James Corden has reminded us this week that chubby actors rarely get cast as romantic leads. I can confirm that this has most definitely been the case with me; the offers have been very thin on the ground indeed. I have only had one film role, playing myself as the host of a sex party in the (in my view) unfairly maligned film Sex Lives of the Potato Men. The sight of me clad only in an ungenerous towel was enough to convince this viewer, for one, that naked chubby men have no place in any form of mainstream entertainment.
So, since I couldn’t bear the sight of myself, how can I agree with James? But I do; it’s just mad. The Channel 4 programme Naked Attraction has been widely excoriated as brainless smut. But it does have the merit of being just about the only place on film or television you can see ordinary human forms in a state of undress.
I appreciate that we are supposedly anthropologically hard-wired to be attracted to pure, symmetrical and unwobbly bodies. But this norm is never going to change unless the world gets to see what the rest of us have to offer.
I have had a fair bit of stick for how I look on the telly, as have many women. I think the difference is that people know it’s wrong to slate a woman’s looks. Not that it stops them. But men can be savaged with impunity. Here’s a familiar exchange I have had hundreds of times:
“What you up to now?”
“Well, you’ve got a face for it, after all.”
Perhaps I will give naked radio a shot; it would be a start.