From Henry VIII going around spoiling women’s lives by forcing them into doomed marriages to One Direction fans tweeting Liam that the baby’s not his, we can see that desire is a selfish thing – yet we persist in pretending that it is some caring, sharing bicycle made for two, rather than an out-of-control vehicle that allows us to run roughshod over the lives of others as we flee from our ennui. (…)
That an effeminate man who loved his mother could send women into paroxysms of desire seemed to bring out the wounded bull in a china shop in men who, for their own odd reasons, wanted granite-jawed brute force to be the quickest route to the female heart. But this female ideal had form. Long before the “girly-boys” of pop – not “the kind of guy who would jump on you or hurt you”*, as Viv Albertine wrote touchingly of Marc Bolan – Scarlett O’Hara preferred the gentle Ashley to the roistering Rhett. And polls of young women in the late 1950s very often put the cardigan-wearing nice guy Perry Como above the pelvis-crazed Elvis Presley as their choice dreamboat.