Thank you, Gwyneth Paltrow, from the heart of my phlegmatic bottom

Hilary Fannin: What better time than a pandemic to seek advice from the Goop?

Gwyneth Paltrow speaks onstage at the In Goop Health summit in Los Angeles on May 18th, 2019. Photograph: Neilson Barnard/Getty

Gwyneth Paltrow speaks onstage at the In Goop Health summit in Los Angeles on May 18th, 2019. Photograph: Neilson Barnard/Getty

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Lockdown day 999, or so it seems, and the sun is napping behind the drifting cumulus. Even the diverting garden birds have departed, having diligently eaten up the fat balls that I’d hung in the backyard from my mangy-looking fatsia japonica. 

Unable to rouse myself to wash the kitchen floor or make a ratatouille out of my wrinkly vegetables (despite the creased foreheads of the red peppers and the shy wilt of the aubergine), I thought hey, I know what I’ll do today! I’ll see how my old mucker, the herbally infused Gwyneth Paltrow, she of the medicinal mugwort, the gal with the most fragrant tush in the foothills of the Californian mountains, is doing during the global pandemic. (And I suspected, too, she might have some novel ideas on what to do with an aubergine.)

I myself am manfully avoiding alcohol consumption for three consecutive days a week. (And yes, I do recognise the paltriness of that achievement)

Oh Gwyn, you are eternally giving, and I thank you from the bottom of my phlegmatic heart (or the heart of my phlegmatic bottom) for the editorial wisdom you display in Goop, your online lifestyle publication, without which I would waft just like those aimless clouds, unaware of my responsibility to embrace multimodal vaginal toning.  

Thank you, Gwynnie, for enlightening women of a certain vintage – mine – as to the efficacy of a combined cocktail of light, heat and vibration in stimulating cells and boosting blood circulation in one’s maturing neither regions.

Why?

I’m delighted to be able to pass on the news to the readers of this column, of a similar age and gender, that it’s not enough to prune our roses, feed our sourdough mothers and stare down our gin bottles during lockdown – apparently, we should all also be spurring on our cell metabolisms by regularly inserting a vibrating phallic object, with a little red laser beam on top of it, where the sun don’t shine.

Why? Why, Gwyneth? Why do we have to worry about maintaining, toning and supporting intimate wellness when our worlds have been reduced to queueing in the street for a sliced pan and getting giddily excited over bin day?

I’m tired, Gwynnie, tired of Zoom meetings and disinfecting door handles and playing hopscotch over the dumbbells scattered around my kitchen floor and wondering if my sons will ever have a recognisable world to return to.

For the less minted among us, there is another stress-busting suggestion that might just work

And of wondering, too, when I’ll see my far-flung siblings again to drink wine at their tables. I’m far too tired, in fact, to worry about playing laser-beam ping-pong with my bladder muscles.  

Speaking of staring down a gin bottle, Gwyneth, I myself am manfully avoiding alcohol consumption for three consecutive days a week. (And yes, I do recognise the paltriness of that achievement, Ms Paltrow, and yes, I acknowledge that by Los Angeles standards I should probably have myself helicoptered to rehab.)

I note with failing interest that one of your regular contributors mentions that drinkers, with or without the excuse of lockdown, should be on the lookout for increased production of inflammatory cytokines. (Dammit, I knew there was something I was forgetting!) 

Cytokines are proteins – I think – that get a bit jumpy when you drown the buggers in Chardonnay. And okay, I do reluctantly accept that it’s entirely sound advice to rein it all in a bit and replace the gin in your Covid-year cocktails with pink grapefruit or a lashing of juiced pomegranate.

Impractical information

Indeed restraint, and not just in Goopland, seems to be the overarching theme of recent weeks – restraint before we end up in the drunk tank, restraint around other people, and a degree of acceptance that we may be in some form of lockdown for the long haul.

Goop is a minefield of impractical information on how to deal with the stresses of living, working and socialising indoors – especially if you’re made of shagging money.

Yep, from spending your day wearing pure silk pyjamas and your nights soaking in Emotional Detox bath salts to gifting yourself a 24-carat, gold-plated vibrating T-bar for lifting and sculpting your boat race before your next Zoom conference, Gwynnie’s got you covered.

For the less minted among us, there is another stress-busting suggestion that might just work. Apparently, lying around naked under the potted house plants in the dappled sunlight – a kind of DIY domesticated forest bathing – does wonders for tension (though may bewilder the neighbours).  

But I’m afraid I’ll have to give that one a miss as well, the house being overrun, as I’ve mentioned, by barbells, with barely a Busy Lizzie or an aspidistra in sight.

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