Mar 1, 2010
Feb 26, 2010
I can’t hide the fact that I’m annoyed. 'Soup is Nana food,' I tell her. 'After I’ve finished cooking I’ll knit myself a nice blanky to hide my incontinence pad and keep my legs warm.'
I glance at her for a response but I get nothing and my gaze is drawn, predictably, to her boobs. They are being savagely handled by the electronic pump and I am suddenly conscious of the fact that they have received a lifetime’s worth of attention at the hands of milk-sucking machines and children and I feel anxious as I wonder if I will be allowed any access at all when it's finally my turn to handle them again.
As I begin to peel carrots I am taken over by a nightmarish image of myself waiting in line to sit on Santa’s lap. There are thousands of kids and machines ahead of me. I can’t take my eyes off his rosy red cheeks and all I want to do is get close enough to squeeze them but as the hours and days pass and the line shortens and it’s finally my turn Santa – who is just totally over all the attention – tells everyone that he’s going for a quick cigarette behind the carousel and we never see his rosy red cheeks again.
I realize that to ensure Reservoir Mum doesn’t one day disappear behind a carousel I will have to hold her interest in me by maintaining my current level of sexiness for eternity and as the dirty peel falls from the carrot and reveals the more appealing orange flesh beneath I consider removing my shirt, or perhaps even cooking in the nude, to titillate the good lady wife. As well as doing this I may also need to stop complaining about making soup as I’ve heard that constant complaining and sooky-ness can be a turn off to some women. Also, I read an article at Dad Blogs that sexiness to a woman is as much mental as it is physical and so I must remember to tell her how sexy I am, on an hourly basis, which will prove to be doubly effective because – yes – women are mental but they also like to talk a lot.
After removing my shirt I turn to her and say, 'My abs are visible all the time now.'
I’m overwhelmed when she says, 'I’ve noticed.'
'Yes,' I tell her, 'It’s like I’m wearing armor.'
Wow. Turning on women seems effortless and I’m more than chuffed. I remove my pants to combine the visual with the mental and deliver the killer punch. I’m so pleased with myself that my imagination runs away from me and I see myself standing shoulder to shoulder with all the other Dads at the Northern Dads Group. We are dressed in Leopard-spotted loin-cloths and sexy young women are marching up and down inspecting us carefully in order to bed the one they find most attractive. Again and again they choose me.
'You know,' I say to Reservoir Mum, "I’m certain, that if the whole Northern Dad’s Group was standing in a line wearing nothing but loin-cloths most women would choose me as the most attractive.'
I am just about to put the carrot down when Reservoir Mum says, 'I don’t know… Jack’s fairly good-looking.'
I suddenly feel cold. Jack is good looking. He’s also very smart and – who the fuck knows – he probably loves soup. Suddenly I see myself one back in the order of most attractive and before I know it I am comparing myself to each Dad individually. Simon is an artist and a teacher and has a head full of hair. Dan helps the underprivileged and has a sexy accent. Joe builds houses and lives in a nice leafy suburb. Kelvin is a librarian who knows a lot about books. Tony is very exotic and champions women’s rights.
My confidence wanes as I realize that while I may outmuscle them all physically and even break even with several of them when it comes to having things like a nicely shaped head or semi-dreamy eyes I have to be honest with myself – I am being slaughtered when it comes to the mental side of sexy. Simon’s art and Dan’s caring-ness and Joe’s vision and Kelvin’s cataloging genius and Tony’s awareness of female issues versus my blogging which, in all honesty, does nothing more than highlight my growing insanity and my constant desire to talk about myself.
I imagine that I am part of Reservoir Mum’s harem and all the other Dads are eating grapes in the bathing lounge and waiting to be summoned while I mop the hallways and try not to annoy everyone with my constant limping.
As I pull on my clothes I consider the fact that being mentally sexy means not complaining about making soup and so I make the effort to stop this, immediately, but I try to be subtle about it by making up a story, 'You know, when I was a boy a school bully poured soup on my crotch while I was sitting in the middle of the quadrangle and everyone called me soupy-pants for an entire year. Making this soup today has been hard but I feel that it has been necessary for me to let the incident go. I think I am ready to enjoy soup again.'
When I turn to her I see that she’s staring at me intently and after a moment of deep reflection she says, 'I think you’re mental'
Bingo. I feel as if I am on the road to being sexy on multiple levels and I have this confirmed when she reaches over, squeezes my butt and whispers, ‘I liked it better when you cooked naked.’
