American beauty? British women are unkempt and lazy about grooming

Tad Safran in The Times:

Tad385_255135a In the iconic chick-flick Bridget Jones’s Diary, the title character is a sad, lonely, overweight, posh-sounding chain-smoker in her thirties with a drinking problem and no dating prospects. She then, one day, goes to the gym for an hour or two, spends £200 at Topshop, reads a self-help book and, lo and behold, she finds herself in the delightful position of having to decide between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Women of Britain: Bridget Jones’s Diary is not a documentary. It’s a work of fiction, a fairytale. The fact is that control-top granny pants are simply not a substitute for regular exercise, thoughtful grooming and a healthy diet. Certainly not if you’re single and interested in men. An informal poll of my US female friends revealed that they spend roughly $700 (£350) a month on what they consider standard obligatory beauty maintenance. That covers haircut, highlights, manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning, make-up, facials, teeth whitening etc. They will spend a further $1,000 (£500) a month on physical conditioning such as military fitness, spinning sessions, vikram yoga, Pilates, deep-tissue sports massage, personal training etc. On top of that, add the occasional spa day, a week-long “bikini boot camp” in Mexico at the start of every summer and seasonal splurges on personal shoppers and clothing. I’m not sure any of my British female friends spends £700 during an entire year on her appearance. American women see these costs as a simple and sensible investment in their future.

More here.