The Fabulous Life of Pandora: Episode 1

College parenthood: like this, but with alcohol.

A friend from home remarked the other day how strange it was that I, a notorious commitment-phobe paralysed by fear at the thought of marriage and subsequent procreation, had returned from university both married and eager to start a family. My wife – I had also become a lesbian since being away – and I married in the Summer Term after I drunkenly proposed in the dark, murky toilets of Studio. The ceremony was accompanied by a Jamaican steel band playing the wedding march (there are some seriously random things on Spotify!), and our reception was held at Klute. It was all terribly romantic.

Four passion-filled months later, our hopes of conceiving were finally realised. Living in what must surely be the last student house in Durham without internet, we strolled through the Viaduct in search of wireless connections to steal. This was a highly successful mission, and when I opened my inbox, I found an e-mail from my JCR President to which was attached the list of college parents and the names of their lucky offspring. The joyful ejaculation, “THE CHILDREN ARE HERE!” was met with a frantic scuffle as everyone in the room raced to their laptops to stalk the fruits of their loins on Facebook.

One of the major perks of living out – besides truly revolting carpets – is that there is suddenly no need to venture into the cold, wet Durham climate in pursuit of a wild, alcohol-fuelled night at local gems like Klute or Loveshack. The House Party is a brilliant innovation that allows one to obtain all the benefits of actually going out without having to leave your front room. It enables you to remain in contact with people you might otherwise lose touch with and to get spectacularly drunk in the comfort of your own home. More importantly, if successful, The House Party will also make you look – and feel – incredibly popular. We therefore decided that this was the best way to welcome our children into the collective college fold, so long as they didn’t turn out to be weird or insane.

My children, luckily, turned out to be two wide-eyed and extremely sweet freshers who had managed to make it out every night that week – a fact which left us able to proudly conclude that they were definitely not weird. Thank God. I began to dream of the beautiful life we would all lead, full of family dinners and Mothers’ Day cards, maybe even Christmas presents…

Housemate #3 was not so fortunate. She had managed to produce two relatively “normal” children, which really was a miracle in itself considering the unusual genetic mix of Earth Science, Maths, Anthropology and Law. Her third child, however, caused her so much distress, she could be found the whole night exclaiming (whilst rapidly downing several bowlfuls of rather dubious punch): “My kid is such a fail!”

It is painfully ironic, then, that we were the ones that ended up feeling worse for wear the next morning. My wife and I were so relieved to have been given such good children that we completely forgot our new-found parental responsibilities. We proceeded to consume each and every alcoholic beverage in sight whilst embracing our embarrassed – and pretty sober – offspring, introducing them with slurred voices to each and every Second Year in the room as “the best children EVER!” Never mind. We might not be the most conventional or responsible parents, but at least our children know how to hold their drink.

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