AYOUNG friend’s wife is pregnant. I asked him how she was going: had she put on a lot of weight, was she in any way emotional and inclined to outbursts? He looked at me through his eyelashes and, with ‘‘ liar’’ written on his forehead, said she was as slim as the proverbial pin, and in very good spirits. It’s a good thing, he said, grimacing, that he was accustomed to dealing with demented orang- utans.
The recently announced baby boom is good news indeed and there are yummy mummiesin- the- making all over the place, so take care not to do or say anything that might trigger an outburst or you’ll pay dearly for it; don’t tangle with a hormonally charged woman.
( I know this will have the sisterhood up in arms, but I would find it too risky to fly on a plane with a woman pilot; certainly one of my daughters, at certain times of the month, would be more than capable of ploughing an airbus into a mountain.)
In the old days, with a bump the size of an adult whale, I was watching my brother play in a tennis tournament, which he was losing; as he served his final double- fault I flung myself to the ground sobbing. And it wasn’t as if it was Wimbledon; it was at the Zoo Lake Tennis Club, membership 40, spectators four.
At about the same time, a pregnant friend suggested to her husband as he hurried off to work that they lunch together; he said he couldn’t possibly, he was up to his eyeballs with things to do. She decided to surprise him with a picnic lunch in his office.
When her husband arrived at the office his boss rushed through and hissed, ‘‘ it’s Secretary’s Day, and I was taking mine to lunch but I’m needed upstairs; you have to do it’’. He had no option.
His wife arrived; when told her husband had taken the boss’s PA to lunch, she shot swiftly up her umbrage tree and took herself to the posh hotel packed with personal assistants and their superiors where she did what any expectant mother would do. Went to the smorgasbord, picked up two handfuls of trifle, waddled to the table where her husband and that woman were clearly having the time of their lives, and threw the dessert on the hapless woman’s head.
Obviously nothing has changed; women, especially when pregnant, have mood changes that can strike fear into even the most mildmannered men. Take heart, it will eventually be a dim memory; the future holds its own little challenges, the first one being the lack of a good night’s sleep, seemingly forever.
fraserj@ theaustralian. com. au