E: Lucky me. I suppose it’s better than your bowels. Is this punishment for the perfume talk? It is, isn’t it.
M: My pits. They are problematic.
E: I’m not surprised. I keep hearing how armpits are the new focus of body SHAME.
M: I can believe it.
E: You can? I don’t get it. I cannot fathom it at all. If mine disappeared entirely I wouldn’t notice. Well, I suppose I would if my arms dropped off.
M: Shut up about your armpits, we are talking about MY armpits. First of all, I have, how shall I say, more armpit than strictly necessary. Fat Armpit Syndrome. FAS. So, they are a bit lumpy. Which means it’s a bit difficult to, errr, shave.
E: Right. Got it.
M: They are also prone to ingrown hairs.
E: Ok. More Goop oversharing, right here.
M: So, if you could imagine, plump unevenly hairy pits with little lumps. That’s the situation right here. And here. *Points at armpit*
E: Ok. I’m conjuring it up. I’m not saying I’m loving it, but I’m doing my best to conjure it up.
M: But on top of that! They are also grey. I do not know why.
E: The skin, or the hairs??
M: The skin.
E: Whoa. That’s fucked up, M.
M: I know. I can scrub and exfoliate until my fingers bleed, but they remain grey. Why are my pits grey, E? WHY?
E: A complication of FAS? Or elephant poisoning. Is there any cure?
M: Yes, there is DOVE. Dove whitening “original” deodorant. I don’t know what’s original about it.
E: Whitening? As in SKIN whitening? Armpit whitening?
M: Yes, you know how in Asia everything is whitening this and whitening that.
E: I can’t cope with beauty these days. In my day, it was all fields round here.
E: Yes. beauty fields. Golden, ripe, waving fields of Nars pencils and Chanel lipsticks.
M: Don’t worry E. It doesn’t really MEAN whitening. Just sort of softens excess pigmentation or something. Also, it claims to “restore underarm’s natural skintone”. What is, I ask you, underarm’s natural skintone?
E: Erm. Something other than grey, hopefully?
M: Indeed. Though yours must be cadaver blue, I suspect.
E: Let me check. I have “never look at underarm” syndrome. NLUS. Yup. Blueish. Like a supermarket chicken thigh.
M: This would sort you right out. I now have perfectly normal underarm colour. Just as nature intended. The end.
E: WHOA. That’s witchcraft. How does it work? What does it do? How many goats did you have to sacrifice?
M: I don’t know. The grey is gone, that’s all I know. Let’s check the hilarious teeny tiny copy on the back label
“now you can get softer, smoother, and lighter underarm skin in just 2 weeks”
“it’s the only deodorant with 1/4 moisturising cream proven to lighten darkened underarm skin caused by underarm hair removal”
M: WHAT THE… Now we know why your pits aren’t grey.
E: No HAIR.
M: You have NO HAIR!
E: Hmmm. Do you think if I painted it over my whole body I would no longer be Anglo-Scottish blue-grey though?
M: You’d need a hell of a lot of deodorant for that. So there you have it: Dove Whitening Original. Actually does what it says. It’s just a shame I don’t really use deodorant anymore, what with the constantly being covered in head to toe sweat.
E: It’s what humanity has been waiting for, right enough.
M: I have Narta-style pits. Remember the Narta ads?
E: Oh yes. Does that stuff still exist?
M: Don’t know. NARTA! clap clap
E: You’re just flaunting your armpits now. Put them away.
M: Don’t you want to do a happy armpit dance with me?
E: Does it look like I want to do a happy armpit dance with you? I just want to lie here with my face on this keyboard until you stop talking about deodorant.
M: Sounds like you’re in the pits. He he he.
Dove Whitening deodorant. Apparently not available in the UK. Sorry, you grey-pitted freaks.
E: Are you having a laugh? How the fuck would I know. I went to Le Touquet for my summer holidays
M: Le Touquet. That sounds tropical. Like a toucan.
