Tuesday, May 1

Challenging rituals

Giles Coren writes an amusing little ditty in today’s Times. Buying his wife a birthday present. Admit it, we dread the annual ritual as much as we do when buying Christmas and anniversary presents. They’re guilty reminders we haven’t been paying attention, have missed the countless clues – are rarely on the same wavelength. At least I’ve learnt enough not to buy Mrs G. a food processor for a gift.

Male friends are simple to deal with: a few muttered comments about last night’s footy or the boxing – sheep or silage – and they leave you alone. With a woman you have to engage your brain in an effort to determine some sort of common ground/interest: it invariably means moving onto unfamiliar territory. If a bunch of woad-painted lads from Papua New Guinea paddled up the River Dart this morning in a dugout canoe and stepped ashore wearing grass skirts with bones through their nose I instinctively know we’d have more in common than I do with the countless young women that surround me.

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