It is a very sorry state we live in when a wish to help young people is instantly assumed to be malign. I absolutely know where it comes from, and have a huge amount of sympathy for it. But, I know I must support and encourage men to challenge the assumptions, they will provide positive male role models which buck the trend, and show all of us better ways are possible.
I recently heard a good story from someone about becoming a dad. After his child was delivered the man was handed the tiny baby, as the midwife did so she quickly checked the sex, and proudly said 'here's your big strong boy.' The father wondered if the midwife had delivered a girl whether she would have said 'here's your big strong girl.' Right from the first seconds of being born we are judged and compartmentalized.
I have to admit every now and again I turn into a crusty old git, who is very worldy-wise, been there, done it, seen it, got the T-shirt. My close friends would probably raise an eyebrow at such a statement and whisper in my ear, 'when are you not like that?' illustrating what good friends they are by doing so.
So we're students, yes we get it, we're both shamelessly poor, we're both not so great at the whole saving our loan for anything other than alcohol, and impulsive shopping trips, however boys; if you actually do ask a girl out on a date and clearly tell her you want to take her out, then surely this must mean a dinner, a cinema ticket or a few drinks are paid for in the date?
I love the collective nouns for groups of animals: a murder of crows, a charm of goldfinches, a bloat of hippopotamuses. At a recent Men and Boys conference I invented a new one - 'a confusion of men'. Right now, most boys and men are confused about what it is to be a man. I think that is a good thing.
We can't afford to look away from this. Our present addiction to gaming and porn is a very serious matter, which needs confronting, just as any other addiction does. Our addictive fantasy world existence is actually hindering our development as a species. It is stunting us all, by suppressing our imaginations.
There were a fair few column inches devoted to a ruling in a German court that circumcision for non-medical reasons is an assault, and interferes with a child's right to determine his own religion. A number of commentators have said that the ruling amounts to some form of religious persecution against the Jewish and Muslim populations in the country, but in my opinion the courts are absolutely bloody right.
Like many of us I was unaware that Lego was a boys only toy until Lego told me it was. Foolish child of the 80s I was blissfully ignorant and playing with a toy not designed for me. Lego apparently has always been boys only and exclusive. Because there's no unicorns and only a couple of the bald square humanoid figures have boobs there is obviously no appeal for little girls.