Letter: Choice for men

Sir: Fifty years of silence, then two features in two issues. Men have not, after all, been totally abandoned. All success to the pens of David Aaronovitch ("If you really want to know why men do what they do, ask one", 27 May) and Steve Crawshaw ("Women get colds, men get flu", 28 May).

The truth is that men, like their lives, are nasty, brutish and short, and they have never really learned to express themselves about personal issues. Women have done so, as in the past they needed their tongues to defend themselves against men's greater physical strength. Nowadays, in the West at least, verbal skill is more important than mere muscle; women have this and use it.

As your paper has rightly pointed out, men's life expectancy is around seven years less than women's in the West. So we provide cervical and breast cancer screening and no testing for prostate cancer to exacerbate the situation.

There are endless scares about screening programmes for women, adding to the pressure for more treatment. None for men because there aren't any screening programmes to go wrong. And, yes, we men are programmed by our mothers to be brave while our sisters are cuddled for the same bruise, graze or whatever. All in all, a depressing situation.

It would seem that there are three ways forward. Men can learn to defend their interests, form pressure groups and the like. Or they can persuade women to stick up for us. Or they will just quietly fade away.


London SW1