THIS week’s run on 90s glamour girls has been a long overdue ray of sunshine in these dark times.
So lovely to have a little retrospective back to the days when girls (including myself – FHM, GQ) posed for magazines and in photoshoots with a good dose of glam and a sprinkling of provocation and suggestion.
Never too much, but just enough to titillate. I will for ever be grateful for the shoots I did because they helped me discover another side to myself and, above all else, it was fun and often became a talking point.
I glance across magazine covers nowadays and they all seem a wee bit dull.
Where have all the risqué girls gone? Could it be that glamour modelling has been driven underground by campaigners who find it too much to stomach?
Because the only chance you’ll see anything alluring, suggestive or even interesting nowadays is on a subscription platform such as Only Fans, where people/women have been reduced to posing in their undies in their bathroom.
I really enjoyed my photoshoots. Did I feel objectified? No. I felt in control.
I might not have controlled the minds of those who looked at the pictures, but I controlled how I felt.
After all, “sexy” is a state of mind, as Louise Redknapp says, it’s not about wearing nothing, it’s about feeling and exuding sexiness, whatever you’re in.
If women want to pose in sexy shoots, why shouldn’t they? I miss those days of old and hope we can bring back a bit of rock ’n’ roll to proceedings.
School hugging ban goes a touch too far
IF Whitney Houston was right and children are, indeed, our future, it begs the question why idiot adults have been put in charge of them.
Because, quite frankly, it turns out some are as mad as a box of frogs.
I had to double check it wasn’t an April Fool’s when I learnt that Mossley Hollins High School, in Greater Manchester, had decided to ban “hugging, high-fiving and shaking hands” in a strict No Contact rule announced by headmistress Andrea Din.
Oh, she looked ever so proud of herself. This bees-knees of secondary education claimed that implementing these new rules will lead to an “improved culture” and “encourage mutual respect” in her school.
The students had been told they can’t sit on overcrowded benches, there can be no “play fighting” and under no circumstances can any student hold a place for a friend at lunch. God forbid.
It’s rule-making like this which makes me doubt the experience and intelligence of adults in authority.
Who on Earth came up with this strategy? And what do they think it will achieve apart, perhaps, from a reduction in the spread of headlice.
But then, what are a few nits between friends?
No, this is more likely to create a world in which wokeness will kill off any evidence of humanity and humility.
One comment on Facebook from a student read that they had to ask a teacher permission to comfort a friend. Utter madness.
Sure, we’ve had #MeToo and we’ve all had to learn to respect each other’s personal space in a more comprehensive, empathetic way, but this kind of approach in a school is guaranteed to do more harm than good.
Fundamentally, if we are so busy teaching everyone what inappropriate touch is, we also have a duty of care to allow people the right to practise appropriate contact. How else will there be any perspective?
There were many aspects of the pandemic and lockdowns that damaged and traumatised us, but one I found almost the hardest to endure, on a day to day basis, was seeing people on dog walks or at the shops and not being able to give them a bloody great big hug.
You don’t have to be a tactile person to enjoy an embrace or a touch of the hand — it’s basic human nature. It’s a crucial part of how we function.
Human touch is comforting, it offers reassurance and it communicates more than words could ever do.
I did not have an affectionate childhood, neither of my parents were expressive in that way.
But when I went to school I had my group of girlfriends with whom there were always physical exchanges.
We would mess around on the field at lunch times, lying next to each other, close enough for a hug and to get a sense of belonging.
We’d lark about and get physical because it was very much part of our way of communicating. When someone was upset, a hug or an arm around someone’s shoulder showed compassion and tenderness, sometimes commiseration.
Boys, who were emotionally less mature, would use physical language, too. Invariably, their way of expressing how they felt about you was to get closer in a practical joke way.
None of it was inappropriate, even though in those days the lines may have been blurred, and we weren’t as alert to what was inappropriate.
But it was definitely part of our learning and understanding about each other’s behaviour and the meaning behind it.
Controlling people’s instinct to reach out, literally, is surely killing off the very thing that makes us human. We need and crave human touch, whether we know it or not.
Which begs the question: What’s next?
Will someone invent some kind of “consent app” for your phone which will alert you as to what level of contact is allowed?
Will they ban eye contact?
All a ban on touching would do is confuse schoolchildren about what is actually “normal”. It would teach them that touching is a negative thing and that would, without a shadow of a doubt, complicate their emotional intelligence.
We can’t seriously want our children to walk around at school like robots, deficient in emotion and expression?
Thank goodness the parents caused such an outcry that Ms Din was yesterday forced to back down and offer an apology.
She admitted on the school website: “We agree that appropriate human contact is a good thing and brings warmth to human friendships, should both sides be in favour of it.”
If anything, what the world really needs right now is more touching, more displays of affection and, if you like, more good old-fashioned messing around.
Love the body you have
THE sublime Dame Emma Thompson has spoken about how “tragic and regrettable” it was the amount of time she spent worrying about the shape of her body in her youth.
In her latest film, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, she plays a widowed, retired school teacher who seeks out sex with a considerably younger male sex worker.
In one scene she is forced to confront her ageing body in the mirror and she learns to accept it.
As women, accepting our bodies for what they are is less of a destination, it’s a journey.
We’ve been programmed by society and – dare I say it, the patriarchy – to always be in pursuit of some kind of manufactured, unattainable perfection. Of course, when I was young, I had crippling doubts, confusions and hesitations about my body.
I only wish I’d been more accepting of it back then and enjoyed its innocence and youthfulness.
If only I’d known what dismay I’d feel about it as it aged with all its hallmarks of decline and deterioration.
Nowadays I try every day to “accept” the shape of it but I’m not always entirely successful. It’s incredibly difficult to listen to your strong inner voice when you’ve got a monkey on your back telling you you don’t measure up and you should really look better.
So, for all the young women out there bombarded with images of ideals and perfection, try to love your bodies as much as you possibly can for all their uniqueness and quirks, because the reality is that – deep down – we are all fighting the same battle.
And none of us are entirely satisfied with the cards we’ve been dealt.
Good in the Brad
I MAY be the only exception in the whole female population who, despite having limitless admiration for his creative talents, has never much fancied Brad Pitt.
The golden boy of Hollywood, with his archetypically masculine looks. Chiselled cheekbones made by the gods and a jawline that could open a bottle of beer just by looking at it.
Piercing blue eyes and a slightly sulky lower lip. He is the epitome of handsome, but I guess I’ve always liked my guys with quirkier looks.
Hearing him open up about his life after divorce from Angelina Jolie is, though, enough to warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.
He’s embraced a life of abstinence, giving up the booze and the fags.
He’s had therapy and come to the conclusion that “all our hearts are broken” because we’ve all experienced “wrenching heartache at some point”.
He’s right, of course. Those who claim life is, and always has been, rosy have no layers to them and are of little interest to me.
It’s only episodes of darkness in our lives that allow us to appreciate the light.
So, now I’m stuffed because I’ve lost my heart to Brad. Any man who is in touch with his emotions goes straight to the top of my list.
This is predominantly because I am currently inhabiting a world of emotionally constipated men.
A world where a guy’s idea of being a sentient being is replying to a text three days later.
The bar is set incredibly low. In fact, the bar is in hell right now.