The texting cheat? Give me a break…
TV star Vernon Kay’s admission to having text sex affairs with five girls, including a page 3 model, is nothing short of political correctness gone barmy.
How can you have an affair via a mobile phone? Call me old-fashioned but to me the word ‘affair’ conjures up images of steamy trysts in hotel rooms and intimate dinners in out of the way restaurants where no one is likely to spot you. And in neither of these scenarios is one of the participants busy tapping messages into their phone.
Sending flirtatious texts or emails is not cheating. If it were then I have been unfaithful for most of my married life. I often sign off an email message with a X to people I might not kiss if I met them in the supermarket. The fact is that the whole culture of flirting has been radically changed by the arrival of the mobile phone and the Internet. We have very quickly become a lot less formal and also more flirtatious. What cannot be said face to face without being considered a little too risqué can very easily be said via a machine. Precisely because there is no risk of actual physical contact. In my view flirting on an email or text is less dangerous than a bloke walking into a pub and flirting with a barmaid in person– which would hardly make front-page news.
Vernon says he would send messages like ‘I saw you last night and your dress was sexy’. Hardly ground-breaking stuff, but he now says he was “stupid”. The only stupid thing he has done is to give the whole scandal any credibility, even if some of the messages were smutty.
In France, where I lived for nine years and where infidelity is seen as crucial to keep one’s marriage alive, Vernon would be seen as a pretty normal bloke, apart from the fact that he has not, as far as we know, actually spent a cinq a sept with any of his text friends. Any full-blooded Frenchman would have saved money on his phone bill and popped over in person.
Helena Frith Powell is the author of Two Lipsticks and Lover published by Arrow Books
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi-based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor-in-chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group.
Helena contributes regularly to UK-based newspapers and magazines and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. She is working on a thriller set in Sweden as well as a novel about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield called Sense of an Echo.
In 2022 her short story The Japanese Gardener came second in the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize. One of her stories was also shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize. When she’s not writing, she works as a headhunter for the media and entertainment industry for the Sucherman Group.
Helena, who was educated at Durham University, lives in the Languedoc region of France with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019