Monthly Archives: December 2015

The pains of beauty

This post was prompted by the sight that met me one morning as I entered the bathroom and found the lovely Mrs Sixwotsitdorf desperately trying to tame her whiskers, a process that not only requires hot wax but also garden scissors, rope, a shovel and a fair amount of duct tape – the latter one being used to muffle her own screams as she pulls off the earlier mentioned wax which she applies with the shovel after first trimmed the unlikely amount of hair under her nose with the garden scissors (I´ve honestly never been clear on what the rope is for.)

In any event, watching this and feeling fairly certain that we can all agree on the fact that women really need to do this, I mean; where would we be if women were judged simply on their intellect and persona? Mayhem, starvation and general anarchy, that´s where. So I´ve put together this little guide of beauty care through the centuries for everyone to get their inspiration. You´re welcome.

We have for example the most beautiful of them all, and a constant role beauty1model for all women to live up to; Nefertiti. There are suggestions that beauty in her part of the world and time was even a part of Ma´at, the way one perceived the world.

And in all fairness, who wants to perceive the world through “ugly”? None of us do, just admit it.

This gave a spiritual dimension to putting on makeup which women of today is clearly lacking; instead of just mucking away with mascara, eyeliners, blushers and stuff, they put their heart and soul into it. The even considered beauty as something holy. But. Then there is another thing. What is beauty, who is beautiful and how do we, or someone else – I am clearly flawless – go about obtaining said beauty?

But the ancient Egyptians with their eyes, primarily, painted with crushed malakite stone, a copper based ore, and kohl, which apart from fat contained a number of metals, weren´t the only ones to have seen the importance of beauty. They would eventually suffer from the occasional pink eye, and insomnia. And mental disease. But that must be more important than looking plain. Mustn´t it? I´d rather be insane than ugly. (As tragedy, the old Greek kind, would have it, I have turned out to be both insane and ugly)

Lead has played an important part of history. I mean, why not add a highly poisonous substance to your body if the goal is to look better. The fact is, that you won´t die the first 100 times or so that you add it to your facial powder. The aim was to look pale, and we have to respect the fact that it at one point was high fashion to look as if you dived head first into a sack of flour, what could it possibly matter if it *eventually* affected your health? When your skin peeled away, you could always hide it with a thicker layer of makeup. Add a little arsenic and mercury to the mixture and you were set to go. Someone who had the correct attitude to her looks was Marie Gunning, the Countess of Coventry, and one of the first official victims of beauty, dead from lead poisoning at the age of 27 (which should put her up there with Janis, Jimi, Jim, Kurt and Amy as far as I´m concerned).

Then we have the corset. Take a cone formed contraption, have someone Catherine de Medici introduce it in France and soon you will have a serious breathing problem among women. But they looked like hourglasses and that was nice. We need the corset back, not least because the wives of the time didn´t have the air necessary to scream at their husbands in them.

o-CURVES-OF-YOUTH-570Another highlight in the history is the malady of double, or triple chins. There is a cure. Just strap a construction to your head and tighten those chins. It looks incredibly painful, and you can hardly wear the thing in public, as no makeup in the world would hide it, but there is no problem one can´t get around.

I could on. But I won´t. Point is: don´t whine about hot wax, garden scissors and rope.

Jeff Sixwotsitdorf (who uses makeup as soon as no one sees him)

Sources:

An empty mascara

Lot´s of lipstick

An ugly face (my own)

A bottle of wine

A cracked mirror

One hundred years of the Women’s Institute – (what have they ever done for us?)

theWI_Logo_IW_SPOT_pos
Are they? They don’t inspire me.

I have often been described as a misogynist, an unfair description I feel as my favourite sister is a women and even Mrs JJ was of the so called fairer sex.

Labelled with this tag, it surprised me to be selected to make a speech in celebration of one hundred years of the Women’s Institute.

It surprised me even more to be booed off the stage and to have a rotten tomato thrown at and hitting me square on the nose. What sort of person carries a rotten tomato around anyway?

I feel I have a lot left unsaid about the Women’s Institute I and would like to share my look at the WI with you here.

The Women’s Institute was originally founded in Canada in 1897 by Adelaide Hoodless, a woman with evidently too much time on her hands who would have been better employed making herself a hood. It is pretty cold in Canada and her pretty little ears must have been quite chilly.

