Peter Rhodes on the mystery of ear grommets, exploring your DNA and the perils of explaining mansplaining

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Beebsplaining for the benefit of thickos.

Pay attention, girls

A COMMONS committee warns MPs that using Twitter is like "dipping their private parts in honey and exposing them to angry bees." Oh, please don't put ideas into their heads.

A POSTER used by Adelaide University in Australia shows a group of five women apparently listening while the sole man in the group is talking. This, as the BBC reports, has led to complaints of "mansplaining." The problem with reporting anything involving this concept is that at some stage in your report you have to explain what mansplaining is, for the benefit of thickos who don't know.

SO at the end of its report, the BBC tells us: "Mansplaining is when a man explains an issue to a woman in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising." I wonder how many women (or men) felt patronised by the BBC report. Now we all have something new to take offence about: Beebsplaining.

I HAVE resisted the temptation to take one of those online DNA tests which allegedly tell you where your ancestors came from. This is partly because I like to believe I come from hardy, handsome Viking stock, and why risk demolishing your fantasies? Viking DNA would explain why I, my father and his father all had boats. Obviously, our genes come from horny-helmeted Danes boldly sailing their longships. This does not explain why I am such a timid sailor, why Dad stuck to motor boats and why Grandad's boat sank. Anyroadup, according to a geneticist Dr Tom Booth, ancestry DNA testing is "cloudy" beyond 300 years and the results should be treated as "a bit of fun." Assuming you have the fun genes.

MEANWHILE, a reality-check for those of you expecting tomorrow's Cabinet meeting at Chequers to produce a good old British compromise that Mrs May will then present to the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier who will exclaim joyously: "Yes, yes, that's more like it, Theresa, let's do business." Dream on. We are still exactly where we were two years ago. Britain wants out. The EU wants to punish us and deter any other nation from doing the same. Impasse.

OH, the irony. Back in the 1960s President de Gaulle of France repeatedly blocked Britain's attempts to join the Common Market. Fifty-odd years on, Barnier is just as intransigent. It seems that when it comes to Europe, whether we try to get in or try to get out, the road is blocked by some bloody-minded Frenchman saying: "Non."

THE list of 17 procedures to be rationed by the NHS include ear grommets. I recall a persistent rumour from years ago that grommets, to fix a mysterious condition called glue ear, had been introduced chiefly to provide employment for ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultants who no longer removed adenoids or tonsils. We were told that grommets were a miracle cure. Now we are told they are among the procedures deemed unnecessary, ineffective or risky. Very odd.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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