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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
It was 4.30pm on Wednesday when I read the news that a survey has revealed women look their oldest at precisely 3.30pm on, er, a Wednesday.
Using the Photo Booth application on my computer (modern) I took a quick glance at my reflection and – having checked I hadn’t turned myself into stone – decided that yes, I did look older than I did when I left home this morning.
This, I concluded, was for a number of reasons: firstly, I technically was older than when I left home this morning by at least eight and a half hours, secondly I’d had quite a long, hard day, thirdly most of my make-up had disappeared.
As an impressionable teen – more about them later – I remember reading lots of agony aunt advice in Jackie magazine reassuring those of us whose parents refused point blank to let us leave the house looking like a clown, or a prostitute, or a clown prostitute, that most boys preferred “the natural look”.
Ah, the natural look. That’s the one that requires six hours in make-up, a nerve-shredding encounter with an ice cube and tweezers, countless thousands of pounds spent with a cosmetic dentist and enough polyfiller to repoint Norwich Castle.
No man has ever said they think I look more attractive without make up: which I put down to the fact that thus far, I have always been able to snare men with at least one good eye.
Without make-up I look uncannily like a paparazzi shot of George Michael taken a few minutes after he’s fallen out of a bush on Hampstead Heath. His excuse was that he’d been cavorting with a 58-year-old itinerant at 3am, mine is that I have the natural beauty of an outcrop of barnacles.
Despite the fact that I have never ventured near a plastic surgeon’s knife (my only reconstructive surgery was after I’d given birth and was carried out simply so I didn’t leak intestines every time I ran for a bus) practically nothing about my appearance is natural.
Bra based on a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, underwear by Ideal Scaffolding, teeth by Wedgwood, even skin tone by Dulux: it’s a dreadful litany of falsehood that makes Pete Burns look like a traditional English rose.
Research shows that two-thirds of women would consider plastic surgery and top of their wish-list is liposuction, then eyelid surgery, breast implants, nose jobs and facelifts. I dare not even consider liposuction. You could create two new human beings from the amount of blood and fat you could extract from me: Madonna and Angelina could adopt one each.
And eyelid surgery? Frankly, my eyelids are the least of my problems.
The news that I can expect to look even older than I already do at 3.30pm on a Wednesday is really quite unwelcome: at that time I’m always racing home to be there when my kids get home from school and I’m likely to be late if I have to stop on the way to check how old I’m looking.
A better time for me would be 8pm on a Sunday night. It never matters how old I look on a Sunday night and even if it did I could point out to anyone rude enough to mention it that God had officially given me the day off and to take it up with Him instead.
According to St Tropez (the tanning people, not the seaside town in France) women have “a slump in energy levels” by mid-afternoon on a Wednesday which is also, apparently, “the most stressful day of the week”.
Add into the mix “the visual effects of drinking at the weekend” (yellow skin tone, imprint of toilet bowl on forehead, bloodshot eyes, sheepishness) and “the abandonment of any skincare regime” (using Fairy Liquid instead of shower gel) and you’ve got a recipe for hideousness that peaks on Wednesday.
It’s a compelling reason for women of a certain age – I’m pushing for anything over 21 – to be given a leave pass to stay off work on Wednesdays on full pay to get over the trauma of it all. I say that while not believing a word of this ridiculous survey, obviously, but frankly, any excuse for a day off.