Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why I Used to Beat Up My Brother; Life & Style: A New Report Says That Four out of Five Siblings Physically Attack Each Other. of Course, Says One Writer, It's All Part of Growing Up by Victoria Coren

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Why I Used to Beat Up My Brother; Life & Style: A New Report Says That Four out of Five Siblings Physically Attack Each Other. of Course, Says One Writer, It's All Part of Growing Up by Victoria Coren

Article excerpt

Byline: VICTORIA COREN

A COUPLE of nights ago, some time in the small hours, my phone rang.

It was my older brother, Giles. He was calling to apologise for tripping me up and causing me to bang my head on a coffee table. He didn't know what came over him, my guilt-ridden brother explained. The sight of me running eagerly into a room had simply annoyed him, and he'd felt obliged to stick his foot out.

I was relieved by his apology, though it came a little late. The incident occurred in 1979. My brother is now 33 and no longer trips me up when I run into rooms. But then, I no longer run into rooms. As you get older, you start to learn that rooms never contain anything terribly exciting.

I had long forgotten the coffeetable business, so my brother's sudden fit of nostalgic remorse was especially touching. I didn't want him to suffer for his crimes of more than 20 years ago. So I alleviated his guilt by reminding him of the time, later that same year, when he was carrying a jug of milk up the stairs and I crashed violently into him on the pretext of escaping invisible wolves. The milk ended up on the stairs and we had no breakfast.

Swings and roundabouts.

According to a new study at Glasgow Caledonian University, fourfifths of children attack their brothers and sisters. This should be consoling news for parents who just don't understand why their cute toddlers keep head-butting each other. I hold myself responsible for a healthy percentage of my brother's childhood bruises, but I love him more than anyone else in the world and always have done. When I played "let's pretend" games at school, I would invariably say, "I'll be a boy called Giles and I'll have black hair and be good at cricket." It wasn't the easiest role for a chubby little blonde girl who couldn't catch a ball to save her life, but I was determined to grasp the challenge. I loved to copy my handsome, clever brother. Then I would go home and hit him over the head with a Barbie doll. …

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