Earlier this week somebody, a woman as it happens, alerted me to the theory that a quiet man is thinking, while a quiet woman is mad. It would seem this is born out in fact. There was an interesting little snippet that most of the UK press picked up this week. It relates to the results of ‘a study.’ I’m not sure of the methodology, but given the study was commissioned by a vitamin company we may suppose it to be a bit shaky, since vitamin manufacturers are latterday snake oil salesmen. However, to be fair the sample sizes were reasonable; 1000 women and 1000 men. Having said that, opinion polls before the Scottish referendum last week were using the same order of sample size, and they were way off the mark.

The study established that the average woman spends the equivalent of ten days a year in a strop, or about five hours in a typical week. Top triggers? You might reasonably expect money worries mightn’t you? You’d be wrong. The biggest trigger is feeling fat. Money runs in a poor second, alongside men who don’t listen, and bad weather. One of the reasons men don’t (allegedly) listen just might be that they are sick to the gills of women whingeing at them, though I can see this might be a contentious point of view. Another statistic is that women claim about five hours of grumpy a week, and men consistently figured the truth was in excess of eight hours. One woman in seven admitted to being stroppy more often than she is equable. Tellingly, women in general think that women in general are more moody than men.

I wasn’t too sure about these findings, so did a quick straw poll among my friends and acquaintances. Every single one, male or female, felt that the admitted strop time of five hours a week was a huge underestimate, with the median estimate by both sexes being closer to 20 hours a week. A small proportion of men estimated female strops as lasting all waking hours, but I suspect they may have been exaggerating for comic effect. Wherever the true figure lies, it seems that women are a seething hotbed of dissatisfaction.

Some other triggers came to light in the study. Hormones was a big one. I’ve always felt that this is the ultimate ‘Get out of jail free card.’ I speak as a man who has been variously attacked with a carving knife, a frying pan, and a glass tumbler. I also had a favourite shirt torn asunder. In each case the claim was ‘It’s my hormones, you bastard! You don’t understand! I can’t help it!’ My own feeling is that most women can help it, but some choose not to. I’ll be pilloried for that, I know, but hey, it won’t be the first time.

Not having anything to wear is pretty high up the trigger list too, and it’s one that will puzzle the average male. When I was married my wife had two wardrobes full of clothes, and in excess of 50 pairs of shoes. Despite this, we were once nearly three hours late for a friend’s 30th birthday party because my beloved had an existential clothes crisis.

Another trigger for female angst is that their (male) partners do not understand them. It’s pretty difficult to understand how anybody can know for weeks in advance that a social occasion of some importance is coming up, then decide on the day that they don’t have a thing to wear. It’s a bit late for all that malarkey when the shops are shut. It’s patently untrue anyway when the bed and floor are covered in clothes. The woman has lots of things to wear, and is simply being extremely unreasonable.

I also think it’s unreasonable to fly off the handle when you break a fingernail, another trigger that was mentioned. Breaking a nail is not a disaster. It’s a minor inconvenience, and really does not justify the levels of bad temper that result.

I shall now sit back and await the hate mail.