E: When in fact, it’s a drizzly northern beach resort made of wind-beaten concrete and despair. It literally rained every second we were there. I thought my children would dissolve. I quite wished they would, actually. I was told French Children Don’t Throw Food, but actually, that’s only because they are busy throwing each other down concrete stairs.
M: Mmmmmmm. That sounds actually properly lovely. Not the children, the rain. I could do with a bit of drizzly miserable weather goodness.
E: Yeah, all that sun and sand and hammocks and so on must be awful. Whatever floats your boat, punk. ANYWAY.
M: Yes, ANYWAY. Sunscreen. It’s either like mime makeup, or exceedingly expensive. And I need it, because it is fucking hot here. And sunny. And sweaty. Which as you can imagine, does wonders for your skin. I’m uncomfortably aware of the necessity to protect my face lest it burn right off.
E: Angry monkey face has nothing on ‘Cambodian Sunburn Face’. And what are you using to protect your angry monkey, sorry, soft, delicate skin?
M: Muji UV Protect Milk. It doesn’t know grammar, but it’s good.
E: It has no time for grammar, it’s too busy protecting milk
M: It seems to also be called “UV Milk lotion sensitiv skin”. Apparently, it’s not very good at spelling either.
E: Hmmm. I hope it’s good at sun protection, because it sucks at most other stuff. I mean, can it make a decent cup of tea?
M: Difficult to tell, E. I would love to tell you all about its mysterious, highly scientific Japanese properties, but unfortunately the packaging is in Japanese so I don’t know what it really says. Probably something like “yesterday we meadow picnic oh how happy the sun shine!”
E: And what SPFs does this magic kawaii sun cream have, M?
M: It says SPF 27 PA++, which I think is Japanese for “Provides excellent protection against UVA and UVB rays, a main cause of skin ageing”
E: You speak fluent Muji, M. I am impressed. Does it say “sits on your skin like mime make up”? or “greasy as KFC?”
M: Honestly, it’s more like a moisturiser. It sinks in nicely, no mime mask, and my skin feels hydrated but not french fry greasy. It’s a total win.
E: And being Muji, presumably it’s as cheap as rice?
E: So, M, when we were on hiatus over the summer, I had the great good fortune to be invited to a launch of, like, a really good beauty shop here in the Belgiana. I didn’t really tell them I worked for Croatian Vogue. That’s a filthy rumour.
M: Lies. You don’t have shops in Belgiana.
E: We do actually have a few rough shacks with earth floors. Actually, since the shop wasn’t actually finished, it was a bit like that. ANYWAY, they gave me the best goodie bag ever. EVER. It was quite literally the best thing that happened in summer 2011.
M: Oh, nice. Was there chocolate in it? A golden status of a cow? False idols to worship?
E: Are you mistaking Belgians with Incas? Or Aztecs? I think you are.
M: Possibly. They both like chocolate, I think. ANYWAY. What was in the bag, E?
E: Well. There were many things, and we will talk about them over the coming weeks, but today, I want to tell you about the perfume.
M: Oh god.
E: Yes, yes, I know you hate perfume talk.
E: Don’t make that face. I can see you in the OTHER HEMISPHERE rolling your eyes
M: Why. WHY MUST YOU DO THIS NOW. AND WHY IS THERE AN OWL? I still use a bottle of Crabtree and Evelyn body spray I got when I was 16.
E: Because. It. Is. Interesting. So you can just lump it, and listen to My Summer of Scent
M: Interesting? To fellow smell pervs enthusiasts, perhaps. I think it’s a small victory when I don’t spend the day smelling of buffalo.
E: I got this vast quantity of fragrance samples, and I spent the whole summer using a different teeny tiny sample each day. There were some good ones and some spectacularly AWFUL ones. There was even one that was based on Tiger Balm.
There were days when my family recoiled from me in disgust and days when no one would sit next to me on the bus.
M: So, like any other day then. But more tigery.
E: Yes, but there were days when pervy old men chased me down the street and once, the woman in the post office told me I smelled “clean”.
M: Who is she? I am already slumped over on my keyboard, sobbing, by the way.
