Have you ever been out with a man who likes you to dress, well, a little dowdily, shall we say? You know the type. He’s the one who sounds just like your mother when you were a teenager getting ready for a Saturday night out: ‘You can’t go out dressed like THAT!’ he says, as you hobble down the stairs in a sheer top and pencil skirt. You don’t need to be much of a psychologist to know that such a man is a deeply insecure, possessive sort who can’t stand any bloke eyeing up his woman, lest she gets fresh with him by the bins.
I must confess that I’m quite the opposite. Between you and me, I’d love my wife to dress like a complete slut – the sort of woman who would spend all night by the bins. I don’t know what sort of man that makes me (maybe simply someone with a smattering of dormant cuckold fetish). But, the fact remains that in my perfect world, Sally would wear a black rubber mini-skirt, hold-ups and 6-inch f***-me heels every time she went out. Even to Waitrose.
But like any reasonable woman, my wife isn’t the least bit influenced by my preference that she dress like a hooker. Every Christmas and birthdays, I buy her something wildly inappropriate that makes her blush in front of her parents. Last year, it was a particularly ‘showy’ Agent Provocateur corset top that, much to my chagrin, was quickly dispatched to the back of the wardrobe along with all my other offerings.
To my mind, my behaviour is entirely logical. The reason why tarts dress like, er, tarts, is because over centuries of sartorial experimentation, the commercial female has established exactly what sort of clothing appeals to men. There are, naturally, gradations of such style, and I place myself firmly in the ‘classy tart’ category. (Not too classy, though.)
I maintain that while, of course, I fancy my wife regardless (and I do, I really do), in the same way that she likes me wearing a well-tailored navy blue suit and an open-neck shirt, I prefer her in something short, shiny and slinky. (And as my wife has the same vital statistics as Naomi Campbell, she can hardly complain that she doesn’t have the figure for it.)
Until a few months back, there was an impasse in the Holden household, until one day I wiggled the mouse of our computer and the screen burst into life on a webpage full of black PVC leggings. At first, I suspected our six-year-old son was looking at things he shouldn’t – until Sally came into the room and informed me that she was ordering a pair as they were the ‘latest thing’. I felt delighted. And betrayed. ‘But I’ve been trying to get you to wear clothes like that for nine years,’ I moaned. ‘Yes, I know,’ she sheepishly admitted. ‘But they’re in fashion now.’ Fashion. So that’s alright then.
What’s going on here? Women won’t dress like Torture Garden habitués for their beloved menfolk, but they will for the great god of Fashion. So if the deity says that it’s okay for you to wear nipple tassels and a Lurex hobble skirt, you’ll do it, but if your other half asks, then it’s a big N.O. Right? From the male perspective, this is an appalling double standard. And worse still, while you’re about it, you inflict on us terminally unsexy items (like smock tops), simply because they’re in fashion even though the effect of such an item (if you really want to know) is like a kind of inverse Viagra.
I suspect that the reason why so many women conform to a bland level of dressing is because they fear female disapproval. My advice? Don’t listen to those women. They’re just jealous – and trying to bring you down to the dowdy lowest common denominator.
The simple matter is that if you dress a little tartily, you’ll have more sex, have a better-looking man on your arm, get a better job, earn more money and generally not have to worry about your horoscope. You’ll be happier – full stop. And because you’ve got a superior class of bloke, your children will be genetically advantaged. You’ll have enriched the gene pool and furthered the human race. So go on, do your bit for humanity and dress like a tart. Charles Darwin would have approved, the filthy old monkey.
Growing Pains of a Hapless House Husband by Sam Holden (Arrow, £6.99) is out now.