Christina Patterson: Rise 'n' shine (but not if you're a woman)

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The Independent Online

Gosh, it's hard being a man. Not great, obviously, to have presided over the biggest data cock-up in human history, or the disgrace of a bunch of preening millionaires who persist in the delusion that they're serious sportsmen. But the real sympathy must surely lie with Matthew Mellon.

The former cokehead scion of one of America's wealthiest banking and oil families has been sharing his woes (as you do) with the American fashion magazine, W. "When your wife makes $100m during the course of your marriage, it's quite a shocker," he confided. "I feel like my bollocks are in a jar, like a Damien Hirst artwork on the mantelpiece."

Call the guy stupid (as, indeed, his lawyer did during his recent trial for cyber-snooping on his ex-wife) but let's give him credit for a refreshing dose of candour. Credit, even, for a flicker of humour. In fact, give the guy my phone number. Rich, handsome and, trust me, my Independent salary will keep his testicles marvellously intact.

Never mind Mandela. Never mind Bono. The world has a new crusader. Gentlemen of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but a threat to your genitals. It's time to speak out against the abomination of Women With a Wage! Just log on to men4masculinity.com and we'll show you how.

Luckily, for a leader whose brain shows every sign of having already undergone the Hirst preservation procedure, the principles of this movement are well established. First, catch your totty. Leave in cave to stew while you spend hours and hours out with your mates pretending to bring home the bison. At end of revelries, trap a mammoth or equivalent and divide up spoils. Thrust severed hairy haunches under totty's nose and demand metamorphosis into casserole. Seize conjugal reward.

It's a model which has been updated over the centuries to incorporate little amendments. Embroidery, for example, and playing the piano. And now, in a giant step for mankind, women are allowed to pay half the mortgage and the bills and do all the housework. Hooray!

What they're not allowed to do, of course, is shine. That's OK for hair and lipstick and, on the right occasion, some nice, knee-high boots. It's not OK for female human beings. What they have to understand is that when God grabbed Adam's rib, honed it into a "helpmeet", and decided, on a wild whim, to perpetuate the human species, he did it on a principle that he set (as always) in stone. O Daughter of Babylon, thou shallst not surpass, diminish or in any other way threaten the male of the species. Because, quite frankly, if you do, the mechanisms I've designed (a bit Heath Robinson, I guess, but they'll do) just won't work.

Somehow, miraculously, they sometimes do. Prince Philip managed, while being married to one of the richest women on the planet, to father three hearty lads and a lass. Denis Thatcher spawned one corker and one dud. Angela Merkel – er, husband, no kids. Condi Rice – er, neither.

So, in an age of growing female economic independence, what should we do? Well, we could, as Boris Johnson suggested this week, just build more flats for what he called the "Bridget Joneses", and leave them to die. (Male daffy blond equals mayoral candidate. Female daffy blonde equals sad spinster doomed to eternal loneliness and mortgage.) Or, if we do want to keep the human show on the road, we could have special madrassa-type clubs, in which boys are brainwashed into fancying bright girls. Or, we could just give up and hit the sperm bank. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best.

Ageing puppet on a string

In the old days, you could buy indulgences. No, not just nice choccies and bubble bath, but get-out-of-Purgatory-free cards doled out (for a certain consideration, of course) by the Pope. Now, if you're rich and famous, you can seek spiritual solace with some string.

This week, Mick Jagger, left, was spotted sporting the red wristband of Kabbalah. The "Red String" (yes, it warrants capitals, apparently) works, according to The Kabbalah Centre, "in the same way as the vaccines of modern medicine". By binding it to the left wrist "in a very specific manner", we can "shield ourselves against the dangerous negativity that might be directed our way". A word of advice, Sir Mick. Just get off your cloud.

* Any apology which includes the word "apology" (as nearly all of them did this week) certainly implies regret. What it doesn't imply is remorse. The FA's Brian Barwick greeted England's spectacular sporting humiliation with the words "I apologise for that". Gordon Brown apologised for "the inconvenience" of the loss of nearly half the population's personal data. Come on, guys! Even the train companies have now learnt to use the word "sorry".

Perhaps they should learn some lines from the poet Glyn Maxwell's "Deep Sorriness Atonement Song", in which he presents a litany of ever-greater misdemeanours. He is, he says, sorrier than "All the people who were rubbish when we needed them to do it,/ Whose wires crossed, whose spirit failed, who ballsed it up or blew it,/ All notches of nul points and all who have a problem Houston,/ At least they weren't in Kensington when they should have been at Euston". Yup, he missed a train.

c.patterson@independent.co.uk

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