I dread Big Brother trundling around every summer in much the same way that I dread parties. Once it's under way it's all marvellous fun, of course: it's that awkward period post-arrival - when you don't know anyone and can't quite apprehend the shape of the event - that is difficult to get through and puts one off. Parties require effort.
Anyway, having forced myself through the first few days I am starting to settle in. Already I want Emily to win: she's clever, a bit posh and is clearly concentrating - she was able to rattle off everybody's ages within 24 hours of entry - and has both the nouse to see what sort of people she's dealing with and the manners to be tactful when discussing them.
So, goodbye summer: three months of staying up to four in the morning watching the live feed in the infinitesimally slight hope that somebody gets up and does something (preferably naked, let's face it. I mean, come on, twins); three months of gossiping incessantly with work colleagues about the real meaning underlying Tracey's hair dye; three months religiously following Grace Dent's TVOD blog (Grace having supplanted Graham Norton as the primary caustic authority on all things BB) and - well, you know. It's the same for you. Unless you're my dad, who fought in Borneo and does not consider Big Brother to be a comparably arduous ordeal... but then, for a generation with no wars to unite us BB truly is the only shared experience we have: it may not be as intense or as meaningful but at least nobody dies.
I consider this progress. Perhaps I am wrong. This is something that all men suspect, that war is really the only validation of our values: that war is always just around the corner, that we must always be prepared for it. It's why the Boy Scouts are still so popular, why we all love martial arts movies, why we admire James Bond - that very epitome of the ready-for-anything, trained-for-all-eventualities male archetype to which we all secretly aspire. The fact is we don't want a war but we do want to be prepared for it when it happens. Men spend their whole lives training for a war that probably won't happen, primarily by watching Bruce Lee movies.
This is also why we have so little patience for or understanding of womanly emotions and obsessions. Henry Rollins put it best: "Crying for no reason?!? That could get you killed in war!". Which, in turn, is why Big Brother is difficult to watch this year, and why I like Emily best. She is no less girly than the others, but at least she has some perspective. She would do well in a war. Unlike Charley, who would be shot for desertion and/or unjustified bitchiness.