John the Baptist pats women on the bum. Worse, John the Baptist says if they don’t like it, they should F**k off.
Small wonder he ended up with his head on a platter.
John the Baptist was the first acting role in which I saw Jeremy Irons. I was a young teenager on my first visit to London with Hope Baptist Chapel in Bridgend. David Essex was Jesus, but Jeremy stole the show as the soon to be headless prophet.
And he likes to pat women’s bottoms.
The story re-surfaced again this week, in a different context, and I confess to never having heard it before. But it’s the type of headline to instantly grab the predictable barrage of complaints in an age where, it seems, any sign of affection towards another human being is misconstrued as a personal, offensive and unwanted invasion.
Jeremy, I applaud you.
I have touched men’s bottoms all my life and now, in my Fifties, hope I continue to do so. I like bottoms. Round ones. Square ones. Big cheeks. Small cheeks. They are usually the first part of a man’s physique that a woman looks at (if his back is to you, that is). I imagine those cheeks trouser-less; I have been known to try to make them trouser-less; I have also been known (less rarely) to force them to put their trousers on when they want to take my friendly pat to the next level. But I have never put anyone under threat by being the patter, or put any man under threat (I don’t think) being the pattee.
So why the big fuss?
In the wake of sexual scandals worldwide and, in Britain, the Jimmy Savile abuse of young people that came to light only after his death, everyone is running scared. Don’t touch, don’t grope, don’t try it on, don’t say Fancy a quickie . . . Don’t do or say anything that might be interpreted as an invasion of personal space – hygienic or emotional.
It’s out of hand – literally and metaphorically, and if you are of a pattee persuasion, don’t hold your breath; it doesn’t look as if it’s going to change.
We might be alone, Jeremy. But I saw where your last allegedly errant act ended up - as Salome’s dinner on a big plate.
I might still take the risk. I don’t have many bottom-patting years left – not without risking arrest, anyway; and I can always plead insanity.
I’ll tell them John the Baptist made me do it.