James Sherwood: 'Fairer sex, watch out'

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The Independent Online

As the mother of the miniskirt, Mary Quant, says: the secret of a happy marriage is simple, separate bathrooms. A woman's intuition tells her that men may appreciate the results of waxing, buffing, exfoliating and moisturising. But the mystique is lost when he's faced with a work in progress.

As the mother of the miniskirt, Mary Quant, says: the secret of a happy marriage is simple, separate bathrooms. A woman's intuition tells her that men may appreciate the results of waxing, buffing, exfoliating and moisturising. But the mystique is lost when he's faced with a work in progress.

Now it seems the tables are to be turned. Sales of boy beauty products including moisturiser - the bathroom equivalent of quiche for "real men" - have increased in the past five years.

Surely this is cause for the women of Britain to rejoice. Men can happily browse their own ranges at Clinique, Clarins, Lancome and Biotherm or splash out on Jean-Paul Gaultier's Tout Beau range, which includes lipsticks, nail pencils and foundation.

The nation should delight at the sight of fresh, pedicured feet in summer flip flops and unsightly body hair waxed into submission à la Freddy Ljungberg. England will be a prettier place for all these sweetly scented peacock males.

Will relationships be any happier now men spend as much time and money as their other halves on beauty? I fear not. One of the perks of being the "fairer sex" must be the ability to stroll into a room and garner admiring glances. How depressing to arrive on the arm of a well-groomed man who looks half your age.

As television programmes like Queer Eye For A Straight Guy prove, men's grooming is all about education. A little advice and an eyebrow wax can make even the butchest of men start to look open to suggestion. Gay men won't necessarily thank the grooming boom either. When straight men can look as cute as Ljungberg, life gets confusing.

However, any trend that makes the world a superficially prettier, happier and sweeter smelling place gets my vote. Call it grooming, beauty or personal enhancement, the use of lotions and potions is infinitely preferable to cosmetic surgery. Nobody wants to live in a world of plastic people.

James Sherwood is a fashion commentator

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