In last Friday’s ES (the Evening Standard’s colour supplement), there was one of those made-up interviews that purport to reveal celebrities’ beauty secrets. It was Jane Birkin’s turn to tell us what she puts on her face to look so young, etc. As if we could believe anything she was supposed to have said; as if the products mentioned weren’t sponsoring the newspaper in some way; as if I cared what an aged nymphette, who couldn’t act herself out of a paper bag and who only acquired notoriety because she hooked up with a singing legend, said. Anyway, her parting shot was:
My best beauty tip is…Gee, as they say over there, thanks for the advice! Without it, I might have thought I needed to behave like a normal human being and react to any misfortune that might befall me in the usual way and be miserable for a while. But, no, now whenever something terrible occurs I will just put on my best smile and pretend it doesn’t affect me. This goes further than other similar crappy pieces of advice – like ‘Be positive’, for instance: it somehow says that one can be, and indeed is required to be happy, regardless of what’s happening in one’s life.
Smile and be happy.
It’s so dismissive and patronizing. You say something to someone; they listen to you and go, ‘Never mind. Be happy!’ ‘Oh, OK, then!’
At least one person seems to have managed it: Nigella Lawson. She’s determined to find happiness at all costs. Bad things happen to her, but she always bounces back without a backward glance. I find it obscene. (I’ve already slapped her, for that among other things, so I won’t labour the point, but she does annoy me). I thought she was the only cold, calculating, heartless, er, woman, but it looks like she’s got disciples.
Don’t ever say that to me or I’ll slap you!*Women on the Verge of Thinking