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Aniston now linked to Everyman

The star’s romance with a bricklayer reminds us: we all love a tale of beauty and the bloke

ROSALIND MILES July 2 2007
THE BACK PAGES

Aniston now linked to Everyman

The star’s romance with a bricklayer reminds us: we all love a tale of beauty and the bloke

ROSALIND MILES July 2 2007

Aniston now linked to Everyman

fame

The star’s romance with a bricklayer reminds us: we all love a tale of beauty and the bloke

ROSALIND MILES

So Jennifer Aniston has found true love again. After a dumping by baby-faced Brad Pitt and a wet fizzle with the unappealing Vince Vaughn, the queen of Friends has been seen starry-eyed on the arm of a new man. Isn’t that nice?

And he’s a bricklayer! That’s so cute, so now. Nothing wrong with honest toil and a time-honoured craft. Christ was a carpenter, and so was Harrison Ford. Britain’s secondbest playwright Ben Jonson, Shakespeare’s contemporary, was a bricklayer and Winston Churchill was too, boasting he could lay 200 bricks a day.

So Aniston’s playmate, a Brit called Paul Sculfor, comes from an honourable breed, and the gossip sheets just can’t get enough. The big star with the low-down bloke makes a tale too rich to resist: the lady and the tramp. Tabloid tableaux are essentially 19th century, when class ruled all, so a thrill of delight ran through the pack at the idea of this unexpected coupling, like August Strindberg’s Miss Julie with the manservant Jean. The daddy of them all is Lady Chatterley’s Lover, when D. H. Lawrence makes it clear that the unawakened Constance is consumed by the idea of a bit of rough.

Where exactly does the frisson lie? Is it the idea of the delicate creature being taken by a coarse and animal male, Fay Wray and King Kong? Or is it a fanfare for freedom and sexual politics, proclaiming women’s right to make their own elections, ungoverned by social constraints?

Whichever way, cheers for the bricklayer. Except he’s not. Aniston did not pick up this prime piece of British beef on any building site. Sculfor is no more a brickie than Sean Connery is a milkman. He’s a 36-year-old who’s been an international male model for

10 years, since he beat other hopefuls to star in Levis’ iconic underwater mermaid ad. Before that he dabbled in boxing, and he’s now plying his trade in L.A., the place where muscles mean real money. But as long as the gossip writers have ink in their quills, he’ll be a horny-handed hod-and-trowel man.

Because it’s just too neat. Aniston’s beau slots into another facile categorization, the long line of unlikely consorts to Hollywood’s leading ladies, men with un-Hollywood pedigrees or more brawn than brains. There’s a lost legion of Mr. less-than-Wonderfuls out there who were born to supply the dark matter around the shining star. Gloria Swanson hooked up with a dodgy French marquis, Henri de la Falaise, in 1925, while in 1958 Jayne Mansfield targeted bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. In an even closer parallel with Aniston, Elizabeth Taylor chose construction worker Larry Fortensky to be husband No. 7, who never pretended to be anything else.

But she still wanted him, and you can see why. After an in-out, up-down, twice-married life with the wild Welsh wizard Richard Burton, she must have longed for a quieter time. Just as men are attracted to bimbos, so women can enjoy himbos: handsome, sexy, undemanding men. Isadora Duncan had a blissful affair with a Russian hunk who knew no English but had mastered the lan-

guage of love. It’s even better when the himbo is a real dimbo too. “Darling, he’s stupid, it’s wonderful!” was the buzz in London’s theatreland when Joan Collins’ friends wondered what she saw in her new husband, the exstage manager Percy Gibson. Gibson was also 32 years younger, and clearly able to shift more than the scenery for Collins. Good for her. In every woman’s sex fantasy, no one ever loves her for her mind.

But while the tabloids enjoy their little sneer at Aniston’s choice, who is a goddess supposed to take as a mate? Marrying beneath her may be game for a laugh, and doomed to fail: Swanson (six) and Taylor (eight) knocked up 14 marriages between them, and still ended their lives alone. But marrying up is no guarantee of success: what would have been the fate of any female foolish enough to fall for mega-rich studio boss Howard Hughes, a man off the fruitcake scale?

Jennifer’s as likely to find happiness with her himbo as with anyone else. But let’s give it time. Hungry for star fodder, the gossip columns pounce on any newborn affair and suck the life out of it. How can it be the real deal when they’ve only been dating for six weeks, the same length of time as Diana and Dodi, another over-ballyhooed great love?

So what if Aniston’s A-list and he’s something else? If you never break any of the rules, you’re not playing the game. Especially in Hollywood, where playing is all that counts. M