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Vanity - are men more vain than women?
Men 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Men - because they need to compete 40%  40%  [ 2 ]
Women 20%  20%  [ 1 ]
Women - because they need to look good 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
It's about the same 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
It's got nothing to with gender, it's a personality trait 40%  40%  [ 2 ]
Don't care 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Never thought about it 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 5
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:42 am 
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Italian women pay the ultimate price for jilting their lovers

Eight women in Italy who have broken off relationships have been killed in the past eight weeks

by John Hooper
Friday 16 July 2010

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Maria Montanaro who was shot dead by Gaetano De Carlo after she rejected him. Photograph: Ansa

Neighbours said they heard three shots. When they got to her, Maria Montanaro was dying. But she was able to say three words: "It was Gaetano". For months she had been threatened by her 55-year-old former lover, Gaetano De Carlo. But on the day before he arrived on her doorstep, things suddenly became more frightening. The 36 year-old graphic artist from Riva di Chieri near Turin received a text message: "I'm coming there and I'll kill you."

After fulfilling his pledge, De Carlo drove 115 miles to Rivolta d'Adda near Milan. There, he shot dead another former girlfriend, 42 year-old Sonia Balconi, who had since married and had a child. De Carlo's killing spree ended the same day, 30 June, when he killed himself. But the murders formed part of a series that was anything but over.

In the eight weeks to last Sunday, eight Italian women died in strikingly similar circumstances that indicate a change in the usual motivation for "crimes of passion". Their deaths have prompted anguished discussion about the interaction between the sexes in today's Italy. All the women were killed by men who were unable to accept rejection.

"There is no infidelity at the root of these crimes," said Fabio Piacenti, the president of Eures, a social research institute. "On the contrary, infidelity is even tolerated so long as the relationship continues. What some men find intolerable is the breaking up."

The feminist writer, Dacia Maraini, said the killers seemed to have confused "affection with a sense of ownership". "Possession is a form of assertion of the ego that excludes the other person," she said. "Possession demands domination and control. It forms part of an antiquated, arrogant and androcentric culture." Androcentrism is the placing of the masculine point of view at the centre of one's view of the world.

The first of the killings was on 11 May. As Cristina Rolle and her estranged husband sat with a social worker, calmly discussing the custody of their children, he took out a knife and stabbed her to death. The latest victim was Eleonora Noventa, aged 16, from Mestre near Venice. A few weeks earlier she had broken off with Fabio Riccato, 30. On 11 July, she found him waiting for her at a crossroads, sitting on his scooter. He pulled out a Magnum 357 gun, shot her three times and then turned it on himself.

Some of the victims had been involved with their killers for years. Others had just met them. After Chiara Brandonisio was hauled from her bicycle and beaten to death in Bari, police said they were looking for a man with whom she had had an entirely virtual relationship consisting of online video-chats.

Not the least of the questioning prompted by the killings has concerned the effectiveness of a new law on stalking. Last February, the government introduced legislation imposing penalties of up to four years in jail. But the indifference of police and courts to what is still often viewed as a private matter has yet to be eroded. Sonia Balconi's husband had reported her killer seven times.

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:26 am 
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UK men fret about hair, weight, looks but do little
By Paul Casciato
August 4, 2010

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Gerard Butler

LONDON (Reuters) — It's supposed to be a mark of distinction, but going grey is now the top concern for British men, according to new research.

Hair color is the number one appearance concern for men today, with more than half of British men worrying about graying hair, and 45 marks the age when panic really sets in, according to a poll from market research firm Mintel.

"Although grey hair is traditionally seen as a mark of distinction in men, the reality is many men are unhappy with their newfound gravitas," Mintel Head of Beauty Research Vivienne Rudd said in a statement. "The physical changes associated with aging can act as a catalyst to mid-life crisis and our research has discovered that men become less content with their appearance after the age of 45."

Hair loss or thinning, is the second most common concern, worrying 40 percent of the respondents to the Mintel survey of 2,000 British men. Unwanted hair (in the nose and ears) preoccupied 38 percent of respondents, being overweight bothered 37 percent and 30 percent were worried about yellowing teeth.

