It was one of those specless pre-hairstraightening moments. I stared myopically into the mirror and who should be staring back but Catherine Deneuve**!
A glow of triumph warmed my slowly-gathering Sunday morning awareness. Bloody hell. I’ve always wanted to look like Catherine Deneuve. A miracle had happened overnight. And it’s not even Christmas!
A bit tousled but hair almost the same blonde. The flick, the waves, the volume were all these. I was soooo Belle du Jour that I almost shed a tear.
In retrospect, it was a mistake to put my specs on. They only revealed the shocking truth. Great hair, shame about the face. All the same, I did feel like texting my hairdresser “YES! YES! MUCH SOUGHT-AFTER IMAGE ACHIEVED AT PRECISELY 8.58am, 27/10/07.”
It’s been eighteen months, letting the hair grow chasing the Deneuve look and even if the result was purely momentary, it’s been a lot more successful than the results achieved on the instructions of my sappy gym trainers.
“What exactly would you like to achieve?” Shane, the most recent one asked me when we had our initial one-to-one briefing.
“Well,” I considered. “My arms are fine but I’d quite like a Marilyn Monroe torso and Tina Turner legs please.”
His pencil was poised but he wasn’t writing. Further explanation was obviously necessary.
“Erm, definitely not Tessa Sanderson legs, which is what I ended up with the last time I came to the gym and which was rather disappointing.”
He started writing, but didn’t note my instructions very precisely.
“Body toning with attention to thighs and carves.” (sic)
After a month following his programme I didn’t feel I was any closer to Marilyn. I just ended up on the bike most of the time, as I always have, doing my own thing and finally thinking “What’s the point here in this slightly smelly place with interminable god-awful music so loud I can’t listen to my own i-pod except at ear-injuring volume.” At that point I gave up…again and probably for the last time.
I could have told Shane to throw in dainty Darcy Bussell feet but it would have been pointless. Hands? Not sure. Would quite like long red talons but wouldn’t be able to type and in any case, Jools Holland’s boogie-woogie fingers would be far more fun (though difficult to wear nice rings).
Sad isn’t it? I’m sure blokes don’t carry such precise images of the kind of person they would wish to look like. They’re not yearning for Beckham’s beauty, Daniel Craig pecks and Lance Armstrong legs.
(Pause here for a moment’s silent consideration.)
On the whole, the chaps seem much more comfortable in their own skins. If they did have yearnings, would it be for the driving skills of The Stig, the pulling-power of George Clooney and the fortune of any multi-millionaire?
Probably much healthier to think in those terms. Severe cases of image aspirations can turn into rather disturbing body dysmorphia.
I had a touch of dysmorphia today, fleetingly and in a good way. Probably due to the change of hour. After several inexplicably restless nights, I’ve finally had ten hours of solid sleep. That can be the only explanation.
**Catherine Deneuve as she was in her hey-day, obviously. Not as she is now because she’s mid-sixties if she’s a day. When I’m her age, though, I’ll probably be quite pleased to look remotely similar, if you follow my drift.