Dear Uncle Dysfunctional,
It was my girlfriend's turn to choose the film. Last time, I took her to see Mad Max: Fury Road, which she said wasn't a proper date film. But it had loads of girl shit in it: pregnancy, romance, tits.
Anyway, she made me watch the cartoon movie about the inside of some girl's head. What's all that about? I have no idea why anyone would want to see this movie, or why they'd want to show it to children. What's wrong with Ninja Turtles?
But my girlfriend loved it – sobbed a river and said I was a typical man. And what's wrong with that? I've been aiming at typical masculinity all my life.
I feel your dude pain in a sort of lumpy, blokey way. By the time your letter gets printed I expect they'll have launched the sequel. For those of you – the single reader – who have managed to avoid Inside Out, the premise is that our emotions are run by emoticon homunculi: joy, sadness, disgust, anger and then some other bloke who I didn't really make sense of. Indecision or anxiety, or something.
Anyway, as I had to sit through it, to keep myself from punching the people behind I tried to imagine the Esquire Uncle Dysfunctional version of this movie. It would be about the two quite cute little emoticons that live in your scrotum: The Ball Brothers, The Testy Twins. Sort of Dumb and Dumber. Two young, working-class farm workers who spend their lives breeding and herding semen. They like their work and they care a lot about their sperm family. But the bane of their life is Dick Bellend, who lives next door.
Every night, Dickie comes down and rustles the sperm, and every morning The Ball Brothers wake up and their flock has been shot into a sock. That Bellend is a proper wanker, a cocky bastard, and he's been getting above himself. So, together they start to work out how to make him fall in love, turn gay or become impotent. I can't work out which. It'll be a brilliant movie. I can see it now. The Bollock Brothers will be played by Matthew McConaughey and Tom Hardy. And Dickie Bellend is obviously Benedict Cumberbatch.
There might be an opening for an arsehole, and I'm thinking Ray Winstone.
Dear Uncle Dysfunctional,
I just got into trouble for tweeting that my mate's mum looks like a tranny. Now I've got to go into hiding.
You have fallen foul of the current nomenclature trend. This is serious. You need to keep up. You can't say, write or, indeed, think tranny any more. Tranny is a pejorative and derogative hate word, it is the sort of language that intimidates those in our society who are the most vulnerable: young men and women who feel that they have been mislabelled with the wrong ingredient. Just imagine how brave you have to be to tell your family, grandparents, school friends, the other members of the mosque, that you are, in fact, not the gender appearing on your Tinder account, but the opposite. Exactly. These people are in the most topsy-turvy, uncertain, vulnerable position it's possible for a human to find themselves in, and before they can realign their own jewellery requirements and genitals, they should be able to choose what they call themselves. And, at the time of going to press, the accepted term is "trans", a trans-person. Now you may say, "Trans, tranny. Fuck it, what's the difference?" Well, it makes a difference to them. It's their name, they get to choose. So remember: it's trans.
That's tranny with the little curly bit cut off the end.
Dear Uncle Dysfunctional,
I got my girlfriend pregnant when we were both 15. That was 17 years ago. My daughter's just brought home her boyfriend, who's two years older than I am. I think this is completely unacceptable. She says it's fine because she's nearly 18 and he's in his thirties, and it's not her fault that I was an underage child molester that got her mum up the duff (we're no longer together). And I take her point. But this is all sorts of creepy wrong. And he keeps calling me dad and laughing. And the worst thing is that we were at the same school, but obviously he was two years above me, and was a fucking bully.
As The Bible says, "As you sow, so shall you pay child maintenance".
The short answer is: you can't begin to have any say in who your children get off with. Unless that's an intrinsic part of your religion or culture, in which case obviously then that trumps love, sex and self-determination. The generally accepted algorithm for appropriate coupling is half the older partner's age plus seven. So, she's a bit off the reservation but not massively. You don't mention any of this guy's other qualities. Is he more successful than you? More socially adept? Is he better looking than you? I'm guessing that part of the problem is that he's not someone you can patronise or intimidate, which is an important part of the father-boyfriend relationship. On the other hand, marrying someone more successful than your father is an important social evolutionary step for a girl.
What is strange is that if you asked your daughter if she would go out with a 15-year-old, she'd pull a face and say that's disgusting. Most girls see even a few years younger than them as unacceptable. But quite a lot older is perfectly agreeable. This is not an aesthetic or social choice. It's not because older men are better companions, are more sophisticated, are politer or have better conversation, or are more accomplished fornicators. It's a biological choice: they are more likely to be stable, established accomplished mates, and that will make them more trustworthy and adept fathers.
You could look at your daughter bringing home a man of your age as being a compliment for your own record as a dad, which is more than could be said for her mother's choice of baby-daddy, and I bet her parents weren't at all thrilled when she came home with you.