Inked - the old fashioned rebellion

We spent most of Sunday discussing tattoos. Not in any academic way you understand. But in the context of our third daughter's wish to get inked.

She is in her early twenties and so is grown up enough to make her own decision; at least this is what we told ourselves as we looked at the proposed design.

Mrs M and I were married when we were twenty and back then we felt that we were old enough to make such a life-changing decision. Now, however, twenty-one seems still so very youthful.

And so it is that we gaze at the intricate autumn leaf pattern that will soon adorn our daughter's back and want to be both supportive and cautious at the same time.

We reminisced about our journey towards being married. The fact that we made our decision less than twelve months after beginning to court, (yes it once was called courting), amazed our girls and seemed to put the tattoo choice in some perspective.

Even so Mrs M couldn't resist suggesting that it might be better to have one that was a little smaller to start with but daughter number three was fully committed to the cause and was not for turning.

I was tempted to try a bit of reverse psychology and suggested that my bride had the same design done on her back in order to make a matching pair. I felt sure that this would put her off; after all they don't like to wear the same clothes as their mother never mind the same permanent body art. She saw through my test and so we moved on to discuss other matters.

Its not that I am against such things, in fact when done tastefully they can look rather good. It is just the sense of permanence that they suggest.

If you dye your hair bright pink then you can make a change with relative ease. If you grow a beard you are only one shave away from seeing you chin again.

Ink is for life; ask Robert Nesbitt. He is the Newcastle fan who had the image of footballer Andy Cole reproduced on his thigh only two days before his hero signed to join Manchester United.

There must be nothing worse than having an out-of-date design permanently placed on your epidermis. I suppose the only issue my daughter will face is that her autumn leaves might clash with summer.

A little later I suggested to my wife that I might get inked before my fiftieth birthday next year; joining in with the moment she asked me what I might have done. I thought for a while and then, in the light of my growing bald patch, my aching limbs, and my middle-aged spread, it occurred to me.

I will get a Tattoo of a Best Before Date on my forehead. If you are going to be out-of-date you might as well be upfront about it.

Wifely Editorial Control

Last Saturday we spent a pleasant day at my eldest daughter's new house
on the outskirts of Doncaster.

I knew that amongst the energetic conversations, the good food, the
cups of coffee, would be the need for Mrs M to take photographs.

She has always felt the need to do this going back to the days when the
word 'negative' meant more than the contents of a Simon Cowell review.
These days she has far more access to equipment that will record every
smile on offer. Now we have the blessing, or curse, of digital.

On Saturday my bride forgot to take her camera so I had hoped that we
might have got away with it. But her new mobile phone has the facility,
along with many other functions that have nothing to do with long
distance conversations, to take photographs.

Mrs M took them as we arrived. She snapped as we ate, much to
he disgust of her daughters who, not unreasonably, insisted on being
given the chance to swallow their food and smile first. She took them whilst we watched telly.

Before the end of our visit, she turned into her version of a
wedding photographer and proceeds to set people in groups so that
everyone feels included.

Then, before I had the chance to escape she hands me the camera and
instructs me in the art of taking pics of her proudly posing with our
precious girls.

I don't really mind this, because I too am proud of them and love to
see them all together.

The problem is that she never likes any of the shots I take. She
compares them to the ones that she produces and says that I don't
compose them correctly. I either stand to close or I stand too far away.

I refrain from suggesting that the only difference between our output
is that she is missing from hers.

I don't make this comment because her presence ruins the look of them: quite
the reverse as she is beautiful.

The problem is that she is over critical of herself in photographs. In this she is joined by our daughters, who all take it in turns to look through each slide and exercise editorial control.

I am quite convinced that this wasn't always the case but, now that we
have Facebook, the possible audience is huge.

It seems that within ten minutes of any social event the odds are that you will displayed to thousands of people, many of whom you don't know.

And so people are far more concerned about pictoral quality. When I say 'people' of course I mean the females of our family. All of us males take whatever comes; and as such there are hundreds of photographs of me on the internet either eating food, half way through speaking, looking like I am about to sneeze, half asleep on the sofa, or looking like I have just been dragged through the proverbial hedge in reverse.
This, apparently, is not a problem because the girls always look good. But then that's th benefit of having editorial control.

