Come On Fry Young: Sam Herlihy & Christmas Vaginas

"You overcook a turkey and burn a potato. You chisel the lid from a jar of cranberry sauce that smells like de-icer and tastes of Sarin gas." Sam Herlihy tells us why men should do Christmas this year

Photograph by Barney Britton

Comedian Louis CK does a routine about being a father to girls. Pointing out (in an infinitely more amusing way than I am here) that as a father to girls, the only vagina you are likely to see for years, will belong to your daughter. Changing nappies, taking them to the toilet (Front to back you idiot! Don’t shake them! You don’t shake girls! Your daughter is not your penis!) telling them to put some pants on.

As a rapidly aging married father to two girls, I know he’s right. I have no idea what your marriage is built on but if a strong marriage can be imagined as a house, mine is missing any adult vagina bricks in it’s construction. There is no woman’s vagina in the foundations, the soffits or the grubby skirting. None in the gutter, the tiling or the dormers. I am more likely to see a snow leopard or the actual, genuine, gold plated official citizen of the USA version of Johnny Five than I am a grown vagina.

What I am insisting is the final addition to my flock/ brood/ gang/ posse/ murder/ gaggle arrived a few months ago. Finally a boy! A male! An heir to my cheap, rickety, damp throne at last. A creature not packing another vagina but instead outfitted with a penis. A mighty sword much like his father’s.

A weapon, a shame, a cross to bear, as an awful MAN in an awful MAN’s world. My terrible son, another MAN to be mean and nasty to sweet fragrant women the world over. Masculine doom-bringer. Testosterone rape-tank in waiting.

It is my job to teach him how to avoid this path of hatred and instead honour and obey the sweeter perfection of women at all times. I’m a good bloke I think. I bow before nice women. Not in a pervy “sandpaper my arse and stick a hessian sack on my head so I look like a nude badly made scarecrow” way. In a respectful, awestruck way. Any sign in my five month old son of any disrespect, any signs of the terrible animal bastard that lies behind every man’s hooded and evil eyes, and he’s in trouble.

I am Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters, prone and enraptured by Ripley from Alien dressed as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ex-wife while she lies on the set of a Poison video from 1987. My son will be Louis Tully in Ghostbusters too, overwhelmed by the wonder of women. I will keep watch for any sign of domestic battery in his high chair. Does he use foul language for female genitalia whilst hiding in his cot? I will punish him with the full force of Gozer The Gozerian! Is he dismissive of women’s rights in developing nations while gumming at a teething ring? Vigo The Carpathian will strike him down! (Ghostbusters 2 I know – underrated? No, it sucks). A dismissive snort made behind his bib when he overhears his mother saying: “Not tonight Sam”? Not on my watch son. You will respect your mother’s right to choose, to be nude.

Women do not cook differently from men. Diet is what separates boobs from moobs, not kitchen escapades. As a cliched British Dad, Next multipack underwear, same style of jeans I was wearing as a teenager, hair loss, I’m raising my son with an appetite. Eat the steak boy! Pie? More pie! Bones! Black pudding! At five months, the young shaver is struggling but he’ll get there.

The girls, they can eat flowers and vegetables and fairy dust from ground up fairy bones. As a cliched British Dad, Next multipack socks, now dressing for temperature rather than style, naps, I raise the girls to be thin. It’s a cruel world for big units. Particularly women. I didn’t lower the bar. I didn’t conjure a world where Venus is a leg razor and not ancient porn carved in marble. Liking a lady grande these days is a fetish like horse riding, dogging or allergies. If you are raising your daughters to have healthy appetites you should be ashamed of yourself. Who wants to raise the next generation of cat ladies or spinsters? You are basically just investing in future pigeon and rat populations by feeding these girls up to be big. If they are thin, they’ll be happy, star in Timotei adverts and marry One Direction. Make them too big and they’ll be breadbags full of crumbs, daytime television, animal shit inside a house, leggings and cupboards full of dusty ointments and bandages.

Henrik Ibsen was a moody old Norwegian crank. He looked like an ancient version of Gaz from Supergrass or a corpse with comedy facial hair attached. Either these are real tintype images or someone did a weird old-timey version of Weekend At Bernie’s where Bernie is a hundred-year-old cadaver at a fancy dress party during Movember.

His last words were: “Tvertimod!” He had not just caught sight of Paul Weller in a green suit, Ibsen was Norwegian not French. His nurse had informed a visitor (could have been Paul Weller in a green suit, but old as The Modfather looks, unlikely in 1906) that his condition seemed to be improving. “Tvertimod!” Ibsen spluttered; “On the contrary!” Then he died.

Henrik Ibsen is often cited as a bearded, miserable cheerleader for women’s rights and especially for their right to break free from societal roles expected of them.

In my free, inept and dumb ‘Open University Ibsen Appreciation Class’ you will learn that in many of his plays strong women do strong things and men are scumbags who pass on syphilis to their sons or tell women to kill their pet duck. They are wild. Ibsen himself insisted that he hadn’t written anything to ask “Where dem gurls at, gurls at?” David Guetta-style, but he did believe that: “A woman cannot be herself in modern society”.

It is clear he was in agreement with Nicky Minaj’s viewpoint during her guest appearance on the aforementioned David Guetta ‘banger’. Nora in The Doll’s House says that she needs to leave her husband to find herself, she slams the door and leaves her bastard arsehole husband Torvald. Pretty much identical to Nick Minaj in ‘Where Them Girls At’ when she raps: “You can suck a dick, or you can suck on a ballsack. No, no I don’t endorse that."

