This is a subject that keeps raising its head as the DIY season approaches.

You know me. I love a good survey. Unfortunately there aren’t many around, so once again I’ll have to consider a bad one, and once again I find myself in debt to the Daily Express, the swivel eyed loony man’s National Enquirer.

This particular survey was carried out on behalf of Ronseal. They produce wood preservative products, and this side of the Pond at least are widely and absolutely rightfully respected for a phrase that has entered the lexicon. ‘It does what it says on the tin’ is now common parlance, and I for one welcome this newcomer. No jumped up arriviste, it’s a very expressive term for no nonsense straightforwardness, a much better construction than WYSIWYG.

Six out of ten men do not read the instructions before using a new product. Let’s think about this. The survey is for Ronseal, and their products are really glorified paint. Blokes know what to do with paint. If it’s not non-drip (or thixotropic as we scientists call it,) you stir it, and brush it on. It is not, as they say, bloody rocket science, now is it?

A ‘massive’ 30% of men will not read instructions that are too lengthy. I’m dubious about that figure. Yes, you buy an iPad or some other piece of gadgetry the size of a deck of cards, and the instruction manual is the size of a Stephen King novel, you may not read it all the way through. You find out by trial and error how to make it do what you need, and ignore the other 99% of its capabilities as superfluous, a bit like Microsoft Office.

Another, or perhaps the same 30%, don’t read instructions with no pictures. Apparently DIYers are troglodytes, or at least you could conclude that. My conclusion is, ‘For f***s sake! I stick a brush in and slap it on. It’s only a shed! Who the hell cares?’ Maybe it’s just me. Really, all I need to know is whether I have to clean the brush with water or with white spirit. Actually I don’t need to know that either. Chuck it away when the job’s done, and buy new. You know it makes sense.

Now we get a bit metaphysical. Allegedly, 61% of men feel ‘unmanly’ if they’re lost and have to ask for directions. That’s a pleasingly accurate figure, is it not? Sixty one  percent. Not 60, or 65, which look as if you’ve massaged the figures; 61%.

‘Feeling unmanly’ seems to me to be a rather extreme reaction. Also it’s not clear to me if that’s a subset of the remarkably precise 60% who don’t read instructions. But the only reason men will not ask for directions is because they don’t want to end up on a murder rap for killing a complete stranger, and they are murderously inclined because their girlfriend or wife (or both, depending on how freewheeling the relationship is) cannot read a map if you’re going south without turning the bloody thing upside down. Women do not have the faintest idea how infuriating that is to men.

Now a true revelation. Men lie about DIY; 72% (pleasingly precise again) have paid a professional to do a job, and then claimed they did it themselves. Boohoo! Liar liar pants on fire!

A spokeswoman meandered on about how the urban myth of men ignoring instructions ‘…is now fact.’ No, it’s not. We know this survey is badly flawed because over 70% of the panel are pathological liars, and those are just the ones who owned up. That level of fibbing must skew your results a bit, surely?

PS Remind me at some time to explain the difference, in scientific terms, between ‘precise’ and ‘accurate.’

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