For three years, Sam had been enthusiastically attending a fathers’ group, held monthly at a carefully chosen pub. “What do you talk about?” his wife, Layla, asked more than once. “This and that,” he’d say. “Kids ’n’ stuff.”

To be fair, they did talk about their kids a little – particularly in their shell-shocked early days – but Sam could barely remember their names now.

Illustration by Jim Pavlidis.Credit:

The truth was, apart from forays into sport, politics and TV series, mostly they just took the piss. Sometimes, however, they simply drank their brews and savoured the hops and malt in a deep, satisfying silence.

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

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