Summer sneaks up on us in many unpleasant ways, including having to share a park with joggers who wear tiny shorts. Even when, at closer inspection, said joggers turn out to be mere children in their early 30s and thus still capable of exposing their lower limbs, emotional distress is unavoidable and immediate. How can it be The Season again? How am I not prepared? Why am I not learning anything, ever?
You know how we’re supposed to be more than the sum of our parts? This is not true when we are preparing our bodies for summer. Far from it. Forget about “My top half is sort of OK“, or “Anything below my waistline is passable”. No. It’s a regime that targets each square centimetre of one’s body individually with a tailored body-care regime.
Before you shrug this off as antifeminist, let me remind you what Virginia Woolf said: a woman must have money to buy expensive skincare and a bathroom of her own if she is to emerge from a year-long hibernation looking half-decent“.
And was it not Simone de Beauvoir who was in the affirmative that one is not born with a beach-body, one becomes a woman with a beach-body with insane amount of dedication?
Also, on the upside, I have almost all the time in the world – I’m not yet 50 and Jennifer Lopez is. What she has, corporally, is realistically still within reach.
Best for effortless weight-loss: Foot peeling
I do like a strappy heel. I also like gleaming, pedicured feet, which I somehow surprisingly never, ever have. This spring I figured I absolutely need to have my feet in shipshape the minute we are allowed to step out again. So I thought to skip the waitlist for the local salon and instead DIY it. I bought Patchology Foot Peel, put on the last season of Handmaid’s Tale and marinated my feet in the acid-lined plastic bags for a good hour.
Then I patiently waited, and indeed on the seventh day the miracle manifested itself and my feet started peeling. And peeling.
And it didn’t stop. At first, of course, it’s delightful so see pinky skin emerge from underneath the callused epidermis. Around the fifth day it’s just gross, and labor intensive, as a lot of hoovering is required.
I would only recommend this as a lockdown pastime activity in the privacy of your home, or ahead of an important event when one has to quickly and literally shed the extra 2-5 grams of weight.
The upper arm mystery
This is the section that illustrates how laziness and vanity know no limits. Of course I know what I am to do in order to achieve chiselled upper arms (interestingly no-one ever talks about chiselling the arm between the hand and the elbow, which just proves the point I made above: we are nothing more than individual parts that need work).
So what do I do? Despite knowing very well?
I add to basket an insanely expensive arm-sculpting compound (Yes. A compound it calls itself.) by U Beauty, thinking that a beauty brand founded by a former handbag blogger and a consummate lifestyle authority will have come with a solution, sorry, compound, solving the mystery that has riddled womankind for thousands of years: how to turn flabby arms into Madonna-like limbs (see picture) just by rubbing them with a serum as if they were magic lamps!
And what do I not do? Exercise.
Has the sculpting compound “counteracted the negative effects of gravity“? Can’t really say it has.
But as they say, it’s not the fool who sells an expensive arm compound. It’s the idiot who buys it.
(In my defence the product is leaping bunny certified and they plant a tree for each order. Thank you for your understanding.)
The perennial favourite: cellulite
There is not, in the entire history of humankind, a women’s magazine that has not run a story about how to rid oneself of cellulite. We all have it, and are not supposed to want to have it.
Cellulite creams do not remove cellulite. For some reason I internalise this as far as my legs are concerned, but am still willing to part with my pension savings in exchange of a tube of arm compound that somehow is supposed to, well, let’s not go there again.
So I am not fooled by expensive cellulite creams. Instead I added to basket a Legology cupping device (it’s a €15 rubber cup) and decided to use it with inexpensive Weleda body oils. The novelty wore off already last year, and the rubber cup mocked me with the body brush I also never use, until a few weeks ago when the incident with the hotpants-wearing child-joggers happened.
I had watched a video on which a model demonstrated the use of the device by effortlessly gliding it up and down her cellulite-free leg (similar mystery: why are the legs in shaving-product adverts always already hairless?) so I knew the drill.
You have to be willing to inflict pain on yourself if you are to try this method. There’s nothing effortless. This is not rubbing in fancy ointments, this is as close to cupping yourself as can be without the bloodshed.
I cannot say whether there’s a reduction of cellulite yet, but I can report an improvement in the tone of the skin. Also, there are tiny bruises caused by the suction, so cellulite or not, hotpants are out. (Win-win)
What I didn’t try
Dr Barbara Sturm recently launched a vulva serum, and I was a tiny bit astonished until I remembered that Gwyneth Paltrow has been right all along, game over, she’s won. Every insane bit of genitalia-related woodoo she puts up on her website will eventually become so mainstream that actual, serious people jump the vagina train and develop vulva-drops that contain “plant-based complex which provides a plumping effect in the labia region“.
I hear you ask “so what’s the difference between primping the upper arms and the labia?” I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t. Except that vagina is another item to be added to the endless list of body parts that need their own special product in the name of “preventing infections” (and, not surprisingly, “preventing unpleasant odours”.) Make what you want of it. Do you know a similar product targeted for men, by the way? To plump their balls and scent the scrotum – in the name of “preventing infections”?
You are right to wonder how I have time for anything else in my life, but the above also explains why I don’t exercise.
None of the products mentioned above have been received as gifts, if you can believe it.
Photo credit: Gie Knaeps / Getty Images