Strong women; Henrik Ibsen was your man. But not in charge of you or anything, just sort of cheering: “Go Team Estrogen!” and then doing cartwheels and shaking his enormous mutton chop sideburns like pom poms.

So I have a son now, a baby boy. Like Jesus. Jesus was born on Christmas Day, like Sarah Cracknell from St Etienne, or was it Tim Burgess from The Charlatans? The song never made it clear, also it wasn’t as much of a ‘banger’ as the Guetta one. Burgess vs Minaj as a guest spot is a weird one. Both got weird hair but Burgess brings less scrotum talk and a smaller booty. You choose.

The miracle of birth. Mary had Jesus in a shed. Her dopey husband was there and a bunch of barnyard losers, donkey, cow, probably a dog with manure on his paws. She had been trekking around all over Tatooine looking for Mos Eisley or Boba Fett or somewhere for days. She’s super pregnant, probably sweaty as, hating Joseph for bringing the donkey instead of the Landspeeder, and still she gives birth, (Han) solo on a bunch of hay in front of the barnyard voyeur gang, to the saviour of all mankind no less.

Women can just do stuff. If I was Mary I would have laid down in the dust and just died there. Tatooine looks silly hot, those woolen robes would have made me faint. Actually I wouldn’t have gone looking for Endor in the first place. I would have stayed at home and moaned for nine months. In fact, I wouldn’t have put out for Joseph to begin with. What has that dozy carpenter given me? He doesn’t seem the type to be doing high end carpentry for the Rebel Alliance or putting in parquet floor in the Millennium Falcon. He looks a bit simple. He’s probably a shoddy whittler, a rubbish plate from some twigs or a kids toy that looks like a root, because it is a root, just varnished, badly. No way Joseph is getting up these blue robes.

I wouldn’t have put out for God either. If it was Him who did the deed just think about that. Imagine a creampie from God… Like when Stay Puft Marshmallow Man blows up in Ghostbusters and gobs of burning marshmallow just rain down on people…

Christmas is coming. I was going to write about female chefs and what I assumed was their ‘struggle’. Everything I read by awesome female chefs seems to say however, that there just ain’t no story to tell. A kitchen is a place where skill and work ethic trumps cock or fanny every time. If you can work hard and if you are good, that’s all it is. I’m sure there are women having to withstand abuse and nonsense in kitchens everywhere but most of the time, according to what various talented female chefs have said, it’s not because of their gender. There, gender roles in the modern kitchen done and dusted in a single paragraph. Next week; Race Relations For Dummies.

Once I’m finished up with my Race Relations For Dummies lectures (sample module: ‘Mel B was the best Spice Girl – The White Guilt Manifesto’) I’m going to start a nationwide campaign against Yorkie. Why is a massive, too chunky, greasy-tasting chocolate bar only for my idiotic gender? It’s gross. I want a Kinder Bueno, all crackly and soft and tasting sort of nutty and sort of like girls’ hair. I don’t want a Tonka truck chocolate bar that is advertised as a tool-belt or a shaved head or the footy. Why does my hairy-backed gang have this as ‘our’ chocolate bar? The Nestlé marketing exec who relaunched Yorkie with the “It’s not for girls” pizzazz said: “We needed to take a stand for the British bloke. It used to be recognized that men needed places to be, in a simple sense, men.”

Okay, you Yorkie-fucking-doomtwat. For starters, how does the ‘British bloke’ need standing up for? Is it the pain of living in a wealthy country free from war, crazy diseases, pirates and silly angry animals who want to bite or poison them? Is it the daily struggle to spend money, watch Sky, talk shit and wear Next multipack underwear?

Secondly, what place have we lost to be men in? Rape huts? Locker rooms full of verucas, talcum powder and insanely low hanging testicles? Am I supposed to be upset that these days it’s frowned upon to punch women’s faces in or kick ‘em in the belly?

Thank God that Nestlé, renowned for their love of women, babies, the put upon and downtrodden (see their yummy baby formula-milk malarkey of the late 1970s), turned up to give us poor sad-faced men a chocolate bar to dribble on. We can now hold limp cocks in one hand, grim cocoamulch bar in the other, while spitting at bitches and farting into our awful bootcut Next jeans. You know, just reclaiming our rights, as men. And wankers.

Husbands and sons, cook Christmas dinner this year. Not because you are an arrogant food div like me, just so your wife or your mum can sit the hell down. You overcook a turkey and burn a potato. You chisel the lid from a jar of cranberry sauce that smells like de-icer and tastes of Sarin gas. You get raw pork from the stuffing in your ear and eye. You singe your eyebrows on a flaming Christmas pudding with the texture of rotting animals in a burlap sack. You should do all of it. Let Ma get awful drunk and a bit racist. See your wife show her pants off as she sprawls on the sofa, pissed in front of the Christmas fight/ explosion/ ghost /EastEnders special. You clear the plates, scrape uneaten swill into leaking bin bags, sip warm, flat sparkling wine that tastes of over-heated, over-eating British families. That gas and nylon hum in everything, the taste of Sellotape from wrapping paper and warm, dead pine needles.

You do Christmas this year, because unless you were birthed by an awful witch or married the complete wrong woman, you owe. I don’t care if you are Gozer The Gozarian, Henrik Ibsen, David Guetta, Joseph from The Bible, Boba Fett, Tim Burgess or Louis CK; you owe. They always do more for us than we do for them.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today