A piece in Glamour magazine (July issue) caught my eye as I stood in the overheated spectators' area of our local pool, watching my daughter struggling to complete a width without armbands. GAFFs – “guys after fame and fortune” are a new phenomenon, the article claimed - these are men looking for riches and success by having a relationship with a female celebrity. Think Jesus Luz, Madonna's ex. These men have spotted a fresh way to become rich and famous: they are prepared to reinvent themselves to get their woman, to lie and deceive, to twist the truth to their own advantage, in short to make a great deal out of not very much, all to win their girl and the lifestyle that goes with her.
After the swimming lesson was over, my daughter picked a story from the box of battered books in the corner of the spectators’ area: Puss in Boots.
Straight after the Glamour article, Puss in Boots shines out as a blueprint for how to social climb and get rich by hooking the right girl. Perhaps men have been marrying into wealth and status for a lot longer than Glamour imagines.
Puss's endgame is the same as the GAFF's: to gain influence, status and riches for a poor nobody - the youngest son of a miller. And he's hugely succesful - the King's daughter falls in love with the miller's son (possibly after she sees him naked in a river - having a buff body helps), and unlike Jesus and Madonna, they live happily ever after.