Deborah Ross: Have you ever tried to spend erotic capital?

If you ask me...

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The Independent Online

If you ask me, I'm going to have to race through this today, as I need to get on with spending my "erotic capital". Defined by Professor Catherine Hakim as a prime female asset and a combination of "beauty, social skills, good dress sense, liveliness, sex appeal and sexual competence". I can see, now, I have been frugal with mine over the years; if only I'd accessorised more and persisted with Spanx I would have been taken far more seriously in the workplace and elsewhere.

Still, I am on message now, and assuming my zero-spending record must mean I've quietly accumulated a nice nest egg – I did put in a call to the Bank of Erotic Capital (Russell Square branch) to check my balance but, alas, they were all out for the morning having their legs waxed – I find I am ready to spend, spend, spend.

I started at my local Shell garage, after filling up my car. "Do you accept erotic capital?" I asked the fellow behind the grid in what I hoped was a lively, vivacious, sexually appealing manner. "I suspect I have a mighty stash of it." No, he said, he could not accept erotic capital, only cash or cards or, at the outside, a cheque. "Sorry," he concluded, "but if it makes you feel any better, we also don't take Electron."

I tried my local newsagent, but fared no better. "No erotic capital," said Mr Patel. "It is tiresome to put though the books, and I only have your word you have any." I felt sad about this, because I have known Mr Patel many years, and yet he doesn't accept that I have a hoard of erotic capital? Mr Patel, I told him, you have disappointed me, and I exited his shop without even waiting for him to open the door for me which, I admit, was grotesquely unfeminine.

Nancy Dell'Olio would never have made such a slip-up. I did however, remember to walk out as if I might be wearing Spanx, although honestly I'll never do that again; it's like wearing a vice. But if you wish to do the walk? Easy. Imagine you've just been shot in the fanny, and that covers it, pretty much.

And so I failed to spend any of my erotic capital. I tried to re-check with the bank, but they were now all doing face packs (cucumber) – and consequently failed to take back feminism 50 years. I'm sorry about that, but at least I didn't tie myself to railings or throw myself under a horse. That, of course, is not just silly behaviour, but can also totally ruin the line of your skirt.