A brief thought on Page 3

by David D Paxton

So Page 3 will apparently no longer feature nipples. I’ve got plenty to say about the debate but I think I will leave most of those thoughts where they lay. Although I’ve rarely agreed with most of the arguments against the institution that is Page 3, I did always feel a touch uncomfortable about its existence. Something to do with its crassness I suppose. Something it said about me and the expectation that I needed or wanted such a thing. However my unease never extended to outright disapproval.

Well it’s gone now. I was pleased to see when it did go it went at the timing chosen by News International not whatever mob of the day was against it

I will though offer this observation:

A long while back, while still aware of that unease, I worked as a labourer. It was bitterly hard work with very early starts and was capable of inducing a level of tiredness hard to replicate without constant physical exertion. It was fulfiling in its way and I miss it.

Part of the morning ritual was being picked up in the white van, the sort Emily Thornberry might tweet about, imbibing of a cup of tea and saugsage and egg Mcmuffin and having a scan of the comic/newspaper that was on the dashboard (I’d often be mocked for my continued insistence my workmates collect a Telegraph or Guardian en route, my demands for Radio 4 were simply ignored). But that journey, myriad offensive conversations on breaks and the shower at the end of the day constituted small mercies akin to peaks of joy in other periods of my life

One morning I was zombie tired, just a few firing synapses above death. It was cold, the rest of the nation was asleep and I had a day ahead of lugging hugely heavy shit up and down a 5 storey townhouse.
Between mumbles and groans I reached for the Sun. It was all my deadened mind could handle. I opened the first page and despite my struggle to focus, there staring back at me was tanned female flesh, a beaming smile and a pair of soft, calming, bountiful breasts. We men can be simple souls at the best of times but I had now achieved new levels of simplicity. The image was no longer a statement of women’s role in society or of crassness, nor was it a symbol of more offensive and now anachronistic norms. It was just a mild stimuli of comfort in a dirty, smelly van. No more, no less. But tangibly so. I wished to thank Rupert Murdoch and Karen (23 from Essex) for providing such an oasis in my grim environment.

That experience didn’t make me start wolf whistling at passing women, in fact it did little beyond make a bumpy and freezing morning journey to work a touch softer. Perhaps though it did make me aware that the sneering disapproval, censorious  superiority and hectoring knowing of some out there reveals a gaping lack of empathy in their outlook.

I don’t wish to condescend all those builders with the energy to read Proust of a tea break, but sometimes life is a pretty hard slog, and sometimes a stolen moment absorbing the shining beauty of Karen (23 from Essex) is about as good as a day can get. I’d sure hope my reasoning is solid, well questioned and selfless in intent before I sought to deny such things to people whose daily lives and whose harmless ogling affects me not a jot.

 

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