One of the many things I love about H is his honesty. He says what he thinks and doesn’t mince his words; it takes some getting used to (especially if you’re as hyper sensitive as me) but once used to it, it’s actually quite refreshing. At least, it is to me, but then again I am his number one fan. I’ve had to have words with him occasionally following a few very blunt discussions with my friends.
I first encountered it way back in the beginning. I went home and got myself a new haircut, and when I got back to London, I turned up on H’s doorstep fully expecting some compliments about my swishy new do. He opened the door, looked at me and his face dropped. ‘Do you like it?’ I asked. ‘Erm, yes, it’s nice,’ he muttered. ‘Really?’ I eagerly responded. ‘Mmmm, no, not really. I prefer it wavy, not straight. I’m going to call you Susan.’
I was confused. My name is not Susan.
‘Who’s Susan?’ I asked. ‘Well, just not you. You don’t look like you. Actually you look like Sinead O’Connor.’
‘But she doesn’t have any hair! Oh – oh’ I exclaimed, feeling all glad inside. ‘Do you mean no one compares to me?’
‘No, I mean you don’t look like yourself. But come in, Susan Sinead.’
Now, every time I straighten my hair, I’m greeted with ‘Hello Susan.’ He once told me I looked like Wee Jimmy Krankie in my short trousers and I’ll never forget the time I innocently asked him if I’d put on weight, thinking he’d say no and reassure me I was lovely to him. We were waiting to catch a tube at the time, and it was in those early days of romance when you’re always going out to dinner, having lazy Sunday night takeaways, sharing desserts and forgetting you shouldn’t be eating the same sized portions as your 6″3 boyfriend. So I asked him the question and he raised his eyebrows and said ‘Yes, a bit.’
Oh. I was crestfallen. ‘Really?! How much? Is it that bad? How big am I?!’
He frowned, and then looked past me towards the tracks. ‘See that tunnel . . .’
I gasped. He burst out laughing. I smacked him on the arm. But he didn’t say he was joking. And since then, any time either of us has put on some weight we’ve put ourselves on Tunnel Watch.
In fact, and obviously, I’m on tunnel watch right now. I don’t begrudge Zee a single pound I put on in pregnancy, and it’s not like I went to extremes, remembering that ‘eating for two’ is in fact a load of old rubbish. I was careful but unless you’re lucky, if you have a baby, some weight goes on and it takes some time to shift. That’s that. Now it’s time for it to come off – very sensibly. And I like the fact that H will encourage and support me in the process, and when I’m back to how I want to be, he’ll be the first person to acknowledge it.
He may be blunt sometimes, but he’s also incredibly kind, generous and funny. I adore him. As the Clarks ad alludes to, fatherhood has shown me a side to H I had guessed was there, but had to wait to discover. Last week, whilst walking up the stairs to get things ready for Zee’s bedtime, I heard singing coming from the bathroom. I stopped and listened. Amongst the splashing, H was singing softly to Zee, an entirely random and made-up song, and as I peered around the door Zee was gazing up at him and beaming. It was so sweet. I melted.
And then H saw me. ‘Look Zee’ he said gleefully. ‘It’s Mummy Susan!’
I swiftly turned on my heel and went to put a few waves in my hair.