Katy Guest: Hair power is just another load of old follicles

Click to follow
The Independent Online

In a week in which yet another stupid slimming fad outdid the last one and caught the attention of horrified dieticians, praise be to Karren Brady for being last week's still, small voice of calm in a ridiculous world. In an interview with Woman & Home magazine, the West Ham boss said that she doesn't really bother with staying thin and following fashion, and instead just has a life and wears things that suit her. "I've been to some very glamorous parties where there are some very beautiful – and very thin – people," she said, "But … they don't touch a canapé or have a drink."

Ms Brady, on the other hand, piles into the vol-au-vents and wears whatever she looks good in, which she reckons achieves the same effect as losing 10lb. I'm with Karren Brady! As long as she doesn't come between me and a mini Yorkshire pudding with roast beef on top.

Like Ms Brady, I try to avoid news of the latest ways to make yourself poorly while making bogus nutritionists rich, but somehow "The OMG Diet" has seeped into my consciousness like a touch of the runs in an ice-cold bath. In the OMG diet, which I think stands for obsessive, mad and grotesque, victims give up fruit, drink lots of black coffee, and lie in cold baths until they either become skinny or lose the will to live. It recently replaced the Dukan Diet as Britain's most stupid waste of time, and that in turn replaced the Atkins Diet, which implied that eating lots of cheese and no vitamins was the way to achieve dieting Nirvana.

I always thought that I had a healthy perspective on this type of nonsense, but last week I watched BBC3's How to Get a Life, in which Cherry Healey met a group of young women who don't shave their legs. So outrageous was this idea that a man went on Woman's Hour on Monday to talk about the programme, and claimed that women who "grow their body hair" are "on the same continuum" as anorexics and self-harmers. "They're trying to empower themselves … by growing hair all over their bodies," said Ellis Cashmore, a real-life professor at Staffordshire University.

First, as if making an effort to grow your body hair is actually a thing. And second, is he insane? Are men making a political statement by growing hair all over their bodies and faces? Or could Professor Cashmore explain to a visiting alien why half the world's humans should spend hours every week doing something so stupid as pulling out all of their hair?

When I think about the absurdity of his statement, I wish that I could stand still, focus and squeeze big fat hairs out of every follicle. To be honest, I'm embarrassed to think that I ever considered hair removal an important use of my time, and that it took some 17-year-olds on BBC3 to wake me up. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to my dilemma. I think I'd better lie in a hot bath and eat canapés while I try to grow back some leg hairs, along with a bit of perspective, dignity and self-respect.