Women must learn that no good comes from a kiss and tell

I have long observed that in matters of the heart, men are more courteous than women. It is rare to hear a man describing a former inamorata in unflattering terms, ridiculing her looks, conversation and sexual prowess, or exposing her foibles to mockery.

I have long observed that in matters of the heart, men are more courteous than women. It is rare to hear a man describing a former inamorata in unflattering terms, ridiculing her looks, conversation and sexual prowess, or exposing her foibles to mockery.

The crueller sex, however, rarely returns the compliment. Take Anne Howells, the opera singer who has written a candid account of her love affair with “Clyde”, an Australian writer and critic with a flat in London’s Docklands, for the Oldie magazine. She describes one moment of pillow talk thus: “He opened his eyes and looked at her. ‘I’ve been eating shortbread,’ he informed her, ‘so you can start by sucking the crumbs from between my teeth.’ “ The diva also declared that sex “was usually accompanied by a sort of running commentary by Clyde, as if a camera were mounted on a track running the length of the bedroom”.

The unkindest aspect is surely the fact that Clyde bears such a strong biographical resemblance to Australian critic and writer Clive James, who has a flat in London’s Docklands. If you take it upon yourself to have a love affair with someone who’s married–whoever they may be–don’t you owe that lover, not to mention their family, a duty of care?

That’s not a sentiment that troubled Edwina Currie, who told a cringing public about John Major’s large blue underpants and their shared baths. Molly Parkin and Shirley Ann Field both dished the dirt on John Mortimer’s enthusiasm for spanking. But the prize for most scathing review surely goes to Jane Slavin, who had an affair with the composer Michael Nyman, and subsequently criticised his dandruff (“unusual for a man who is bald”), his height and his supposed meanness. It seems to me that the only person who looked truly mean was the one who spilt such intimate beans. The ladies should take a lesson from the gents: badmouthing one’s exes is very infra dig.

I find it hard to warm to a sudden crop of whingeing writer dads telling us how hard they found it to love their babies. One author, Michael Lewis, said he felt nothing more for his newborn daughter than “detached amusement.”

First, it’s hardly ground-breaking stuff to find fatherhood frustrating. Way back in 1957, Cyril Connolly pronounced: “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.” But what I really resent are these kinds of assertions: “Maternal love may be instinctive, but paternal love is learned behaviour.”

The truth is that parenthood is tough for both sexes, but I’d advise you to keep your mouth zipped if you’re not the one with varicose veins and piles who has had to squeeze a melon through your front bottom.

It strikes me that if all shrinks’ practices were turned into dating agencies, we’d cure most cases of depression in a matter of months.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News