‘I would walk a mile on my knees on broken glass just to drink a pint of her bathwater’
So what’s he like?” Sorcha goes. I look up from my eggs Benedict with a New Orleans twist. I have genuinely no idea what she’s talking about. I’m there, “What’s who like?”
And she goes, “Er, the new intern?”
I feel my face instantly redden. My wife is under the (mistaken) impression that Shred Focking Everything’s new unpaid employee is a man, when in fact it’s a woman. And a not unpleasant looking woman either. I would walk a mile on my knees on broken glass just to drink a pint of her bathwater. I keep that to myself, though. Marriage does not thrive on full disclosure. I’m like, “Yeah, no, good,” hoping that will be the end of the conversation.
But Sorcha is nothing if not dogged. Ipsa scientia potestas est, as it says on the Lalor family crest. She goes, “What’s his name?”
I suddenly realise that I can’t look my wife in the eye and lie to her. So I start taking a sudden interest in the nutritional information on the side of the Tropicana carton and I go, “His name is Johnny.” She’s like, “Johnny? Johnny what?”
I’m there, “Johnny, em. . . Johnny Sexton. ”
For fock’s sake. I’ve got rugby on the actual brain.
She’s like, “Johnny Sexton, as in the Johnny Sexton?”
I’m there, “Now you’re being ridiculous, Sorcha. Yeah, no, it’s just another dude who happens to be also called Johnny Sexton?”
“Bit of a coincidence, isn’t it?”
I shrug my shoulders. I’m like, “I hadn’t actually thought about it that way,” and then I go, “Although I have to say, I wish he had the great man’s work ethic!” because it’s important to throw in little details when you’re lying to your wife. Women love details. I’m actually congratulating myself on an excellent covering job when Honor all of a sudden appears in the kitchen. The first words out of her mouth are, “He’s lying to you.” Sorcha’s like, “Lying to me? What are you talking about?”
Honor laughs in a really, like, cruel way? “Oh my God,” she goes, “you’ve been married to him for how many years and you still can’t read the signs? His face is red and he’s acting all shifty. And Johnny Sexton? Hashtag, puh-lease!”
Sorcha looks at me for an explanation. I’m trying to think of something to say when Honor adds “It’s obvious that this new intern is a woman.” Sorcha’s like, “A woman?” her voice full of concern. I’m thinking, give a dog a bad name.
Honor goes, “Think about it. He’s up for work at, like, half-seven in the morning. And he’s wearing Acqua di Parma, which, by the way, he calls his scoring aftershave. . .”
I laugh. I’m like, “Honor, you have an amazing imagination. I was actually saying that only yesterday to Johnny Sexton – the one who works for me, rather than the one who works for Racing Metro. I was like, ‘My daughter has an amazing imagination, Johnny.’ ”
“Plus,” Honor goes, “my granddad told me it was a woman? Her name is Phaedra.”
My old man has a mouth like the Port Tunnel. So does my daughter actually.
“Okay,” I go, trying to rescue the situation, “I’m admitting that it’s a woman. The old me would have kept up the act that it was a man called Johnny Sexton. I think that shows how much I’ve possibly matured.”