ANNALISA BARBIERI dishes the dirt on sisterhood
omen! How I love them and their strong, sensitive, wise ways. How I love being one, being soft and curved rather than taut and hairy. But how annoying women can be too and, although Lord knows I've had a good old think, their annoying ways nearly always have something to do with men.

The singular most annoying thing women ever say is, "All men are bastards." This is ridiculous: people can be bastards, but these bastard people can be women too. Women that utter (or more often spit) this phrase tend not to have men as friends. They see men as men first, a person second instead of the other way around. Hence they have no comprehension that men are human (Annoying Thing number two) , and have all the same funny, nervous feelings about love that women do. If only more women saw this side of men they would pick up that darned phone and ring him instead of whining, "why doesn't he ring!" Which is another really irritating thing that women do, as if men were more genetically disposed to dialling when actually the reverse is true. Women are also too good at waiting (AT3); they wait too long for friends who are late, and they wait too long for the phone to ring instead of getting on with stuff.

Then there are the women who think that life without a man is half a life (AT4). Everything they do is about getting a man - any man - instead of cultivating their lives so that a man would be a bonus, not a necessity. But then - and here is my biggest gripe - we move on to the type of woman who gets a man, and goes really, really strange. She tries to change him, she drops her female friends (she has no male ones), gets rid of all his female friends, and doesn't understand him wanting to spend time with the few friends he has left (ATs5-8). (In relationships women change - that is their downfall. Men don't and that is theirs.)

Women ask questions they don't want answers to (AT9): "Have I put on weight?" "Was she prettier than me?" "Was the sex good?". They can never accept a compliment, believe it and get on with it. They spend ages pointing out all their bad faults to everyone and then sulk when you, after severe cajolement, are forced to agree. Women also have bad memories - they forget that the men in their lives managed perfectly well before they came along, so they treat their men like little boys (AT10) who can't remember their own dental appointments. They take over all responsibility for such things and then go mad when, two years down the line and by now conditioned to forget all important dates, their husbands forget their mother's birthday ("Do I have to remember everything!"). And if women want to go out with girls, why don't they instead of trying to make their boyfriends more like their girlfriends (AT11)?

Why don't women have more hobbies (AT12)? Chatting, going to the gym, meeting friends for drinks, reading ... these are not hobbies. And you with the long hair, look behind you on the train before flicking your locks into my face (AT13) or combing your hair on the bus and then coiling the lost hair round your finger to then deposit it on the floor.

Women who won't go to a social gathering unless there is a man to flirt with (AT14) are hardly worthy of a mention, and I've long since given up on girls who don't realise that feminism is about choice and therefore the choice to stay at home and have babies if that is what you so please. Women who don't understand why their partners may like porn magazines (AT15) annoy me, bleating "Aren't I enough for him?" Therefore not understanding that men are just different - not better, not worse, just a different bloody species.

Women who get men to do things for them are not annoying, they are just clever. But women who invite other women out for a drink and then drop them the moment a man comes along - well they are really annoying. Women who over-analyse everything, in the minutest, most wittering detail and want affirmation in all things again and again and again, often late at night when you yourself have things to analyse - well that's Annoying Thing number 16. Finally any female person who starts a sentence with "What do you think he meant by...?" needs a slapping for AT17.

At some time or another (apart from ATs 5-8 and 15), I have (of course) done all of these things, which is probably why I find them so annoying. But then I am soft and curved and not taut and hairy. Not yet.