I watch her walk out the door minutes later and I can’t help but feel that, despite my obvious shortcomings, the world continues to turn just for me. I stare triumphantly at the water as it cooks in a big pot with the real food and I formulate an idea that is so choccas-full-of-genius that it will allow me to challenge the other Dad’s and steal the title of Most Mentally Sexy Dad in one short year – every Monday, starting January 4 2010, I will post a photo of a recognizable pair of my own underwear on a new object, animal, or person. It will run for fifty weeks total. The final ten weeks will be a countdown featuring my underwear on the top ten Most Mentally Sexy Dads and will end on week fifty with my underwear where it rightfully belongs – on the chief selector and therefore Most Mentally Sexy Dad ever. Me.
Feb 24, 2010
1. I am super excited to welcome Catherine Deveny to Reservoir Dad as the first Most Mentally Sexy Judge! Catherine is a television comedy writer, stand-up comedian, author, social commentator, broadcaster and columnist in The Age newspaper.
Dads, you'll need to make your entries sharp if you're going to impress Catherine. She is a funny, insightful, prolific writer who could tear Reservoir Dad apart with the effortless flick of her wit.
2. Suzanne Robson from The Leader Newspaper contacted me yesterday. Apparently the first story on The Most Mentally Sexy Competition received such overwhelming positive feedback that they have no choice but to run a follow-up article in a few weeks. I am pleased to say it will include a pictorial spread of some of the Most Mentally Sexy Contestants. The Northern Suburbs of Melbourne are rupturing with Mental Sexiness and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
3. Joe Schatz, author of 'Daddy, Where's Your Vagina' and founder of Dad-Blogs, has been working tirelessly on the new Reservoir Dad website and its unveiling is imminent. To this old dog of a website, which has served me well for over two years, I'd like to say, 'Move over, you're shit.'
The new website is so good. Last night, while staring at it and listening to Cherish I lost several hours of sleep, just as I did several times in my early teens staring at a poster-size picture of my first girlfriend, Madonna.
I'd be very grateful if you could help me to thank Joe by purchasing a copy of his great book here.
4. I have been so busy preparing the articles on the new site, as well as fielding calls and emails, and staring at my computer screen, and maintaining a semi-decent house and child-rearing schedule, that I won't be able to post my usual Friday ramble this week.
In its place I will do one of two things - unveil the new website, or if that's still not quite ready, repost the first article that spawned the Mentally Sexy Revolution.
5. If you'd like to see the Northern Dads Group Round Table Discussion of the term Mentally Sexy, go here.
6. Keep an eye on The Search For America’s Most Mentally Sexy Dad here. They're getting some great entries and they will do their best to take the World Title away from us.
This is the way to the new world, Dads. Get on board, or get left behind.
Feb 22, 2010
Brad is the father of Georgia, 2 and Nate, 4 months.
"I’m Australia’s Most Mentally Sexy Dad because I know that work doesn’t just happen from nine to five, five days a week. My wife doesn’t get to knock off at five and veg out, so why should I? There is a lot of work associated with raising a family.
When I get home, I put the bags down and I’m into it. I’ll clean up around the house, stack the dishwasher, bath the kids, cook a few days a week, whatever’s going. The day ends when the kids are in bed and things are in shape.
It works because if I’m sharing the load with my wife we both get a little bit more time for each other at the end of the night and it means there’s not as much to do on weekends, so that we can both get out with the kids and have some fun.
In the picture I am at the Children’s Farm with my daughter, Georgia."
Nice work, Brad.
This Wednesday - Mentally Sexy Updates.
- Go here to see all other contestants.
- Go here for the official rule page, with details on how to submit your (or your partners) entry.
- Go here for the official pictorial guide to the Reservoir Dad Most Mentally Sexy Competition Clothing.
- Check in on Fridays for my usual ramble.
Feb 19, 2010
We’re driving the short distance from our house to Archie’s school. It’s his first day, ever, and I’m conflicted, because I’m battling an overpowering sadness at the same time that I’m sharing in his excitement and feeling a level of pride that I generally only ever feel when leading the line dance Nutbush – to Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits – at family parties.
As we pull up to the school I use a hearty, ‘Let’s go Arch,’ to clear the emotion in my voice and we exit the car – Reservoir Mum, Arch, Lewy, Tys and Me – and stop for some photos in front of the school’s sign, and while I watch him moving around awkwardly, balancing forward with his giant backpack, I realize that this moment is as mundane as it is momentous, because although it will happen to just about every family, and to just about everyone, it will only happen three times to our family, and to Archie only once.
