18/07/2011 12:08 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers Or Why Boys Don't Measure Up


Everyone thinks that women have no spatial awareness.

That's why men lean out of their cars when you're staring at a gap that's so narrow that even Kate Moss couldn't shimmy through sideways and shout, 'Come on, love, you could drive a tank through there!'

Yeah, well, men are wrong. And I can prove it.

My 16-year-old daughter is changing schools next September. In celebration, she decided to clear out her room. After filling ten black sacks, you could see the floor. Two huge cardboard boxes later, she'd emptied her shelves.

'What I really need,' she said, standing in the newly bare room, 'is a table.'

She's doing Textiles next year. She needs somewhere to sew.

So off we went to IKEA. Before we went, we measured up. We worked out the exact ideal size of a new piece of furniture.

We were just comparing the relative merits of a small desk (cheaper) and a black table (lovelier) – both of which would fit beautifully – when we were jostled out of the way by three teenage boys.

They were tall, scruffy and anxious. One of them leant past me and stretched his arms to both ends of the black table. He stood up, looking from one hand to the other like a fisherman holding an imaginary pike.

'Would it fit?' he said, to his friend.

'How much space have you got?'

'I don't know.' He frowned. 'That's the problem.'

We stared, open-mouthed.

How were they going to work out which one to buy if they didn't know how much space they had?'

At which point, the one pretending to be a fisherman stepped back on to my foot.

Which proves the point, I think, that teenage boys have no spatial awareness.

What do you think?