When did you last have sober sex? I only ask because a new survey released this week reveals that the average woman has slept with eight men, but was drunk with at least five of them. On two of these occasions, they couldn't even remember the man's name the next day. Worse still, one in 20 women admits they have NEVER had sex without alcohol as they lack confidence in their body.
Well, that would be me then. Now, I'm not an apologist for dangerously blotto behaviour. Young women – on the pull, in bed – need their wits about them. But, frankly, I'm not surprised. Memo to society: don't moralise about hedonistic behaviour if you continue to make us feel body hatred!
Women live their lives with the uneasy feeling that they don't pass. Too fat. Too thin. Not voluptuous enough. Prey to judgement about wobbly bottoms and flabby thighs, it's amazing we get our kit off at all.
We worry about taking up too much space. No wonder almost half of the 3,000 women surveyed (aged 18 to 50) said they needed alcohol to lose their inhibitions and "let their hair down", even with a long-term partner.
The naked body is increasingly an act of faith. Forget worries about what people actually do in bed. It's getting there in the first place that's hard. On a bad day, many of us settle for enforced celibacy. That way, no one gets their feelings hurt.
A friend and I once had an impassioned conversation about whether it was possible to have sex without removing a single item of clothing. They had the right idea in the 18th century: in London's infamous Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, you could just unbutton a corset, move a pocket aside. Then congress over, jump up, brushing off strands of grass, and resume promenading.
The body is vulnerable – to stress, ageing, the wrong sort of sand (every female celebrity has suffered the indignity of the beach cellulite test). But that's part of the deal, baby. To desire – really desire – the love object, means you accept it might just come with defective packaging. It's the lucky dip that is sexual choice. Otherwise you can look, but don't touch.
What makes me sad is this relentless attack on flesh (the one free gift we can give one another). You think I'm joking? London Fashion Week has been full of ugly spats about the value of "larger" models. A stylist stormed out of Canadian designer Mark Fast's show when he sent size 12 and 14 girls down the runway because they were "too fat to walk right".
I saw new "curvy" supermodel Lara Stone open the Jaeger show, and she looked bloody wonderful. Healthy, tomboyish, but voluptuous – with just a teeny wobble of flesh – she strode down that catwalk like a Valkyrie. You didn't know whether she was about to kiss or slap you.
And I wasn't the only one to be impressed. When I was watching the beautiful people race off to the next highlight on the fashion calendar, I just happened to see a puppyish David Walliams, sans entourage, sneak behind the model's cabin at Somerset House and petition Stone – for a kiss, a date, who knows?
I like to think that the man who's played his fair share of laydeez has sympathy for proper flesh. Enjoys the sensation of pillowy breasts, and firm, athletic thighs (with a healthy BMI). Otherwise, body hatred will make rubbish transvestites of us all.
At last, a royal we can talk to
"There's a time and place for being an ornament" is rapidly becoming my favourite quote of the week. As one who suffers from euaxophobia (a morbid fear of posh people), I really do have to big it up for Prince William. Not only has he declared he has no intention of becoming the sort of charity bauble who trolls around opening fetes and shaking hands, we finally have our first bona fide royal who doesn't speak with a silly voice.
Transcripts of the interview don't do him justice. He has a perfectly normal, slightly Estuary-inflected accent. A refreshing change from all those aristocratic men who sound like a bag of squashed parrots – pronouncing cake for Coke, and speaking in the baffling third person. Call it inverse snobbery, but a ridiculous accent disables for life and is the enemy of true social mobility. Will's colloquial ease is wholly appropriate when you're taking a group of homeless people up Helvellyn. Best of all, it proves that Diana's influence lives on (even if she's no longer physically around to take the boys to theme parks or burger bars anymore).
The hothouse of royal life has a habit of squashing authenticity. But, just occasionally, an activist for change is smuggled in. It reminds me of that fabulous moment in the film Truly Madly Deeply where lefty Juliet Stevenson pleads with her public school-educated niece and nephew to "say bum and Trotsky twice a day" as a way of warding off nouveau riche affectation.
What's wrong with renting some affection?
"Lonely Japanese 'rent' friends!" proclaim the smug headlines this week. In a desire to make rewarding social connections without giving away any personal or compromising information, Japanese citizens are increasingly relying on introduction agencies who can find you a "phoney" friend. The best known, Office Agent, has 1,000 people on its books. Best men for weddings, relatives, or even a spouse are available at a price.
Before we sneer, wouldn't it be marvellous to have adoring fans on the payroll? I, for one, suffer from brutally honest friends. "Liz, it's hardly slimming," and "He just didn't like you enough," are just two of the gems this week.
A professional stand-in would do away with all that. They'd gaze at you adoringly – and feed you all the comforting lies you want to hear. Who cares if your hair looks mad; they're never going to see you again.
Face it, we all need a bit of an ego boost. I love that another of Japan's friend rental agencies is called Hagemashi Tai [I want to cheer you up].
It could do wonders for your love life. One Japanese client, a woman in her 20s who is in a long-distance relationship, fears her "good-looking, popular" boyfriend's interest is waning. When they meet for a date next month, an equally handsome male "friend" will bump into her, tell her how happy he is to see her and, if all goes to plan, prompt the boyfriend into a jealous show of affection. Is that really such a dishonest idea? Scientists tell us that love, all romantic ideals and feelings, are chemical responses triggered in the brain – and not the mystical meeting of souls. What's wrong with a bit of auto-suggestion?
As for renting friends. Everyone knows other people's acquaintances are far more interesting than your own. I spend hours brooding over the good-looking, witty, generous faces that turn up on my Facebook page, courtesy of my friends' profiles. They tell me about their day and their deep thoughts. It's the best sort of relationship. We've never met, of course. That would spoil things. But I really must be very special.
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