My eldest boy turned 16 this week. Well, I say turned, he more swaggered 16 this week.
“Eeh,” my wife squealed, “I can’t believe my little cherub is 16. Where does the time go?”
Where does it go? I don’t know about that, but I know where it went. It went straight onto my face.
That thousand yard stare your can see glaring from that pallid mug with cheeks the texture of an over-worked window cleaner’s chamois leather, is the result of every day of those 16 years.
While I am now a shell of that naive new dad full of boundless enthusiasm, he’s grown into cocksure man-boy radiating arrogance, menace and an infectious, innocent and often infuriating, charm.
If you could bottle his cocksureness (no, I’m not sure that’s a word either) you’d make a fortune.
Except, if you’re a parent like me, you wouldn’t be able to afford it.
In fact, I’d argue, the only people getting a bottle of Hugo Boss Cocksure Musk this Christmas, are the cocksure teens of the world.
Honestly, and I know I touched on this last week, but are today’s teens the most pampered in Christendom?
When I turned 16, I got a pair of Doc Martins and copy of Dare by the Human League.
Our Brad (apparently no-one calls him Bradley anymore, it’s not cool), was lavished with designer goods.
He is, and has been for some years now, far better dressed than me. It comes with the territory.
The bulk of my fashion shopping is from charity shops. I wear dead men’s clothing. My latest buy for under a tenner was a pair of shoes. Dead men’s shoes if you like. They are perfect for work. Black leather lace ups. The only drawback is that the left shoe squeaks. The squeak is getting louder. It’s got so bad, that to minimise it, I have to alter my walking gait. By introducing an exaggerated limp in which I put my toe, rather than my heel down first, I can stop the squeak.
Of course, rather than drawing unwanted attention with the squeaking shoe, I now draw unwanted attention with the limp.
The secret, I have found, is to introduce the limp at irregular intervals. The occasional limp step and less-frequent squeak gets me under the radar. The irony of my noisy shoe dilemma is that the shoes are Hush Puppies.
No such dead man’s shoe problems for our Brad. He just gets the best.
When I was a lad, if your tag was sticking out of the back of your jumper you were ribbed by your mates. These days, the tag is worn on the outside. They’re more designer label than clothing. Labels with sleeves in some cases.
My wife produced a picture of me at 16 to show our Brad. He loved that.
“Easy to see who was the best looking at 16,” he said.
“Thank you,” I replied.
“No,” he said. “It’s me.”
What’s that aftershave he’s wearing? Givenchy’s Cocky Swagger Pour Homme, no doubt.