And then he kissed me. His bristles were tickly sharp on my cheek, his body warm. He smelt amazing: a rich woody musk. And I thought: “I have reached the zenith of my career, and life. I have been kissed by David Beckham.”
Go on, admit it, you’ve thought about it. Even sensible, adult woman not normally smitten by idiotic celebrity crushes fancy David Beckham. Even women who don’t fall for people just because they look good in pants, who have no interest in football or Hello! magazine. Even heterosexual men. David, Beckham, Becks, Goldenballs (as Victoria infamously calls him) has got cross-gender, cross-sexuality, cross-country sex appeal. I think he might be our greatest British export; he’s certainly done better than Piers Morgan. Did I want to fly to Scotland and meet him? Of course I did.
Edinburgh is miserable, all lashing rain and blackened Georgian buildings, like someone’s taken Bath and submerged it in smog. We head to The Kitchin, a restaurant recommended by Gordon Ramsay, who was up here last night with Victoria (she flew up separately — they always travel apart when not with the children, presumably for security reasons).
This weekend we are celebrating Beckham’s new whisky: Haig Club. He has never promoted a spirit before. For more than 20 years alcohol brands begged and, I assume, offered top dollar, but he couldn’t (or felt he couldn’t) because he was a professional sportsman. Now he’s retired, he’s free to get drunk.
We hover, drinking cocktails made from Haig Club, with a nervous pre-date energy, waiting for him to arrive. Suddenly, a man with something in his ear appears and restaurant staff start stalking the door, like dogs waiting for their owner to come home. David Beckham is here. He shakes hands with everyone. “Hi, I’m David,” he says.
Jesus H, he is good-looking. Perfect proportions, square shoulders, not quite as tall as I had imagined. Teeth white (but not Hollywood perfect), hair slicked back (a bit too far at the temples), grinning cheekily so his eyes crease at the edges; smiling like a man who knows that you know he knows you fancy him. Less moody than on billboards, if a little older. But then he is almost 40 now.
He’s exceptionally dapper, of course — he’s David Beckham, the man who single-sarongedly invented metrosexuality, who made it acceptable for men to care about hair. “They said it was casual tonight, but it’s a Michelin-starred restaurant and Tom’s cooking for us especially, so I had to wear a jacket and tie,” he laughs. And I think, “Oh, isn’t he charming?” The other men are wearing open-collar shirts.
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