I have always been a believer that nature has its way of highlighting the wrong’uns out there.
There has long been an argument that any middle age man who looks like he styles his hair with lard, wears a tank top his mum knitted 25 years ago and wears a smeared pair of NHS specs has the potential to be a sex pest.
Harsh, but would you sit next to him on the number 69? I thought not. Another guaranteed way of discovering if the bloke in front of you should be avoided is if he uses phrases ‘chick’ or ‘babe’ to describe members of the opposite sex.
They are also the sort of people who think it acceptable to discuss how much they earn and never, ever wear socks.
Apparently people like this are slowly dying out as the 21st Century man is now using far more complimentary language women - have you noticed how I refrained from describing them as the fairer sex?
The Spoken British National Corpus 2014 is an analysis of 2.5 million words of conversation and its headline finding is that women of today are less likely to be described by appearances than in the 1990s. So out have gone prefixes such as ‘blonde’, ‘daft’ and ‘sexy’ and in have come ‘international’, ‘Italian’ and, most bizarrely, ‘gypsy’.
While I think it is true that people are generally more aware of what phrases are likely to upset others in polite society, there is a strong case to be had that sexism is still alive and wolf whistling in some quarters.
I do not think that unsavoury views about women will ever be eradicated completely - but we have still come a long away. Believe it or not, I was once described in a sexist manner by a dinosaur reader.
A female colleague had spelled out my exotic monicker for the fifth time that day, when the old boy on the end of the phone replied: “She sounds like a cracking bit of stuff, I can’t wait to meet her.”
And meet him I did and I can confirm he was most disappointed when I walked into the venue, clutching a cheese and bacon pasty. Obviously the man was a complete wally, he deserved all he got and is fast becoming a relic of yesteryear.
But I’m not sure that we can yet celebrate living in a society where we’re all polite to each other.