Already the world’s tallest people and widely agreed to be among the most beautiful, the people of The Netherlands clearly are not willing to leave anything to chance, spending a staggering €2.1bn on beauty services last year.
Throughout the country, the boom in the number of independent hairdressers, barbers and beauticians – from 35,000 to 44,000 in just four years – shows no sign of slowing, with a particular surge in the new category of hipster beard maintenance which includes advice on expensive moisturizing beard oils (in my father’s day, his beard moisturizer was whatever he happened to have for lunch that day).
Analysts are divided on whether this boom represents the beautiful people of Holland capitalizing on what they already have, or a desperate attempt by the not-so-beautiful to catch up. Others warn that this may be a sign of the pressure that Dutch people are under to appear to be successful in every way. It is worth noting that, when America went down a similar path, the religion of beauty generated a nasty side in the form of rocketing levels of bulimia, depression and low self-esteem.
As a naturally beautiful man myself – I don’t even need to wash – I feel tremendous sympathy for those who are less visually privileged. I urge all of you to confront this issue head-on and, next time you see an ugly person, give them a supportive hug and explain why.