Magazine article The Spectator

Standing Room

Magazine article The Spectator

Standing Room

Article excerpt

'Mum, have you ever been cock-blocked?' asked my 19-year-old daughter on a recent visit home from university. 'Because it's driving me crazy and I just don't know how to deal with it. I thought you might have some good tips.' I instinctively felt that this was probably one of those defining mother and daughter bonding moments that required a confident yes or no answer.

'No, I haven't, ' I replied. 'Or if I have, I think I probably didn't enjoy it that much and have forgotten all about it.' Tilly was looking at me with a mixture of both envy and disbelief.

'So you're telling me that even before you met Dad, no one has ever tried to pull that move on you? Whoa Mama. Respect.' It was at this point in the conversation that I started to panic. I thought I could code-break her university vernacular with ease, and assumed cock-blocking was probably an extreme form of self-defence -- or else some weird sexual practice I was far too straight to have ever experienced.

I was wrong and I now knew exactly how the Sam Baldwin character in Sleepless in Seattle must have felt. Poor Sam. Sam had no clue what tiramisu was and eventually had to swallow his pride and ask his friend to explain, 'because one day a woman is gonna want me to do it to her, and I'm not gonna know what it is.' Like Sam, I was out of my depth.

'Remind me what the "blocking" manoeuvre is?' I asked, trying to mask my total ignorance.

'You know -- basically a cock-block is when someone stands in your way of getting near a guy you like. …

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