Think bossy women and who comes to mind? Mrs Thatcher (pictured here with her husband Denis), Madonna and Edwina Currie.

London - The first time I took my present girlfriend out for dinner, we clinked glasses of champagne and stared into each other’s eyes. I leaned forward for a kiss, and she leaned forward and said: “You shouldn’t wear your hair like that (I had ironed it straight). You look like an old bloke trying to audition for a boy band.”

I knew it was love.

On date number two she was tearing into my clothes: “Those trainers have to go!” And: “Tight jeans are a no-no for a man of your age.” A week later I was dragged off for a £1,000 (about R12 000) wardrobe make-over.

Having dealt with my wardrobe, she immediately went to work on my weight. One day she informed me that I was to be put on the Atkins diet. I wasn’t to argue or even so much as look at an ice cream or a chocolate biscuit again.

A good friend of mine once said to me: “How could you fall in love with such a tyrant? What are you, a man or a cheese-eating mouse?” I pointed out that she won’t let me have cheese or any dairy.

The subject of the bossy woman was raised recently when actress Diane Keaton revealed why her romantic relationships with Hollywood stars such as Woody Allen, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson had failed.

“You need managerial skills to handle men like that,” confessed Keaton. “I lacked managerial skills”.

For “managerial skills”, read “bossiness”.

But if she were more of a bossy Attila The Hun than a laid-back Annie Hall, would Miss Keaton have been more successful with men like Woody and Warren? Conventional wisdom says no: modern men hate bossy women.

Indeed, these days a taste for bossy women is something of a taboo. Men can openly desire a woman of any size or sexual persuasion, however weird or wonderful - but few will admit that they have a thing about bossy women. Why? Because they fear being labelled wimps.

Why would any sane man be prepared to have his life ruled by a succession of bossy women? Women who’d take charge of his life and tell him what to wear, what to eat, who to be friends with, how to cut his hair, where he should live and how he should make love?

Reader, I am that man. And I’m proud to say: I love bossy women. I married two wonderful bossy women, I’ve had a dozen or so bossy girlfriends.

My current girlfriend is the most wonderful and bossiest of the lot. There’s no part of my life she won’t interfere with - she’s so bossy she made me re-write this piece five times!

So what’s so lovable about a bossy woman? For starters, what other men call bossy I call assertive, dynamic, decisive and driven - which are all attractive qualities to a lazy and indecisive man like me.

That bossy women have a bad reputation is understandable. Think bossy women and who comes to mind? Mrs Thatcher, Madonna and Edwina Currie.

In popular culture the bossy woman was once a figure of domestic horror: who can forget Fanny Cradock tormenting her poor husband Johnnie in the kitchen?

The fictional bossy woman has largely disappeared from soaps and sitcoms, and in her place are real-life bossy women who invade our homes via the TV to tell us how to dress, how to decorate our homes and how to raise our children.

But I love the way bossy women get things done. They just do it! No debate. No discussion. None of those tedious, time-consuming “but what do you think, darling?” interrogations you get with modern women who believe that a relationship can only work if it’s an equal partnership.

Bossy women instinctively understand that the first rule of a successful relationship is this: never ask a man what he thinks. And they’re right.

Men don’t think - about colour schemes for the living room, bathroom taps, linen, types of stoves, the children’s education, pension schemes, their clothes or where to go on holiday.

Bossy women liberate men from the boring bits of life.

I admit that it took me quite a while to appreciate the advantages of being with a bossy woman. One BW took it upon herself to veto all my friends. Lifelong friendships came to a sudden end with her dictates that this chap was “too boring” and that one “too ugly”. I had an old bohemian poet friend who was a bit down on his luck. I begged her to let me invite him to our flat: “No, you can’t bring him here - he’s too smelly!”

I came home from work one day and found her shredding photographs of old girlfriends and their love letters to me. “You can’t just destroy a man’s past like that,” I said. “Oh really?” she said. “Just watch me.” And I did.

She censored my opinions on politics, my tastes in literature and banished my Bruce Springsteen albums to the attic.

Did I mind being bossed around? No, not really. The thing about bossy women is that they may at times be overbearing, but they’re never boring. It might look as if we’re on our knees, but a bossy woman keeps a man on his toes. She demands that a man be the best he can be. You may call it domestic tyranny; I call it tough love, and it works.

I’ve noticed that as soon as a bossy woman captures my heart, she redecorates my home. Back in the Nineties, I had what I thought was a very stylish boho chic flat in Bloomsbury. No sooner had my latest BW moved in than she immediately set about restyling the entire place: new kitchen, new sitting room, new furniture.

The flat ended up very feminine. I had literally been painted out of the picture. Was I cross? Maybe a bit peeved - what had been my flat was now her flat, at least in terms of looks. But I had to admit that the place looked beautiful. If it had been left to me, the flat would have looked like something that time and IKEA had forgotten.

If it’s not my decor, bossy women go for the way I dress and my appearance. I’m either too fat, too thin, too pale or too tanned.

I either dress like “someone’s granddad” or like an old man who thinks he’s a “trendy teenager”. I’ve had bossy women who demanded I stop wearing Y-fronts and go for boxer shorts “or else!” (I dread to think what the “else” was). I’ve been read the riot act over socks that are too humorous and had bright ties torn from around my neck.

And then there’s the matter of my hair. It’s too bloody long! It’s too bloody short! I’ve been forced to dye the grey out and forced to keep the grey in.

Here’s the thing most people don’t understand - a really good BW actually makes you a better man. Three months of dieting and I’ve lost two chins and several spare tyres. I’ve never looked or felt healthier or dressed better in my life. Male friends who used to mock me for being a bullied wimp admit my girlfriend has done wonders.

Bossy women are often what we call control freaks. They need to have things done just so. So I didn’t mind when this year my girlfriend announced where we were going on holiday (France) - I had no say in the matter.

Unfair? Yes, but she booked the villa, the train tickets, the rental car, organised the guests - and I got a totally stress-free break!

Of course, I’ve had relationships with women who weren’t bossy, who would let me dress how I wanted and let me eat whatever I wanted. And the end result was always the same - I got fat, sluggish and bored.

What about the bedroom? Can you have wonderful sex with a BW?

One ex-girlfriend would issue detailed instructions as to what I should do in bed. “No, over there! You’re doing it all wrong... go up a bit... to the left... now to the right” - it was like having sex with a satnav. But it was so refreshing not to have spend half the night looking for her erotic buttons.

She was the exception: most bossy women have a down-to-earth attitude to sex - oddly enough, in this one area, they like the man to be in control.

So after a life of bossiness, am I an emasculated, oppressed wimp who hasn’t got the gonads to stand up for himself? Yes. But it’s a price I’m happy to pay for all the benefits.

The truth is that modern couples flatter themselves into thinking that theirs is a partnership of equals - a domestic democracy in action. In reality, someone is always being the boss and making the decisions. I thank God it’s not me. - Daily Mail