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I hope you don’t mind me asking but do I look any different today?  Not at all?  Not wishing to put words into your mouth, but is there any chance that I look radiant?  That is to say, even more radiant than usual?  Refined even?  Okay, supple? What do you mean “no”?  Oh I see, I always looks radiant.  Thank you.

The reason I ask is because I was poised to write a piece about the touch paper of the Brexit bomb being lit by the PM yesterday.   I was thinking on this in the shower this morning.  I was using a shower gel, ah-hem, I mean a shower mousse which confidently stated without any caveats whatsoever that should I venture into the shower with this product, that I would emerge with my skin being “cleansed, radiant and refined.”  It also has a special nozzle that it helpfully advised me was reminiscent of the nozzle for piping cupcakes, which is obviously what I do when I’m not stroking my kittens or riding my ponies. And just in case I wasn’t sure that I would understand it in English, it also gave it to me in French as well. Having used it liberally, I was rather hoping that the effects might be obvious, but it would seem not.  How disappointing.

Anticipating that the effects from this miracle mousse were not likely to be as successful as promised, I started looking at the wording on all of the beauty products that I have (of which there are many) and then I wondered what the wording was like on products for men and decided to compare the two.  I report my findings to you.

First, there were a lot fewer products in the bathroom, or indeed the house, for the Man of the House.  He’s not a particularly vain person, which is just as well because I have a rule that a woman should not be involved with a man who spends more time in front of the mirror than she does.  However, I think he is a fairly typical man in that respect.  I have a lot of lotions and potions for a variety of first world beauty needs, which are obviously not needs at all.  The disparity in the number of products tells its own story.   However, in spite of there being precious little to choose from, there was a manly shower gel.  Well actually it was a hair and shower gel, so it performs two functions at the same time.   I have a separate shower mousse, shampoo and conditioner.  The bottle was a dark and manly colour, with hard edges and an easy to use top.  No fancy cupcake nozzle for him!  No, no.  He has manly work to get on with like striding around on his mobile ‘phone shouting “I need you on this deal, dammit!” and “buy” or “sell”.  This is why he needs one product to do everything as quickly as possible.  I had a look at the bottle.  There was one line on the front: “For the man who wants to look good effortlessly.”   On the back there were some short and clear directions, in one language, as to what to do with the gel if you were such a man.  Wash with it.  It also advised that if you get it in your eyes, to rinse them.  Bless.

I moved on.  My products have lots of writing on them which include words like “peptide”, “expertly created”, “latest scientific advancements” and “essence” on them.  Frequently there is an accompanying leaflet and a box.  They also make claims as to the effectiveness of the product such as “anti-ageing” and “leaving skin feeling supple and comforted”.  And if all of this is not repeated in French, then it is frequently peppered with French, because let us be honest, everything sounds so much better in French.

Boy stuff?  Theirs has directions as to use.  One body spray specifically advised to “shake well….hold upright….15-20cm from body and spray.”  Another helpfully advised the nervous user that it was okay to use their product everyday.  Just what kind of a man are these products for? Some years ago, a friend of mine (who had just got his own flat), was cooking chips.  He put the oven on to heat up, then when at temperature, got the chips out of the freezer.  All as advised on the instructions.  Very good, well done.  He opened the oven door and got his baking tray at the ready.  Just wanting to check how long they took to cook (because you get chips out of the oven when the instructions say so whether they are actually cooked or not), he placed the bag on the hot oven door…. he only did it once, presumably because he didn’t need to do it twice because the instructions were forever to be viewed on the oven door…….He now runs his own successful business.  Surely if you spray yourself in the eye with a body spray you are only going to do it once?  And isn’t the clue in the name? Presumably they felt that they had to put something on the bottle rather than leave it blank.

Meanwhile, ladies, one of my products advised me to “Forget the diet”.  If you have read my blog about my shopping experience then you may be forgiven for thinking that I might need to go on a diet.  However, I am not on a diet.  I have never been on a diet.  I have no intention of going on a diet.  Ever.  They are not helpful for me.  That is not to diss women who are on diets, because I have lots of friends who do find them useful as a way to help them feel better about themselves.  However, what particularly irritated me is the assumption that all women are on a bloody diet and a numpty somewhere thought that an opportunity to bring it up on a body wash was a good idea.  Someone proposed it in a meeting, presumably to nods of approval, and then at another meeting, and then it landed on someones’ desk, and it ended up on a container of shower mousse and in my shower. With entirely the opposite effect of the one intended because it really pissed me off.

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon, the two most prominent and powerful politicians in our country met earlier this week to discuss what will inevitably be the most tumultuous time for our country since the European Union came into being.  As you would expect with such an important meeting, there was a photograph on most front pages.  One newspaper (I use the term loosely) thought that rather than comment on the importance or significance of this meeting, a headline about the attractiveness of the legs of the two protagonists was appropriate.  I am heartened by the ridicule that this headline was subjected to. In contrast, yesterday, when Tim Barrow presented Donald Tusk with the letter triggering Article 50, I searched for a similar headline.  Nothing.  Not a peep.  Not one comment about Tim Barrow’s bottom or Donald Tusk’s enviable figure.  I was really quite put out.  I bet they were too.

Generally speaking, it doesn’t matter one iota that women like to have more moisturisers than men.  We all (men and women) want to try and look our best, or if we are being really honest about it, feel a bit better about ourselves.  It is the ingrained nature as far as women are concerned – the notion that we are treating ourselves on the one hand (with a nice shower mousse) but then getting beaten over the head with the other (“forget your diet, but only while you are using this shower mousse oh chubby one!”) and men just have a shower and then get on with being important.  Two women meet and their bodies are commented on: “Ooooh look at the girls having a bit of a play at politics, don’t they look nice?” Two men meet and the headlines, quite correctly, stick to the facts and the job that they are doing.  Which, as we all know, was delivering a letter from one of the women who was the subject of the exceptionally dubious headline earlier in the week.

I hope she’s not panicking about her diet or how emollient rich her make-up remover is.  I hope she’s not playing at it.  Because if she is, we really are never going to get out of the shit that the boys from Eton have left us in.

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