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What's with the makeover mania

As Liz Hurley seems to be the clear reason behind Shane Warne's new avatar, Seema Goswami wonders is it ever a good idea to try and change the man you love into the man of your dreams?

india Updated: Sep 10, 2011 19:18 IST
Seema Goswami

So, now for our question of this week: What exactly is up with Shane Warne? The laddish leg-spinner from Australia is doing such a good impersonation of a newly-minted metrosexual that it is hard to believe that this is the same guy who peroxide-tinted the ends of his hair and – judging by appearances – lived entirely on pork pies and beer.

The new, improved (well, okay, the jury is still out on that one) Warne is missing one beer gut, innumerable wrinkles on his forehead, laugh lines and dodgy hair cut. He now cuts an impeccably slim figure with a suspiciously smooth forehead, a sculpted chin and perfectly highlighted hair. Gone are the grungy track pants and baggy jeans and T-shirts that he lived in. This avatar of Warne wears designer togs to show off his new slim-line waist and toned butt.

Shane LjzSo what lies behind Shane’s new look? Plastic surgery? Face lift? Mid-life crisis? Perish the thought. Apparently the makeover is down to the new woman in his life: Liz Hurley. According to Liz, Shane’s new wrinkle-free look is entirely down to his using Estee Lauder skin care products – yes, the same brand that, by some remarkable coincidence, pays Hurley an obscene amount of money to flog their creams and lotions.

These must be magic potions of some potency because Shane Warne has been completely transformed after using them. Now, the man who used to drive his first wife, Simone, nuts with his unreconstructed male behaviour – sexting every second woman he met, for starters – is reduced to tweeting to Hurley’s parrot (yes, the bird has its own Twitter handle) to demonstrate his devotion to his lady love.

By now you’re probably muttering to yourself: what on earth is our Warnie thinking? The erstwhile Rajasthan Royals captain appears to have been reduced to nothing more than a pale – though very smooth-skinned – shadow of his former self. So, why is he allowing his girlfriend to change him into something he is palpably not?

Well, I guess you could put it down to the throes of new love. Rare is the man who can resist the blandishments of his woman in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. And if she comes bearing Resilience Lift face and eye cream, well then, what better way to show your love than to slap it on with a trowel?

But my question is this: why is Liz Hurley falling into the oldest trap in the world? Why is she trying to change the man she fell in love with? Why is she intent on turning him into something that he is clearly not? And why on earth is she bent on recasting him in her own image, complete with dewy complexion, skin-tight jeans and blow-dried hair?

More to the point: how long does she think she can keep this up? And how far down the line will Shane protest at being treated like a work in progress rather than a red-blooded male with a mind and personality of his own?

And at the end of the day, when they are done with their His and Hers facials and spa treatments, when they have scoffed down their green salads (dressing on the side) with sparkling water, will Liz still fancy the man she fell in love with – even though she is hard put to recognise him as the same person? And will he still see her as an object of desire rather than a mistress of makeover?

But why blame Liz Hurley alone? She is merely following the pattern laid down by countless others. I’ve lost count of the number of women who get into relationships with clearly unsuitable men with the rallying cry of: “No problem, I can always change him.”

Well, maybe you can in the short run. You can prevail on him to throw out all those grungy clothes. You can buy him an entire new wardrobe. You can tear him away from all his unsuitable friends. You can cut out red meat and beer from his diet. You can introduce him to the delights of a juicer. You can get him a trendy new haircut to go with the spanking new wardrobe. You can even get him to remember birthdays and anniversary – and get you flowers and chocolate.

Yes, you can train him to do the usual dog-and-pony tricks. But only up to a point. Sooner or later the worm will turn. He will begin to resent your overweening influence in every sphere of his life. He will begin to feel claustrophobic in the tightly-controlled world you have created for him. He will sneak out to meet his friends for a night out – and load up on all the forbidden food groups. He will announce his independence by letting his hair grow past his shoulders – and refusing to wash it even if you beg.

And sometimes even when he doesn’t chafe under the burden of your expectations, even when he continues to obey your every command, it still won’t work – because you have changed him so much that he is no longer the man you fell in love with.

Will Shane Warne and Liz Hurley go the same way? Well, let’s give it time. But all those ladies out there hoping to transform the men you love into the men of your dreams: consider yourself warned. You can never really change someone – no, not in the long run.

Follow Seema on Twitter at twitter.com/seemagoswami

From HT Brunch, September 11

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