Mintel said that men appeared to be more accepting than women when it came to their appearance, but found that at 45 years of age, men become increasingly less happy with their looks. More than a quarter of men aged 45-54 dislike four aspects of their appearance compared to an average of just over one in 10 men overall.

As with all men, hair is the biggest concern for those aged over 45, with more than half of men aged 45-54 worrying about hair loss. Graying hair worried 75 percent of men in this age group. However, fading or thinning hair wasn't the only concern. As many as half of this age group also worry about unsightly nose or ear hair.

Rudd said that delayed retirement and working later into life than their parents did as the British population ages will bring older men into competition with younger colleagues. "As a result, older people may feel the need to try to maintain appearance and therefore bring a future boost to the male grooming market," she said.

Despite the high level of concern many men display about their appearance, as many as 45 percent of all men remain unengaged with toiletries and this rises to over half of those aged between 45 and 54. Just over a third of men use as few personal care products as possible, while 31 percent have little interest in beauty and personal care products.

"Older men are significantly more likely than younger men to disregard a number of beauty and personal care products as being completely unnecessary and are also less content with the product results," Rudd said. "And the cynicism of older men extends not only to the claims that beauty products make, but also to a reluctance to try beauty services."

(Editing by Patricia Reaney)
Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Middle East boom in male plastic surgery
3 September 2010

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In the last few years, there has been a staggering rise in men in the Middle East turning to plastic surgery and, although the figures are certainly higher for women, their partners are becoming increasingly involved in the process.

In order to have "sculpted" bodies, they undergo operations from mammary reduction - which doctors in Dubai say are on the up - to liposuction, rhinoplasty, hair transplants and botulin.

"The number of men turning to plastic surgery has risen enormously," says Sanjay Parashar, from the Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation. "Five years ago, I would see one male patient a week, around 15% of my clients. Now there are days when I have only male patients". Care of appearance has become a significant issue for a growing number of men, partly as a result of the spread of internet and satellite television, complete with reality shows packed with footage of men untroubled by the passing of time and immune to physical defects. Looking younger or getting rid of a paunch seems to be the motivation that leads male clients to go under the knife in specialised clinics, which themselves have risen exponentially.

Jaffer Khan, a reconstructive surgeon at the Medical International Specialist Centre in Jumeirah, says that despite the difficulty in establishing firm figures due to the lack of a recognised order, there are currently around 25-30 specialists, compared to "the handful that operated in Dubai ten years ago". There are no statistics available, but insiders say that the male market is made up of 50-60% of Western expats and 40-50% of local and regional clients, with the latter rising slightly.

Dubai is not the only place experiencing such a trend. In Bahrain, too, there has been debate for some time between those who consider it acceptable to go under the knife only in case of physical damage or accidents and those who believe that personal satisfaction can also come from the doctor's table, without traditional virility taking a blow.

The trend has been welcomed by operators who have drawn up innovative new ways of attracting patients old and new, breathing new life into the region's economy. In the light of this, July 2009 saw the creation of the Dubai Image Concept, the first agency specialising in "aesthetic tourism" in Lebanon: an all-inclusive package featuring an operation, post-op stay in luxury centres and even summer camps for the children of patients.

The scheme earned the plaudits of Nada Sardouk, the general director of Lebanon's Tourism Ministry. "Aesthetic tourism is an idea that is widely recognised and appreciated and we sincerely hope that this initiative will contribute to our economy," he said. Lebanon is indeed the favourite destination for surgery aficionados, thanks to the excellent value for money, with state-of-the-art facilities and specialist doctors charging rates significantly below average.

Source: ANSAmed.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:21 pm 
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Lebanon's men like cosmetic surgery too but like to keep it secret
By Anne-Beatrice Clasmann
21 October 2010

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Beirut (dpa) — The nose of a Greek statue; a stomach flat as it was in one's youth.

In Lebanon plastic surgery is the answer to the beauty needs of not only women, but men as well. The difference is, men don't like to admit they have gone under the knife to have their faults corrected.

When two women haven't seen each other in a while, they usually ask each other a very basic question: "How are you?" In the Mediterranean city of Beirut where young and old worship beauty, ladies who haven't seen each other in a while often greet each other with a slightly different twist on that question. "Did you have your nose done?" they might ask, or "My, but you look like you have lost weight."

