Do you think it is always the woman who chooses and men may think they do? | Argui Escandon

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I remember a rather left-field conversation I had with my niece regarding romantic relationships a few years ago. As a stroppy twenty-something I suspect she was trying to wind-me-up when she rather took apart my old fashioned ‘take’ on how mutual attraction between the sexes actually works in reality. As a man of a certain age, I apparently was under the laughable impression that men take the lead and do the choosing (here goes!)…ahem, in a cross gender or straight relationship.

Anyway, when she stopped laughing in a rather uncalled for and slightly manic fashion she made it rather clear to me that this impression of male selectivity was both erroneous and completely stupid. As Melanie proceeded to explain to me in a low voice - it is always the woman who does the choosing, men may think that they do - but they don’t and haven’t since Victorian times.

I remembered this rather embarrassing encounter the other day when I read that Lancaster University had completed a study that found that generally men are more emotionally insecure than women when it comes to relationships. Now then, I would think that this was a complete nonsense, but these academics insist that their research is both true and completely undermines the perceived status-quo of the average relationship. Take for instance divorce, it seems that seven out of ten are initiated by women.

This confirms a long standing impression that more often than not it is the woman who ‘pulls the trigger’ on the relationship and according to this study divorced men a far unhappier than divorced women. On another level, this research suggests that women have larger and deeper “friendship networks” and unlike men are not afraid to discuss the reasons behind failing relationships, whereas if the subject should arise amongst a group of men, you would soon hear loud coughing and the scraping of chairs.

When it comes to any sort of emotional release, women are said to be much more in control of their feelings; which if you think about it, goes against almost every single, supposed relationship truism that we are fed from childhood. We blokes get terribly excited or disappointed by favourite football teams, golf handicaps and obscure political causes, whereas women tend to be more level headed and practical. Indeed, more likely to get bothered by issues that matter, such as family, friends and paying the household bills. I have to say that the boffins at Lancaster University have certainly set the (female) cat amongst the pigeons and many men will be slowly shaking their heads in profound disagreement. As for me, I’m not so sure.

The fact is, we men do tend to preen and pontificate in such a way so as to clumsily attempt to underline our underlying potent masculinity. Yet even the most macho of us blokes, must have asked himself at some time in the past - whether the woman in his life - in modern parlance, is setting the agenda within their lives, whist giving every impression that it was he who was in charge of setting the course for theirs and their families future. Could it be that even in the second decade of the 21st century, we men are still under the illusion that, rather like a foolish Regency fop, we chaps still dazzle our female partners in life by just being - er, us?

Climbing up the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire!

Going to bed between 10pm and 11pm significantly reduces the risk of heart disease - Who says so? Well, yet another research project, this time conducted by the University of Exeter. This got me thinking about how, over the years, a persons sleeping patterns will change. I can’t remember if when you get older you need more or less sleep. I suppose it depends on circumstances, but I was always under the impression that the older you were, the less sleep you needed. It might also depend upon where you live in the world; for instance when in Majorca in mid summer an afternoon siesta is positively essential and the traditional Spanish working day is set around that fact.

Try and get away with an afternoon nap in the UK will have people consigning you to an early grave. It is also a fact of life that young teenagers will sleep for hours and hours on end particularly in the mornings when often they need to be tipped out of bed. Personally, being rather boring, I probably fit into the 10pm-11pm timeframe, but will disappear earlier if I have good book on-the-go or if someone wants to watch a mindless episode of ‘Dinner Date’ on the box. Nevertheless, I am one of those people who cannot go to sleep unless I am tucked up comfortably in, or on a proper bed. Over the years I have tried to sleep on trains and aeroplanes, but I just can’t do it.

I don’t know why, because friends I have travelled with in the past have been asleep before the train has left the station or the plane has taxied down a runway. I once flew to Auckland, New Zealand, from London Heathrow Airport, with a very short stopover at Singapore - the actual flying time was just over 20 hours (I think) and I sat bolt-upright the whole way! I was desperate to go to sleep, I just couldn’t do it no matter how much I tried. Which of course doesn’t help at all, because the more you think about going to sleep, the less chance you have of actually doing it.

So then, what is the best time for you to climb up the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire, because this has to be a personal choice, surely. Given my less than successful attempts of sleeping other than in my lovely comfortable bed, I would love to be like US President, Joe Biden, (aka Sleepy Joe) who seems to have the knack of dropping off into a deep sleep when he feels the need even at an international climate change conference - and who can blame him? Certainly not me!