“Have I ever been an embarrassing parent?” I asked my son the other day. “Quite often,” he muttered with feeling.
He then proceeded to list everything I’d done to show him up, from the day I fell off a fairground roundabout (stone-cold sober, I hasten to add) to all the times I’d insisted on staying to watch him ride his bike at the skate park. I pretended I wasn’t with him by sitting on a bench and reading the paper, but he still wasn’t best pleased.
So I felt an awful lot better when I picked up this week’s issue of Grazia and read an interview with David Beckham to mark the launch (this was the crowd that turned out!) of his new Bodywear range for H&M.
Asked what his three sons (presumably baby Harper is too little to have an opinion) make of his posing in his pants, he admitted: “They come out with remarks like ‘Oh my God, Daddy, not again,’ or ‘Everyone’s going to see you in your pants!’”
The pictures, emblazoned across thousands of billboards, are clearly working though, because Beckham’s boxers, vests and even long johns are flying off the shelves. And if it’s any comfort to Becks, embarrassing your children is part of being a parent.
I remember that when I was about 11 me and my sister went shopping in Bournemouth every Saturday with my mum. She didn’t drive in those days so on the way back we’d get a taxi home from The Square. As we turned into our road, she’d lean forward and say to the cabbie “it’s just past the fifth lamp-post on the right.” For some inexplicable reason I’d squirm with embarrassment every time she said it. “You always say that,” I’d protest. “Well it always is just past the fifth lamp-post on the right,” she’d reply.
Image © Nick Harvey