Save the planet – Eat your blusher

“How do I look?”. The four most terrifying words of any relationship. Standing completely without movement, I silently hope that the question is rhetorical because I’m probably going to have prepared a thesis relating Fibonacci’s sequence with Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code before I come up with a peace-prize winning answer to that one.

“You chose the colours. You know, to complement my eyes”. Of course, the eye shadow make-up. But I’m going to have finished a 12,000 word memorised dissertation entitled ‘The social importance of BBC Tv’s Last of the Summer Wine‘ before I understand even the basics of why make-up is needed in the 21st century. I pluck from the air words worthy of Keats and which would leave Byron spitting out a mouthful of recently brewed herbal tea in envy, replying ‘very nice’.

What’s more I’m sure I’m not the only male finding this unfathomable. Walk into any branch of Boots, and you’ll be shown display after display of human colour charts before you get anywhere near the little decanter full of blue liquid on the pharmacist’s counter. What’s more, they can charge £12.95 for a pastel pencil which would cost £1.99 at the artists’ outlet down the road. It’s not just Japan that sees No.7 as lucky I can tell you.

So Gordon Brown is today urging us all to cut down on our food waste. This, we are told will solve the world’s environmental, agricultural, monetary and sociological problems in on go.

Afterall, times are hard at the moment. Most of us need our ‘recommended’ 2.5% pay increase to put towards increased fuel costs, rising food prices, higher interest rates and taxes. Of course, not all of us get our fuel morgage bills paid for on our expense account, but let’s not be picky. I suspect Gordon is a man to lead by example and in 2005 Gordon spent £9k of our money refurbishing our/his kitchen in his taxpayer-supplied home. I’m sure there’ll be a George Foreman grill in there and plenty of tupperware for storing the leftovers.

The ‘green’ argument solves everything these days. We can be charged more for environmentally friendly toothpaste, oranges and car insurance. You can pay an extra few pence per kilowatt on your electricity bill if you want your tv to be powered by sustainable energy. Presumably those wind turbines will be taken off the national grid if Mr Jones at 47 switches back to regular electricity.

Supermarkets do it too. They charge us £5.99 to deliver our shopping to us, to save the carbon footprint of us driving to the supermarket. This of course has the added benefit of a spotty chap called Martin picking us the most ridiculously large turnips half of which, unless you’re having the entire Broadway cast of Cats round for tea, end up in the bin and bananas so passed their best they share a colour with the mud at Glastonbury. He then drives to your house at 80 miles an hour completely unaware that his noisy diesel-powered van is fitted with a second gear and thuds a box of veg down on your doorstep ensuring every bruisable fruit is squashed to the thickness of a five pence peace.

The big sell is, of course, money. And Gordon says the average household can save £8 a week by being more prudent with their shopping. Quite what we can spend that £416 a year on I’m not sure. Flying is out of the question these days. It’ll barely buy you a tank of petrol by Christmas, but then you can’t actually drive anywhere these days because if you are lucky enough to find a patch of road free of congestion you’ll be flashed by a traffic camera. If you want a day out the kids will have to stay at home, as I suspect it’ll barely cover a day-saver to London on the train after you factor-in the necessary physiotherapy bills from Bupa because you had to stand on the roof all the way there because there were no seats.

I suspect he’d recommend putting it into National Savings and Investments accounts.

But I have an idea. A Co-Op insurance survey recently revealed the average 30 year old woman spends £253 a month on beauty products. At least 50% of this must be for the benefit of men – but as I have proved we don’t notice it. The last time men noticed a slightly different shade of lipstick was when the Suffragettes adopted scarlet red in the 1910’s as a way of showing solidarity, and even that only got them part way towards being allowed to vote.

So that’s £126.50 extra saved per month, but I’ve also solved the green argument. Many cosmetics involve the use of Palm Oil at some stage. Friends of the Earth have calculated that 87% of deforestation in Malaysia alone was caused by Palm Oil production between 1950 and the year 2000. Furthermore, primary rainforest converted to palm oil production results in 80-100% of mammals, birds and reptiles living there to be wiped out.

So women of the world – put down your cosmetics and walk slowly away. You could save the rainforests. You could save millions of cute fluffy animals. That £1580 a year could buy you a nice holiday in the tropics – tropics which would still be there, and to which you could fly to safe in the knowledge that your carbon footprint is now only a size 2 instead of a workmen’s welly.

Plus you can ignore PM Gordon and buy as much cake and perishable delicacies as you like. Trust me, if us menfolk don’t notice that you’ve painted green, blue or red bits around your eyes, we’re unlikely to notice much else.

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