I am not a man.
Oh, I have a penis (what a penis!) and thus I am a man from a gender viewpoint even if I can't see the aforementioned penis (1); like the air I know it's there.
But from a cultural Western, Anglo-Ozzer blah-blah viewpoint; not really.
Don't like sport. Don't care for tools. Don't make stuff. Don't like gardening. Don't like going to the beach. Don't like cars. Prefer theWife do the driving (I get tired plus, unlike most people, I can successfully read in a car). Oh and while I can legally drive a manual car ... if you want to keep your gear-box in a reasonable condition then don't let me.
I also don't drink beer ... but if I have to drink beer ... I will add lemonade.
You certainly can't blame my dad. He likes all those manly things; for example he watches cricket, makes stuff, and not only has a maintained vegetable garden but he annexed the railway's land out the back of his fence and inserted fruit trees into it.
But his likes did not pass the generational membrane. Instead ... instead of all those typical Ozzer-dude likes, if you look at Oz males as befitting a certain media-fostered identity of beer drinking, beach basting, boganinity ... for the most part I stayed in my room and read books or played AD&D with myself (2).
So I have to steel myself for the very real probable fact that my own Mikey-likes may not befit the smörgåsbord of fun that will be my son's idea of a good time to have by yourself (3).
As a child (4) I loved to read books. Not just printed fiction; I loved comics, cartoons and non-fiction factoid type books.
My favourite non-fiction factoid type books were the Usborne series. Colourfully illustrated collections of interesting info about a subject delivered in around 32 pages; Castles, How the Body Works (including a memorable double-page spread on an apple-to-feces transformation), The Spies Handbook and various animals etc. .
One of the first Usborne books I had was a book my grandmother sent. It was a snapshot of fun facts about the world; who grows the most potatoes; who has the highest waterfall; sheep for fun and profit (we won! Go ozzies!). I must have read that book a hundred times. One year I also got the book for ghosts. It scared the shit out of me. On the next Christmas I re-gifted it to my eight year old brother.
Recently we were driving to add kays when we stopped off at Australia's Kite Festival, held in one of those small hamlets that are linked to the roadhouse mega-complexes on the freeway. Someone whose hobby is clearly setting up a stall at sparrows to make nine bucks fifty for a Saturday's work had an Usborne book as part of her range - the one on dogs. With a delightful burst of goodmemory I snaffled it for fifty cents.
Tonight, at story-time, theNoo pulled it from his shelf. I have no idea how it made it in to the stories-on-top-of-the-dvd-bookshelf-next-to-the-story-chair rotation, but there it was.
I was excited. I was going to read an Usbourne book! I started with the very first page - how wolves became dogs (as determined by the writer back then; some of the info I think has dated).
I started to read, my enthusiasm evident to any in earshot.
I knew I was losing the audience by text-box two - did wolves get adopted as puppies for cavemen children - when he slid off my lap and wondered over to his toy tool-bench he got for Christmas ... which came with five varieties of toy-drills that not only have a battery-powered turning drill bit but an exaggerated drilling sound.
Rzzz-rzzzzz went a drill. Fuck it, I kept going. 'Wow, can you believe it?! cave kids with wolf puppies!' I added, practically barista-frothing with over-praise.
Rzzz-rzzzzz he said via his ventriloquist drill in hand as he drifted, blank-faced, around the lounge room like a lazy pinball.
Only one thing for it. Put all the money on text-box three.
I read it with passion. I read it with joy. I ended the recitation of information - something about herders learning to use dogs to guard their flocks (5) - with thunderous aplomb, my arm arched above me like Andre Rieu holding aloft his bow.
I looked down.
TheNoo was standing there, grin on his face, his toy drill still clutched but resting gansta-gun sideways on my knee.
Rzzz-rzzzzz went the drill.
Sigh ... looks like it's going to be getting up at just-light to get ready for, then watch, fucking frosty soccer for Mikey...
(1) Which, as noted previously, does not have an 'afore' in that I am sans foreskin due to a foresight by my mother that in my future lay me defending the realm in sandy conditions which would interfere with proper penile maintenance and could cause me to be taken away from the front line-in-a-sand in the event of a swollen knob.
(2) The game. Not masturbation. While I was aware early on in adventures to puberty land that girls smelled like red fruit loops, I did not achieve my Mount Saint Helens actual eruption until I was well 17 and my entire knob practically blew off to leave a smoldering husk of still ridgy-didge dick flesh standing to attention while I whisper-shouted 'what the fuck was that?!'
(3) Masturbation is a given, obviously.
(4) Fuck you Corinthians (see here and here).
(5) Presumably by night while they were lazily taking high-tea on the ground and darning foot-underwear or some-such.