'Dad. Doesn't my bum look great?'
A gnawing clamp of terror gripped my spine.
I should point out that over the last few months my daughter has become convinced, or been convinced by persons unknown that she resembles an over inflated barrage balloon. Despite the earnest advice of the British government, I always have and shall continue to tell her that she's pretty. That's not just a loving father speaking - she is very pretty.
Thus a few weeks ago my spawn joined a gym and worked out; and worked out, until it got to the point where I threatened to nail her hands to the floor if she didn't take a rest every couple of days. Then today the awful inevitably happened.
'Yes,' I responded, eyes glued to my book, refusing to turn my head. What father can do that? I certainly can't.
'You're not even looking. Tell me the truth.' For the second time in my life my daughter had thrust me into exquisite embarrassment from which I could not escape.
'Yes, darling. It's marvellous, terrific, very, er bum-like.'
Then she hit me with "the look". I often wonder if adolescent females spend hours in front of mirrors, practising "the look", the one only teenage girls can produce, which it so say, scorn and utter loathing rolled into a grimace of pure malevolence. Or the other look when that one doesn't work, a pathetic waif-like pout preceding the plaintive cry: "Daddy...?'
At that moment my wife saved the day by returning home.
'Mum; daddy says I'm fat as a pig and he wishes I was...'
Ah, sanity was returned.