Want to be powerful? Try a facelift

Woman having a face lift

'Would you prefer the Catherine de Medici look, the Elizabeth I or the Anna Wintour, madam?'

The other day I decided that, in the New Year, I would try to 'empower' myself. So I bought a book called The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene.

Law One was Never Outshine The Master. What master? Did he mean Peter Mandelson, who I am convinced is still running the country in secret? Did he mean my lord and master? In which case, that is irrelevant because I don't have one. I stopped at Law Six, which was Court Attention At All Costs. The last time I did that I was thrown out of a restaurant.

I concluded that the problem was my face. It lacks inscrutability. But where nature had failed, perhaps cosmetic surgery could take a hand?

One of these days an enterprising plastic surgeon will pioneer the power makeover. This package might include narrowing the eyes, lengthening the nose, thinning the lips and adding a pallor to the complexion.

'Would you prefer the Catherine de Medici look, the Elizabeth I or the Anna Wintour, madam?' Or: 'Sir, might I suggest the Robespierre hooter? At £5,000, it's a masterpiece of duplicity.'

Power is only skin-deep, after all.

When will the Lib Dems grow up?

I am fascinated by the idea that the Lib Dems are having to 'do their growing up in public'.

How long will it take? Will they all grow beards? Shakespeare's All The World's A Stage speech in As You Like It refers to growing up in public.

I hope Nick Clegg doesn't end up like the everyman in Jaques's speech: 'Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.' Mind you, it might not be long before he's sans Vince Cable.

Chivalry died in 1532

When did chivalry die? Over a pre-Christmas dinner, when my cousin refused to pass his wife the wine, saying she was drunk, we decided it had expired during our parents' generation.

The following day, however, a historian friend denied this was so. According to his research, chivalry died in 1532.

What about men opening the door for women, paying for supper and not rolling home drunk from the pub at one in the morning?

No, he said, real chivalry, which reached its zenith during the reign of Edward III from 1327-1377, was underpinned by the belief that women were superior to men and must not be contaminated by their filthy ways.

Then Francis I of France, who ruled from 1515-1547, ruined it all by behaving like a Premier League footballer let loose in the Playboy mansion. He paraded his string of strumpets in front of his second wife, Eleanor of Austria, and then infected the poor woman with syphilis.

Her 'outraged of Vienna' brother, the Emperor Charles V, wrote to Francis challenging him to a duel. Not only did Francis refuse, he laughed like a hyena  -  and chivalry was declared dead.

How glorious to have found yet another thing to blame on the French.

'One shot' Wyatt

They don't call me 'one shot' Wyatt for nothing.

In fact, they don't call me 'one shot' Wyatt at all. But in a moment of insanity I once accepted an invitation to a New Year shoot.

My host must have guessed the sport was one with which I am not familiar, because when he said it was a pheasant drive I asked: 'Will we be driving them in our own cars?'

A long email was sent as an attempt at clarification.

'We would be shooting with two guns. A loader would be provided.'

Why would we be using two guns? The shoot was in Surrey, not Sicily. Why wasn't one gun enough? And what on earth was a loader?

I was advised to find a suitable outfit. At a 'gunnery' shop in West London a male assistant shoe-horned me into a pair of tight breeches with yellow garters. I looked like Dick Whittington's understudy.

Things did not look up when I took a shooting lesson. The instructor took me to the 'gun room' and informed me the guns were divided into 20-bores and 12-bores. I looked around for the other bores, but there was just me.

Two days before the shoot, I rang my friend and said I had flu. He knew I was lying, but I detected relief in his commiserations. 

When it's time to cover up

It all began when I was 18 and an eminent and now deceased clergyman stared at my cleavage at a party. He then invited me to tea.

After that I was known as The Girl With Those Breasts. A magazine referred to them as 'the best in London' as if they were a Chinese restaurant. The entrepreneur Sir David Tang calls them 'menacing'. 

Christina Hendricks

My New Year's resolution is to buy a nice thick polo neck...

But now 2011 is drawing near, I have decided it is time to put them away for good. Grown-up women who seek elan should cover up. I wish all women would wear more clothes. More is definitely more.

Take actress Christina Hendricks.

Once out of her demure Mad Men outfits, she often fails to keep abreast of taste.

Recently she wore a frock that resembled a reject from the 18th Century tavern wench department. Not a good look.

As for me, I want a man to look me in the eyes for once. Not anywhere else.

Champagne nightmare

A girlfriend and I spent the other night complaining about how much champagne and sparkling wine we had been forced to drink during the past fortnight.

With apologies to Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe: The night they invented champagne they absolutely knew that all we'd want to do was run to the bathroom in shame and swallow every pill in sight for since the world began no woman or no man had ever felt as awful as we feel tonight. 

Happy New Year to you all.

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