February 24th, 2012
You really do have to feel sorry for the poor, poor man who was voted ‘Britain’s Most Under The Thumb Bloke’ this week. The award is said to make up the ‘big three’ of the awards season, along with the BAFTAS and the Oscars.
Not really, of course – it’s pure PR nonsense. Still, it didn’t stop the Daily Mail buying it, and buying it at length:
‘I’m truly under the thumb’: Is this Britain’s most henpecked man?
He watches girly box-sets, wears boots because his partner saw them on TOWIE, and he always sits down to go to the loo so his other half doesn’t have to lift the toilet seat up – meet Britain’s most ‘under the thumb’ bloke.
Henpecked Mike Jeffries, 25, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, always has to sit down when he goes to the toilet so his controlling other half Joanna Felicitas, 23, doesn’t have to put the seat down later.
Mr Jeffries admits his fiancee, who he proposed to in 2009, carries out regular spot checks during his trips to the loo – and even phones him if he takes too long.
Aaaand so it goes on, with claim after claim about how under the thumb this poor chap is said to be. But what’s behind this story?
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the following in the story:
After a six-week hunt for the most henpecked man in the country, organisers at lads mag Zoo and Brighton based The Stag Company were in no doubt that Mr Jeffries should beat thousands of entries to land the dubious title.
So the awards are given by The Stag Company, whose site interviewed Mark after Valentine’s day, in handing over the award. In case you’re wondering, The Stag Company are:
…the online home of the stag do, The Stag Company, who have been sending the groom-to-be on tailor-made stag weekends for the past decade.
And what prize did Mike get along with his title?
Once we’ve crowned our winner we’ll whisk them off on the most gruelling of manly weekends, the Newcastle stag do with 5 of your mates, as well as sending your iron lady to Bristol for a spa weekend 300 miles away
The story starts to get clearer – The Stag Company launch a search for the most outrageous stories, offering a decent-sounding prize to the couple with the most outrageous stories, and eventually find a couple with a very outrageous story. It might well be that everything Mike said about his girlfriend Joanna is true. Or it might well be that they embellished and exaggerated in order to win the prize, and The Stag Company were happy enough for this to happen as it gives them a better story to sell to the Daily Mail.
It’s not easy to check the veracity of Mike Jeffries’ story, remotely. His job as a football coach checks out, for example. However, I did find that Joanna Felicitas – described in the story as his controlling girlfriend – has form for winning competitions, apparently having won a competition from Splash FM in 2011 to go to Barbados:
My guess would be that Mike is not quite so extremely under the thumb as he’s made out to be, but that he and Joanna are canny enough to spot a way to win a competition when they see one – and good luck to them if that’s the case.
Whether the stories Mark and Joanna tell are all true, or are exaggerated to win a competition, what’s undoubtedly true is that the whole competition – and the article in the Daily Mail – exists only to let you know that if you’re looking for a stripper-laden stag do, there’s a company who can do that for you.