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Women are expected to be firstly a good homemaker and to flatter their husbands

THEY say a woman's work is never done, and judging by the number of high profile and successful career women who've recently talked about keeping their man happy after a long day's work, they weren't kidding.

Maybe it's down to Mad Men withdrawal, yet a feeling that women were lucky to have escaped the tyranny of wasp-waisted dresses and twin tubs has been replaced with women apparently telling us to regress to greeting a husband at the door with his slippers and a pipe.

First off was British TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp, who is best known for fronting programmes Location, Location, Location and Kirstie's Homemade Home. The 39-year-old media property maven has revealed that it is her traditional approach at home, and letting her man take the lead, which is the key to her happiness.

Kirstie used to make us feel good by being a few pounds overweight. Now she has us confused about the key to our happiness, after saying of marriage: "If you let that relationship slide when your children are little, it might disintegrate and you might not be able to rescue it. So at the weekend I let Ben choose what we do."

Then there's ex-Strictly Come Dancing contestant Nancy Dell'Olio who also appears to have bought into the Perfect Wife Syndrome, which can be applied to relationships where a couple isn't married.

Best known for her long-term relationship with football manager Sven Goran Eriksson, and her recent short-lived tryst with theatre director Trevor Nunn, Nancy has said of love: "My priority is to please my man and that gives me more pleasure than anything else. I would describe myself more like a geisha than the one wearing the trousers. I'm not a feminist, I'm feminine," she said.

Graham Norton recently tried to get lawyer Nancy to state what exactly she does when not being romanced by successful men, but without much success.

Keeping her man happy has also been on the mind of controversial Conservative MP and chicklit author Louise Mensch, who has recently spoken of dressing up sexily for her rocker husband Peter Mensch, the manager of Metallica.

Louise has said, "I think it is an act of love for a husband and wife who have committed to each other to keep themselves looking as good as they can.

"I love him and I dress up for him," she said.

Is there any suggestion in Irish singer Una Healy's decision to allow fiance Ben Foden to chose the name of their baby, that this modern gal also has faith in the value of supporting her man's wishes?

Una, who is five months pregnant, revealed in an interview for Real Radio North East that she will leave Foden to pick the child's name.


Healy explained: "I've suggested a couple of names to him, which it won't be, because he shot them down straight away. So I said, 'Fine, you can pick the name then!'"

Most women have long known that Jerry Hall was being as clever as she was being coquettish when she said, "My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom". Yet we thought 21st century women were too busy being boss in the boardroom and ruling the world to fret over their men's egos.

Where is this desire to please stemming from? Psychologist professor Paula Nicolson has an interesting theory on the New Sisterhood who believe in putting their men first in spite of their own success outside the home. She stresses that being softer in manner isn't the same as being submissive, and can be quietly effective. Not to mention powerful and empowering.

She says: "Looking after everyone and seeing their needs are being met holds everything together, and that's a very powerful thing."