I have all three boys in the car with me and Archie is still buzzing. He loves school. He has new friends – Aiden, Monique and Jacob (who has shoes that make him go very fast). He’s so special, and I’m aware of the fairy dust in that statement even as I think it, but he’s right there, a firecracker in my rear vision mirror, chatting, smiling, humming and gyrating in his seat. I can’t help but think that he looks so cool in his oversized uniform, which I am pleased to say is a combination of blue, aqua and maroon, and all that I could think to add to it would be a Members Only Jacket and possibly a nice set of Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses.
On the way out of the grounds, the principal asks me to put in an application to join the school council. I suggest that she might want to reconsider that request when she sees The Preston Leader Newspaper. ‘No,’ she says, ‘If you can get into the paper, you might be able to help us with fundraisers.’ I suddenly see the entire school wearing Reservoir Dad T-shirts. I could change the world.
While we’re waiting, before school, Archie tells me he has more friends now - Aiden, Monique, Jacob (who has shoes that make him go very fast), Bo (who has yellow hair), and Jai (whose hair is orange). Then he says, ‘Dad, two girls here really, really, like me,’ and I laugh and say, ‘Of course they do, Arch.’
The preliminary bell – which is always music that signals the preps to line up with their class against the wall – is a droll, depressing, country-ish type song, which I find to be not only distasteful, but potentially damaging to young minds. I tell Archie to cover his ears as he joins his classmates and I make a note to change the music to something more appropriately rousing, like Run DMC’s It’s Tricky, once I am elected to the school council.
Even though this is predominantly Archie’s journey, I am his most regular tag-along, and it’s opening a whole new world to me. Every morning and afternoon, there’s a mass of parental variety waiting at the bottom of the school steps – business suits, moccasins, tattoos, tank tops, dark mascara over beige foundation, tired eyes carrying dark bags, frowns that have been worn all day long, smiles – the genuine and the forced, and the conversations I overhear range from the trivial to the semi-serious, and from the polite to the gossipy and underhanded.
I’m wearing board shorts and a gym shirt stained by this morning’s bacon and eggs. If I were to categorize myself among the parents I would place myself in the scruffy group, but I don’t care, because Archie appears at the top of the steps and he’s waving at me, and I’m his Dad, and we know – more than anyone else – how cool we are.
I watch Archie disappear inside a classroom, again, and then I wander up the hallway to the office and nominate myself for the school council because today’s Preliminary Bell song was Keith Urban’s Kiss A Girl which made me wish I’d skipped breakfast, and the fear that Archie may return to me at the end of the day humming it, is enough to make me break out into a cold sweat.
As I arrive at the school steps to pick up Archie I catch sight of him getting a kiss on the cheek from two girls who are way older than him – Grade 3 or possibly even Grade 4. While we’re walking to the car, he says, ‘They’re the girls that really like me,’ and I say, ‘Arch, you are cute, smart and funny. Of course, those girls really like you,’ and when he drops his vision, looking a little confused, and replies, ‘I know,’ I see, right there, that he’s already on his own path, growing away from me, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I pick him up, kiss him and hug him, because there’s a strong chance that I won’t be able to do that when he’s going to his first day at University, and I can even anticipate the day coming, when I take him to high school and he says, ‘Dad, just drop me off around the corner, no one likes your 80’s music. It’s embarrassing,’ and the only thing to help me deal with that likelihood is to gather the family in the living room and pump up Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits, as often as I can, because I’m a proud Daddy and I do the Nutbush really, really well.
Feb 15, 2010
Reservoir Dad has also received several more submissions for The Search For Australia's Most Mentally Sexy Dad and if they continue to roll in at this rate, we may have to start putting up more than one entry per week. I promise you this though – no legitimate entry will miss out on having a shot at the title. Even if we receive 100 submissions I will find a way to feature them all.
Since the recent publicity for the competition, I’ve been asked several times what the official definition of Mentally Sexy is. To me, the Mentally Sexy Man is one who takes responsibility in maintaining the passion in his relationship.
One of the greatest aphrodisiacs for women is being desired? Yep, I think I read that somewhere… and so it would follow that a man, in a committed relationship, who is pitching in with the housework and child-rearing, to allow more time for intimacy, is displaying to his wife, in a very practical, visual way, that he still desires her very much. I call that a win win for both husband and wife.
