The other night, I met up with a group of my friends. All of them are the mothers of teenage boys - not a girl in sight.
Conversation turned to the age our sons were when they caused us the most anxiety - staying out late, drinking too much. We talked about whether first-borns are more likely to test boundaries, and what you do if your son wants his girlfriend to stay the night.
'The answer's no,' said one friend firmly. 'Absolutely no.'
'But what if it's completely innocent?' said another. 'Just somewhere to stay the night?'
As I was contemplating this, someone said, 'Of course I blame the girls. Skirts up to here, full make-up – they terrify me. And they're the ones who smuggle in the spirits. Whole bottles of vodka under their coats. The boys don't know what's hit them.'
I thought, what? Blame the girls?
'It was all so different in our day,' said someone else. 'Nowadays, it's the girls who initiate everything.' She shook her head sorrowfully.
I opened my mouth to say, but they're not all like that! My daughter and her friends don't behave like that!
But then I thought, I'm not sure it's worth arguing. Mothers just love their sons. We grow them, carry them, give birth to them – and they are our life's work, because we want them to be the best version of the male sex the world has ever seen.
And maybe, if you don't, at the same time, have the experience of marvelling at the gloriousness of girls, you could, I suppose, end up thinking the boys are entirely blameless. A whole load of Adams tempted by Eves.
I said to my teenagers the next day, 'Is it only the girls who initiate sex these days?'
They were still laughing ten minutes later.