Christian Dior said that grooming is the secret to real elegance. Yet there comes a time in every woman’s life when she can’t be bothered any more.
At 13, I couldn’t wait to jump onto the high maintenance treadmill. My mother said: You don’t need to shave, pierce and pluck just because everyone else is doing it.
She didn’t understand teenage girls at all.
I took to my legs with Medieval-looking hair removal mitts when she refused to buy razors and manually buffed my nails to a high sheen because she forbade the use of nail polish. (No, my mother was not Amish.)
People who wish to engage in extreme grooming today have many more options, including nail shellacking, brow tattooing, breast augmenting, eyelash extending, Brazilian waxing, fake tanning, hair straightening, teeth whitening, botox injecting, laser skin resurfacing.
But, in a sign that I have turned into my mother, I can’t be arsed to participate in any of it.
My morning routine these days is simple. Press the snooze button several times, because beauty sleep is vital. Stand under shower. Brush teeth. Gallop out door with wet hair. Apply makeup in rear vision mirror when traffic inevitably grinds to a halt. All up, fifteen minutes, tops.
Thinking about the upkeep involved in today’s top shelf beauty treatments gives me a migraine.
Take semi-permanent eyelash extensions. These demand monthly appointments during which wearers lie down and close their eyes for up to an hour while the lashes get glued and layered on, one by bloody one.
I’m not sure why this is deemed less work than slicking on mascara when the traffic lights turn red, but by all means, skip mascara too, if you’re really strapped for time.
Then there are fake tans, which stink, stain the sheets, and have never managed to convince me that I’ve spent the last two weeks on a tropical island instead of in the office.
Fake tans are a cruel joke, the likes of which has not been seen since God said, “Let there be light … and may that light source give them cancer.” (Acknowledgements to the creator of the meme from which this line was plagiarised.)
If the time involved in grooming wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the cost.
A survey by online retailer Catch.com.au revealed that the average Australian woman spends more than $3,600 on beauty products each year. That’s money which could be spent on more important things, like a margarita machine, a bath hoist, and a personal butler.
Even the ways in which we keep trim have become hard work. It used to be that if you’ve got a pair of sandshoes and an old T-shirt, you’ve got a workout.
But, as I discovered recently, gyms are now full of people clad in designer tights, logo trainers and a lather of sweat, sprinting around the room, lunging, clapping, jumping, being shouted at.
So it was with some relief that day when I spotted the inspirational poster on the wall: Go hard or go home. Too easy. I turned around and hopped back in the car.
This column was published in The Courier-Mail on 6 December 2017.