Women desperately need their partner to be more than breadwinner, sperm donor, childminder, housemaid, and occasional sex-buddy to stop them feeling so over-worked and under-appreciated, says revealing research funded by the Women's Institute.
The results of the study, involving almost five women, shows that most expect their husbands or boyfriends to earn the family crust, help out with childcare and do household chores, but also need them to make time for 'cuddles, love, affection, doing things together and sometimes just talking' whilst still wanting them to be a 'proper man' who fills their spare time with football, beer, cars, talk of women's breasts and sleeping.
'I had no idea that the missus wanted all of that,' said one downtrodden husband. 'She clearly told me when we met that I didn't do anything around the house and that I was always thinking of myself, and I was under the impression that I'd changed my selfish ways almost instantly.'
'I gave up on my weekend football sessions with the lads and I cut down to drinking just one can of Strongbow each week on a Saturday evening with a meal,' he continued. 'I even bought some 'large' size rubber gloves to fit my manly hands. I knew I was still letting her down badly by not always wanting to talk, but now I find out that she wants me to keep up with the bloke stuff too -- farting in bed, getting pissed all the time, being lary, kipping on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon -- all whilst watching three kids and mowing the garden. Damn my useless male brain!'
Other men agree that they may well struggle to live up to this ideal. 'I really don't think I can manage all of the mutually exclusive needs that my girlfriend has,' said one. 'She wants me to spend all day working hard whilst having 'plenty of time off', all evening being sweet and lovely with her and the kids whilst simultaneously ignoring her and watching the footie, and all night out on the lash till all hours 'like a real man should', whilst snuggled up in bed together ... one or the other, yes, but all of it? I can't cope!'
Women's Institute spokesperson Brenda Hilton says that men simply don't understand what their partners want and believes she knows why men can't manage to meet the 'perfectly reasonable' expectations of modern women. 'They just can't multitask like we can,' she said. 'It's no wonder they can't deal with the bit of extra work we've thrown their way -- I find it easy watching a bit of Loose Women when doing the dusting, whilst my Trevor does all the housework, picks the kids up from school and then looks after us all once he's finished a long shift down at the factory but before he goes out on another bloody night out with the five-a-side lads. My mother used to do it -- apart from the man stuff like working and socialising -- so why can't he.'