Dear Dixon,


First off, I kind of feel uncomfortable calling another man “dear” but that’s convention for you. I’m having a lot of work done at home, but for me, DIY involves pouring my own four fingers of fine, smoky whiskey into a thick bottomed glass. As a result I’ve had a lot of guys round here laying carpet and whatnot.
I’ve been making them tea and keeping the biscuit plate topped up while nodding in bewildered agreement at their sports references, but I can’t help feel somewhat emasculated.
How can I get them to treat me like one of the guys without looking like I’m “one of those guys”?
You know the guys I mean.

Yours spotlessly,
Rob (clean hands) Stears

Listen here Robby,

You know what a steer is, Roberta? It’s a bull that’s been castrated so it can’t dance the flank-steak mumba with the heifers in the same field. I know that because of my time spent as a cowboy (or cowman, as the local villagers referred to me), where I would castrate anything that moved with the speed of a souped-up Coup de Ville that also castrated things. Now, I’m not saying your second name is just a description of your current sweetbread situation, but damned if you didn’t lose your balls some time ago. But don’t fret, pal o’ mine: Dixon knows how to glue balls back on too.

You want to be treated like a man by the working class? Well, there are two ways to do it, chum: firstly, you could get some callouses on those soft hands, start eating under-cooked meat straight off the pig, and learn what it’s really like to be a working man. However, this will leave you for little ‘lighting a cigar with legal tender’ time, and if you’re a lazy man, it might not be the right fit. So, the second option is to take Dixon Coltrane’s Patented Three-Step Schoolin’ for Acting Poor. When I’m done with you, you’ll be able to throw away that Masters degree, and start pursuing that sweet, sweet FETAC level five.

Step One: It’s no longer dessert, it’s sweet. It’s not tobacco, it’s burn. It’s no longer salary, it’s Jobseeker’s. Keeping on top of your parlance will keep you ahead of the game, which, by the way, is football, not soccer.

Step Two: Start slurring your words, like you just drank a half of whiskey – this will convince the working man that you’re on their side, and that you didn’t get any fancy schoolin’ either. That, or they’ll think you’re drunk. In fact, might as well get drunk, to make sure you got your bases covered.

Step Three: Learn what sport is. I know a soft-handed man like yourself wouldn’t know one side of a ball from the other side of a different ball, but when dealing with the calloused hands of the ‘real men’, it’s important to remember that they express affection through insults, and emotions through nothing. The only way to infiltrate that dark, lino-floored world is to learn sports, and talk about them instead of normal conversation. Chin wag about Chelsea’s chinese angle, or gab about the Gunners’ gummed up grifts and gashouse geese. There’s nothing real men love more than artful alliteration.

It’s time to be a real man, Steers. Throw away the Proust and get some Pumas. Leave behind the Bavarian cream and get some Bavaria Imported. Drop the Flann O’Brien and pick up the Trousers O’Neills. Go cheat on your wife, then cheat on your mistress with your wife. Get a purchase on those balls.

That’s the rub,

Dixon Coltrane