As an adult thirty-something woman, I like to credit myself with a modicum of intelligence and the ability to recognise and dismiss attention-seeking behaviour in it’s many and varied forms.
Nothing annoys me more than arrogant, rude and self-obsessed people who have no concern for anyone or anything other than themselves.
So why then do I infuriate myself by fervently following the modern curse that is celebrity culture, from reality TV to magazine gossip columns? The same people whose exploits I love to read about personify the very attributes I despise in everyday life.
Take Katie Price as an example. I watched with avid fascination as she “fell in love” with Peter Andre on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”, televised two years of her private life with him and their family and then lapped up every detail of their subsequent split and acrimonious divorce. I would shout at the TV and pontificate about their shocking tactics for self-promotion and lurid headline chasing, but never, on pain of death, did I miss an episode of their respective reality TV shows (dare I say, going as far as series linking each episode for my guilty viewing pleasure).
Deeply ashamed of my OK/ Closer/ Kerry Katona habit, I have even tried to keep my celebrity gossip appetite from my husband, not wanting to admit my hypocrisy and taste for all things trash.
This tack worked well until I nearly had a cardiac arrest when witnessing a “clash” of recordings was about to take place on my Sky+ planner between Kerry Katona’s “Coming Clean” and an Everton match and almost knocked my better half to the ground in an attempt to wrestle the remote control from his grasp.
So what is it that makes grown women, with hectic lives of their own (without being sexist, it’s usually not men who have a penchant for the gossip columns) stop dead in their tracks when a trailer for the latest reality rubbish shouts out from the TV to lure them in? The car crash element has to play a big part. The knowledge that someone else’s dramas are bigger and more dramatic than your own is somehow comforting and the irresistibility factor of being a “fly-on-the-wall” in someone else’s life and mishaps is hard to resist and a natural trait of human nature.
Proof that I’m not alone in my obsession is comforting. Every week, my colleagues and I discuss the latest happenings on the celebrity circuit as if we personally know the people involved, much to the chagrin of our news editor, who now knows far more about Peter Andre than is healthy or normal for a middle-aged man.
So, as another chapter in the life of Katie Price and her numerous husbands unfolds, it is perhaps time for me to hide the remote and cancel the magazine subscriptions and replace them with a more productive pastime.
Until the new series at least...