For those of you that read this blog on a regular basis you’ll know that my mother likes to comment. In fact, reading my blog is part of her ‘breakfast routine’ — she can often be found with a cup of tea and pastry in-hand as she reads my blog in the morning, her face displaying a terrible, nervous grin as she discovers yet another disgusting fact about her ‘beautiful, first-born son Sebastian’ (that’s how she introduces me to friends).

Every Thursday morning, like clockwork, she yells up the stairs: ‘That’s not true is it Sebastian?!’

And every time I answer with a noncommittal ‘Maybe… now where’s my coffee?’

Basically, my mother and I have a very close relationship. We talk about almost everything. She’s not quite as smart as me, but she’s a lot brighter than people give her credit for! She’s funny, though not generally witty, but occasionally she pulls out a good one. And that’s what this story’s about.

As always… for more TMI Thursday stories, check out Lilu’s infamous blog!

I’m going to tell you the origin of our ‘Embarrass Each Other’ game. It’s a very self-destructive game but just too damn fun to give up. The basic idea is simple: try to embarrass mum/Seb as much as possible. Normally this is achieved by talking very loudly in public places: theme parks, supermarkets, malls, that kind of thing. Teenage boys have a lot of things they’re embarrassed by and, believe it or not, so do ageing women!

So we’re at the supermarket on Saturday, buying food for the week. It’s very busy. We find ourselves in the ‘toiletries’ aisle, home of shampoo, toothpaste and… objects of a more private nature.

“Hey, mum, don’t you need to pick up a pregnancy test? What with all those random guys you’ve been sleeping with…”

I start off quietly, low-key. One old lady turns to look at my mother disapprovingly but we ignore her.

“Shall we check if they have those special condoms for people of a smaller, midget-like stature?” She’s louder. A couple of teenage girls turn to giggle at me. Low-blow, mum.

“What about those adult diapers? You know, those nappies that you can wear to prevent ‘embarrassing moments’. They’re just over here I think…” No more Mr Nice Guy. Right in there with the incontinence pants. We’ve often joked that my sole purpose in life is to look after her when she’s older and less… in control.

“Oh, look, they have special razors for that unibrow of yours! AND you can use it when you finally get some facial hair! Two birds with one stone!” (OK, so I was a late bloomer…) — I don’t think she realises just how loud she’s shouting, but people at both ends of the aisle have stopped to look at us. Even those paying for their food and the staff have started watching us.

“Ahhh, look! THE THRUSH CREAM! FOR THE ITCHING! Really, anything to stop you whining about that damn burning sensation!”

My mum pouts and falls silent. I’ve won; not without taking a few blows, but I’ve won, that’s what matters. I’m smiling like a smug idiot that’s just won the Special Prize. People are looking at me as if I’m dribbling down my front and walking with a limp usually reserved for limb-dragging quadriplegics.

And then my girlfriend appears. She waltzes down the aisle, unaware of the drama that’s just unfolded. She stops at one shelf and picks up a pack of extra-small condoms. She stops again and picks up a tube of thrush cream. Only then does she notice my mother and I.


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I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.