One of the great benefits of working, principally, from home, is that there is a shape and routine to the day provided by external events. The buses pass (if you have been reading this blog since the beginning, the Bus Wars still go on – two empty buses from rival firms are still chasing the stray customers here, same times, same places. No-one at either depot has yet blinked). The dustmen come every other Wednesday for the brown bin, and every other Wednesday for the black bags, except at this time of the year, when they vary the system for the festivities, which is why I was found chasing the dust-cart at an early hour in a dressing-gown, a fact that has presumably not missed the eagle eyes of the village elders.
And the postman/woman calls. There is almost nothing more satisfying than the clacket of the letter-box, and the way that the paper slips under its lip and on to the waiting mat. To travel hopefully is better than to arrive – exactly my thoughts as I make the short journey down the stairs to see what has landed from outer space. Of course, when I get there, except at Christmas or on other feast-days, there’s never a lot, which, being my age, I kind of regret, but, since I am as addicted to e-mail as the next e-person, I can hardly blame anyone for.
But there is always junk mail. There is no real equivalent of a spam filter in the non-virtual world (there is, in all probability, but that would mean that the snick-snick of the letter-box would be a rarity rather than a routine). And today’s junk mail has brought me some a special offer, anyway. If I decide to buy some lipstick, I can get two for the price of one (it’s a thirty-mile round drive, but what the hell). Now it so happens that I have heard from the usual unimpeachable sources that the credit crunch has caused there to be something of a soar in the sales of lipstick. Presumably this is something to do with the idea that, although clothes may last another season (I think that’s the right word), and that soap has much the same effect as perfume, a dab of the sticky stuff on the upper and lower sides of the teeth will make one presentable to society.
So, my question is, why don’t men wear lipstick? Our lips seem to be the only neglected area of our bodies. After all, we can buy perfume (they have long since stopped calling it ‘after-shave’ and now frankly call it ‘scent’, and the HIS sections in department stores positively heave with powders and weird-smelling shampoos, some of them allegedly organic, and rings and things). But not lipstick. Apparently the last frontier of manhood is the lip.
Is there something we don’t know? If a male lip meets a female lip, is there a chemical reaction which is akin to glue? Would they combust? Is there a reason why our lips are untargeted by anything other than junk mailers who don’t have a handle on our gender?
We can have cosmetic surgery. But not, it seems, cosmetics. Perhaps I will go to the tester counter in Boot’s next week and start a revolution. It’s two-for-one, after all.