I can tell it is springtime because the cellulite advertising is out.
For such a tolerant country, Belgium is oddly passionate about the eradication of cellulite. I suppose there must be a reason this is the cosmetic surgery capital of Europe. From April onwards, pharmacy windows are a solid wall of perfect, smooth photoshopped arses and wildly implausible claims. Thigh reduction claims of between a pathetic 0.3cm and a frankly impossible 7 cm are regularly displayed (tested on sample groups up to and including four humans and a pygmy goat, the small print at the bottom of the poster reads). I wonder quite how this fits with their whole-hearted, unapologetic enthusiasm for the best kinds of lardy goodness in the world. It must be one of those inherent contradiction things. I have a few of those myself, I suppose.
The rampant anti-celllulitism that characterises Brussels is Just FINE with me, anyway. I am drawn inexorably to cellulite potions and their fantastical promise of a beautiful bottom and thighs, worthy of display in 4' high technicolour on the Avenue du Toison D'Or. Perhaps in this way I try to ward off ageing and death? Perhaps I am compensating for washing my face only twice a week, never drinking water and having a morbid fear of body lotion? Who knows. But god, I love cellulite potions. I have EVERYTHING, as showcased last year:
Of course, having them is not the same as using them. What in fact happens is that I have a brief flurry of enthusiasm for a week or so, get discouraged by the lack of results and forget about them. The CFO goes back to brushing his hair with the body brush. I shove the reproachful jars and bottles into a corner of the bathroom. Part of me hopes that their mere presence in the bathroom cabinet will be sufficient. The rest of me is off, chasing after the latest set of quixotic snake oil promises.
The last few years' batches were hardly edifying.
"The mere smell makes you thin!" says the hype. I say "OUCH, that tingles like fuck get it OFF ME I AM BURNING AAAAH". The CFO says (hilariously) "shit, I touched you! Aaaah, my fat is melting off before my very eyes! I am disappearing!" Ha ha.
Purchased using the Belgian Waffle patented, and deeply flawed, benchmarking method: so dear, it must be good. Utterly forgettable.
Proto-medical looking. Lots of instructions on how to massage in. I got bored very quickly with being lectured by gloomy French dermatologists on the correct way to put cream on my thighs. Also, sticky.
Jeanne Piaubert is the cellulite ninja. She LIVES for cellulite, really she does. Her USP is different cellulite creams for different parts of your body (including one for KNEES) and times of day. Cellulite creams for those with ADHD, if you will. Many in the vast range of brightly coloured potions come with entertaining accessories, like nylon shorts much in the manner of Spanx, for wearing at night to allow the magic pixies in the cream to do their work. The CFO looked at me with an entirely impenetrable expression whenever I wore these. It was not lust. It might have been pity.
"Natural, yet extraordinarily effective" rave the testimonials. "Gloopy" says Jaywaker, with distaste. "Smells of hippies. Where is my implausible pseudo-science?".
Tried and bought over-enthusiastically in the afterglow of a treatment at a eurotedious jolly to the Hôtel Martinez in Cannes - ah, happy pre-global financial apocalypse days. Now we are lucky to get a bike riding trip to Knokke. If anyone is thinking that a bike riding trip to Knokke would be a better and more economical approach to cellulite reduction, they can shut the fuck up. Cannot remember what happened to this one. Or anything else about it. Just the sun and the deathly seminars, and having to make a short film based on the Lord of the Rings as a team building exercise, without any of the 'team' ever having seen it.
Cheap. Whilst quite as useless as all its competitors, it did give my skin a not unwelcome metallic finish. I liked looking metallic; I felt it gave me an intriguing robotic quality. Good name. Lipo-Dissolve? Lipo-Reductor? Lipo-Terminator? I forget. I became moderately enthusiastic about this for five minutes last year, but oh, the massaging is such a fag. If there is a winner in this lacklustre bunch of attrape-nigauds, it is this. But don't go rejoicing Vichy, you are just slightly less crap than the others.
Cheap, again. Follows the Jeanne Piaubert model of different creams for day and night AND there are patches. Too cheap for me to trust, and the placebo effect is everything in cellulite creams. The patches were fun, especially combined with the Jeanne Piaubert anti-cellulite Spanx, but ended up stuck to my ankles most nights. Or the pillow. Another winner with the CFO "C'est quoi ce TRUC?! Pouac!"
So now, ever the good consumer, I am on the look out for this year's bunch. I am not asking you for serious recommendations (though if you have any, I will doubtless run out and get them anyway). I want you to keep your eye out for the most ludicrous claims and pseudo-science, and we can have some kind of a special 'Bad Cellulite Science' post later this month.