Celebrity Crushes: The lust list for women who really should know better
Barlow or Nadal? Merlin or Prince Arthur? Why are grown women admitting to fantasy crushes, asks Kathryn Flett
I'm not particularly pursed of lip and po of face; however, when I spotted a recent tweet in my Saturday-night timeline from a married forty-whatever (possibly wine-fuelled) professional mother of two expressing her pleasure at the prospect of doing something frankly unprintable with Gary Barlow, my first thought was: "Urgh, TMI."
The moment was made even less savoury by the fact that the lady tweeter had already mentioned that her husband was sitting beside her.
And while I don't know if he live-tweets his way through The X Factor, would he ever express an interest in acquainting himself in a similarly intimate fashion (verily, I am coming over properly J Austen) with Tulisa or Kelly or even (because there's no accounting for taste) Kitty?
Hmm, I'm taking a wild guess at "No, of course not".
Unless he had an even more perverse desire to look like a knuckle-dragger, he wouldn't dare. I can't claim to be entirely unguilty of a little light public appreciation of the opposite sex, though I like to think that this manifests itself in an appropriately mature manner, especially when I've remembered to take the HRT.
The closest that I've probably come (stop it . . . ) to a public perv-fest is when I was tweeting about Hugh Jackman on the Jonathan Ross Show being "everything that's good about Australia".
And, okay, yes, I confess that I did (in a moment of distraction) once tweet about Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon freshening up between games ("Rafa. Kit off. Now"). I seem to recall, however, that this was a mere technical fact, a public service announcement, if you will.
I am not a big fan of anybody expressing sexual preferences in a public forum, honest, but now that we "chicks" come over all righteous and indignant if "blokes" display overt bloke-ishness, it seems somewhat ironic that we think it amusingly post-fem to start doing precisely the stuff that blokes are no longer allowed to do.
So when did such imitation become evolution?
While women may remain woefully under-represented in the nation's boardrooms and on the Mock the Week panel, over on the interwebnet it is increasingly hard to avoid the raging "phwoars" of ladies of a certain age slobbering over those with a different chromosomal arrangement.
Whether it's boy bands on The X Factor or indeed judges (actually make that judge, Louis is not inspiring a whole lot of lust from anybody except the unwell) World Cup rugby players, Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley from Downton (though only in uniform, which somehow compensates for the weak chin) or a selection of Hollywood hotties (James Franco, for example, born in 1978, mostly appreciated by women born c 1955-70), it appears to be cool for women to metaphorically hop up and down on their internet scaffolding wolf-whistling.
I recently found myself following a thread on Mumsnet.com about the new series of Merlin, which started off as a celebration of quality children's TV and somehow inexplicably evolved into a perv-fest about Prince Arthur's arse.
Funnily enough, the other day, in a spirit of irony, my exceptionally unbloke-ish bloke (whom I've never heard say anything more phwoar about a woman than "she's very attractive") reduced me to near hysteria by executing a masculine two-handed gesture that was previously fashionable roughly about the time that Stealers Wheel were still 'Stuck In The Middle With You'.
To appreciate this gesture better, place your left hand in the crook of your extended right arm, then jerk your right arm upwards, as if to imitate a speedy erection, and accessorise with a phwoar-like gurn.
To express this successfully via modern electronic media, I have also devised a helpful emoticon: ]-/ I very much look forward to discovering that this has been deployed in a spirit of irony by ladies of many ages while they tweet their way through this weekend's double bill of The (se)X Factor.
Sadly, however, I shall be busy elsewhere, needlepointing by candlelight while listening to a Brahms lullaby . . . though also unable to resist pointing out that had I been hanging in Hamburg in 1853, I'd have attempted a little light orchestral stalking, the better to persuade Johannes "Hottie" B to let me sit on his symphonies. And that's probably just a bit wrong, isn't it?
Something for the weekend...