By Matthew Parris – The Times, November 23rd 2006
‘Why are straight men such poofs? A male friend staying last weekend (heterosexual) betrayed complete incompetence at stoking and regulating a log-burning stove, yet could hold forth thoughtfully on the right age for a man to quit messed-up hair and the use of gel.
The average thirtysomething straight bloke can talk for hours about football these days, but hardly change a light bulb. He feels no male shame at this. Your macho, hetero hunk just sits there, legs apart and hair artfully quiffed, sipping a New World red, glancing at his own reflection in the window, and boasting of his inability to use a simple adjustable spanner.
He buys pre-faded, pre-paint-spattered, “distressed” denim and wears lumberjack-style boots that have hardly seen a tree, let alone a chainsaw. He smiles shyly, his stubble carefully calibrated, looking helpless, hapless and secretly vulnerable — and barely able to distinguish between one end of a screwdriver and the other.
Modern gays have no time for pouting around like this. We climb ladders. We fix tiles. We are handy around the house, able to rig a tent, and happy to converse intelligently on subjects as diverse as plastering, mousetraps and central heating boilers. So what goes wrong with our straight counterparts?
One of the problems that many modern heteros face is that they have had too few male influences in their lives, typically being maintained by their mothers until they move in with a girlfriend or fiancée. While gay men tend to sally forth early into the world, joining gyms, rambling groups, athletic clubs or the Sea Cadets, their heterosexual counterparts are preening themselves on sofas, watching TV, reading lifestyle magazines, contemplating the purchase of a new pair of trainers, or text-messaging their girlfriends. It’s horribly Italian. No wonder they like girls, poor things: they are like girls.’
Now that’s what I call a sweeping generalisation. Why is it that every time I open a paper or switch on the TV these days I see weak, offensive stereotyping of heterosexual males like this? Why is this drivel socially acceptable?
Q) How many unimaginitive journalists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A) Just one – to hold the bulb and expect the world to turn around them..