Zoe Strimpel

The mysterious sex appeal of Nigel Farage

He’s a rare kind of man

  • From Spectator Life
Nigel Farage enjoying a cigarette (Getty)

I remember sitting on the bus a few weeks into #MeToo and thinking all the men looked disengaged – buried in their phones or listlessly looking out the window. I imagined them thinking it just wasn’t worth it to look up lest they be accused of making unwanted advances. These days, I spend fewer mornings worrying about the fate of the red-blooded male. Nonetheless, it’s not rocket science to suppose that for a significant swathe of men – those who fear being publicly shamed or sacked – it really isn’t worth showing their appreciation of women. 

Farage brings to mind the kind of bonking that wouldn’t be followed by a chilly ghosting, but rather more invitations to drink and bonk and make merry

Nor is it surprising that with the decline of male lustiness comes the dimming of men’s better traits, those that were not creepy or sad but fun and spice-of-lifey: that winning audacity thickened with masculine charm. I was fond of the generosity of the committed drinks-buyer who may hope for something physical but who is also just happy paying homage; I was fond, too, of the charisma of the man capable of giving compliments and meaning them, and of the raw sexual appeal of the man who really, really likes women, whether that is bedding them or marrying them or talking to them flirtatiously about real, important things.

It seems, however, that rather than entirely kill them off, #MeToo has created a new appreciation of this ever more rare subspecies of male. How else to explain the continuous rip-roaring romantic success of Nigel Farage?

An admiring high-profile recap this week of his women over the years – wives and others – reminds us of the allure of that kind of red-blooded approach. His first wife was a nurse he chatted up while in hospital recovering after a car crash; then, two sons later, there was the second one, a German bond broker called Kirsten Mehr, whom he met and insta-seduced in a Frankfurt trading room in 1996 when on the hunt for money and a ‘new wife’. She was ‘a stunning government bond broker whose brisk efficiency at first sight belied her ethereal appearance’ – according to his 2011 autobiography Flying Free. There followed a whirlwind marriage and two daughters. A string of girlfriends and mistresses has followed, with Farage known to pursue ‘anything in a skirt’, according to his chum Richard North, the anti-Europe campaigner. He is now with Frenchwoman Laure Ferrari whom he met in Strasbourg in 2007, where she was waitressing.  

I do not like Nigel Farage the politician nor, particularly, the man. He seems brash and vulgar and big-headed. Sexually, I’d go for a skinny young man with cheekbones and a natural sixpack any day of the week. That said, his approach to women and fun – the boozy nights in the pub, rounds of cocktails, clouds of his smoke, and his obvious enjoyment of the fairer sex, carnally and otherwise – is a reminder of a jollier time of humorous rollicking, chance-taking and cheekiness. Farage brings to mind the kind of bonking that wouldn’t be followed by a chilly ghosting, but rather more invitations to drink and bonk and make merry. Compare that to today’s po-faced culture of scrupulous consent-seeking and feminist allyship.

In short: the Farage approach, much like that of Boris, is not only fun for the man, it seems to be just as fun for the woman. Take the testimony of Liga Howells, a Latvian woman he met in a Kent pub, who claimed – not that it was a night of advantage-taking and #MeToo rulebook infractions, but of excellent sexual endurance. Though to her claims he had managed seven love-making sessions in a single night, Farage wrote in his memoir that Howells ‘wasn’t screwed. I was’, because he’d drunk too much to be able to perform.

The idea of a Farage sort, or a Boris looking for women on dating apps is simply not possible to imagine. These are blustery, slightly unkempt upper-middle aged men who drink too much and probably have bad breath, not least from the endless smoking (in Farage’s case). This sort has always found women wherever they are; at work, in pubs, in hospital. As for how they make them love, or at the very least enjoy, their company? It’s the scent of the old-school good-time-man, of course, an aroma made extra attractive for being so rare. And thankfully like other unethical luxury goods, it hasn’t yet been entirely banned.