Dear Shirley Conran

The author of Superwoman bares all, romping through the surf, in OK! magazine and says how proud she is of her cosmetically restored body. A fan is disappointed
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Oh, please. So you've just spent pounds 7,000 on reductive surgery and now you want to tell the world. But did you have to show us as well?

It's not that I have any problem with nudity. Not at all. I take my kit off quite a lot, but in private, on a nicely secluded roof on a Canary island.

It's not ageism either. Hardly. Not at my age. But stripping off for a glossy mag isn't exactly dignified, is it, at 62? Look, I'm pleased you are pleased with your new body. But it seems to me that one of the intrinsic pleasures of no longer being 18 is that you have earned the right to be yourself. You of all women.

And don't run away with the idea that I am a perfect shape. Far from it. Five years ago, in Down with Superwoman (that's the one in which you own up and say we can't be all things to all people all the time, surprise, surprise), you wrote about a conversation you once had with Helena Rubenstein. She asked you how many things you thought were wrong with your body. You said 19. Lucky you.

Emphasise your assets and camouflage or ignore everything else, she told you. Sounded like good advice to me. It still does.

So a cosmetic surgeon removed 1.25lb from each breast and 3lb from your stomach. (Shame he wasn't called Shylock.)

Admittedly, a 46 double D bra size is pretty massive. But when I first read that, I focused on the 46. You know as well as I do that the number is the measurement around your rib cage and the letters refer to the cup size. Forty-six means fat. Why didn't you stick to your diet and go to the gym like the rest of us?

You say that a wrong dose of hormone replacement therapy made you balloon out of a size 10, putting on 50lb in six weeks. OK, I know that when you are on HRT it is harder to lose weight. I know because I am on it. The same one, as it happens. Five years ago, I could shift two or three pounds in a week by knocking off the gins-and-tonic and applying myself diligently to bags of cod in parsley sauce. They are less than 200 calories, you know.

You had six weeks in a clinic and lost 35lb. It takes me longer to lose a lot less. A lot longer. Months, in fact. Actually, I didn't know I was "perimenopausal" - that's the smart phrase for it. I thought the flushes were a virus, for ages.

Anyway, the effect of the HRT was so absolutely bloody marvellous that I had some difficulty not eating the whole three months' supply in one go. That was two years ago. But there is a price to pay for endless youth, isn't there? I'm not a size 10 any more either.

You have made me very disappointed. Surely you have enough: looks, personality, humour, fame, success, lots of money. Everything, perhaps, but your youth?

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