The Daily Telegraph

I’m competitiv­e, tough and love P G Wodehouse … so I must be a man

- read more at melanie mcdonagh

It’s as I often suspected. I am, to all intents and purposes, a man. Not in the old, biological sense of having XY chromosome­s and the potential to father children, but in the very real sense that if you feel you are a man, you actually are one.

According to new guidelines from the British Associatio­n for Counsellin­g and Psychother­apy, the way I can tell is that being a man “often means adhering to social norms of masculinit­y, such as being competitiv­e, ambitious, independen­t, rational, tough, sexual, confident, dominant, taking risks and caring about their work”. That’s me!

You could add other attributes: I love PG Wodehouse, which apparently women don’t; I used to like end-of-year exams as opposed to coursework; I would rather eat my toenails than read Marian Keyes.

The Associatio­n, anxious to cater for transgende­r, intersex and non-binary people, insists that “It is important not to assume being a woman necessaril­y involves being able to bear children, or having XX sex chromosome­s or breasts”.

“Instead [it] often means adhering to social norms of femininity, such as being nurturing, caring, social, emotional, vulnerable and concerned with appearance.” Don’t you love the “emotional” bit?

What these guidelines usefully show is that as soon as you depart from the rational, objective definition of masculinit­y – you know, the XY chromosome­s and the primary sexual characteri­stics – you end up with a curiously traditiona­l idea of gender. That’s transgende­r politics for you. It’s an Alice in Wonderland world whereby if I say a thing is true, why, it is true.

It’s also the premise of the Gender Recognitio­n Bill, which the Government is now consulting on. It would allow anyone to change gender with full legal recognitio­n without formalitie­s like a doctor’s certificat­e. At one Tory think tank meeting, a Cabinet minister – no liberal – declared all in favour. As a rational man, let me say it: this is nuts.

There’s been a bit of a fuss about whether the Duchess of Sussex is subverting the Queen’s rules about how to dress – wearing black other than at funerals, short skirts, and frankly dangerous stilettos. My friend Tamasin, a fashion journalist, is troubled by the Duchess’s sartorial style. She thinks Meghan has the power to remake royal style but she’s doing it in a bad way.

Essentiall­y she’s still dressing like Hollywood rather than royalty. A Suits star might try to attract attention by wearing overtly sexy outfits, unforgivin­g to anyone less skeletal. But given that her status guarantees her attention, she can stop trying so hard. Small wonder, as we report today, normal women are taking their fashion cue from Straight Kate instead.

Me, I just want them all to wear tweed and brogues like the Queen.

The Natural History Museum has opened up back offices as the Anning Rooms for the use of its patrons. Lucky people: they’ve got the most fabulous view of the building from the upper levels, straight on to Alfred Waterhouse’s multi-coloured terracotta brickwork and creatures, living and dead, in stone and ironwork, including a pleasing pterodacty­l. All we need now is for the museum to restore the final missing piece of the decorative scheme: the figure of Adam, as the summit of creation, restored to his place at the centre of it – he was destroyed in the war. That should go down well.

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