Other kids had the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, but my Daddy used to tell me fairy stories about the Soviet Union when I was a tot.
One was that the metro was so clean you could eat your dinner off the floor (“Because it belongs to the people, like everything over there, they keep it like a palace”) and another one was that in Georgia only women past the age of the menopause were in positions of power (“Because they're not slaves to their hormones, like men and young women are, so they can be trusted to make proper judgments”).
This certainly made life interesting at school — when as a mixed infant I could be found arguing the merits of the glorious Soviet way with bemused teachers at the drop of The Cat In The Hat — but I'm not sure how true it was.
Still, I found myself thinking wistfully of the mythical Georgian grannies of post-menopausal wisdom this week as the parade of Alpha-males-gone-wild cranked up a gear, hormones overflowing to flood-alert level.
Rich and/or powerful men hiding behind a judge's robes like a bunch of virgins having the vapours over their precious reputations — lest they, too, must wear the scarlet letter A, like their Jeanne d'Arc, St Andy of Marr; politicians allegedly trying to get their wives to carry the can for their misdemeanours — a reversal of the old-school chivalry-mode of a man never divorcing his wife no matter what her transgressions, but rather giving her grounds to divorce him.
The terrible two(s) of the culinary arts, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, back on TV, the one boo-hooing if people won't do as he wants, the other screaming and screaming ’til he's sick like some testosterone-and-Botox-crazed Violet Elizabeth Bott.
And the head of the IMF revealed as a man so much at the mercy of his humping hormones that he has allegedly thrown everything away for the chance of a fast, forced legover — what a slut.
It's not just the Big I Ams in the rarefied air of the top tax bracket who are coming over all emotional, either. In spite of all the dismal bleating about the wonders of retail therapy from the glossies, men, it transpires, are the real impulse buyers.
In reality shows, such as Jersey Shore and The Only Way Is Essex, the flash prole boys spend easily as much time as the girls styling their hair, working on their tans and agonising over relationships.
In the 19th century, stern patriarchs used to warn their daughters not to indulge in anything but the lightest of reading matter lest their fragile little brains overheat. But now teachers want to ditch the classics in favour of light writing bites because boys are ‘intimidated’ by big books. “Boys are not as good as girls at sitting and listening,” explained the children's author Frank Cottrell Boyce. Well, maybe as they're meant to be at school and not at a roller-disco, they might just be told to like it or lump it.
In the ultimate, grotesque appropriation of the feminisation of feelings, even wife-killers are getting in on the caring, sharing act. When the feminists of the 1970s encouraged men to show
their emotions, I bet they didn't foresee this can of slushy, mushy worms being opened.
I've got to say, total feminist though I am, I am probably a bit of a rogue one in that I've never thought that men should be more like women, rather that it might be good for women to be a little more like (old-fashioned) men.
I don't think being over-emotional is the best way to be and it's a battle I've fought for a lot of my life. I've never suffered from PMT, but I do support the state of Israel, so I find I spend a lot of my time crying, lashing out violently and screeching “you don't understand!” at my husband.
I do understand what sufferers go through.
But I don't want to be like that and I don't see why anyone else would think it was something to aim for. Please come back, the strong and silent male stereotype — continent, stoic, buck-stopping — all is forgiven.