They are too rich, too thin and they are living uninvited and rent-free in my head against my will. I have decided that celebrities are, in fact, alien life forms who have been sent to take over the world. Their mission is to make us look like them: glossy-haired, orange-skinned, glittery toothed, big-breasted, bubbly clones with obviously made-up non-humanoid names like “Jade” and “Jordan”,“Holly” and “Bez”.
Then, in the year 3000 the mastership will land from the planet they call Big Brother and whisk us all off to ……okay so that last bit needs a bit of work - but is there any other explanation for the insidious way that celebrities creep into your subconscious so that even when you do not care in the least about any of them – you find that, in actual fact, you do? We have become so saturated with celebrity culture that it is no longer enough to simply ‘not care’. I do not care about “Posh Spice”. See? I even write her name in inverted comma’s to illustrate the extent of my aloof, superior disinterest. And yet two weeks ago I sat in front of my hairdresser and asked for a bob. “With long bits at the front – you know – like……” Ouch! And there it was. I wanted a Posh Spice haircut. Did knowing that deter me? No. Because despite my better judgement my little celebrity gremlin was whispering: “Posh Spice has bob – bob goo-ood haircut ”.
Ditto teeth whitening. My dentist has been badgering me to have my teeth whitened for ages. Last year I almost had an excuse to travel to L.A. and she lost the run of herself altogether insisting that I could NOT travel to the west coast of America with ‘ordinary’ teeth with the urgency more suited to an emergency root canal. Eventually I gave in, but deep inside I know it’s not her insistence that got to me. It’s the pearly-white gnashers gleaming from the stack of Hello! Magazines in her waiting room. Gradually, after years of fillings and drillings I decided – dammnit – I want teeth like Paul McCartney, and Billie Piper and the woman who won herself a job working for that angry looking man who does the ads for Prize Bonds.
As I was leaving her surgery with several hundred pounds worth of tooth-bleach and my set of see-through inverted dentures – she coolly informed me that I wasn’t to drink anything that would stain, especially tea or coffee, for a fortnight. I am completely dependent on both – and yet I did manage to salvage a germ of comfort from reassuring myself that in all probability, Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives was also going to bed that night with her mouth crammed full of bleach and plastic.
And then I thought - this is how it begins. This is how a normal woman starts to morph herself into a footballer’s wife for no better reason than she can. All it takes is hard work (the gym), courage, (Brazilian wax), creativity, (skilled application of make-up), endurance, (the constant diet), a sense of humour, (spray tan) money, (a designer wardrobe) and a surgeon for everything else. What it does not take a great deal of is brains. So while there are people we admire greatly for their wit and intellect, sadly few of us aspire to look like true idols like Alan Bennett, Germaine Greer, Vincent Browne or Melvyn Bragg (except, his smile suggests, Melvyn Bragg himself).
I’m afraid of where it might lead. Teeth bleaching is the middle ground in ‘commitment vanity’ coming somewhere between the ability to apply mascara in a moving vehicle and hard-core liposuction. Should I get my forehead injected with botox? Or perhaps I’ll get my bob readjusted to incorporate a fringe instead. Make me look like Juliette Binoche. She’s a French celeb: that’s got to be posher than “Posh”.