Daily Telegraph: “Someone like Silvio Berlusconi will always pinch my bottom
Pity the nurses at Silvio Berlusconi's sex addiction clinic, writes Celia Walden.
di Celia Walden da www.telegraph.co.uk
Pity the nurses at Silvio Berlusconi's sex addiction clinic. I can see the old rake now, inviting the youngest ones to come and sit on papa's knee, telling his therapist she'd be belissima with that chignon shaken out, her glasses off and the suit swapped for a bikini made of liquorice. Yes, if "hopeless case" is a diagnosis the doctors like to avoid, they may be about to run into trouble.
This, of course, is assuming the 72-year-old Italian premier takes his entourage's advice and agrees to seek help. A fortnight in a clinic has been advised, according to reports, as part of a grander plan to win back Berlusconi's alarmingly vocal, estranged wife Veronica Lario. But two weeks to cure 60-odd years of womanising?
Besides which, taking the "sex addiction" out of any Italian male is surely like asking them to stop all that trilling when they talk.
The symptoms (I've looked them up) read like a description of their national and well-deserved male stereotype. "Having an unusually intense obsession with sex, which makes it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships." Check.
"Engaging in distorted thinking, often rationalising and justifying your behaviour and blaming others for problems." Check.
"Taking risks despite the potential for negative and/or dangerous consequences." From when I was a student in Siena I have a strong memory of a man slowing his car down and throwing his wife, in the passenger seat, a sidelong glance before reaching out and giving my bottom a pinch. I didn't know whether to abuse or salute him.
No, a fortnight's therapy for sex-addiction won't do the trick for Berlusconi – but it would be worth it just to read that poor nurse's story.
Every summer, eulogies for St-Tropez fill the papers. The chavs are apparently frightening away the cicadas, just as the
Z-listers are scaring off the A-listers. This year, the small fishing town's mayor, Jean-Pierre Tuvéri, nostalgic for the golden age of Brigitte Bardot and espadrille-wearing Nouvelle Vague stars strolling anonymously along the port, led the lament. "We want St-Tropez to continue to have an image of excellence," he said last week, complaining that the resort is now described as a "French Ibiza".
Yet the place has never descended into the seventh circle of hell that is annually predicted for it, and the reason is simple. Ever tried to get there? I'm giving it a go this weekend, and for those of us without a helicopter or Abramovich-style yacht, it appears nigh on impossible. A quick glance at the whimsical ferry, bus and train timetables for the region tells you that all three companies are, apparently, in cahoots with Tuvéri in their fervent desire to keep the encroaching tack to a minimum. So next time you look down your nose at the "I ♥ St-Tropez" brigade, remember this: a 10-hour journey by air, land and sea gives people the right to a little vulgarity.
All this mystery over whether exams have got easier. I think I can help. I remember comparing exam questions with my two older brothers (both took O-levels, and not GCSEs, as I did) and chuckling into their disgusted faces. If you worked on the assumption that the answer to every GCSE science question was "photosynthesis" or "CO2" it was generally agreed that you wouldn't slip below a B grade; while modern language GCSEs must be the only linguistic test in the world in which you can be awarded an A while remaining blissfully unaware of a nasty little thing called verb conjugation. All of which makes the news that fewer teenagers are leaving school with a decent grounding in basic subjects, not so very mysterious at all.