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Every time The Mom starts banging on about this kind of bullshit it drives me, Crazy D and L’il Sis up a wall. Absolutely nuts. It was as though a woman’s worth were determined exclusively by what her face looks like. I know not what we could ever possibly do to get her to realise that nobody likes her just because her face is pretty. Or that her face is somehow the sum total of her personality, her character, or her worth.

This kind of thing in general drives me up a wall. Actually, no. It makes me livid. The global cosmetics industry is worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of €181 billion. Do you have any idea what we could do with that kind of money? I should think the millions of refugees sleeping rough, fearing for their lives, could have a much better chance of the future if they were given even a small slice of that money. Imagine if, instead of buying a mascara we gave the money to a charity? I have only just learned since The Mom visited me in Bristol and forgot her mascara what kind of price that sort of thing costs. It was around £14. What if Boots had, instead of a cosmetics counter (which frankly, takes up something like two thirds of their shop just now, a shop that was originally a chemist) just some buckets into which you could put your £14 or £28 or whatever. Just think of what we could accomplish.

I read a lot of articles in the paper about how we need to raise our kids properly. How we don’t tell little girls they look pretty now, we tell them they’re clever, brave, kind. And how we raise little boys to value girls for things other than their looks. But if we’re still spending our money on this kind of bullshit cosmetic procedure, I really think we’ve not got much hope in our futures.

I know the Mom is struggling to adjust to the fact that she’s not as young as she once was. She’s starting to have health issues now, which is new for her. But nevertheless, fiddling around with your face in this manner contradicts so much of that.

I remember seeing a picture in a magazine years ago. It was of this woman, a researcher, Professor, and doctor. She was working in neuroscience I believe. And she had deep bags under her eyes. Because she worked a lot. Because she was working to understand dementia and try to figure out how we could deal with it better. She was an incredibly smart woman, leading in her field, and the thing I remember most is the article talking about the bags under her eyes. Because surely a woman that smart would realise that it wasn’t the done thing for a woman to have such visible records of her sleepless nights.

This has got to be one of the most depressing things. A woman at the top of her field, pioneering, and we talk about the bags under her eyes. Or we talk about Mrs Clinton’s scrunchie. Or her pant suits.

The Mom will tell me that she believes we should value people on their character, their kindness, their intelligence, but then when she starts talking about things like Botox and fillers, it negates all that.

It’s not okay for people to judge others on how they look. And this sort of fillers and Botox bullshit is in that category.

The Mom is always telling me that I look tired, pale, and thin. That’s because I am all of those things. She frequently suggests that the discreet application of some rouge or other make up might help mitigate against this look. And I’ll tell you what I always tell her: but then people won’t know I’m tired. And if they don’t know I’m tired they won’t understand why I’m grouchy. I’m pale because I live in the UK where our subscription to the sun has lapsed, again. And anyhow, I work in an office, so there’s not much time for frolicking on the beach. And I’m thin because I’m ill. No sense trying to hide these things. They are a fact of me. And I’m cool with that.

Our faces aren’t here to be pretty or handsome, they’re here to express emotion. And I’m tired of people trying to erase that. It’s what connects us, as people. I want to be able to read The Mom’s face forever more. If I hear any of this talk in person when I’m home for the holidays, The Mom will be swiftly relieved of her bank card, and I will personally phone up this loathsome place, ask for their most deluxe package, and then donate that sum to the charity of my choosing, likely Planned Parenthood.