Open for Discussion: “Standard Obligatory Beauty Maintenance”

A few people have sent me the link to this article, which is supposedly about the differences between British and American women, but is really about what an insecure, clueless knob Tad Safran is. Wicked Child just mentioned it in comments on Fillyjonk’s latest, and people seem keen to discuss, so I thought I’d move it up top.

Some choice quotes for your enjoyment (emphasis mine):

I am a massive fan of British women. UK girls, in my opinion, are the greatest natural beauties in the world . . . when they’re 17 or 18 years old.

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.

As with many societal ills, I blame the parents. British mothers do not instruct their daughters the way American mothers do. In the US, beauty treatments appear to be a large part of their growing-up experience. A trip to the beauty salon is a group event for girls, an opportunity for a gossip and a catchup. This continues into adulthood.

Another part of the problem is that women in Britain do not help each other. American women have no qualms about telling their friends, in no uncertain terms, when they look like crap, or have put on weight, or are dressed like a bag-lady.

[L]adies, the only time a man will notice your shoes is if your feet are wedged on top of his shoulders bouncing either side of his head.

American women are generally more grasping than British women socially and financially so I suppose that it makes sense that they are more striving aesthetically, too. Their obsession with their looks, however, can be unattractive and can even turn unpleasant.

And right about there is where my head asploded.

Your thoughts?

196 thoughts on “Open for Discussion: “Standard Obligatory Beauty Maintenance”

  1. It pleases me that he is getting absolutely REAMED in the comments to his article. I’d post my comment but it would get lost amid the other 600 women saying esentially this:

    Dear Tad,
    Re: “American beauty?”

    You’re an Idiot.

    Regards,
    British and American Women.

    P.S. Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to Hell.

  2. Wow. My first thought is that he must be living not in America but on the planet Rich Girl. I’ve never been there but have heard the tales on such reality-based programs as ‘Sex in the City’. That was a documentary, right?

  3. What a tool.

    Although if Naomi Wolfe ever wants to put out a new edition of “The Beauty Myth”, she could just replace much of the book with this column. It really just about sums up the patriarchal “women should look like they spend tons of time on their appearance except they shouldn’t spend tons of time on their appearance cuz that’s annoying and selfish” position perfectly.

  4. so we’re supposed to work hard and spend ridiculous amounts of money to meet his definition of attractiveness, but caring that much is unattractive.

    …okay then. I’ll pass.

    (love the blog, btw).

  5. My first thought is that he must be living not in America but on the planet Rich Girl.

    No shit. Considering $1700 is significantly more than my rent, I’m not gonna be blowing that on the pretty.

    “women should look like they spend tons of time on their appearance except they shouldn’t spend tons of time on their appearance cuz that’s annoying and selfish”

    Yup. I can’t believe he actually put in that last line I quoted with a straight face. I mean, I can’t believe he wrote the whole fucking thing with a straight face, but especially that.

  6. The author splits his time mostly in LA and NY which brings me to my point: His statements about “American women” are grossly steretypical and not at all true. We live in such a huge country…indeed, MN (the state I grew up in, in which my mother clearly neglected my fashion upbringing) is roughly similar in size, I’d guess, to UK…and that is just one state. He clearly has no clue about women, and is not interested in getting beyond superficiality.

    This came up on the romance novel blog that I read, and the author theorizes that perhaps this dipshit’s motivation is that he has taken a vow of celibacy and wanted to make absolutely sure that there would ever be a chance to violate it.

  7. Wow, that dude really, REALLY hates women.

    I love that they feel the need to mention that he’s single. OMG REELY? BUT HE IS SUCH A CATCH

  8. Wow. I mean, I think his generalizations are wrong, but if they weren’t, I’d want to move to Britain. How can someone look at that level of superficial obsession and call it a good thing?

  9. This article is just a bunch of bloviating nonsense, but the “men never notice shoes” line is one that jumped out at me because I’ve heard non-insane guys say that shit.

    The notion that women are going around doing all these things to please men, and are being totally stupid to do so because Men Just Don’t Care is so much fucking bullshit. I’ve seen so many dudes check out a woman who wobbled by on heels, had boyfriends even comment on other women’s shoes.

    It’s such male privilege bullshit to run around being like “god, we totally don’t even care about this stuff, how silly of you to put yourself out.” Argggghh.

  10. How can someone look at that level of superficial obsession and call it a good thing?

    Nono, vorare, it’s not completely a good thing, because it makes American women into bitches! You have to understand this fucknut’s mindset: women are either ugly or they’re bitches.

    Sorry, I should have said “this fucknut (single).”

  11. How can someone look at that level of superficial obsession and call it a good thing?

    Reviling women for the things they do in order to try to conform to sexist, misogynist ideas about how they should look is also sexist.

  12. It’s such male privilege bullshit to run around being like “god, we totally don’t even care about this stuff, how silly of you to put yourself out.”

    We don’t care, but we’ll also write scathing op-eds vilifying you if you DON’T do it!

    I mean, maybe Douchehound doesn’t care about shoes, but can you imagine how he’d react if a woman had the temerity to wear sneakers?

  13. Seventeen hundred a month? How how how does this shit get published? How? Does he not know most American women don’t take home $1700 a month? Does he??

  14. women are either ugly or they’re bitches.

    By his standards, I’m sure that I’m both. I guess he wouldn’t be attracted to me, then. Wow. Bummer.

  15. I’m a journalist, and therefore get some really odd e-mails that seethe with misogyny on behalf of an entire culture. In the guise of you-can’t-go-without-what-I’m shilling.

    I can’t count the number of product emails I get — thousands of them cosmetic in nature and aimed at women. I can’t count them. They fall like bird shit on a college campus parking lot.

    Then, I get an e-mail for MEN pushing “stealth divorce.” The lead in for said stealth divorce posits that men are marginalized because of the fumbling economy (as if women and children somehow get a magic fucking pass from a fumbling economy).

    But it gets worse. You see, men are married to shrill harpies who insist on getting $100 highlights, mani-pedis, tooth whitening and gymn memberships even when their great big warrior has taken a lay-off spear to the side. These unfortunate souls simply MUST shed these high-maintenance sucubi!

    Somehow, I don’t think these whining, marginalized, hen-pecked husbands minded all the money their wives spent on their appearances before pooling the finances in holy matrimony.

    I went batshit the day I got that.

  16. The notion that women are going around doing all these things to please men, and are being totally stupid to do so because Men Just Don’t Care is so much fucking bullshit.

    Hell yes. For the reason you mention and also because, I don’t wear fancy shoes for men. I mean, I don’t wear fancy shoes that hobble me at all anymore, but I still like and buy cute shoes. And then I wear them out and feel happy, ’cause hey, I’ve got cute shoes that please me every time I look at my feet. I love clothes and shoes and make-up and jewelry because it’s like making new art on my body every day. (Also, because I was raised in a patriarchal society that puts way too much fucking emphasis on those things, but setting that aside…) It’s FUN for me to dress up. If it ever stopped being fun, I wouldn’t do it. (I’m wearing a Land’s End sweatsuit right now, because dressing up to sit in front of the computer at home would not be so fun.) And I certainly don’t think any woman who doesn’t find it fun is obligated to do it.

    It is just so galling to think that if I do put on make-up and a dress and heels and get my eyebrows threaded and my nails and hairs did (the full extent to which I’m willing to go), the Ted Safrans of the world assume I am doing it for THEM. (Though of course, these are the same men who would look at me all done up and say, “God, it’s so pathetic to see a fat girl with her hair and nails done. Who does she think she’s fooling?” Well, for starters, my boyfriend. I’ve been fooling him into thinking I’m hot pretty successfully for some time now.) And if I don’t do all of the above, the Ted Safrans of the world assume I’ll be devastated by the news that they don’t want to date me.

    The pervasive idea that every single woman is looking for any man who will have her fucking infuriates me. It never occurs to these dickshines that the women they’re helpfully offering grooming tips to might have their own standards, which include not dating superficial, insecure dimwits who only think women can be naturally attractive at seventeen years old.

  17. Bikini boot camp? BIKINI? BOOT? CAMP?! Given that American workers have far fewer paid vacation days than their Euro counterparts — if, that is, you’re lucky enough to a) have a job, and b) have a job that has vacation time — I doubt that any sane woman is spending her precious vacation hours on bikini fucking boot camp. Who the hell are this guy’s friends?

    And word on the men-don’t-notice-shoes bullshit. Our president requires women in the White House to wear panythose. You know who really really cares about what women wear? Men who hate women.

