A funny thing happens to me when I’m flying. With my dark eyes, high hair and full make-up, I board looking like Elizabeth Taylor, but after 12 hours in the air, I emerge at Arrivals bearing a closer resemblance to Adolf Hitler.
First, there are the clothes. I love that virginatlantic.com gives you a Sleeper Suit, a garment I collect like some kids collect Dinky toys (do they still exist by the way, or am I showing my age?). Upon landing, I can never be bothered to change and so head out in what appears to be something straight out of the wardrobe of Fascist sympathizer Oswald Mosley but without the boots. People awaiting departing flights hide under seats when I approach.
Then there’s my hair, which, not unlike like Hitler’s everyday look, comes to resemble a short-haired Chihuahua that has decided to take up residence uncomfortably on my scalp.
But here’s the worst of it. The mustache. And there the resemblance to the Führer is truly worrying. Because, on any flight over two hours, my facial hair grows at such an alarming rate, people might assume I have undergone a Transgender transformation at 30,000 feet – at the very least, landed an audition in The Muppets as Fozzie Bear’s stand-in.
I’ve always had a problem with very wiry, bodily hair. I was born very dark and, from a very young age, my two big toes carried so much dark foliage, rubber ducks away swam away in terror when the twin triffids entered the bath.
My underarms could camouflage a battalion; I can’t see my toes because of the undergrowth on my lower legs; and the single hair that now grows on my chin could pass for a hangman’s noose.
But the mustache has always been the worst. I have to remove it with facial hair cream every day. People tell me to grow it in order to bleach it or have it lazered off, but that would mean my having to look like Hitler for at least six months.
I don’t know what it is about being airborne that makes the hair on my upper lips grow at double, or even triple the rate as it does on land; but all I know is that by the time I’ve finished my entrée and watched a movie, I look as if I’m about to deliver a speech at the Nuremberg Rally.
I’ve tried everything, including electrical items I see advertised on TV that offer “virtually no pain” when removing facial hair (that word “virtually” always worries me: it’s usually a thin line between nothing and waterboarding where “virtually” is concerned). I’ve even tried shaving with a razor, but I keep coming back to Veet. It used to be known as Neet in the Twenties and, later Immac; I have no idea why they changed the name, although I enjoyed the advertising campaign “No more Bush” during one of the product’s more political phases (don’t even get me started on that part of the body: when the plane’s wheels touch down, I could pass for a pony trap).
But although Veet is reliable, I don’t want to be sitting on an aircraft looking as if I have just had a run-in with a soggy marshmallow; worse…. no, you really don’t want to know the other comparisons. Also, sometimes, even the Veet for sensitive skin can make me look a little red for a couple of hours, as if I’ve been sucking icebergs for a dare.
I suspect Victoria Beckham, who always looks like a catwalk model when leaving a plane, doesn’t have this problem. However, I know that she always sits at the very front of First Class and maybe, when everyone’s asleep, she whips out that Veet in readiness for landing and looking more Ava Gardner than Hitler.
For the present, I’m just going to have to live with it and risk being arrested at airport terminals.
There’s only so much beating around the facial bush a girl can do.