is five minutes of dynamite sex followed by a hundred years chained to a rock while an eagle eats our liver.

I don't want that for my son. Neither would you. But there's not a lot I can do about it. Boys don't talk about their relationships or seek mum and dad's approval, the way girls do. Nor do they take advice well, especially if they're fit, intelligent and good-looking. Why should they?

Here's the entire conversation he and I have had about his new friend.

"I'm going to see somebody in Carlisle at the weekend."

"She nice?"

"We get on well."

"What's she do?"


"Tell me more."


"Awright then."

Susan and her daughter talk more about relationships in one day, every day, than my son and I have shared our whole lives. 

I guess I should have started when he was younger, so that he would take my advice now. But we were too busy talking about art, science and music, and making each other laugh. You can't do everything. And who says my advice would help him anyway?  

So I await developments with interest. I expect I'll get an email in a few years saying their eldest daughter is graduating from Harvard with a degree in modern art and musicology, and I'll wander along and introduce myself.

In the meantime, since I was told recently that my weekly musings - which I see as profound perspectives on the human condition - were "useless drivel", here's some useful advice on mate selection from my friend Iain, who has studied psychology and knows a thing or two. 

Dating agencies use a range of indicators, he tells me, over a pint of Landlord in the Old White Horse Inn. "But if you're a guy looking for a good relationship, you need to focus on three in particular."

"Say on, wise one," I tell him, sipping my hoppy bitter with satisfaction. They know how to make good beer in Yorkshire. Been doing it millions of years.

"Kids," he says. "Does she want them? Do you? Can you agree on discipline and behaviour? Differing attitudes to kids is what causes most fights in a marriage."

"Makes sense," I say, writing it down in the little reporter's notebook I carry at all times.

"Then there's ambition and careers," he says. "If she's a high-flyer and you're just looking for an easy life, it's probably not going to work."

He leans back in the old wooden armchair, takes a long pull of his beer and sets the half-empty glass on the table. 

"That's only two," I tell him, my pencil poised. "What's the third?"

"Nice tits," he tells me.

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