'Kindly' advice to young women lost in Lumley's chilly tone
Young people. Aren’t they dreadful? Either they’re falling over in the street and showing their knickers, or they’re lying on soccer balls and getting a thoroughly deserved kicking.
Luckily, we older types are around to give them the benefit of our advice. This is where actress Joanna Lumley comes in, putting her long and lovely foot in it.
During an interview with the Daily Telegraph last week she started talking about the behaviour of young women. And, you know how it is, once you start banging on about how appalling young people are, it’s kind of hard to stop. Not that Lumley’s advice was wrong exactly: “Don’t be sick in the gutter . . . in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you. Either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head, or they’ll rob you.”
It’s just that it was somewhat chilly in tone: “Don’t look like trash, don’t get drunk, don’t be sick down your front, don’t break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight. This is bad.”
Don’t break your heels? Don’t break your heels? My goodness, Joanna, I know you’re from a military family, but that’s a bit of a tall order. Your shoes are held together by your own effort of will? Broken shoes are a sign of moral laxity? This is a tough love indeed.
Of course there was murder about this advice, which Joanna Lumley insists was meant kindly.
Hate figures of the week
In fact she and young Charlie Morgan (17), who appeared to delay the return of a soccer ball while working on the sidelines of last Wednesday’s soccer match between Chelsea and Swansea, became the hate figures of the week. Lumley was accused of snobbery and blaming young women for bringing rape upon themselves. Morgan was accused of being cheeky and a spoiled young pup, who deserved to be kicked by the Chelsea player, Eden Hazard, who had lashed out at him – allegedly and not very hard – in frustration. (Morgan’s father, Martin Morgan, is a director and the principle shareholder of Swansea football club. He has also been named as the 32nd richest man in Wales.)
To some of us the greatest surprise of the sorry soccer incident was not so much the nerve of Charlie Morgan, but the fact that there is a real person called Eden Hazard. (All right, he’s Belgian, but all the same.) In the Joanna Lumley outburst there were no surprises at all. Censorious adults have said exactly the same things about young women and how they drink/dress/fall over, usually when we ourselves are gathered around a bottle of wine, or six. That’s when we get really furious – I mean concerned – about young women’s public behaviour.