Why women can’t resist idiots, why examiners are iRate and why holidays are more stressful than work

A new survey claims that women find happy men significantly less sexually attractive than those who swagger or brood.

According to scientists at the University of British Columbia, women are least attracted to men who are smiling, preferring those who look 'proud, powerful or moody and ashamed'. The latter may offer some comfort to Ryan Giggs.

In complete contrast, men prefer women who look happy and are least attracted to those who look proud or confident.

Frankly, I'm not sure which gender is a bigger disgrace.

'We were not asking participants if they thought these targets would make a good boyfriend or wife, we wanted their gut reactions on carnal, sexual attraction,' said one of the report's co-authors.

He added that other studies have shown that positive emotional traits, such as not looking like a mardy arse with a secret sorrow, were seen as highly desirable in a relationship.

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In a nutshell: the bad boys get all the carnal sex, the nice boys get to watch Downton Abbey on a Sunday night with someone they know is fantasising about making the beast with two backs with the bloke at the pub who is only ever one spilt pint away from glassing someone in the face.

A few years ago, similar research was carried out which revealed that women's attraction to so-called bad boys is down to 'the dark triad' which is, before anyone gets too excited, a set of three regrettable personality traits and not a hardcore kung-fu gang that operates at night.

Women, apparently, favour self-obsession, callousness and deceitfulness above everything else, because in evolutionary terms, these traits signify a successful strategy in fathering as many babies as possible.

For example, if it wasn't for the dark triad, Jeremy Kyle would be out of business and Pete Doherty wouldn't have a bedpost with a notch from Kate Moss.

But don't think that vain, cruel liars have it easy.

They have a thin line to tread between having the right amount of dark triad traits (making them every lady's favourite swordsman) and too many (making them the lead item on Crimewatch).

Getting it wrong is almost as cardinal an error as smiling at a woman to show that you're interested in what she has to say or, heaven forfend, looking as if you're happy to be spending time with her.

Happy? Smiling? Be gone, repugnant loser, for I wish to have carnal sex with a shifty-looking shizwit who will leave me with a broken heart and a selection of unappealing venereal diseases.

Get it right, however, and you're a bed-hopping, crotch-grabbing cad with commitment issues, in other words you are James Bond and are legally entitled to have as much sex with super-vixens as you can fit into a day, although it will help if you have a name like Christmas Jones, Holly Goodhead, Harlot Bignips or Siren Lovepocket.

To be fair, there is a world of difference between James Bond and the kind of reprobates you see using up the UK's supply of DNA tests on Jeremy Kyle.

For a start, James Bond has a job.

Being seduced by James Bond, even though he is a ruthless, sociopathic murderer, is likely to be far more entertaining than having a one-night stand with your average womaniser-about-town who can't bring kill a mosquito with a hovering tea tray and doesn't own a helicopter that transforms into a speedboat.

Just in case you wrongly assumed that being a bad boy involves an element of choice, scientists believe that it could be genetic: these men have evolved over time into serial Casanovas who are forced by evolution to make as many women as possible sleep in the wet patch.

The nice men, who smile and are happy, do get the girl in the long run, although with the caveat that they will always know that their partner isn't lying back and thinking of England, they're lying back and thinking of someone self-obsessed, callous and deceitful.


A schoolgirl in Scotland has won the right to use an iPod while sitting her exams after claiming that she can only concentrate while listening to her favourite music.

Apparently, the girl studied to music and is now completely unable to recall any of the information she's learned unless she's listening to her favourite tunes which, if she's got any sense, involve Lady Gaga singing the periodic table or N-Dubz rapping about longshore drift.

If I'd tried to win the right to take my Sony Walkman into an exam at Costessey High School, I'd have needed to play loud music in order to drown out the bitter, hollow laughter from my teachers.

The girl in question's parents took her case to the Scottish Qualifications Authority after she was told she couldn't use an iPod in exams. The SQA refused too, but backed down when threatened with legal action under the Equalities Act.

Is there such a thing as iPod discrimination? I thought that only happened when you met someone who had an MP3 player that wasn't made by Apple.

Exam invigilators have complained, because – in order to make sure that there's no cheating or prompts – they have to load a new iPod with music which they then have to listen to.

No one signs up to that kind of torture when they decide to become a teacher.

The ruling opens the floodgates for other pupils to claim that they can only concentrate on their exams if they're listening to music, meaning that in the future, invigilators will spend 95 per cent of their time listening to soul-crushing tripe as opposed to reading it and then marking it.


It's been a full four weeks since the children last had a holiday, so it stands to reason that they need another one.

Poor lambs, they've only just had two-and-a-half weeks off and a clutch of bank holidays – they need a break and the devil with selfish parents who work and therefore need to book even more time off work to marshal arguments and act as ambulatory cash machines.

This half term is the trial run for the summer holidays. It gives you a flavour of what you can look forward to in July and August: ie financial penury, a 24-hour headache and a desperate urge for things to get back to normal.

On that curmudgeonly note, I am taking a few days off next week in order to chauffeur my children from one social engagement to another, stopping only to field their complaints about boredom, their deep resentment that they're not only children and the fact that 'everyone else' has gone abroad while you expect them to feel grateful that they've had a day at the caravan in Waxham.

Happy days, my friends, happy days.

I shall be absent from your Evening News next Monday, but rest assured I will be back in two weeks, full of the joys of parenthood and suitably overjoyed not to be preparing an endless round of snacks or explaining for the 100th time why it is not acceptable to call your brother/sister a retard.

See you on the other side.