One of the reasons Harry Enfield’s Kevin The Teenager character was so successful is because it was unflinchingly accurate.
In one heartbreaking sketch Kevin’s father gives Kev and his sidekick Perry a lift home from a teenage party and the gruesome twosome communicate in a series of whispers, grunts and clicks as poor old dad tries his best to talk to his son.
As they’re joylessly driving along, dad says: “Oh look, the shoe shop’s closed down. The lady in that shop adored you. You loved her as well, you used to run up to her, give her a great big hug...”
Thing is, Kev doesn’t fancy a trip down memory lane so he sticks his Goldie tape in the car stereo and cranks up the volume up to 11. Conversation over.
And when dad’s taxi jokingly asks for payment on arrival, Kev sneers: “You are so pathetic, you make that joke every time.”
Back in the mid-1990s that was hilarious. Fast forward to 2014 and that joke isn’t funny anymore, especially as yours truly was playing the part of downtrodden dad picking up daughter #1 and three friends from her first proper teenage party just before 11pm last Saturday.
When she asked if she could go to the party with a load of other 14-year-olds an alarm went off in my head that sounded like the four-minute warning.
Thing is, I know what teenage parties are like. I went to enough of them as a teenager, the lowpoint being the occasion I got so smashed on cheap cider that I was sick in a girl’s mouth mid-snog. I’m not proud of it, but these things are an occupational hazard.
At first we said no, then we caved in. But with a list of terms and conditions as watertight as a two-year mobile phone contract – the main point being dad would be hammering on the door at 11pm if they weren’t out by then.
We figured daughter #1 had earned the right to party after a dazzling school report and parents’ evening.
But it came with a warning, mess this up and you’ll be like the Olympic Flame (you’ll never go out).
Anyway, it all passed off without serious incident and the giggly gang of four were home and hosed on time. Mindful of Kevin’s dad’s experience, I kept my trap shut all the way home.