Ladies, Make An Effort

Or you won’t catch a prize like me, writes Ted Safran , in the (UK) Times.

There are many, many differences between the British and the Americans, but none more glaring than UK women’s approach to their own upkeep. I am a massive fan of British women. UK girls, in my opinion, are the greatest natural beauties in the world . . . when they’re 17 or 18 years old. The girls I was surrounded by when I was a teenager were sublime roses with lustrous hair, flawless skin, bright eyes and lithe, athletic bodies. They dressed as if there would be a prize at the end of the night for the girl wearing the least. I then went away to Philadelphia for university. Four years later, I came back and wondered: “What the hell happened to all the beautiful girls I knew?” My first assumption was that one half of them had eaten the other half and washed them down with a crate of lager. These girls looked phenomenal when looking good took no effort. But when British women get to the age where they have to make an effort, they appear unable, or uninterested, in rising to the challenge.        

And what’s required to rise to the challenge?

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.        

The fools.  If only they spent a fortune on their appearance they could snag the likes of Ted.   (And where does he get his ideas about American women?  One suspects he has never actually conversed with any, but instead learned about them via “Sex and the City”.  Sort of like black-and-white Mary, for the philosophers amongst you.  Only without all the facts.)   (Thanks, Kitchen-Chick, for this astounding read.)A note: I wondered if this was parody, as I’ve been told that my American origins may prevent me from properly perceiving certain instances of British humour. But extensive consultation with native informants confirms that it’s not. Still, it’s quite enjoyable to read if you pretend that it’s in The Onion.

3 thoughts on “Ladies, Make An Effort

  1. >> $700 (£350) a month on … standard obligatory beauty maintenance … a further $1,000 (£500) a month on physical conditioning … a week-long “bikini boot camp” in Mexico at the start of every summer <<

    This is madness! Haircut, highlights, teeth whitening and all that exercise *every* month?? I’ve lived in big cities, I have a fair idea what most things cost (except for tanning) even if you look at the expensive places. Here are my totals… with TIME totals also thrown in for fun. All numbers are averaged per 30-day month.

    Haircut & highlights: $100 and 2 hours
    Manicure & Pedicure: $100 and 2 hours
    Waxing: $75 and 2 hours
    Tanning: $100 and 1 hour (?)
    Make-up (+hair, presumably): $100 and 30 hours
    Facial: $75 and 2 hours
    Teeth Whitening: $50 and 1 hour
    Military fitness Class: $100 and 6 hours
    Spinning sessions: $100 and 6 hours (wtf are these?)
    Vikram yoga: $100 and 6 hours
    Pilates: $100 and 6 hours
    Deep-tissue sports massage: $200 and 1 hour
    Personal training: $300 and 6 hours
    Occasional Spa Day: avg $300 and 4 hours
    Mexico trip: avg $300 and 14 hours
    Seasonal shopping spree: avg $200 and 2 hours
    Total time and money per month: $2300 and 91 hours

    So the average American girl has a monthly beauty budget of $2300. She also spends 91 hours a month doing nothing but beauty stuff – that averages to about 3 hours every single day.

    Let me guess: the average American woman has two jobs, no hobbies and no kids.

  2. And where is Ted explaining how in heck he’d be anywhere near worth that kind of money? Don’t tell me, I’m all too aware of how that kind of expense might turn out to be a sound investment. My first impulse would be to laugh at such conceit, but then my experience kicks in and I’m no longer in a laughing mood. Infuriating, isn’t it?

  3. I suspect he undergraded at (U)Penn. The pressure to be “effortlessly perfect” is intense — especially in the appearance department. Ivanka Trump wasn’t the exception to the rule; she was the rule. Even by Ivy League standards, Penn admitted and enrolled a disproportionate number of students with trust funds.* When I was there (’00-’04) spending $2,000+ a month on beauty was the norm.

    *The idea was that wealthy students become wealthy alumni donors, which increases our USNWR rank. It worked, but I’m told the new President has more rational priorities.

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