There are two sorts of women in the world, in my view: feminists, and women I want to slap round the head while chanting: "Does Emily Pankhurst mean nothing to you?"
Because I’m a feminist, when I had a daughter, I decided she should grow up with a positive body image and no hang-ups about her sexuality. I know she’s only four, but I think it pays to have a plan about these things.
Oh, I felt so smug about my anatomically correct terminology, my casual approach to nudity, my plain-spoken answers to her innocent questions about babies and stuff. God, I am such a GREAT parent.
Except of course, it’s all come crumbling down around me. Right now? I’m sitting in the burning ruins of my good intentions, on the verge of creating an international incident.
It all began innocently enough. The Father bought Flea a book called, “Dinosaurs Love Underpants” and we were reading at bedtime, when we came to a line about how cavemen invented underpants to stop them feeling rude.
“What does rude mean?”
Bugger. I have no idea what to say. “Erm, it’s when you don’t have good manners. Like if you forget to say excuse me.”
“But why is being naked rude?”
Damn those stupid feminist principles. “Well, it’s not really. But I suppose if you were at school or something and you were naked, it might be rude, because other people don’t want to see you naked?”
I’m floundering and she knows it. “Does Mrs Edgar not want to see me naked?”
Mrs Edgar is our next door neighbour, and Flea adores her. When Flea is naked, and getting into her pyjamas at bedtime, she often shouts out of the bedroom window to say goodnight to Mrs Edgar.
So I say, “I’m sure Mrs Edgar doesn't mind seeing you naked darling, because you are beautiful, but if you went outside to see her and you were naked it might be cold. So it probably wouldn’t be a very good idea, would it?”
“What about Mr Edgar?”
Oh, it’s like driving off a conversational cliff, and my brakes have failed. “Erm, I don’t know that Mr Edgar would want to see you naked.”
“I think he would.” She adds, with conviction: "Because Grandma says I have a lovely bottom."
I should probably mention at this point that Mrs and Mr Edgar are our neighbours. They are also the head teacher and deputy head teacher of the private school that Flea will be attending from next month.
So I'm starting a sweepstake: how many days before Flea chirps up one day in class: "My Mummy says Mr Edgar wants to see me naked"?