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Kate Middleton's Boobs And The Male Dilemma

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Two questions will have raced through the minds of most British men when they read the news about the Kate Middleton topless photos this week.

The first: when can we storm the banks of Normandy and deliver holy hell upon the bastard French for dishonouring our Princess?

The second: I wonder what the pictures are actually like. Are they on Google yet...?

This is the sad ambivalence that strikes at the loins of the red-blooded but right-minded whenever the gutter press leaks the latest nude picture we know deep down, we're not supposed to see.

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But men of Britain: I implore you, let's unite in breaking the habit of a life time.

I remember idly flicking through a copy of FHM as a teenager and landing suddenly upon a picture of my first love, an American cheerleader called Kelly Kapowski who you may recall from early morning kid's TV show called Saved By The Bell.

She had been the object of my first boyhood crush, the purest feeling I'd had about a woman before or since. I'd wake up early every Saturday to see her and then fall asleep every Saturday night dreaming of taking her to my school disco.

And then suddenly, years later, there she was - not longer an apple pie picture of innocent perfection but leaning against a rock with her tits out, pouting.

It felt awful, wrong, obscene - even though if anyone had offered the picture to me in advance, I'd have no doubt ripped it from their hands, kicked them in the shins and ran away before they had a chance to reconsider.

In the instance of Kate Middleton - a sweeter, kinder, more dignified woman you'd struggle to find in all the world's fairytales - this feeling will be manifestly worse.

Because for all she is beautiful and likes to wear a posh frock, the Duchess isn't a sex symbol. She's a newly wed young woman who goes around being sweet to dying children in hospitals and charming to charity workers. She is an emblem of decorum and decency, the example we should want to set to our young girls.

The Palace has described the decision of French Closer magazine to publish the pictures - taken with a lens as long as the Great Wall Of China by some soulless papp who can probably no longer muster the will to masturbate through the cloying fog of his self-loathing, rendered numb and impotent by bewilderment at how meaningless his life has turned out - as "grotesque and totally unjustifiable", which of course it is.

What is additionally sad is that the magazine responsible is one that purports to represent the thoughts, needs and wishes of women. Is there a single woman in the world who wants to see Kate's privacy cynically and sleazily blown to bits? It's hard to imagine FHM, Esquire or even ZOO or NUTS publishing these photographs. Where's the female solidarity?

The last time this happened, to the actress Scarlett Johansson, I wrote elsewhere that even though we know it's wrong, "when a Rihanna or a Britney or a Scarlett pops up on the cover of seedy Sunday tabloid, exposed against her will... many men walk a tightrope between the two strongest instincts women bring out in us: carnal desire, and a wish to protect."

Usually when this brief battle flares within, we menfolk end up shrugging, ignoring the twinge of morality and taking a peek at whatever pictures are causing the storm.

But in the case of the Duchess - partly because of who she is and what she represents, partly because this feels like a crude revenge shot from the French for the Olympics, the Tour De France and London being way cooler than Paris for a summer - let's do the right thing this time.

Let's stand with the palace. Let's join our much derided press in showing some class. Let's storm the beaches of righteousness.

Let's not look.