“How was last night?” I ask my brother and his mate over brunch and my brother bursts into immediate laughter.
“Oh no,” I groan, “what did you boys get up to this time?” I ask and order an extra large cappuccino, knowing I’ll need it to get me through the explanation.
“Pinky here,” (that is not his real name by the way. For some reason I feel the need to protect his identity so that anyone reading this doesn’t forward it to every single female they know and destroy his chances at happiness forever). “Pinky here,” says my brother, “couldn’t come up with the name of the girl he’d just had relations with when she asked him in post-coital bliss.”
“Oh poor girl,” I commiserated, “what happened then?”
“She asked me to leave,” said Pinky, managing – sort of – to look like he felt bad. “She’d broken up with her boyfriend six months ago and I was her first…ah, foray into the single world shall we say.” Then he retold the story in that nonchalant, ‘I don’t understand the way women think’ tone that I’ve been hearing from my brothers for years. “She got really upset and started telling me all about her ex and how she knew this was a bad idea and what was she thinking and so on, and then she started to cry and said; ‘I knew I shouldn’t have done this, look what happened, I hooked up with a guy who can’t even remember my name.’”
Pinky looked up from his latte and shrugged.
“Then she said she was never going to do this again, and I felt bad," he continued. "Don’t say that, I said; don’t rule out something so fun just because I can’t remember your name. If I see you in two years time I’ll be able to tell you what you are wearing – were wearing – and what we talked about tonight, but I’m rubbish with names, that’s all. I never remember anyone’s names, this happens all the time.” (And even he will concede that this was perhaps not the best thing to finish with). “But she still told me to leave,” he said not sounding very repentant at all. “I’m going to go back and try to apologise, I don’t want to turn her off this sort of activity forever.”
“Oh, so you’ll apologise out of your deeply felt civic responsibility is that it?” I ask, walking a fine line between loving my brother’s friend and wanting to sock him square in the face in defence of the unnamed lady’s honour.
“She was a bit of a looker,” says my brother, “it is his civic responsibility. He’s apologising so hope is maintained for the rest of mankind.”
“You two are outrageous,” I rage, “that girl is somebody’s sister, daughter. You have to show her more respect than that!”
“Oh Nome,” protests my other brother who has been sitting silently by my side, “she knew what she was doing. She approached him remember. Pinky promised her a good time, he never said he’d remember who she was.”
I shake my head because I know he is right, and just then my little peanut stirs and I am hit with the horrid reality that in eighteen years – quite possibly even less – my daughter will be navigating this very minefield herself. A minefield her mother never even ventured into, knowing that with her poor navigation skills, she was certain to step on any and all Improvised Explosive Devices within a ten kilometer radius. I would be no help to her whatsoever. And Lord knows what sort of a minefield it will be like in eighteen-odd years, what kind of technological advancements she’ll be using, what sort of diseases and pick-up lines she’ll have to avoid, and it’s hardly an environment her mother can venture into just to make sure she’s safe.
And there’s the rub. That’s my job. To love and protect. How dare someone expect me to be remiss in my duties!
But, I didn’t give her life not to let her live it.
So between now and then, I’ll do my best to instill a sense of self-worth, a clever mind, a thoughtful heart, and then I’ll tell her to make sure they remember her name first.