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6 September 2019

Ginger Spice and Scary Spice slept together. If only they’d mentioned it in the ‘90s

By Eleanor Margolis

Following the “retrospective Nineties gay sex” trend set by Dumbledore, it turns out the Spice Girls were boning each other. Well, two of them did. Once.

Mel B recently revealed, in an interview with Piers Morgan of all people, that she and Geri Halliwell (now Horner) had slept together back in the day. And from the use of the word “admission” in the headline of the linked Metro article, it appears we’re not over the idea that – sex wise – anything other than a man and a woman doing 20 minutes of missionary followed by a good night’s sleep is scandalous.

You may “admit” to having hooked up with that guy with a carpe diem tattoo, playing unsolicited acoustic guitar at a party; but there is nothing inherently “admit”-worthy about sleeping with a member of the same sex. Let’s just make that clear. So why this piece of fairly mundane information about Mel B and Geri has reignited the drama that split up the Spice Girls in the first place, jeopardising their upcoming tour, well, who the hell really knows? Obviously it’s up to Scary and Ginger to beef it out as they see fit – and, of course, if Geri feels like she was “outed” by her band mate’s comment, that’s a legitimate reason to feel angry – but please, for the sake of the collective sanity of LGBTQ people, let’s not make this about shame.

Although Geri has yet to comment on Mel’s interview, she previously seemed to brush off sleeping with her bandmate as pure experimentation and a one-time drunken thing. But just like if JK Rowling had brought up Dumbledore’s sexuality in her actual books rather than on Twitter decades later, how cool would it have been if Geri and Mel were open about this at the time? The real shame of this whole supposedly mad revelation is how much they missed out on making my queer, Spice Girls-obsessed childhood (and presumably that of countless others) so much better. Odd as it would be to go public about a one-night stand with a pal/colleague, they really could’ve made a difference. At the height of my Spice Girls fandom, aged about eight, I’m not sure I was aware two girls, let alone Spice ones, could have sex. So two members in my favourite girl band opening up, in a completely non-beefy, non-dramatic way, about at least fancying each other a bit could’ve been huge.

Instead, what we have is a drooling tabloid pile-on, 20 years after the fact. So great for us as a society, I suppose. And well done everyone involved in engineering an innocent lesbian hook-up into a scandal. Or, more to the point: well done for responding to this in exactly the same way as the media would’ve done in the Nineties. Although I feel like the word “lesbo” would’ve been thrown around more then (what happened to the word “lesbo”?). In fact, a furore over two Spice Girls having slept together feels somehow more Nineties than anything that actually happened in the Nineties. And that includes Jarvis Cocker mooning Michael Jackson at the 1996 BRIT Awards.

Strained as Geri and Mel’s relationship may be, it would be nice if the re-formed Spice Girls didn’t implode because of a lesbian sex “scandal”. There are so many better reasons for a band to implode – from the classic “creative differences” to the less conventional “one band member starts dating Yoko Ono”. So take your pick, Spice Girls.

Meanwhile, if any members of All Saints would like to – calmly and casually, please – open up about having slept together, I would feel vindicated in my gut feeling that they, right from the get-go, had big dyke energy.

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