My bachelor friends often ask me whether I ever regret the decision to have a baby and, hand up to God, I can honestly say I don't. At least, not very often. Certainly not more than two or three times a day. No, for the vast majority of the time, Sasha is a little bundle of joy--a peeing, puking, defecating bundle of joy.
Seriously, I'm not sorry I've become a father, but last Thursday I did experience my first genuine pang of regret. As I held Sasha in my arms and she gazed up at me with an expression of pure, unadulterated love, I thought, "Have I made the biggest mistake of my life?"
The thing is, she made me miss a sneak preview of Kill Bill.
My friend Taffy Evans called me at around 4pm and asked if I wanted to go and see it that evening. It didn't officially open until Friday, but the UCI Leicester Square was holding a special preview screening at 9pm and he'd managed to snag a couple of tickets. It would be full of hardcore Tarantino fans, the kind of demented psychopaths who'd cheer every time Uma Thurman chopped someone's arm off. In other words, the perfect audience to see it with.
"Absofuckinglutely," I said.
Now came the tricky business of breaking the news to my wife. In the 12 weeks since Sasha was born neither of us has been to the cinema once. I could have gone to see any number of things on my own, I suppose, but it's always seemed a bit unfair when Caroline's stuck at home holding the baby. How would she feel about me sneaking off to see Kill Bill?
"Listen, darling, if you're really desperate to see it I don't mind," she said, avoiding eye contact. "Honestly, I really don't."
Someone less well versed in marital relations than me might have taken this as a green light, but I'm not so naïve. I knew from experience that this was one of those times when Caroline was saying the exact opposite of what she meant. For instance, it was her birthday two weeks ago and when I asked her what she wanted she said, "Oh, nothing really. Please don't go out and buy me anything expensive. Just get me a card or something." Naturally, I trotted off and bought her a pair of Gina boots.
In this instance, what she meant was, "If you go and see Kill Bill I will go out and buy a Samurai sword and come home and cut your dick off."
I called Taffy back and told him to give the ticket to someone else.
Still, all is not lost. It's my birthday this Friday and as a special treat Caroline has agreed to hire a babysitter so we can go and see Kill Bill together at the UCI Leicester Square. Admittedly, we're going at 6.30pm when the cinema will probably be half empty, but it's a damn sight better than nothing. In fact, I'm looking forward to it immensely, which is a bit sad really.
It's actually my 40th birthday and, not so long ago, I had big plans for this occasion. I fantasised about renting the private room at the Ivy, inviting my 40 closest friends, and then taking them all to Stringfellow's afterwards for some serious mayhem. It was going to be a bacchanalian debauch, a huge blow out to mark the passing of my youth. Instead, all I'm doing is going to the cinema.
Truthfully, though, I don't regret the decision to become a father. But for Sasha's sake, Kill Bill better be f*ing good.