Modern Dance - Old Fashioned Dad

If you met me you would probably think I was an eighteen stone, ex-rugby playing, northern male. This is of course true but I do have a softer side that has been revealed over time whilst bringing up four beautiful daughters. I occasionally cry at sad films, notice what my wife is wearing, and try to phone my mother once a week.

Anyway this week the man described above was invited to a performance of modern dance by the Leeds based company known as the Phoenix Modern Dance Company.

I agreed to go because a very close family friend is one of their performers.

In a way I was only going to offer support knowing that I have rarely understood or enjoyed dance.

We arrived at the venue and there was a sense of anticipation from the crowd and I felt it easy to get caught up with the general buzz.

The dance started and I have to say that I was immediately captivated by everything that I saw. It was truly amazing. The strength, the agility, the control, the grace, the passion; It was almost too much to believe.

After the first act I compared note with Mrs M and the parents of our star dancer. The female members of the party seemed to get every nuance of the movement and hidden storyline whilst I, and the dancer's father, were slightly bemused.

It wasn't that we didn't appreciate what we saw; it was amazing. It was that the story that our wives described didn't seem obvious to us.

I concluded that modern dance, as with all other art forms, has its own language. If, as I was, you are unaware of its subtleties you will not fully understand what is being communicated.

The second act started and I tried to concentrate a little harder, hoping to catch up with Mrs M and our friend in order to understand the story.

Once again it was quite simply breath taking; it was passionate without being gratuitous. It was energetic without being frantic.

At the end my bride asked for my opinion on the storyline. I figured that the slow bits were trying to express a different narrative that the fast bits but I just couldn't offer a coherent explanation.

The females seemed to just get it without explanation, whilst we males were in awe but none the wiser.

Did I enjoy the evening; one hundred percent. Did I understand what was happening; not at all. Would I go again; in a heartbeat.

It was an incredible experience and I took the time to express my gratitude to all concerned.

It seems that appreciating other people's worlds does not rely upon understanding the local language. It just takes a certain open mindedness and a willingness to turn up.

If this eighteen-stone, ex-rugby player can do it, and then anyone can do it. Well-done Phoenix Dance Company. If only I could dance.

Thouroughly Modern Milieu

Football season is well with us and its effect upon our family life is very evident at the moment. Not because everyone who either lives in our house, or visits occasionally to eat our food or have their laundry done, wants to watch it.

In fact I am the only one who has a passion for the beautiful game, occasionally joined by my two son-in-laws.

I try not to be too obsessive about it but I struggle to keep quite when the girls and Mrs M put on America's Next Top Model whilst the live footie is on the other side.

I tend to sit and look ever so slightly forlorn so that eventually my bride suggest that I go to the pub to watch the match: success.

Last week I returned from one such trip to the hostelry to join in with a discussion between two of my daughters and their mother. Mrs Molineaux's youngest had been in a lecture about the sociology of movies and been set the task of explaining term Post-Modernity.

It turns out that in essence my wife and I have been generally influenced by modernity in that we were brought up with a worldview that we thought was shared by everybody. We watched the same TV programmes as most other people (we only had three channels to choose from) and we would see many of our neighbours on our annual holiday (Prestatyn was like our village but with a beach). In this world there was only one truth and we all shared in it.

Our daughters are all post-modern children and as such they are full of questions and see the world more as a global village. For them the status quo is there to be challenged. There are many truths on offer; take your pick.

In our youth getting a colour telly and an extra channel was mind blowing; for them having seven-hundred channels to choose from is just mundane.

During their deep (very deep) conversation I thought I would add a question that would be of help: 'can any of you explain the offside rule?'

They stared at me for a moment before expressing their lack of reverence for all things football. They are feisty girls, however, and couldn't resist a challenge so it wasn't long before they were trying to offer an explanation.

The ketchup, salt and pepper pots, vinegar bottle, and butter knife were all in position as the girls offered several different versions of the offside rule; non of which were right.

Mrs M stepped up to the table and I was confident that she would provide the answer, because I had spent some considerable time explaining it to her when we were newly married. To my horror she got it wrong and I had to step in to put them all right.

I challenged my bride on why she had forgotten all that I had taught her and she answered with a smile 'football isn't the only sport you know'.

How post-modern is she.