What Are You Looking At?
I wrote about the commentary on the England v Argentina match on Monday. Today, The Guardian's Marina Hyde did the same but took a slightly different tack.
She turns most of her fire on Graeme Le Saux and suggests, without any evidence whatsoever, that, contrary to legend, he doesn't really read The Guardian but said that he did to make himself look clever. She says "it is perfectly reasonable to assume" this. Why? Because nobody who allowed Hello! to photograph their home could possibly read The Guardian.
Well, if Hello! want to pay half a million to photograph my home I'll happily take it and still read The Guardian, although I probably wouldn't live in this shithole for very much longer.
Ms Hyde is oddly indulgent towards the ramblings of Motson, saying he was "on comfortably deranged form". It proves my point that Motson has become above criticism, like the Queen Mother used to be in most quarters. When a man in a pub once said of the Queen Mother "I hate that old bitch", I was so delightedly shocked that I bought him a drink. On the other hand, I've almost been ejected from pubs for saying Motson was an irritating little nerd.
But the part of Marina Hyde's article that made me think she was a Marina who'd lost her moorings was when she wrote about the studio pundits. Actually, she's at least the second female columnist who has complained about Alan Hansen et al sitting with their legs apart and who has stated that she cannot take her eyes off their crotches.
What in God's name is wrong with young women today?
She says they should be trained to sit in a way that was "even approaching demure". But how demure does she think it is for a young woman to stare at a gentleman's bulge? It lends a whole new meaning to that common studio phrase "I watched your package with interest." And would it be acceptable for a male Guardian columnist to write about a female pundit's tits or visible panty line?
Ms Hyde says that on Saturday Alan Shearer was emulating Alan Hansen "by sitting in a manner which foregrounded the contents of his trousers".
Now there's nothing about either Alan that has ever led my eyes to wander southwards during their analysis of the match. But I think I might have noticed if any blatantly rule-breaking tackle had been on display. It's true that both Alans got rather excited by England's stunning victory but I don't think it was the kind of excitement that would have led to tumescence, or what the Young People now call a 'stiffy'.
(Incidentally, the upper classes always called an invitation card a 'stiffy'. Do they still do so? 'The Colonel put a stiffy through my letterbox this morning' could be open to misinterpretation).
I think Marina Hyde is missing something here. Or possibly not missing enough. Anyway, the two Alans are simply adopting the standard posture of the 'normal, red-blooded male' - a phrase that translates as 'not a fucking gay'. No footballer is ever going to cross his legs when sitting down because that would be equivalent to driving down Old Compton Street in an open-topped pink Cadillac singing 'I Am What I Am' with Will Young on his lap.
And sitting with your legs apart only becomes an aggressively sexual posture if:
a) You sit low in the seat with your legs very wide apart
b) You are wearing provocatively tight jeans
c) Your flies are open to reveal an obscene invitation embroidered on your briefs
d) You have the aforementioned 'stiffy'
e) In the absence of (d), you have sewn a length of hosepipe into your jeans, as Elvis used to do.
None of the above apply to Gary Lineker and chums. Well, I don't know about Lineker because he sits at a desk, although one suspects that he is able to reproduce without the use of front bottoms, rather like Ken and Barbie.
So, I think the fault here lies with Ms Hyde who probably needs to get out more. But she better start practising some eye discipline first because there are a lot of pubs where the lads with their legs akimbo are going to think she's well up for it.
In fact, a bird who can discuss the merits of the diamond formation AND can't take her eyes off your packet - they'd think all their Christmases had come at once.