Oh dear. Waking this morning to a super, sensational (and mostly unnecessary) piece on the front pages of the Sun about a woman who’s over 1,000 sexual partners and – eeek! – she “used to be a bloke”, i couldn’t help wondering if i hadn’t somehow contributed to that.
No! Not sexually. But by being polite to the This Morning programme.
I’ll explain. Last week, a researcher from TM rang: they had a guest on who was a 39-year-old virgin. They wanted someone to come on and put the “opposing point of view”. That is, to tell her she really ought to get a shag. I said no. Much as it grieved me to turn down national TV, i said there was no way i’d tell her that. It was wrong, unethical – and up to her whether she slept with 100 guys or none.
Oh! The researc her was non-plussed: asked who i might recommend since i wrote in the field of sexual relations. I mentioned a few names, but added that i thought they’d have the same take. (And sure enough, over the next day or so, i heard from others who write in the same area that they, too, had had the call and turned it down).
Half joking, i suggested they needed either a “professional slut” or a teenager.
Roll on this week, when TM trots out Crystal Warren as guest: her main news value seems to be that she has had a lot of sexual partners. Hmmm. Minor story, except Eamonn Holmes causes a bit of a stir by asking why she doesn’t get people to pay her…and then the story looks set to fade.
Until today, when in screaming 36-point, the Sun proclaims: “This Morning sex addict Crystal Warren reveals: I used to be a man”.
Ah, well. If you think the papers are about news, this will be a puzzle. If you understand that the tabloids are about entertainment first, news third, this makes perfect sense, since it combines two current obsessions: sex (and more sex) with that old chesnut “is it a bloke?”
This is playing to the crowd, pure and simple: hardly an anti-trans agenda. Just couldn’t care less and knowing that their readers will be salivating over a story like this.
Who initiated it? If Crystal approached the Sun, she could certainly have made a lot of dosh. Equally, though, after appearing on TM, the chances of someone from her precious life spotting her seem pretty low. Calculated money-grab, or naive self-outing. Either way, she’s not wholly innocent.
A cesspool of uninformed bigotry
So its off to the Sun to read the early comments, which contain the usual spew of nastiness and normative “i’m a real man, i’d vomit if i discovered i’d slept with a tranny” sort of stuff.
Really? As i myself comment: years back i worked in a bar and was frequently amused by blokes who would take a sip from a pint of lager – and THEN ask if it was stella or Fosters or whatever.
My reaction then: if you can’t tell, does it really matter? And besides, there seems to be a lot of confusion going on here, between guys whose respect for women goes about as far as drooling over topless pics. They MIGHT have some sense of the inner woman: MIGHT be thinking “i wonder what she reads?”; but i very much doubt it.
Most of the time, most of these blokes are more than happy with the outer wrapping. But somehow, in some way, if they know that there once was a guy somewhere in the mix, they are outraged. Disgusted.
There’s a big philosophical question in there at some level: if you can’t tell the difference, what difference does it make. But i doubt the average Sun reader would get it.
A painful agony aunt
Then, slightly more serious, there’s a rather catty comment from erstwhile Sun agony aunt Deidre, who suggests that men and women think differently about sex and if you are a sex addict, that means you still have a “male sex drive”. Miaow! And also how uninformed.
Time, perhaps, for Deidre to go back to agony aunt school?
Criminal offence at the Sun? Who’d have thunk it?
Last but by no means least is a possible criminal offence committed by the Sun: a side by side pic of Crystal’s old and new birth certificates. Printed with Crystal’s permish, that’s OK: without – and they’ve just broken the law.