The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 December 2007

Colored lights can hypnotize

Does this sound like anyone you know?

An informal poll of my US female friends revealed that they spend roughly $700 (350) a month on what they consider standard obligatory beauty maintenance. That covers haircut, highlights, manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning, make-up, facials, teeth whitening etc. They will spend a further $1,000 (500) a month on physical conditioning such as military fitness, spinning sessions, vikram yoga, Pilates, deep-tissue sports massage, personal training etc. On top of that, add the occasional spa day, a week-long "bikini boot camp" in Mexico at the start of every summer and seasonal splurges on personal shoppers and clothing. I'm not sure any of my British female friends spends 700 during an entire year on her appearance. American women see these costs as a simple and sensible investment in their future.

I should point out here that this writer also writes screenplays, which means that (1) he's likely hanging around Hollywood and (2) he thinks Hollywood is somehow representative of the rest of the world.

On the downside:

I don't want you to think, though, that I believe American women have nothing to learn from British women. The irony is that, as obsessed as American women are with their looks, they totally ignore their social skills. Within 10 minutes of meeting an American woman, I guarantee you will know her salary and most recent medical/dental procedure. They all but turn up with their CV printed out. In return, they will immediately want to know "all" about you, ie, how much you earn, how much you have earned in the past, what your future earning potential is, whether you own property, whether you have an investment portfolio, where you shop, where you "vacation", what you drive and how large your parents' house is. I once got to the end of a date in New York, pulled out my credit card to pay and the girl solemnly remarked: "A green American Express card? I didn't know they still made them in that colour."

Then again, maybe he should have stayed in Hollywood. And my American Express card, by the way, is translucent.

(Via Dollymix, where editor Cate Sevilla "doesn't spend $700 on her face a month. I guess that makes her frumpy.")

Posted at 8:14 AM to Table for One


I don't even spend seven dollars a month on my personal appearance. (And it shows, I guess -- heh.) Anyway, the inability of British writers to imagine anything about Americans outside of the two or three of us he's met or the hotel room he's staying in never fails to amaze me. Shades of Matthew Engel thinking that Olive Garden was representative of American cuisine.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 12:29 PM on 12 December 2007

Whoops, my bad -- the writer is actually American. On the other hand, apparently he's some connected Hollywood person, which means he's just as out of touch with the real world as Guardian writers.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 12:34 PM on 12 December 2007

This kind of thing makes me twitch, because I fear the Gender Police may come and take away my female-identity card.

I don't even cut my hair every month. Highlights are something that happen in the summer, and only because I'm out in the sun a lot, and the phaeomelanin in my hair reacts funny with the sun. Makeup, maybe $30 in an expensive month, maybe less. Tanning, nothing (I favor the Victorian pale look). Manicure and pedicure? For someone who works with soil and wears field boots a percentage of the time? And waxing...well, I can buy Daisy razors for a couple bucks a dozen, and they don't give me weird rashes.

I did spent $700 several years ago on exercise equipment, but that amortises out nicely.

Still, last I checked, I had those two X chromosomes...I think this is just a case of someone in La-La-Land thinking it's the norm.

And I would hope I'm more complex than my income and my last "cosmetic" procedure (do dental cleanings count?)

Posted by: fillyjonk at 2:32 PM on 12 December 2007