Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

I am in Palm Springs, California. It is like being at GAY on a Saturday night. For those not familiar with the nightclub GAY, what I’m trying to say is that Palm Springs is very gay.

I went to a charity shop the other day, in the hope that I might pick up Marilyn Monroe’s old jogging bottoms. The two gay men in their 60s who run the shop were behind the till, talking with sadness about not having children.

“I’d have liked kids,” said one. “Now that I’m old, it would have been nice company. And it would’ve been wonderful to see grandkids.”

“I know what you mean, but I’vegot my two labradors and a terrier instead.”

“Yes, I’ve got a couple of shepherds. It’s not the same as kids, but it’s the next best thing.”

The hotel where I am staying has the logo, “This hotel is pet friendly”; most of the gay couples staying here have brought along their dogs.

If you’ve come to terms with the fact you can never have children, then what else can take their place? A dog can’t replace a child – you can’t sit with pride and watch your dog playing Jesus in the Nativity play, and when you’re ill, your dog can’t make you Lemsip. Some people love their dogs more than they love their friends, and other people can’t understand that.

But then a dog can provide companionship, and doesn’t need a nappy change three times a day.