Blokes. Sometimes I wonder where I'd be without them. Who else would take it upon themselves to deconstruct my AutoAir on the kitchen table and spend the weekend trying to put it back together again?
Who else would devote their entire evening to carefully splicing two manky ends of rope together?
Who else would patiently fashion their own huge wooden SMB reel, with a magic escaping spring and exciting splinter possibilities?
Not me, for sure.
That'll be me, down the diveshop waving a credit card.
I appreciate that I'm missing out on what many dive blokes regard as an important ritual, or a passage of rites.
I expect it's the same primaeval urge that drove men to stride around fires waving sticks, or the modern-day equivalent: taking charge of the barbecue and transforming expensive cuts of meat into charcoal.
I have to confess that the urge to build my own rebreather from washing-machine parts, or to bodge a perfectly functioning regulator in an attempt to service it, has passed me by. In the world of the DIY dive dudes, I am undoubtedly one adjustable spanner short of a toolkit.
Being a complete girlie, this doesn't bother me in the slightest. The whole hairy-arsed good-diver-bad-diver, my-cylinder's-bigger-than-yours scenario goes right over my bleached-blonde head.
Until, that is, the diveboys start re-enacting Lord of the Flies and waging schoolboy wars. It starts with name-calling, and escalates into chest-beating, flame-throwing, and heads on sticks.
Here is a prime example from my e-mail inbox:
Subject: Doing it Right
Were you the gal who had the snot bent out of her earlier this year (treated at DDRC) or was this one of your mates? Don't bother trying to deny it - one of the chamber operators told us the story.
Re: Doing it Right
It's not the first time that I've been accused of being bent, though probably not in quite the same context! Personally, I see no shame in being bent, and make a point of never denying the rumours.
Happy diving! Louise
Macho macho! I guess anyone who goes around describing themselves as "Doing it Right" has to have their head so far up their own bottom that talking out of it has become second nature.
Imagine diving with this lot and confessing to feeling a twinge in your shoulder. You'd be jeered off the boat and forced to wear a pair of pink frilly knickers on your head for the rest of the day. And pink really isn't my colour.
Neil Soane (Off-Gassing, June) drew attention to this new Doing it Right movement, and its insistence on abstinence from drugs, alcohol, smoking, and high-fat, high-cholesterol foods. What a fun bunch of guys!
Don't know about you, but I'm just gagging to spend a weekend searching Bovisand or Stoney for Juice Bars. I relish the quest for a fat-free burger and a caffeine-free mug of tea in Seahouses or Oban. Not.
Blokes - lovely people, top entertainment value.
But if there is anything from which divers need to abstain, it isn't cholesterol, it's testosterone overload.