The late Robin Williams once quipped that cocaine was “God’s way of saying that you have too much money”. In our more abstemious times, it seems that detoxing now fulfils that role. Not content with dispensing advice on her lifestyle website Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow recently ran an exclusive health-and-wellness exhibition in New York. This involved “well-groomed women wearing yoga pants and expensive handbags hooking themselves up to IVs and oxygen tubes in a parking lot”, writes Maureen Callahan in The New York Post. As well as these “experiences otherwise associated with the glamour of getting triaged at a disaster site”, attendees were able to watch as a surgeon carried out a live “ten-minute facelift” (just $3,500) on a patient under local anaesthetic.
Naturally, Paltrow didn’t miss the opportunity to hawk Goop-branded products, including “water bottles ($35), hoodies ($100) and a flight pack consisting of four thin nesting canvas bags containing some magnesium packets, a sleep mask, earbuds and moisturiser ($198)”. Even though some of the exhibitions (such as the live plastic surgery) ended up being “room-clearing events”, the day was a success from a financial standpoint. “All 500 tickets, ranging from $500 to $1,500, sold out” and “another event is planned for New York City in January.”
Perhaps those thinking about attending should first watch a recent interview with Paltrow in which she admitted she didn’t know anything about “Earthing” (walking around in bare feet to connect to the planet’s natural energy), one of the many bits of “junk science and dangerous information” that she is cashing in on, as Callahan puts it. But it probably wouldn’t make any difference to their decision.
Still, it’s not only gullible New Yorkers who are willing to “spend so much on so little”. The past few years have seen a big rise in the number of British men willing to take extreme measures in pursuit of the body beautiful. Plastic surgeons have noticed a “real jump” in the number of male patients in the past couple of years, says Charlotte Edwardes in The Sunday Times – “the number of tummy tucks for men rose by an ‘impressive’ 47%” last year.
While there are a number of reasons for this, they all boil down to the fact that “men are physically ageing quicker than they are mentally prepared to accept”, surgeon Olivier Amar tells her. His clients include “actors, artists, footballers, financiers and – quelle surprise – politicians”, but he’s seeing a stampede from the City and the tech sector. “No one wants to look past it in finance,” while “if you go to a sports company or Google or Apple, what do you suppose the average age is?”.
Patients come for a wide range of treatments, such as “Botox, fat transfers, dermal fillers, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), “CoolSculpting” (fat freezing), liposuction, laser removal of thread veins, rhinoplasty (nose jobs) and gynecomastia (removal of “moobs”)”, says Edwardes – together with the occasional, much stranger request. One demanded “bullet holes” created in his back “so that he could concoct a story around them saying he’d been shot”, surgeon Alex Karidis tells her. “I declined to do it.”
Tabloid money… BA lacks the British spirit
• As soon as British Airways’ computerised system went on the blink, the human element went straight into headless chicken mode, says Frederick Forsyth in the Daily Express. It was yet another sign of the times. British administration used to be world famous. “You want something organised, administered, run in an efficient manner? Call for the Brits. Calm and effective, we knew how to run things”. But now “petty bureaucracy, form-filling and paperwork” have put paid to that. The more computers, the slower the service. “It now takes five working days to cash a cheque. Captain Mainwaring [from sitcom Dad’s Army] could do it at Walmington-on-Sea in two – with only a fountain pen and a ledger.”
• Theresa May only has herself to blame for her party’s poor showing in last week’s general election, says Karren Brady in The Sun on Sunday. Her manifesto should have focused on “the good things”. She should have dramatically cut the foreign aid budget to free up £12bn for the NHS. “That would have been extremely popular.” Yet she cut free school meals and told voters that when they get sick, she would take their house. “Instead of serving up the good news now and saving the bad until later, which… is what politicians traditionally do, she promoted only the bad news and forgot to mention the good.”
• “I’ve been itching to wear my new summer outfits and am starting to get just a tad miffed with this up-and-down weather,” says Saira Khan in the Sunday Mirror. She’d gone on a recent “mad buying spree” of “flower power trousers”, dresses, blouses and shoes. So far, it’s all pretty much “been a waste of money”. Maybe “I should have invested in a cagoule and a pair of wellies” instead.