Travis Barker's proposal to Kourtney Kardashian was nothing short of vulgar and bordering on phoney

NOT showing off. In the slightest. Honest, guv.

But I have had a number of ­proposals. Of the marrying kind.

This does not necessarily make me great. This does not make me special. Or even a great catch (which, on reflection, I actually am, BTW). But to be fair, I did only accept three. Which, I think, showed some restraint.

People’s obsession with proposals nowadays is as insane as their infatuation with those tacky, commercialised baby gender-bloody-reveal parties. (Why do we need to know the sex of your baby? It’s like opening your Christmas presents before the big day).

Anyway, I digress. Proposals have never been as much about perfection, sublimeness, grandstanding and one-upmanship as they are today.

I reflected on this when I saw Travis Barker’s proposal to the oldest Kardashian lass, which looked gobsmackingly stunning. But also so utterly manipulated, staged and bordering on phoney.

Granted, the couple haven’t exactly given themselves a life of privacy but there I was, foolishly, thinking that the whole point of a proposal was the ­element of surprise.

Cut to press pictures of a giant circle made of thousands of premium red roses (the most boring “romantic” flower, if ever I saw one), dozens of carefully curated lanterns hosting giant candles (each of which must have cost more than Kris Jenner’s monthly manicure bill), formed in a circle on a beach looking on to the sunset in Montecito, California.

Family were all standing in the wings like a rent-a-crowd, waiting in hot anticipation with phones on standby.

A professional photographer and video­grapher were primed and ready.

Behind the scenes, the evening’s ­dinner celebrations were all laid out.

The bride-to-be, dressed up to the nines, marched of her own accord, ­purposefully to her fate.

Dressed in black with, no doubt, a well-rehearsed look of astonishment and amazement ready to be revealed when the ­inevitable question would be popped.

I mean, it probably wasn’t a patch on Kanye’s (or Ye, as he’s now known) very public, televised proposal to ­Kimmie K.

He rented out the AT&T stadium in San Francisco, hired an orchestra, spent a reputed £5.8million on the bling and stood under a giant sign saying: “Pleeeease marry meeeeee.”

And all the extended family were correct and present, pretending to hold their breath as if there was any ­suggestion of anticipation about the whole affair.

So, I guess, to that end Travis’s ­display could be interpreted as “subtle”.

These modern acts of grandeur feel completely soulless. They’re not about the prospect of marriage — they’re all about over-indulgence and extravagance. But whatever happened to surprise and humility? Whatever happened to subtlety and earnestness and ­solemnity?

Did that all get thrown out with the onset of social media and reality TV, when all we really care about is ­seeing, with envy, how others do it and trying to recreate it in our own lives?

Nothing short of vulgar

Heartfelt and sincere proposals have now been replaced with prancing, showboating, strutting and playing to the crowd.

In the words of Jessie J, it’s all about the money, money, money. And to me, it’s nothing short of vulgar.

It’s all about predictability, certainty, engineering and controlling life.

Surely there should be a bit of the unforeseeable, volatility and capriciousness about a ­marriage proposal? I do know, in my humble but qualified experience, that romance is subjective. Red roses may be one person’s ench-antment but they’re my idea of absolute laziness, predictability and tack.

Going down on one knee (picture a medieval knight kneeling before a noblewoman) is one person’s chivalry but my idea of old-fashioned silliness and an outdated sign of disparity.

Pre-cooked and briefed family ­members or audiences in attendance, with video recorders and cameras to hand, is the stuff of nightmares.

For what it’s worth, I quite like Kourtney with a K.

I look at her and think about the fabulous time she must be having with her rock ’n’ roll BF.

Where is the privacy and intimacy between two truly loved-up people?

My wee proposals — the ones wot I can mention — were reasonably ­humble. One involved being asked, on a scrap paper, whether I would run off to Mexico with said person.

Albeit in a wine bar. In Rome.

Another was on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral and with the ­presentation of a lovely ring. And the final one was cool — it was over a tasting menu at a half-decent restaurant, where the man in question couldn’t quite get his words out and talked all around the houses without directly asking me.

And then resolved to place the BIGGEST bit of bling I have ever seen in front of me.

It was a fake diamond, worthless. And it was just as I would want it to be. It was a kind of irony — a parody of all those who make it all about the cost of the ring and the grandiosity.

