Perish the thought that I should be considered old, but I’m convinced that there are differences between men and woman. This, it seems, is going against modern thinking. But for reasons I will explain, I remain convinced I am correct.

We’ve just bought a bed, one that is raised up so there is a gap underneath. The one we replaced was a divan, with drawers under. This struck me as useful extra storage, especially for bedding, but there was a problem. It was not apparent to me but, it seems, this is because I’m male. You see, you can’t get a vacuum cleaner under it. To my wife, and many women of my aquaintance, this renders it unsuitable for purpose. No man I know of would agree with the logic

It was pointed out with some aggression, as if I had designed these impossible to live with divans, or, perhaps, the too high vacuum cleaners, it’s impossible to say which is at fault, apart from me being in collusion with the blameworthy partner. However, if I’d been told ‘the cleaner won’t go under it’ in the sort of voice one would use in stating an obvious fact, I’d probably have acknowledged the impossibility of anything cleaner-wise being able to access the underside of the bed through this 1/2 inch gap between divan and floor. But that would have meant it wasn’t my fault.

It was the same with yellow. I don’t like yellow, not even in telephone books or big boxes. It’s too garish, and I’m partially colour blind. I feel sorry for those with access to the complete rainbow if yellow is anything to go by. Why should my wife use that tone when telling me that I don’t like yellow when we’ve both been aware of this apparent failing of mine since I was 22. The free access to this tone is an ability that, I’ve noticed, remains almost exclusively the preserve of women. However, I’ve also noticed it on occasion when I’ve given evidence, solicitors not being gender specific in this case.

‘So, officer, you then say you took hold of my client.’ Of course I said it. It was in the answer to the brief’s previous question. Everyone had heard me as I have a loud voice, and I tend to speak up in court. So why repeat it? It is as if doing what one is obliged to do when arresting someone, ie restricting their movement, is somehow wrong. Just like not liking yellow.

My mate Colin doesn’t like yellow. He’s not colour blind and he dislikes yellow with a degree of energy that is past my advanced years. I couldn’t mention him in defence of not liking yellow as he’d done the most dreadful of actions: forgetting his wife’s birthday.

I don’t want to sound too much like Henry Higgins, although I was understudy to HH in the school play and when the incumbent went sick, I took over with a verve that was mentioned with some favour in the local press. I’m bemused as to why forgetting a birthday makes one persona non grata with a bit over 50% of the world’s population when, quite logically, only one out of 365 would have had the same birthday?

I don’t forget Colin’s birthday because I don’t know it. Indeed, I don’t think I ever knew it. Asking him his birthday is a question he’d probably like some notice of, just to make sure he got the right date.

I bet Colin would not care what went on under his divan bed, if he has one that is. To paraphrase the old saying, out of sight is out of sight. Who cares?

Well, a lot of women do it seems.

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Women under the bed

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