The Avon Lady called last night. Or rather she pushed a catalogue through the letter box. This means she'll probably ring the bell tonight in the middle of Coronation Street. The very night that blood runs down the cobbles of the Street. She's unlikely to get an answer.
I didn't know that Avon Ladies still existed. I thought such people now worked for the Anne Summers empire and held parties in their homes where the ladies of suburban middle England drank Asti Spumante and giggled behind the net curtains over crotchless panties and turbocharged vibrators. (Christ, that will get me into a lot of Google searches).
The Avon catalogue makes interesting reading for those amused by the pseudo-scientific nonsense of the cosmetics industry. There's Hydrofirming Bio6 night cream which immediately increases the skin's moisture levels by over 185%! Only a fiver. It would be cheaper to stick your head in a bucket of water. This claim is based on a clinical study of 20 women. Not the biggest sample ever used in the history of science.
Then there's Retroactive+ which I at first mistook for an HIV retroviral drug. It is, of course, much cleverer than those. It has wrinkle radar! It can detect and prevent wrinkles before they've even appeared! So even if you don't have wrinkles and maybe will never have wrinkles they'll still relieve you of £15 for 50ml. Brilliant. These people could sell condoms to eunuchs.
God, life must be so complicated if you're a woman. How the hell do you choose from the Planet Spa range which unlocks the secrets of the planet?
Is it the function of cosmetics to unlock the secrets of the planet? You might just be going clubbing in Luton and hoping for some tongue action with Dale who works in Argos and is well fit, not visiting the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland.
How do you know if you're a Secrets of India, South Pacific or African Shea type of person? And if you go for the Dead Sea range I'd say you've got problems.
Whereas men only need to buy the occasional can of Lynx deodorant for those days when they have what the Australians call an 'English shower'. You spray a heavy cloud of deodorant into the room and then run through it.
All right, I did once buy some mascara. Back in the eighties I grew a moustache. I was unemployed at the time and it gave me something to do. But nature played a cruel trick on me. The moustache didn't match my hair colour. My hair (in all locations) is brown. The moustache was ginger.
Ginger, for fuck's sake! Some rogue gene was taking the piss.
Anyway, I trimmed it very small, hoping people wouldn't notice. For younger people it was a George Benson moustache. To older people I looked like a wartime spiv who sidled up to young ladies and said "Pssst.....want to buy some nylons?"
Then two gay friends of mine said I could easily solve the problem by applying some brown mascara to it. Lots of men did that, they assured me. So I went to Woolworths (I wasn't going to confront one of those painted battleaxes in House of Fraser) and bought some brown mascara. I bought several other manly items I didn't need as well, rather like a schoolboy buying condoms for the first time.
Back in the crepuscular gloom of my Tyneside flat, the result seemed satisfactory. I set off clubbing in a confident mood, now colour co-ordinated in both the sartorial and follicular departments.
At first everything was fine. But as the evening wore on and the High Energy beat got louder and the club hotter, the mascara began to run.
MacArthur Park was melting in the dark..... all the sweet brown mascara running down my chin.
Tainted Love, sang Mark Almond. Tainted fucking moustache, I thought.
I wondered if by any chance the DJ had any Mahler on his playlist. I was Dirk Bogarde with sweat and make-up running down his face as Tadzio disappeared into the waves.
Except I wasn't.
I was leaning on the bar in a Tyneside club dabbing at my face with a handkerchief and in the mirror behind the bar I could see the strip of ginger fungus re-emerging on my upper lip. If I saw those two stupid queens who told me to use mascara they'd be dead meat.
The next day I shaved it off.
And if there's a Ding-Dong tonight from that Avon Lady she can stick her mascara where the sun doesn't shine.