I was in a watering hole over the weekend, and there was a quartet of women getting stuck into the gin, having clearly been on the sauce before arrival. They were at the loud stage that presages the raucous cackly stage before the shrieky stage. I said to the barman, ‘This is going to get noisy.’

‘It’s going to get funny.’

‘Tell you what, there’s an awful lot of collagen around that table.’

‘You’re not wrong there. I had collagen in my lips once. It resorbs quite quickly, so that lot over there must keep on going back.’

‘Wait. What? You had collagen implants in your lips?’

‘Yeah. And I had some to accent my cheekbones.’

‘Errm. Why?’

‘My ex fiancée was a beautician. She needed some practice when she was training, and I was the testbed.’


‘I can also tell you from bitter experience that there are places in the world where wax strips do not belong. Back, sack, and crack are a breeze compared with having your ankles done.’

‘What? Your ankles? Who are you? Mr Tumnus? A fucking centaur?’

‘She reckoned I had hairy ankles.’

‘You said ex fiancée.’


‘I’m not entirely surprised at that.’

But here’s the thing. Women have their lips plumped up so they look as if you could stick their faces on a mirror. They have breast augmentation or reduction. Lardarse had buttock implants and led to a pretty vigorous trend for bigger bottoms. But my barman acquaintance and I came to a rather sad conclusion. Women do all that stuff because of other women.

Having a y chromosome makes us men pretty simple. There may be the occasional bloke out there who really gives a damn that his girlfriend ‘needs’ bigger lips, but as a heterosexual woman, why would you bother with somebody so shallow? Even as a gay woman, if your girlfriend badgered you to get a bigger arse, would you pay any attention, or would you simply say, ‘Stuff you. Stop being so vacuous.’?

I also have to say that anybody wanting to use me for target practice for needles would get pretty short shrift. I have had people try out their nascent abilities to take blood samples, but that is a rather different kettle of fish from being made to look pouty.