Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Now What? You See Men in the Dear Light of Day When the Pregnancy Hormones Cut in. (Columns)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Now What? You See Men in the Dear Light of Day When the Pregnancy Hormones Cut in. (Columns)

Article excerpt

The body's natural narcotics are the best free drugs available to womankind, trust me. During childbirth, when the pain got too bad, I was sent on a "trip" via a heady mix of endorphins. The next day, giggling and still feeling superhuman, I went shopping at Mothercare.

But, like all narcotics, the effects of natural hormones are unpredictable and not always entirely desirable. Take being pregnant. Nature has this cruel knack of making pregnant women feel as sensual and exciting as a leather basque from Victoria's Secret. Unfortunately, this happens at the same time as we take on the dimensions of Victoria Wood. Not a combination that inspires romance.

Suspiciously, with time on my hands on Saturday, I shunned a swim, a massage or a weepy film, and instead spent four hours cleaning our home from top to bottom. I got down on my hands and knees, furious at the dust on the skirting. I clambered on unstable chairs to dust shelves that no one will ever touch. I cleared the entire wash basket and vacuumed behind the freezer. Him indoors has recognised the dangerous symptoms I am displaying and has wisely been keeping a low profile, only popping his head above the parapet to make cups of tea or nip to the shops to buy kebabs or family-size bars of Fruit & Nut.

Still, at least pregnancy makes men behave strangely, too -- out goes politeness and in comes blundering confusion bordering on fear.

At a friend's 40th birthday party, a young man sidled up to me. He failed to notice the gleam in my eye. "Ah!" He swayed with the rocking of a boat. "You're getting a bit porky, aren't you, eh, eh?" He was being "witty". "Nab, nab, seriously, though. Have you got two in there?" He poked my tender bump. "That's not normal, is it? Were you fat before this?" His face was fixed in an expression that said: "Honest-I'm-really-interested-in-this-woman-stuff. …

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