Time out for men in battle of sexes
BRITAIN is a nation of Homer Simpsons. The stereotypical image of the indolent husband, reclining on the sofa, beer in hand, while his wife copes with children and work has been confirmed by a new study revealing that men have twice as much "me time" as women.
Like the popular cartoon character, the average male enjoys more television viewing, more sleep and more nights out with his mates than his wife.
He works longer hours but more than recoups this time by shirking housework and spending less time with the children, while insisting his recreational requirements come first.
The average British male has 41.5 hours a week for themselves - that's nearly six hours a day - according to research for Lastminute.com, which surveyed 2,500 men and women.
By comparison, the average woman has a mere 23 hours a week to herself, which is little more than three hours a day.
During a normal week, men will also spend ten hours longer in bed than the average female.
Men will point to the length of time they are at work - an average of 45 hours a week, compared with 21 hours for women. Yet men still have more leisure time to go to the pub or the gym or to play computer games, according to the survey.
The report also said it was true that "a woman's work is never done". For example, the average woman spends 55.5 hours a week around her children, which is longer than the average man spends at work. By comparison, he devotes only 14 hours a week to his children. This time is made up of the school run, after-school clubs and other activities, helping the youngsters with their homework and looking after them in general.
A woman spends an average of 15.5 hours tackling the housework and food shopping. Although she gets to spend 12 hours a week in front of the TV, PC or games console, the figure for men is 18 hours a week.
The one area where women get more time to themselves is for beauty treatments and trips to the hairdresser.
Mat Hart, the marketing director of Lastminute.com, said: "Despite men working longer hours, they still manage to find time during the week to escape by themselves. But their actions are affecting women. The idea of 'me time' tends to be particularly important for women, who still do the majority of child and home tasks, but time is something they haven't got.
"Maybe men need to live smarter by helping out with some of the family chores."
The idea of "me time" fills Angela Verrecchia, 41, a teacher from Glasgow, with guilt, although her partner, Adrian Watts, a landscape gardener, spends more time looking after their son, Alastair, four.
"It's hard to think of taking 'me time' when you are a working mother. I would feel guilty about it. Any 'me time' I do get tends to be between 8:30pm and 10:30pm, when I'm slumped in front of the TV."
Mr Watts concedes he can steal more "me time" during the day, but he insisted: "I generally just read the paper."
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