Thursday, 2 December 2010

In praise of white van men

On my many rambles with Lumpy (which have been made far more eventful by the current Arctic temperatures and chilly white stuff that keeps falling from the sky, helping to add a sense of thrill and excitement to the experience. Will Mrs Badger slip on some ice, land on her arse, and let the pram roll into the path of an oncoming juggernaut? Stay tuned to find out!) I have noticed a strange phenomenon. There is one type of driver who never fails to stop and let me cross when I'm waiting at the side of the road. And, unlikely as it may sound, that kind, gentle, thoughtful breed is the White Van Man.

The White Van Man is a much maligned species, and usually I am one of the first to malign them. Pre-baby, they seemed to do their utmost to mow me down whenever I dared step off the pavement, being too busy stuffing their faces with cheesy Quavers, reading The Sun, scratching their arses, and ranting about immigrants to look at the road. But now I have a pram I am suddenly a queen to them. If I dare to even pause briefly at the kerbside, they screech to a halt, waving me and Lumpy across with a subservient bow. No other drivers do this. Ordinary cars, zoom past, braking only to wind down their windows and spit at us. But the White Van Men cannot pass a woman with a pram without forcing them to cross the road in front of them.

I have pondered long and hard about why this may be. Is it because my post-baby body is suddenly irresistible to these hot-blooded males? Perhaps the van-dwellers have a strange fetish for gargantuan thighs (I'm storing my milk fat there, all right?). Or it could be that my generally unwashed state has lead to the release of powerful pheromones that can penetrate white van windscreens, paralysing the poor dears with paroxysms of lust. Or maybe (and, not to do my gorgeousness down, but I think this may be the more likely reason) these men, despite their general air of loutishness and excessive testosterone, are smuggling sentimental little hearts underneath their stained t-shirts and sweaty overalls. Struggle though they might, they just cannot resist the sight of an ickle babba. Bless.

Strangely, when I have Lumpy in the sling, they never stop, no matter how pathetic I look as I wait at the side of the road, being splashed with filthy puddles and breathing in noxious fumes, or how cute Lumpy is, with his woolly hat and red little nose. Perhaps they think I'm a mutant freak with two heads, one astonishingly giant, one bizarrely small (Lumpy's being the big one, naturally), and cannot wait to get the hideous vision out of their eyeline, slamming their foot on the accelerator in horror. Or maybe they just reckon I'm a middle class tit with dangerous hippy leanings.

It's the latter, isn't it?

Exhibit A: irresistible to White Van Men, awwwww coochie coochie coo.

Exhibit B: die on the pavement you pinko leftie two-headed freaks.


  1. When we lived in Egypt, a hundred years ago, I was fair game to the army lorries as I rode my bike everywhere. They played:'Let's push the funny lady into the ditch.' If I had the one-year old in the child's wicker chair seat (I kid you not, it was a wicker armchair with no legs) my life was sacred. It was cootchie cootchie coo in Arabic!

  2. Perhaps it is easier for them to recognize fellow creatures, however small, when they too have 4 wheels. They may see you as one scorned pedestrian, lucky to be accompanied by one tiny van driver in his tiny van.