Ten Things Women Should Know About Men

1) We've secretly been looking at nude photographs of Dame Judy Dench. Well, no, we haven't actually - but we would if we knew anyone who had some. Oprah too. And that singing bank manager woman from the Halifax advert. It's not that we fancy them or anything, you understand. We're not weird, we're simply curious - we are driven, irresistibly, to seek out knowledge. Knowledge of what women look like. All women. Naked. You know when you try on a really quite seriously alarming top that you have no intention of ever buying? It's just like that. Just like it.

2) For men, true love is tacit. Mindless sexual hunger buys you quirky little gifts and leaves funny messages on your answering machine and can't get over how beautiful you look in that dress. But, when love kicks in, the meaningless noise of sexual display stops and a silent, tranquil and deep spiritual calm settles upon us. Your partner lying on the sofa watching TV all evening and not having said more than a dozen sentences to you since last Tuesday is his way of demonstrating he loves you without doubts and is in it for the long haul. We 'just know' that this is love and, frankly, are quite hurt if you're so shallow and drawn to shiny objects that you don't 'just know' it too. An important corollary to this truth is that if your, formally long-torpid, partner starts once again buying flowers and giving you spontaneous, non sequitur hugs in the kitchen then it doesn't indicate that his love for you has suddenly got a second wind. It indicates he's sleeping with Debbie from Accounts.

3) Never look in that box of ours in the attic. But never demand we throw it away. That box contains things from our past. Private things. Things we have left behind, but can't bear to let go of... Oh - and let's not make an issue of this, OK?

4) At some point during a discussion about care of the children, your partner will say, 'Well, that's what my mother did, and we turned out OK.' Any reply of yours except, 'Yes' at this point is as good as pulling the pin out of a grenade and carefully placing it on the table between you. You may criticise a man's mother as she is today (she is, indeed, statistically likely to be as mad as a hatter). However, you must never criticise her as a mother.

5) We covet your little things. We don't have all those little things; we have a deodorant and a shaver - that's it. In the arena of little things, we've been royally screwed by Life and the injustice is all the more stinging because your opulence is there for comparison. You have a numberless profusion of little things, all of which lure and fascinate us; our sometimes mocking your spillingly abundant collection of them is, in reality, nothing but simple invidia. Given the opportunity, a man will go through your handbag, dressing table drawer or bathroom cabinet. But we're not snooping on you, just exploring - through our envious tears - with childlike wonder. You have tiny brushes, twist-up lipsticks and eyelash shapers. You have all kinds of cases that hold pads and colours and foam tipped implements and that click shut satisfyingly. You have things we can't even work out what they are. We - hollow - go through it all, longing to be filled: men never get over the bitter, bitter resentment they feel because Nature has denied them the right to own a tampon applicator.

6) Don't ask us to decide, or even give an opinion on, everything. We don't feel 'included', we feel plagued. And, if you really want to annoy us, insist we make a choice when we've repeatedly said we don't care either way... and then ask, 'Why?'

7) Want appear sexy to men? Really? You're not going to like it. OK, then... don't shave your armpits. Out of every ten men, seven won't care much one way or the other, one will think it thoroughly repellent, and two will find it very attractive and horny indeed. Playing the odds, therefore, it's best not to shave - medically advisable too, as it happens. Your girl friends, and women in general, will think it's vile, of course. But then - pfff - when did you ever take more notice of women's opinions about what's attractive than you did of men's, eh?

8) We love gossip. It's just that we never have any. Every time we try to gossip ourselves, it simply ends up in a conversation about how best to upgrade a hard disk. Please let us listen in on yours.

9) Men, with a minuscule number of exceptions, are not 'afraid of commitment'. The idea that men generally are 'afraid of commitment' is the offspring of a thousand, lazy, uninventive novelists too clueless to do anything but grab a tired, off-the-peg motivation for their hero. If a man doesn't want to commit, he doesn't wasn't to commit to you.

10) If we're invited to a wedding and we've slept with the bride - ever - that's utterly, utterly, utterly all we think about throughout the entire ceremony.