Monday, 13 November 2006

Don't you dare!

As many of you know… oops, sorry, thought I was someone else for a mad second.*

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…
Smile and be happy.
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.

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


  1. Who is Jane Birken?

  2. Sorry to bother you with not knowing who Jane Birken was. I googled her name. She really is Beautiful and has done charity work for Amnesty International, has helped immigrant welfare and helped in AIDS related charity. Also helped children in Bosnia,Rowanda and Palestine

    She won a Orde National Du Merite in France and a OBE for her sevices to acting. Wow, I'd listen to her advice on beauty. She's accomplished So much and she is beautiful inside and out. Way Cool. I like to read about people like that. Thanks :)

  3. I should be slapped...I had never heard of Jane Birkin before the Miller Harris perfume, but I immediately wondered -- well, what does she put on her face? LOL!

  4. It is kind of smug to tell people that they will be more beautiful if they are happy, isn't it? And meaningless. And probably not even true. Although happy people may be more attractive to others because everyone wants to be with a happy person, attractive is not beautiful - I know plenty of people with great skin and hair who are not attractive at all, and vice versa. So it shouldn't be muddled up with what kind of skin cream to use.

    I think celebrities just spout these cliches because they get bored with being asked silly questions in interviews.

  5. OK-
    Have you read the interviews where JB claims to not like perfume-she prefers to put pot pourri in her pockets instead! Slap, indeed!

    What has Nigella done? Who are her disciples? Inquiring minds want to know!If she really does wear Vivienne Westwood corsets, than it gives me a whole new respect for the work of VW!

    Keep up the good work, Bela!

  6. bwahahahahaha ... I didn't even get past the first line and I was laughing. Thanks, I needed that. xoxoxo

  7. Anonymous, I wish I had never heard of Jane Birkin was: since the woman cavorted in the buff for a few minutes in Antonioni's film Blow Up, in 1967, then pushed aside the much more talented Brigitte Bardot as Serge Gainsbourg's muse, France has been enamoured with her. I was very glad not to hear about her any longer when I moved to England. I didn't know she'd received the Ordre National du Mérite. 'For services to acting'!!!! That's preposterous: she's one of the worst actresses ever. I frankly don't care how generous she is and I've never found her beautiful. If she hadn't been with Serge Gainsbourg - who was worshipped like a god in France - she would have disappeared long ago. Anyway, my post wasn't about her, it was about that stupid and meaningless cliché. Her beauty - if beauty she has - can't possibly have anything to do with the fact that she has good genes, has been on HRT for years, has lots of money to have facials all the time or whatever, oh no. And I'm sure she's happy too.

    NST, I'm surprised you hadn't heard of JB. She's like royalty in France. And in the UK too. She's the daughter of a minor actress called Judy Campbell. Her brother, Andrew Birkin, is a talented writer. He wrote a great book about JM Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.

    Yes, L, that's what my post was about. As if happiness (whatever that is and I don't believe in it as a permanent state of being anyway) could be bought, like a skin cream.

    C, I try very hard not to read anything about JB - she bores me so, but I can't always manage it. I didn't know about the pot pourri. What next?

    By 'disciples' I meant JB et al., i.e. all those who exhort us to be happy at all times.

    Thanks, C. :-)

    M, what on earth can you possibly mean? LOL!

  8. Bela, i don't even know you, but after reading this, i am in love with you. okay, maybe not YOU you, but certainly with your take on things. especially *this* thing. this insidious thing. this annoying, condescending, "smile and your inner beauty will prevail" kind of thing.

    well done. please don't slap me because i'm smiling. i don't look beautiful while doing it, i promise.

  9. Welcome to my blog, N, and thank you very much! I'm chuffed to have made a new friend. (Your dogs are adorable, btw.)


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