As I See It: Catherine Drea’s fortnightly column for the Waterford News & Star
HOW can male candidates win over women’s votes? It’s a tall order, but I’ve been amusing myself by wondering if celebrity architect Dermot Bannon might offer a few hints. A man who gets it wrong so much of the time, over spends on budgets and annoys the very clients that are going to pay the bills? Well now…
What is it about Room to Improve that makes it such compulsive viewing? Myself and the sisters are always glued to it. As soon as it starts the sister in Dublin with the very Dermot Bannon extension, will message me, “Dermo!!!” with an added shock horror emoji. This is usually all it takes before the rest of us are piling in.
We couldn’t wait to see his own house and we had a lot of questions. Not about design or construction. No, mainly about how his poor long suffering wife could put up with him. What would she be like? How would she handle his imminent tantrums?
Well sadly for the curious, she would never appear. She, obviously, is a woman of great common sense. She did exactly what I would have done too. Stayed out of the limelight while maintaining a strong background presence.
Can you imagine the dirty linen that could have been aired? There is no couple on the planet that doesn’t have unmentionable areas that cannot be strayed into for love nor money. Wisely, Mrs. Bannon, was never going to go there.
Even my sister out foreign was watching along with the rest of us. She’s mad about Dermo. Because strangely enough, a lot of women have a bit of a soft spot for him. So we tuned in to Dermot’s Home, and as it was a car crash, we couldn’t have been more entertained. Because although poor Dermo looked like death by the end of it, it was great TV.
Then during the weeping and the gnashing of teeth I began to wonder, why do women let Dermot Bannon away with holy murder? Is it the fact that he shows his vulnerability? Is it that women like to watch men squirm? Or is it that he knows what makes good TV and what keeps, mainly women watching?
I have a few theories. First of all, Dermot is in the business of delivering a list of wants to women, despite their partners. All women, apparently, have a wish list; the dream kitchen, the cosy snug, the entertaining space, the enormous patio doors and the indulgent walk in wardrobe. Imagine there is one man on the planet who agrees that every woman should have it all!
Even as the men struggle to visualise his plans, to conjure up measurements and costs, Dermot and the woman of the house have it all figured out. A walk in shower, an island with a vase of freshly cut flowers and a pantry thrown in for good measure. Candidates take note, delivering the wish list is all it takes for Dermo to win women over, again and again.
Now recently I’ve started to see another personality trait in the bold Dermot. He tends to apologise a lot. Well he has to, because he makes so many mistakes. But how does he get away with it? How is it he is always forgiven?
I think it’s because besides the fantasy of the perfect home and garden, maybe a lot of women actually harbour a desire for a man who can say he is sorry 10 times a day. Is it the one thing that all women are waiting their whole lives to hear from men, including candidates?
“I’m sorry I made a mistake, now how can I put it right?!
Then in the final episode Dermot went off the rails. Again. He completely messed up the garden wall. It cost thousands and who of all people had to be called in to perform a rescue only the other Dermot, the landscape designer Dermot Gavin.
So this is the third trait that women like to see, a man who isn’t afraid to indulge in a great on screen bromance. Dermo and Dermo cosying up to yet another set of drawings, two men sharing sweet moments of vulnerability and relief. Women are sick of male aggression so stop denigrating the opposition, love bomb them instead.
So you know what you have to do. Deliver on women’s wish lists; homes for all, affordable childcare, the right to choose, a hospital system that works for everyone, and plans for the future sustainability of the planet. Apologise for the mess you’ve made of the world to date and fix your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to show a bit of love to your fellow man.
I’m sure that’s what Dermot would advise.