Oh Kirstie. I had such love for you once. You were a font of sensible property-buying wisdom that allowed me to bask in the gentle fantasy that one day, even I might be able to buy a flat in a not-too grotty part of the UK.
Your home crafting show was a bit twee, even for a Bake-Off die hard like yours truly. Your jolly “it’s all so simple, I don’t know why you don’t craft all your Christmas presents every single year” patois stuck in my throat like an inexpertly wielded needle. Because you’re all just too lazy, is what you seemed to imply from your plush Holland Park home. Nevertheless, I turned a blind eye and kept tuning into old episodes of Location, Location, Location, dreaming of a time when house prices were not astronomically out of the reach of everyone except Tory party members and Russian oligarchs.
But this really is the last straw. Now, you’re telling young women to put off going to university in favour of finding a nice boyfriend and popping out a baby or two before they hit thirty. It is, you claim, precisely what you’d tell your own daughter, if you had one.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one, Kirstie. I’m inclined to agree with some of the things you said – sort of. Yes, fertility “falls off a cliff when you’re 35.” And perhaps, yes, some women may have been led to believe that they could put off having kids, in defiance of biology. And yes, I do realise you’re saying all this from personal experience out of a desire to help other young women, and that is great. I’m all for making sure women have all the information they need to make the best possible decisions.
I would also agree with you, ten years on, that 18 is really freaking young to go to university. Despite how you feel when you get there, you really don’t know anything about anything at that age. Looking back on how I felt when I graduated, I would whole heartedly agree that you’d probably gain a lot more academically if you went a few years later.
But the fact that 18 is not a very advanced age at which to go to university is kind of the point, isn’t it? You may object to the idea of going to university for “the experience”, Kirstie – you who have had a fantastic career despite not going to university (and I’m sure your aristocratic background has nothing to do with that, right?).
But university is a formative experience that teaches you a shit ton about who you are and what you might want from life. Postponing that in order to settle down and make babies is, in my humble, likely to lead young women to make far worse decisions in the long run.