My So-Called Life: The sad truth about men's minds

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The Independent Online

"We can't always explain what goes on in men's minds," said Mrs Cherie Blair, from the very fine sofa of Richard & Judy, which isn't actually that fine, and rather has the look of DFS about it.

"We can't always explain what goes on in men's minds," said Mrs Cherie Blair, from the very fine sofa of Richard & Judy, which isn't actually that fine, and rather has the look of DFS about it. No, I do not have anything against DFS, but what I would say is that if you wish to purchase a similar sofa from there, if it is your life's purpose, don't act hastily or even with any degree of urgency because, if the sale ends this Saturday every Saturday, then does it, in effect, ever end at all? I have, by the way, all the time in the world for Richard and Judy, although particularly between 5pm and 6pm on weekdays, and a rather special passion for Richard, who has the unique and utterly winning gift of appearing to wear a lank mullet even when he isn't. Now, where were we?

Oh, yes, Cherie, with those magnificent eyes, like bottomless and deliciously moist treacle bogs, and her belief that the male and female minds work differently. Full respect to Mrs Blair, who is a successful working woman in her own right, being a juggler and author of a book on fish-keeping, but she is, quite frankly, talking out of her arse, a fact that nobody noted at the time, possibly because they were too transfixed by the treacle-bog eyes, as well as it being her first go at PR, which, let's face it, is a much fairer way of voting all round.

The male mind works just like the female mind, except in those instances when it doesn't, but that's OK because all you do is scold him very fiercely in a no-nonsense voice that reminds him of Nanny and Barbara Woodhouse, and you can train him in almost no time to come round to your way of thinking. This works not only with "Sit!", "Fetch!", and "Drop it, now!", but also when it comes, say, to his thoroughly selfish habit of eating things from the fridge without asking permission first, even though it may be the one exceptionally tasty item in there that you yourself have been eagerly looking forward to all day; or the essential ingredient for The Lovely Supper you would have planned if you'd thought about it; or the last bit of bread needed for a child's packed lunch. However, such behaviour can be quickly counteracted if, on discovering the missing item, you scream, cry, head-butt, blow up his nose, make shrill noises with a whistle, and ask for "Paw!" so that you can hit him across it with celery, which no one in their right mind wants, as it's only water made stringy.

The result, you will find, is that he will quickly learn never to eat anything without contacting you first and asking, with baited breath: "The last tomato?" And even: "The left-over roast potatoes?", even though everybody knows that left-over roast potatoes are better than they were the first time, and in your dreams, pal.

Anyway, this is what I thought, until events this week led me to think that maybe Mrs Blair has a point. My partner and son have gone in on a bet. The bet is that if our son does not watch television for a month, then his father will grow a beard for three. I do not know the exact genesis of this bet, as my son and his father are always plotting and whispering behind my back about God knows what, although my fear is that it may be whether the felt-tip mark I've drawn on the Tropicana might be erased and redrawn further down. (Sometimes, and particularly when I have my ear pressed to the door, I overhear words such as "hag", "nag" and "fat old control-freak witch", which is odd, as I can't think of who they might be talking about...)

So, the other evening, I get home, when Arsenal vs someone or other is on the telly, and there they are, on the sofa, caught in one of those father-son sports-loving homo-erotic embraces, except that my son is wearing the huge blue bucket I use for the laundry on his head. "We've decided," explained my son,"that if I wear a big bucket on my head it doesn't count as watching."

The male mind, I am forced to conclude, is a thing out on his own. I am sorry about dissing Cherie, who has enough to put up with, what with her husband Lionel still being wanted for crimes against charades and having a really poofy hairdo. No wonder she has to go out to work, juggling and writing books on fish-keeping.

The dimmest of all views

Now, what do I think about fox-hunting? I'm not sure. I should have an opinion, I know, and I've looked for one all over the house, in all the usual places - under the sofa cushions, behind the fridge, even beneath the bucket on my son's head. But no opinion anywhere. So, either I had one once and have now lost it; or I never had one at all, which is more likely as I don't give a stuff about what goes on in the countryside.

The countryside! I do not like it at all, being as it is full of people offering you wellingtons and indicating big hills like you really want to walk up them or something. What, walk up a hill? When I could be watching "You Say We Pay" on Richard & Judy, a game that, admittedly, I would have more respect for if The Phantom Lank Mullet and his lovely wife didn't cheat and look over their shoulders so much. ("Peanut!" they will chorus, having looked over their shoulders and seen a peanut.) Not on your nelly, and away with that welly!

What perplexes me most, however, are those property programmes where otherwise sensible city people move to the country and look out of the bedroom window at the view and blissfully sigh: "I could look at this view forever." Why? You've seen it now, love, move on. I mean, consider the ever-interesting, ever-changing view you get from our inner-city bedroom window. I've just looked out now and this is what I got: a group of rude boys doing drugs; the evangelical Mr Roberts from number 29 posting his Jesus Loves You leaflets, even though I've told him that I'm a Jew like Madonna and Jesus Hates Me; a bloke in a stripy top, with a bag marked "swag", shinning up the drainpipe of the flats opposite (Oh, I hope he doesn't fall... I can hardly bear to look); and a grown man, with a look of fear in his eyes, squatting in the front hedge and eating the last of the Jaffa Cakes.

"Down! In! Drop! Sit!" You could rub his nose in the crumbs, but some might say that is taking it too far. I don't, but I'm just saying some might say so.

d.ross@independent.co.uk

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