Snog Marry Avoid?, along with an attendant increase in documentaries about the proliferation of plastic surgery (for examples see the BBC, Channel 4 and… well everywhere), seem on one hand to attest to a revulsion at “fakery”, whilst simultaneously reflecting viewers’ growing fascination with extreme cases. In particular a recent BBC documentary entitled Glamour Model Mum, Baby & Me recounts the trials of one woman’s apparent obsession with undergoing further plastic surgery at the expense of her daughter’s education. Clearly the obsession here is twofold as the documentary encourages you both to ogle and to judge the implications of her behaviour upon an immediate family situation; and ogle we do. I have no doubt that shows like this attract considerable audiences, certainly my household and I felt entitled to loudly interject our pronouncements upon this woman’s life. These shows have therefore found themselves firmly in vogue… but does it follow that their subject matter has done the same?

A newcomer to Snog Marry Avoid? would be forgiven for thinking that the inhabitants of most major cities up and down the UK spend half their time applying makeup and the other half preening themselves further between semi-naked escapades through various nightclubs. It doesn’t take long to realize that exaggeration and tongue in cheek rudeness form a significant part of the show; nevertheless “fakers” emerge as both victims and perpetrators of worrying developments in our concept of beauty. The problem presented is two-fold; “cosmetic” fakery (i.e. excessive makeup, hair extensions and inappropriate clothing) usually accompanied by more fundamental physical alterations, which more often than not take the form of a boob job (or two).

But is this, as POD fears, the new norm? Must you be “fake” to be beautiful? Well let’s deconstruct that for a moment because in their purest sense clothes are hardly a fixed state of nature, and have often been rather constricting agents upon the “natural” contours of the human body. The concepts of “fake” and “beautiful” are tricky ones but, this aside, I must admit that I would probably feel uncomfortable in the amount of makeup I see some women wearing, and I don’t really like the idea of dyeing my hair either (although this is more due to cowardice; my fear being that I may be stuck with hair that I don’t like for a long time). Even so it must be assumed that these “fake” women are dressing to feel comfortable, and if they feel more attractive and confident then I say let us ogle (a little), but let’s not judge.

Largely I’ve grown up with negligible exposure to false eyelashes or hair extensions, and I can’t be bothered with the time it takes to apply several layers of makeup. My comfort level, day to day, revolves around the low maintenance end of the spectrum; the same rules apply to my wardrobe. Ultimately I’d advise that your time can be best spent putting a lot of thought into a selection of clothes that you can see yourself wearing for as long as possible, and that you feel cohere without too much work. Aim for the illusion of effortless chic, the up side of such an aim being that you are always guaranteed to succeed in at least half of your endeavor. But the allure of the “natural” look is only either a personal preference or a reaction to the current media coverage of “fakery”. The fact of the matter is that if you’ve grown up with the latter, or you just like it, then go play with it. Fashion comes in many forms and it should be noted that POD’s “natural” results are, perhaps, far from such; since they take a style team and an overhaul to produce.

What might be important is to think about the consequences of your fashion choices. They do say not to judge a book by its cover but don’t we all do it? Bear in mind that if you go to a nightclub in what is, basically, underwear then you may attract some undesirable attention. Similarly if you turn up at a job interview or important social situation dolled up like Barbie then people may consider you, and I balk at the word, something of a bimbo. In a perfect world you might dress as you like but in the tenacious realm of social nuance aim to dress appropriately; it may feel like bowing to social pressure but you deserve the best chances in life so try to think of toning down as one way of securing them.

What if your “fake” credentials are a little more permanent? I’m talking, of course, about boob jobs; surely a personal choice? Surely and if different boobs make you happier, sincerely happier, then I wouldn’t seek to criticize any informed decision made by a capable adult. I would just add however that well fitting bras and clothes can do a lot these days and that all surgery has risks, furthermore significant beauty comes from confidence and feeling beautiful. These cannot be bought so don’t just leap into surgery; after all a sudden, physical change might not have the desired results. Once again think about the consequences and costs; both monetary and psychological, and remember that an obsession with beauty is not an attractive trait. Spend too much time trying to look a certain way and you may find that you miss out on a lot of other great stuff that life has to offer. I’ve known girls that spend two or three hours getting ready to go out; which is awful when you consider that they often miss most of the party. 

Birds of a feather…