Friday, June 10, 2016

Paul Anka – "(You're) Having My Baby" (1974)


The seed inside you, baby, 
Do you feel it growing?

It's been a long time since I’ve caught up with fellow blogger extraordinaire, Brienne Walsh Zipperer.

Click here to read Brienne's blog, A Brie Grows in Brooklyn.  (Her father took the words right out of my mouth when he called it "lewd and disturbing.")


I like to refer to Brienne as "The Next Big Thing" because I believe that she is destined to accomplish great things in the world of belles lettres.  

Ever since I made Brienne’s acquaintance a few years ago, I’ve attached myself to her like a suckerfish attaches itself to a great white shark, determined to hang on to her as she rockets to fame and fortune . . . which I see as a foregone conclusion.

Rubirosa Ristorante
I recently sat down with Brienne for pranzo at Rubirosa Ristorante, a charming little family-style restaurant in lower Manhattan.  Here's how our conversation went:

2or3lines:  First things first, Brienne.  You are pregnant with your first child, which is wonderful news for you and your husband Caleb.  You're having a little girl, correct?

Brienne:  Yes, exactly.  I’m actually scared of having a little girl because of how much of my life I’ve spent being ignored by my own mother.  But I’m happy at the same time because I get to dress her in pretty outfits.  Before we found out the gender, I was 100% sure I was having a boy.  So there’s also a part of me that wonders if I’m actually having a transgendered male.


2or3lines:  When is the little bundle of joy due?  From the looks of that belly, I'm guessing pretty soon – hopefully your water won't break before the waiter gets here with our pasta.

Brienne: Is that your oblique, passive-aggressive way of saying I’m fat, Gary? 

2or3lines:  Passive-aggressive?  Me?

Brienne: I’m actually not due until August 26.  I do have a surprisingly large bump.  But my doctor says it’s very healthy, and surprisingly enough, I’ve only gained ten pounds, which is impressive.  Not to mention that a bump is like having a handicapped sticker; in public, it lets you get away with almost anything.

2or3lines:  You've taken your husband's last name and now go by Brienne Walsh Zipperer.  Any particular reason you decided to use your husband's name rather than sticking with your father's name?  I wouldn't think there's any feminist angle to keeping your father's name instead of switching to your husband's -- either way, you've got a guy's last name – but maybe I'm missing something.

Brienne: I actually only changed to my husband’s name on Facebook in a manic fit of excitement after the wedding. Also, I think I was trying to make Caleb’s ex-wife jealous in case she was stalking me? In any case, I’m far too lazy to change my name legally, it involves a lot of paperwork

The happy couple
2or3lines:  All good reasons.  We're eating today at Rubirosa Ristorante on Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan.  I guess they call this neighborhood "NoLita" for "North of Little Italy."  Most of my readers aren't trendy sophisticates like you and I, so maybe you can tell them a little about the history of the neighborhood and what it is like today.

Brienne:  First of all, Little Italy is no longer a real neighborhood – it’s really just a fantasy left over from the 1970s.  When I was younger, my father used to take us there on the weekends because I’m pretty sure he only tastes very salty or very sweet things, and he didn’t mind that the restaurants were all terrible.  My father, unlike us, is not a sophisticate.  True story, I bought my first fake Rolex watch from a little store in Little Italy, which was then about five blocks long and five blocks wide.  Now it consists of two blocks of Mulberry Street, and in the past year, even that tiny stretch has been corrupted with Chinese restaurants.  

2or3lines:  Any special reason you chose this restaurant?  Do you have special memories from a previous visit here?  This isn't where Caleb proposed to you, or where you ate before you went to your prom, is it?  

Brienne: Honestly, I just wanted the cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe because every day, I crave carbohydrates like a motherf*cker.


2or3lines:  We walked through SoHo – meaning "South of Houston Street" – before coming to the restaurant.  Let me ask you a question: do you know what direction SoHo is from NoLita?  Or are you like most women, who have no idea which way is north, south, east or west from where they are standing?

Brienne:  Gary, I really do love that you are so openly misogynistic.  Most men are too pussy to admit the same.  To answer your question, SoHo is west of Nolita. 

2or3lines:  I know you and Caleb are hoping to move from your current apartment in Brooklyn and buy a place of your own someday.  Is SoHo a possible destination for you?

