Today I’m covered in vomit and I don’t care. If I changed my clothes every time my daughter Florence spewed on me, I wouldn’t have time to leave the house; but this afternoon I took it too far towards the other end of the spectrum which was probably even worse.
While down at the green grocer, the man behind the counter pointed to my jumper and said, “I think that you have something on your top.” I didn’t really have the energy or inclination to lie about what it was, so I just told him “oh, that’s just vomit,” and when the look on his face changed from concern to horror I tried to allay his fears by following it up with, “but don’t worry, it’s not mine.”
To a stranger, the only thing more alarming than being blasé about being covered in your own vomit, is being blasé about being covered in someone else’s.
The problem was, whenever I heard someone say, “you’ve got vomit on yourself,” I assumed that they were doing it out of a concern for my appearance and the welfare of my clothing. The real reason that people will tell you about vomit on your clothing however, is to measure your mental stability by gauging your reaction to news of the spew. If you have a normal reaction to news of the vomit, “oh God, really? Do you have a cloth?” then people can rest easy that you’re ok and that the vomit/porridge/tipex/semen down your top is the result of an accident that probably wasn’t you’re fault.
If however, you react with, “don’t worry, it’s not my vomit,” you present yourself as an absolute fuck-trophy, seemingly incapable of recognising or acknowledging the social damage that can occur when you’ve got a suspicious white stain on your top.
I mean, what kind of toolbox gets vomited on by someone and doesn’t think or care to clean it off? As it happens, this kind of toolbox.
To be fair, baby vomit isn’t as bad as adult vomit: It’s watery, it doesn’t smell of chartreuse & regret and until your baby is eating solids, it’s blissfully carrot-free. But despite this, telling someone that the vomit on your shirt is “only semi-curdled breast milk” doesn’t placate their concerns, it’s just a surefire way to make sure that you’re well on your way to earning a reputation on par with trough-man.
The up-side is that at least fatherhood has allowed me to break free from the shackles of caring what other people think. The down-side is that I’m no longer welcome at my local fruit shop.