Paternity leave? Any man who says he wants it is really a liar…

Nearly half of all new fathers are refusing to take their paternity leave entitlement because they’d rather be at work, a survey has found. Well, quelle surprise.

I could have told you that. In fact, it was a point I was arguing a month ago on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour when I told Jenni Murray that men aren’t nearly as well designed for childcare as women; that, frankly, we’d rather be in the office than at home with the children.

My goodness, you should have heard the foaming outrage! Many women listeners said I was a Neanderthal sexist pig, completely out of touch with the modern world. 

Man leaving home for work

Controversial: James landed himself in hot water on Woman’s Hour for suggesting men are not as well designed for childcare as women

What really took me aback, though, was the male response. I was amazed by how cross some of my fellow men got.

One of them  –  describing himself as a rugby-playing type who was, nevertheless, fully comfortable with the joys of parenting  –  warned that if ever I came his way, he’d throttle me.

But the reason I was amazed was because I’d never before realised quite what a lying, sneaky bunch of cowardly hypocrites so many of my sex are.

Afterwards, I had lots of secret calls from male friends congratulating me for ‘telling it like it really is’. But they all admitted they would never dare say as much in front of their wives.

And this, I fear, is very much the problem we chaps face in these supposedly enlightened, post-feminist times.

We feel the same way about childcare as our grunting, hairy, mammoth-hunting ancestors did. The difference is that thanks to decades of re-education by the likes of and Germaine Greer, we are required  –  on pain of death  –  to lie about it. 

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