It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single hack in possession of a sexy job must be in want of a fellow wordsmith in order to start up a journalistic dynasty — or at the very least a drinking partner who can keep up.
Like all high societies, hackdom has its fair share of Mr (and Ms) Darcys, so with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we at Press Gazette consider it our duty to introduce you to some.
Editor of Loaded who hurtled his way to the top after a start on women’s weekly Bella. Now the longestserving Loaded editor since James Brown.
Where would I woo him? "I can be found in the darkest, most conspiratorial corners of the grimmest pubs in Waterloo, scribbling ideas while drinking heavily. I am the yin to the yang of the Groucho luvvies."
Translation: Shoreditch on a Saturday, the Stamford Arms leering at barmaids during the week.
What does he want in a partner?
"Never-ending tolerance, partial hearing, and the ability to call me a taxi, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
And he’s happy to date a hack: "In these modern and enlightened times, who cares what a girl does for a living — so long as she’s got a great body. And mind, of course." Bless.
How likely am I to succeed? "I’m only ever five minutes away from the old girl punching the ejector seat button," he admits. "To be honest, I wouldn’t go out with me." So if that hasn’t put you off, go for it — but you may have to elbow that Abi Titmuss out of the way… there are rumours.
Dazzlingly well connected (he’s the Independent’s gossip columnist), dashing, stylish (Press Gazette’s best dressed man last year) and he’s single — and all at only 28.
Where to woo: "Monday to Thursday, wherever there’s a red carpet," he tells Press Gazette. "Weekends: By day — up to my waist in a river, in gumboots with my 16-bore shotgun; by night — the grottier end of Chelsea."
Ideal partner: His list: "Brains, beauty and sparkling wit — I’m an optimist. And she must be kind or deluded enough to laugh at my jokes, and not to laugh at my wardrobe."
Chances of success: "I’ve never had the pleasure of dating a journalist, but it would fill me with delight," he says. "My female colleagues — not least fellow gossip columnists — are among the most beautiful creatures in all London." Does he have his eye on one of them in particular, we wonder?
As editor of saucy women’s glossy Scarlet and "one of the UK’s leading and most respected sex writers", Sarah has had the pleasure of testing more than 200 sex toys for Ann Summers. So she’s either the ultimate girlfriend or very, very intimidating.
Where to woo: "I’m a bit of a workaholic [well, who wouldn’t be? — ed], so the best way to meet me would be to come to my office between the hours of 10am and midnight." Now you’re stalking!
Ideal partner: "I’m extremely shallow and get queasy around men who wear the wrong cut of jeans."
Chances of success: Just one tip: "I’m dubious of any man who bangs on about how great he is at oral sex — I meet a lot of men like that, and hope it’s an unfortunate side effect of my job, rather than something the entire female population is suffering from."
Highly respected and successful editor of The Observer. Pots of money and Patrick Stewartesque charm.
Where to woo: Good news for all traditionalists out there: "Shouldn’t I be doing the wooing?" he asks. "Or is that hopelessly oldfashioned?"
Has also always had "a fantasy about being greeted warmly by some gorgeous girl on a ski slope".
Ideal Partner: "Self-starting people who will bring in the stories — then you don’t really give a fuck whether they are absolute cunts or really nice or whatever." OK, that’s what he looks for in a journalist (Press Gazette, 6 January). But see below… Chances of success: Happy to date a hack: "It’s hardly unknown in our business is it?" And his relationship status is currently "fluid".
From self-confessed "Nathan Barley-style" beginnings, Jonathan has gone on to work at The Guardian and The Face and freelanced for French Vogue, NME, Elle, Observer Music Monthly and Dazed & Confused. He is now working as commissioning editor at GQ, just five years after leaving university.
Hate him or date him?
Where to woo: "The Duke of Cambridge, Islington, third table from the right by the roaring fire," he directs, like an unusually good-looking sat-nav device. "Or the Waitrose cheese counter in Marylebone."
Ideal partner: Excellent news! Jonathan insists on a girl "who knows more about Chloé bags than the political situation in Israel".
