'And then, once the drink ran dry and E. M. Forster had finished one of his stories, I’d quietly slip out into the night, just before the orgy'.
Imagine how nice it would have been to spend an evening with the Bloomsbury Group. I can just picture myself smoking a rollie and debating Gender Roles with Virginia Woolf, or quaffing dirty martinis and discussing Aesthetics with Vanessa Bell. And then, once the drink ran dry and E. M. Forster had finished one of his stories, I’d quietly slip out into the night, just before the orgy.
Instead, however, I spent yesterday evening on the sofa watching Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents. The BBC Three programme follows two teenagers as they, accompanied by a group of friends, go on their first holiday sans parents. Little do they know, their protective mothers and fathers have followed them to the holiday destination and are watching their every move. The conclusion: teenagers behave differently when their parents are not around. Well, duh. Had my mother accompanied me to university, would I have strawpedo’d three bottles of blue WKD before spending hours on a dance mat trying to master the routine to Video Killed the Radio Star? Probably not. The reason: we all alter our behaviour depending on our circumstances.
Though I may have waxed lyrical about the allure of Cruella de Vil, and extolled the virtues of Mary Poppins, I have yet to tell you that I believe The Devil Wears Prada to be the finest film ever made. In it, Andy Sachs- a recent graduate who is blithely ignorant of the fashion world- becomes junior assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine. Faced with the prospect of disappointing her boss, Andy- with the help of the magazine’s art director, Nigel- begins to dress more stylishly. Some may view this film as a critique of the dystopia that is the fashion industry, a world in which the protagonist is forced to change to the detriment of her personal life. I, however, see it as just another example of how we must be willing to adapt to different situations.
I’m not ashamed to admit that while I am at home in my jammies, crying over Brothers & Sisters and eating Ferrero Rocher- monsieur wasn’t spoiling me, they were selling them off cheap at the Co-op- I abandon the rigmarole of plucking, manscaping and straightening, and opt, instead, to recline in comfort and squalor à la Jim Royle. But, as I am cursed with vanity, before leaving the house I alter my slothful behaviour and follow a tried and tested grooming routine.
I recently discovered Cleanse and Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser by Liz Earle (£13.25), and it has quickly become a firm favourite of mine. This two part daily cleansing treatment begins with a creamy lotion that removes dirt and excess oils from the skin. You then remove the lotion with a muslin cloth, leaving your skin feeling refreshed and noticeably smoother. After cleansing, I apply my favourite moisturiser, L’Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic (£11.22). This light moisturising lotion is easily absorbed and leaves skin feeling hydrated all day. It also tackles any dry areas and soothes the skin after shaving.
It is important to remember that the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body, and it contains no sebaceous glands that produce oil and keep skin supple. I always, therefore, remember to apply L’Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Eye cream (£9). A small dab of this hydrates and visibly brightens the skin under the eye, while also smoothing any appearance of fine lines. As I am tainted with noticeable dark circles under my eyes, I like to apply Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme Touche Éclat for Men (£24.50). This concealer, which comes in a pen brush applicator, covers up dark circles and minimises any puffiness. As I am quite pale, it works well on my skin, but those with darker skin tones may have to use a foundation over the top of it, so that it matches their natural skin tone.
I’ve been on the look out for the best reasonably priced hair product for some time now, but my search had-until recently- proved fruitless. A few weeks ago, however, my better half introduced me to the got2b styling range by Schwarzkopf. My preferred product in this range is the got2b Beach Matt Surfer Look Matt Paste (£3.95). Although a light matt-effect paste, which is easy to work into the hair, it provides excellent hold, whilst ensuring hair feels and looks natural. Got2b is easily as good as the OSiS range of styling products by Schwarzkopf, but comes at a fraction of the price. My routine finishes with a spray of my current favourite fragrance, L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme by Issey Miyake (£37.98).
It is unlikely that my parents will catch me downing Apple Sourz and dancing to Barbie Girl in Faliraki any time soon. But it is extremely likely that I will, in the near future, find myself in a situation where, like Andy Sachs, I have to change my behaviour to fit my surroundings. I can only hope that my grooming routine will see me through whatever challenge comes my way.