JAN MOIR: Pardon my pom-poms but do women really need a cheerleader husband
23:50 GMT, 14 June 2012
Schoolgirls 'should be taught' the importance of finding the right husband
What should we be teaching schoolgirls Helen Fraser, the chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, says that finding a supportive husband should be right up there with all the important stuff.
Grammar, Latin, self-discipline, penmanship, straight hems, fruit and fibre, Seine and Tiber, just say no, finding Mr Right, trigonom . . . did someone say Mr Right Then just say yes.
Husband-catching and lessons in love are usually the mainstay of Swiss finishing schools, along with the correct way to glaze an eclair and how to get out of an E-type without flashing your gym knickers.
It is certainly not what you expect to find on the curriculum of the rather posh GDST, formed of 26 independent schools and academies, the largest group of its kind in the UK.
But as I have learned, life — like maths homework — is full of nasty surprises.
At the annual GDST conference, Fraser said girls should learn to be as ambitious in their relationships as they are in their careers. The 63-year-old former head of Penguin books encouraged her pupils not only to aspire to the best universities, but also the best men.
Forget about kissing frogs; focus on nabbing the great big chief toad himself. (Hasn’t Yvette Cooper has already married him)
The message is that the female pupils of today should concentrate on the challenge of finding a man who not only helps around the house, but who would also be a ‘cheerleader’ for their career. Excuse me while I cough into these discarded pom poms.
Miss Fraser insisted girls can have it all – career, marriage and motherhood, the whole fairytale package – but they must learn to pick the right partner to accomplish it. And failure to make the right husband choices could mean that women won’t even get the chance to hit the glass ceiling before being blocked off by what she calls the ‘nappy wall’.
It is a ghastly expression, but she means, I think, being forced to make a decision between children and career that might impact on a woman’s progress. Perish the thought.
Yet in some respects, I think she’s right. Teaching life skills is important. There is no point in having ten A-levels if you can’t walk across a room without laddering your tights while making a supersonic beeline for the most unsuitable man in the place.
Katy Perry, take note. Her brief marriage to Russell Brand appeared to flounder when she realised he was only interested in making his own dreams come true, not hers.
Did Katy Perry's marriage to Russell Brand flop because he wasn't supportive enough
And there is no point filling a young girl’s head with all that brilliant, swotty chemistry stuff, for example, if she falls for the first smooth-talking adulterer, rogue and lizard-lipped crim who crosses her path. Look what happened to poor Mary Archer!
Yet husband harpooning It all sounds terribly mercenary, as if the only thing to look for in a man is his mutable potential to be a compliant baby dadda. Or to reduce them to mere catapults, there to fire wifely ambition skywards.
Where is love, where is poetry, where is the beauty of living In the kitchen, up to its elbows in Napisan and manly tears of frustration. We want equality in marriage, not to turn husbands into Fifties housewives just because of our gung-ho ambition fired by a privileged education.
We wouldn’t respect a man who chose a wife on such selfish criteria, why would we respect a woman with the same agenda
Anyway, haven’t we learned at the school of hard knocks and cold reality that having it all is a bitter myth It seems unrealistic and plain wrong that striving young girls are encouraged to think that they can have it all — career, marriage, motherhood — on their own terms. Because all the evidence suggests they can’t.
ROYAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK
… from Sir Paul McCartney, praising the Queen.
‘She is the rock ’n’ roll queen. Weirdly enough, that is one of the things her reign will be remembered for. Queen Elizabeth I, we remember Raleigh. Queen Elizabeth II, it’s gonna be The Beatles.’
Paul, a word. Whatever it is that you’re smoking, stop it.
Fraser herself is married with two daughters and two stepdaughters. She took only six weeks’ full maternity leave after the birth of her children, and no nappy wall appears to have held her back in her glorious career.
When she retired from Penguin, colleagues spoke of her astonishing energy and commitment. They praised a woman who ‘runs everywhere, never walks’ and for whom sleep is ‘not a priority’.
She was known to go home, cook dinner, wash up, read a manuscript and reappear the next morning with a written report on it.
Yes, girls. That is what it takes. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to do it all and depend on no one but yourself. If it takes decades of slog and exhaustion, then so be it.
Of course, it would be nice for your cheerleading husband to scale the nappy wall now and again and remember to take the kids home from the pub, but all I am saying is: don’t count on it.
The Girls’ Day School Trust’s immense roll call of distinguished former pupils includes the BBC’s Martha Kearney, Stella Rimington, Angela Rumbold, Nicola Horlick, Patricia Routledge, Enid Blyton, Margaret Rutherford, Virginia Bottomley, Fay Weldon, Helena Bonham Carter, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, our very own Melanie Phillips, Angela Lansbury, Mary Beard, A.S. /06/15/article-0-13993354000005DC-97_310x569.jpg” width=”310″ height=”569″ alt=”Catheriine Zeta Jones has been a picture of humility this week” class=”blkBorder” />
Catheriine Zeta Jones has been a picture of humility this week
Celebrities. Yes. We know how you have suffered. We know how much you have fought to get to the top. We know that you took the blows and did it your way.
