I recently stayed at the girlfriend’s when she had her parents round. It was the first time we’d all stayed under the same roof together, and I have to say, I found the process of going to bed extremely awkward. We had great food, but by the time dessert came, my mind was focusing on the bedtime situation. They’d created this girl. They’d fed her, clothed her, put her through school and uni, watched her grow up, and now they were going to be a room away from their daughter sleeping with a man they barely knew.
The girlfriend had already gone to bed pissed off because I wouldn’t watch an Almodovar film with her, leaving me watching Match of the Day with her parents. It was one of those situations where I knew I wouldn’t be able to watch the whole of the football and the longer I left if before getting to bed, the longer the girlfriend’s sulk would be and the harder her retribution.
But I didn’t know how to exit. Her parents and I both knew where I was going. I was going to bed with their daughter. Every time her dad and I talked about some goal or some save that we’d just seen, we knew it was just a preamble to what the night was really about, what was coming. It was about them adjusting to a man they hardly knew sleeping with their daughter whilst they were staying there.
I couldn’t look the parents in the eye and I just mumbled ‘goodnight’ and left. But it was a troubling moment and possibly as traumatic for them as it was for me. I wanted to stop and reassure them I wasn’t going to do anything to her (and after watching the football, the chances of anything happening were zero anyway). I wanted to have that conversation with them but was unable to do so.
"They’d created this girl. They’d fed her, clothed her, put her through school and uni, watched her grow up, and now they were going to be a room away from their daughter sleeping with a man they barely knew."
Then came this awful moment in the middle of the night. I’m a terrible sleeper, which is why I don’t like staying over at people’s houses. And I got up to take a leak. The girlfriend’s mum was still up in the front room which is right next to the loo and I said ‘hello’ and she knew I’d got up for a leak. I had bed hair and nothing on my feet. If people can see my feet, I feel vulnerable.
So I went into the loo – and the mum pretended to be non-plussed but you don’t want to be hearing someone you barely know – who is only staying over because he’s doing your daughter – urinate. I mean, having people know what I’m doing in there kills me. I was tempted to urinate in the sink. I did consider flushing then turning the taps on and going in the sink because I didn’t want her to hear my urine splashing around in the bowl – it’s a low bowl and quite tight – but in the end, I thought, you know what, I’m a normal person and normal people wee. I can do this. And I was proud of myself. As I re-emerged from the loo, I did wonder whether I needed to say ‘goodnight’ all over again as I’d already said it but in the end, I just retreated back to the bedroom to lie down next to their daughter.
Footnote: if you are my boss and are reading this, whilst deciding on how to make cuts in the department, I did not write this article.
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