Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Hi, dad, I'm pregnant"

HINGS you don't want to tell you father #489: "Hi, dad, I'm pregnant". But imagine if you're a boy.

This is the phone call American man Thomas Beatie would allegedly have had to make, should his dad still be wandering the planet.

Beatie told the world last week that he's carrying a child in his multi-gender belly, news that excited some, and brought a little bit of sick into the mouths of many.

For those non-scientists out there, men don't usually carry or give birth to infants.

Most often, small humans fall out of women.

Yes, men are occasionally part of the process, but only in the most cursory way.

We bump into our partners to begin the process, become terrified and call for the gas during the birth, cause as much anxiety as possible during the child-rearing years through poor discipline and decision-making, then spend our latter days dreading phone calls such as listed above.

Not that any decent father would spurn a child that came up with #489.

I'd be straight down the pub with my mates, shouting the bar and slapping my boy on the back.

"Meet my son, Tom, he's well up the duff.''

My beer-swilling mates would come waddling over, their ale-distended bellies forcing their shirt buttons to work extraordinarily hard.

"This is Steve, he's having twins,'' I'd joke, pointing to his beer baby.

"Does your back hurt, young Tom,'' they'd all sympathise, resting a glass on the handy ledges of their beer-by bumps and rubbing vigorously at their varicose veins.

"Lucky your footy team wears vertical stripes, big fella - you'd look huge in horizontals.''

The conversation would turn to the common complaints of pregnancy/excessive beer drinking: fluid retention about the ankles, the far-too regular need to release fluid, cravings for pizza and the difficulty in finding a decent place to shop for men's maternity gear.

Many alert readers are less than convinced that Beatie is genuinely "with child'', preferring to believe he's simply poking his gut out in a pregnancy hoax. If so, he's not bad - looking far more convincing than, say, Nicole Kidman.

In his defence, Beatie claims to have been born a woman named Tracy Lagondino and had "reassignment surgery'' to appear as a man outwardly.

Inwardly, however, it seems he's all chick.

He's a little bit like the groper fish keen snorklers chase around Clovelly Beach - the big blue one is a fella and the green groper are females.

But, Beatie-like, when Bluey keels over, the biggest female changes colour and turns into abloke.
To be frank, Tom's claimed visit to the labour ward is a little unsettling.

Apart from the equipment issues, women just seem better suited to the baby-manufacturing business.

They also seem better equipped for the swimming pool, if the results at the Olympics qualifying meet in Sydney last week are anything to go by.

The amazing efforts and world records were tainted only by those ridiculous claims that the swimsuits our Beijing-bound athletes are wearing give them an unfair advantage.

The world record line - total swimsuit-free - has copped a hammering, with the result that some are saying the hi-tech gear should be banned.

In fact, some Americans have asserted that the new suits are so dodgy you can simply throw them in the pool without a body inside them and they will glide up and down at pace.

As with Tom Beatie, it's difficult to work out where the truth lies.

At every swim meet there are discussions about whether the water is `"soft'' or if it's a "fast pool''.

The Sydney Olympic pool was described as so fast it was like swimming downstream.

Meanwhile, the genius that is the Underbelly series continues, despite legal orders that it not be shown in Melbourne, where much of the shootin'/shaggin' festival took place.

Damian Walshe-Howling has become my new favourite, playing alleged hitman Andrew ``Benji'' Veniamin with an enigmatic brilliance.

As a favour to those who can't watch this coming Wednesday's episode, I have done a brief highlight count for you.

There are 62 bullets fired, 11 sightings of either Walshe-Howling's or Marcus Graham's naked backsides, and 82 unclothed breasts.

I can't be sure whether they belong to 41 women or if some have a couple of goes - one scene was very difficult to do the maths, no matter how effectively I hit the pause button.

All you need to know is that, unlike Tom Beatie, they were real women.

Tony Squires is heard on Vega 95.3FM on weekday mornings.