Proper Men

· culture ·

When the first series of The IT Crowd was shown, I thought it was funny, but bemoaned the way it stereotyped women as knowing nothing about computers and loving shoes. I still have a bit of a problem with that, but the second and now third series have got progressively better as the characters have settled in. A couple of weeks ago, the episode 'Are We Not Men?' really made me laugh, and also struck a whopping great big chord with me about the difficulty of fitting in when your interests are not gender-typical.

Moss and Roy (our IT Department geek heroes) are pottering about happily in their basement when the post guy starts up some football banter with Moss. Moss instantly shifts from his usual nasal, reedy voice, and picks up the banter in a deep voice with a Mockney accent. We cut to Roy, hands spread in wonder:

What was that? You were saying football things in a football voice, how do you know about football things?

We discover that like any self-respecting geek, Moss has turned to the Internet for a solution, specifically a site called, which offers handy, stock Football Things to Say (with a pronunciation guide), to be deployed whenever you meet a Proper Man. The boys -- infuriated by the ability of Proper Men to make women laugh and fawn all over them -- decide to use their new-found, website-based banter skills to ingratiate themselves with some Big Normal Men. Needless to say, it all goes horribly wrong when they get in out of their depth.

I loved the episode because it exactly mirrors the feeling I get when I try to talk to Proper Women. If there was a type of site dedicated to allowing users to sound like they know about clothes and celebrities, I might be tempted. Or perhaps not.