  18. But Kate, if Ted actually looked at women as individuals, or complex, singular entities, they might begin to respect them!

    Then they couldn’t publish masterworks like the article above! It’s hard to hate individuals, but it’s really easy to hate an idea and a mold. That’s why patriarchy is so hard to fight…it makes the victim inhuman.

  19. I think my previous comment got eaten by the spam filter for having a URL in, but I think FJ has it spot on that he must hate women to be able to write something like this.

  20. superficial, insecure dimwits who only think women can be naturally attractive at seventeen years old.

    Yay pedophilia culture!

    And I repeat my comment on the other thread: this guy expects to get one of those (high-maintenance) chicks and he doesn’t wear clean shirts or comb his hair every day?

  21. “women should look like they spend tons of time on their appearance except they shouldn’t spend tons of time on their appearance cuz that’s annoying and selfish”

    Of course! We are supposed to be effortlessly perfect! Thin without being a a stick-in-the-mud dieter. Toned without wasting precious boyfriend-time in the gym. Perfect hair without spending all of Satuday afternoon getting it washed, cut, dyed, and styled. Perfect skin without men ever catching us with green goop on our faces. A smooth, hairless, body that doesn’t take up the second half of Saturday getting waxed. We are supposed to be just like Barbies; we come out of our sealed boxes absolutely perfect.

    It makes me sick that this kind of thing is supposed to be standard for women, but men, it’s alright if they are slobs because it’s loveable when they do it, and besides, we will totally clean them up when we get them into a relationship anyway. It’s like those commercials for (I think) Summer’s Eve where the couple is getting ready to go out, and her idea of freshening up includes, not just the usual shower and getting dressed up routine, but douching as well. And what is his idea of getting cleaned up? Turning is grungy t-shirt inside out to hide the stains.

    I am all for hygine, really I am. I shower at least once a day. Wear nice clothes. I get my hair cut and I style it. And I never really go out without foundation and mascara, which is probably above and beyond the call of duty. The idea that in order to be a “good” woman I need a monthly regime that costs more than my salary is ridiculous!

  22. 700 a month? WHAT? Maybe a typo? maybe $70 a month? If there ever was a cause for a mandatory drug test for journalists, this would be it.

  23. A) Are the women he knows really that ridiculously wealthy? I spend roughly $50 a month on beauty products and services (if you average my expenses for the year)

    B) You don’t notice shoes, really? Because sometimes I “forget” to take off my comfy shoes and slip into my torture devices when I get to work and everyone notices, men and women, so shut your pie-hole and I hate you.

    C) I’m so super excited that I never have to sleep with this asshole. Hooray, let’s through a party.

  24. I’m so super excited that I never have to sleep with this asshole. Hooray, let’s throw a party.

    Oh my god yes! I’ll bring baby-flavored donuts — who’s bringing the beer?

  25. Thoughts? What thoughts? I’ve obviously bleached, dyed, plucked, waxed, painted, and fussed over myself so much that there’s not a thought left in my pretty little head or an ounce of sense in my over-manicured little finger.

  26. I’m an American living in Britain, and I want to know one thing.

    What the fuck is wrong with this guy’s vision?

    Women here are just as beautiful as American women. I’ll be honest: I feel very uncomfortable when going into town, because I’m constantly surrounded by women who wear heels, nice clothes, and full war-paint just to go grocery shopping. While I’m wearing sweats and trainers. (Personally, I don’t see the point of getting dressed up to do the weekly shop, but I guess there’s just something wrong with me.) Shit, just last Friday I saw a woman out walking her dog wearing heels and clothes I’d wear to go out on the town in. Heels. To walk the dog.

    So I don’t know what the fuck is this guy’s problem, but he’s obviously not seeing what’s really there. My guess is that he wants British women to be inferior to American women, so he’s seeing what he wants to see. Or not see, as the case may be.

  27. Oh my god yes! I’ll bring baby-flavored donuts — who’s bringing the beer?

    I will not only bring beer, I will bring champagne, which I can afford because I don’t spend $1,700 a month on ass cream.

  28. I will not only bring beer, I will bring champagne, which I can afford because I don’t spend $1,700 a month on ass cream.

    AND I WILL BRING THE ASS CREAM.

    Sorry, ice cream.

  29. I am completely incapable of addressing the sexist assholeishness of this article without just spluttering curses.

    And $1700 a month? How many women actually even have that much spare income, let alone that much to spend on beauty products and services?

  30. Haha, ok, his American woman’s cost of beauty total per month = MORE THAN MY TAKE HOME PAY per month!!

    Maybe the “Real Housewives of Orange County” live that way…all 5 of them.

  31. How many women actually even have that much spare income, let alone that much to spend on beauty products and services?

    I’m just making a random guess: about 0.05% of the population, and pretty much only in Southern California or NYC. Ain’t nobody in Cleveland who does that (although if there was, I wouldn’t know them, anyway).

  32. The comment thread here made me feel so warm and fuzzy after the anger induced by reading that article. Is it wrong that the righteous indignation, with which I wholeheartedly agree, makes me feel warm and fuzzy?

    Oh, and $700/month is more than my mortgage. This guy will remain single for the rest of his life, hopefully, and never have a chance to reproduce. There *are* gods!

  33. Yeah I just went to actually read the article because I’d only seen the cleverly pulled out quotes. I took one look at Tad and had to hit the back button, I just couldn’t deal with is face.

    So at one point in time I calculated how much time I would need to do all the things I “should” to be pretty in a day (full make-up, hair, shaving all my body hair, etc) and also all the things I want do because, you know, I like to have fun too, and it added up to 25.5 hours a day.

    That’s when I stopped obsessing about my hair and makeup. There is literally not enough ours in the day.

  34. Oh, but wait… it looks like he wrote a follow up column “sticking to his guns” on Dec. 16.

    His mother must be so proud.

  35. Oh thank GOD.

    For some strange reason, I always withhold this sort of information on feminist websites. But Kate has put me in a celebratory (and confessional) mood.

    I almost never leave the house without wearing: foundation/powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush, lip gloss and perfume.

    I also style my hair just abut every day, between regular cuts and colorings.

    Just need to get this out, too: I have gorgeous skin (thanks to my mom’s genes and my neutrogena).

    I’m also whip-fucking-smart.

    But Tad can’t have me. I’m a lesbian.

    At times, lesbianism is such sweet revenge.

  36. Reading that $1700/month thing makes me really understand the radfem position that beauty rituals are the patriarchy’s way of making sure women don’t have the time or money to accomplish anything meaningful. Hard to go back to school and do your masters (for example) when you’re spending every spare penny and every spare second on grooming. Especially when you juxtapose:

    haircut, highlights, manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning, make-up, facials, teeth whitening … military fitness, spinning sessions, vikram yoga, Pilates, deep-tissue sports massage, personal training etc. … the occasional spa day, a week-long “bikini boot camp

    with

    put on a clean shirt, shaved and brushed my teeth

    (what he considered an appropriate level of grooming for a male going on a date).

    Seriously, the whole article is too vile for words.

  37. I’m actually not too upset by the article, which is obviously such a total piece of shit that I couldn’t even finish it. But the fact that the Times published it is upsetting. On what planet is that acceptable? It’s just depressing.

  38. Hahahaha a rundown of the best comments

    Most of these give me a headache. Shut up, internets, you don’t EVER know what you’re talking about.

  39. He’s on extremely bad crack, besides being a stone asshole. New York women do not keep plastic surgeons on fucking speed-dial. I’ve been in New York since 1996 and while God knows you CAN spend that kind of money on maintenance here, I’ve only ever known one (fabulously rich) woman who did anything like it. $250/month, sure — oh, maybe twice that if you’re a real high-maintenance type and take on expenses like serious blondeness upkeep or a personal trainer — but even that’s mature corporate earners making NYC payscales, not this douchebag’s target twentysomethings. There are plenty of $15 yoga classes, $40 haircuts and $7 boxes of hair dye here!

    This is the kind of piece that makes me deeply grateful NOT to meet the most exaggerated social standards of beauty. I had so much dating triage just automatically done for me by virtue of not looking like that ideal. Imagine if one did look like that and had to manually weed out all the guys like this. Ugh.

    Incidentally, and FWIW, it is absolutely true that smart, funny, non-skinny women very often have a better time dating in the UK than in the US.

  40. $1700 a month, depending on where you live, is not a lot of money…….

    New York Market Stats
    One bedroom apartments in New York currently rent for $ 2778 to $ 3851 per month. New York renters report average rents are up $84 per month compared to the previous 12 months.

