Thousands and thousands of years ago, when I was an innocent and idealistic undergraduate, I spent a summer travelling alone in Greece. One evening, as I was making my way to a restaurant on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, I was accosted by a group of youths who wanted me to go dancing with them. I was somewhat testier than usual on account of having my sleep interrupted the previous night by a thin young man who broke into my room with a skeleton key, and also on account of having my bicycle run off the road that afternoon by a fat young man on a motorcycle. I had scared off both these men by impersonating a Greek grandmother, but I did not think I had to go to such lengths on the crowded waterfront, so I simply told the youths to go away.
They wouldn’t. The longer I ignored them, the angrier they got. Finally the ringleader came up to me and said, ‘You do not understand. You MUST spend the evening with us.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because it is impossible for a woman to travel alone in Greece.’
Glenn Wilson takes the same coercive, hysterical tone to put across a similar message in his new study of male-female differences. If he is nervous about his reception, it is with good reason. As he himself admits, women tend to greet his ideas with ‘howls of disbelief and even rage’.