A man who might sometimes wish he was faceless
Like most of us who make fitful attempts at losing weight, I take note of the astonishing methods celebrities choose to keep themselves trim.
Not for them the tried-and-tested methods of exercising more and eating less; when it comes to losing weight, the modern celebrity favours the exotic.
This week came an unexpected addition to the ranks of celebrity dispensers of novel lifestyle tips.
To Shane Warne with his diuretics and diet shakes and Miranda Kerr and her blood-type diet (don’t ask) can now be added Paul Howes.
Complimented by The Australian on how well he looked at the Cup on Tuesday, the Australian Workers Union national secretary credited this to a missus-free existence.
“There’s nothing like separating from your wife to help you get into shape,” he told the paper, with “champagne in hand” as he “flitted between the Emirates marquee and the Crown casino venue with his new squeeze, Olivia Wirth,” the spinner-in-chief for Qantas.
Now it could be argued, of course, that in a strict sense Howes isn’t really a celebrity, even in a country where the bar to that status is as notoriously low as it is in this one.
As the boss of Australia’s biggest union - which in turn controls large numbers of votes in the ALP - he’s actually an important public figure.
From the way he gives us his thoughts on public issues at the drop of a hat it could be inferred that he regards himself as one.
The editor-in-chief of the Australian Women’s Weekly seems to think so too, if one is to judge from the glowing profile of Howes that Helen McCabe wrote recently.
Saying Howes was touted as a future prime minister and concluding there is no doubt the next stop is Canberra, the piece even included a quote from the current Prime Minister saying that while the 31-year-old had grown up in the job, he’s always been basically the same Paul.
Weekly readers were also told that Howes is very much the family man, enjoying time with his wife Lucy and his children Sam, 9, Sybilla, 2, and Zoe, 6.
But in a poignant, and sadly prescient, line, Mrs Howes told McCabe: “Let’s face it, he’s not here a lot.”
The public debut last Saturday of the Howes-Wirth alliance raised a nice point of modern etiquette that I have discussed widely this week, namely: How soon should you take your new friend out in public after posing up next to your wife and children in a women’s magazine?
The problem, I admit, is not one most of us are ever likely to face, but on the off-chance life should take you in a Women’s Weekly-ward direction it would pay to have the answer handy.
Some I discussed the matter with felt NEXT Derby Day would have been a more appropriate time for the couple to step out together in public. Others felt sometime mid-next year.
My personal view, for what it is worth, is that Howes ought to have considered that the half-life of a copy of the Australian Women’s Weekly is about a year.
Though July must have seemed an age ago to a digitally-savvy Gen-Y-er such as him, who admittedly has probably been distracted, he ought to have considered that editions of the magazine linger in the hairdressers, doctors’ surgeries and fish & chip shops of the nation for months.
Sadly for him, there will be many readers for whom the article was still fresh in their memory when they learnt about his new alliance with a senior executive of a company with which his union is in a bitter dispute.
And while Howes may believe, as he told McCabe, that power in this country is profile, he might be about to discover that having a high profile is not much use to you if enough of the population have decided you are a pig.
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