They dismiss him as a thick, jumped-up footballer of fading talent and think the reason women like him is because we’re easily fooled.
They’re wrong, of course. I admit the six-pack and the chiselled cheekbones are an enjoyable bonus, but they’re not what women find most attractive about him.
No, the real reason most women like David Beckham, I suspect, is because he’s so obviously a very devoted father.
Whether he’s crying over baby Harper (‘I can’t even look at her without welling up,’ he confessed shortly after her birth), playfully hurling his boys into the Malibu surf or giving them affectionate hugs at a baseball game, everything about him suggests he puts his family first.
And although his wife Posh infuriates us — too thin, too pouty, and anyway, why on earth does she always look so miserable when she’s got the world?— I have grudgingly to admit to admiring her, too.
The fact is that despite the £14 million Beverly Hills mansion, the £200 million in the bank, the jet-set travel and the international fame, she and her husband appear to have pulled off the remarkable feat of raising their offspring to be polite, well-behaved and not obviously spoiled.
Which is what makes yesterday’s news about Romeo Beckham so dismaying.
What were his parents thinking, to allow him to model in Burberry’s latest ad campaign? By putting their ten-year-old son so firmly in the spotlight, they’ve made a terrible mistake. For Romeo, any last semblance of normality ended the minute that campaign went public yesterday.
The footage shows him pulling up the collar on his trenchcoat, striking a provocative pose with his umbrella and smiling for his close-up like someone who’s had an Equity card for 20 years.
No doubt the Beckhams will say it was Romeo’s choice to take part, and he certainly looks as though he’s having fun.
But they should still have firmly turned down his first modelling job. Because from now on he becomes not just another well-behaved, good-looking Beckham child, but a public personality with all the attention and demands that entails.
Perhaps the Beckhams, who after all move in a world in which modelling high-fashion brands is an everyday event, think they can control what happens next. But unless they ban Romeo from doing any more shoots until he’s at least 18, they’re deluding themselves.
Smile: For Romeo, any last semblance of normality ended the minute the campaign went public yesterday
Close: Romeo has the undoubted advantage of a close, loving family. But will that be enough to protect him?
Patsy Kensit, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss, Drew Barrymore, Daniel Radcliffe ... all began their careers young and all have struggled, with varying degrees of success, to overcome the difficulties of a childhood distorted by celebrity.
Romeo has the undoubted advantage of a close, loving family. But will that be enough to protect him?
How can he learn to become a grounded adult, able to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties, if he’s been admired from the age of ten for nothing more than wearing stylish clothes?
Of course, it’s perfectly understandable why he was so keen to become a model. Like many sons, he wants to emulate his father. But does David Beckham really want Romeo to believe that all you need to succeed in life are famous parents and an attractive face?
Whether you like or despise the Beckhams, what’s undeniable is that they have made their fortunes not through family money or connections, but through a mixture of sheer determination and hard work.
The best thing they can do for the four children they clearly adore is to allow them to do the same.
According to a consultation report by the Department of Education, most parents don’t think online porn should be blocked and are happy to deal with it themselves by installing filters on their computers.
This doesn’t tally with the views of any parent I know. It’s like saying we shouldn’t produce cars with seatbelts, as parents who want to keep their children safe will fit their own. Let’s just be clear here: We’re not talking about banning porn. We’re merely asking that adults actively opt in to receive it.
There’s nothing difficult or nanny-state about that — but because all-powerful internet companies will lose revenue, this Government has chosen to protect big business rather than protect our children.
Politics doesn’t get much more gutless, cynical or self-serving than that.
Too sick for Sandringham?
Glorious: Kate looked sensational at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night
Does this mean that she will, after all, be able to spend Christmas at Sandringham with her husband and the rest of the Royal Family? I doubt it. In fact, I anticipate a return of her hyperemesis by the weekend, necessitating one last Christmas at the Middleton family home.
There, she can expect to enjoy her mother’s festive party games, her sister’s canapés and the sight of Dad in yet another fancy-dress costume.
As the Sandringham alternative entails endless formal meals, several outfit changes a day and no chance at all of an afternoon snooze on the sofa, I predict her sickness will continue unabated until Twelfth Night at least.
I loved Denise Van Outen’s rumba in the Strictly semi-final on Saturday, and Kimberley Walsh’s Charleston was extraordinarily good. But for sheer grace and beauty of movement, it’s hard to beat Louis Smith, whose foxtrot was mesmerising.
Women are throwing themselves at him, but he insists he doesn’t sleep around and says he’s waiting to find the right girl so he can marry and have children. That’s four tens! (And my vote in the final).
Brought to bookFor the first time this Christmas, British shoppers have bought more presents online than in the shops. But if you’re trying to buy an e-book for a Kindle owner, you’ll be disappointed.
You can give them an Amazon gift voucher, but you can’t buy an e-book and arrange for it to be sent to the recipient’s Kindle, except in the U.S.
Since the whole pleasure of giving a book comes from choosing a title you hope a loved one will like, this makes it impossible to buy books for those who now do all their reading on Kindles.
Amazon’s saved itself millions by legally avoiding paying British corporation tax. Perhaps it can devote some of that money to finding a way around this very irritating problem.
Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of billionaire Formula 1 boss Bernie, says that all the money in the world can’t give her what she really wants for Christmas — for her parents still to be together.
Meanwhile, a poll for a law firm this week revealed that more than half of divorcees think it was too easy for them to get divorced.
Time perhaps to amend the old adage about marriage to make it more in keeping with the times: divorce in haste, repent at leisure.
Actress Alison Steadman is Botox and implant-free at the age of 66
Cate Blanchett says she doesn’t think anyone looks better after plastic surgery and identifies the ‘invisible years’ — when you’re not old, but not young either — as the time when women are most vulnerable to its temptations. This is a little rich, considering that Blanchett is still a knock-out at 43.
Anyone considering surgery, however, should take a look at actress Alison Steadman, who at 66 is Botox and implant-free. What she has proved is that even those of us who aren’t as luminously beautiful as Blanchett can age well.
All it takes is a great haircut, good make-up — and a determination never to write yourself off as invisible.
Last week I wrote that pensioners were eligible for the Royal Mail’s seasonal reduction on stamps, and was inundated with calls and emails from readers pointing out my error. The discount, in fact, is available only to those pensioners who receive pension credit.
The truth is, as so many of you explained, that most pensioners struggle to afford the prohibitive cost of stamps — yet no other group derives more pleasure from sending and receiving Christmas cards.
The Post Office has not distinguished itself in recent years. It’s done away with the second post, abandoned the quaint notion of delivering letters in the morning, and, despite a boom in parcel deliveries thanks to online shopping, has managed to price itself almost out of the market.
The least it can do now is give its oldest, most loyal customers an apology and a thank you — and make this discount available to all pensioners every Christmas.
Praying for changeThe gun lobby’s argument is that ‘guns don’t kill people; people kill people’. But as the events in Newtown so tragically illustrated, mass slaughters such as the one at Sandy Hook elementary school don’t happen just because of a few deranged men. They happen because in America it’s easy to obtain guns, even when you’re deranged.
This Christmas we will hold our families close as we give our heartfelt prayers and sympathy for the bereaved parents in Newtown.
They must somehow find a way to bear the loss of their children. The rest of America must finally bring a halt to the all-pervasive gun culture which is as unnecessary as it is ingrained.
As President Obama so rightly put it in his very moving speech, these tragedies must end — and to end them, America must change.