Let me just state for the record; I might be the dad of four daughters but I don't dress dolls, I don't like pink, and I don't carry handbags. I feel better for getting that off my chest. It's not that I am sexist you understand; I am quite happy to cry at a sad movie and do my fair share of household chores. I just feel the need to draw a line in the hormonal sand. The number of times I have been presented with a Cindy or Barbie, hair matted with hair band and arms twisted in a tribute to Twin Peaks, and asked 'Daddy can you put these trousers on my dolly?'
This is where I first learnt to shout 'I don't dress dolls!', whilst trying to force plastic legs into miniature denim. The fact that I have got five thumbs on each hand doesn't help matters but, after making my plea for mercy, I would usually give in and commit plastic grievous bodily harm.
My rejection of all things pink is probably just a bad reaction to the blancmange we were force fed at school; a dubious treat that came in a variety of unsociable colours. I sometimes wonder why I would have chosen to eat it, but then I remember that the other desserts on offer were sago, tapioca, and prunes. Enough said!
Pink, and when I say pink I mean all manner of bright colours, has been a recurring theme in my relationship with the girls. I recall needing a pen to complete a form whilst checking into a hotel. A daughter kindly rummaged through her tardis-like handbag and produced one that lit up when used, complete with a feather sticking out of the end. In my haste I hadn't noticed the glow and began to write at first unaware of the odd looks from other waiting guests. I have had similar experiences with umbrellas and key rings.
It is probably the hand bag carrying that causes me the most concern. I have always been happy to carry shopping home in plastic bags even though it has increased my carbon footprint. The problem comes when we are shopping as a family in one of those large centres where the shops look the same and there is a decided lack of chairs available for a tired dad.
On these occasions I usually assume the job of pack-horse and am steadily loaded up with merchandise during the day. The only time I am offered any relief from my lifting duties is when they need me to pay for another purchase.
Plastic bags not withstanding, I choose to draw the line at carrying their handbags (and when I say carry I mean hold because walking with one would be too much to ask). I will occasionally agree if my bride stays close by so that other shoppers will understand that the article is not mine. As soon my wife or the girls move more than two foot away I put the bag on the floor; standing over it as though I am guarding an important object.
So here I am; a male living in a female world. I take comfort in the fact that, because we have all daughters, it was always my wife who had to take them to the toilet when we were out for the day. Men’s toilets are no place for anyone of a sensitive nature. I don’t want to go into to much detail but boys, whether grown up or not, have no sense of direction.
This apart, there has still always been a tendency to draw me into their girlie world. Therefore, as an act of personal therapy, I would like to add a few other items to my original list of things that I refuse to do. I don’t untangle knotted jewellery, I don’t empty blonde hair out of the shower filter, and I don’t answer the question, ‘Does this dress suite me?’
Actually I do all of the above apart from the last one. I have learnt that it is a question far too dangerous to answer even if you are carrying a handbag.