Chances of success: According to Jonathan: "Lady journalists are known guy killers. And they don’t half like a pint or three."
One for the IT boys, Kathryn is the online editor at the New Statesman, and a lone woman in a geek’s world. She knows what RSS feeds are — oh, and she’s six foot tall.
Where to woo: "Chimes (an English restaurant with a lovely range of ciders), wandering along Bankside, Spitalfields Market, the National Portrait Gallery." Cultured and a cider drinker.
Ideal partner: "Intelligent, tall, a sense of humour that ranges from intellectual to silly, tall, independent, self-effacing, tall, enjoys a good debate over a glass of wine… Oh, and tall would be good — did I mention I’m six foot in my heels?"
Chances of success: She’s happy to date a journalist — "though the ability to occasionally listen rather than talk would be refreshing" (but that might be a jibe at men generally, not just male journos).
Attitude editor since 1999. BSME men’s magazines editor of the year 2005, who counts Madonna, Robbie and Tony (as in Blair) among his cover stars. Also imagines himself as a close friend of George Michael, but admits to being "clearly deluded".
Where to woo: Adam can be found at the King’s Arms, Poland Street, though he warns to "enter at your peril". He dines out at edgy East End eaterie Bistrotheque, Hackney, and at Patisserie Valerie in Soho, home of sweet cakes.
Ideal partner: "A sense of humour and big socks."
Chances of success: Adam says dating another journalist is fine. "It’s cool. We can bore each other to death with how sharp and media-savvy we are."
Channel Four news reporter who spent his early 20s as economic correspondent on The Observer. Just 28, he’s writing a book on the North/South divide.
Where to woo: "The Virgin train to Manchester. Stretford End. The End nightclub in central London."
Ideal partner: According to Faisal, they must be "multi-lingual/talented/dimensional with an understanding of football-related fanaticism, ability to do a headspin or the helicopter, preferably both".
Chances of success: Faisal feels dating another journalist just creates more problems. "It’s a bit inbred and bad for the gene stock," he says. We think that means he’s persuadable. Being from Manchester could swing it for you.
Staff writer on the NME. DJs in London and Barcelona, globe trots in pursuit of bright young things.
Comes equipped with air miles and guest lists.
Where to woo: "By the bar at the crucial rock gigs. Spinning discs at Kill All Hippies or Club NME. Taking notes at the Covent Garden comedy club or drinking the Phoenix bar dry of Rioja. Or on Myspace, researching bands, obviously."
Ideal partner: "An intense love for — or at least a massive tolerance of — alternative music, because there’ll be a lot of it about." Translation: you need to be prepared to stand around in dive bars while dirge rock damages your hearing. But hey, love hurts.
Chances of success: Low, if you’re only with him to meet the Arctic Monkeys. Or if you are the Arctic Monkeys. And since he gets all the entertainment junkie freebies, Mark says he’ll "need to hook up with someone who writes about restaurants, books, hotels, theatre and internet poker so we’d never have to spend a penny between us for the rest of our lives.
Which pretty much narrows it down to Victoria Coren. Have you got her number?" Actually, we do.
Telegraph diarist and GQ model, currently the topic of spurious rumours about her own romantic status.
Where to woo: "At the opening of every club, restaurant, bar, shop, and envelope, Monday to Friday, because it’s what I do. At the weekends I don’t go out much, but if I do I’ll go to Portobello market, or my favourite pub in Shepherd’s Bush, the Anglesea Arms."
Ideal partner: No messing about here. "Looks are, obviously, vitally important. Character isn’t too high on the list." You can leave the unread Proust at home then.
Chances of success: We can confirm her relationship status is "enjoyably single". But would she consider dating another hack? "Male journalists tend to have a slightly "unwashed" quality about them, but they’ve also got the sexiest sense of humour in the world. So, on balance, yes."
More4 News presenter and one of the more recognisable faces of Channel 4’s "adult entertainment" foray.
Impressive/intimidating CV littered with stints at the Beeb and Five.
