Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Heart Breakers

Shebugs are rapidly shoving their silver foxes (fur coats and milked men...) into the recesses of their cupboard now that spring is teasing its way onto the scene. The time to bare, bewitch, and bag-a-billionaire is about to begin for this greedy lot.

Booking a standard mani-pedi these days you might as well bring a copy of War and Peace and take a number. Beauty salons are booked to the gills. Though still chilly, flip flops are already de rigueur on the Kings Road. 

Not all prowling Shebugs have the budget to book themselves in to get a seasonal MOT (annual British check up for cars), nor shop at Chanel for so much as a new nail varnish. But somehow, they manage to look the part and pull off their duplicitous plots with pluck.

The film ‘Heartbreakers’ shows just what goes on behind closed doors in the land of Shebugs. It’s like pulling back the curtain and hearing their every thought, watching their every move and witnessing their every triumph.

The story line revolves around a mother/daughter Shebug act featuring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Their key targets are Gene Hackman and Ray Liotta. The Shebugs have their act down to purrfection. Every penny made goes straight back into the business. They might be in the penthouse suite of a five star hotel, but they never leave home without the sewing machine. They spruce up their wardrobe, don different wigs, become foreign femmes fatales at the snap of a finger.

Mother and daughter think on their feet before going horizontal with their rich prey. Their timing is military in precision and their gift of improvisation is Oscar-worthy when things do not quite go as planned.

They are BAD and have one and only one thing in mind: to con men out of their money. But in spite of their dubious intentions, you cannot help but root for them and hope they hoodwink their tricky millionaires all the way to the bank.

I give this Shebug movie a 10 out of 10. Do you have one you would like to recommend?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Airbrushed Affair

We all know the story about King Edward VIII abdicating the throne for the Shebug he loved. His marriage to the American divorcée rocked not only the royal household--but the entire kingdom.

What has just come to light is a jaw-dropper: Wallis, it appears, was not the only Shebug to wreak havoc for the royals.

This newly unearthed Shebug went by the name of Maggie Meller; her real name was Marguerite Alibert. She took on the sir name Meller from a client she had hoped to poach. Undeterred, she later snagged the affluent Charles Laurent and bore him a daughter. But six months into the marriage, Maggie divorced him and collected a lucrative settlement. 

The fateful meeting between prostitute and prince occurred whilst Edward was off losing his innocence in Paris. The city’s musky scent of permissiveness drew many to the already alluring capital. Demimondaines reigned as the It Girls of their époque. They were brash, gusty, unapologetic, and financially, very savvy.

This blackmailing cocotte dug her well-oiled pincers into the prince’s side so deep that she was be able to get away with murder...

Maggie fired  three bullets into Egyptian Prince Ali Fahmy Bey at London’s Savoy Hotel during a stormy July night in 1923 dressed in a Chanel gown. But this time, the prince happened to be husband number two. 

The courtesan's affair with the Prince of Wales six years earlier had served her well. Fashionistas might have turned a blind eye to the Parisian jailbird in Holloway prison, but not the Establishment. This high-profile trail took place at the Old Bailey. But in spite of the evidence stacked against the Shebug, Princess Fahmy Bey managed to escape the gallows.

Shebugs excel at boldness; Maggie threatened the Esablishment to expose her affair with the future king. A deal was brokered: the public heard all about her husband’s supposed fits of violence and deviant sexual appetite but never once was there any mention of the Prince of Wales -- nor of her promiscuous past.

The entire affair was carefully airbrushed from the history books so as not to link the heir to the throne to his murderous maîtresse. A recently recovered stash of ‘vanished letters’ penned by the Prince of Wales and others in his court has added an even richer patina to this dormant Shebug who decided to erupt, and make everyone living in Buckingham Palace dance to her tune when the price was right. 

Princess Fahmy Bey moved back to the City of Lights once acquitted.  She passed away in 1971 in her  home located in the prestigious Place Vendôme -- a splendid abode she acquired courtesy of five different settlements from different lovers. And by then, she was eighty years old.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Iron Butterfly

Do not confuse the Iron Lady with the Iron Butterfly. 

The former, Margaret Thatcher, was renown for her handbags, the latter, for her shoes. Both were heads of state and ruled decisively. One became the Prime Minister whilst at the helm of the British Conservative Party; the other, the wife of Philippine president, Ferdinand, during his pseudo aristocratic regime of ‘kleptocracy’.  

The ‘Shoebug’s name? Imelda Marcos, ex-Governor of Manila, leader of the majority party of the National Assembly and Minister of Culture.

Daughter of a grocer, Baroness Thatcher rose up the all male ranks of power, preferring to shop for her frocks at Marks & Spencers. Imelda, in contrast, was recorded to have logged a $3.3 million one-day shopping trip to America with her husband sometime during their years in power between 1965-86. Imelda did, however, stack up on Marks & Spencers’ girdles at every chance she could. And rightly so:  she was as much the Muse of Manila as she was an Iron Butterfly.