Whatever happened to the antithesis of all these inflated, bombastic and pretentious “acts of love”? Whatever happened to shoving a plastic ring in his/her Maccies of a dull Sunday ­afternoon? Making sure, of course, he/she doesn’t choke and die.

I champion the dumbing down of proposals. Making them something the average Joe can afford, making them funny.

But most of all, bringing them back to what people want to do rather than what they feel they should.

Bake Off’s Matt is latest victim of comedy killjoys

CAUGHT a bit of Great British Bake Off on Tuesday night. It’s highly informative for a cook like me and so entertaining with Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding at the helm. I love those guys more than I love scones.

It was German Week. And – shock, horror – Matt Lucas dared do a German accent.

“Oh, crap,” I thought. “The audience will be up in arms about this.” And as sure as eggs is eggs, they were horrified.

For some reason, doing an accent is now deemed xenophobic.

Matt is a brilliant creative. He’s a fine actor, singer, writer and comedian.
Funny is now so closely monitored, it’s suffocating.

I’m pretty damn sure that if Matt had done a Swedish impersonation, no one would have batted an eyelid. I’ve spent my life being mocked for the Swedish chef from The Muppets and I’ve taken it for what it is: Comedy.

Without doubt, it makes a mockery of the Swedish language and how it sounds, but I have never interpreted it as a hatred of Swedish people.

Asphyxiation of comedy by narrow-mindedness and righteousness will not only kill our spirits but is a road to a dismal life of intimidation.

Coleen's in my frisky fifties club

WELCOME to the club, Coleen Nolan – the club for women rediscovering sex in their fifties.

Coleen has spoken about how she has rediscovered sex at the tender age of 56 and how her boyfriend – who she hooked up with on Tinder – has “awoken a tiger, which I didn’t know was there”.

And she is now having the best sex of her life. Well, hallelujah!

As you’ll be aware, I set up this club a few years ago – post-divorce from a sexless marriage.

I had just turned the corner on 50 and set myself on a mission to ensure I did actually have sex again before I died.

For women in marriages or long-term relationships, it’s all too easy to forego sex and think missing out on that intimacy is a small price to pay for keeping the family together.

Or we accept that the end of swinging from the chandelier is just a rite of passage once we get to a certain age. We have been prog-rammed to somehow put up with the slowing of sexual activity due to age and we often put it down to a general slowing down of our minds as well as our bodies.

Of course, I accept that for many people this suits. We acknowledge, somehow, that this is simply what happens. It’s just one of those things. And I know many people lose interest.

But as Coleen is proof, it can often just be a question of the right person pressing the right buttons.

I thought my sexual engine was dead, kaput. And there was defin-itely a part of me which thought this was the natural course of things.

But then, by force of circumstance and the demise of my marriage, changes took place and I found myself all fired up – like never before.

While I recognise that many people don’t feel the need or urge to get all sexed up again, it really can make a huge difference to your life.

That feeling of being alive – that feeling of being a bit shaken and less stirred – can be truly life-affirming.

We need to normalise that women over 50 can have just as big a sexual appetite as women in their thirties. And sometimes, like me and Col, even more so.

Firm is so big HRT-ed

I’VE long since revered Sir John Timpson, owner of Timpson shoe repairers and key-cutters.

A businessman worth some £200million has made it his mission to take a very personal approach to his business.

This includes, courtesy of his son James who has taken over affairs, ensuring that ten per cent of the workforce are former offenders.

Timpson offers mental-health support to employees and even free holiday homes to foster families.

This week, it was announced that Timpson is going to allow all its menopausal staff to claim back their HRT prescription costs.

I don’t want to mention the menopause too much in this Menopause Awareness Month, but this puts joy in my heart.

About one million people take HRT and the costs can add up to around £100 a year, which is why I’ve been part of The Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, calling for HRT prescription charges to be waived and demanding businesses offer more support.

The Timpson move may seem a small gesture but it paves the way for something greater.

It shines a light on those who go through what can be an incredibly difficult time of life.

It acknowledges its presence in our midst and recognises employers’ responsibility to help those who work for the company.

Most crucially, it’s saying to older women: We still value you and want you to work with us.

Big business doesn’t have to be heartless. It can genuinely make a difference and let people feel truly cared for.

    Source: Read Full Article