Graham Linehan Column

The Crazy Lady is a marketing invention like the ploughman's lunch, but that doesn't stop my heart pitter-pattering

You know, people sometimes come up to me and say: "Ey, Graham, haf yeu everrr leurved a woman?" And I have to say ... no. "What? C'est pas vrai!" they exclaim. "Why haf yeu never leurved a woman?" And I reply that the only woman I could truly love does not exist. This is because she is an advertising conceit. She is the Crazy Lady.

I am, in fact, hopelessly in love with the Crazy Lady. Look at her there, kissing some bloke under the table. She's crazy! What's she doing now? She's throwing a bit of cucumber at a guy in a suit! It's stuck to his head! Well, he certainly looks the fool now. Omigod, what next? She's shining her stilettos on the hotel shoeshine machine, the impetuous fool! The only thing that could possibly top all this now is if she were to try on a succession of crazy outfits in front of the mirror - wait! That's exactly what she's doing.

The Crazy Lady isn't a new development. You can trace her ancestry back to the girls in the Hi-Karate advertisements, who would chop their way through wardrobes to get at some guy in NHS glasses and a tank top. Ever since then, she's been around in one form or another (sometimes blonde, but most often brunette, for some reason), and whenever she pops her head into view from the bottom of the screen, a tuft of hair flopping down in front of one eye, you know that the next 30 seconds are going to be pretty wild.

How does one spot a Crazy Lady? Well, for a start, she never walks. She'll grab a middle-aged man wearing a tuxedo and waltz him down the corridor, while his uncrazy wife hurrumphs. You'll never see her with a hoover - unless she's wearing a tiara and miming into the nozzle.

The Crazy Lady lives on ice cream, which she eats sitting on the floor in front of the fridge, while her lantern-jawed boyfriend looks at her, laughs and shakes his head. Of course, if any normal man came into the kitchen and saw his girlfriend sitting on the floor eating ice cream, he'd phone for help. But this is standard behaviour for the Crazy Lady.

The Crazy Lady is wisely limited to very brief appearances: any more of her and our hair would set on fire. I would imagine the lads who go out with her are just about ready to drop dead with exhaustion. It must be an endless round of chasing her through hotel corridors in the nude, apologising to restaurateurs and tripping over her in the kitchen. I mean, to you and me, an elevator is something that makes the dream of vertical travel a reality. To the Crazy Lady, it is second only to the cockpit of a plane as a venue for sexual congress. Now, I enjoy sex as much as the next person, especially if the next person is a monkey freebasing pheromones, but there's a time and a place, surely.

And if I woke up at dawn to find that my girlfriend was threatening to drive the car over my guitar because I'd criticised her driving, I don't think I'd be sticking around too long. Call me Mr Cautious, but to me that's one of the five great "uh-oh" signs. Luckily, it's all academic, because I can't drive and I don't have a guitar. Or a girlfriend.(Not that I'm fishing for sympathy. I once went out with a girl who may not have registered too high on the Crazy Lady meter, but was still pretty wild by my standards. She brought out the animal in me too. I lost count of the times, for instance, that we went to a film rather than pursuing the more sensible option of staying home. And if you heard about a stolen Ferrari, driven by a man and a woman and being pursued by 200 police cars, you can bet we'd be there, watching it on the news. Sometimes I wonder how I made it out alive.

The Crazy Lady is, of course, as much a marketing invention as a ploughman's lunch, but that doesn't stop my heart from pitter-pattering when I hear that music start up (she favours Tijuana brass, and only plays the maracas, never having had the patience to study a real instrument).

So, what future for the Crazy Lady? I predict that, as time goes on, she will have to go to more and more extreme lengths to get noticed. Don't be surprised if, before long, she's driving nude down the street in a Formula 1 car, or somehow disrupting play at Wimbledon. No man can tame her, so she's just going to get crazier and crazier until one day she straps on a rocketpack and crashes into the side of a petrol plant.

At that point, all the women in the world will have reached her level of craziness, and the men will have to leave Earth in a massive spaceship. This, of course, may simply be part of their plan, so I advise you men out there to stick it out for a while, see how it goes. I don't know, maybe we'll get used to it ....

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