    Not defending what the guy wrote, but spending $1700 a month on personal care in NY or LA, or several of the coastal cities for that matter, is not that hard.

  41. You know, even not doing all this stuff, and doing the things you don’t have to pay someone to do, takes a lot of time, though. When I decide to really do all the things I’m “supposed” to do (shaving of various body parts, hair blow-drying, makeup), it takes about an hour and a half, all told. If I did that every day, I would have to get up at fucking six am. Fuck that. I want to sleep.

    I suspect the real drain for most women is some amount of money much smaller than that, and a shit load of time.

  42. New York Market Stats
    One bedroom apartments in New York currently rent for $ 2778 to $ 3851 per month.

    Which is why half the people I know there live in Brooklyn with roommates, well into their 30s.

    spending $1700 a month on personal care in NY or LA, or several of the coastal cities for that matter, is not that hard.

    Yeah, actually, it still is that hard if you don’t have the money. The fact that the cost of living is absurd in those cities, and some people CAN afford it, doesn’t mean it’s any less insane. I’ve heard they have poor people in New York and L.A., too.

    But what do I know? I’m a smart, funny, fat, laid-back Chicago girl. Which has always served me better on the dating market than my expensive highlights.

  43. Not defending what the guy wrote, but spending $1700 a month on personal care in NY or LA, or several of the coastal cities for that matter, is not that hard.

    Wait, spending $1700 a month on ass cream is LESS difficult when you’re already spending $3800 a month on rent?

  44. Not defending what the guy wrote, but spending $1700 a month on personal care in NY or LA, or several of the coastal cities for that matter, is not that hard.

    Sure, if you count “rent” and “food” as personal care.

  45. I’m just reading the article. God, it’s fucking awful.

    “I was hurt that my friends thought I’d be remotely interested in Sophie.”

    That says everything you need to know right there. This guy is pissed because his friend didn’t think “god, this chick is wayyyy too fugly for precious beautiful Tad.” Fuck you, asshole.

  46. On a tangent, I love to watch BBC & British programming because the actors/actresses look like real people. We get Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders and Judy Dench and Nick Frost, all of whom are fabulous and not “Hollywood” perfect. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we saw more “real” people in entertainment and fewer of these vapid stick-women? Maybe then we wouldn’t be held to impossible standards like this jackhole’s.

  47. “I was hurt that my friends thought I’d be remotely interested in Sophie.”

    That says everything you need to know right there.

    Oh, right! I forgot to mention that was my favorite part!

    Honey, if your friends think someone you find hideous is in your league, maybe that tells you something about what your league really looks like.

  48. Just to add to everyone else’s comments about $1700 still being a lot of money . . . the 1999 median income in NYC was about $3K LESS than the median income of the United States.

    So things cost more and people make less, yet it’s easier to do. Right?

  49. $1700/month on personal care? Obviously, all his friends are trophy wives living in Manhattan, LA, or maybe San Francisco, with wealthy husbands and nothing better to do with lives. I don’t know anyone who spends that much per _year_ on haircuts, manis, pedis, and gym fees, let alone per MONTH! I agree…what an idiot!

  50. Ha. My beauty budget stretches to shampoo, shower gel, deodorant and the occasional packet of henna. Oh, and a new pair of tweezers every other month because I keep losing the fucking things. I don’t even buy razors or wax any more. Oh, and I weigh 250. I don’t do my nails either. And my hairstyle is basically long and woolly.

    Amazingly, I still get more offers than I know what to do with. The fact that they don’t come from the Tads of this world is something I consider a bonus.

  51. Forget the money … who has the TIME to spend being plucked, poked, tanned and highlighted, not to mention spending what must be four or five hours a day at the gym? I’m surprised this guy’s “friends” have any time to go out, given all the time they spend “beautifying” themselves.

    Most mornings, given the choice between having enough time to shave my legs and sleeping for an extra 10 minutes, I choose the sleep. I figure that extra 10 minutes of shut-eye will do far more to make me an attractive person than shaving my legs will.

  52. Hey wait, I just realized something — I totally call shenanigans on “an informal poll of my female friends.” People like this don’t have female friends! I mean, it’s possible that he has a very small number of woman friends who either have no self-respect or whom he hasn’t yet tried to brutalize, but with this level of misogyny and anti-woman paranoia, I kinda doubt it. I’m thinking that he meant to write “an informal poll of camgirls I have subscriptions with.” Or possibly just “an informal poll of people I made up.”

  53. “American women are generally more grasping than British women socially and financially so I suppose that it makes sense that they are more striving aesthetically, too.”

    I’m pretty sure Posh Spice is more grasping than I am.

  54. “An informal poll of people I made up” is the quote of the day I think.

    Speaking of mythical creatures (women who are friends with Tad) My informal poll of unicorns shows that they spend roughly $129,043,242,690 a day on keeping their coats white and hair sparkly.

  55. Yeah, actually, it still is that hard if you don’t have the money. The fact that the cost of living is absurd in those cities, and some people CAN afford it, doesn’t mean it’s any less insane. I’ve heard they have poor people in New York and L.A., too.

    True enough, but to add perspective, there are roughly 22 Mil people in NY Metro area, if the top third in income can afford something near 1700 a month in discretionary spending, thats 7.26 mil, more than twice the city of Chicago, and almost as much as the entire Chicago metro.

  56. Did you guys read the one where he digs in his heels?

    And I can’t help feeling I’ve let British women off lightly. It’s not just the Americans you don’t compare to: British women don’t have the curves of the Italians, the simmering sexuality of the Spanish, the sophistication of the French or the openness of the Scandinavians.

    Translation: I hate British women more because I live here, and thus I’ve had more of an opportunity to be rejected by them. I know nothing about any women anywhere.

  57. if the top third in income can afford something near 1700 a month in discretionary spending

    You show a poor understand of what economic demographics look like. I have friends who make a starting attorney-at-a-big-firm salary, which is $135,000 a month.

    They are in the top five percent of earners. The top third of people can’t afford to spend $1700 a month on much of anything, much less beauty regimens.

  58. *sigh*

    When I initially read this, I thought…hey, he’s being funny. No one can be that much of an ass.

    Then I read the follow-up article. Yep. He’s still spewin’ that malignant jackassery. And he’s serious.

    At the very least, we know he won’t be reproducin’ anytime soon.

  59. To add more perspective, $1,700 a month is just over $20,000 A YEAR. Pre-tax, that probably translates to about $28,000 a year you’d have to make to cover these grooming costs without having any money for anything else, like housing or health insurance.

    I live in the NY metro area, and my household income puts me squarely in the middle of that top 1/3 Kevin believes could afford to spend $1,700 a month on personal grooming. The cost of living here is so high that I actually spend about 1/10th that amount, but only if I average out my spending for the year, which includes $225 highlights three times a year.

  60. Jmars I was SO just doing those calculations.

    Further I believe if you’re spending more than… say… 20% of your income on beauty regimines you’re severely misguided at best (I have stronger words to say, but I’ll be polite). So if $20k is 20% of you’re income you’re taking home $102,000 a year.

    There is no where in the country where that’s the top third of income. Top 5% is probably more like it, even in richie rich New York.

  61. And I can’t help feeling I’ve let British women off lightly. It’s not just the Americans you don’t compare to: British women don’t have the curves of the Italians, the simmering sexuality of the Spanish, the sophistication of the French or the openness of the Scandinavians.

    Translation: All women are like the stereotypes of their cultures.

    I suppose that the British women also don’t have the desire to do marry for money like Russian women or the attitude of subservience of Asian women either.

    I’m beginning to wonder….has this guy ever even met a woman?

  62. Everything you need to know about the Times Online is where this article is found: Home > Life & Style > Women.

    “Women” are a news-section sub-section of “Life & Style?” Nice.

  63. I’m beginning to wonder….has this guy ever even met a woman?

    Everything he knows about women he learned from watching James Bond movies.

  64. All right, just did the math. If you average it out, I spend about $190 a month on hair, nails, eyebrows, beauty products, and the occasional massage. I recently gave up my private yoga classes, which were $75 or $90 a week, depending on whether I went for an hour or an hour and a half. (But I considered that a therapy replacement, not a beauty expense.) Now it’s just home practice and occasional $15 drop-ins.

    And all that’s not counting clothes, which I don’t even want to think about.

    I am fucking appalled to realize I spend that much, considering I don’t even think of myself as someone who fusses all that much with my appearance. And ESPECIALLY considering that number reflects getting my hair cut and colored once every three months, not biweekly or something; an average of 3 massages a year; and $30 a month for nails, which actually reflects manis and/or pedis about once every 2-3 months. The rest is hair products ($15 a month) and make-up ($200 a year).

