Joe Hilde­brand

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents -

has come to the re­al­i­sa­tion that he is not a “real” man.

Ladies and gen­tle­men – but let’s face it, mostly ladies – I have an an­nounce­ment to make. I know this will be hard for you – it cer­tainly is for me – but I feel it’s some­thing that needs to be said. The web of lies has been stretched to break­ing point.

What I am about out to re­veal has been creep­ing up on me slowly over the years, but in the past few weeks it has be­come im­pos­si­ble os­si­ble to deny. The truth is I am just t not a “real” man.

I had as­sumed d that be­cause I drank and swore re and was good fun at par­ties that at this meant I was an al­pha male. But as it turns out, it just st means I’m an in­cred­i­bly y rude and charm­ing al­co­holic. co­holic.

The truth first t be­gan to dawn on me while I was watch­ing my son n play soc­cer and I re­alised he wasn’t so much play­ing soc­cer as s per­form­ing a se­ries of in­ter­pre­tive re­tive dance moves oc­ca­sion­ally lly in­ter­rupted by a ball. It was more like rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics as­tics but with­out the rhythm. thm. And, if I am to be com­pletely mpletely hon­est, the gym­nas­tics. nas­tics.

You know that t when your first­born son n is too soft for a foot­ball code e whose pri­mary ob­jec­tive e is to dive to the ground scream­ing ream­ing in pain that you re­ally haven’t made a man of him. Yet de­spite all my years of train­ing in mu­si­cal the­atre I couldn’t fig­ure out where I’d gone wrong. The sec­ond big wake-up call came a few days later when I started the long and tor­tur­ous process of buy­ing a car. It wasn’t a shock to me that I am not par­tic­u­larly good with cars – if I was I wouldn’t have to be buy­ing a new n one – but I was shocked to learn I wasn’t wa even good enough to kill them. them “Surely you un­der­stand th this?” my me­chanic im­plored as h he asked for the pa­per­work to take t to the wreck­ers. “You. Did. No Not. Put. Oil. In. The. Mo­tor.” Shortly after I asked h him what a mo­tor was, my m me­chanic in­sisted on ac­com­pa­nyin ac­com­pa­ny­ing me to all fu­ture vis­its in my qu quest for a new au­to­mo­bile. Ther There­upon he would have an­i­mat an­i­mated con­ver­sa­tions with v var­i­ous sell­ers in a lan­guage that to me might asw as well have been Urdu, and in some cases prob­a­bly was. “It’s the cran crank­shaft!” he’d tell one. ““It’s the tim­ing bel belt!” to an­other. “C’mo “C’mon, mate, what about the diff?” I al­ways thou thought the diff was som some­thing that sho should be split, but ap­par­ently in the au­to­mo­tive world that is not a good re­sult.

It was ob­vi­ous that I was not the man for a man’s job. De­spite al­ways prid­ing my­self on my work­ing­class back­ground, the truth is my back­ground is nei­ther classy nor work­ing. Re­ally, I was just raised by a sin­gle mum on a pen­sion. I didn’t even know how to lift a toi­let seat un­til I was 15 years old, let alone a bon­net.

In ret­ro­spect all this should have been ra­di­antly clear: I never played proper foot­ball, I never learnt how to fix a car and I still use phrases like “ra­di­antly clear”.

But even if I couldn’t fix my car, I thought I could at least fix my mis­takes and make my son a bet­ter man than me. I tried to get him to kick a ball and fight fair and drink wa­ter…

Well, turns out I’m not the man for that job ei­ther.

Still, he does have some pretty wicked dance moves. And I know he didn’t get them from his mother. Joe co-hosts Stu­dio 10, 8.30am week­days, on Net­work Ten and is Ed­i­tor-at-large for

“I thought I was an al­pha male. But it turns out I’m just a charm­ing al­co­holic”

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