While male TV stars can be freely drooled over, doing the same in relation to the female equivalent strays dangerously into gratuitous lechery.
Something to do with power imbalances, post-modern feminism, or simply getting away with it since they can. The sensitive middle-class man just can’t position himself safely on this.
Clearly one must avoid anyone who is superficially attractive – no Racquel Welshes, natch.
But they can’t be too worthily plain either else you’re not really being honest – this is lustbox, not worthyadmirationbox.
And god forbid you go for the conventional cliched candidates – so Nigella is out.
Perhaps then you need to balance it all up with a goodly amount of wit and/or quirkiness – more Pamela Stephenson than Pamela Anderson.
So here’s my top of the head list:
- Sue Perkins: mostly for her weirdly named Supersizers Go series with Giles Coren. Anyone who can debauch their way through that many banquets and remain witty and self-deprecating has to rate high.
- Tamsin Greig: the only voice that made the Archers worth listening too, Black Books a place to work in and Green Wing sexual tension believable.
- Lois Griffin: you see if Mr Benn can be up there don’t see why we can’t have a female cartoon character.
- Emily Maitlis: only because in real life I remember her when she was a spotty teenager, and it never fails to entertain me to see her as an intellectual news siren.
Err … you see I can’t even produce more than a short sentence, since my brain goes – “I’ve been trained not to do this, please stop this now”. A little like HAL in 2001, if I try to keep going my brain will have to take over and kill myself.
To be honest you can see my heart isn’t really in it. I just can’t playfully kick around the objectification of women on TV, weighed down by years of lack of experience of sexist banter.
Chalk this one up to the wimpbox – I just can’t do it.