    Gah.

  65. It’s so good to know the Times thinks so highly of women. But you know, that’s true of many media outlets in the US, too. I know the local news station here runs a truly patronizing “women’s segment” during its noon news. “Because you have more to worry about than your mother did.”

  66. “Bikini boot camp in Mexico”

    Sounds like a dream vacation for masochists.

    Which are the only type of women who might possibly be interested in ol’ Tad.

  67. Kate, I love that you’re embarrassed about spending about 11% of what the fictional women in the article did.

    And that comes to . . . what, less than five percent of your income? (I totally just assigned you the IL median income. I don’t know or want to know what your real income is. Don’t feel the need to confirm/deny.)

    (For the record, I spend about $12 a month on beauty-related stuff, but I’m so low-maintenance it’s funny. I had to include soap, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner to get over $5. I am generally clean and presentable; I just don’t do anything special to my hair or wear makeup.)

  68. Don’t understand why massage is considered a beauty treatment. I thought people get them to relax? I know more men who get them than women…

  69. m. leblanc, the NYT does that too — anything related to women, feminism, or motherhood appears in the “Fashion & Style” section.

  70. Okay, let’s see. Not counting clothes.

    Haircut about three times a year (I am lazy): $200
    Makeup/year: $50? (I dunno, I buy cheap shit)
    Hair products: $15/month
    Gym membership: $40/month
    Razors/shaving-related products: $10/month

    So that comes out to just under $100 a month. That’s more than I expected.

    If I actually bought quality makeup and wasn’t so lazy about my hair, it would be a lot more.

  71. Wow, I buy shampoo, razors, soap, deodorant, and toothpaste. I color my hair once every three months or so (when I get around to it; I’m lazy), and get my hair cut in a salon maybe once a year (I like it long, and sometimes I just have friends trim it because I hate the “why aren’t you spending more money and time on hair products????!” lectures I get from professionals; I”ll take that from dentists, but not hairdressers). So that’s maybe $30 a month, all told? (To be fair, I get gym membership through school, so that could add another $50-$75 if I didn’t).

    Not even in the same galaxy of what this guy is talking about. I know I’m probably on the extreme non-spending end, but wow – I’m trying to imagine how much I’d have to change my lifestyle to spend $1,700 and it’s just stunning.

  72. You show a poor understand of what economic demographics look like. I have friends who make a starting attorney-at-a-big-firm salary, which is $135,000 a month.

    They are in the top five percent of earners. The top third of people can’t afford to spend $1700 a month on much of anything, much less beauty regimens.

    I call bullshit. At that level of income, they are choosing to spend $1700 a month or more on something other than rent. Spending $400-$500 a week on eating out and bar tabs is easy, and equally discretionary.

  73. Kevin,
    Just because you are making 135k a year doesn’t mean you are also SPENDING 135k a year. (which is considerably less after taxes.)

    Surely people smart enough to earn that much money are also smart enough not to wast 20k of it on stupid crap like looking hawt. (Unless they make their money off of looking hot, as is occasionally the case, especially in LA)

  74. You’re not fucking getting it, Kevin. The kind of income that creates $1700 a month in discretionary income is NOT “the top third” of New Yorkers. It’s the top 5%. That’s the point.

  75. Yeah, but Kevin, you’re factoring out student loans, which most people who make that much have in this day and age. (And we’re talking 120k of them for a lot of new lawyers).

    And if you’re old enough that you don’t have a lot of student loans, you’re often spending that discretionary income on family in one way or another.

    All of this is not to say that people in that income bracket couldn’t spend $1,700 a month on beauty products if they so desired (although most of them are probably working long enough hours that the time to use what they spent is another issue entirely), but remember those aren’t the top third – they’re in the top 5% or so of income. This is a tiny fraction of people we’re talking about.

  76. At that level of income, they are choosing to spend $1700 a month or more on something other than rent.

    Yep. It’s called student loans.

    You obviously get your ideas of what living in New York City is like from watching Gossip Girl and other TV shows. Reality is that making $135,000 a year as a first year associate at a law firm will leave you with less than $1700 a month to spend on personal grooming and certainly without the TIME to spend $1700 a month on those items.

  77. Don’t understand why massage is considered a beauty treatment. I thought people get them to relax?

    Yeah, that’s certainly why I get them, but he included them as a beauty expense, so I did, too. I suppose the idea is the relaxation keeps you looking young?

    If you cut out my three massages a year, that brings me down to $140 a month on actual grooming products.

  78. Okay, I forced myself to read both of his articles (managed to deep breathe my way through the impulse to vomit on my keyboard), and some of the comments (even though it cost me a truckload of Sanity Watchers Points).

    What utter tripe. I have to wonder what fat girl kicked his ass on the playground to leave him so determined to lash out, now he’s all grown up with a public forum at his disposal. (He doesn’t look familiar, so it wasn’t me.)

    I just tallied my own stuff out of curiosity, and I come in at just under $100 a month on average. And I cut and color my own hair and do about half of my own mani/pedi action….which kind of scares me. If I rolled back some of that spendage, I could afford another new guitar!!!

    I think I figured out his angle, though. If I spent $1700 on beauty bullshit, I couldn’t afford to eat.

  79. Kevin, you have missed so many points here. Even if a third of the people in NYC have a spare $1700 lying around, ONLY THE WOMEN are expected to spend a huge chunk of that on “beauty” routines. I mean, we’re quibbling about your sense of what constitutes discretionary income and how many people are in the upper class, but seriously, that’s not really the point here.

  80. I should clarify my last comment: what we sane people are all making fun of is the writer’s outrageous assumption that his “female friends” are representative of any real group of people. HOWEVER, the expectation that women go through all of these painful, expensive treatments just to pass as normal women is a real, oppressive expectation. Most women aren’t “expected” to spend $1700 a month on beauty, but we are expected to look as if we do.

  81. Spending $400-$500 a week on eating out and bar tabs is easy, and equally discretionary.

    That’s about what an upper-middle class family with children spends a week on food. We’re not talking about average people here, or even the upper middle class. You have to be pretty bloody elite to spend that kind of cash in restaurants and bars.

    Also, I thought $200 a month on beauty was insane, but… $125 a month for Pilates classes, $45 a month on haircuts, maybe $15 for toothpaste, shampoo, etc. It adds up.

  82. 135K/y is not even close to New York rich; I will guarantee you it’s not “bikini boot camp” money. Medians and top-third numbers tell you nothing about what that far right spike at the end of the poor-to-rich scale looks like. You’d have to add a couple of extra vertical pages to accommodate it.

    There’s a lot of superrich people here, OMG stop the presses!

    It doesn’t MATTER. What’s wrong with his piece is not “some people have too much money” or even “how self-absorbed would you have to be to drop $X on beauty.” I have no problem with someone who is, in fact, rolling in it spending what to me would look like a fortune on grooming. It’s not my business. That whole conversation is a tangent. It doesn’t begin to get at the misogyny and hatefulness of the douchebag’s essay. I would really hate to see the net effect of this article and the discussion be that Kate starts feeling guilty about spending money on her hair.

    We drop a fairly frightening amount of money per month eating out. Those are our priorities, so that’s what we spend a lot of our disposable income on (after funding the necessities and the 401k and all the rest of it). It just so happens to be another major thing this town has to offer, besides mad ‘spensive beauty services. I’m not going to feel guilty about that. I wouldn’t feel guilty about spending ‘disproportionate’ money on self-maintenance, if I had it to burn and that was what floated my boat. I certainly wouldn’t feel any guiltier just because this fuckwit decides it’s his prerogative to lift his leg in the Times to the effect that any woman who doesn’t make that choice is subhuman and despicable.

    He’s the asshole. Not women.

  83. At that level of income, they are choosing to spend $1700 a month or more on something other than rent

    Yeah. Loans from law school. Saving for retirement. Car loans, gasoline, maintenance, if they live somewhere other than NYC. Clothing. Health, life, car, home/renter’s insurance. Food (groceries). Children (clothing, school, medical costs, etc.). Christmas. You have to be VERY rich or VERY frugal in order to have well more than $1700 a month in discretionary spending.

    Besides, that individual was pointing out that the top third of people in the US are making something like $65K+ a year, not $135K or more a year. $65K a year leaves little for discretionary spending — ask your average 30-year teaching veteran how much s/he can afford per month on discretionary spending.

    (Statistics inferred from Wikipedia’s article on Demography of the United States.)

