I’ll admit to all of you now, I genuinely don’t know. But although the stereotype of the straight male seems to be the last thing that anybody wants to be these days, I do feel that a moment must be taken to give the poor chaps some silent applause.

Let me tell you why.

I’m staying overnight with a hetero couple I’ve known since university. They’re wonderful, but lordy, I couldn’t put up with what he has to.

She’s a demanding diva. A crowing harpy, a screeching succubus of a woman.

It’s not just the nagging or the constant baiting. It’s like the poor fellow is being tested constantly by a particularly barbarous and prickly headmistress. When she snaps her fingers, he attends; when she commands, he obeys. It must work on some level because they’ve been happily cocooned in this arrangement for as long as I’ve known them – and who am I to judge? That’s far longer than I’ve managed to hold down anything.

But I simply don’t understand how men can take such a torrent of abuse and still stay good-humoured. Perhaps the fact that every so often the headmistress allows her devoted servant to visit her tuck shop has something to do with it.

But surely it must be more than that?

It does seem like a rather difficult existence. Rather a lot to put up with. Just for a taste of the candy.

Straight men may have a lot of privileges, they may still run most of the world. But from what I’ve seen, domestic bliss still comes the price of putting your testicles in a jar. In a way, I have to tip my hat to her. She has the boy exactly where she wants him, and she holds all the chips. Along with his balls.

The fascinating thing is how he refuses to talk back, even when the Headmistress is clearly being unfair. And when the battle lines are drawn? Well, they’re invisible. Forget a battle; it’s a guerrilla war and the boy is alone in the jungle, facing against the well-armed rebels with nothing more than a blunt knife. Every step he takes is liable to take him into a snare which he doesn’t see until it’s too late.

“Yes, darling. No darling. It’s all right, darling.”

The great muscled man-thing is reduced to no more than an obedient puppy by the slender creature before him, with his life seems to be a constant series of steps not to wake the tigress. The tigress who is, currently, sitting in her duvet with cream on her face watching Gilmore Girls.

At any road, it’s not a challenge I’d ever be capable of. I can’t say I envy him a jot.

So let’s all take a moment to silently honour the straight man: sufferer in silence, de-testicled troubadour, selflessly surrendering his manhood for happiness.

Unless the relationship truly is one with mimics that between


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