Sunday 11 April 1999
Following the birth of my first child everything changed. There's something about having children that loosens a nut in your brain. Maybe it's something to do with the enormity of the experience or just the chronic exhaustion that follows. I'm sure it does different things to different people, but for me it had the effect of reawakening my inner cry-baby.
This time around the blubbing is not triggered by genuine emotions, which for me remain as stunted as ever, but by a new and perverse sentimentality. I still regard actual tragedy with a face of stone, but I cry when the cat doesn't come home for dinner, convinced he is lying dead on a skip somewhere with the wind lifting the fur on his stiffened carcass. My wife thinks this is truly funny and keeps opening the cupboard where the cat food is, just to see me well up.
Telly is my real weak spot. Last week I even cried during Stars In Their Eyes, because they all wanted it so bad. Children's videos are also a problem. I have to leave the room when Dumbo's mother gets put in the cage, lest my son see my face crumpling. I envy his composure as he watches the bit where Pooh gives Piglet his house, or the end of Land Before Time III when the baby dinosaurs are reunited with their parents. I admire the way he can look up and say "Simba's dad's dead" without his voice quavering.
My wife has a disturbing passion for American TV movies, in particular for films which carry the subtitle "Based On A True Story". I cannot watch them myself, which I pretend is because they're so dire, but in actual fact I just can't make it through without falling apart. Even the worst of them are like cunningly laid traps. A recent Channel 5 offering about a Florida girl who was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend had me laughing right until the end when the mother marched down to the state legislature saying, "If what is happening to my daughter isn't against the law, then the law is wrong". Without warning my eyes begin to sting. This was a new low: crying at someone's newfound civic wherewithal. When they say it's OK for men to cry, you somehow know this is not what they mean.
I'm hoping that this is just a phase in my emotional development that I've left a bit late, and that it will go away soon. In the meantime I've learned never to mention it to psychologists at dinner parties.
Life & Style blogs
A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
Your best friend as a teenager can determine how healthy you are as an adult
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus battery capacity will be weaker than predecessors, Apple leaks suggest
Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 1 Kermit the Frog has a new girlfriend named Denise
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...
£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...
£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...