happy talk

Cellulite? Life is too short for body-brushing away the dimples

She spent years trying to remodel her thighs. Now Christine Manby has finally accepted she can’t just brush them into shape like a sculptor sanding away at a block of stone

Monday 02 March 2020 00:18
Illustration by Tom Ford
Illustration by Tom Ford

Let’s talk about cellulite. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you haven’t got it – most likely because you’re a man – and I’m loathe to fill you in on the gory details lest you start seeing it everywhere and perhaps, at great risk to your own life, start pointing it out on the beach. If you have got it, then you’ve probably wondered how to get rid of it and possibly spent a small fortune in the process. As I have.

I’ve had cellulite for pretty much as long as I’ve had legs. I’ve had it since I was so young and skinny I could wear a wristwatch around my thigh. It kept me from wearing shorts as a teenager. I credit the magazines I read as a teen with a lot of good things – Just Seventeen in particular answered many of the questions I daren’t ask my parents – but the glossy cosmetic adverts that faced the uplifting content in Elle and Cosmo and Vogue also gave me a very unrealistic view of what my body should look like and how much I should be prepared to spend on making it perfect.

I splashed out on my first bottle of anti-cellulite gel when I was 21 years old. I’d travelled to the US for the first time and saw the magic potion featured in the duty-free magazine on the flight home. I scraped together every last cent I had in my purse to make what I saw as an important investment when the flight attendant brought round the duty-free trolley. The lotion was by a fancy French fashion house, more commonly known for its clothes, and at the dollar equivalent of £40 it cost more than I had hitherto spent on anything. Forty quid was certainly more than I would have spent on an item of clothing. It represented a third of my monthly rent at the time (I was living in an airing cupboard in Hackney).

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