Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scandal of the 'Handsome One'

The other day, Mum was rocked to her fingertips to hear one of the staff at Sonny's infant care centre refer to one of the other babies there as 'Handsome One'.

It's not as though we've been telling ourselves that our little fella was especially comely, or even that we've heard many compliments directed at the putative attractiveness of his features. A few 'Cute's, a scatterings of 'Good-natured's and the odd 'Friendly' had come our way, but precious little else. Yet there had been one exception to the pattern.

For a while, certain members of the centre staff had referred to Sonny as 'Handsome One'. Again, we knew that a vast population of infants had not been scrutinised before the title was awarded in open competition - in fact, there were just four other babies when we enrolled Sonny a few months back. Yet the staff had us going for a while. For one thing, they didn't dole out flattering nicknames to every inmate, as far as we knew: There was no 'Model Baby' or 'Beautiful Belle' being lionised. It was nice, though rather irrational, to think that Sonny had at least received some recognition - whether or not we privately felt he was handsome.

But then came the day the 'Handsome One' tag was applied to someone else. By now, the number of babies at the centre had swelled (to almost a dozen) and apparently someone else had passed the secret standard being wielded. Or, we thought vindictively, a sneaky staff strategy had perhaps been finally exposed: Every child was a 'handsome boy' or 'pretty girl' when the parents visited with no other mum or dad about.

Mum's expression perhaps telegraphed a sense of our mild outrage that day. Anyway, she has since been told that Sonny was 'the Original Handsome Boy' (as though he were a venerable recipe at a fast food chain) and his handsomeness is being insisted upon when Pa shows up to deposit the little fella there in the mornings.

Of course, perhaps we are being paranoid. It's just possible that Sonny's handsomeness is waxing furiously, so that the folks at the infant care centre - being professionally attuned to these things - can't help remarking upon it (as with this other 'Handsome One').