  84. Kate, I’m in your camp of beauty regime schedule and budget, and I consider myself pretty low maintenance (I rarely wear makeup, don’t do manicures often, shaving is rare, daily hair stying is minimal). It’s amazing how quickly all of that stuff adds up.

    OTOH, I enjoy Pilates, and working up a sweat at the gym, which takes up a few hours of my day. I’m mildly taken aback when people talk about gym regimes and fitness being obsessive or excessive in terms of “hours” spent … I dunno. People will easily spend hours each day on the internet, and hours watching a movie and hours vegging in front of the TV after a tough day at work. Is that excessive?

  85. I would really hate to see the net effect of this article and the discussion be that Kate starts feeling guilty about spending money on her hair.

    You’re absolutely right. This guy is an ultradouche, but in a way his mawkish whining reflects a hidden tax on being female. Women are expected to spend a larger percentage of their incomes on personal maintenance than men, and it sucks.

  86. On behalf of women all over the world, I am personally grateful that Tad Safran has voluntarily outed himself as a toad masquerading as a man. Long may he remain single.

  87. There are plenty of $15 yoga classes…

    Community classes on the LES are $10.

    And to the Tad: It’s not vikram yoga, it’s Bikram yoga. And you pretend to pass as an intellectual writer type. *scoff*

    Your much more successful co-writers, who include Jon Stewart (swoon) are still flaming with embarrassment over the movie you wrote together. For which I’m sure you took the douchehound’s share of credit at the time.

    But I think the sweet justice here is that he’ll never get laid again on either side of the continent. Not by any woman with sense.

  88. And, slightly OT, grateful thanks to other commenters for alleviating the guilt for what I’m prone to drop on Pilates classes in a month.

  89. Tad sez: “The good news for men, by the way, is [American women] are convinced that the best way to prove they are equal to a man is by sleeping with him. Um . . . Go ahead, that’ll teach me.”

    We still have to “prove” our “equality” with men? Is he from 1962? Why not assume that we sleep with you…well, not YOU, clearly, but with MEN (or women), if and when we want to, for our own delicious reasons and not as a political statement.

    Tad’s mom should ground him from watching TV in the rec room for awhile so he can dispense with his silly notions via talking to an actual woman besides poor Sophie who had the audacity to eat a second helping of Shepherd’s pie in his presence – she doesn’t want to talk to him anyway, which is obvious from his anecdote. (Hey gals, that’s one good way to ditch a shitty date who reminds you of Tad – eat everything on your plate. And then tell him he’s not your type…)

    Of course, this is the guy who says that men (he) buy(s) porn with darting glances and prayers of dear god I hope no one sees me. Well, yeah. The author is clearly fifteen years old.

  90. I would really hate to see the net effect of this article and the discussion be that Kate starts feeling guilty about spending money on her hair.

    Oh, never fear. My hair is worth it. :)

  91. The only thing I can contribute to this thread is about the massage – everyone has said everything else for me. As a former massage therapist in a small town (20,000 people), I can’t tell you how many people said to me, “Can’t you just massage away my fat?” Which, as a fat woman, I found hateful and sad. Apparently, there are salons that offer cellulite reduction massage. I’m not even going to get into the ludicrousness of that concept, but suffice it to say that there are plenty of people who not only want that type of service, but who truly believe that it is possible. Maybe that is why people could consider it a health/beauty cost?

  92. LilahCello, David Sedaris has a bit about his sister standing in the living room pummeling herself in the thighs and stomach because she thinks it’ll get rid of fat. How, exactly, do people think the human body works? Like a fucking iceberg?

  93. “I was hurt that my friends thought I’d be remotely interested in Sophie.”

    That says everything you need to know right there.

    Oh, right! I forgot to mention that was my favorite part!

    Honey, if your friends think someone you find hideous is in your league, maybe that tells you something about what your league really looks like.

    Yaknow, I didn’t even take that from reading that.

    I thought there wouldn’t be any mutual interest between him and Sophie because Sophie was an actual woman-person type.

    Maybe even human.

  94. “Can’t you just massage away my fat?”

    Hey, I have a cheaper and more realistic beauty tip: just get everyone to squint when they look at you. It really works!

    Although I would definitely consider massage a health expense – they helped tremendously after I was in a fairly serious fender-bender.

  95. Another part of the problem is that women in Britain do not help each other. American women have no qualms about telling their friends, in no uncertain terms, when they look like crap, or have put on weight, or are dressed like a bag-lady.

    This is considered helping??!!

  96. Littlem, honestly, I didn’t really take that from it, either; I thought Sophie sounded like the kind of woman I’d totally hang with, and Tad sounded like the asswipe he is. But it is another read worth considering. He’s so sure of what league he’s in, he doesn’t even question it when set up with someone who’s (ostensibly) beneath it. Given his obvious level of arrogance, I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the problem is, his friends just don’t think he’s as attractive as he does.

  97. After I read the article I just felt really bad for Sophie since she was forced to spend an evening with this fool! I hope no woman ever has to do that again and I suspect after this article no woman ever will.

  98. Rose, isn’t it lucky that they have a huge headshot of him right above the article? It’s like a “WARNING, DO NOT DATE THIS MAN” poster.

  99. Hmm. I was curious, after all the calculations, and added up what I spend. But my problem was this: what do you include in that calculation? I was thinking about the differences between expected male spending and expected female spending. The article didn’t really *say* that women should or did spend more, but it was implied.

    I’m pretty sure I pay more for a haircut, but I also have to get fewer because my hair is longer than most guys’ hair. I didn’t include soap because I don’t buy it (I craft-trade a friend for her homemade stuff) or toothpaste and deodorant because we all use that (or should). Those are basics, right?

    Things women do/buy that men don’t (generally):
    Nail care
    Body hair removal (but then, most men shave their faces, though not professionally)
    Hair cuts and color
    Makeup
    Hair care products
    Facial care products (this is my personal big expense)

    Also? Feminine hygeine products, which are hella expensive.

    And why is exercise considered part of the beauty routine? I don’t consider my yoga classes beauty treatments.

    The standards are just so different. Men who are clean are considered acceptable. Women must go above and beyond to be considered acceptable. Men can choose not to shave. Women can, but at a social cost, especially in the high school days. We are asked to be unnatural, but in as natural a way as possible.

    I’m all for good grooming. I bathe. I do style my hair and wear makeup daily. I do not spend hours and days on these things.

  100. Off topic, I know, but I have to say that I love reading a blog where the word patriarchy is used frequently. I wish my family’s dinner table could be more like that.

    Also, the women in the lower end of the income bracket are not only the least likely to be able to afford expensive beauty products, but also the least likely to have the time to invest in them. How is a single mother supposed to get her hair highlighted when she works two jobs?

  101. Also? Feminine hygeine products, which are hella expensive.

    Ah, yes. That.

    Also, what about the $200 a month I spend on happy pils and birth control? I’d be a lot uglier with major depression and an unplanned pregnancy, I’ll tell you that for free.

  102. You’re not fucking getting it, Kevin. The kind of income that creates $1700 a month in discretionary income is NOT “the top third” of New Yorkers. It’s the top 5%. That’s the point.

    I live near NY, and I’m in that bracket. I know what I spend, and what the people I work with spend and how we live.

  103. Kevin, I think you missed the part where you’re not fucking getting it. We’ve all had enough of your threadjacking.

  104. Let’s see. Shower gel (from Lush, natch, the good stuff), shampoo, toothpaste, Chapstick. Lippy, powder, eyeliner – and I don’t even wear those every day, so they last awhile. Blush and any other kind of makeup, extremely infrequently; mascara, never. Let’s not talk nails; my hands do too much string playing for any kind of polish to even be worth the trouble.

    Hair remover, for the upper lip. Uck. My feminist heart wishes I could do without that, but left to itself my ‘stash rivals Frida Kahlo’s. Legs n’ pits get the ‘old faithful’ electric shaver at the times of year when they’ll be on display.

    The hair gets trimmed every six weeks (well, OK, let me be honest…when I remember!), colored roughly every three months. That’s the most expensive bit – say £240 a year (about $480 – BTW, has the Tadhound allowed for the stupid exchange rate that means a lot of stuff is twice as expensive our side of the pond?) The rest probably doesn’t come to that put together.

    The only thing amongst all this that’s done for other people’s sake, however, is the body hair thing. And, since I have a husband who really doesn’t give two hoots if I look like Sasquatch, I wish I didn’t feel I had to please the anonymous ‘other people’ this way, but that’s my insecurity. Everything else on the list is for my own pleasure and/or comfort. So it doesn’t seem to me to be ‘maintenance’ in that sense.

