Adorable British Modesty Meets Laughable British Tabloid Hype

Adorable British Modesty Meets Laughable British Tabloid Hype

If there’s anything more hilarious than a sex obsessed culture that pretends NOT to be sex-obsessed, it’s the performative outrage of tabloid newspapers which run breathless stories about sexual misconduct right beside advice columns that instruct readers on how best to get away with that very same sort of sexual misconduct.

Take the subject of public sex as reported on by British tabloids, for example. The same tabloids that heap shame upon people caught in compromising positions invite you to read, seemingly endlessly, about other, similar shameful episodes — all while trying to pretend to be shocked by the subjects of their reports.

It all leads Calico to wonder, how shocked can they be, really? Do the publishers of these rags even expect people to believe they are shocked and dismayed, or is it all just an exercise in clickbait?

A recent story about a celebrity who saw a couple having sex in a car underlines this whole confusing relationship between British tabloids, sex, fame and shame. And make no mistake — the very sort of behavior which seems to shock the tabloid today was, just a matter of weeks ago, subject of a how-to article published by the same tabloid.

How are we to make sense of this apparent hypocrisy? Do the tabloids even care if we take seriously their pearl-clutching, or is it all just designed to catch eyeballs and get fingers clicking and tapping ever deeper into the tabloid cesspool? Calico offers her thoughts in a new post titled “Adorable British Modesty Meets Laughable British Tabloid Hype.” 

by Calico Rudasill, Pearl Clutching Porn Movies

british sex scandal tabloid

Read On…

A few years back, I recall seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” talking about the difference in the way British and American audiences receive Hamilton.

The biggest difference? The British audience is “they’re super hung-up about sex… they giggle at sex stuff.”

The fact that Miranda was surprised by this British hang-up suggests many things, among them that he may be unfamiliar with British tabloids, in which the simultaneous fascination with and shame over sex is laid bare (sorry, couldn’t resist) on a daily basis.

Oh, the British Humanity! (But Please Do Click Here for More Shameful Tales…)

Among the many things I find charming about British tabloids is the way the publishers and their writers pretend to be horrified and shocked by stories of the sort which seem entirely commonplace within the folds of their publications.

To be fair, sometimes the person acting shocked isn’t the writer, so much as a person featured in the story the writer has penned. Take this piece about actress Catherine Tyldesley, for example, who recently “happened upon a couple having sex on a country lane” and decided the thing to do was document her reaction on social media.

“So, I’m a bit early for an appointment, I just turned off down a British country lane,” Tyldesley says in a video about the incident she posted. “I thought, I’ll have five minutes’ meditation, I’ll have my lunch.”

“There’s a car parked a bit further down and I was squinting thinking, I’m sure I can see movement in that car,” she continues. “There’s more than movement…. The car in front are having a casual adult cuddles at lunchtime. And I’m just sat here having a gander with my chicken pitta.”

british sex scandal tabloid andrew

Some Victim Cards Really Should Be Left in the Deck

Here’s the line that really gets me, though: “This would only happen to me.”

First of all, Catherine, nothing is happening to you. You are pulling a voyeur on the occupants of that other car – which, obviously, is something happening to them. Aside from the risk of choking on her chicken pitta (which I sincerely hope Catherine did not do, obviously) I’d say she has a lot less to complain about than the occupants of that other car.

Second… are you fucking kidding me? You’re the only person who would ever happen upon two people having sex in a car, or otherwise having sex in public view? In England?

Making Catherine’s exasperation at the oh-so-novel experience of seeing people have sex in a car all the harder to swallow is the fact the story appears in the same publication which published in May a primer on how to get away with having sex in public!

Another British tabloid, meanwhile, back in 2015 reported that 43% of 2000 British survey respondents admitted to having broken the law by having sex in public – more than admitted to littering or illegally downloading movies!

In other words, don’t drop that pitta while clutching at your pearls Catherine, because this ain’t exactly a humans’-first-contact-with-extraterrestrials level of unusual event you’ve stumbled across here.

OK, Maybe a Little Sympathy for the Devil Pitta Eater

I feel like I’ve been a bit unduly mean to Catherine Tyldesley here, so at the risk of seeming wishy-washy I’m going to do a little instant backtracking. 

It’s clearly not Catherine’s fault that a tabloid which publishes quite a lot of stories about public sex picked up her social media post and ran with it. And if she’s not familiar with those stories, all that really means is she likely doesn’t read British tabloids – and good on her, if that’s the case.

Plus, setting aside the question of whether her shock and bemusement over seeing people have sex in a car is authentic, I do have to give her some credit for offering some solid, practical advice to others who may be inclined toward having sex in cars.

“They weren’t bendy, they looked a bit cumbersome,” she said of the couple she observed that day. “They looked like they probably sustained head injuries. If you’re going to do it in a car, either borrow a bigger car or limber up first. It looked all kinds of awkward.”

Sure, she still shouldn’t have been gawking at the couple in the first place – but at least she closed with some constructive criticism, right?

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