Claire Black: What would a masculine cheese be like?

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HAVE you ever thought of cheese as masculine? As in, “I don’t think you’ll like that Camembert, it’s a bit manly.” It makes no sense to me. None. Even if it was being said about shoes I’d struggle – I am a wearer of brogues, after all – but about cheese it’s half-baked.

And yet, the other day I heard a waiter, while guiding two women diners through an impressive cheese selection, refer to “cheese that ladies like”.

So what, I ask, would a masculine cheese be like? Particularly pungent? Hard? Mouldy? I’m genuinely stumped. And what will happen if the next time I’m offered a cheese selection I ask for androgynous cheese only. What will I get? (It’s bound to be a bloody goats’ cheese, isn’t it?)

It’s not only dairy produce that is gender specific either. Buying a bottle of whisky recently I was advised that it would be an ideal gift for “a gentleman”. There I was thinking it was ideal for anyone who likes whisky that reeks of TCP and bonfires, but no, no, silly me, it was a peaty, smoky dram, therefore only suitable for manly palettes. Presumably I should’ve been buying Baileys.

It’s not just food and drink either. Several male film critics seem utterly shocked that Angelina Jolie’s new film about the Bosnian war is not a romantic comedy. One went so far as to say Jolie had shown an “unlikely flair for juddering action sequences”. I suppose what he meant was that it would’ve been much more likely that her flair would be for searing panoramic shots of soft furnishings.

This stuff goes on all the time. I know, I know. It’s just that in a week when the editor of Britain’s biggest selling daily paper says – under oath – that the topless women featured on page three are “role models” and outrage greets David Cameron’s seeming refusal to rule out the use of quotas to get more women in the UK’s boardrooms, despite the fact that at present only 15 per cent of directors of FTSE 100 companies are women, it’s tough to take. In fact, it’s enough to make me want to behave in a rather unladylike manner.

ALAN Turing died of cyanide poisoning in 1954. He was 41. Two years prior he had been convicted of “gross indecency” with a man.

He was chemically castrated and prevented from continuing his work at GCHQ, where during the Second World War he had helped to crack the Nazis’ Enigma code machine, creating the foundations of computing science. Turing received a government apology in 2009, but now there is a campaign for an official pardon. Nearly 30,000 people have signed, and if you’d like to add your name, go here:

OH MADONNA Louise Ciccone. You’ve strayed from the path in recent years, but even if you hadn’t pulled an absolute blinder at the Superbowl, being carried into the stadium by 150 “gladiators” in black Calvin Klein briefs to a specially designed throne, you would still merit a mention for being the kind of multi-millionaire megastar who tells people moaning about the price of your concert tickets at Murrayfield to “save your pennies” because “I am worth it”. Who is going to argue with that?