LAST NIGHT

TV Review: Call My Bluff
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The Independent Culture
A psychologist friend once told me that he always watched Call My Bluff (BBC2) for the non-verbal communication. You can tell when someone is lying, he said, because their eyes go up and to the right, while if they're just remembering, it's up and to the left. Or was it the other way round? It doesn't matter, because whichever way you look at it, Alan Coren and Sandi Toksvig are made of sterner stuff that dear old Paddy Campbell and Frank Muir. It's unwavering, eye-fixing stares all the way.

The words, however, seem easier than they used to be. Surely everyone knows that dorsigrade means walking on the backs of your toes, and anyone with a basic grounding in Dutch can work out that snelskrif is a form of shorthand. Either they have run out of truly obscure words, or the word-pickers have become rather lachous (negligent, in case you didn't know).

Another word that cropped up in yesterday's Call My Bluff was epigamic - referring to the changes that occur in a creature when it is trying to attract a mate. Does that include, I wonder, paying pounds 3,600 for an hour- long operation to have your breasts enlarged? That's a pound a second, or roughly pounds 90 an inch, to judge from the top-heavy, unnatural-looking sculptures revealed on Plastic Fantastic (C5) last night. "It's as natural as putting hair colour through your hair or anything else you do nowadays," said one satisfied customer. Not quite. You can wash out hair colour or remove make-up. Still, it's reassuring to know, after those stories a few years ago about exploding tits in aeroplanes, that the implants are now filled with soya oil rather than silicone. Your body will just absorb it if the thing bursts.

Packed with satisfied clients and punctuated with shots of pouting, well- endowed, bikinied pulchritude, the programme restored its balance with gruesomely lingering shots of the operation itself. "Now my finger is gliding between the mammary gland and the muscle" is not the sort of line one normally hears when a breast is being fondled on television, but for Maurizio and Roberto Viel, the doctor brothers who specialise in this operation, it was just another day at the office. What was missing was any suggestion of psychological counselling before deciding to go through with the operation. We heard a good deal of banality from women who had not, as one of them touchingly put it, been visited by the Titty Fairy, and they clearly believed that confidence correlated with bust measurement, but can an implant really be more than a temporary answer to feelings of inadequacy? In many cases, cosmetic surgery must be treating a symptom of a deeper problem. There is something disturbing about watching a pretty girl, with small but by no means negligible breasts, undergoing such an operation because she feels it will give her more confidence. If such a woman feels bad about her body, how will she feel when the euphoria wears off, normal depression returns and she realises that it isn't her body at all? "Breasts are very feminine," said one woman, though she clearly missed the real point of the statement. Breasts are feminine, soya oil isn't.

The most contented customer was one who had had an operation to make her breasts smaller. Katie Boyle explained how she, her husband and her dogs all found it much more comfortable in bed without a huge superstructure to shift whenever she rolled over. And you can have breast reduction done on the National Health.

Of the inflatees, we did hear one negative reaction (if only temporary) from a woman who awoke from the operation to find: "They were huge; they were like rigid rockets and they were pointing in different directions." I now understand what my psychologist friend meant. The mendacious mammaries go up and to the right.

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