I've pretty well established by now that I've got a big crush on the bad girls of history, women like Mae West and Catherine the Great. But that raises the question of who's a bad girl today.
The automatic response, of course, would be that Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are modern bad girls. But are they?
Here's what Paris Hilton had to say for herself on "Larry King Live" after she was released from jail earlier this year: "It was one of the happiest days of my life. Like -- it's hard to even describe. It was so exciting even just being in the fresh air and looking up at the sky and the stars and being outside and then it was just pandemonium and then as soon as I saw my mom I just ran to her to give her a hug."
Paris Hilton, booking photo:
And here's what Mae West (who also served a few weeks of jail time in the 1920s, on obscenity charges for writing a play called Sex) had to say about being a bad girl, in an interview with The Guardian in 1979, just a year before she died: "I was a bad girl with a good heart. I don't think things have changed so much. It's still a man's world, with men making the rules that suit them best....You've gotta have plenty of self-esteem, nerve, and be bold in life. I've been liberated all my life. I always did what I wanted to do. I was an original."
Mae West, 1927 jailbird:
OK, I think Mae West could have shown Paris Hilton a thing or two about being a bad girl. But, dear reader, I'm interested in your comments. What is a bad girl, exactly? And who's the bigger bad girl, Paris or Mae?