Keeping the gloss on a gal isn't cheap

December 16, 1997|By Susan Reimer

IT TAKES A HEFTY chunk of change to keep me on the road.

Total up what I spend on personal maintenance in a year and you can only wonder why I don't look any better than I do. Or how much worse I would look if I didn't.

Most of what I spend is committed to the war against aging. The rest flies out of my wallet under the heading, "If I don't deserve this, who does?"

I have my hair styled short every four weeks and streaked blond every three months because I read somewhere that as you get older, you should wear your hair shorter and lighter.

I go to aerobics classes in those cute little Spandex outfits because I read somewhere that such exercise can help prevent bone loss and incontinence.

And I get my nails done every two weeks because I read somewhere that if you gesture madly with pretty hands, your listener will not notice your bad parts.

That's about as far as my time and my money will stretch, but I have an idea of just how far you can take this stuff.

I mean, if you are doing your fingers, why not do your toes? And wouldn't a few minutes a week in a tanning bed give you a nice, midwinter glow? A paraffin dip for your hands can seal in $H precious moisture, and a facial will do the same. Who can face the summer and swimsuits without body waxing?

If you are going to exercise, why not hire a personal trainer so that you don't waste your time in the gym? And a full-body massage can squeeze the stress out of you like toothpaste out of a tube. Isn't that better than drugs or alcohol?

A homeopath, an herbalist and a nutritionist can keep you healthy in all sorts of natural ways, and they are just beginning to discover all the uses for acupuncture. It could be that those needles will help you through your children's adolescence.

But that is just K mart shopping when compared to the women profiled in December's British edition of Marie Claire magazine. These society women have found ways to spend money on themselves that the rest of us could not have imagined.

One of them is Amanda Eliasch, who fulfilled her mother's prediction for her when she married Swedish multimillionaire entrepreneur Johan Eliasch 10 years ago.

"Johan swept me off my feet and into this amazing lifestyle where I don't do anything I don't want to do," Amanda told Marie Claire.

Her day starts with a yoga class with a private instructor and then she is driven to her hairdresser for her daily grooming. The rest of her day is fairly aimless, but she does try to do something "cultural."

She has a history tutor who tours exhibitions with her, a music appreciation teacher, a voice coach ("improving your voice improves your confidence") who doubles as a spiritual counselor and her own personal clairvoyant.

Amanda is only 37, but every two months she visits a plastic surgeon who irons out the frown lines on her forehead and pumps up her lips with collagen "when she feels in need of a special treat." She has facials, waxes, skin peels, her own jewelry designer and a masseuse for her lymphatic system.

Oh, and she has a butler, chef and a nanny for the kids, 5-year-old Charles and 18-month-old Jack.

It costs this suburban London housewife just short of $100,000 a year to look good.

Andrea Reynolds, a New York socialite now married to a British aristocrat, is still "recovering" from her five years as Claus von Bulow's girlfriend, and is pampered by a team of specialists.

She has her leg veins removed three times a year so she "has the confidence to wear shorts," and gets her exercise with a darkly attractive tango instructor.

She has her hormones replaced by a gynecologist and her fat removed by a liposuctionist. She has a bee-pollen specialist, a cosmetic dentist, and a plastic surgeon just for her hands. She's a bargain at $50,000 a year.

By the way, her husband, pictured with her, looks as though he was discovered in a pharaoh's tomb.

Clothing designer Charlie Brown of Sydney, Australia, also has a hive of cosmetic worker bees. But she may have discovered the secret of eternal youth: Her 10-year-old daughter lives across the street in a two-bedroom apartment with her nanny.

Pub Date: 12/16/97

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