SO there I was, in the leisure centre changing room, after another hour spent on the treadmill, desperately trying to hold back the ravages of time.
Some teenage lads, fresh from a game of five-a-side football, were engaged in a passionate debate.
You might expect it to have been a debate about the new football season.
Would Van Gaal be the right man for Manchester United? Would Jose’s new signings click for Chelsea?
Would Newcastle finish above North-East rivals Sunderland?
No, none of those questions, featured in the big debate. It had begun when one of the sixth-formers declared: “Come on then – who’s on your list of the five hottest mums?”
It was an intriguing question, not least because one of the teenagers is from our village and I’ve known him since he started primary. It, therefore, followed that I might know some of the listed mums.
An important rule was underlined from the start. They weren’t allowed to include each other’s mums.
“That would be too embarrassing,” said the ring-leader, and they all agreed. He went on to kick things off by listing his own top five.
“Tom’s mum’s got to be number one – no one can argue with that – followed by Dave’s mum. Jack’s mum’s got to come in at number three – yeah she’s pretty hot. Josh’s mum’s cute and, I know it’s controversial, but I’d have Ben’s mum bubbling under at number five.”
The argument had been well and truly ignited. The lads were falling over themselves to put forward their own nominations.
“I’m with you on Tom’s mum but there’s no way you can have Dave’s mum above Josh’s mum...”
“I agree that Josh’s mum’s cute but you can’t tell me she’s sexy...”
“Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous to have Ben’s mum in there at all...”
I was sorely tempted to seek clarification by asking “Er, excuse me, could I just check – which Ben are we talking about here?” but I thought better of it.
The debate must have raged for a full 20 minutes with one young man ending up nearly blowing a gasket due to the “absurd and irrational exclusion” of Andy’s mum, who didn’t make it on to anyone else’s list but, according to him, was “unbelievably fit for a woman her age”.
They finally agreed on a top five, with two in reserve (including Andy’s mum) and I left the changing room when they moved on to the “top five sisters”. As a man of 52, I didn’t feel comfortable with the change of emphasis.
It has, however, made me wonder if teenage girls do the same kind of thing. Is there a list of the hottest dads – and have I made the top 100?
- The names in this column have been changed to avoid embarrassment.
However, as a journalist of 30 years standing, I have a shorthand note of the names on the list and they are available – at a price.
THE THINGS THEY SAY
FINLAY MacFarlane, aged two, of Middlesbrough, was asked by his dad what kind of biscuit he’d like.
“Two kinds,” came the reply.
THE THINGS DADS SAY
My son’s flat-mate, Jack, was apologising to his dad for not being able to make it home for its birthday.
“Don’t worry about it, son – I’ve had hundreds of birthdays.”
- I’ll be signing copies of my new children’s book, Nose-Picking Nicholas Pickering, at Waterstone’s in Darlington, from 12 to 2pm on Saturday, September 6. I hope to see you there.
Follow me on Twitter @echopeterbarron