Saturday 5 June 2010

That night the Baron dreamt of woe....

We had a young person staying for a few days, so I got to read her magazines. I say “young”, but she was in her early twenties. She still is, probably, although I can never be entirely sure how quickly it may age someone to spend any time in my company. She may be turning a very startled forty as we speak.

Let me read one of your magazines. Okay.

I like this girl, she doesn’t mess about with words and she’s always been happy to sit with me in silence (remarkable for one so young). I’ve known her since she was this high.

Inside the cover there was a list of the magazine’s content....

Page 12: Paris Is Our New Hair Hero. (sic)
Page 30: Big Brother’s Steamiest Moments.
Page 34: Cheryl Divorces Ashley.
Page 50: I’ve Slept With 1,000 Men.
Page 56: 30 Holiday Outfits.
Page 84: How To Get Festival Glam.

All good stuff, I’m sure, but I took a lucky dip and landed on page 41 and sort of wish I hadn’t. "Man facts":

The average man wears £959 worth of clothes and jewellery each day.

Oh dear.

Jesus. It says here that the average man wears £959 worth of clothes and jewellery each day.

I did a quick inventory in my head.

Shoes – 55 euros. (A steal. So good I had to buy them twice.)
Brown Levi’s (cords) – 79 euros.
Green cashmere top (hurrah) – 130 Euros.
Long-sleeved white t-shirt thing – eight euros (oh my, think of the tiny wee Chinese children slaving away at this stuff for roughly two cents a week. No, please, you must, it makes the bargain feel all the sweeter.)
Socks – no resale value.
Underwear - don’t be disgusting (but 35 Euros).
Watch – dilemma.

I have a beautiful collection of these things – my only real vice. Some of them are very cheap; some of them would be enough to see me pass (no, obliterate) The Average Man threshold if I went out wearing nothing else, which would be an astonishingly attractive sight. Unusually, though, I wasn’t wearing one at the time the challenge was set. I say “challenge”, of course, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, this didn’t seem fair on me, so I included my latest watch (a gift) in the calculations. I reckon it comes in at the cheaper end of the scale (people obviously hate me) and I’d value it at about 100 Euros – certainly no more than that. (Original ensemble, by the way, mere moments before tragedy struck. Fail.)

So, let’s see. That comes to, what, 407 Euros? What’s the Euro worth these days? Is it more or less than the Pound? Internet. Google. God.

I’m not even half a man. I’m not even half the average man. How shit can things get? I tried changing my trousers a few times (in my head, obviously), but the margins remained much the same. Ditto with tops (I’m obsessed - obsessed - with cashmere and the prices are fairly steady). Mixing the shoes, then adding sunglasses, a pair of sadistically overpriced pyjama bottoms and one of my magnifcent coats and scarves, however, would see me clear the finishing line with more than enough to spare. The only trouble with this approach would be that I looked like an absolute freak. Or a trend-setter. Or both. Is this what the average man looks like these days? I suppose he might.

I worry for the average man, you know. I think he may be going the way of the average woman. I don’t have the time to explain why this remark isn’t sexist, so you’ll just have to take my impeccable liberal credentials on trust.

(Plus. Before and after.)

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