The Times reports today (“Close shaves beat death by whisker“) that “men who do not shave every day are 30 per cent more likely to die of heart disease and nearly 70 per cent more likely to have a stroke”, according to a study by the University of Bristol. Apparently this is to do with the fact that men who don’t shave regularly tend to lead more dissolute lives in general. The article ends with the mysterious observation that “men with beards were excluded from the survey”. Are the University of Bristol going to conduct a separate study of bearded men’s propensity to heart disease and strokes, or should it be understood that all men with beards are either guaranteed never to suffer from these ailments or are all about to pop their clogs? I think we (or they) should be told.
The Guardian ran a story in its Media section today headlined “Furore as Vogue ad hits the ‘G’ spot” about a new Gucci advert which it says shows a woman “being pushed against a wall by a male model”. It goes on to report that the image has caused offence, which given the paper’s description would not appear surprising. I bought the magazine (the first time I’ve ever done so) to have a look for myself and have to say I totally disagree with this interpretation of the image: the male model isn’t forcing himself on the woman at all; he’s kneeling down at the woman’s crotch, gazing at more in awe than desire, as if he can’t quite believe what he’s seeing – and not just because she’s had her pubic hair shaved into the shape of a Gucci “G”. It reminded me of a Leonard Cohen song called Light as the Breeze, in which the narrator kneels “at the delta, at the alpha and the omega … like one who believes”. Apart from anything else, she’s the one who’s pulling her knickers down and inviting him to gaze in wonder at her “G spot”. Ironic, incidentally, that I would never have known about the ad if I hadn’t read about it in The Guardian.
A bizarre story in today’s Times reports that SSL International, the Durex condom maker, saw its shares jump after it won a court case brought after a Chinese rival called Wuhan Jissbon Hygiene Products copied SSL’s website and passed off the firm’s sales and performance claims as their own. Jissbon, which even more strangely means “James Bond” and who sport a picture of the Justice statue from the roof of the Old Bailey on the front page of their website, were found out when they made the classic blunder of including SSL’s own name on the plagiarised site. Well, if you’re going to get caught, you may as well get caught with your pants down, eh?