E: Ssssh. nearly over. Ormonde Jayne – and yes, it’s a terrible name – do this bespoke scent test on you where they ask you how you feel about goats, and cinnamon, and wire wool smells, which they waft under your nose in tiny test tubes. Then, based on your reaction to pencil shavings, overripe bananas and hoof oil, they suggest a scent. Osmanthus was mine.
M: Did it work?
E: Oddly enough, it sort of did. It’s softer and gentler than what I’d usually wear, and I can’t really describe it satisfactorily. It’s like a big, cosy, floral marshmallow hug. That sounds horrible and stifling. It smells like … uh …. nice things. Like Friday afternoon.
M Friday afternoon when you skive off work to stuff your face at Ladurée?
E: Yes! And then you hug your St Honoré aux Framboises to your chest, slightly crushing it. It smells like that.
E: The other winner in the summer of scent were Heeley scents.
M: Heeley sounds like a sporting event. A posh one. Involving canoes and possibly horses.
E: Ha, yes! It is made by James Heeley, a pretty, fey man who looks like he has escaped from Brideshead revisited.
Definitely horses and canoes. Anyway, he makes these exquisite, weird fragrances, including the tiger balm one (very tiger balmy), a sort of sea salt one , and a really grassy verveine one that smells like your granny’s tisane.
M: Couldn’t you just give yourself a rub down with some crushed leaves or some tapenade?
E: So practical always, M. Yes. I suppose you could. It’s like that, but less… sappy and exfoliating. More importantly, he writes the most florid, bonkers copy about his scent I have ever read. Each one comes with a suggestion of what it should evoke.
E: Now that we’re back, M, I think we should start as we mean to go on: by complaining. Because I really need to complain about this Paul & Joe kitten shaped lipstick business.
M: Look at that smug little bastard.. What the fuck is that all about? I tried some on. It was chalky.
E: Chalky is the least of its problems. What, exactly, the fuck, Paul & Joe? Imagine, if you will, the brainstorming session.
“What do women want?” “This research suggests they want wage parity, innovative solutions to work life balance, less objectification of the female form in public discourse, and .. kittens”.
“Kittens! Yes, that’s it! I’m getting an idea!”
M: I do not want to rub a cat all over my lips. Cats would totally scratch your lips. And now there’s a blusher too?!?
E: No right-thinking person wants to rub a cat over their lips. Maybe mad people who buy their cats organic chicken Marks & Spencer mini-fillets. I had a neighbour who did that. She also claimed that her cat, Bambi, “could tell the difference between Tesco and Harrods milk”. I mean, at least make PONY lipstick. Or dugong lipstick.
M: Dugong shaped might be a little, how shall I put it, phallic.
E: God, this lipstick talk reminds me that I heard a discussion on Belgian radio last week about those irritant lip plumpers and I SWEAR to you I did not dream this but the man suggested you could use loft insulation as a cheap alternative.
M: OH MY GOD The fibre glass shit?
E: Yup. I think Belgium has been drinking heavily.
M: Welcome to Belgium, where we nurture a blatant disregard for health and safety. This reminds me how I was assaulted by the Paul & Joe assistant. God, she was pushy. I asked her for something bright and she gave me this thing that was pastel orange. I’m pretty sure I had to back away from her slowly.
E: Where was this? Was this during the extended dream sequence that was your life last year?
M: She had dead eyes. Like a SHARK.
E: See, I really like some of their stuff.
M: Oh? But it’s so flimsy and plasticky!
E: Mainly the makeup bags. I have a great P&J one.
M: I don’t understand your fascination with makeup bags. It’s a bag. You put makeup in it. It gets dirty. The end.
E: But it’s not dirty on the outside. And it might have a pretty pattern!
E: Ok fine, forget I said anything. But mine had swallows or some such shit on. It was GOOD.
M: I am googling Paul and Joe makeup bag. AHEM
E: NO NO NO NO. I am going to have to take a pic of it, aren’t I? To PROVE to you that it was not a kitten-topia.
