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In Good Company: A Question Of Sex

Enid Blackburn writes about a TV programme broadcast some three decades ago.

Every week I watch Clive James and Anna Raeburn struggle to unravel ‘A Question of Sex'.

The former made his name tearing programmes like this to pieces. Ms Raeburn used to answer sexy questions on the back page of a women’s magazine. Apart from stuffing us with meaningless statistics and showing us that both sexes look as comfy as kangaroos on a flag pole the Clive and Anna show is boring chemistry. We did learn, however, that James has the larger lung capacity, this must be the reason he looks more cuddly.

Anna is at her happiest when putting men in their place – which in her opinion ought to be under her big toe.

With the aid of complicated figures and charts she informs us that there are not as many women as men in the medical and dentistry professions. While I worship my lady doctor, I thank heaven for any obstacle that deters lady dentists. The only one I encountered injected what felt like a pint of crushed ice into my top lip and then proceeded to drill a cavity in my front gum. When I managed to manipulate my tyre lip enough to protest she said, ‘Never mind, I’m nearly through.’ She was! In future I will probably be able to whistle ‘In a monastery garden’ through the hole in my gum.

No one has yet mentioned on the programme the indisputable fact that basically men are nicer than women. In the emotive area of temperament,
men surely have the edge. With their natural sense of fairness they make better bosses - some of them even make better mothers.

For a start their uncomplicated body chemistry does not plunge them into monthly moods, which females are prone to blame their mistakes on.

I can stand some female company longer than others, but I confess to a blatant misogynistic strain in my make-up. No, I have not an overbearing mother, in fact I was the dominant feature at our house, especially when dad was away during the war.

I did have a predatory dancing teacher – who still makes me tremble whenever we meet. Recently I had a reunion with another ex-pupil in a large store. We had both seen teacher enter and had chosen the same row of nighties to hide behind.

‘I have to drag the talent from her,’ she used to tell my mother, who was also afraid of her. Growth was the only part of me beyond her control – she never forgave me for being smaller than the rest of our troupe, that and my sallow neck, which she tried unsuccessfully to scrub as white as the other girls’ on several occasions. She still gives me nightmares, but I’ll say this for her - she taught me to dance, and to wear a smile, however much it hurt – if you knew what was good for you.

Last weekend I attended another bowling competition, not one run by the female bowling Mafia but handled by the men of Brighouse – what a difference as smoothly in tune as their terrific brass band. The women’s committee had admirably confined their talents to preparing an excellent tea.


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