I had a call from the BBC last week.
Could I do an interview?
No, don’t get excited. Local radio. No need for cosmetic surgery.
“Yes, of course,” I said. “When?”
“Just after nine?”
“Yep, that’s fine. I’ll be driving to an appointment but I can do it on hands free.”
No I couldn’t. The nice young man from the BBC explained that their policy didn’t allow them to speak to people who were driving.
Yes, I could see that.
“BBC interview leads to motorway pile-up.” Or in my case, “Listeners left stunned as dad blogger hurls abuse across motorway”.
“No problem. Give me five minutes’ notice and I’ll pull over.”
And then rather belatedly my brain kicked into gear.
“What are we talking about?”
“Oh…” Someone on my phone was explaining about a recent survey … blah, blah … men one hour of housework a day … women two hours … blah, blah … Need a man’s opinion…
I wasn’t listening. My mind was elsewhere. Specifically, on my wife’s reaction.
BBC have phoned, I cheerfully texted. You ought to listen. They’ve asked me to talk about housework for 10 minutes.
Are they mad? she texted back. Why have they asked you to talk about something you’ve never done?
As I feared…
But hang on. Was I not up early this morning? Had I not fed the cats? And the dog? Emptied the dishwasher? Yes to all those. Taken the dog for a two-mile walk?
Er, no. Far too cold. Watched the cricket instead. But then – as I do every morning – I’d woken my beloved with a cup of tea.
Yep, the interview would be fine. I could definitely state that I was a new man.
And I’d been interviewed by Jon loads of times. Piece of cake…
“OK, I’ll switch you over to the studio now. Did they tell you Jon’s ill? It’s Julia this morning.”
Julia? That sounded dangerously like a woman. I didn’t want to discuss housework with a woman. I already spent my weekends dodging that particular bullet…
Julia swiftly dismissed the pleasantries and got stuck in.
“So men only do an hour’s housework a day while women do two hours. Can you explain that?”
Yes, I could explain it quite easily. The men had lied.
Assuming the average man does no housework at all from Monday to Friday that leaves a serious amount for the weekend.
Three and half hours on Saturday and Sunday?
When there’s football on?
“I think that’s about right,” I said. “I’ve probably done an hour already today.
Certainly if you count two or three miles with the dog.”
That’s where radio scores over TV. No-one can see when you cross your fingers behind your back.
The rest of the interview continued in the same vein. Julia bowled a few vicious bouncers. I swayed elegantly out of the way.
And then she asked it. The killer question. The one men have no answer to. The one that neatly skewers the entire male species.
“So who cleans the toilet in your house?”
“Ahh…” I said decisively. “Well…”
“Another thing,” she said. “I read one of your blogs where you said you’d rather write about a broken cupboard door than fix it.”
“Well, yes. But technically I am a writer…”
“A lazy one. Like all men.”
It was steadily downhill from there.
I don’t think I emerged with any credit.
Leg. Stand on. Didn’t have one.
What had I texted to my wife? You ought to listen.
A remarkable own goal.
But no matter.
I could be on a plane to Argentina before she got home…