It spread to the United Kingdom (the Women’s Institute, not having pretty little cold ears) and in 1915 was started in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll , Wales – (spell check is having a break down at that place name.)  They claimed to have two clear aims, to give an new lease of life to rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the War. Speaking from a purely male point of view, it is probable that a brother or son of one of these ladies thought up these aims retrospectively as I am fairly sure that women in 1915 were not capable of thinking such lofty thoughts. I would suggest they just wanted to have a get together and a chin wag once a month and needed an excuse. With the men folk away, they were bored. Nothing more, nothing less.*

The WI plays a very important part in giving women opportunities and encouraging women to go to work. I do appreciate there are some menial jobs that are better suited to women. Cleaning, toilet attendant, shelf stacker – all jobs that require no real thought and little commitment, real jobs would be unsuitable for woman as they have neither the temperament nor the skills and would be too afraid of breaking a finger nail or mussing up the lipstick.

It was with horror recently that I opened the door to the boiler man to find that it was a boiler woman (and a pretty little thing she was too,) and I am still wondering why she slapped my face and reported me to British gas when I asked to see her credentials.

The WI also gives the chance to learn new skills and encourages further education, yet I fail to see why women really need an education. They have us men and they have Google! What will they need men for if they know everything?

As for learning new skills, as far as I have been able to ascertain this means learning new recipes for making jam. The WI motto should be ‘why buy a jar of jam from Tesco at 84 pence, when you can get the fruit, the pectin, the sugar, the jar, the label and the fuel to cook it, for only £6.29??’

tesco_reduced_sugar_blackcurrant_jam_340g_1

The WI is also well know for it’s campaigns. I had first hand experience of that as a ten year old when my WI member Granny slept under canvas with us for a fortnight. Campaign? No Granny was a Camp Pain!

Campaigns that they fight are wide ranging but seem to exclude us poor men entirely. How unfair is that? Examples of recent campaigns are, No More Violence Against Women, Women Reaching Women, Women and Climate Change, Fast Fashion, Mission Milk, Excess Baggage (most women I know carry a lot of that). A campaign that has been mooted this year follows the award winning chef Matt Gillan famously serving Billy Goat as a main course for WI centenary banquet, which would be fine except for the reason he chose that meat.

It was to save  the Billy Goats from slaughter.

(Think about it.)

If the good ladies are not making jam and saving old goats they are singing about Jerusalem. Jerusalem! They live in Leeds and Bristol and Mevagissey yet they choose as their theme song a song all about somewhere they will likely never see and would be too hot for their delicate health any way.

I am still wondering about the sexual nature of the line ‘Bring me my arrows of desire.’ I am not sure that women should be allowed to sing songs like this. It may bring on a head ache. Every mention of anything of a sexual nature to Mrs JJ always brought on a head of migrainous proportions. As for the line ‘ Among these dark Satanic mills‘, if Edward BulwerLytton had written those dreadful lines instead of William Blake, they would have been mocked, parodied and criticized as purple prose (or maybe purple poetry) and the poem would never have been set to music at all.

To sum up my original question, what did the WI ever do for us? Did they do anything? Anything to improve the lives of us men? I think there are two very great positives.

The first is  one night a month when our good lady does not have time to do what all good ladies  do and cook us our dinner, which allows us the freedom to go to the chippy to enjoy cholesterol and carbohydrate. We then get to  spend an hour alone in the house with a six pack and a computer game without the nagging to get on with the DIY.

The second is the Calendar Girls calendar, a much thumbed copy of which is in my locked desk draw for reference purposes of course. Just for reference.

Sources:

Pirelli Calendar 1989

Mediaeval queens jam recipes : Philippa Gregory.

***Richard III’s knight in: Dr Don Ashtray Pill

* Now in 2015 the WI has more than 212,000 members in over 6,300 WIs all getting together once a month to exchange jam and have a natter like women do.

** There wasn’t a two ** reference so you can stop looking now.

***(This new title by Dr Pill is a look at one evening from the perspective of Richard III when Queen Anne went to a local WI meeting).

Jeff Jefferty Jeff is currently writing his memoirs: ”The confessions of a Jeff” working title ”How being part  of Double History has brought a new lease of life to Jeff’s sex life.”

 

 

© Jeff Jefferty Jeff 25/11/15