CAN I get my oar in here? I am shocked to my
XY chromosomal keel. Gad, sir, this sort of behaviour would not have
happened among the boys of the old brigade. It was as if Captain Scott
had suddenly developed an incapacitating penguin phobia, causing him to
abandon his South Polar expedition, and first-up-Everest, Sir Edmund
Hillary, had, half-way, become allergic to wearing oxygen masks.
I’m sorry for Andrew Veal, who had to leave his wife, Debra,
after two weeks into their bid to row the Atlan-tic from the Canary
Islands to Barbados after he developed panic attacks and a sudden fear
of the ocean. After seeing him airlifted back to Britain, his wife spent
111 days braving storms, sharks and a near miss with a tanker to row the
2,963 pitch-and-tossed miles, determined to complete the voyage.
Look; I’m out of my depths here. Brought up on fictional and
historical diets of our lads fighting for the flag, shouting, "Play up
and play the game", as the Gatling guns jammed and British squares
faltered, showing enterprise, courage and steadfastness under extreme
military and meteorological conditions, I find it hard to accept that
one of the male persuasion of the bulldog breed could abandon ship and
spouse to the wild waves. Once, that action would have meant honour only
being regained in a locked room with a pearl-handed revolver.
Doubtless, Mr Veal’s affliction was genuine, but so was the
courage and determination of dauntless Debra who, in my view, showed the
jut-jawed, steely-eyed grit of Biggles flying everywhere and any amount
of John Buchan and Rider Haggard heroes of the old British Empire.
Her feat is symbolic of the way the former distaff side in
Britain is carrying all before it, and is cracking the glass ceiling as
surely as the Lady of Shalott’s magic mirror shattered when the curse
came upon her.
The social and financial dominance of man is being eroded by
dynamic and cerebrally-formidable regiments of women. One result is a
steady erosion of masculinity in the media and parts of the
Once, male comedians, conventionally, told jokes denigrating
their wives. "My old lady, she’s so dumb ..." Political correctness
gagged these ungallant and now unwise cracks, but there are no
strictures against female comics lacerating male egos which are often,
however, impervious to such shafts
Deriding males has become a TV advertising cliche. Men are often
shown as over self-assured, unable to comprehend the simplicity of some
car or home insurance policy that females understand instantly, are
wimpish or possess, in dealing with basic domestic problems, about as
much brain power as a Neanderthal.
Recently, an insurance advertisement had the male half of a duo
outsmarted, verbally and mentally, by the female, and another showed a
high-flying male’s misplaced belief that a female would marry him,
risibly deflated when she drove her new car in a tyre-track-forming
negative, easily seen from the man’s aircraft seat.
The female who worries me most is tall, dark, elegant and
enigmatic as seen in the mysterious Scottish Widows’ advertisements.
Clad in a dark cloak, sometimes billowing like a funereal spinnaker, she
also wears a Gioconda smile suggesting a cat that has just had her
cream. She drifts into varied surroundings, in one scene displaying
grace in a maze and in the latest scenario entering, at dusk, what
appears to be a windswept tower, possibly, for some secret assignation.
Why? Where? With whom? Is it possible the dark lady has disposed
of her old man and, signing a guaranteed fixed-rate bond, is engaged in
a vast, international conspiracy with a commercial and professional
coven of financially-formidable women, to rule the world and maybe, en
passant, with newly-discovered techniques of self-fertilisation, to
eliminate the male sex altogether?
Am I pushing the boat out too far? Sudden panic has seized me. I
am beginning to feel like seafearing Mr Veal. These are deep waters