Thrifty Living: Sweet reason is lost along with the muffin top
Saturday 13 October 2007
suddenly, the sight of Louis Theroux attacking his flabby abs via liposuction is brought climactically into my house by the arrival of Spendthrift Janie, who turns up for a cup of coffee. Note: in an attempt to save money we have given up drinking coffee at Carluccio's, since it invariably extended to a search for extra-virgin olive oil and artichokes at the deli counter, plus a recce in the neighbouring shoe shop and ended up costing, on occasions, about £200 a pop.
As I wrestle with the espresso-maker my friend dramatically pulls up her shirt, revealing a light pink surgical corset, exactly like the one Theroux was sporting. "Me too!" says Janie. "I couldn't bear my muffin top any longer. I've had SmartLipo!" Blimey. "In the lunch-hour! Don't you think I'm terribly brave! It was like when we rushed out once after school and had our ears pierced at Elys in Wimbledon, do you remember?!" Yes, but ear piercing took about two seconds and didn't involve people in surgical masks leaning over your semi-naked frame with nasty suction devices. But still. Janie is the first of my friends to have plastic surgery. I guess it's a rite of middle-aged passage, of sorts.
What does one say first – did it hurt, has it worked, or how much did it cost? "Did it hurt?" I ask. I mean, I haven't entirely discounted leaning on Father Surgery myself, as well as Mother Nature, for help in the midriff area. "It wasn't all that painful," breezes Janie. "Well, a bit uncomfortable, but you have local anaesthetic injected into the fat before it gets lazered out. There was one area right in the middle where the anaesthetic didn't quite reach. That was hellish. Like being poked around with a steel rod. " I nod seriously, as if I know exactly what she is talking about. "How much did it cost, then?"
She pulls her top back over the corset. "Well, because I have a serious tummy problem I needed two areas to be treated, you see. Upper and lower abdominals." One area costs around £1,800. If you have two at once, it's almost double, but you get a slight discount. My dear friend has just blown £3,400 on her midriff.
"Do you realise how much you have spent, Janie? You are insane!"
"Yes, but, think about it, it's probably the same as a year's worth of gym membership, some new jeans, and several sessions with a personal trainer. Plus, as well as getting a new body, having Smart Lipo saves you doing something like a million sit-ups, so think of all the time you are saving."
Well, put it like that, it sounds like a great way to save money. But then, as I well know, you can turn anything around to make it sound as if you are saving money. Money is just one of those slippery things which you can turn into anything you like. A friend of mine spent £3,000 on a honeymoon in Sri Lanka, rather than £6,000 on one in the Maldives. According to her, she therefore "saved" £3,000, although even she admitted the logic was somewhat warped. Warped financial logic, dear thrift-seeker, is what befalls those who want something very much indeed. You twist the arguments to such an extent that they become knotted out of all recognition. Then, once you can't recognise that you are a financial basket case who needs help, you spend the money you wanted to spend in the first place.
"What did the doctor say to you while he was, er, lazering off all your fat?"
"He was quite sweet, really," says Janie. "I was SO nervous, I had to do my deep-breathing ante-natal exercises. At one point, between breaths, I asked him if this was going to have a better effect on my belly than sensible diet and exercise. Do you know, Rosie, he said No! Imagine. I'd just swiped my MasterCard for a total of £3,400 and this character admits that in the long run, doing half marathons and eating radishes all day long is going to be more effective. Still, great corset, no?" she says, looking down at it. "I might try it out with those Westwood knickerbockers from my Adam Ant days."
"Well," I say brightly to her, "surely its going to be bikinis on Christmas Day, is it not?" She looks down at her belly. "I hope so. Apparently 10 per cent of these operations don't really work very well. However, if my stomach hasn't gone down by Christmas, the doctor says I can come back and he'll do me again. For free. Plus," she said, grimacing, "he'll throw in a Valium this time for good measure." What a bargain.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Questions of Cash: What are my rights if my leak is caused by neighbours’ roofs?
Pension mortgages: 'The advice I was given was wrong and now I face losing my home'
Gold-plated pensions – the key to retirement freedom?
The 10 Best money-saving sites
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
Day In a Page
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens