However, every now and then something bypasses all the social conditioning that I and my environment have put upon me over the last forty-ahem years and taps directly into the part of my brain that just wants to be the fastest or the strongest or the biggest-woolly-mammoth-killingest bloke in the world. Sometimes it's fairly predictable stuff (see many posts about marathon training), sometimes it's a bit more left field.
This time it's beards.
I started growing one just after Christmas after a bit of cajoling from Mrs A and I have taken to it quite cheerfully, but now it would seem that it has become a source of personal pride. Mrs A tried to tame it this morning with conditioner and I was pleased to note that it paid not one jot of heed to her fancy hair product fripperies, refusing steadfastly to be anything other than bristly.
Later, I spotted a fellow beardy in the supermarket and immediately realised that this was the new focus of my competitive streak. His beard was better than mine and I vowed to out-beard him.
All this would have seemed a lot more manly, I suppose, had I not spotted him putting hummus into his shopping basket whilst I was looking at the olives.