Monday, April 20, 2009

Handjobs And Glad Dads

Frankly, though I'm somewhat blowing my own trumpet, some would say banging my own drum, if I gave out awards for the best titled post, I'd seriously consider giving first prize to myself for this one.

The post that follows may be tosh, but the title came to me as I was sitting in the noodle bar with A and K and things unfolded. Things you don't know about yet, but read on and you shall see. Originally I was going to call the post "I've made my bed" but then I'd have to lie in it and I don't really like telling lies, so that was out, and the rest of the story took place and well, it just all fell into place.

It all happened last Wednesday, my evening with the girls. They were in their Easter holiday and had some kind of holiday cabin fever. They were excited about coming to my new pad, their mother looked relieved that they would be out of her hair for sometime and I was pleased to see them. It was better than a win/win situation. It was, as we management types like to call it, a win/win/win/win situation.

I had briefed them before, telling them that we were faced with the task of assembling my new IKEA bed. Being an IKEA bed actually meant that it wasn't so much "assembling" as building the whole fucking thing from scratch, but that's a triviality, and a small one at that. The fact is that both girls were excited at the prospect of building this bed. I wasn't, but that's because I've quite experienced at all things IKEA, I know what can happen.

After the initial ten minutes in which we struggled to open the box we started to read the instructions. In my wiser and later years I've learned that the way to tackle IKEA instructions is the concentrate on one step at a time, not that the bed had steps. It's only if you get really stuck and as a last resort that you should look at later stages to see how things are supposed to pan out.

There were so many ingredients to this bed that the normal procedure, when you lay out all the bits and check that everything's there, just wasn't feasible, so we steamed in. It was a pleasant, though tinged with some short temper, few hours. I taught the girls how to do all those IKEA putting together things that will be so useful in later years. How to use those little metal screws that are put into holes then turned to tighten other screws, how to line up arrows and things.

I suspect somewhere right now there's a boy scout proudly sewing his IKEA badge to his jumper. If there isn't then there should be, knowing the whole IKEA procedure must be more useful than learning about knots and putting out fires. Come to think of it, if there is an IKEA badge there's no way it would be sewn on to a jumper. It would have a dowel and a screw that has to be tightened from the other side and, if you got the dowel the wrong way round, then the boy scout would be fine in his everyday life except he wouldn't be able to use his left arm. Yep, that's about the size of it.

We carried on though. It was time consuming simply because there were lots of bits and steps and everything was just so big and cumbersome. The girls' interest swayed like a pendulum. One minute I'd have a daughter watching with interest and begging to use the electric screwdriver next to me, the next I'd look up through my mist of Swedish confusion and find myself alone, the calming tones of Bart Simpson and daughters' laughter blasting at me from the other room.

At times it was painful, letting them use their new found skills with the electric screwdriver, watching the thing turning as they failed to pushed hard enough and risking them stripping the heads off the screws is a hard thing to do, but I knew that I had to let them "play" and learn, even though it was slowing things downs and often squirm inducing. I think it was Jesus who summed it up best when he said it's better to teach a man to build a bed than to give him a fish. My thoughts exactly.

We got to a level where the bed, or the main structure of it at least, was done. There were drawers to be built and finishing touches to be done but we were hungry and time, as it does, was ticking along. We called it a night. The mattress was placed carefully down, I told the girls that I'd finish things the next day and we strolled off merrily to the noodle bar down the road for dinner.

Now Ozcuz, if you're reading this you'll understand straight away, the rest probably won't know the programme so I'll have to do some explaining.

We have this newish and hilarious comedy called The Inbetweeners here. It's about a group of boys in the sixth form of school, that's 'A' level. It tells of their fumbling through puberty, of boyish pranks and bragging, of chasing girls who are about ten years more mature than the average boy of the same age. It regales us with joyous tales of discovering alcohol and of fancying teachers and thinking they might actually fancy you, a spotty teenage boy, in return.

It's rude, but not in a rude way. The rudeness is needed and appropriate, like the violence in a Tarantino film. It's the language that teenage boys really do use, at least British ones do.

It's brilliant and embarrassing to watch with the wrong people. I made the mistake of watching some episodes in front of my parents, with Musicbiz bro. We were faced with blasts from the past as we tried to decide to laugh at certain jokes or not, whether to hide or run away.

We also were faced with a mother who grabbed the opportunity to appear young at heart with both hands and therefore had to laugh at everything, particularly the references to one of the character's mothers and the things the others wanted to do to her. It was tough going and my embarrassment was only matched some weeks later when I turned up at their house to collect the girls and found them watching the same thing.

