Kate Livingstone: Move over I want to use the mirror!

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The question I was dying to ask when a survey revealed that women spend an average of 41 hours a year on their beauty routine was – and how much longer for men?

Apparently waxing, plucking, skincare, shaving and nail painting take up 77 days of the average woman’s life.

Now I’m sure we can all think of a few who spend an awful lot longer than that!

But given the huge growth in personal grooming for men in recent years, how about a survey telling us how long our male counterparts spend 
enhancing their appearance.

My son Gary was home for a couple of days while work was being done on his flat. It was lovely to see him – but oh my goodness, it was also lovely to see him go. Are doting mums supposed to say that?

I love him dearly and perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder, but I’d certainly forgotten all his (irritating) habits but within an hour of his arrival it all came flooding back!

Jacket thrown down on the stair rather than being put in the cupboard and when I picked it up to put it away his response was “oh I’ll need that tomorrow morning ...”

Yes, darling boy – you can fetch it from where I’m hanging it up.

Dishes left in the sink, wet towels on the bathroom floor all became a familiar pattern, need I go on?

But the funny thing is, whenever I visit him, his flat is immaculate with nothing out of place. Must only be my home that his untidy genes come to the surface.

However, it was the amount of time he seems to spend ‘preening’ himself in the bathroom that I’d forgotten about.

I remember the days when he was a wee boy and I had to literally drag him into the shower on a regular basis. I’m sure if I hadn’t he wouldn’t have ventured in from one week to the next.

It was also the soap bag of lotions and potions that were deposited for his use in the bathroom during his recent stay. I’d hate to hazard a guess how much it all cost but there were some pretty impressive brand names.

The survey I spoke of earlier said women spend an average of £47 a month on grooming products or services, well I think Gary could beat that figure!

However, I must admit that I much prefer my boy taking a pride in his appearance than being like some of those young men you see on the street who don’t look like they’ve seen a bar of soap in a month.

But not so sure I’m comfortable with this plucking his eyebrows ... and for heaven’s sake don’t tell his gran!