Thursday, 27 August 2009


You can’t walk around with baby and be unfriendly. When I was pregnant, I was warned of the likelihood of people touching my tummy. It didn’t happen. I must have given off a certain aura of touch at your peril, or I’m just plain scary.

In fact one of the places I worked when I was younger, the boss was a bit too touchy feely, and always standing rather too close to the ladies and rubbing their shoulders, whilst studying their work onscreen. I was only in my twenties yet he never laid a finger on me literally. I ended up working quite closely with him, in his house when I was bit older and he told me I’d always come across as rather Amazonian – you’d laugh if you saw me. Still it set me in good stead, no unwanted advances from any quarters, well unless I digress even further and as it is I’ve already digressed half way down another street.

So no one touched my pregnant belly, not strictly true, a lady shopkeeper in Lesvos while we were on holiday (defences must have been down), touched the very top of it over the counter in a very gentle way, and I found I didn’t actually mind.

Carrying a baby however is a completely different thing, I can throw off all the stay away aura I can muster and Erbie just waves away at mad old ladies and beggars smiling magnanimously at everyone, their dogs and pigeons.

People I have been in contact with in my daily life for 4 years without so much as a nod of acknowledgement are now on first name terms with Erbie.

All the staff in my local superstore now say hello, the moody newsagents ask how he is doing if I pop in for a paper without him. The local homeless guy and his dog smile and say hi. Erbie waves madly at the dog.

Strange ladies come up to me and ask how old he is, tell me how beautiful he is, smile right in close to his face. I get followed round shops, I get sat next to on public transport.

Someone came up to him in the park today touched his chin and then kissed him, walking off again without so much as a by your leave.

A guy with two small dogs who I see walking around daily looking hard as nails said: ‘good morning’ to me yesterday.

It is a bit like having a dog I guess, people feel they can approach you with an opening gambit.

People even chat you up, which is strange, um I’ve got a baby, would not the chances of me being single be slightly less. ‘He’s very cute – so are you.’ Fluster fluster, stifle laugh, leave quickly. The GR gets his fair share of girl attention too if he’s out carrying him.

It’s nice, I now feel more a part of our local community than I ever did before. The only down side is I get recognised so much more now, (not such a common occurrence, a baby in the west end). I get recognised when I’ve just pulled my Wellingtons on over my pyjamas to get a pint of milk, when I’ve popped for the papers before washing my face, when basically I look like shit, oh well.

1 comment:

everybodysaysdont said...

Oh goodness yes! I indentify with this! I get recognised so much more since I've had a dog! On the whole people are so much more friendly which is good, but sometimes people want to chat when all I'm trying to do is take the dog for a very quick wee and trying to do it quickly because I look V rough, no shower, maybe still last nights eye make up that's run, glasses, not my normal contact lens, funny blue gel on my spots! And yes I've done Wellingtons over my pyjamas too!

Other nonsense

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Anon - after Larkin

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