Why women get away with objectifying and sexualising blokes

WE don't flirt or talk about sex anymore, we men. We're not allowed to. No, that's not quite right. We don't allow ourselves to do so. Too many potholes in that road, so we keep off it, and go a safer route.

Not so for women, the lucky things. They can objectify and sexualise blokes as much as they like, and no one bats an eyelid. Fair enough … too many crappy men didn't know the difference between suave and sleaze, so a stint in the sin bin for us is warranted I suppose.

But because men are trying to self-censure, it stands out like dog's whatsits when a woman says something a man would be crucified for. Prime example: I was having a few drinks with some media types recently when a woman who works in TV told us a story about one of the male camera operators.

He was, she said, quite good looking but, more than that, his aftershave was particularly alluring. Word got around about the fragrant hunk and this prompted a steady stream of women finding spurious excuses to visit the studio in which he worked so they could get a whiff of the unsuspecting bloke.

A female station executive got wind of what was going on and - this is the bit that my drinks companion thought was hilarious - asked the cameraman to come to her office to show her some footage (snigger), just so she could smell him too.

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The storyteller considers herself a feminist, but her husband pointed out that if a bunch of men were doing that to a woman in the workplace, they'd be in deep shit. It didn't register with her that such objectification was a no-no by today's standards.

There's a twist to this tale. The storyteller became besotted with the scent. She found out what the cameraman's aftershave was and bought some for her husband, even though he never uses such frippery.

Suspicions aroused, he grilled her until she cracked. Yes, she admitted, she wanted him to smell like another man. He was amused and outraged all at once. The rest of us are madly buying up stocks of the stuff given it clearly makes women take leave of their senses.