Fay Weldon: ‘If you have children late you have no energy left for sex, and men wander off with someone else’
Thirty years ago she might have been the arch feminist.
But these days Fay Weldon’s opinions appear to have an air of weary realism about them.
She says, for instance, that there are some things that women should simply not try to get men to do – such as make coffee, pick up their socks or clean the loo.
The 77-year- old author – best known for The Life and Loves of a She-Devil – also criticises the strident approach of early feminism for encouraging women to believe that all men were stupid and useless.
And, in another opinion likely to irritate the sisterhood, she says men are much nicer these days.
Weldon, in an interview to promote her 29th novel, Chalcot Crescent, said: ‘There are women at work and there’s mating behaviour, and women get them confused.
‘At work, gender should not come into it. Women are right to refuse to make the coffee, but when you get home I’m afraid you have to make the coffee.
‘It’s such a waste of time trying to tell your husband to pick up the socks or clean the loo. It’s much easier just to do it yourself.’
As for feminism, Weldon said: ‘Life is much better, because you are not dependent on the goodwill of men. But the trouble is, the battle became too fierce, and the whole culture encouraged women to believe that men are stupid, useless creatures who are the enemy.
‘But men nowadays aren’t s***. They’re actually much nicer.’
She did, however, have a warning for working women, saying: ‘They (men) just don’t want to commit to you, and why would they when you are a busy working woman who can look after yourself and probably goes to bed easily with them?’
Weldon, a mother of four boys who has been married three times, is also clear about what a woman should expect from her partner.
‘The thing is, you need to find a man who is cleverer than you, or at least not let him know that you are cleverer than him,’ she said.
‘Women want boyfriends to be like their girlfriends, fun to go to the pictures with, but men are not like that. They want sex and they grunt. If you really want a man to be nice to you, never give him a hard time, never talk about emotions and never ask him how he is feeling.’
She also said women should have babies early, then go out to work, and suggested they should be less picky in the search for a partner.
‘As long as you have a sort of semi-good looking, able-bodied, intelligent man, you should have his baby,’ she said.
It is not the first time that Weldon has challenged conventional feminism.
She once told women not to expect orgasms but to fake them and still praise their lover.
More recently she said the problem with most feminists was that they were so boring. Critics accuse her of losing touch with the aspirations of women.