If I’m ever rich and famous (admittedly, a little unlikely) then I’m sure I will need to peruse a few CVs and select a bodyguard.  I’ll probably be looking for someone similar to those men on ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ or something, he’ll be built like a large bulldozer, have James Bond-like gadgets, sleuth-like cunning, and of course the sunglasses, earpiece and black suit will come as standard. The last person on my interview list would be a woman.  Emotionally volatile, unthreatening and probably more suited to babysitting my children.  But perhaps I will have made an unforgivable oversight in my choice of Mr. Bodybuilder; at least this might be Colonel Gadaffi’s opinion.

With the small army of around thirty female virgins specifically employed to guard the Libyan leader it would seem that Col Gadaffi is an advocate of an alternative approach to personal security.  You may ask, why would I want to involve myself in some Freudian male fantasy by surrounding myself with lithe Amazonian women?  But perhaps Gadaffi is onto something.

Leaving aside the fact that the women are all supposedly virgins, they are also highly trained killers and, as Gadaffi’s 30 year rule suggests, they are clearly more than capable of fulfilling the stereotypical male role.  And this eccentric dictator is just one of many high profile figures who have turned their backs on tradition and employed women to protect them.  J.K. Rowling, Liza Minelli and Kate Middleton are just a few of the names of protected celebs and they have all been seen with a female bodyguard. Looking at the benefits it’s not hard to see why women and men are choosing to employ women with a licence to kill.

The days of bodyguards rugby tackling lone lunatics are gone. Technology negates the need for sheer brute force and intimidating henchmen: today the successful security team is much more dependent on intellect and subtlety.  With the exception of Gadaffi’s harem-esque entourage (which would stand out like a sore thumb against any backdrop, let alone one including a Bedouin-tent-bearing dictator) choosing a woman as a bodyguard would achieve the client’s critical requirement for someone a little more understated than Shrek.  A woman can blend into the background of a restaurant or a mall by looking like a friend of the client’s or maybe their PA, they can become invisible in a crowd of screaming fans outside a rock concert or football stadium whilst scanning for potential danger, and, most importantly for women employing women, they are far less likely to provide an excuse for gossip.  If Barry Mannakee had been a woman then perhaps the rumours of his inappropriately close relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales would never have been circulated.  With both men and women taking the same courses and passing the same tests to qualify as a professional bodyguard, not considering a woman when selecting a bodyguard could be a potentially fatal mistake.

So, I think I might reconsider my initial decision. When I’m rich and famous, and unless I need someone to help heave around a dumbbell or two, the neatly dressed woman standing in the back of the paparazzi shot will probably be my bodyguard.

Louise Gundry

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xjrlokix/4053635284/