This week I found myself lying in my bed, engulfed by soft pillows, hair splayed wildly all around my head, arms outstretched, with a man straddling me and a lady watching.
Like all things in my life, this sounds a whole lot better than it was.
Because the dull reality is that the fully dressed man standing across me was holding a camera and concentrating on shutterspeed and lighting, and the girl watching was the make-up artist, brushes and pencils and powder at the ready.
The reason for this somewhat unusual state of affairs is because I was having a photo shoot done, to accompany an article I wrote for the Daily Mail, about sex.
Which was kind of the whole point of the piece.
(When it runs I’ll post a link here and you can read it, laugh a lot, get what I’m on about and then go about your merry way again.)
Now then, because it was about sex – or not sex – the photographer decided it would be a good idea to have the picture taken with me sitting on something vaguely related to that subject.
As I don’t possess a mini bar or a six-foot ride-on cucumber, he suggested I sit on my bed.
This wasn’t quite what I’d planned, but hey, I thought, what the heck. It’s just sitting on a bed. Bed is where most married couples with children have sex. Or don’t have sex. (And certainly not with children. Can I be arrested for making that joke?)
It’s hardly an FHM lingerie-fest.
Of course, ‘on’ the bed very quickly transformed into ‘in’ the bed – for ‘artistic purposes’.
Oh what the heck, I thought again. It’s only in bed. In my pyjamas. In the middle of the day. With two people staring at me. And someone moving strands of hair one inch to the left, as required, and applying powder to my nose.
Just like any other Wednesday lunchtime.
And it’s ‘art’. Oh, and if I don’t do it they won’t print my article and I won’t get paid. So y’know…economically sound art.
And so it was that I arrived at the ‘sprawled-across-bed’ scenario with which I whetted your (now disappointed) appetite above.
Now, photo shoots are a lot less glamorous than they must appear to those who don’t have do them regularly. As is going on television.
For every three minutes of on-air time there’s about an hour of faffing, fussing, preening and prepping. Thus:
By the time we step into the TV studio or the cameraman presses the Pressy Takey Photo Button, most of us – even the really, really ugly ones – look approximately 4 billion times better than we did when we woke up and went to the loo that morning.
In short, the beautiful images you see in magazine spreads and on television bear absolutely no resemblance to reality.
I know. Next I’ll be telling you that eating six pies a day makes you fat.
And just in case there was ANY danger that I might be sucked into feeling disgustingly smug for a second, as the camera clicked away and I was told repeatedly that I looked “Gorgeous, fabulous, honey. You look incredible!” I reached into my handbag to take out my hairbrush.
And this is what came out:
This, dearest reader, is the Real Liz Fraser, embodied in a snapped, dusty hairbrush, stuffed full of stale granola crumbs.
So enjoy the polished, airbrushed results, by all means. We all love a bit of airbrushed fantasy, let’s face it.
But never let us forget that behind the polished image, the glitz and the styling, we all have shit in our handbags.
Long live fakery. Long live reality.