I waited many years for somebody to write an affirmative, no-bulls**t book about men. Nearly two decades, in fact.
During that time we had a profusion of fun, female equivalents from the likes of Caitlin Moran, Camille Paglia and Hadley Freeman, not to mention novels that include Candace Bushnall's Sex and the City, but there was never anything as bold and fearless for the boys.
Still, I waited patiently - ever-hopeful that somebody, somewhere, would pen a frank, fun, reality check on the truth of being a modern man. Not something that emphasised the importance of pocket squares or facial hair, or even how to get laid, but something that put life-affirming, dignity-restoring, bloke-buoying truth above the approval of women, and didn't apologise for it.
A book which rugby-tackled the gritty, controversial issues we aren't supposed to discuss, even though they remain dramatically real: circumcision, unfair paternity laws, gold-diggers, whether enjoying porn makes us sexist (it doesn't), divorce settlements, quotas, military conscription, chivalry, penis dysmorphia, the grim (Reaper) reality of men's health and, dare I say it, feminism.
Eventually, I gave up waiting - and wrote it myself.
Whether that was A) brave or B) naive is up to you, but the result is Stand By Your Manhood: the first book of its kind by a UK political publisher - which, funnily enough, is out now thanks to the lovely people at Biteback.
Not only is this perfectly timed for Christmas, but it also coincides with an age where men are routinely patronised over how to sit on trains (legs together!), told which film directors to admire (as Helen Mirren did with Sam Mendes) and what sort of shirt is 'acceptable' for a scientist to wear while landing spacecraft on a moving comet (see poor, brow-beaten Matt Taylor).
Fortunately, my newly-unleashed 'Manhood' will act as a road map through today's battle of the sexes, steering you back to a place of reassuring, common-sense sanity. Best of all, it also imparts some constructive criticism for the sisterhood, too.
See, despite fifty years of so-called solution feminism, life remains contrary for us men: opening doors is considered sexist, but paying for dinner is not. Women fought for the vote, but men - and only men - can still have it taken away (if they don't sign up for the draft), and while the pay gap is contested by some of the world's best economists (yep, you’ve been lied to for decades - it's mostly spin!), our life expectancy gap rages - without a Minister for Men's Health, of course. After all, that would be sexist.
Not that women have it any easier, of course - we're all well-versed on the issues they face, but one thing's for sure: all our problems have worsened in the fifty years that men have surrendered their voice.
Finally, this book gives it back - and tells others to listen up, whether they like it or not.
Stand by Your Manhood: A Game-changer for Modern Men is now available for £13.49 (HB) and £7.79 (eBook). Frank, funny and long overdue, it is the perfect gift to put under the Christmas tree this year.