I need to make something clear from the outset; I am a male….a proper heterosexual one. I love football, anything with an engine, eat meat, drink alcohol (albeit occasionally) and in the past few weeks have been called amongst other things, a flirt and a letch. Both of which I took as compliments.
But if you were expecting some kind of spirited defence of the male species or even some kind of anti-female rant, you are going to be disappointed. You see in spite of the fact that I am a ‘bloke’ in pretty much every sense of the word, I would go so far as to say that I far prefer the company of women to men.
Most of my best friends are women, the bulk of my working colleagues including my editor and my agent are women and not so long ago I was best man at the same-sex wedding of two of my bestest (female) chums which was, I have to say, a truly delightful experience. Rammed as it was, with women (albeit some of whom had little or no interest in men but each to their own).
The reason for this is that in my experience, women are a lot of fun whilst men are fairly hopeless, especially where women are concerned. And yes, I do lump myself in there with, as most of my female friends and colleagues will agree, good reason. For like most men, I have no idea how women think or work, am prone to saying the wrong thing at the very worst time and cannot for the life of me understand the fascination with either shoes, handbags or celebrity magazines.
Furthermore, as I have previously mentioned I have no concept of how much fun shopping is (for the most part, it really isn’t), have no desire to even think about why a bed needs to be covered with cushions simply because they look nice nor can I even comprehend why anyone would need to curl their eyelashes.
Oh, and since I have no uterus, I cannot possibly have any idea what it’s like to have PMT and have no real explanation as to why something so obvious is so frequently thrown at me as if it were an accusation. Don’t even get me started on the menopause or the pain of childbirth.
I could go on…. and on…. and on.
What I hear you asking, has any of this to do with the 80’s? Well on the face of it, nothing. But in truth, it has everything.
You see, to state the obvious, men and women are different. Very different. At the beginning of the 80’s, everyone knew that, accepted it and even embraced it. It was a time when real men (or ‘blokes’ as they shall henceforth be known) did manual work, smoked, drank beer and looked after their families whilst the vast majority of women once married, kept home and acted as mothers.
Yet by the end of the decade fuelled by Thatcherism, consumerism, liberalism and feminism, we were seeing the first seeds of the god-awful ‘Ladette’ culture and were just a couple of years away from the first mention of the most loathsome cult ever to infest the male race, ‘the Metrosexual.’ The final nail in the concept of masculinity which by the turn of the decade had all but ebbed away along with good manners, common courtesy, respect and most importantly of all, romance. All to be replaced with… well, nothing.
And as the 80’s ended, women everywhere suddenly found themselves wondering where all the real men had gone whilst the real men were living in fear of having their seemingly old-fashioned advances rejected. Rejection being of course, the greatest contraceptive known to man.
So it has continued, with the traditional roles of male/hunter, woman/nurturer now almost an alien concept and as a bloke, I find that very sad. I mean, what’s wrong with holding the door open for a woman or perish the thought, offering one your seat on the tube? It’s what a gentleman does yet these days, you do it at your peril. Equality, whilst an admirable idea, has a lot to answer for because in many respects, no one wins.
Thankfully, all is not lost. For there is a saviour at hand. A real man in the old fashioned sense who blokes look up to and women have come to regard as something of a sex symbol.
No not me…. Step forward the legend that is DCI Gene Hunt. The politically incorrect, foul mouthed and most definitely sexist copper who stars in the BBC TV series ‘Ashes to Ashes.’ He is as good a representation of the early 80’s male as you will possibly ever see on screen but more importantly, he is often mentioned as the ‘bit of rough women would like a tumble with.’
If true, this is a welcome sign. For whilst much of modern day society has its merits, the relationship between men and women remains slightly blurred. Middle aged men especially are still struggling to come terms with things and the fact that a fictional television character has come to be regarded with such affection by both sexes proves that deep down, those old school values have not been totally extinguished. Or to put it another way, sometimes the good old days were actually good.
The question of course, is does that kind of Alpha male have a place in modern day society. Well speaking as one myself, I would obviously hope so but I know plenty of females who would certainly go for a bit of old fashioned looking after.
But then again, back then we never thought things that deeply did we. And maybe, like proper sized Curly Wurly’s, Tiswas and Brit–Funk, that was something else that was better back in the 80’s.
Happy days indeed.