Strange things happen when, after bashing men for four years, you actually give birth to one. For one, it almost feels like the joke is on you. And for another, you wonder if you are contributing to the largesse of convoluted, messed up, “I-have-issues”, “My-mother-did-this-to-me” men who are in queue for being rehabilitated.
So when the boy turned one recently, I found myself saying my “dear gods” with far more passion and fervour than I have ever done. So here are a few that are top of my mind.
1. Let my son not grow up thinking that handling a remote control device will pass for exercise. Even if he has six of them. Even if he is rocking himself in his easy chair and chomping on French fries while doing so.
2. Let him not say yes when he means no.
3. Let him know how to say no.
4. Let him not get any woman pregnant unless she really wants it. And of course, is of appropriate age.
5. Let him be man enough to laugh when it is appropriate and cry when he feels like it.
6. Let him not think that being an alpha male is about being the most obnoxious person in the group. Or the loudest. Or the one with the most trivia rolling off his tongue. Or the one who has the silliest girls eating out of his palm.
7. Let him not grow up to be one of those people who feels totally bereft when football season is over and doesn’t know what to do with himself thereafter, and so cries “Waka waka” in his sleep or worse, sleeps with his Vuvuzela.
8. Let him not think that puffing his lungs away or being the last man standing in a bar is a sign of macho-ness.
9. Let him know, and remember this forever, that he will always be a bad liar, so let him not even start going there.
8. Let him appreciate that grunting and muttering are not accepted vocabularies and that one needs to speak full sentences to convey a message. Even if the sentence is as boring as, “Can I please have some potatoes?”
9. Let him never, ever hurt an animal, because I will hurt him.
10. Let him not sit around waiting for an inheritance, because frankly, there is none.
11. I will come back to you dear God, because I have to take a break now as the son has put something suspicious in his mouth and it better not be the cat’s food.