Posing to catch the best light, our hero smirks: `Grab her and go. And don't be gentle on my account'

Thought for the day: inside every heterosexual male there's an evil, hair-pulling, face-scratching, rumour-mongering, name-calling, six-teated cow scheming to get out.

It's a brand new media moo-vement. But don't take my word for it. Begin by tuning into Sky One's, and now Channel 5's, soap opera Melrose Place and checking out Richard, Peter, Bobby and Billy ... but mostly Michael. Michael's the Boy Bitch par excellence. What's a Boy Bitch? I thought you'd never ask. A Boy Bitch looks like a Real Man - actually, that's a lie (Boy Bitches live to lie). Genuine Boy Bitches, American branch, look like the sort of pretty but petulant pin-ups who take it up the butt in gay porn - what can I tell you, except that some weird stuff passes as straight these days - and they behave as if possessed by the unquiet spirit of Bette Davis in one of her bed moods, and bad movies.

I mean, Michael flounces, yes, flounces, sneers, preens, spreads gossip like low-fat margarine, is a right old slapper and conducts elaborate, sneaky vendettas against those who have injured his ego. Please - he once hired an actor to drive the woman who dumped him back into madness (hell hath no fury like a Boy Bitch scorned). Neither strong nor silent, Michael goes in for the sort of one-liners teenage girls usually practise in front of the mirror, which is obviously Michael's favourite place to be. Get this, honey - directing security guards to remove former pillow partner Kimberley from his presence, our hero poses in the nearest doorway, catching the best light (the man pedicures, OK?) and smirks, "That's the woman. Grab her and go. And don't be gentle on my account." It's hardly John Wayne. More Joan Collins.

Well, hush my mouth - you can hardly blame him. If he and the rest of the male cast are Boy Bitches, it's partially defensive, because the women are not just allowed to be Mega Bitches, they're positively encouraged.

This is also true of ITV's hit sudser Savannah and Sky's late, lamented Central Park West. Here the women have smaller breasts than the gym-built blokes, but they make do by flaunting bigger balls. Whether editing a monthly glossy and treating men as amusing trinkets, or casually blackmailing the boss into handing over half his riverboat casino, the ladies usurp male prerogative, no questions asked. Their roles thus reversed, the likes of Travis, "the handsomest straight guy in the state" (not to mention the most precious) are obliged to follow the route trail-blazed by gorgeous pieces of female ass and marry into major money. Travis is bitter and twisted, and so is Tom, another Boy Bitch with the annoying habit of ringing up rivals for a midnight gloat: "Poor, dear Veronica. I see that Edward still hasn't ushered you down the aisle. Better luck next man." Tell me, am I the only one who half-expects him to remove the ear-rings that are so metaphorically there every time he lifts the receiver?

Still, let him savour his tiny moment of triumph. On Melrose, it's big business as usual - the girls are on top.

Amanda, for instance, heads her own advertising agency, Brook is independently wealthy and Jane is a successful fashion designer. As professionals in their twenties, Michael and his fellow Boy Bitches are competing in an increasingly female-dominated work-force, and in a culture where traditional gender characteristics are in meltdown. On The X-Files, for instance, Dana Scully is cool, collected, rational, while Fox Mulder has the instinct, faith and occasional fits of hysteria. The truth is out there: Scully will doubtless end up as Mulder's boss, because all the research says the future is female; in the fluid market-place, in education, in politics and everywhere else.

It's protective camouflage. If Butch now has one boot in the grave, Boy Bitchery is the strategic half-way house between, say, Brett and Jarvis and Richey's refusenik androgyny and, oh, Liam's laddishness, which is itself a loud parody of masculine privilege (laddishness imagines itself powerful while daily announcing its own impotence). Boy Bitchery is a shrewd way of literally clawing some territory back. If women are applauded for adopting what used to be thought of as exclusively testosterone traits, then who can object if men return the backhanded compliment?

Still, what a not-so-pretty pass. Once upon a time Boy Bitchery used to be solely associated with psychopathology (Hannibal Lecter, to mother of about-to-be-murdered child: "Love the suit") and covert homosexuality - think George Sanders as Addison deWitt in camp classic All About Eve, and real-life queens Clifton Webb and Monty Woolley as Oscar Wilde knock- offs Waldo Lydecker and Sheridan Whiteside in Laura and The Man Who Came To Dinner respectively. This may explain why Matt, the token gay on Melrose, is saintly and nice, rather than nasty and narcissistic like the rest of the boys. That would really give the game away, so viewers are reduced to the ridiculous spectacle of an LA queen spouting unreconstructed straight male sentiments such as, "Showing my real feelings isn't my style." Yeah, right.

I know what you're thinking: these shows are American and a bit of a laugh. Sure, Melrose, Savannah and Central Park are combinations of soap opera and exaggerated comedy of manners, implying that Boy Bitches could only occur as a joke, a parody made permissible by the genre's embrace of chaos; a cliff-hanger every five minutes and everyone making it up as they go along. But that's a more accurate recreation of modern life than we'd perhaps prefer to admit, and we should never lose sight of one great truth: where Yank soap goes, Britain follows. Expect William Hague and Tony Blair's first big cat fight any day now. Well, dear, everyone knows they're as Commons as muck ... n

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Furyon London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

    £70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam