I don't know about you but I'm a bit worried about some of the writers at the Telegraph. Whether it's because on this fine Bank Holiday not enough of the general public are scrounging, not enough child-stars are behaving like little ragamuffins, or not enough homosexuals are causing destruction in their destructive crusade for equal rights, it seems like the they're really scraping the barrel for things to talk about. Scrolling through their twitter feels like an awkward encounter with a less-than-comfortable acquaintance who has simply resorted to substituting conversation by pointing out nearby objects.
Today's last resort? A piece addressed to "Barbecue man", cheekily teasing 'menfolk' [sic] for their incompetency with a barbecue; yet excusing their shortcomings because, well hey, these men aren't used to cooking - so cut them some nicely grilled slack ladies! (And while you're at it, make sure you've laid the table and got some cutlery polished up too.) In case you don't have the time to waste reading the article itself, here's a round-up of the best bits for your delectation.
At first, we're lured into the false sense of security that perhaps the writer might acknowledge that womenfolk, too, might brandish a spatula or skewer. But straight away, in case we're getting too comfortable in the 21st century, the writer makes it nice and clear where men and women stand in this back-yard barbecue:
'After all, The Great British Barbecue is a national tradition. And, like all traditions, some aspects are immutable. It’s the man of the house, regardless of his culinary experience, who stands, proudly sporting the “Licence to Grill” apron at the coals...Never mind that this man in a comedy pinny doesn’t so much as knock up a dish of pasta 364 days a year.'
My next favourite part is when the writer herself demonstrates such awareness of her own Victorian attitudes through the reference to The Flinstones that one is led to believe that perhaps we're all falling for an ironic joke - surely no-one uses Neanderthal ideologies to assign gender roles these days...?
'Here is his opportunity to prove that yes, Fred Flintstone has indeed mastered fire.'
...but then all hope that this was a big old hoot that we can all forget about is burnt to the ashes (like M&S burgers wastefully charred by those red-blooded beasts) with the following disappointing extension of the caveman metaphor:
'The female of the species, meanwhile, is torn between gratitude that someone else is getting second-degree burns rearranging the bargain burgers and anxiety...So there is Wilma, jabbing nervously at Fred’s carbon-crusted chicken breasts and murmuring: “Better give them a bit longer, just to be on the safe side.”'
It's a shame really, because the article does try to redeem itself with a list of somewhat handy BBQ hints - it's just the unfortunate case that any reader who managed to stagger through the sexism to the informative bits would be too fatigued to even consider rooting through their garages to seek out their rusty little barbecue afterwards.
How truly saddening that what could have been a magnificent how-to, revolutionising and enriching the barbecuing experience for the Wilmas and Freds of Britain ended up a slab of dry, overdone cliché, marinated in idiocy .
There's always next year, I suppose.