* * *
During my late teens I had a spell in trainee retail management. One day I was sitting in the canteen taking lunch with my then girlfriend – the ubiquitous Mary Davies who makes a habit of turning up on this blog – when one of the older women decided to have a go at me:
‘My husband says that real men either do labouring jobs or work in offices. He says men who work in shops are wimps.’
Mary, bless all 112lbs of her (which I could lift above my head in those days,) grabbed one of my hands and thrust it forward for general inspection.
‘Look,’ she hissed, ‘he’s got calluses.’
Which I had. Mary seethed; the accuser did the dismissive look; I smiled; times change. You get to be a member of the club these days if you’ve got a job at all.