As if there weren't enough nails in the rivet-studded coffin of feminism already, along comes a bestselling diet book with which we can hammer in another. This one, the charmingly named Skinny Bitch, by former Los Angeles model Kim Barnouin and former LA model booker Rory Freedman, got its boost from being publicly purchased by Victoria Beckham, the first lady of extreme-weight-loss regimes.
The things I do for journalism. Do you realise that by being paid to write this I am jeopardising my boyfriend's happiness, the health of our relationship and the future of Western civilisation? No? Then you cannot have read the plangent article by journalist Michael Noer, news editor of the online version of Forbes magazine.
It is a sin to cause misery to others, you would agree, yes? And yet I bet that at this very moment you are sitting in an office where people can clearly see your -- jeez, I dread to think -- snub nose? Crow's-feet? Spludged thighs? Small tits? I'm sorry, I can't go on, I'm feeling quite sick.
Can it be true that what you wear on your feet can improve your health, weight, posture, muscle tone and circulation, as the various manufacturers assert? Perhaps the most famous among this modern breed are the R 1Â 446 Masai Barefoot Technology trainers, worn by Cherie Blair, Jemima Khan and all over by mummies intent on maintaining their yumminess.
It was the tale of Bluebeard that scared me to death. The tale of the wife unable to resist the temptation of opening the forbidden door at the end of the gallery and finding beyond it a room lined with the mutilated bodies of former wives and -- a nice touch, this -- ''clotted blood all over the floor'' shook me more than somewhat. And I was 24 at the time.
As a child I developed the belief that old age would be a glorious estate, a time of enlightenment and peace, and everything before -- childhood, adolescence, the subsequent decades -- simply the chaotic dues you paid before achieving geriatric nirvana. This belief has taken a knock with the news from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons that its fastest-growing market is pensioners.
When I was 14 and still had the emotional capacity to become prostrate with rage at injustices, both real and imagined, I swore I would always be a Ms. I made my sister swear, too. The logic of the feminist argument was unassailable: all men were Mr, regardless of their marital status â€” why should women not be accorded the same privacy? But we didn't know then what a freighted monosyllable Ms would become.