Politically incorrect, he is right. As Thomas Nashe put it, "they have breasts, but give no suck". Nimbly defined by Johnson as "an avarious churlish fellow; a miser; a niggard", the word curmudgeon has been around since 1577, but defies explanation. No ingenious solution - cur, coeur - passes muster.
CLEVELAND AMORY, the elegant social historian of Boston, claimed that the city was a breeding-ground for curmudgeons. He himself returned to New York, and became one, "because it suddenly dawned on me, when I was reading in the paper about a woman wrestler, that being a curmudgeon was the last thing in the world that a man can be that a woman cannot be. Women can be irritating - after all, they are women - but they cannot be curmudgeons."