M: I’m going to send you some hello kitty cosmetics, because you’re obviously in denial.
E: It is yellow. with blue birds. They do not have cute faces. They are not in a basket.
M: By birds, do you mean “pussy cats”?
E: No. Big, macho birds with CLAWS. (ok, maybe not claws)
E: I dunno, M. The year two thousand and SHAME, maybe. There has been a catastrophic fracture in the goop/time continuum. What are we doing here? What are we talking about? Hang on, who are you, and why have you got durian peel in your hair?
M: Wait, it’s all coming back to me now… One minute, I was at the hairdresser getting my head steamed, then the next..
E: Ok. Enough of the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhs. This isn’t getting any beauty dissected, and, full disclosure: I don’t think I have used moisturiser for about 6 months. WHAT HAPPENED TO US?
M: I DON’T KNOW. IT’S ALL SO FOGGY
E: Oh dear, oh dear. Did Mr Armani abduct you? Or have you been sniffing dugongs again?
M: Probably, because I appear to be living in Cambodia now.
E: Oh, M.
M: Which is really fucking helpful, on the beauty front, let me tell you. When I’m not busy mopping up my facial sweat, I’m picking spiders from my hair.
E: A thousand ways with banana leaves. Elephant massage. Actually, that sounds great.
M: S’OK. I have accumulated many expensive fripperies during my time in my padded cell*. (*Singapore)
E: Phew. I am still in Belgium, living in an attic and talking to myself. I got some fripperies free in June and am still eking them out. I don’t think I’ve worn makeup since August. My nails are sort of friable, chewed claws.
M: Dude. I have NGO worker legs. Not that I’m an NGO worker, mind. Just hairy like one.
E: Hahahahahahaha. ‘NGO worker legs’ Is this a defined term? “Get the NGO look!”
M: We are officially the worst beauty bloggists ever.
E: Yes. We are. We are not fit to clean beauty’s toilets. But we can change. It is January, the month of possibility. And I’ve got stuff to goop about.
M: What do you want to goop about?
E: Well, M, I am glad you asked me that. I want to Goop about some Dermologica scrub (free). And about how I don’t understand Khiel’s. And tell you about some body cream I wish to marry, from “”"Frédéric Malle”"”" who is not a person, but a sinister front for some French cult.
M: Like Jean-Louis David, which is just 3 random names pulled out of a hat.
E: Yes! It could just as easily be Marc Olivier François. Maybe I should start a hairdresser called that? And also, there is some weird ass shit you sent me from Singapore, including what appear to be several ‘mould your own death mask’ kits. And I need to talk about My Summer Of Scent Samples, which sounds like an extra boring indie coming of age movie. How about you?
M: I have: crazy neon pink lipstick of amazingness. Secret lotion that smells of vinegar mushrooms. A multitude of shitty mascaras. The best hair serum EVER. And the solution to angry monkey face.
E: COR. That’s a whole load of (slightly troubling) goop. The solution? You have CURED angry monkey face?
M: It does not, surprisingly, involve monkeys. I have been getting my kicks where I can, E.
E: Fair enough, elephant fondler.
M: Oh god. So much to do. I’m exhausted already. Can I go lie down now?
E: I suppose so, you lazy arse.
M: First I will do my ritualistic Sweeping of The Room for Giant Spiders. You?
E: I think I will adjust my Bra of Acute Rib Compression. Oh, M, I forgot to tell you.
E: Last night, I had a hole in my tights so gigantic I took a picture of it for you. But then I realised that was mental.
M: I think you’re mistaking this for a fashion blog.
E: It was a really, really big hole. It encompassed a whole buttock. So: ritualistic spider sweeping and minimiser bra adjustments? This is our brave new 2012 new leaf and other things with ‘new’ in them?
M: In your FACE, 2012. We are back. And we will goop you.
E: Goop ON.
M: Is that like: walk on? said to a horse? (pony botherer)
E: I was aiming for “game on”, but now you’ve said that, it just sounds pitiful. Start as we mean to go on!