Dad’s 60th birthday party is different. It feels like a farewell: a rehearsal for the funeral. I try not to think of it as such, but the house has an air of broken past about it.
It was only when the words were coming out of my mouth during the interview – alone, in a room, with only a microphone and tape for company – that the reality of abuse hit me.
Barbie was my dream girl. A fantasy. The girl I thought I might become, who would live happily ever after with the man of her dreams, the penis-free Ken.
I thought during Covid, we might have seen a return to the traditional dinner party, albeit with only the people in whose bubble you were allowed to be, but there was none of it. Even when the weather turned cold and outdoor dining was the only option, people preferred to don gloves and scarves and watch their hands sticking like Super Glue to a cold champagne glass rather than eat at home.
Seriously. Why did anyone ever think they were a good idea? Do you really want to sleep where you p**s? What are we? Cavemen?
Every morning, I have to shave my upper lip. When I wake, the area between my nose and my mouth is a veritable flowerbed of black bristles. I look like Adolph Hitler’s less attractive distant cousin.
If your penchant is for flap front, you should rein your fetish in – yes, it’s a totally weird fetish in my book – until you get home, where you can make origami sculptures out of toilet tissue, should you so please. But when you’re in my house, you have to live by my flaps, strange as you may find them.
I feel about Valentine’s Day the way Dickens’s Scrooge felt about Christmas. Bah humbug, I scream, when yet another card from a florist pops through my door, asking me to send flowers to my loved one. Bah humbug to the red hearts, ribbons and grinning teddy bears in every shop window.
Thankfully, my world at 64 is very different from the one John Lennon and Paul McCartney portrayed in their song. And how different for `Lennon from the one he imagined. Murdered aged 40, he didn’t even get remotely close to 64.
‘You belong in Hollywood!’ my admirer enthused, having seen samples of my writing. ‘I love you already! You are the best!’ I was on that flight quicker than you could say Beam me up, Scottie.