Perhaps this is an insight into a peculiarly metropolitan existence, but walkers and bangers have been a major preoccupation this week. It's not often that Esther Rantzen and Gok Wan sum up the predicament of today's girl-about-town, but bear with me.
Rantzen has gone public with a tricky dilemma. As a single person who has more red-carpet invitations than hot dinners, she is badly in need of a walker: one who is not too big, not too small, not too boring, not too randy, not too greedy .... All she asks is for a nice tall man who can accompany her to a party, eat a canapé without incident and isn't too weird; but he turns out to be devilishly hard to find. Tell me about it, Esther.
The start of July is party season for London's literati, and it puts some peculiar anthropology on show. Among glitzy celebs or genteel historians, from the lady reviewers at one party to the naughty boys and poets at the next, from Bloomsbury to ... well, the other side of Bloomsbury, Esther's Law can be seen at work. Nobody likes to go to a party on their own. But for the women in the drawing room, on the terrace and under the plum tree last week, there were just not enough walkers to go round.
Take the head count at one party: spare women of all ages and talents, about 187; spare men, 3. And a straw poll found that these three were not entirely cut out for the part. One spent the evening trying to buy cocaine. Another was marched out by his wife. The third had obviously studied Neil Strauss's rancid book, The Game, and was working it on every woman in the room. We didn't so much mind his blatant resort to tactics, we decided; but using Virginia Woolf as a chat-up tool cannot be forgiven.
This is where Gok Wan comes in. This season, women are mostly loving Gok. He has a new fashion show on Channel 4, a book out from HarperCollins in October and a new harem of adoring women who would do just about anything to get close to him at his publisher's party last Tuesday. We didn't want to get into his knickers (though they were black, silky and very stylish) and he didn't want to get into ours. It was just so nice to meet someone who likes women.
What Gok has to offer is hard to define. If it were easy, all men would be at it. The thing is that, for a gay man, he really seems to love women's bodies. On TV and in magazines, women stylists sneer at each other's wobbly bits and plot how to conceal their bulges. He loves those bad boys, worships women's hooters and squeezes untold numbers of beautiful bangers (get used to this terminology, it will catch on), and women love it. I know, he did it to mine – but only when I asked him to.
I fear it is only a matter of time until gorgeous Gok gets sick of all the attention. Even he could squeeze one bap too many. Until that sad day, will all spare men please study his behaviour and get on to the party circuit, where 187 women, Esther Rantzen and I will be very glad to see them. And please leave the seduction guides at home.