I have never really bought into the philosophy laid down by men that “it is impossible to figure women out”. For a start off, I wouldn’t really want to. In that respect, women are a bit like magic. I like watching magic and I am always curious to know how the tricks happen but, given the opportunity, I’d never ask to find out. Once I knew how it actually worked, a magic show would just be like watching a science lesson… and I was rubbish at science at school. I think it is good to understand but you never want to lose that element of mystery, do you? Unless you’re a scientist. A lonely scientist.

I know there is also a theory that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus“. Again, I am not really sure how much I buy into this. For a start off, I am a man and I’m from Yorkshire. I know a few girls and at least two of them are from Leicester. I have never been to Venus but, I suspect, it is very different from Leicester. It probably doesn’t even have a Starbucks. Or 24 hour car parking.

Obviously women are different to men; I do know this. For example, I have seen pictures in biology lessons – I’ll admit, I did like that bit of science – and I have also closely observed my parents. My Dad, a man, is very different to my Mum who is, herself, very much a woman. However, just when I think I do have an idea of what women want, something comes out of the blue and knocks my ideas for six. Or seven, because that’s a luckier number.

This happened to me this very week. I was catching up with a good friend who I’d not seen for years – she moved to Australia some years ago and was recently back for her hen night – and, just like back in the day, we were mooching around the local shops in the market town we grew up in.

We decided to go into one of those odd cookery shops. You know the ones, where they sell miniature frying pans to cook single eggs and they have “novelty” tea cosies. It was at this point that Debs, for that is her name, wandered over to the crockery section and declared, “Al, you should buy a matching set of china plates and accessories. Girls will be really impressed when they come to your house”.

At this juncture, I would like to share exactly the style of kitchenware Debs felt would impress passing (or staying) ladies…

What Women Want.. In A Man's Kitchen!?!

Now, by my own admission, I am in touch with my feminine side. In fact, prior to this very wander which ended in polka-dot hell, I’d been looking at engagement rings just for the joy of it.

However, despite all this I have never, for one instance, thought that having a collection of polka-dot cake stands and a matching teapot on display would impress girls. Maybe that is where I am going wrong.

As I was pointing this out to Debs, she made this bold statement, “Girls love a man who can bake. If a girl came back to yours after a night out and you offered her a slice of apple sponge cake you’d made yourself, she’d be yours”.

This was news to me. Mainly as I had never heard of an apple sponge cake before Debs mentioned it. My little brain was being bombarded with all sorts of information!

The other thing that I thought about this revelation was that, if a girl had suggested/agreed to going back to mine, we’d already be getting on fairly well, wouldn’t we? On the rare occasions that someone has travelled back to my little cottage by the canal I can never recall thinking, “I’m not sure how this is going to go. I knew I should have baked a cake I have never previously heard of…”.

I don’t want you to get the impression that I don’t make an effort. I love making an effort and I love cooking. I have had guests over for dinner many a time. I think inviting as girl over for dinner is quite a sophisticated thing for a man to do. It’s just that, in my clearly misguided way, I thought if you invite a girl over and show her that you’ve been baking, well, she’s going to be waiting for your Mum to pop through any minute holding up a pair of pants she’s just ironed for you, isn’t she?

I decided to settle this in the way that all important questions are settled (now that duelling seems to be deemed “out dated”). I posted a status on Facebook asking this question: If a girl goes back to a man’s house and he offers her some apple sponge cake that he’s baked himself, is that (a) an attractive quality or (b) a little bit odd?

So, Here’s What I Have Learnt Today: The majority of women I know think it is an attractive thing for a man to bake in his spare time!

Although that’s probably not the main thing I have learnt. So…

… Here’s What I Have REALLY Learnt Today: It turns out that I don’t actually know what women want and, maybe, never will. But I like that. I like that because, as with magic, once you know everything, there is nothing else to discover and where’s the fun in that?

Right, does anybody know how to make an apple sponge cake!?!?