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Episode 21 A Kiss in the Park

November 13, 2011

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Words and Music–Richard Allen
Produced by David Barratt at the Abattoir of Good Taste

Vocal and Guitar–William Thaumatrope
Ukulele and everything else–David Barratt


The idea that the children’s playground is like a single’s bar might seem a far-fetched notion to those who either don’t have children or who live in a less narcissistic habitat than New York City. However, several factors conspire to generate attraction between adults with children in such an environment.

It is well documented that young children, especially more than one, put an immense stress on relationships that may have previously flourished when children were not around. First, sex is obviously a problem. The woman who has recently given birth does not feel attractive to herself, with her newly distended waistline, and for a whole variety of reasons is unlikely to respond to the sexual interest of her husband; nor is he likely to manifest such interest, though perhaps she might wish that he did. When ‘mother’ goes back to work, acute stress is generated for both from trying to create manageable routines amidst continual ad hoc adjustments. When ‘mother’ is looking after the kids, longer term resentments may emerge from this radical differentiation of roles in an environment of peers where it is not the norm. So, why is she making sacrifices in her own career to look after the kids? When ‘father’ becomes care-taker, the problems for him are the nagging questions posed to his manhood by changing diapers and carrying infants on his belly, and the simmering resentment towards his working partner, in spite of his apparent manifestation of a liberated gender role. And the problem for her is that while she may ostensibly be thankful for such a partner or husband, she may also harbor resentments against him for having time to spend with the kids while she has to work, in spite of the fact that she wants to.

Of course, love may conquer all, but not without severe tests. Let’s go to the playground where the children are playing in the sandpit or being pushed on the tire swing. Look how the parents are acting out their own little narcissistic dramas. The new man who looks after his kids during the day seems immensely attractive to the woman who is trying to recover her sense of femininity, in the wake of childbirth, and feels her contribution to the family is under appreciated by her career-obsessed partner, whom she hardly sees anyway save for weekends. Here is a guy who really appreciates what she does and can take a load off of her, even if, perhaps, he is not the kind of man she thought she would be inclined to marry. And for the man, here is a woman who really appreciates what he does; not to mention the simple fact that hanging out in the playground leaves plenty of time for chat, far more chat than is possible with one’s own partner or spouse. And let us not forget the protocols of care-giving, with constant transitions between playgrounds and apartments. Are the play-dates for the kids or for the adults?

This may all seem rather dark news for the couple with children, but in fact it can be a good thing. After all, if these supposed adults do not simply act out upon their narcissistic impulses, the strokes provided to the ego in the playground help in recovering adult autonomy from the sufferance of children, which is essential to the survival of any relationship.


Sue feels too hot her legs are like lead
The kids they are screaming inside her head
Take her outside she’ll get some air
The kids they will play there without a care

Maybe she’ll get to chat with Jack
He’s got time on his hands since he got the sack
He’s good with his kids they’re rarely alone
He plays with hers too as if they’re his own

A little __ in the park, a little __ in the park
A little __ in the park, a kiss, a kiss in the park

Dressing the kids, no easy matter
But Jack will be there easing the hassle
They talk of the city, going out at night
They talk of the Winter, the color of light

They were just getting close when Dan came to sit
When Dan went away Jack found her lips
The kiss was not gentle it was not discreet
And when it was over they parted ten feet

A little __ in the park, a little __ in the park
A little __ in the park, a kiss, a kiss in the park

This was a playground, there were those looks
Now Dan he had fallen and broken his foot
Just two grown ups trying to be lovers
But there’d be no rolling under the covers

So Sue she retreated to her home ground
And since Jack’s got a job he’s no longer around


From → Thaumatropemusic

  1. Geoff permalink

    Great musical intro. and the song really keeps the attention – maybe cos there’s a strong storyline. geoff

  2. David Barratt permalink

    Great narrative . One of my favorites.

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