Another woman is not always better than a man

Take your average bloke today. His world is washing away into the sea faster than the coastline of Britain, leaving him half naked and flapping for mercy. He was the king of his castle once. Lived in a world where women loved a Lothario and giggled like Barbara Windsor when he fondled their bottoms and breasts. A chap could be an irredeemable idiot, have smelly feet, a hairy body well padded with accumulated chip fat, punishingly ill-fitting trousers, an evil temper and the sensitivity of a rat, but finding the love of a good woman was never any trouble at all.

Rich and famous men - beastly in other ways - knew that the women they chose would only ever be grateful, and would continue to feel that way after they were dumped. Some are trying desperate measures to keep the status quo. Mick Jagger has just forced Jerry Hall to agree to a divorce settlement which stipulates that if she sleeps with the same man more than three days in a row she loses the family home. But it is a losing battle Mick, your kingdom's going, going almost gone.

In A Slice of Wedding Cake, Robert Graves asked: "Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girls/Married impossible men?"

This is a question more and more married women are asking themselves too - often when they are in their late thirties and doing well in their professions but are stressed out and feeling hungry for more than yet another chicken tikka masala bought in by a self-pitying man who just wants a devoted little wifey.

A friend of mine, who decided to give up his job to look after his two children while his wife, a medical consultant, carried on working, once told me that the marriage survived because he taught himself to become a wifey. He kept the house nice, cooked, put the children to bed, and warmly greeted his exhausted partner with a glass of wine (not in a black négligé though, I don't think) and eager enquiries of how the day had been.

But not many men are able do this and not many women would respect them if they did. Men are now damned if they do and damned if they don't .

The modern miss's solution is to go off with another woman. A few years ago, when Julie Burchill left her second husband for Charlotte Raven, the media went mad, behaving as if she had grown horns. Today this is so common it's happening in Aberystwyth, for God's sake. The mayor there, Jaci Taylor, has installed her female lover as mayoress. Both are mothers who walked out on their husbands.

Sarah Moir, ex-wife of Vic Reeves, went off with her female personal trainer; Sophie, the actor Simon Ward's daughter, left her husband for an American woman writer; and Steve Martin lost his girlfriend to Ellen DeGeneres, the lesbian comedienne.

Family law experts are reporting an increasing number of such cases. Vanessa Lloyd-Platt, author of The Divorce Lawyer's Guide to a Happier Marriage told a Sunday newspaper reporter that women with work pressures are making these choices because "men cannot understand their needs and women feel they are better off with a woman who can."

There are all sorts of good reasons for choosing a woman over a man. Imagine shopping for clothes with a female partner instead of a grumpy husband who cannot understand the spiritual joy this brings us. Jerry Hall could bring in a co-habiting female lover (presumably not covered by the divorce agreement) to thwart her vindictive and sexually arrogant husband.

But do not be deluded. Today's women thriving in the world of personal freedom have no more "natural" capacity to nurture and support than men, and in many cases there will be tears again, and twice as a many rows brought on by PMT.

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