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Are we all a bunch of vanity cases?

Byline: Bob Cuffe

YOU'RE so vain. I bet you think this column is about you. Don't you? Don't you?

I was horrified to hear the results of a recent survey on vanity. It said Newcastle was the third most vain city for women and fourth for men.

Vanity was defined as the number of occasions a person checks their reflection. I think the blokes check to see if there's any sausage roll crumbs on their face.

The vainest city for women is Liverpool. Which surprises me, as it's a city full of slappers. I'd imagine there are a lot of depressed women in Liverpool.

The daft accent, the daft lads and a cruel inbred habit of checking themselves in the mirror. No wonder they drink so much.

Liverpool lads are much less vain than the women. Which probably explains their dress sense. The tracksuit and trainer combo - always a winner in the North-West. The Liverpool lads couldn't give a monkey's what they look like, which bodes well for the United Kingdom as the international spotlight falls on the European Capital of Culture this year.

I've heard that Liverpool is planning an exciting series of international openair bingo, greyhound races and flea markets. Newcastle's ladies look at themselves an average of 49 times a day.

The Bigg Market crew surely can't look at themselves. If they did, they wouldn't go out. So, some women in the city must look at themselves hundreds of times. I reckon that's the Quayside crew. And the Jesmond brigade. The Whitley Bay crew simply check once to make sure their thongs are showing.

The Geordie Boy checks himself 49 times a day. You should be ashamed of yourselves. How many times do you need to make sure your fag is at a jaunty angle and your football shirt is straight? I blame hair. It's overrated. Those that have it, are constantly checking it. Every time a Hairy Person passes a mirror, they have to check. Even smelly students will check their hair.

Goodness knows what the average would be, but for us slap heads. We look in the mirror when we brush our teeth.

End of. But we still check ourselves regularly. But that's another story.

Surprisingly, Middlesbrough didn't get a mention. Perhaps it's because we're not technically a city. But Sunderland is and it didn't get a mention either. This could be either because Sunderland wasn't surveyed or because it's folk are pug ugly.

Is it a) the city wasn't surveyed or b) the pug ugly thing? Perhaps we should have a vote. Wonder what the vote from the Tyneside jury would be? For what it's worth, and I have travelled extensively throughout the North-East and so speak with considerable authority, I go Pug Ugly. Definitely. Big time. Put a cross in that b) box for me. I know you lot are mean, so I'll not ask your view on Middlesbrough. Perhaps we should ask our good friends at Channel 4 to do a scientific documentary on the subject. It could be called Gargoyle, Gargoyle, Gargoyle. Looking for Britain's ugliest place. Perhaps the Boro could pull off the double, to the delight of the Ox Headed Tubby Princess.

I think we should look at our football clubs' football supremos as a clue.

Sunderland has Niall Quinn. Who I think would be filed under the Bit Of A Looker heading. Tall, dark haired, and the Irish brogue. It's all there. Good start for Sunderland here. Middlesbrough has Steve Gibson. More than a hint of 007 about Mr Gibson. The name's Gibson.

Steve Gibson. Middlesbrough's looking gallant and stylish to me. And Newcastle have Mike Ashley. Need I say more?

Hopefully a photo alongside this column will help any wavering voters decide.

If the Gargoyle Award was to go outside the region, I reckon Dundee would be in there challenging. And Grimsby. Scunthorpe sounds ugly, as does Cleethorpes.

I've done a bit of research. First time I've ever typed that and meant it. I asked a group of local lads down here about vanity. As you can tell from the photograph of myself, which is many years old, I'm not a fan of grooming. I don't do grooming. Deodorant.

Aftershave. Bob's your sweet smelling uncle. But that's it. I have never been bought, and wouldn't ever use, any additional male grooming product.

In our 25-year conflict, Cement Woman has never bought me any such thing as a gift. In the early days, I reckon she didn't think I needed them. In more recent times she couldn't give a monkey's what I look like.

I asked the crowd who, if any of them, used male grooming stuff. All of them did.

They're all oiling up, skin lotioning, balming and Niveaing. Which surprised me, as they're pretty much a set of Orcs.

I feel as though they're letting down generations of Teessiders. Men of steel untouched by Oil of Ulay. Real men. So, what's the vainest and ugliest part of the North-East?


YOU DECIDE: Sunderland's Niall Quinn, Newcastle's Mike Ashley and Middlesbrough's Steve Gibson.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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