I sat with them and watched the end of an episode. I watched them laugh at jokes that were close to the edge, the edge of me wondering whether A and K really understood them, or if they were pretending but really didn't have a clue. Over noodles, at the noodle bar, I found out the answer to that question.

Conversation somehow veered towards The Inbetweeners. I told the girls how embarrassing it was when me and Uncle Musicbiz watched the DVD in front of our parents, their Grandparents. They laughed sympathetically and then I told them how funny it was when the situation was replicated but one generation along, as they watched it in front of me. We all laughed merrily at that.

I asked them if they "got" all the jokes in the programme, something I've wondered about for a while. They eye rolled to each other and answered with that sigh thing that teenagers do, you know, when they talk but manage to sigh at the same time.

"Yeah Dad, of course we get it" said A. It was apparent from her tone that I'd insulted not just her but also K and more or less every person in the world in their age group with my question.

"What, you get it all?" I asked incredulously.

"Yeah" chipped in the younger sister. "We're not kids you know."

My mind raced on, at milkfloat speed. I was thinking of some of the jokes, of how I could test the girls to see if they really did understand it all, to try to benchmark their level of knowledge on these rather risque matters. With the benefit of hindsight that might have not been my wisest of thought patterns.

"Did you watch the one last week, the one when they went to the under 16 disco thing?" I asked.

They answered in the affirmative and we chuckled about some of the moments in that frankly superb episode.

"So you know when the guy (whose name I forget) was getting off with that girl in the disco, do you know what she was doing?" I asked.

It was a question that seemingly had no downsides. I was sure that I could get out of it without giving a full and detailed explanation, but their answer would help with my benchmarking. At worst I thought A might know and K wouldn't.

They exchanged glances, shifty ones. I felt my throat drying, just for a split second. It's probably what happens when an animal realises it's about to be killed by a leopard and there's nothing it can do to save itself. This was far worse though, they're teenage daughters.

"Yeah, off course we know what she was doing" replied K rather indignantly.

She said it with a little bit too much indignation, I felt a need to interrogate further.

"Really?" I said. "So what was she doing then?"

"Well, you know" said one child, I can't remember which, but it was definitely one of the two.

"You know what?" said I, the Father.

The girls exchanged shifty glances again. With this fantastic hindsight now in my possession I know the glance was a "should we tell him" glance. Unfortunately I didn't have this amazing hindsight beforehand.

"So? What then?" I asked.

"Well" said A.

"She was giving him a handjob."

The answer, though factually correct, was not the one I had hope for.

We all exchanged glances, embarrassed yet knowing ones.

It was apparent that each of us had learned something about each other.

Then, we ate our noodles.

Happy Monday all.

14 comments:

Dinidu said...

Erm, just a note. Even we on the Sri Lankan blogsphere know not to mess with A or K. Why do you keep getting yourself into these situations? WHY?

Scrumpulicious said...

Lol at Dinidu!

The InBetweeners is awesome! They have good taste though I'm sure that doesn't mean anything for the awkward moment you had to go through.

If my dad ever put me or my sister in that position though, I would deny knowing anything! :)

Happy Monday RD! :)

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha Mygod I fell off my chair reading that!

WHY did you interrogate them like that? You are going against the Sri Lankan parents' principles!!

Charm Bracelet said...

hehe!!I completely agree with Scrump!! Your girls are something for sure! :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Dinidu - I wish I could see these situations developing as they take place, then all would be easy.

Scrump - Perhaps in a few years time A and K would do the same, we'll see!

Anon - Yes, it was an attempt to find out where they were in this sexual knowledge thing. I didn't expect the answers I got though.

CB - Yes, they are something for sure.

Thanks all for the comments.

Ahamed Nizar said...

oh my. god knows how much more they know...

Dee said...

lol

T said...

wow

JP said...

agree with Dinidu, how come you do not see it coming. LOL. guess the two girls would have a good laugh reminicing the look on your face

sach said...

haha

lankanyyz said...

lol !!

That Electra bird summed it just right when she said your blog makes for some of the best reading on Kottu. Nicely done RD. Keep 'em coming...

Gypsy said...

Oh darling. You walked right into that one.

OzCuz said...

I am not sure who I feel more sorry for...you hearing the answer or the girls having to give it :P

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ozcuz - And this was only days after my conversation with you about the whole "embarrased in front of my parents" thing!