The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Was Boardman wrong? On your bike!
I HAVE a confession to make.
I’m not proud of it, but I need to get it off my chest. Maybe then I can finally be free of the guilt and the shame. Here goes. Deep breath... I once asked my wife “what’s for tea?” There. I said it. Please don’t judge me too harshly – I was young and stupid. I knew not what I was saying.
After several months of intensive counselling my wife was eventually able to get over the shock of what I’d asked her.
She’s a strong woman, so the mental scars did heal over time.
Of course, I’m being flippant. I would never be so thoughtless as to ask her directly what’s for tea.
Whenever we want to know the answer to that question we do it through a series of subtle hand signals, eyebrow wiggling and whistles, so as not to offend each other.
The thing is sometimes I DO ask my wife what’s for tea... on the evenings she is making it.
It’s because I’m a curious sort, and have an interest in what I might be putting in my belly.
And then there are other times, when I’m doing the cooking, when she asks ME what’s for tea! Can you imagine?
What a progressive household we live in, full of non-gender-specific questions about evening meals. What a time to be alive. So do I think Chris Boardman’s comment was sexist? Nope. I think he was commenting on the apparent lack of excitement or emotion in Jason Kenny’s reaction, rather than how he might view his wife’s “role”.
If the reactions at the velodrome had been reversed, Boardman might just as easily have said that Laura Trott looked like she was asking Jason Kenny what’s for tea.
We can’t know if he would have said that or not, because it didn’t happen.
If anything, his remark was a lighthearted slight on Kenny’s underwhelmed reaction, rather than an offensive sexist remark aimed at Trott.
To combat this nonsense, we should all make a point of asking each other what’s for tea this week.
Hell, you could even ask your other half (of whichever sex) what’s for breakfast or lunch! Why not throw in some interrogation about elevenses as a well, just to be really daring?
Of course, I understand why people are particularly sensitive to remarks that either are or could be perceived as sexist.
Both casual and blatant sexism is something women have had to endure for time immemorial, and it’s shameful that it endures to this day. For instance, the furore about what Helen Skelton chose to wear in Rio was genuinely offensive and depressing.
Only if John Inverdale had rocked up on screen in a short skirt and heels would a presenter’s choice of clothes have been worthy of comment.
Thankfully that didn’t happen – it would have put me right off my tea.