Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 28 Aug 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Rowan Pelling

I’ve just been looking around Twitter for people to hate, because I’m in that kind of mood, and stumbled across the page of Rowan Pelling, someone I’ve instinctively hated for a while anyway without really knowing why. In her bio, she describes herself, with the kind of instinctive foulness given to people with no self-knowledge but an economic need, as a ‘sexpert.’ Quite what this means, I have no idea, other than that she has sex and considers herself expert at having sex, but let’s take that word and use it as a diving board to leap into a pool of steamed loathing.

The problem with positioning yourself as an expert in sex is that it overlooks the fact that a lot of bodily functions aren’t accorded the same degree of respect. For instance, I’ve just done the kind of turd that commands instant respect, firm, long and fruity with a rich brown colour, that shot out of my arse in under a second and compelled me to stand up and admire it with hushed reverence. Has the Daily Telegraph commissioned me to write a series of columns about Great Shits That I Have Done? No. No it hasn’t. But that’s because Rowan has realised a great and timeless truth.

And it’s that sex sells. Not sex written about by men, of course, because that rightly comes across as seedy, desperate and figuratively littered with crusty tissues, but if you’re a woman and you write about your pants or what’s in them, male editors will be lining up to drool over you. Or, more importantly, to commission you, in the hope that one day they’ll be able to thumb their half-hard cocks into you (copyright Frankie Boyle) for ten seconds of sexual pleasure which allows them to claim you as a conquest.

If you doubt me, look at Rowan’s career trajectory. She went to some bland-sounding girl’s school for the female offspring of distressed gentlefolk, or somesuch, and then went up to Oxford where she went to St Bastard’s College and read English. So much, so ordinary. Well, so ordinary if you’re middle class with sharp-elbowed aspirations, anyway. But from there, things take a much jollier turn, because after graduating, Rowan worked at Private Eye and then GQ, which suggests that she may have made some awfully good contacts at Oxford, because that certainly isn’t the career trajectory of any graduates I know, who have to flog their arses in a succession of shit jobs.

It seems to be around this time that Rowan had her revelation that writing about sex would be a good career move, because she soon moved over to The Erotic Review, whose sole reason for existing is to appeal to the kind of middle aged man who hasn’t seen ladyparts since the Belgrano went down and who doesn’t want to buy porn. By wrapping it up in some kind of pseudo-intellectual halfwit bilge, the publishers realised they could pitch the idea of sex to these tragic little halfwits who get their sweaty hands on their copy and retreat to the downstairs toilet for a wank about a pert young woman who bizarrely has an affair with a married man who is going bald and has a gut.

Way back when Pelling was a judge on the Booker panel, I met her, because I assisted at a photo shoot designed to celebrate the fact. Why someone who writes about sex rather than, say, having a shit gets to opine on what gets a literary prize, I don’t know, but I suppose she did do literature at Oxford. I mean, so did loads of other people, but she says ‘penis,’ wears red lipstick and a skirt, so obviously she’s some kind of prose genius. Perhaps I’d get to judge a literary prize if I did that. Or perhaps not.

Reader, she was awful. And by ‘awful,’ I mean a solid mass of contrivance based entirely around what someone male middle manager in his mid fifties would like every woman to dress like. I remember she was wearing fishnet tights because they’re the uniform of people who want to look like they know about sex. Heck, they’re practically obligatory. ‘Look,’ they say, ‘I know about sex and stuff and am not just some faintly calculating woman who has realised that a really good way to make a living is to be a wank fantasy for the partly impotent.’

Not that I’m suggesting, of course, that Pelling has set out to appeal to the kinds of men who deep down in their souls realise that women think they’re faintly laughable old fucks and would no more be allowed anywhere near them than Jack the Ripper was a feminist. That would be hugely cynical and wouldn’t reflect well on her at all. No, it’s probably just a happy accident that, when she was interviewed by some tragic human debris from the fat, greying wanker’s newspaper of choice, the Daily Telegraph, she talked about how fascinating she finds relationships with older men and how she cares about them.

Newsflash, you silly old fuckers. She doesn’t care about you at all. She cares about her bank balance, which is why, in the pages of The Erotic Review, the most arrant waste of a tree since The Sun was first printed, she crafted the kind of laughable old bollocks designed to appeal to men who don’t have sex any more because they make their wives feel nauseous, whose desires date back to when they were teenagers and for whom tossing themselves off is a bit of a risk because they might have a heart attack. The best thing these people can do is die. Rowan wanted them to buy The Erotic Review first, and then die a bit later.

What makes this all especially risible is that her entire career is built on bullshit. She met her husband at GQ and they have two children, which means that ‘sex’ in the Pelling household is probably what they call the things that the nice man carries the coal in for their range. All the sexual adventures she writes about is no more than posturing and pretence. Did a man really bring you off with his big toe, Rowan, like you told that pathetic dribble from the Telegraph to arouse him, or did it seem like the kind of thing that should have happened to your persona? Work on that one, people, but I think you might know the answer.

Pelling has a persona and, my contention is, it’s a damaging one. People don’t have sex like she talks about and, if they do, it’s a rare and fleeting thing. All you’ll get from reading her is the idea that she has loads of sex, exotically, and I really doubt that’s true. Like everyone else, and I mean, everyone, sex is not the be all and end all. Like having a shit, it’s just something that happens and, for them that do it, it doesn’t need garlanding in fifty layers of fake intellectual blather from second class minds. And if they were doing it quite so much, they wouldn’t need to talk about it. All the time.

My partner says this is no more than professional jealously. She’s right. I went to a shitty, fly-blown comprehensive school with a bunch of mouthbreathers who were the dregs of humanity and then went to an equally shitty Midlands university under an appalling slate grey sky where I managed to meet nobody who could be of any use to me in a media career whatsoever. Despite that, I then attempted to have a media career, one of the highlights of which – and calling it a highlight is me being deeply sarcastic – is working on Andy Murray’s book. I didn’t even get a sodding credit in the paperback version. Sucks to be me.

Pelling, however, with her sex persona which appeals to middle aged men who would probably shit themselves violet if anyone under fifty suggested a quick tumble, goes ever onwards because nobody has ever called her bluff or openly questioned whether what she says is real isn’t just a solid mass of cocked-up fantasy for ageing idiots. She says she’s a sexpert. And I think otherwise.

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