Brienne: Yeah, if I write the next Da Vinci Code, or Caleb turns out to be descended from a rich slave trader, and ends up inheriting a dirty $5 million from a distant relative, because that’s about the minimum it would cost to buy a habitable SoHo loft.  So no, there is no way that we will ever move to Soho.  The only people I know who live in SoHo are a friend from Switzerland who invented the software for Google Maps, and Kanye West.  

2or3lines: Kanye West lives close by?  Really?

Brienne:  Yes, and I know which building he lives in.  And yes, I have stood outside that building when I think Kim Kardashian is inside in hopes of catching a glimpse of her gorgeous midget frame.

Kim and Kanye leaving
their SoHo apartment
2or3lines:  I’m stunned that SoHo lofts are so expensive.  But your father would probably just write a check for one if you asked him, wouldn’t he?

Brienne:  My father would literally rather cut off his own arm and have them put it on the menu at this restaurant than do that.  The only present he ever gives me are bags of raw potatoes he buys at his local supermarket – but only when they are on sale for 99 cents.  For him, that’s too good a deal to pass up.  But even though he’s Irish, he can only eat so many potatoes himself, so he gifts the rest to Caleb and me.   

2or3lines: I stopped at a couple of darling little SoHo baby stores on the way to meeting you for lunch today, but I couldn't deal with the ridiculous prices they charged.  So I got you something at Baby Gap instead.  I hope you’re not insulted – I know that you personally wouldn't be caught dead in something from the Gap.

Brienne:  Actually, Gary, the Gap happens to be one of my favorite stores.  I am built like a cardboard shipping box, and the Gap has a lot of designs that fit people with my shape perfectly.


2or3lines: Do you have much experience with babies?  A lot of girls learn about babies by babysitting when they are teenagers -- did you do much babysitting when you were in high school?  I’m assuming that the one-percenters where you grew up all had full-time nannies or au pairs, so maybe there wasn't much demand for teenage babysitters.

Brienne:  I actually have quite a bit of experience with kids.  I have five younger siblings, two of whom were adopted from South Korea when I was 20.  I’m also the oldest of 30 first cousins.  I’m f*cking Irish Catholic, you know. 

2or3lines:  It can't be easy having a newborn in a place like New York.  You've got to drag her and your stroller and everything else up and down the stairs in your building, deal with getting down into the subway and back up to the street when you reach your destination, and so on -- it's not like the suburbs where you can drive everywhere and park right in front of stores.  What do you think is going to be the hardest thing about having a baby?  

Brienne: Having to pay attention to someone beside myself.


2or3lines:  I hear you.  Speaking of the subway, now that you obviously have a bun in the oven, are people on the subway polite and give up a seat for you?

Brienne:  Some people are.  One type of person who does not get up for me are Hasidic Jews.  I don’t want to come off as anti-Semitic by slamming Hasidic Jews, but they might be bigger misogynists than you, Gary.  In any case, it’s actually embarrassing to have people pay attention to me on the subway, and I wish I could go back to being invisible.

2or3lines:  As you’ve said, you're from an Irish-American family.  Any thoughts about getting right back in the saddle and going for Irish twins?  Depending on how long and painful your labor and delivery is, of course, you may not let Caleb close to you for a long time, if ever.

Brienne:  Nah, as an Irish Catholic, I’m going to love the inherent suffering involved in childbirth.  I would definitely do Irish twins. I’m more worried about Caleb’s swimmers than I am my ability to withstand the trauma of childbirth.  He’s 42, and I’m afraid those little f*ckers are not up to the task of getting me pregnant again that quickly. 

You can read the rest of my conversation with Brienne in the next 2or3lines.

* * * * *
“(You’re) Having My Baby” was a number one hit for Canadian singer Paul Anka in 1974.


Anka was given the “Keep Her in Her Place” award by the National Organization for Women that year, and named “Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year” by Ms. magazine.  Given that the song explicitly acknowledges that the mother of the singer’s baby could have chosen to have an abortion, I would have thought NOW and Ms. would have liked the song.

In 2006, those who responded to a CNN.com poll voted “(You’re) Having My Baby” the worst song of all time.  It easily beat out “Muskrat Love” by the Captain and Tennille and Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life.”

Here’s “(You’re) Having My Baby”:



Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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