The billionaire's daughter and the hot felon: women are suckers for a pretty face too
A hilarious meme, imagining a conversation between a man and a woman, did the rounds last year. It went like this:
Him: "I'm 6'5'', I'm broke as f***, I have below-average social skills and crippling anxiety and depression."
Her: "You said 6'5"?"
It came to mind when Chloe Green, daughter of billionaire retail tycoon Philip Green, was spotted kissing Jeremy Meeks - aka the Hot Felon - on a yacht in Turkey last week.
For the uninitiated, Jeremy became a global sensation when Stockton Police Department in California released his mugshot on Facebook in 2014. Thanks to his baby-blue eyes, razor-sharp cheekbones and chiselled jawline, his photograph went viral and he was inundated with modelling offers and marriage proposals.
Jeremy finished a two-year jail sentence for illegal possession of a firearm in March of last year and walked straight into a string of lucrative modelling contracts - including a catwalk appearance for designer Philipp Plein at New York Fashion Week. He now has an Instagram following of 1.2m.
The alleged former member of the notoriously dangerous Crips gang was described by the Stockton Police Department as "one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area", but his female fans - of which there are many - seem to care more about his vital statistics than his criminal record. Besides, did you see how hot he looked in that orange jumpsuit?
There is a well-worn myth that men are "visual creatures" whereas women are more forgiving of men's physical shortcomings.
Nonsense. Chloe Green, like many women before her, has proved that the so-called fairer sex will forgive most shortcomings when a man is extraordinarily handsome.
Jeremy, I hasten to add, is reportedly still married. There's also the small matter of his previous nine-year prison sentence for grand theft. But this is hardly the point - have you seen this man's cheekbones?!
While we all tend to agree that men are suckers for a pretty face, we can't seem to accept that women, who really ought to know better, are just as likely to be visually oriented - perhaps even more so.
Men at least have the good sense to manage their own expectations by ascribing stereotypical character flaws to beautiful women, if only to cushion the blow of rejection. Women, however, are all but hypnotised by the Halo Effect of a handsome man.
Beautiful women are regularly dismissed as bat-s*** crazy whereas a beautiful man can be 'tortured' - the poor, outrageously sexy, thing. Beautiful women are thought to be high-maintenance, yet beautiful men are... well... who cares? They're gorgeous.
People often ask why women go for 'bad boys'. There's an obvious, Occam's razor answer to this question. Bad boys are often extremely good-looking - and good-looking men can get away with behaving very badly.
This is borne out by a study from researchers at Eastern Kentucky University, which found that women are more likely to tolerate a man with a handsome face when he misbehaves.
Just think of Mad Men's Don Draper. Would women have sympathised with him if he looked like Pete Campbell - another marital miscreant with dubious business ethics?
While it's universally acknowledged that the male of the species is in thrall to the siren call of beauty, we struggle to think of women being led by their desires in the same way.
The idea that men are visual creatures and women are... I don't know, visually-impaired?... sublimates female desire. Perish the thought that a woman - a compassionate, nurturing, maternal figure - would want something as primal and beastly as raw physical beauty.
Hence Leonardo DiCaprio, who has dated some of the world's most beautiful women, is labelled a playboy; while Kylie Minogue, who has dated some of the world's most beautiful men, is labelled 'unlucky in love'.
Chloe Green has deleted her Instagram page in recent days - one too many messages calling her a "homewrecker". However, one of her last posts was a photograph taken alongside Jeremy and his manager, with the caption: "Just the Beginning… We appreciate all the love and the hate."
There's a look of naked pride on Chloe's face as she wraps her arm possessively around Jeremy's neck. Yes, ladies, I bagged the Hot Felon, she seems to be saying, and I'm taking him in for questioning.
Yet there's also a flicker of anguish - the mien of a woman who has impulsively spent several thousand euro on a Chanel bag and probably won't be able to meet this month's mortgage repayment.
Jeremy's manager, meanwhile, is gripping his client's bicep with a force that would would suggest he's not letting this gravy train pull out of his station.
It's an ugly truth that the three people in this photograph wouldn't be in each other's company were it not for beauty. Then again, we probably wouldn't be looking at it either.