Liz Jones's Diary: In which I'm still striving for perfection

Liz Jones’s Diary: In which I’m still striving for perfection

It was a photograph that set me thinking. A shot of Pamela Anderson during Paris Fashion Week. She was glowing, confident. She looked younger than she did during her Baywatch years. Why? She wasn’t wearing make-up. Jamie Lee Curtis remarked online, ‘This woman showed up and claimed her seat at the table with nothing on her face. I am so impressed and floored by this act of courage and rebellion.’

Now you might think the Halloween star was over-egging it a bit. A commentator remarked Anderson looked ‘well-hydrated’, which is something we’d never say about George Clooney. Anderson was modelling for the late Vivienne Westwood’s show. And she said, ‘If we all chase youth, or are chasing our idea of what beauty is in fashion magazines, we’re only going to be… a little bit sad.’

I must admit here to being a Pammy fan, given she’s vegan, and when I put her on the cover of Marie Claire, naked, asking readers to choose between her and an alternative cover, featuring the curvaceous Sophie Dahl, she didn’t go to the tabloids to complain. Sophie Dahl certainly did.

I think if Vogue covers had not airbrushed every image, and had put models on the cover lit by harsh light, without make-up (the only make-up-free model I recall is Sloane Condren, shot by Bruce Weber in 1981 with a bare face in endless prairie outfits), my life would have been different.

Of course, not every woman is swayed by fashion and beauty.

I’m trying to work out if all the treatments and spas were worth it, says Liz Jones

Jones Moans… What Liz loathes this week 

Pet insurance I took Mini Puppy for her four-month check after she had a tumour in her thyroid removed. The blood test and body scan came back clear. The vet laughed when I said Mini won’t eat, as she has put on 2.5kg since her op. 

‘Her back is like a table,’ the vet said. The cost, given she’s maxed out her insurance? £2,000. This year, despite having insurance, I’ve paid out £9,000 in excess payments for Gracie and Mini. How do pensioners manage?

Ive just made flatbreads. How is Nigella serene? I’m in bits.

I was shocked when I treated my sister to the spa at Babington House and she told me she had never had a facial. Or a massage. So I’m trying to work out if all the stuff − the treatments, the salons and spas − were worth it. The Victoria Beckham make-up (I loved the Netflix series, thinking the bile spat upon it by snooty broadsheet reviewers unwarranted: the Beckhams aren’t vivisectionists). I suppose

I have been trying to be someone else. Someone better. Much as I want to champion diversity in images – I’ve spent my career doing so, warning young women about the perils of dieting, of thinking a Fendi baguette will make a man love them – I’ve been watching Married At First Sight, secretly appalled at the adverts by the sponsor featuring a short, chunky woman wearing a mini dress. But when Zara sends an email featuring tall, emaciated, depressed-looking girls, I want to buy things I didn’t even know I wanted, like a metallic slip dress.

Trouble is, without make-up I look like a tortoise. Not dewy at all. I can’t look anyone in the eye. And because I try hard to look my best, and the man I’m with can’t be bothered, I resent him. Appearances do matter: they show you care. I’m in a huge amount of trouble right now.

My column about the date at the Rosewood hotel with David 1.0 was published, the one where I say his shirt wouldn’t do up over his tummy. That the sex toys did nothing for me. And now he’s ghosting me. I’d asked over dinner if I could stay at his flat for work in future, as the cost of hotels in London has suddenly shot up.

‘Of course, though I’m going to have to hire professional help to get it up to code.’

It’s one bedroom! He’s retired! Why do men think cleaning is beneath them? I understand I am, like David Beckham, an OCD nightmare: I sterilise my earrings each night. I’ve never knowingly opened my fridge without using the hem of my T-shirt. But surely a little artifice makes life a bit better. If we don’t bother, where will it end?

Anyway, this week, I’m going to a retreat at Broughton Hall in the Yorkshire Dales, where they will make me run 5k each morning, and go wild swimming. I will end each day stuffed inside an ice barrel. Like Valerie Harper’s Rhoda Morgenstern, I figure I’ll keep better. Who knows, I might even begin to look well-hydrated…

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