Our babysitter handed over a wad of cash last week to go a little blonder. And when I say “a little”, I’m talking the degree of difference between two adjacent shades on the Dulux chart - you know, tendril green and fern green, or buttercup and daffodil. Apparently, her boyfriend didn’t notice the change.
As she went to leave our house though, something, perhaps my second X chromosome, or perhaps the fact I have always been strangely drawn to paint colour charts, alerted me to the subtle change. And I complimented her on it. The look I got back was so full of warmth, I couldn’t help wondering what that young man was going to be missing out on that night.
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Looks might not kill, but they are certainly a magnet for money. Australian academics Andrew Leigh and Jeff Borland released research earlier this week confirming what we all secretly suspected: better looking Australians get hired first, earn more, and marry richer spouses.
Holding age, education, and origin fixed, the hourly wages of attractive people are around 20 per cent higher than their appearance-challenged contemporaries, reflecting similar conclusions in umpteen overseas studies.
The effect is especially pronounced for men: those with above average looks enjoy household incomes 15 per cent above the average, while more ‘minging’ chaps, as young Brits would say, earn 24 per cent below, a whopping gulf of around $30,000 a year, based on average Australian incomes, wholly owing to nature’s arbitrary favour.
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With swimsuit season upon us, questions like: “Does my bum look big in this?” or “Do you think I look fat?” are guaranteed to send a chill down the spine of most men.
A new study has scientifically established there’s a good reason for this fear, particularly for men whose partners have poor body image. (Let’s face it, this is most of them.)
La Trobe University researchers have found women who don’t like their bodies much want the honest truth rather than flattery from their partners.But there is a catch: honesty will not make women happy, but it will make them feel closer to their men.
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For years the beauty industry has stayed afloat off the back of female insecurity. Blemishes, wrinkles, bags under the eyes, there’s always a product to purchase. And now men are being encouraged to do the same.
From ‘moisturising aftershave’ to ‘Urban Camouflage concealer’, it’s all very metro-macho. Unsurprisingly, make-up for men seems to be taking off in the land of the plastic fantastic - the United States. According to an American study, the amount of money spent on facial skincare products for men grew 11 percent from 2010 compared to 2011.
Sure, the packaging is more cigar box than bath-bomb princess, and it’s never directly referred to as ‘make-up,’ but sales of men’s toiletries are expected to hit $3.2 billion USD by 2016. Products beyond the standard aftershaves, shampoos and deodorants are an increasingly large percentage of this figure.
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My eight-year-old son Harry was giving me a cuddle recently, and he looked up into my eyes and said: “Don’t make a face like that Mum – it makes you look old.”
Then he took a step back and said: “Wait, you’re not making a face. Mum, you ARE old.”
And you know what, Harry? Right now, Mum feels pretty bloody old, too.
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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the reject miscreants of a dying civilisation stole a starship and headed to Earth. Their mission? To infiltrate the fashion industry and render it unsuitable for humans.
Every now and then, humans suspect that something has gone terribly wrong. In news today, people are suspicious because the 16-year-old winner of Miss World Fiji Torika Watters doesn’t look “native” enough. According to news.com.au:
“The ugly race row has even included attacks on Watters’ hair, with many claiming the model chosen to represent the island nation should have a “buiniga” - the local word used to describe the naturally-fuzzy Fijian hairstyle.”
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It’s no longer enough that the Beautiful People taunt us Mere Mortals with their poreless, flawless skin, their lack of bingo wings, their perfectly proportioned torsos – now they feel they have to teach us stuff as well.
This desire to prove they are more than just underfed clothes hangers began with the beauty competitions where for some bizarre reason uttering inanities about world peace or why the children are our future became part of the judging process. The trend spread with the ease of a $100/ml skin boosting serum and now every model-slash-actor feels duty bound to impart morsels of wisdom to the sad, lumpy, blemish-afflicted masses.
It would be slightly more acceptable if they stuck to honest accounts of the torture they have to inflict on themselves to keep their superhuman beauty (The Day I Accidentally Took Too Many Laxatives Just Before A Long Swimsuit Shoot). But that’s not enough for them. No, now they share all sorts of advice; from parenting to lifestyle to health.
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Ladies, please keep your distance today. For one day in the year, I beg you. Allow me to repose unpestered and alone in my magnificence. Today, I need my space.
Today, my perfect face with its high cheekbones and steely jaw is unusually furrowed, and all because of a wonderful column by UK writer Samantha Brick. Not until I read her raw, groundbreaking words did I realise I share her problem.
Samantha and I are siblings in exquisiteness. We are soul brother and sister in sheer physical splendour. Like Ms Brick, I am a victim of my own vivacity and it’s time my plight was highlighted.
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Last week, I bumped into a male friend wearing make-up. Eyeliner, to be precise. Or ‘guyliner’, as it’s apparently known. My friend, incidentally, isn’t gay or a goth or an emo.
He’s not David Bowie on a jaunt to Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Nope, my mate is a 40-something father-of-two and we were at a child’s birthday party. Did I mention he was also wearing nail polish?
Anyway, there we were, chatting about schools and work, and the whole time I was thinking, mate, what’s with the make-up? So, being the sensitive and thoughtful person that I am, I asked, “Are you wearing eyeliner?”
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Even cute babies have ugly mothers. That’s how it was in the Bonds Baby online beauty contest last week, when things got so nasty the police were called in.
Outraged by a computer glitch which interrupted voting for their precious widdle sweedies, spurned mums turned on other chubby-cheeked cherubs in the running.
“Bonds Australia not Asia” was the charming comment posted beside a photo of two-year-old contestant Lilli, who shares Asian and European heritage. One baby copped “a child only a mother could love” and another was labelled an “ugly duckling”.
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My husband was recently driving along, listening to a debate on the radio – as you do when you don’t have two kids squabbling in the back and a swimming lesson to be at in four minutes – when he spotted a striking blonde.
As he tells it, he simply glanced at her from behind but, being a trained observer, he managed to take in her tight white jeans, crop-top and foxy heels. But what he most recalls (and remember, he only had that nanosecond) was the glossy, platinum hair flicking against her tanned back.
As he drove past, he checked her out in his wing mirror – because you never know when a girl might trip on her heels and need roadside assistance. That’s when, he says, he nearly drove the car into the local chicken shop.
If one’s face can’t register an orgasm, is the climax still as good?
Startling as it may seem, I feel liberated by the decay of beauty. It’s a bold statement, but in this era, when the glorification of all that is youthful is paramount, I hope that I look like the mother of my eldest daughter, (who for the record is almost 24,) and not at all like her sister. I don’t want to be in competition with her, or my younger girl, who is only eight. I want them to take up the mantle of their own prime years and have me cheering them on from the proper place - as the more senior female of the clan.
Our society so abhors the discussion of ageing and death, that we have embraced a whole new industry of psychological touchstones involving chemicals and knives and a race to look 10 years younger in 10 days. I don’t castigate or object to anyone making personal choices regarding cosmetic procedures, nor do I rule them out for myself if I feel I want them. But I am concerned that so many of my friends, acquaintances and even other people in the media are beginning to relinquish their unique expressions of emotion and life experience at the point of a needle.
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