Who would have thought it? Simon Cowell – the hard-as-nails media mogul, multi-millionaire blunt instrument, demonic teller-of-the-truth-to-the-talentless – is (whisper it) a great big softie!
It's as if Mr Jekyll has kidnapped Mr Hyde, stuck a smiley face on his shoulders, dressed him in something soft and fluffy and sprayed him with Eau De Baby Sick.
Welcome to the world of fatherhood, Mr Cowell, you big cuddly lump. Your emotions will never be the same again. It's like that Foreigner song, 'I Wanna Know What Love Is'. You think you've had an inkling based on the crush of a girlfriend, the sighs for a woman, and even the very preening pride one feels for a nephew, niece or godchild.
But becoming a dad takes a sledgehammer to all of that, and smashes it to pieces. This is the real deal, Simon: bells, whistles, farts and burps.
Brilliant, isn't it? F*****g star-spangled amazeballs, if you'll pardon my XXX factor outpourings. It has been an absolute joy to behold your transformation from a cynical 'I'll keep my distance, I won't change nappies, I'm too cool for school' know-it-all to a man so utterly in love with his newborn son that it pricks my eyes just to type it.
With 10 million Twitter worshippers to hang on your every thought, I know you don't give a monkey's toss what I think, but I'm going to tell you anyway: I was never a fan of yours. Too smug, too arrogant, too full of yourself. Too fond of playing Caesar at the head of your harem. Too self-regarding, too manipulative, too controlling. Way too fond of making money, creating clones, cynically wringing tears from the sob stories of wannabes.
But I'm a fan now – because I've seen a side of you that – quite clearly in hindsight – was always there. Pardon me for tweaking your cheeks, but you're actually a lovely human being, aren't you, Simon? A genuine, decent sort.
How do I know that? Well, first of all, it's there for all the world to see in those beautiful, tender photographs of you and your son in the moments after his birth. The look in your eye, the warmth of your smile. Just gorgeous.
But not just that: it's the fact you have called you boy Eric, after your beloved late dad. What a tribute. What a wonderful legacy to bestow. That says everything to me: that for all your riches, for all your power, you always remembered where you came from, and that family comes first.
But you resisted having a family of your own. Instead, you became a devoted godfather to ex-girlfriend and loyal friend Sinitta's two children. But being a God isn't the same as being a Dad, is it, Simon? I know that. I have four godsons.
When they were born, the pride and protectiveness I felt towards them was – at the time – immeasurable. I doted on them even more than I did my nephew and nieces because I felt I had somehow been 'chosen' for this role.
Partly I think this was because I thought I'd never become a dad myself. My career seemed more important. Even when my wife became pregnant I was rather nonchalant. Delighted, of course, but just thought I'd feel towards my new child as I'd felt towards my nieces, nephew and godsons.
Even on the day he was due to arrive, I was laissez faire. My wife showed no signs of going into labour, so I went to the pub with a mate. And even when, the next day, while I was nursing a hangover, my wife went into labour I stirred myself to the practicality of getting her to hospital, rather than the emotionality of what was about to occur.
There were no 'I'm going to be a dad' thoughts; no 'a new person that I've helped create is going to arrive soon' feelings. In fact, I was so blasé about it, in the delivery suite, as my wife was puffing and panting and groaning and moaning, I said to the midwife: "Do you think my car will be alright in the car park? I didn't have time to Pay and Display?" (My wife's response to this isn't suitable for a family audience).
But then what happened next changed my perspective on life, on love, on EVERYTHING. My all-fours wife gave one last push accompanied by a low frequency gutteral sound, and then, through the tunnel that had been formed by her crouching arms and legs, this purple, wet, squirmy thing was passed through to me like a rugby ball in a scrum and I looked at it and I looked at my wife – and we both burst into tears, sobbing with an emotion I had never experienced in my (then) 40 years on the planet.
A split second later, 'it' became 'he' as his gender was revealed to us, and as I held this slimy ball of vulnerability in my arms – even before my wife got to hold him – I whispered: "Hello, Tom." Named after my granddad, my uncle and my closest brother (but only because my wife wouldn't let me call him 'Keith' after my dad).
Since that best – and most amazing - moment in my life, it's as if my emotions have been cranked up to '11' – and not just the positive ones. Pride is ten-fold; joy 20-fold; protectiveness a thousand-fold; fear, a million (something both my wife and I went through when our son spent a week in hospital at one-month-old to have fluid drained from his lungs). But love: love is off the scale.
So, Simon, you may have experienced the highs and lows of monumental success and the occasional failure, but I can tell from the look in your eyes and the tenderness of your embrace, that you have never, ever experienced emotions like the ones you're feeling right now. And the good news is: they only intensify.
Welcome to the Club, Mr Cowell. I can tell you're going to be a great dad.
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