If you’ve ever played cricket you’ll know that the worst type of catch that comes your way is one where you have time to think about how to catch it. If its a reflex catch, you either catch it or you don’t. But when the ball goes so high that there’s time to contemplate the wind, how the ball is spinning, whether your fingers are pointing up or down, whether the sun is in your eyes... the task starts to become horrifying and often, people freeze and make a bigger mess of it that a much more complicated reflex catch.
The phrase “we’re having a baby” is the perfect mix of the two types of catches. Typically it follows shortly after the phrase, “We need to talk...” which will have his head spinning with all the variety of possible dramas that might be heading his way. Nervous, disorientated and awaiting the drama, comes the enormous, life altering phrase.
And I think Ive discovered the perfect metaphor for the bloke who has just found out he’s going to have a baby. You know the soldier standing out the front of Buckingham Palace who, no matter what shit is pulled on him by American or Australian tourists, never reacts. It could be because the plan is “don’t react to anything”, the other is “i have absolutely no idea how to react to this, let alone in a reasonable way.” Granted, its more likely the plan, but you know what I mean.
He is every man.
OK, not every man. I guess there are plenty of chaps out there that are desperate to have babies. I’m sure the fella who has been busting to have kids his whole life might react differently.
But for the average, everyday guy - it is one of the biggest shocks ever contained in a very short sentence.
Our British soldier, when faced with a loudmouthed yankee tourist, taking photos, pulling faces, making age-old jokes, never reacts. But he can hear. And he can think. But he doesn’t move.
I always wanted kids. I knew that I loved my girlfriend, and she was the one for me. Yet, when I was told the big news, I could barely move. Brain activity up, physical activity ceased. Life had changed, forever, but I didn’t know how, or what to do next.
If I had made a noise, it would most likely have sounded like “duuuuuuuuuuuh”
If I was a computer it would read:
C://DOS/Speak to buy yourself time to think
Fleetingly, frantically, I thought about what this meant for my life. But the pressure took a much more beautiful form - the nervous, intent Stacey who had just imparted the biggest news of her life... and me, the big lug, couldn’t react. I stammered a “thats AWESOME” with all the sincerity of an 11th hour election promise. It was so pathetic, I tried again.
I hugged her and said, “thats really great news”, but I knew it had no conviction.
C://DOS/Troy will now restart/ this may take a few minutes/ please stop looking at me
My brain would not stop whizzing around and around, mainly because my brain was coming up with no answers to the questions it was raising.
Back to the cricket - Its a reflex catch because the impact is instant, and the missus is looking for an instant, insightful understanding of how I was feeling. It was a sky-ball catch because this new journey is a marathon. 9 months, during which not much changes for the bloke.
I think women need to understand the magnitude of this event on the bloke. Women are desperately looking for an insightful reaction to how he really feels about becoming a dad. Ladies, please know that you will not get that... not yet. The words “Im Pregnant” literally scramble his brain with a million questions - but you can relax.. none of which is “which way is the door?”.
Its most likely that the girl had a moment of solitude, even if it was immediately after the pregnancy test wee on the stick came back positive to have a quick think about what all this means.
If were up to blokes to tell their wives that they were pregnant, I think the male would savour the shock. Probably set up a video camera with the hope of sending something hilarious into Funniest Home Videos.
So don’t stress if your man doesn’t exactly act like the dad from Family Ties when you drop the bombshell. He’s happy about it - I guarantee... but first he needs to work out what the next steps are.
I saved myself by literally asking Stacey - “so what happens now?” and away we went.