Where to woo: Lunchtimes are spent at Charlicks Deli on Gray’s Inns Road, "a great Italian deli", evenings at Soho House, winding down after work in the media hub. Sarah also quite likes Regent’s Park on a sunny day.
Ideal partner: "Humour, compassion, intelligence, wit, enthusiasm, good looks, passion for life and an interesting job. Can’t imagine why I’m still single!"
Chances of success: "At least when you date other journalists they understand the deadlines and the unpredictability of the job. The downside is that they, too, are highly likely to cancel the minute a story breaks."
The Daily Star’s resident music journo. Man about town and showbiz party addict who knows all the best gigs and gossip.
Where to woo: At a gig or glitzy showbiz event.
Think Brits or NME awards. According to him, he’ll be "taking on alcohol in an effort to get through the unformed glob of noise I often have to listen to from bands and PRs".
Ideal partner: "I meet loads of easy-on-the-eye women, but after the first three months of feeling like a kid in a sweetshop, I got bored with the superficiality of most showbiz types." So 3am girls need not apply. Otherwise, someone who keeps him on his toes, can maintain "a balanced relationship"
and, he says, "it would help if they didn’t give a damn about anyone in showbiz."
Chances of success: Joe is currently "single, but staying in practice" (his words, not ours) and knows that even if he sounds like "an alcoholic, ungrateful and argumentative git", he’s "alright really". Tabloid hack with heart shocker!
Mail on Sunday diarist, one of Press Gazette’s Best Dressed and it seems, Heat magazine incarnate.
Where to woo: "You would be most likely to find me nestled in a discreet corner of Claridge’s Bar. It’s chic, busy and great for celebrity spotting. Other than that, the dance floor of Boujis is another favourite haunt of mine and always a good bet for getting a scoop."
Ideal partner: "Honesty, a great sense of humour and height."
Chances of success: Honestly? Not great. The thought of dating another journalist fills Katie "with horror". "It would be a terribly unromantic courtship. We’d talk shop all the time, fight for air space and argue over who got the best story of the week."
Weekend national newsreader for GMTV.
Freelances for BBC Breakfast and juggles a West End acting career.
Just a question of where she’d squeeze you into her schedule.
Where to woo: "I love the open air, so, I could have wandered off to any remote, beautiful part of Britain, or failing that, you could find me daydreaming along Regent’s Canal."
Ideal partner: "Sexy eyes, a sweet smile and someone I can share a laugh with." Sounds easy? Reality check: she’s gorgeous. And she’s just had a pilot comedy commissioned by Rob Brydon’s production company.
You may have to make her laugh really hard.
Chances of success: The thought of dating another journalist fills Claudia "with pleasure". She also reveals the astonishing fact that she’s never dated anyone with a full-time job. Could be good news if you’ve just been made redundant.
Martel Maxwell Stevenson
Scottish showbiz editor and weekly columnist, The Sun.
Where to woo: In Glasgow and Edinburgh at music gigs and several city bars. In London, the Met Bar is a favourite. "When the pubs come out, the kebab shop." At least she’s honest.
Ideal partner: "They must not look like Peter Stringfellow, because I don’t like men whose hairstyle is older than I am."
Chances of success: Martel imagines it would lead to arguments over who’d be putting the date through on expenses, but would be delighted if she won the argument. "I’ve never dated another journalist, but wouldn’t rule it out." So there you have it.
Those who refused to take part… THE LAME EXCUSES
"I would rather staple my eyelids to the floor, but thanks all the same."
"Unfortunately, I’ve got three kids and a missus. But I’m willing to swap the four of them for a centre-spread!"
"You’re not going to put my name beside my nomination are you? Could look a bit odd as I got married a month ago."
"It’s funny, I don’t want to participate, and yet nominating other people is highly amusing."
"I’m afraid I’m going to have to back out because I’m not exactly single. Although I could bluff it as an unmarried, but I fear this is taking it a step too far."
"Oh Press Gazette, will I look like an arse?"
"I don’t really want my ex, who works for the Beeb, thinking I’m on the shelf!"
"My colleague might do it if you tell her Piers Morgan nominated her."