All we ask of you, all we beg of you, in fact, is that when you get to the top, please don’t then turn around and pretend that you are just like us.
That you are just another grotty weevil clambering up the rush-hour cliff face of life, wondering what’s for tea and if the washing is dry yet.
Please do not wheel out the ‘I’m just Jenny From The Block’ routine. Particularly if you are Mumbles-born monster Catherine Zeta Jones, married to Hollywood royalty Michael Douglas, with six homes around the world, an Oscar which you didn’t really deserve, a sizeable fortune and a self-regard to match.
Catherine has been gorgeously humble this week. Quite a change from her 2003 court case against a celebrity magazine that sneaked photographs of her wedding, souring the commercial deal she had made with another publication.
‘A million dollars,’ she said while giving evidence with her husband in London, ‘is not a lot of money for people like us.’ That was then.
And this is now, when she has a film to promote.
‘I’m much more down to earth than people think,’ she said this week.
‘I’m just regular old Cath. I’m certainly not a snob, and I don’t take anything for granted. I just thank my blessings and pray to my god every day.’
She’ll be sweeping chimneys next.
MARTIN AMIS IS ON THE STUMP…
… flogging his latest dread book and
telling everyone where they are all going wrong.
This week he said: ‘Our
culture has reached a curious pitch, with its obsession on surfaces and
trivialities and vulgarities.’
I think that must be my cue. For I
like his lionisation of Katie Price, pictured, his new muse whose books
have impressed him with their honesty and candour. Love it!
Amis is the ultimate misogynist. He
could never compliment a female author, unless she happened to be a
laughable, silicone-pumped caricature of an author like Price. Who, as
everyone knows, doesn’t even write her own books.
Wags have lost their swagger
Wayne Rooney's wife Coleen arrives in Poland
To be honest, I’m rather disappointed in the Wag action at Euro 2012. So far, only a handful of the wives and girlfriends have even bothered to turn up.
And when they did, it was in uncharacteristically low-key fashion.
Phil Jones’s girlfriend Kaya Hall went on a carriage ride. Melanie Slade, the fiance of Theo Walcott, wandered about in a pair of plimsolls.
Yes, Coleen Rooney did hire a 14,000 private jet to fly her entourage (one spud-faced nipper’s nipper, one brother in an anorak) to Poland. Then she stepped out in a gingham blouse and a pair of jeans (right) as if she was Doris Day’s mini-me.
Toni Terry, wife of John Terry, has been there three days and hasn’t worn a diamante monokini yet. What’s going on Please Wags, don’t go all sensible on us now.
It makes me long for the glory, glory, glory days, during the 2006 World Cup in Baden-Baden. Back when Posh still had her unfeasibly gigantic Wag-boobs, when Alex Gerrard bought up every piece of leopard print within a 100-mile radius of the hotel, and when pack momma Nancy Dell’Olio wore a flat cap as she led the girls in their Louboutin spikes across the cobbles of the German city in search of another cocktail or 16. Tremendous.
And now this Admittedly, there are few Louis Vuitton outlets, sushi bars and spray tan booths in Poland and the Ukraine to tempt the Wags
Quality shopping is limited, ditto nightclubs with VIP bars. And the cuisine is confusing. Beetroot with everything Coleen still thinks beetroot is what you turn when your hubby is caught with an elderly hooker.
Of course, the Wags would prefer every tournament to be played in Dubai — Wag heaven — but their muted behaviour in Poland is letting the side down.
Girls, crack out the body glitter and the mai tais before it’s too late. Your job is to cheer us up and keep interest high for the non-footy fans. Not behave like church mice on a Sunday picnic. Now get to it!
HAVING THE TIME OF ONE'S LIFE
Incredible photographs of the Queen this week. Indeed, I can’t ever
recall seeing her
look so animated and comfortable. What was she saying
‘For God’s sake. Just have a bit of sponge, Kate. One slice! I promise I
won’t tell anyone.’
She always seems particularly relaxed when she is with the Duke and
Duchess of Cambridge. Is this new mood of tranquil good humour because
she feels the future of the monarchy is in safe hands
Or is she just relieved her husband is out of hospital and the ordeals of the Jubilee weekend are behind her
Whatever the truth, it’s lovely to see. Yet the only cloud on this
particular horizon is the increasing focus and interest on Kate and not
on William. The crowds want to see and talk to her; she is the major
royal draw now.
Sandwiched between his wife and his granny at any event,
her Prince increasingly gets airbrushed out of the picture.
young, glamorous and beautiful wife on his arm, the attention is only
natural. Just like it was with Diana. The question is: will he, like his
father before him, eventually come to resent it