This week I try writing for the online women's magazine Love Scene. I approach the task with the nervous shuffle of a Victorian schoolboy on his first day. Or maybe it's more like the naïve totter of a fresh goat into the lions' paddock. I am the only writer on Love Scene with testicles - although it remains to be seen if I am the only writer with a beard - and I reserve the right to be nervous.
What could I possibly have to say about the One-Piece? And why on earth would I know what is or isn't to be commended in the minefield of dating etiquette? I am a man whose table manners have inspired little else than repugnance in the hearts of the majority of damsels on the receiving end. I am also a man who, eternal advocate of the modest Bermuda short, has never approached even a Speedo, let alone a 'Cut-Out'.
I can, however, offer to Love Scene the voice of a man suddenly outside of his comfort zone ; a man who accidentally falls asleep under a metaphorical bed, and then wakes up to the sounds above him of a metaphorical hen night blissfully unaware that he is there, contemplating the masculine species raucously and coarsely amid glugs of knock-off Brut.
The tremor in my voice, however, betrays not just my own trepidation into the unchartered territories of Love Scene, but that of masculinity on a wider scale as it enters a difficult phase in its existential identity. Where the archetypal man might have been easily recognizable in the past - anything that wore a lumberjack shirt and chopped wood with two large, dirty hands - we moderns regularly find ourselves in the murky middle ground between revitalizing moisturizer and NUTS magazine. My unorthodox appearance among their hallowed ranks might well act as an unconscious mirroring of this.
Times have grown recently even more trying for The Man. I will tell Love Scene, for example, that this is a week to be particularly kind to husbands and boyfriends. This is a week in which one might notice him to spend a few extra seconds sitting in his car on the drive before getting out and walking towards the front door. A week of impatient channel flicking and short temper. A week which will polish off your fridge's supply of Hoegaarden.
The man's week of agony, believe it or not, began with cries amounting to "Rejoice, rejoice! For the blessed babe this day is born!". The Royal Birth, whilst adorning the front pages of the globe's nationals with glossy images of the Royal Bundle - a white blanket complete with tiny waving arm, furry head and squinted peepers -, the Lindo wing's front door, and a rickety golden easel, arrives as an ominous threat to the average Joe.
Here now amongst us is a man -not more than a few days old and months away from being able to control his own bowel movements - who has already achieved more than most representatives of his gender ever will. He has won the heart of the international press with a mere wiggle of his fingers, he has guaranteed his future seat on the British throne and, perhaps most distressingly, he has seen The Duchess of Cambridge naked.
And it doesn't stop there! William's assertive loading of the new prince in his car seat into the 4X4 alongside his (albeit slightly clichéd) assertion of his new heir's "good pair of lungs" displays a father-son bond to die for. Let's not forget, as well, that we are here talking about a father that will be king and a son that will - the pain is exhausting - also be king. It trumps the age-old playground card of my-dad's-bigger-than-you-dad by a mile. It trumps even the most impressive of locker-room appendages. It even trumps your mightily impressive Beer Pong record from last year.
Baby Prince George's arrival has brought back into play long dormant paradigms of masculinity, and we've been suddenly left fighting to keep up. If Love Scene's audience had ever wondered why some men were awkward with babies, then they will soon find out; it has something to do with the fact, no matter how consciously, that each pram could contain within it a new Messiah, and that that Messiah might have bigger balls than him.
I will finish with advice for the readers to ruffle thier man's hair this week. To ask him to fix a shelf in the study, or point out to him that leak in the bathroom with a wink towards his toolbox. There is a pride to reinstate; a superficial ego to re-dope.
This is a week that reminds each and every one of us of the Y chromosome that we are not kings and never will be. Just this once, please do us a favour and humour us in trying to convince us of the contrary.