When Sarah Vine first suggested this column, it seemed like a no-brainer: it was a regular gig and there’d be lots of free shampoo. Only now have I realised that it was a Faustian pact. In return for the shampoo I run the risk of becoming the Julie Myerson of male grooming: a serial invader of my own ablutionary privacy. It’s only been a few months, yet already it seems perfectly natural to pimp into print any passing anxiety about going bald, larding up a bit, or excessive sweating.
Today, it’s spots. It seems particularly cruel that you can have grey hair and still be prone to the odd zit. In adulthood, zits are just as irritating as they were during adolescence, only there’s no sexual stamina or ten-week summer holiday by way of compensation. The best cure for iffy skin, in my experience, is ten days flopping about in the ocean and reading in the sun. Failing that, the Clarifying Cleanser by Murad (£19.50 for 200ml, lasts for months) is a good alternative. It can sting a little: this is the salicylic acid, a wonder-ingredient that actually works. In fact, from what I can gather, Murad’s products, which have a utilitarian vibe, are pretty impressive across the board.
So, that’s spots done. What next? Well, I’ll tell you what it won’t be: not long ago I was offered a complimentary penis enlargement. It was then that I felt the first twinge of disquiet about this column. Complimentary or not, it’s an offer I’ve declined. Sarah Vine may have me in her Mephistophelean clutches, but some things are sacred. So today I’m drawing a line in the sand.