    I’ve always been accused – most often by another woman, my mother – of ‘not being bothered’ about appearance. What she meant was that I simply wasn’t obsessed by it. I will dress up to the nines if I feel like it, but I reserve the right to have days when I don’t want to be bothered with all that. This utterly disgusts my mother, who actually thinks that a man has every right to leave a wife who doesn’t ‘take care of herself’. But then, she tried to drum into me the belief that you had, in the old French saying, to suffer to be beautiful. I simply took that literally, and decided that maybe there was enough suffering in the world without adding to it unnecessarily. So the Tadbeast is wrong: British mothers do indoctrinate – whups, sorry! instruct their daughters in this stuff. But like all indoctrination, it can backfire and have exactly the opposite effect..

  105. This is a new level of disgusting. I kinda sorta knew in the back of my mind that people like this existed, but I never saw the data to prove it…

    And, being an American woman, I must fulfill my duty of policing the women I know, and tell you that you all are amazing. Fat, thin, in great clothes, sneakers, whatever.

  106. I remember seeing a comedian on the Tonight Show or some such talking about body hair. He said he was trying to get his wife in the mood and she said:

    “I dunno, sweetie. I haven’t shaved my legs.”

    Comedian got big laughs for his response, which was like: Do women actually think the presence of body hair makes me want sex less?

    I remember thinking: I thought it was supposed to.

    And I am sooooooo sick of people thinking they know how their friends and associates spend their money. People lie, lie, lie about money and sex. Unless you are your friends’ CPA, you can’t verify how they spend their money.

  107. And why is exercise considered part of the beauty routine?

    If you’re doing it because you enjoy it or for your health, it’s not. But a lot of women excercise solely to help maintain their slim and toned figures.

  108. mollymac, to do that we’d have to believe that there is One Single Way That American Men Are and One Single Way That British Men Are. And who’d be that much of a flaming idiot?

    Besides Tad, of course.

  109. Wow. Just…wow. It comes back to the notion of women’s bodies as public property, I think; that we should expend money, time, and effort to be decorative to please random douchebags on the street like Tad.

    On a more positive note, I’m facing the prospect of being single again sooner than later, and it’s nice to think that perhaps my lurvely in-betweenie ass will act as a filter for at least some of said random douchebags!

  110. Okay, the guy is an idiot and the article is pure drivel, but… at the risk of being controversial… I’m a British woman and in my opinion, as a very general rule, American women do usually appear to me to be more ‘groomed’ looking.

    But what I want to know is, when did waxing become compulsory? This doesn’t just apply to women, either – I saw a 70s film with Peter Sellers in it the other day, in which he plays a lothario TV chef who has much success with the ladies. When he took his shirt off to make out with Goldie Hawn, his back was really furry and I was really shocked – not because he was hairy, but because I suddenly realised that you never see men with hairy backs on TV or in films these days, that somehow in the space of 35 or so years that’s gone from being perfectly acceptable (and even sexy) to being hideously unacceptable. About as unacceptable as women having any kind of pubic hair appears to be these days…

  111. “It’s like a “WARNING, DO NOT DATE THIS MAN” poster.”

    LOL, Fillyjonk! At first I thought, damn it, why do I have to look at this fool’s picture so prominently, but I hadn’t thought of it that way!

    Emerald – Lush is my financial downfall when it comes to beauty supplies but so, so worth it! Goregous is the most embarassingly expensive moisturizer I’ve ever splurged on but I’m hooked because it really works for my skin type, which is oily, but aging and hence difficult to work with.

  112. You fine folks have pretty much said it all, but I just wanted to add in the vein of LilahCello’s comment about being asked to do cellulite-reducing massage that I got the same type of requests when I was doing shiatsu therapy full-time. There were also quite a few requests for the (mythical) “shiatsu facelift”, though that had horrible undercurrents of racial stereotype as well. Blech.

  113. That’s a good point about back hair on men, Kate in England – I actually got yelled at – yelled at! – when I tried to tell a male friend I didn’t think he was disgusting for having back hair. I feel like there must be a way this ties in to everything else, but I can’t quite reach it.

  114. I’m a British woman and in my opinion, as a very general rule, American women do usually appear to me to be more ‘groomed’ looking.

    Maybe, but the U.S. is a big country with a lot of cultural division. There’s a huge difference in the beauty standards of, say Los Angeles compared to Anchorage. I’m a northerner myself and we used to joke that you could spot a real lady because she tucked her jeans into her gumboots.

  115. Oh, for the love of Benji. What a puerile piece of crap. I want to see the Times publish a right-of-reply column by the unfortunate Sophie. “My date with a self-absorbed misogynist whining baby: Sophie tells all!”

    I think I spend about $40 a week, on average, on beauty stuff. Sadly, the stuff without the fragrances or dyes or irritating ingredients costs more, but eh. Worth it. Though sunscreen really doesn’t count as a “beauty” item, any more than a hat or long-sleeved top does. So, less than $40. I cut my hair myself – it’s pretty easy to trim a fringe/bangs with clippers and I just put my long hair in a ponytail, pull the elastic band down to the end and chop the raggy ends off with scissors. Dye is $13 a box. I buy cheapo makeup from the discount store that sells the name-brand discontinued lines. And yet, with this apparent lack of care for my appearance, I’ve managed to have the same boyfriend for just about two years. Perhaps he has low standards too. Or isn’t a hateful fuckwit.

  116. I once had a boyfriend who was like “if you want me to, I’ll get my back waxed for you.” I was like “what the fuck is wrong with you? Why would you subject yourself to that kind of pain just for my benefit? Also, I don’t give a fuck.”

    Maybe he was just trying to set me up for a “please, honey, wax your genitals. For me!” Didn’t work, though.

  117. …late to the party as always. (Would you believe I have just returned from a trip dedicated to stocking up on Lush Buffy bars? How timely).

    I’d say the guy was a closet case if that wasn’t an insult to every gay man I know. Seriously though, all this hoohah to justify why he hasn’t got himself a girlfriend? Methinks the shallow, blame-hurling little weasel really doth protest too much.

    I just made the mistake of reading the follow up article and, more irritatingly, the anti-anti-Tad backlash that follows. Anyone who genuinely believes fat hatred is about health and not aesthetics should be directed to those comments in short order. Me, I just wasted a month’s worth of sanity points on ‘em.

    By the way, I sometimes put on full war paint just to sit in front of my computer and write. Tad can bite me.

  118. People will easily spend hours each day on the internet, and hours watching a movie and hours vegging in front of the TV after a tough day at work. Is that excessive?

    Only if it’s expected. If you like spending that much time on your workouts, have at it, far as I’m concerned. But the only way I’d do it is if they had some kind of dancing-and-timbale-drumming workout. Now that I’d get into.

  119. I colour my hair myself at home once every couple of months, and buy a pack of cheap emery boards once a year or so, and I think that’s about all I spend on grooming that my husband doesn’t — all the rest is toothpaste and shampoo. Actually, he uses soap and I don’t unless I’ve actually got something oil-based on my skin, and he shaves and I don’t, so I might even be edging slightly ahead. I can’t even claim pads or tampons, because I use a cup and I bought that years ago.

    And yet, still people don’t shun me on the street for my awful unfeminine ways. But I suspect Tad wouldn’t believe that.

  120. Pingback: Unadorned « Touchingly Naive

  121. Forget spending money on cosmetics British women, how about addressing those famous issues British men AND women have with their oral hygiene.

    Right. Like how Americans are famous for being fat. Is there some kind of icon for rolling eyes?

  122. Wow, a nasty essentializing comment about the attractiveness of an entire nation’s worth of people. Just what we needed in this conversation! Thanks for your important contribution!

    Feel free not to make any more. What with Tad, we’re fucking full up.

  123. Thank you! That kind of shit makes me crazy, and not just because I’m a British-descended Canadian (with a family full of people with great teeth) married to a skinny American. Sheesh. Next you’ll be telling me that the French and rude and the Chinese are inscrutable.

    [:]roll[:]

    Let’s see if that worked.

  124. Okay, I’ll try it, fashionablenerd, just as long as you understand that if it works, I’m not rolling my eyes at you.

    :roll:

  125. “Right. Like how Americans are famous for being fat. Is there some kind of icon for rolling eyes?”

    ’twas the point of the sarcastic comment. Perhaps we could assign a nationality to your lack of any sense of humor Sniper.

  126. “Thank you! That kind of shit makes me crazy”

    BTW, I would avoid watching any Austin Power’s movies. The “British have bad teeth” joke is frequent and recurrent. That darn Michael Myers is such a “nasty essentializier.” ;-)

    Come folks, lighten’ up a bit. Life is much more enjoyable when you don’t take stereotypes so seriously.

