Ladykiller lands bullring bit-part

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HEMINGWAY must have been turning in his grave but Tom Jones would have felt right at home. Bras and knickers flew into the bullring as the heart- throb torero Jesulin (Little Jesus) de Ubrique performed before the first-ever women- only audience last Friday in the historic town of Aranjuez.

'Mu-jer-es, mu-jer-es (women, women)', 'Men out, men out' and 'Jesulin, you've got balls,' the 8,800 fans shrieked as the handsome 21-year-old disposed of all six scheduled bulls then one more for the road to show the ladies he could keep it up beyond normal limits of exhaustion.

Apart from 400 policemen to prevent the silver-suited torero from being ravaged by supporters, he and the seven bulls were the only males present. By the end of the evening, only two testicles remained intact, the other 14 having been chopped up as criadillas, a culinary delicacy in these parts. Seven ears and one tail had also been lopped off, at the orders of the bullfight's female president, and are now in the matador's trophy room.

There were female auxiliaries, sand-sweepers, announcers, even a picador. A woman dropped in by parachute to hand the heart-throb a bouquet of carnations. Her timing - there were no bulls in the ring - showed the same smart handling as every other aspect of the event down to the T-shirts on sale, showing Jesulin using a particular brand of cellular telephone.

'Jesulin, I want your baby,' screamed a teenage girl in the sunny cheap seats. One woman handed him hers but it burst into tears as he carried it round on one of his endless laps of honour. As girls scaled the barriers to shower him with kisses, carnations, a fighting cock and underwear of colours and cut that would have shocked most Spanish grandmothers, the laps of honour lasted longer than the faenas, or fights.

Outside the ring, Little Jesus was less popular. 'The only thing that's brilliant about that guy is his suit,' said one male purist. Meanwhile, a group of feminists paraded with placards accusing Jesulin of 'fomenting the stereotyping of genders'.