Let’s not shy away from the importance of a good sex life in a happy marriage. I am no Maureen Matthews (sex columnist, Sunday Age) but I’m pretty certain that sex, in itself, is a very good thing. Frequent sex between couples increases the likelihood of happiness, as well as improves intimacy between couples, boosts self-esteem and even improves health by relieving stress, boosting immunity and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (look it up) – all these things are very helpful when you’re doing your best, in a cluttered world, to give you and your partner the greatest chance at a happy, passionate marriage
There is some tongue-in-cheek involved in this competition, of course, and we want to have as much fun with it as possible, but let’s not forget that what we are promoting here, in the end, are good Husbands, good Dads, great men.
In other news –
• I am going to leave Mondays free for new contestants from this day forward and include other developments and news about the competition in the new Mentally Sexy Update which will be posted on Tuesdays.
• Every Wednesday, I will include a Mentally Sexy Tip/Quote Of The Week. Feel free to email Reservoir Dad - firstname.lastname@example.org - if you have any quotes or tips yourself, or if you’ve come across any that you’ve read in the newspapers, or heard on the radio, or seen on TV.
• I am in the process of designing a website for Reservoir Dad, with the help of Joe Schatz, co-founder of Dad-Blogs. I hope you like it when you see the end result.
• You’ll notice the change in heading from Unday – The Search For Australia’s Most Mentally Sexy Dad to Mentally Sexy Monday. I did that because it just makes sense.
Now, to today’s Mentally Sexy entrant –
"This isn’t the only example of my Mental Sexiness but I think it’s a good one because it highlights many of my Mentally Sexy skills.
Put simply, I made my son’s birthday cake. And on it’s own that may not seem like much. But there is more than flour and egg in this cake.
Inside this cake there is an awareness of my wife’s needs – she eats organic and so I had to find only natural ingredients. The icing is natural, the coloring is natural and there is nothing artificial in the sprinkles.
Inside this cake there is my high level of commitment to my wife and family. I stayed up until midnight making it – there is nothing I won’t do for my son and my family. My wife was also freed of another responsibility, and after preparing for the party, which was on the following day, was able to go to bed early and get some needed rest.
Inside this cake there is love. Love cracked the eggs and mixed the ingredients. Love fashioned the shark from the slab of cake. Love bent over the shark with a warm knife and applied the icing.
Inside this cake is pride in myself, in my family. As you can see I was the proudest Dad in the world carrying the cake that I made out to my son’s birthday.
As far as being sexy to my wife, the only thing I could have done to be any sexier was to jump out of that cake in a g-string."
Feb 12, 2010
I am there again, but this time I’m doped up on sleeplessness, and my mind is becoming increasingly erratic, the longer I walk back and forth along this same short stretch of carpet. Sleep has her arms around me, and she is warm and coercive, but I cannot lay with her – the option is not mine – because I have my arms around Tyson, who, despite being deliriously close to unconsciousness, and way past due for his day-time nigh-nighs, remains stubbornly, hellishly awake.
Hours seem to pass as his eyes open and close and his legs kick out and he drifts off and then wakes again and just as I’m reaching a fatigue and repetition-inspired hysteria and wondering if I should just put Tyson down, set a mobile above his cot, and play some low rhythmic baby-ish music, so that I can go downstairs and gouge my eyes out, he sighs and falls asleep. Just like that. When I place him down and watch his face press against the soft mattress, I feel only envy.
I’m going down the stairs slowly because I’m entirely focused on avoiding all creaking sounds and this is why it’s such a shock, when I lift my vision, to see the entire living room and kitchen covered in toys. Archie and Lewis have opened every box and emptied every crate and I think I can even see a bag of rice opened on the carpet, and something smells like cream cheese, or Burger Rings, and Archie says, ‘We had to find that,’ and points to Lewis, who is holding a plain, undersized, marble, between finger and thumb.
I’m beyond reacting to this. No motivation, no desire, no sense of responsibility can drag me away from this exhaustion. I somehow manage to walk to the sliding door and stumble into the backyard and the fresh air, the slight chill in it, is an awesome relief.
As I sit down next to the guinea-pig cage and take out Nugget – the fatter, friendlier guinea-pig – for a pat, the earth shakes, and ripples run through everything I see, as if someone has thrown a stone into the middle of my vision. I reason that I must be hallucinating, but still, as our five chickens gather around me, one sane thought enters my head – maybe I should stop writing at night and go to bed as soon as the kids are asleep.
Yes, that would be sensible. It may help me to avoid infrequent but powerful moments of this drug-like misery and, anyway, writing might be a big fat pointless waste of time because in the meeting I had with the publisher, he said, ‘I really liked your Phuket posts. I love stories of the exotic, of faraway people and places,’ and though I remained relatively conscious from that point on, and even continued with the conversation, my synapses ceased firing, my heart rate dropped, and my mind released its hold on all expectation of a publishable outcome, as soon as he mentioned the word exotic.
The earth shakes again and as Marley and Echo – our two short-haired Border Collies – lumber over and sit at my feet for a pat, I reflect on my motivations. I am interested in people – relatives, friends and those I bump into at the park or the supermarket. And I do like places because I tend to meet relatives, friends and those I bump into, at them, but, I will never write about places outside this tiny backyard, this slightly bigger suburb, or the boundaries of this state, unless circumstance takes me beyond them, and, much to my relief, that doesn’t happen very often.
As I reach over to scratch Marley between the ears, she opens her mouth into a wide stinky dog yawn and says, ‘You’re up yourself, RD’ and hiding my hurt pride behind a quick reply, I say, ‘There’s nothing more exotic, Marley, than the inside of a person’s head, and if you’re looking for something foreign, a little unusual, even alien, you don’t have to go any further than here,’ and I’m tapping my temple for emphasis, reasonably pleased with my ramblings until, Marley, clearly unimpressed, says, in a manner that could only be seen as an attempt to mock me, ‘Uh-huh….’
A bird flies overhead, circles me twice and then lands on my shoulder as Nugget taps me with her nose, and says – in a French accent that is quite becoming – ‘Never mind the Border Collie. You know, RD, a rabbit I was holed up with in the Pet Store, once said to me, that misery is like a monkey swinging from tree to tree. You never know when it’ll share its weight with you, pick at your fruit and bend your branches to the ground…’
I interrupt her to ask, ‘So I’m the tree?’ and she looks confused, drops the French accent, and says, ‘What tree?’ and the ripples appear for a split second, and the bird on my shoulder says, ‘What she’s trying to say, Amigo, is that every town is different, and even though you may ride in on the horse of Misery today, tomorrow you might ride in on the horse of…’. She pauses, struggling for the right word, before Echo, who was quietly licking his arse, sits up and says, ‘Contentment?’ and the skinnier, angrier, guinea-pig says, ‘Joy?’ and one of the chickens, says, ‘er… Happy?’ and the bird on my shoulder covers my ear with her wing before whispering, ‘Don’t listen to a fricken chicken, whatever you do’ and I reply with, ‘The chickens give me eggs, man. What do you give me?’
The bird hesitates, sniffs, and then flies off screaming, ‘Stuff you, ya privileged bastard,’ and just as I begin to think that I have no way out, Nugget yells, ‘Let’s just sing the darkness out of him,’ and all the animals shout, ‘Yeah,’ and Marley, always up for a hearty sing-a-long, pushes PLAY on a 1980’s Beatbox, and I hear the familiar, moving, but up-tempo sounds of Elton John’s Sad Songs, and all the animals link paws and claws and wings with my strange pink-looking wormy hands, and we begin to sing together, as one, and as Elton sings, “Guess there are times, when we all need to share a little pain” I feel the other side of a druggie’s high – weightlessness, euphoria, a sense of belonging to everything – and I realize the over-sensitive bird on my shoulder was right to stuff me, because I am, without a doubt, a bastard of privilege.
This music, this singing, this experience, is nothing short of cathartic.
Suddenly the music stops and I suck in lungful of air, and everything is bright, and when my eyes adjust I see Lewis standing above me, holding a cupfull of mud with my toothbrush sticking out of it.
‘Yes, mate?’ I say, rubbing my eyes.
‘You’re asleep on the ground.’
‘What? Really? Can’t be…’ I say.
I sit up and shake the debris from the back of my arms and Lewis climbs up on my shoulders and starts slapping continuously at the top of my head, as if I’m a human drum, and the playfulness, and the slight sting of it, brings me out of my sleepy dullness. There are no ripples any more and the ground is still. I’m overwhelmed by a feeling that my backyard is good. My backyard is great.
‘Hey Luey,’ I say, ‘Let’s make up some stories. Let’s make some really, really cool stories together.’
‘Okay,’ he says, and he begins, as always, with ‘And then…’ and I like that, because it puts me right in the middle of the story, and I’m hanging on to his every word, and soon Tyson will wake up and Archie and Lewis will fight, and then befriend each other, and then fight again, and the house will have to be cleaned, and I will battle through the lack of sleep, and a million dramas will unfold in front of me in a manner of minutes, but it’s okay, because these are my people, and the story I’m telling about them is as exotic as any – it reaches through past, future and present, and offers me a place that has everything I need and, as far as I can see, inside and outside, it has no end.