Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'What are men trying to say when they buy Clash albums and Silver Surfer comics? You're stuck in the past, boys'
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The Independent Online

A New York couple are going to court over an engagement ring. Dean Kuehnen Jr has hired a bunch of top lawyers to get his sparkly 3.23-carat diamond ring back from his ex-fiancée. Andria Castellano and Dean have been separated since the summer. She has not tried to give the ring back and hasn't returned her former lover's calls, and now he's livid. He says the ring is worth $47,000 and he's looking for that – and more besides for his legal fees.

All this. Over a ring. Thing is, Andria (and may I point out I am obviously on your side, this being a tale of love and you being a girl), he might have been a total moron, a true idiot, but still, you just can't keep it.

I mean, do you want his other debris lying around the place? Have you thought: "He's left me, but on the upside I'm pleased that he's left his lava lamp behind"?

No. Didn't think so.

Us girls never want the depressing remains, the junk, the man stuff. This collective matter is just that.

It's the tat you can find on pages 1 to 98 of most men's magazines, and there's no room for any of it. Old surfboards that they like to keep leaning against the wall. (As if. They now weigh 16 stone and eat chicken out of a bucket. The most exercise they do is to bend over to plug the BlackBerry into its charger. But still they hang on to the fantasy that they're going to walk out of their useless job and go to Fiji.)

That is only the tip of the iceberg. Talking of icebergs, I bet your ex-man once thought that climbing a mountain was a good idea. There's bound to be some clunky outward-bound accessories cluttering up an airing cupboard. Sure, I've never understood what exactly needs to be "aired" either, but I know it's not a spare room for poles and thick thermal pants bought from Snow+Rock.

And, while we're on the subject of sport, let's chat about how many golf clubs a man actually needs. Really. I'm not being funny, but the occasional dawdle round a golf course before five pints and a prawn cocktail in the clubhouse doesn't count for "being a contender in a serious sport". Yet when you split up with an occasional golfer you will be pulling tees and balls from out behind the back of the sofa for months.

So now it's time to move on to the gadgets, or the "I often feel quite inadequate when I compare myself with my peers. Instead of having an actual conversation about my worries, I'll pop into and blow 200 quid on a tiny machine that allows me to do something that my other four tiny machines that are almost exactly identical can do" objects, or "I don't unde rstand why I'm not as cool as the new guy in IT. I'll make myself feel better with yet another iPod that I can impress him with. This one was actually signed by Bono. I'm cool, me" things. Well, this whole bunch of junk can go, too.

And with it, of course, can go all the leads and chargers and the endless coils of wire and cable that seem to pile up in every corner of your place like lazy anacondas.

With the gadgets can go the excruciating music and magazines. What are men trying to say to us when they buy a Silver Surfer comic ("But babe, it's a first edition..." – seriously, are you eight?) and a Best of the Clash album? They're stuck in the past. Move on, boys.

Maybe that's why we had to split in the first place.

Do women still sit around stroking pictures of Simon le Bon and humming "Rio", wishing they were wearing fluorescent leg-warmers and kissing the boy from the sixth form? No, we're too busy having kids and ordering mange tout from Ocado.

Men fill up their heads and drawers and sheds with stuff from their teenage years. As if listening to Cat Stevens and re-reading Spiderman and the Green Goblin (volume 42) will make them magically have more hair and more street cred? Wake up. Read The Week and listen to Radio 4 like the rest of us...

OK. Let's talk clothes. Men are, on the whole, born without any fashion sense whatsoever. I don't say this to be mean, but I'm just being honest. If a straight man dresses well, chances are he's not straight. Left to their own devices, men would wear trainers with a pair of stonewashed jeans and would think nothing of throwing on a donkey jacket. Enough said...

So, while you're getting rid of the surfboard, the lava lamp, the gadgets, the stack of "when I was 18 and I was hip" CDs and the piles of Game Boys, chuck out the heaps of socks and the hideous leather jackets as well.

Gloria Gaynor once said: "Go, walk out that door, don't turn around now, you're not welcome any more..." What she meant to add was "... and take all your stuff with you." So, Andria, I know you've got a broken heart, and I know you didn't imagine your relationship would turn out like this, but you have to do the right thing. You're just going to have to pretend that the ring is just like his old surfboard – slightly useless and less fun without him around to laugh at. Hand the sparkler back and, like Gloria, you will survive.