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Victoria Beckham’s thin because she hardly eats, and other shocking facts

Hilary Fannin: You never know what you’ll learn at the beautician’s

I was flicking through the magazines on the waiting-room table, waiting for my name to be called. I began by reading an illuminating piece about why Victoria Beckham is thin. “Victoria Beckham,” the article boldly stated, “is thin because she eats very few calories!”

Well, gag me with a spoon, I thought, you learn something every day. According to the article, there was a time when “Victoria exclusively ate only peas”. (Or maybe she ate only exclusive peas; I can’t quite remember.) Anyhow, she jettisoned the exclusive-pea diet on the advice of her husband, David, who probably feared she might turn into a little frozen green orb and roll under the freezer.

I also learned that Victoria is thin because she chews coffee beans when she attends social functions. This idiosyncratic habit may darken her delicate saliva and rattle her pearly whites like a roadside drill, but it stops her from being tempted to consume alcohol. (Alcohol can cause the mask to slip: throw a couple of gins into the woman and she might be in imminent danger of laughing, weeping or masticating a mini burger.)

The starving Kardashian used to have a celebrated bottom. No more! She now has an 'extreme thigh gap' instead, and she's using her old bottom as a hammock

Still waiting to hear my name, I continued perusing the shiny selection of magazines, which is how I stumbled upon the Kardashians. One Kardashian in particular had, according to sources close to the family dog, embarked on a “starvation diet” in order to achieve her dream of being able to curl up in a teaspoon (or something equally compelling). Apparently, the starving Kardashian used to have a celebrated bottom. No more! She now has “an extreme thigh gap” instead, and she’s using her old bottom as a hammock.


Just as I was thinking that I’d far prefer a celebrated backside to a thigh gap, my name was called. I stood, went into the narrow, scented room and got on to a bed covered in tissue paper.

“Celebrities, eh? Why don’t they just leave themselves alone?” I said, arranging myself on the slab.

“It’s not just celebrities though, is it?” answered the girl with the impressive eyelashes who had shown me into the room and was now spreading boiling wax over my legs with a palette knife.

Apparently, we mortals are just as bad. As the wax spread the beautician told me about a bunch of women who’d driven to some backwater for a clandestine Botox session. They’d sat around a grubby kitchen table and, for €100 a shot, had various bits of themselves injected with a substance that may have been Polyfilla or Plasticine or paraffin, something that puffed up and shrank until they all ended up weepy and aghast, with droopy disappointed mouths and startled crow’s feet.

“Wouldn’t like to think of the plastic surgeon’s repair fee,” the beautician concluded.

“Holy cow,” I said. “What kind of women would put themselves through that?”

“I cannot imagine,” she replied, testing the hardened wax and then ripping my hairs out at the root, follicles and all, in one long energetic sweep.

“Did you see that article about the soap star and the pedicurist?” I asked, to stop myself crying out in despair.

“What article?”

“You know, the actress who married the pedicurist to the stars and lost six stone in six weeks by eating hamster droppings and avocado stones, and has had so much flesh cut away that she now looks like a sliver of human origami.”

“Don’t be silly,” she replied, tweezers snapping. “Eyebrows?”

I was going all out, determined to keep the tired orchestra of personal grooming on deck and make the players play until they were breathing ice

When my eyebrows were sufficiently subdued she took me back outside and painted my fingernails fire-engine red. (You’re not dealing with muck here, mate. I was going all out, determined to keep the tired orchestra of personal grooming on deck and make the players play until they were breathing ice.)

“You’re done,” she said. I looked in the mirror at the pinkening line of my brow, at the pluck marks on my legs, at my fingers that looked like warning signs.

“Thank you. I feel much better.”

And I did. I walked home, feeling better than I had in months. Grateful for the distraction, for the stories, for the gentle camaraderie. I kicked the leaves, dry and gritty.

The cat was waiting for me when I got inside, checking her watch and flicking through a copy of The Female Eunuch. She arched a rheumy eye, looked me up and down.

“Leg wax and nails?” she muttered. “Hot date?”

“Special offer,” I replied.

She stalked off to her empty bowl.

I followed her skinny little back into the kitchen, tore open a sachet of cat food.

“Casserole variety!” I told her. “Sprinkled with exclusive peas. Watch yourself: you’ll end up chewing the coffee beans.”