I‘ve recently discovered that the actor Christian Bale is Welsh. He hides it very well, I must say. Gone are the days when Richard Burton would majestically utter the lines of a Roman nobleman in a rich Port Talbot drawl. Even the great Anthony Hopkins puts on an American accent for most of his screen roles. How much more seductive Hannibal Lecter would have been as a Welshman, beguiling the prissy Agent Starling with his sing-songy vowels and lubricious charm. You wouldn’t have blinked an eye if she’d let him nibble her tender parts.
Mr Bale’s suppression of his Welshness has not brought him peace of mind. In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, he complained that being a film star was a humiliating job that made him feel like a sissy.
“I learned there’s a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly,” he explained.
In a way, that’s quite fitting. A shrewd observer once said that the Welsh were a nation that had nothing to be ashamed of and plenty to be embarrassed about. Yet, anyone who makes millions of dollars from showing off in front of a camera ought to be immune from such concerns. It is true that Bale has a tendency to fly off the handle and make an ass of himself, but people expect that of film stars. The hurdle of absurdity has been set pretty high ever since Mel Gibson starting channelling Mad Max.
Real embarrassment is what humans suffer when they are caught doing something totally at variance with their public image. Here are two recent examples:
• Australian rugby player Joel Monaghan is photographed simulating oral sex with a dog.
• English nurse Jayne Reed confesses to a three-in-a-bed romp with a 46-year-old man and an 18-year-old girl.
The rugby player is wisely seeking political asylum in Europe. An Australian sportsman who lets a dog sniff his groin is shown no mercy when he appears before thousands of beer-guzzling larrikins. They will bark at him until he feels like a bitch in heat. Making a dignified exit is better than being hounded out of your country.
The case of the nurse is more complex. The man and the girl were patients, so what she did was arguably a form of post-operative therapy. Even if her intention was purely recreational, one can see a method in her madness. If you’re into heavy petting, four arms are better than two, and two heads are better than one. Not being sure who was doing what might have added to the thrill.
However, one aspect of the nurse’s conduct will bring her unending lifelong shame. She referred to her bed-mates as “Daddy Bear” and “Baby Bear”, while styling herself as “Mummy Bear”. On hearing this revelation, the panel adjudicating her case groaned loudly and rubbed biscuits into their faces. A woman who seeks to enact the Goldilocks fable in her sexual escapades is sappier than a gum tree – she must be forced to suck lollipops until her tongue turns orange.
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