  127. totaltransformation, a few points:

    1. Humor is supposed to be funny. That’s one of the differences between humor and spewing shit.
    2. You’re an idiot.

    I wouldn’t bother responding to this; I don’t really feel like dealing with you and will happily delete any future comments, unless someone begs to keep you around to bat at.

  128. Humor is supposed to be funny. That’s one of the differences between humor and spewing shit.

    How would you know? You’re a feminist!

    Boy, I hope more people with weight loss blogs stop by to say dumb shit.

  129. Well, this one won’t anymore, I decided to make him my first ban. Now THAT’S funny!

    Hint for readers: If it would get you booed off the stage at comedy open mic night, it’s not actually funny, and the “get a sense of humor” excuse will fall flat. “Hur hur the British have bad teeth” falls into this category. I also don’t want to hear anyone talking about women going to the bathroom in groups, airline food, or getting the shopping cart with the wonky wheel.

  130. (Last week I got a wonky wheel that screeched. No joke, it sounded like I was abusing a small and innocent child.)

    Aieee. Every little “fact” he tossed out was so completely false it made me want to cry. I mean, really: $1700* a month (!!!) on beauty products aside, apparently us Yankee chix0r also don’t eat carbs after two, bond over spa trips, and care about haute couture and plastic surgery. It’s like a bad teen novel — jet-setting rich girls cruising from spa to spa, talking on their cellphones, drinking booze, and kissing boys.

    Funny! Like jokes about leaving the toilet seat up.

  131. I’m an American living in Britain … I’m constantly surrounded by women who wear heels, nice clothes, and full war-paint just to go grocery shopping. While I’m wearing sweats and trainers

    Seconded! I’m an American who lived in Britain for over a decade and now, back in the States I’m only *just* getting to the point where I don’t feel underdressed if I hit the supermarket sans makeup. (Easily swayed by cultural dictates? Check!)

    Technical details aside, this man is an asshat who is writing to please other asshats. It makes me wince to picture the people who will read his article and say ‘hell yeah’.

  132. ps: since I’m randomly piping up on posts that are over a day old, allow me to add: hairless-bodied men creep me out, just like hairless cats or dogs.

    The sad part is, the hairless cats and dogs are born that way, but the men opt for it. It’s against nature, I tell you.

    That said, I have a male friend who gets his mono-brow waxed into a pair, and I prefer how he looks after that. Go figure.

  133. argh. I shouldn’t post pre-coffee. Before I get the inevitable telling-off, let me add that what I’m gunning at here, is guys who naturally would be hairy, who opt for waxing in order to get closer to some sort of (pre/pubescent?) ideal.

    Not at, guys who naturally would be smooth-bodied because of their genetics.

    It’s not the hairlessness, per se, it’s the emulating something youngerhotterbetter. That’s creepy to me.

    (The comment on hairless cats and dogs stands).

  134. That darn Michael Myers is such a “nasty essentializier.”

    Michael Myers is an asshole. And an essentializer. But “So I Married And Axe Murderer” is still pretty funny.

    I’m clearly too busy sitting on the sofa eating French Fancies.

    I don’t know what those are. Do they come in baby flavour?

  135. So, the one about guys noticing women’s shoes made me laugh. Mostly because it’s a load of crap. Guys not noticing heels? Yeah right.
    I don’t actually know any women who spend $700 a month on upkeep. All my friends and co-workers want to spend the least amount they can to look put together, but they have better things to do than go on “spa days” and obsess about their hair.
    This guy doesn’t actually know any women, does he?

  136. Breaking news:

    Sara Rue of “Less than Perfect” fame is getting a divorce
    from her husband after 4 years of marriage.

    I’ve seen his picture and he’s not the most attractive-looking
    guy but I’m sure that he probably loves her.

    Does this contradict the “Fantasy of Being Thin” for anyone
    else besides me? This goes to show that going from
    fat to thin doesn’t make your life any easier. The newsweek
    article is further testament to that too!

    Keep up the great work, Kate!

  137. Re: men and body hair.

    I have noticed in my sporadic dating life the past few years that guys do have body hair issues, too! One guy shaved his crotch. Another one both is legs AND chest — and more frequently than I shave my legs. To me, that’s one of the huge problems with these intense “standards” of grooming being touted in magazines — “equality” means that unrealistic standards of human hygeine are being spread to men, rather than being reduced for women. They are being used to distract all of us from healthy and fulfilling *natural* lives. Or that’s my opinion, at least.

    Feminism wasn’t supposed to be about letting advertisers and corporations abuse the self-images of men just as they do women.

  138. For a while there I was annoyed on behalf of British women (like myself). Then I realized that actually he was saying that we don’t spend our whole lives trying to live up to some stupid standard set by men, and I felt rather proud :) Go us!

    LOL! But seriously, I’m a British size 18, I don’t wear makeup, I swim or walk when I feel like it. My hair gets trimmed once every three months. I spend my life in jeans and sweaters. Also I have a wonderful husband, two amazing daughters, a university education, a nice home, and my first book is coming out on the 1st of January. I honestly don’t see how being thin and heavily made up is going to make my life any better.

    If I offend the eyes of some male chauvinist pigs, I suggest they just look the other way.

  139. Shit! I forgot to make my daughter hate herself. Thank God Tad Safran’s around to remind me of what good mothers do.

  140. Feminism wasn’t supposed to be about letting advertisers and corporations abuse the self-images of men just as they do women.

    Feminism has exactly zilch to do with that phenomenon. IBTP ;-)

  141. Wow, I completely missed this blog.

    But yeah, this is basically the same sentiment you run across in Craiglist rant n’ raves section. Woman X is better than Woman Z because of Y. Frankly these posts and this article exists because some men ARE too inadequate to date Woman X. They’ve got to remind Woman X that they’re not in the same boat as Woman Z and therefore shouldn’t be picky…effectively expanding the dating pool for jackasses like Tad.

  142. Feminism has exactly zilch to do with that phenomenon. IBTP

    Also, a dude isn’t going to become kind of pariah if he refrains from shaving or waxing. Nobody points derisively at a guy sporting a happy trail at the beach. Meanwhile, society in general and certain corporations in particular enforce an expensive, uncomfortable grooming routine on women. I don’t think anyone should be under this kind of pressure, men or women, so I’m far from pleased to see bizarre grooming and eating disorders making inroads among boys and men.

  143. Damn — late to the party, of course, but have to thrown in my $0.02 anyway. Boy Tad there is an incredible asswipe, but upon reflection his asinine sexist polemic(s) actually made me feel a bit better about myself. See, I spend maybe $15 a month, tops, on my “beauty routine” — if that includes deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, and toothpaste. No makeup, no manis or pedis, hair cut maybe once a year…because, among other things, I’m BROKE. And yet I still tend to beat myself up internally for not “bothering” to “look better.” It’s kind of a relief to have it brought home to me that “looking better” is hugely fucking expensive and a considerable time-suck as well…and that expecting to look like I spend $1700/month on my appearance while only being able to spend $15/month is as unrealistic as expecting to look like a magazine cover model without having the “benefit” of airbrushing. In neither case would the former option be a great goal, but the pressure we all too frequently feel to conform or aspire to it is a whole other rant-worthy subject…

  144. You know that if these same American women that the “author” mentions WEREN’T spending so much apparently wasted energy on their appearance, we’d get a rant about how women need to pay more attention to their appearance or else they’ll never attract teh menz, o noez.

  145. I have to say that I think people who work that hard at looking “good” just end up looking neurotic and uptight. I noticed a long time ago that most people look best when they leave their appearances more or less alone. It has nothing to do with how “pretty” you are. This comes from (1) watching perfectly nice-looking women get on the bus then put on makeup, after which I see them and think, “what have you done?,” not that it’s any of my business; and (2) traveling overseas to W.Europe, where the Americans (generalizing here, and yes, I’m an American, too) tended to stand out a bit for being all spiffy, made-up, and coiffed, which gave a fussy impression. This has changed in the last 20 years, though, and no longer holds true. I wish people could just stop acting like their appearance is the most important thing about them and about others. Sadly, the world won’t let them.

    Oh, and Tad’s an ass. And the comments on his article drove me crazy. Thank god I don’t know anyone like that.

  146. BTW, I do wear some makeup, though not nearly as much as I used to. Lately I’ve been spending more on skin-care products. And I do think about my appearance a lot, too, but how I look is my business. I’m just saying that Tad and his beauty-enforcing ilk are making me sick.

