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Gran teaches me the birds, the bees, and 4od

March 31, 2013

I phoned gran over the weekend for a catch up.

‘I have a new positive attitude to life,’ I told her.

She didn’t hear me at first. I repeated it, with less gusto.

‘Oh really!’ she said. ‘Since when?’

‘Since the clocks went back – I mean, forward,’ I paused, and could hear the TV in the background. ‘Gran, what are you watching?’

‘”16 kids and counting”,’ she said.

‘Ooh, I think it’s repulsive. Bodies weren’t designed to give birth so many times.’

‘I had near relatives with 16 children,’ gran said. ‘And they emigrated to Australia. They were fine!’

‘Yeah, they were perfectly healthy until they died at 55,’ I replied.

‘Women didn’t work in those days.’

‘So they should just be sausage machines instead? Women have brains – they should have stopped and thought: “let’s opt for some protection”.’

‘They didn’t have any back then,’ she said.

‘Or they could abstain.’

There was a pause, while we both listened to “16 kids and counting”.

‘That can be hard, sometimes,’ she said thoughtfully.

‘Or only on special occasions?’ I suggested.

I could hear her fiddling around with the remote. I imagined her jabbing it at the screen, frustrated.

‘You really do live in cloud cuckoo land!’ she said.

She pressed mute. She hated advert breaks.

‘Have you not seen the program “40 year old virgins”?’ I persisted. ‘There was 45-year-old Clive, and 29-year-old Rosie, and–‘

‘We’re all animals, you know,’ she interrupted. ‘Did you enjoy your party last night?’

I didn’t tell her about the Justin Bieber lookalike who made me shots of tequila and hot sauce. He was an animal. In print, at least. An animal print onesie.

‘It was lovely, thank you,’ I replied.

Gran yawned, said she was going to catch up on the documentary and go to bed.

‘I am glad you’re not going to become a breeding machine,’ she told me.

‘Only in my spare time,’ I replied. ‘I’m a working woman.’


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