There are lots of standard questions you should ask on a first date. “Where did you grow up?” “What do you do for a living?” “Do you mind if I just escape through the fire exit once I feel I’ve had enough?”
But the question few ever ask, but they really should, sounds the simplest question of all but is in fact a very complex psychological test that will tell you all you need to know about the hapless fool sitting opposite you. No, it’s not “lemon or lime in a gin and tonic?” – although that is a good one – it’s “Who’s your favourite Spice Girl?”
And with the fab five rumoured to be returning for a reunion tour for their 20th anniversary – actually, make that four; Posh has said no thanks – there’s never been a better time to wheel it out.
Posh – Victoria Beckham
VB is the go-to Spice for quite a few guys, I have noticed. Of all the quintet, she has the biggest contemporary profile. Married to chiselled, doodle-filled football hero David Beckham, mother to four children who will be cluttering up magazine covers way into our dotage and, bizarrely, supreme ruler of a fashion empire that anyone who remembers those cheap New Look black dresses she sported in the ‘90s can’t quite get their head around, Victoria is the full package.
“Oh I think she’s fabulous!” they cry. Yes they really are talking about the woman who has barely smiled for the best part of two decades and sat on a throne on her wedding day. “She has a great sense of humour,” they will trill, perhaps in reference to the Beckhams’ array of his and hers outfits the pair would wear before they had that serious rebranding and headed for Hollywood.
And here’s the problem with the date whose favourite Spice Girl is Posh: they think they are a brand. Victoria’s aspirational lifestyle and unashamed devotion to glam has influenced many a civilian in trying to “luxe” up their life, running up huge credit card bills just so they can have an A-lister experience.
VB fans don’t smile, don’t open car doors and roll their eyes whenever a camera comes out – unless it’s their own and they’re photographing their pornstar martinis for Instagram.
Victoria has it all, and they want a bit of it too. The nearest they may get to it is sporting a pair of knickers from David’s H&M pants range, but they don’t care – they know their moment will come.
Whether they’ll hang on to you while they wait for it is quite another matter.
Ginger – Geri Halliwell
Just like the bolshy, spiritual leader of the band, Geri devotees tend to be a conflicted bunch.
Hyper-confident to the point of insanity at breakfast, by lunch they’ll be opening that big tin of Roses you were saving for Christmas and telling you how worthless they are.
Enthusiasm is their currency, but it’s usually in short supply and you may find they’re in an overdraft situation before any big ideas have actually got off the ground.
The Geri fan will be big on inspirational fridge magnets and assuring you that you can achieve your dreams. Whatever they may be. It doesn’t really matter – they’re just saying it.
They’re also fond of rash decisions – Geri herself decided to leave the band after a drunken night out with Chris Evans – and so you may well come home after a perfect date with them to find a voicemail telling you they don’t see a romantic future and that you’ll never see them again.
A fireball of self-doubt, turbo-charged hubris and toddler-style tantrums, you never know where you are with a Geri fan. Perhaps it’s better that way.
(Full disclosure: Geri is my favourite.)
Scary – Mel B
Assigned the label “Scary” back in the day by Top Of The Pops magazine – presumably by someone who hadn’t met many people from Leeds, because she’s positively introverted compared with Sandra on the Greggs counter in the Trinity – Mel B is anything but.
She does, however, have zero filter and an admirable stubborn refusal to become refined no matter how much fame and fortune she acquires – and loses again. Not to mention self-confidence that could power a jumbo jet.
Your Mel B fan’s bolshiness is different from Geri’s. Mel B fans will order pints at The Ivy and belch at funerals and zero fucks will be given.
If you can look past all that, and you really really should because nobody cares about The Ivy any more and funerals could do with a donk on them in general, you could be in for quite the thrill. Mel B’s insatiable shagathons are the stuff of legend and it’s scientifically proven that people from Yorkshire are an absolute rollercoaster in the hay. 💅
Like their idol, however, the Mel B fan will have terrible taste in men, suffering catastrophe after catastrophe. So, erm, what does that say about you, exactly? Zig-a-zig-ah… the penny finally drops.
Sporty – Mel C
If I were being glaringly obvious, I’d say that all the sporty boys loved Mel C and leave it there, but that’s not necessarily true. Mel C, in fact, is queen of the underdogs.
Mel C fans sat in silence for long enough while their fave was pushed into the background, but it was solo she really came into her own. Your Mel C fan totally gets this.
He’ll be one of the quietest in his group of friends and while he says he loves them dearly, he’s probably fantasised about them all dying in road accidents quite often.
Mel C, of course, was the unsung hero who could actually sing (Emma being the only other Spice Girl with half-decent pop pipes) but very graciously gave centre-stage to the others.
Sure, she was allowed to do a few backflips every now and again but nobody really took any notice; it was very much a Geri and Mel B show for long enough. Mel C quickly retreated into her little hobby of playing football and wearing dodgy trackies. Until one day, she crafted the perfect response – sodding off and have a decent solo career. That showed ‘em.
Your Mel C fan is the mouse that roared – just watch out he doesn’t bite your head off in the process.
Anyone who’s seen a Spice Girl video will tell you that Mel C always gave the most energetic “sincere face” – with very haphazard results – so you should expect to see this when you ask your Mel C devotee whether they love you.
Baby – Emma Bunton
Aw. Baby! She’s the approachable one, the cheeky one, right? She’s downright adorkable.
With a glint in her eye, perma-pigtails and a clause in her contract which decrees she must never be further than 14cm from a lollipop, Baby embodied those sweet, innocent doe-eyed little gays who’d just arrived in the Big Smoke (or wherever, just imagine your nearest neon metropolis) and needed taking under someone’s wing. But don’t be fooled.
Of course the thing about Emma is she could exclaim the most outrageous things and get away with it simply by reaching for a Chupa Chups and jamming in her gob before you could say “WTF?” Your Emma fan has similar pluck – they’ve been getting away with murder and blaming it on someone else for years.
Baby fans play on your insecurities and your generosity to make you feel sorry for them, only to savage you behind your back.
And that cherubic smile they throw your way while waving you goodbye as you head off to work? It slips as soon as the door closes; they’re straight on the phone to your best friend asking if he’s DTF. And because nobody can resist a lollipop, he is. Always.
In the ‘90s, Baby was forever sticking her tongue out. Her 2015 fan will be putting his everywhere.
Baby’s no baby, baby.
“I don’t have one.”
Don’t fuck this guy. Everyone has a favourite Spice Girl. You can’t NOT have one. Ask him again. He’s got one. It’s probably Mel C and he’s too embarrassed to say.
“I love all the Spice Girls.”
Get fucked. You’re disgusting. Pick one.
“I preferred All Saints.”
Again, nice one, they were amazing, but you can’t really tell a lot about a man who preferred Shaznay to the Appletons. Can you even have a favourite All Saint? No. (It’s Mel.)
Just tell us who your favourite Spice Girl is and accept the cheap, misguided psychoanalysis. Thank you!