Quentin Shears, 48, is a quantity surveyor at Newt UK, the Hertfordshire outpost of US multinational Gator Corp. Quentin rarely watches Sky Sports

I received a curious phone call this week.

“Hi there, is that Quentin? You probably won’t remember me. My name’s Andy Gr - err - Black. We met a couple of years back at the opening of Hertingfordbury Academicals’ new stadium.”

“Ah yes, a beautiful project. By which I mean it came in considerably under budget. And that’s no mean feat since those Rockafellers at the Football Association started insisting on all-seater stadiums. If there’s one thing that annoys me, it’s unnecessary additional furnishings … Anyway, what can I do for you Mr Grrrr-Black?”

“Ach, call me Andy! All the boys in the studio do!”

I have to admit I couldn’t remember the man, but I don’t know, there was something about his needlessly enthusiastic, over-emphatic - some would say shouty - Scottish delivery that made me warm to him.

“The thing is, Quentin, I was looking for some career advice. You see, I have recently found myself out of employment.”

“Ah, the times we’re living in, Andy. Can I just check though - you’re asking me for careers advice?” In 25 years as a quantity surveyor, it is fair to say that that hasn’t happened very often.

“Yes I am. You see, it seems that some of my traditional views on certain matters are ’incompatible’ with those of my former employer. So I thought to myself, where can I work surrounded by kindred spirits who appreciate that women are completely mentally and physically unsuited to certain of the more skilled jobs? You know, like running up and down in a straight line occasionally waving a flag in the air. And then I thought, I know! The British construction industry!”

I didn’t like the direction the conversation had taken. “Now, hold on Andy, I’m not sure you’ve got that quite right.”

“Of course I have! I read just the other day that just 10% of the British construction workforce are women. It stands to reason. A woman can no more manage a site or expand the boundaries of parametric architectural design than she can run the line in a Super Sunday Clash. If there’s one thing that 20 years of incisive and analytical punditry have taught me, it’s that statistics don’t lie.”

“But honestly Andy, the industry just isn’t like that any more!” I tried to sound insistent but, as a QS, I was shaken by his confident use of data.

I ploughed on: “We have women in the office! Several of my colleagues read the Guardian! We honestly prefer working with opinionated and highly educated young female architects to elderly colonels like Richard Seiffert! Andy, I’m sorry to have to say this, but your views are prehistoric!”

“But Quentin, I played for Scotland in the days when they qualified for World Cups. I am prehistoric.” He sounded a little crestfallen. “So you’re saying there’s nothing for me? I just wanted to be with the lads. I miss the boys in the studio …”

Perhaps he was right. A man should be allowed to enjoy the company of other men - even I occasionally have my colleague Alan Quimby over to watch the History Channel.

Well, I suppose - and I warn you this is very much a long shot - there might be one or two construction sites where your views might not be regarded as completely abhorrent …”

“That’s brilliant! Hey, maybe I could be a crane driver! I’m used to sitting up in a glass box, just looking down on the action. Just me and a colleague making penetrating insights about the women passing by …”

Oh God, what had I said? I had the uneasy feeling that I had put the cause of gender equality in British construction back 40 years in the space of one phone call. I needed to put him off, or come up with an equally alluring career suggestion.

“Tell me, Andy, have you ever thought of going into Italian politics?”

As told to Nick Jones