You’ve not known the true definition of the term ‘funny look’ until you’ve trodden the path that I have this week.
Ever since we found out that we were having a baby we have been building up to pram shopping. It’s a daunting prospect with each and every pregnancy related website more than willing to shove their two penneth in, helpfully each recommending one completely different from the last.
There are so many different accessories and styles, folding methods and wheel settings, sliding handles and all important cup holders that I develop a headache just considering it. I’ve spent less time buying a car. Heck, I’ve spent less money buying a car!
We threw ourselves into the due diligence, heading straight for the Which? list of top rated buggies. We formulated a plan to check them out in the flesh at our local emporium whereupon we realised that all the prams we liked in theory were just not right in practice. We were returning, downhearted, to the well-worn drawing board when Jill, my wife, received a call that at once answered our prayers and subjected us to the potential ridicule of our neighbours.
Her colleague Kate informed us that she was looking to sell hers at a decent price. Having been shaken to my core by the cricket scores masquerading as price tags in the shops (and that’s with both innings added together), this made my ears prick up. I like saving money and, although the reviews of complete strangers on the internet whose witterings are impossible to regulate or validate in any way, shape or form are sometimes helpful, it’s much more comforting that someone you know to be decent and normal has used an item you’re looking to purchase and would endorse it.
We hot footed it to her house to take a look and liked what we saw (not just because it was cheap, but mainly because of that). The other advantage of buying from someone you know is that you can take it home for a test drive.
This is important for us; there’s not just two and a half of us in this marriage (me, Jill and bump), there’s Alfie the hound as well. We needed to know that we could handle pushing the pram and controlling an excitable Labrador with a penchant for pulling off at high speed towards anything discarded on the pavement and made largely of food.
This is where the funny looks come in. What’s the first reaction anybody has to the sight of a pushchair? They look down to see the cute baby. What’s the first reaction anybody has when they realise that pushchair is empty? It turns out that they stare deeply into your eyes with a mixture of sympathy and alarm. A heady mix.
Of course it could have been worse; Kate did suggest as we walked out through her front door that we might want to take one of her daughter’s dolls to sit in the pram as we pushed it round. Thankfully we declined; strait jackets are far too stuffy for this time of year.