Shane Watson: 'If Gary Lineker isn't 'into sex', what other things are men thinking and not telling us?'
Something remarkable has happened: Gary Lineker, formerly known as serious ladies' man Gary Lineker, revealed in an interview that he is "not massively into sex". Honestly, you could have knocked us down with a feather. Gary Lineker "not massively into sex" is one of those bombshells that rocks your world view; like Elton John retires to Wicklow, or Mary Berry did glamour shoot with Rebel Wilson. It goes against everything we think we know to be true and normal.
This is why, intentionally or not, Lineker has done something very smart: he's pricked the last bubble in the macho stereotype bubble cluster and by personally admitting something that doesn't fit at all with the alpha-male sportsman image, he's made himself seem more sophisticated and human and also - let's face it - super confident.
Meanwhile, the Lineker revelation is a timely reminder that there are many things men think that they choose to keep quiet for their own reasons, and we might be better off knowing what those are.
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1. They think quite a bit about footwear, in particular whether they are too old for trainers. They also think about tucking in, more than you'd imagine, and appropriate degrees of party shirt. They care as much about looking middle-aged and sad as women do.
2. They wonder if they picked the right life. Especially when driving to the station again to pick up another three teenagers.
3. They can't believe how much they are expected to talk: about things they might be interested in, up to a point, and then about things no man alive would have the faintest interest in, such as Susan's sister's son's depression.
4. They are running out of enthusiasm for programmes featuring angsty messed-up women having regrettable sex and so forth. This Way Up is a solo woman black comedy too far for men. (Publicly, they still nod sagely at the mention of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but had we got those coveted tickets for Fleabag, they would secretly not have been thrilled). What they privately think is they would like to see just one programme, when the detective, or the sergeant on duty, or the forensic pathologist, was a man, like in the bad old days.
5. They feel slightly out of sync with women's clothes, like the high necked, long-sleeved midi dress. They really don't like cropped kick flares and sometimes they miss lace tights.
6. They don't get why it's ok for the work experience to turn up half naked.
7. They totally get why Gary Lineker didn't want to have more children in his 50s when he already has four children. They think any man willing to start a family at the Lineker stage has basically been blackmailed.
8. They think grey hair on women is obviously ageing.
9. They would rather we didn't watch 'sport' with them. It's just something they used to be allowed to do on their own and while they can live with us joining in, the fact we don't know all the little rules but nonetheless want to have them explained as we go along, and regardless of not being quite up to speed with all the little rules, we will have a view on how the game is proceeding, is something they find a bit annoying.
10. They think Prince Harry is under Meghan's thumb.
11. They think they have more reason to be tired and stressed than we do (they don't have two hours to spend in the hairdresser, even if it is for essential grey roots elimination).
12. They've always known about periods and now they know even more about the menopause and endometriosis and they are reasonably keen to move on to other issues.
13. They get social performance anxiety. Especially talking to serious men after several drinks, who want to talk about the backstop alternatives. They're not as up for that as you might think.