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thinks he’s only un-cool be­cause he’s a par­ent.

Hav­ing a child is the most un­equiv­o­cal and ir­re­versible sig­nal you can present to the world that you have fi­nally given up on be­ing cool. How­ever far you have come to this point, it is as close as you’re go­ing to get. The rest is up to the next lot. God help us all.

In my case, cre­at­ing a cool Hilde­brand is at least a two­gen­er­a­tion job. If any­thing, I have re­gressed, go­ing back­wards from jeans to shorts to track­suit pants. On cur­rent pro­jec­tions, I will soon end up in an adult di­a­per and the cy­cle of life will be com­plete.

Oth­ers, how­ever, re­main at the level they achieved at the birth of their first­born. This ex­plains the phe­nom­e­non of hip­ster dads in hats, and why the hip­sters’ own fa­thers still wear a Nokia phone on their belt. Per­haps they are not so dif­fer­ent, af­ter all.

It also ex­plains why so many celebri­ties strug­gle with par­ent­hood. Not with the ac­tual par­ent­ing part – there are nan­nies for that – but the cool bit. In the tragic case of Brangelina, An­gelina was forced to seek refuge at the United Na­tions, pos­si­bly the only in­sti­tu­tion on earth hu­mane enough to con­sider her cool by com­par­i­son. Brad, of course, just in­stantly went into hat mode. And when celebrity par­ents try to con­tinue be­ing cool the re­sults are even more trou­bling, as Kim and Kanye have self­lessly shown us. Kim may still be a doyenne of fash­ion, but be­cause of the im­mutable law that the child must be cooler than the par­ents, you end up with a tod­dler who re­fuses to leave the house with­out a faux-fur hoodie and a top­knot. And Kanye is now obliged to run for US Pres­i­dent. Per­son­ally, I be­lieve all this mad­ness comes down to sleep de­pri­va­tion. If I have learnt any­thing about par­ent­hood, it is that your only hope for san­ity is to drop off when­ever the kid does. When it comes time to hit the mat­tress, ev­ery sec­ond counts. You need to be able to fall asleep in an in­stant, which is why I am al­ways armed with track­suit pants, Ugg boots and, if all else fails, a copy of Eat Pray Love. Cool peo­ple, on the ot other hand, have no such lux lux­ury. You’ve only just man­aged­manag to squeeze out of your stovepipes when the lit­tle trea­sure is up yet again de­mand­ing a sugar-free frap­puc­cino.

This cruel di­chotomy has led to many mothers cry­ing out for a third way, also known as activewear. This is the fash­ion world’s equiv­a­lent of a time-out. You’re ba­si­cally say­ing to the world: “I’m a cool per­son, it’s just that I’m about to go to the gym.” Mean­while, you’re say­ing to your­self: “I’m a cool per­son, it’s just that I’m about to go to sleep.” This makes activewear a use­ful, if some­what iron­i­cally named, so­lu­tion.

For fa­thers, how­ever, such a so­lu­tion re­mains elu­sive. Some might say this is why God cre­ated male leg­gings. Yet, any­one who’s ex­pe­ri­enced meg­gings knows, if any­thing, they were in­vented by the other guy. And so, once more, we poor blokes end up in track­suit pants.

I sus­pect that if Brad holds on much longer he’s go­ing to need a big­ger hat – in the som­brero range. But if he ever changes his mind, there’s al­ways a spot on my couch.

Joe co-hosts Stu­dio 10, 8.30am week­days, on Net­work Ten.

will soon end up in an adult di­a­per and the cy­cle of life will be com­plete”

Joe with son, Henry, al­most three.

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