When she finally had to step down and hand over control to the Aquino government, 4,000 pairs of shoes were found in the Malacanang Palace.  But the Iron Butterfly responded that this audit was ridiculous: she claims she only had about 1,200 pairs. 

The Shoebug’s decorative style classified as a unique mix of 'kitsch & class'. A lousy Michelangelo fake was flanked by a genuine Gauging and a genuine Pissarro during her disco/Gothic phase. 

The former beauty queen, born in 1926, also had a penchant for all things Hollywood, like the use of over-sized furniture. The dominating colour scheme in the palace ranged from pale knickers-pink to hot pink, burgundy to rash-red, punctuated with enough gilt frames and gilt mirrors to make your eyes water.

When Ferdinand died, he, too became a prop of sorts. But whether the refrigerated remains of her  husband are real or simply a fiberglass replica does not concern the female population. Just take us on a tour of her shoe collection! 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Ultimate Inner Carrot

We may be in the middle of April, but summer is still scheduled to arrived upon the shores of the Northern Hemisphere. Seeing the temperatures in the UK this winter have rivaled those of Siberia,  is it any wonder most of us have been hibernating-- and increasing our padding since Christmas?

For many, our muffin tops have become even more voluptuous since Easter break. Being a chocoholic, I confess I have not stopped tucking into dark, rich organic chocolate with sea salt since Easter Sunday. 

Complacency is insidious and can be as hard to shake as a Shebug. If you don’t believe me, ask your favourite pair of jeans...

So what’s the cure? 

A Shebug, funny enough: bring one to mind, whether known to you or an (in)famous one. Her over-confident stare alone will fire up your engines into action again: if you feel piqued, you will react. The trick is to keep the momentum alive.

Two days ago, I found myself whinging about the tightness of my jeans with a friend over a macchiato and a muffin. Because we're still wearing boots and coats, we’ve become lazy--which is exactly what every Shebug in your radius hopes for. So whilst you wine about those extra inches with the girls as you sip your second latte and share a pastry, you are cutting all communication with your most tough-but -trusted ally: discipline.

Chose a picture of your most dreaded Shebug and post it where you can view to it often. Put a famous one up as your screen saver, like Angelina Jolie (pre-humanitarian, she poached Brad from wife, Jennifer...) Use that pesky Shebug as your inner carrot to be the very best that you can be.

I snapped out of my stupor only yesterday when I saw a striking Shebug I am acquainted with on Facebook. Thanks to her first 'sugar daddy', she now spends most of her time globe trotting on a diet of champagne and caviar. But has she let herself become complacent? 

Never. She might be spoiled, but she’s pure Shebug!

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Rise of Hebugs

(Apologies for not posting on Wednesday, but try having seven culinary queens over for dinner mid week. Stealth-like, the Magnificent Seven effortlessly whip up mouth-watering delicacies almost impossible for a writer to compete with. I am sure you will understand why I had to focus entirely on getting my act together for the last couple of days.)

Much light of late has been shed upon unscrupulous Hebug activity. Like I explain in my first book, Shebug: Dissecting the Gold Digger, it has become a rapidly growing breed. So far this year, two people have given me in-depth stories about their encounters with Hebugs. One is a Parisian friend I have known since my early 20s; the other, a very glamorous English rose interested in hiring me as a ghostwriter. 

Mireille is a self-made successful entrepreneur now based in Las Vegas. Generous to a fault, she almost lost everything when she became entangled with a dapper fifty something on the World Wide Web via a reputable dating site. Before the two were to meet face to face on Valentine’s Day, I caught up with her in London. She showed me his amorous emails and text messages he flooded her with, one more florid then the next and straight out of the pages of vintage Mills & Boon. In one of the only two photographs he  sent her, he stood alongside a shiny Rolls Royce. In the other grainier one, he had his arm around his diminutive-but-happy mother. 

Whilst Mireille fantasized about their rendezvous, I could not shut off the alarm bells going off inside my head.

Jane, on the other hand, married a count when she just twenty years old and re-located to his native Italy shortly thereafter where upon the honeymoon juddered to a halt. Not only did he refuse to discuss business with her, he quickly frittered away her funds.
Armed only with determination and lashings of courage, Jane sought justice from her husband’s boss himself: the godfather. No joking.

But the deal he offered, though frightfully appetizing, was not what Jane had hoped for. The Don argued that with her beauty and brains, she was more than adequately equipped in life, so he would not recuperate her funds from his posh lackey. What he did offer her, however, was a much more ‘permanent’ solution to her problem.

Being British, Jane kept calm and carried on. Rather admirable, really.