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Drowning not waving
1:30pm Thursday 6th October 2011 in Sue Pycroft Column
We have just finished a discussion about whether Kellog’s cornflakes are actually smaller these days than they used to be – or is it just that 50 years ago our mouths were those of stunted five-year-olds – when my husband looks over to me and says “what are you eating?” in a tone that could wither a field of maize at 50 paces.
“There were only enough cornflakes left for one of us,” I explain, reaching my hand into the bag for another smokey bacon crisp and mentally starting to prepare an argument based on the premise that they are only a convenience version of a full English breakfast.
I look down at the bag to avoid his eyes. ‘Man crisps’, states the pack, very confidently.
“Why should these be MAN crisps,” I grumble, finishing off the crumbs at the bottom.
But I know the answer. They are large, ballsy, thick crinkle-cut crisps that taste brilliant.
They’ve probably got a homing device that heads straight for your vena cavae, but in the period between hitting your tongue and clogging up your cardiac vessels with fat and salt and potato and all the other wonderful ingredients in the crisps, you feel so good that you’re practically in a state of grace.
They are crisps that only a man can truly deserve.
What would woman crisps be like, then? Pink? Sequinned?
Or maybe you’d open a little navy blue bag inside the packet expecting salt, and instead find a pair of Marigold gloves and a shopping list?
Or a warning label, telling you to go to the gym for five hours after devouring one portion?
“Why,” I say, in between licking my fingers, because you really don’t want to waste a single molecule of this masculine-ready meal, “in the 21st century, are so many good things aimed solely at men?”
“Such as?” asks my husband, chasing a lone cornflake round the bowl with his spoon.
I sit back and think. When I made that statement, I believed it, but now that he’s asking, I can’t actually come up with an example. Well, maybe fast cars.
Or big motorbikes. Or beer.
“But you’ve petrified of motorbikes and don’t like beer,” he says.
Ok, ok. But there are specific MAN things, that are unashamedly aimed at the male of the species. I close my eyes.
“Man… Man...” I murmur, sure something will come to me.
“Ah, yes, you’re thinking of manual,” he says.
“That’ll be named after men because I’ve yet to see a woman open one, let alone try to follow it.”
Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. I continue to rack my brains.
“Manuscript,” he goes on.
“I could be wrong, but I think that most – though, of course, not all – of the world’s great writers were men.
“You women are catching up, of course, but I should imagine you feel Shakespeare has got a lot to answer for.”
I still can’t come up with a good example.
“You’ve got manicure,” he says, as if he’s trying to be helpful.
“That’s not specifically for men, is it?
“Or manic. How many blokes do you know who are manic?”
I don’t even reply to this. How many blokes do I know who do a full day’s work, run a household and unofficial taxi service, then act as an outpost for HMRC – and still manage to arrange the family’s social life?
No wonder few of them are manic.
“Would manoeuvre count as a woman word?” he continues, almost to himself.
“As in parking the car, or successfully reversing round a corner?
“Hmm, methinks our tyres say otherwise.”
I throw the crisp packet at him.
“And then there’s manners,” he says, managing to duck.
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