  147. De-lurking (mirabile dictu!) to say I think we’ve missed a key clue. Friend Tad has clearly been asking women out and been brushed off by being told, “Gee, I’d love to but I have to go to bikini boot camp that day. I’d cancel but you know I spent upwards of $1700 a month on this stuff, so…. Sorry!!”

  148. Nukkingfutz, having also lived in Britain as an American, I finally succumbed to, uh, getting a bit more tarted up than my usual relaxed ethnic/hippie clothing thing.

    And then I discovered LUSH and there went most of my free cash. Mm, LUSH…and then I discovered American perfumers, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and LUSH took a hit. Although not a big one, heh.

    And $1700 a month is more than I’ve ever made in a month, so clearly I’m invisible in his world.

  149. I just had a haircut today and feel absolutely awesome. Then I read the article and felt like I’m probably the most selfish person on Earth for wanting to look good.

    But yet, I SHOULD look good right? But like, naturally good. Like, my hair is supposed to be all-shiny and in shape all the time without me even attempting to do so.

    I think I need an aspirin.

  150. I’m halfway through reading this article and I want to smack this guy. What does he expect women to do ~ all become stepford wives? There’s no wonder to why he is still SINGLE too. He’s an ass! Women who spend all their time trying to find a man, have no brains and few thoughts. Yes, it’s nice to take care of your appearance and care for yourself, for you – not for a man. To spend like he suggests and act like he wants women to… ridiculous!

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  152. You have to wonder, too–these allegedly normal American women he’s referring to–how many of them spend that kind of money on their appearance because it’s literally their business to look like processed plastic (like they work in the entertainment industry in LA and New York)? Since he’s a megadouchebag screenwriter and all that.

    You know, I used to think a lot of the tripe that comes out of Hollywood came from people who KNEW the movies they wrote were full of ridiculous expectations, but were written to pander to something they thought the public wanted. This guy apparently thinks those ridiculous expectations are the non-negotiable, bare-minimum requirements a woman must maintain if she doesn’t wanted to treated like garbage by men.

    The thing that makes me sad is that I fear he’s just writing down what a lot of men secretly think, but have the sense not to verbalize where women can hear them.

  153. Orodemniades: BPAL just got a good chunk of my small holiday bonus. I’ve never tried their stuff before, but I’ve read tons of good reviews and word of mouth. I’m allergic to most commercial (i.e. artificial) fragrances, so I can’t wait.

  154. I don’t dye my hair. My best friend occasionally talks me into letting her cut it, but that’s more a matter of clownish experimentation than ‘beauty regimen’. I shave my legs…sometimes. I use conditioner (I have very thick, frizzy hair). I pluck my eyebrows when they start to meet in the middle. I can most often be seen in shitkickers, jeans, t-shirt and army jacket. I don’t wear nail polish or makeup.

    Of course, I’m tall, thin, and 22, so I still have to weed out asswhipes like that. Are there real people out there with real sex lives who actually expect their SO’s to behave like that? My guess is that he’s basing his expectations on anime girls.

  155. What an ass.

    I’m an American woman, and I’m not anywhere near that cost-wise. Hell, we make less than that a month.

    Two boxes of hair dye every two months, ten bucks. Haircut once every six, to even the ends out, ten bucks a shot. Every now and then a packet of hairpins or elastics, but not a whole lot more. Say, five bucks every year for that. My silk scarves for windy conditions were my grandmother’s, so no cost there. Time…well, I’ll admit it takes longer to braid it at night, unbraid and brush in the morning, time to put a scarf on before I walk out, etc. On the other hand, my hair’s long enough that if I’m not careful I tuck it into my jeans, and that appears to be enough to “make up for” the size 24 body it’s attached to. That and a sparkling personality and wit.

    As to other things, I wear makeup if I’m going somewhere, which is not often. I shave legs, underarms, and pubic area because I don’t like having hairy pits, I shave my legs when I think about it in the summer, and I shave my pubic area because it’s easier to keep things clean at Certain Points In The Month. It has nothing to do with what men like.

    So far my husband has no objections. We actually spend more on his appearance because he likes the expensive razor and has to get a hair cut every two months.

  156. Hmmm…

    UK lass, so I obviously spend far less on beauty than glamorous American women do (snark at the writer, not at Americans) but…

    No hair cuts from salons, because I generally just trim it to the right length and then fuss around with it myself. I do buy cheap peroxide though, because my hair started getting darker as I got older, and with my pale eyebrows it gives me a marilyn manson-like no-eyebrow appearance. Maybe £5 a month there. I buy cheap eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow but tend to save up for mineral powder foundation, blusher and anti-eyebag-stuff, so that’s maybe an extra £20 every 3 months. I use palmers cocoa butter moisturiser- totally not fancy or posh but smells yummy and works well- bought a big tub for £6 last July and still haven’t used it up. Good shampoo and conditioner, £6 a month. I’ll go months without shaving at all then go on a mad anti-hair rampage with creams and stuff so… maybe £10 every 3 months on that? I don’t consider soap, deodorant or toothpaste to be a beauty expense, as these are about hygeine. I own one bottle of perfume that I bought 4 years ago and use very rarely. I exercise at home and my other half does my massages so…

    Maybe £25 a month? Of course, if we count clothes as well… I go through stockings like bacon rind goes through my cat. I HAVE to spend out on bras because I have my very own doomy chestage, and generally get the matching panties simply because I might as well go all out if I’m spending £40 on a bleeding bra, but even then my other clothes are generally bought in the sales, and I can’t afford expensive shoes.

    Damn, what sort of women is this guy friends with? Imaginary ones?

    Oh yeah, and if men don’t care about shoes (not buying that, but still) then they surely appreciate the shapely calves of a woman crippling herself with stilettos?

    Of course, all this could boil down to is “this guy is a twatmonkey”.

  157. I realize I’m several months late to the party here, but I gotta say, this Tad guy looks like he could be David Furnish’s evil twin/

  158. Hello,
    Another late comment…
    I read the other comments here, and it struck me that none of them mentioned an interesting thing I thought of when I read the article: This guy, when he meets women who don’t make a great effort with their/our looks, gets associations to things like horror movie monsters and wild animals. He mentions cannibalism (twice!), orcs, tree-climbing monkeys, describes his date as “something that surely would have been happier hunting for truffles in the forests of France or grazing on the grassy marshlands of Canada”, and speculates that “My friend’s wife had told me that Sophie still had the body of a 20-year-old. Maybe she did . . . dismembered in her freezer at home.”
    Could it be that he’s not only repulsed but actually SCARED of women who don’t care enough to follow the norms about How To Please? In the same way as some religious people with an authoritarian interpretation of their religion can find atheism scary, because if there is no god to tell you what to do and punish those who do wrong, then ANYTHING is allowed and people would be “like a pack of wild animals” (as I read in some brochure from some religious group), OUT OF CONTROL!
    (I suppose he would have described me as a werewolf for not shaving anywhere…  )
    Of course he must try to shame women into accepting being controlled again, if he’s scared. What if we had all that money, time and energy to spend on… anything we wanted!? The horror!
    It’s funny that I read this article just after having seen the “Stepford Wives” trailer on Youtube (the movie from the 70s, not the 90s remake) – so I thought the pictures of “beautiful” women with make-up that showed in the ads were more horror movie-like because they reminded me of the Joanna-robot. 
    Three things I’d like to mention while I’m writing here:
    1. Thank you for writing this blog, I really like reading it! I’ve been questioning beauty ideals for almost 20 years, but I haven’t thought so much before about why some people are fatter and others thinner, genetic factors etc (although I haven’t seen it as a problem that people look different, either).
    2. Related to another post about food and morals: Today I saw a new brand of chocolate in a grocery shop named “Good”, which referred to the taste and that it was Fair Trade certified – not to calorie content. At last someone got the meaning of the word right, I thought. (Though it’s a little odd that a product sold in Sweden with otherwise Swedish text on it would have a name in English.)
    3. Much of the crazy low-calorie diets and drugs for weight loss that you comment on (like Alli, which is now sold in Swedish pharmacies too! ) remind me of Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s book “Good Omens”, where Famine, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (or, as it turns out, Bikers of the Apocalypse), spends his time on Earth before the Apocalypse writing diet books to make people starve themselves, and manufacturing food without nutritional value so the people who do eat will be malnourished too, for example with mineral oils rather than vegetable oils. (Olestra!?) Someone already mentioned this in some other comment thread. Anyway, I recommend the book for those who haven’t read it. It’s the funniest book about the End of the World I’ve ever read. 

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