Sex, food and rock ‘n’ roll

The definition of ‘sexy’ is “an impact one has on the senses – visually, audibly and tactically.” The ‘sexy man’ is “physically able”, “confident” and “sultry,” with the apparent ability to impregnate any woman of his choice.

Welcome to the fore, Michael Fassbender – a man who many are lauding as said sexy specimen. Writing for GQ, Olivia Cole voiced what many people have been muttering and mumbling over the past few days: “will everyone just shut up about Michael Fassbender already”. Though not quite trumping Ryan Gosling in the ridiculous-rate-of-films-per-week stakes, he’s slightly unavoidable at the moment. And I am not complaining (though I do think my Year 10 portrayal of Bobby Sands had the edge on his stint in Hunger. But that’s a battle for another day).

The first five explicit minutes of Shame mainly consist of his bare naked crotch advancing towards the screen, turning as his admirable bum swaggers away, only for the shot to be repeated again soon after. Watching this with my youngest sister and parents opened my eyes to the aptness of the phrase “stony silence”. My housemates were rather more animated – looking repeatedly from the screen to their own crotches and back again in muffled disbelief. One compared it to an arm. I think that was a stretch. But he is most certainly packed.
Peculiarly, however, what 2012 has so far shown us is that this is not exactly where it’s at. With the start of the latest Masterchef series has come a new wave of appreciation – ney, adoration – for greengrocer, judge, and self-professed “cooking woman’s crumpet”, Gregg Wallace. This is a man that defies all progress the poor psychoanalysts thought they’d made with that ‘sexy man’ definition. Hairless as the night is dark, with a penchant for puddings, and a severe lack of self-control (as we saw in a recent episode where he ate an entire pigeon…with his bare hands), this man has been deemed “the most probable Guilty Crush of 2012”.

Though back-handedly described him as having “that kind of sex appeal that makes you feel ashamed of yourself,” Gregg certainly has his pick of women – his current and third wife (17 years his junior) is a flame wooed over Twitter, though he has been known to gush to interviewers about his previous conquests: “I’m seeing a 29-year-old but some of them have been as young as 21!”
Psychoanalysts have debated Gregg’s appeal. One thinktank has put it down to the fact that women experience the same pleasure when thinking about food as when they’re having sex, but more and more, women associate food with Gregg. Indeed, it’s not Michael Fassbender or his ‘arm’ that leaps into my mind at the mention or sight of a chocolate fondant but that euphoric toothy grin, eyes squinting through glasses that threaten to burst off his head at any given moment, before he dives towards the bowl.

I’m pretty sure Nigella was the first to boldly tender family-viewing-time TV with the whole food-and-sex thing. It was she who so seductively lured viewers to watch her squeeze, mix, twist, and ooze ingredients into something edible, all the while licking her fingers and chucking a cheeky glance at the doubtless shaking cameraman to whisper into our screens: “I am what you’d call a domestic slut” (verbatim quote). She has no qualms musing with us that she’s sure “most women simply have a fantasy about having sex, in a non-defining, non-exclusive way, with other women,” or revealing “I don’t wear anything in bed” as she folds egg whites into chocolate ganache, threatening to “dive right in there myself”. It’s only since watching Babestation has become something of a regular post-night-out pastime (if only after the novel experience of stumbling across a ‘babe’ that looks the spit of our landlady), that I’ve truly come to see how explicit Nige is. Did anyone else catch that cover of the Stylist where she smeared caramel all over her face?
But it’s is neither her nor Babestation that gets every member of our house – both male and female – rushing home on a Monday to Thursday nightly basis, and much as we enjoyed Shame no one seems to be in a hurry to watch it again. Perhaps the face of ‘sexy’ is changing. And Gregg will be the man to do it.

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