"Drink plenty of water", "Eat less carbs and fat, but more fruit and veg"; "Sleep more - exercise more", "Dress in layers when it is cold and wet outside" ... this type of advice is the most banal, the kind we all know because we've heard it endless times, some of us probably since childhood.
And yet it is (largely) just this kind of most banal advice I found in the electronic pages of "The Feelgood Factory on Looking Gorgeous", the book out of the "Infinite Ideas" series I finished reading some time last week.
Every now and then, there were some make-up tips or other (more or less) useful bits of advice such as exercises for a better posture sprinkled across the chapters, but honestly, they are hardly worth downloading this book, let alone reading it - even though it was for free.
Maybe some women nod enthusiastically when they read sentences such as "We know the bust size of every Hollywood actress and soap star on the box" - sorry, I'm not one of them.
And what about advising women to touch the people they are talking to on the arm, while flashing smiles at them, making sure those smiles wrinkle your eyes so that its fakeness is not instantly obvious? What does it reveal about an author's* self-perception as a woman when each and every tip comes with the label "to make yourself attractive to men", "to look your best so that men will notice you"?
Of course I want to be attractive, and of course I want to look my best according to each situation - a different kind of look for, say, when I'm out running with my friend than to what I wear to the office where I want the visual impression of me match the skill and experience I have acquired in my line of work.
But believe it or not, I am not constantly wondering what impression I am making on men, and when I eat or drink, it is not with a constantly nagging voice in my head, telling me that this is unhealthy and will go straight to my hips.
Some of us actually do like themselves, you know, and are not permanently trying to optimize their looks - in spite of me really, really liking nice clothes, especially dresses.
On the whole, I found the advice given here way too banal (beauty "secrets"? I didn't come across any) and what the author obviously expects to be the average woman's motivation for wanting to look and feel good surprisingly shallow.
I enjoyed previously read books from the "Infinite Ideas" series. This one was disappointing. Entirely my own fault, of course - what else did I expect from a book of that title? And I could have simply stopped reading as soon as I realized which way this was heading. Why I still continued until the end of this (fortunately short) book is anyone's guess, mine including.
* The book was co-authored by several women, led by Elisabeth Wilson.