Today’s column from the Daily Mail’s Liz Jones has prompted ridicule and disbelief for its description of the moment she used sperm from a boyfriend’s used condom in an attempt to get pregnant.
Jones’ article entitled “The craving for a baby that drives women to the ultimate deception”, reveals what is as “her most shocking confession yet”.
To set the scene, Jones is a woman in her thirties living with a deadbeat boyfriend who clearly is not interested in fulfilling Jones’ longing for a baby.
So, Jones takes the matter into her own hands (literally):
Because he wouldn’t give me what I wanted, I decided to steal it from him. I resolved to steal his sperm from him in the middle of the night. I thought it was my right, given that he was living with me and I had bought him many, many M&S ready meals.
The ‘theft’ itself was alarmingly easy to carry out. One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do. Bingo.
Jones’ goes on to warn potential male readers that they should be careful with their used condoms, because women like Jones will attempt to steal it.
Predictably the article led to outrage, mockery and bemusement on Twitter.
For those unfamiliar with Jones, a look at her last couple of columns gives you an idea of her remit. “I’m kicking Boots off my Christmas list”, wails one, expressing her anger against the British pharmacy chain. Another, titled “Actually, I think you’ll find I DON’T owe you £8,000” rails against a time went she was incorrectly charged a fine for her American Express card.
Jones’ consistently angry manner, and her extreme personal problems detailed in the column, has led some to suspect that her column is actually an act, carefully designed to pull in pageviews from outraged readers (some would argue a common tactic of the Daily Mail).
At the New Statesman, Steven Baxter argues that the idea that Jones could actually be the person she purports to be is a “sad, sad story”:
Let’s assume that the Liz Jones who appears in print is not some confection or caricature, and that every word is true. Here’s someone who was so desperate to have children she stole sperm from her lover’s condom while he wasn’t looking; and not only that, she has written about it in a national newspaper, exposing herself to ridicule and contempt. Here’s someone who has, in the past, run up huge debts through overspending, over and over again, so much so that readers sent in scratchcards to give her a helping hand. Imagine that person is someone you know rather than just a byline in a newspaper you don’t particularly care for. Would you think of them as someone who needs help, rather than a bunch of strangers on the internet taking the piss out of them?
However, at The Guardian, Patrick Strudwick announces his support for Jones’ confessional style:
“Liz Jones – whom I have never met – has spent decades revealing her neuroses and nefarious behaviour. As other hacks hide in the trenches rewriting press releases or fawning over the latest product they’ve been sent, Jones is running naked into no man’s land (which could have been named after her love life) shrieking, variously: “I loved my cats more than my husband! I’m anorexic! I had a facelift! I’m nearly bankrupt! My personal life is an utter shambles and I’m too deranged to turn it around!””
Either way, the column is likely to be the most unusual you will read today.
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