Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Why Susanna Reid's ex strikes a bum note with me

Did Susanna Reid fall victim to the Curse of Strictly or the Curse of Modern Woman?

You have to feel sorry for Susanna Reid. Yes, words I never thought I'd write either about the woman who ferociously chased the Strictly title. But the BBC Breakfast presenter really has been badly let down by her partner.

No sooner do the couple split than Dominic Cotton makes the break-up public in spectacular fashion, launching a search for new love on internet dating site Match.com.

Despite the fact the couple were together for 12 years and have three children, Cotton certainly didn't hang around to see if there was any chance of salvaging the relationship. Oh no, move along. Next!

He loves himself, too. You can just tell. Like the boast about his 'bum' being his best feature. Those leathery haunches are 46 years old, for goodness sake. Okay, maybe his backside is holding up. Which is fortunate, because his face is the face of an old, old man.

If only he could find a way to put a picture of his rump on his Match.com profile instead of his chops, he might be in with half a chance.

Then there's this sales pitch: 'Underneath my blokeish exterior I am a sensitive soul.' Except, not that sensitive when it comes to pondering how all this will reverberate on his more famous ex-partner. In fact, it smacks of revenge.

Still, who does Cotton fancy his chances with in the lurve stakes? A younger woman, of course! He wants someone aged between 35-45. Which is always interesting.

Men like Cotton never go up the age spectrum, but always delude themselves they're a catch for a woman a decade younger. Even with the hefty baggage of a ready-made family of three and a high-profile ex.

The official line is that Reid and Cotton remain good friends, yet clearly something has gone badly awry.

Typically, The Curse of Strictly has been invoked, but more likely it's just The Curse of Modern Woman.

Reid's failing is to have been too ambitious – for a female. That's what prompted a backlash against her on Strictly; from the moment she wriggled into her first sequin dress, it was clear she wanted to win. And what's wrong with that?

She wasn't the youngest, slimmest, or the one with a youth spent hoofing around in musical theatre, but she had the sheer force of personality that brings shows like Strictly alive.

It was clear she loved it, too. There's always been that slightly racy side to Reid on the Breakfast sofa – the occasional flash of knicker and cleavage, the flirtatious interviews.

Suddenly, she'd been set loose to have a bit of fun. She looked like any mum who once in a blue moon gets to dress up and go out with the girls. The bars across Northern Ireland are full of them at weekends, women briefly able to forget about Trevor or Tim's rants about football, sorting through his crusty socks for the wash and finding half a sandwich he left down the side of the settee.

Maybe Susanna relished frothy Strictly because she'd been working like a docker for years on a hard news show like BBC Breakfast.

And she is a grafter, getting up at 5am three times a week to commute from London to the BBC studios in Manchester.

Of course, Cotton will probably have felt that he was left alone with the kids, no matter that she trekked back home after hours of live broadcasting every day. (Unlike her male colleagues, she'll also have had to make sure she didn't look like she'd only had a few hours' sleep). Cotton may even have felt it was very generous of him to let her pursue her career, even if it did bring in a shed-load of cash.

Clearly, Cotton was punching well above his weight. He had an intelligent, go-getting, attractive partner who could make the most of life's opportunities. Someone now reportedly poised to land a lucrative contract with ITV.

When he first met her, what did he think she wanted to do with her career? That it was just something she was playing with in the time after university and before having his children?

When men like Dominic Cotton are lucky enough to woo someone like Susanna Reid, it's like a comet strike. A mighty earth-shattering, once-in-a-lifetime stroke of incredibly good fortune.

Yet even now, his dating profile is whizzing round cyberspace, and he thinks there are five or six more women like Susanna out there, all desperate to be with him.

Wise up, man. You're simply not going to get hit like that again. A kick up that well-preserved bum might be in order though.

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