The manager of the safari camp is fuming about a comment made by Miss Lily Allen, the petite cockney singer. He cites a newspaper article in which the cheeky chanteuse is quoted as saying that she feels guilty about going on safari. In taking pictures of the animals, she believes she subjected them to the same unwanted attention she receives from the paparazzi.
“Why didn’t the stupid little tart stay in Romford!” he rages. “We don’t need pious airheads bad-mouthing our industry to the press! If she’s against exploitation she should stop singing, which is exploiting people’s bad taste in music!”
I feel compelled to speak in her defence.
"She probably didn’t understand that there was no obligation to take pictures," I say. "Don't forget she comes from a society where people do everything they are allowed plus another ten per cent. Self-restraint and decorum are virtues quite unknown to her.”
The manager stomps off, muttering and harrumphing.
Would it be correct to call Miss Allen an “Essex girl”? I believe she wasn’t born in Essex, but the term seems to be more cultural than geographical. She recently recorded a song that is a kind of Essex girl anthem, describing with great acuity the aspirations of these young ladies. However the lyrics may have been sardonic, intending to highlight the deficiencies in their way of thinking. Perhaps Miss Allen might more accurately be described as a “post-Essex girl”.
These Essex girls are the butt of too much derision in any case. Their fondness for the trinkets and baubles of a consumerist society is quite understandable given their upbringing. Theirs is a community in which it is normal for maidens to surrender their virginity with wanton haste, often to the first sweaty-pawed ruffian who manages to fumble with their underwear. If something precious is given away so cheaply, the donor spends the rest of her life trying to make amends by being overly acquisitive. “Bling” is merely a replacement for a prematurely-popped cherry.
Perhaps they might avoid this lamentable fate by following the example of Miss Alina Percea, an 18-year-old Romanian damsel who auctioned her virginity on the internet. The highest bid was made by an Italian businessman aged 45, who according to Alina was “very charming”. One presumes he deflowered her with exquisite tenderness and finesse. Or perhaps not. Yet whatever the manner of initiation, Miss Percea emerged from the experience with undiminished self-respect, proud of the fact that her maidenhead was worth a sum equivalent to 8,782 pounds sterling.
“It was not like prostitution because it was a one-off,” she explained.
Indeed. One banana does not make a bunch, as we say in the jungle.
This gives me an idea. The market value of her purity would have paid for a deluxe safari holiday (including bridal suite with Jacuzzi and douche). Suppose we were to offer a “Lose you virginity in Africa” holiday to the comely maidens of the world, in tandem with a “Deflower a virgin in Africa” holiday to rich businessmen? Of course we would have to vet the men carefully to ensure they could make a good job of it. The last thing we need is disappointed ex-virgins demanding refunds. Businessmen who think they’ve got what it takes should send me an email. No boasters or hoaxers.
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