Rosie Millard: It's the control-freak men who like dusting


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The Independent Online

So, given the choice, men prefer doing most of the housework. Who knew? According to researchers from Cambridge University, using a survey of 30,000 households conducted by the European Social Study, chaps find that home life is a lot smoother if they do the cooking, washing, cleaning and shopping. Rather than letting their grumbling other half do it.

The academics suggest this is because men have discovered that rushing with open arms towards the rubber gloves, rather than regularly collapsing on the sofa means: a) less internal guilt and; b) no noisy nagging. Hence, an easier life all round.

Of course, Cambridge thinks this is a direct result of global female emancipation. "Women are becoming more assertive and making their dissatisfaction with lazy partners plain," say the academics.

I'm not at all sure this is true. Apparently, when a group of women goes on holiday, you can always identify the Alpha Female, because she'll be the one in the kitchen. Maybe it's the same at home. If your husband wants to stake out his place over loading the dishwasher and takes pride in wielding the Mr Muscle; indeed, if he is the only one in the house who knows how – and more crucially – when to change the bags on the Henry, there is a message to be absorbed here. He who does the lion's share becomes the lion. According to Paul Hollywood, baking ace and resident hunk on The Great British Bake Off, men are always tweeting him pictures of cakes they have just created. Honestly! He told me so himself.

Kitchen designers understand this; indeed, if you look at current trends, there's a lot of big, tough stuff going on in kitchens. It's all about Quooker boiling water taps, blast freezers, Japanese knives, Blumenthalesque infernos; terrifying gadgets which reinforce the idea of the kitchen as laboratory, racing car, and hi-pressure catering zone smoothly capable of delivering the highest possible placing in the social barometer which is the DPS (Dinner Party Stakes).

Perhaps it's a subtle way of redressing the balance; anxious about "career women" (now there's a silly phrase) advancing in the boardroom and achieving all-round excellence at school, blokes have decided en masse, to undermine the soft underbelly of the Domestic Goddess. You know those smiling dads at the school cake sale? They're the ones to watch.

Come along quietly, grandad

So, the accepted wisdom about murderers is that if you are near pensionable age, your effectiveness and overall potential for being scary diminishes quite considerably. On hearing that an actual murderer, aged 64, had escaped from my local prison, Pentonville, I was alarmed. I mean, it's about 300 yards away from Millard Towers.

Keep calm and carry on, tweeted my friend Steve Anderson, an estimable chap who at other moments of the day can be found editing Question Time. "The police can snare him with a bowl of hot soup."

What? So if I position myself on my doorstep with a copy of Saga, and a hot toddy, he'll come quietly?

Absolutely, assured Steve. "Bring slippers, toast, cocoa and tomorrow's Daily Express. Works every time."