Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Wednesday 6th August 2003

Baby Column

Until now I've always been rather mystified as to why women want to have babies. You wouldn't catch many men volunteering for a lifetime of servitude--unless you count marriage, of course. However, since the arrival of my own little bundle of joy it's all become clear: babies are the perfect excuse to go shopping.

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon being dragged around various designer baby boutiques in Notting Hill Gate, constantly being asked what I thought of different outfits. I find it hard enough to express an opinion when Caroline's shopping for herself, but when it comes to baby stuff I simply haven't got a clue. "Aren't these adorable?" she asked, picking up a tiny little pair of trousers in Bonpoint. She then held them against herself and looked at me expectantly. I was tempted to reply that she might have a bit of trouble squeezing into them, but thought better of it. My wife is back to within five pounds of her ideal weight, whereas I've yet to lose the stone-and-a-half I've put on in the last nine months.

When it comes to shopping for the baby, the only piece of kit men are expected to buy is the pram. I'm convinced that the reason Maclaren is the market leader is because the company has gone to great lengths to make its pushchairs sound like cars. There's the Volo, for instance, and the Quest, not to mention the Rally Twin. Just in case this is too subtle for your average knucklehead, there's even one called a Triumph, presumably in the hope that the poor, deluded fool standing in Mothercare with his wallet out can make believe he's buying himself a motorbike.

Why doesn't some enterprising menswear designer come up with a paternity line? I realised just how unsuitable my existing wardrobe is on the day Sasha was born. I was cradling her in my arms, telling her how cute she was, when she projectile vomited all over my brand-new Turnbull & Asser shirt. I was so shocked I almost dropped her. Indeed, it came out of her mouth in such a thick, powerful jet I half-expected her head to start revolving as she recited passages from the bible backwards. "Oh my God!" I thought. "I've had an Exorcist baby." The situation wasn't helped when my wife and mother-in-law doubled up with laughter.

I've subsequently learnt not to go anywhere near Sasha without spending at least 10 minutes draping little strips of muslin over myself. Even then, she manages to home in on the one patch I've left uncovered. Wouldn't it be simpler to have a shirt made of muslin? Better yet, a giant babygrow, like the kind Churchill used to wear in bed. If you're reading this, Paul Smith, wake up and smell the baby sick. There's money in them there spills.

The only thing I've actually added to my wardrobe since Sasha was born is a baby sling. If a more emasculating item of clothing has ever been designed, I've yet to see it. My theory about them is that they're a way for wives to avenge themselves on their husbands for all the indignities they had to suffer during pregnancy. They've spent the best part of a year waddling around with a baby hanging over their trousers, so we can jolly well see what it's like. You might as well have a sign pinned to your forehead that says: "Warning: Eunuch approaching."

You won't believe me when I tell you this because it's the sort of thing that only happens in Hugh Grant films, but I swear to God it's true. I was in the baby department of Peter Jones last week, carrying Sasha in the baby sling, when who should I see but Claudia Schiffer! I interviewed her not long ago for a glossy magazine and I swore that if I ever ran into her again I'd introduce myself, but how could I with this hideous contraption strapped to my stomach? If only I'd been wearing my Paul Smith muslin suit, I could have dumped the baby at one of the Pay Points and asked Claudia for her phone number. As it was, I loitered next to the maternity bras until she'd disappeared from sight.

[ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Twitter RT @stevostateside: @toadmeister I witnessed the silent transfer at Lytchett Minster a comprehensive school in Dorset it worked really well…  (1 hour ago)


The shocking truth about Jordan Peterson by Wesley Yang -
The intellectual dark web by Bari Weiss -
How identity politics is harming the sciences by Heather Mac Donald -
The fall of the German Empire by Ross Douthat -
How Tom Wolfe became Tom Wolfe by Michael Lewis - Vanity Fair
The neuro-diversity case for free speech by Geoffrey Miller -
The Age of Outrage by Jonathan Haidt -
The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski -
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony -
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller -
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan -
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand -
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge -
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell -
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander -
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell -
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff -
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings -
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew -
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus -
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman -
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer -
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan -
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs -
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan -
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker -
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood -
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray -
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter -
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win -
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons -
Inside Westminster's free school -
Robert Conquest obit -
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film