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There’s nothing wrong with being nice to women

Sack him immediately: a scene from The Office

“Call me old-fashioned,” says Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail, but if a colleague told me I looked nice in a dress, “I’d be absolutely delighted”. I might think it a “little fruity”, but what’s wrong with that? “Everything, apparently.” Last week, Tesco chairman John Allan was forced to stand down because anonymous allegations about his conduct were “becoming a distraction”. What heinous crimes did he supposedly commit? Apparently, he patted a couple of women on the bottom at corporate events and told an employee that a dress “really suited” her figure.

Allan vehemently denies the bottom-patting allegations, and when Tesco set up an “anonymous whistleblowing line” to see if anyone would corroborate them, no one used it. But even if he did behave as his accusers claim, it’s simply “not that big a deal”. There’s no suggestion he’s some kind of rampant predator. On the contrary, one female former colleague has come forward to describe him as the “most polite, respectful and equal-minded man” she’s ever worked with. It just shows how “a bit of mud-slinging” and some “malicious gossip” have become enough to ruin a reputation. And the more successful you are, the more you’re targeted – which makes me wonder why anyone bothers “doing anything useful or interesting with their life at all”. Whisper it, but most women actually quite like men, and we quite like it when they notice us. Nobody wants to live in a world where blokes are “too terrified to pay us a compliment”.