In a country that prizes physical appearance as much as the people of Brazil's high society, men increasingly are taking advantage of plastic surgery to maintain an ideal look. While women talk about their surgeries openly, men try to keep them secret.

"Don't dare ask me what I want here," said an elegant 40-something with a long hairstyle approaching Dr Elias Chamas' clinic in the hills above Beirut. With his chauffeur scuttling hastily after him, the man took a seat in a waiting room full of female patients. Eventually, he disappeared into an examination room. "In 10 patients who come to us, there is now an average of three men," said Chamas, the surgeon who owns the clinic. The 62-year-old who specializes in noses can understand why men want to do more for their looks. "Having cosmetic surgery has a lot to do with psychology," he said. "When a person is not satisfied with themselves, he or she simply has the need to change something."

He has never had plastic surgery himself. "Why should I do that? I looked at myself two hours ago in the mirror while I was shaving and found that I still look good," he said. But like many Lebanese men, he regularly has his hair trimmed and gets a manicure. Most men who go to a plastic surgeon in Lebanon want a middle European or Greek nose, rather than an Arabian proboscis. Many also have a little liposuction to remove tummy flab while they are in the clinic. The number of men who have face lifts to rid themselves of wrinkles on their faces is lower.

"Women often come to me with photos of models or famous singers and say they want to look like them," said Chamas. "I tell them not to come to me, but to pray to St Theresa." Male customers are far more realistic. "No man has ever turned up here and declared that he wants to have George Clooney's hair."

Occasionally, Lebanese married couples go into the clinic together to have cosmetic surgery with the goal of a fuller bosom for her and an elegant nose for him. Most of the customers who go to the clinics in and around Beirut are Lebanese, but Arabs from the Gulf states and foreigners with Lebanese roots who have settled in the US or Europe also schedule surgeries, partly because it's cheaper there than in their home countries.

Official estimates place the number of cosmetic surgeries carried out annually in the country at 1.5 million. That's an impressive number considering the country's population is only about 4 million. Among male patients, television presenters, actors and businessmen have their appearance surgically enhanced most frequently.

However, young men who want to get married also consider having their nose straightened before hiring a photographer to record their wedding.

Source: Earth Times / dpa.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:51 pm 
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Why do men donate sperm?

It takes just minutes, but the emotional consequences of donating sperm can last for years. So what makes men do it?

By Alice-Azania Jarvis
Tuesday, 26 October 2010

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Suddenly, the prospect was raised of biological sons or daughters rocking up on donors' doorsteps. It's a scenario soon to be played out on the big screen in the comedy The Kids Are Alright
AP

Sperm is a hot commodity in 21st-century Britain. Women will travel miles to find it and pay thousands to access it. Obtaining a donation from the European Sperm Bank — which is to say pursuing the standard, NHS-endorsed option of licensed donation — can cost upwards of £2,500. That's before diagnostic testing, treatment costs, and "pregnancy slot" bookings are taken into account. That's £2,500 for three, thumb-sized vials of frozen semen — and it might not be enough.

Treatment could be unsuccessful, at least the first time around. It might be a one-off, or it might a recurring problem. It might not even be possible to buy a donation. Demand for those frozen vials dwarfs availability, and the result is a system in which eligibility is strictly regulated.

Mark Jackson first learned of the sperm shortage six years ago. Sitting at his computer, reading news of the Boxing Day tsunami, he was made aware of his own mortality. "I realised that you could be wiped off the earth without having left any impact," he reflects. "My eye was caught by a ticker running across the screen. It said that there was a shortage of gamete donations. I didn"t even know what that was, but I clicked on the link. I realised that maybe I could make a difference after all."

Since then, his sperm has been used to "help" two families and Jackson has become a trustee of the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT). He is one of almost 500 registered donors in the UK, sharing his sperm via the 138 licensed clinics around the country. In 2005, when British law changed to allow donors" offspring to learn, on turning 18, the identity of their father, that number was widely predicted to drop off. Suddenly, the prospect was raised of biological sons or daughters rocking up on donors" doorsteps. It"s a scenario soon to be played out on the big screen, thanks to US comedy The Kids Are All Right, and it would be enough — sceptics reasoned — to turn many men off their trips to the fertility clinic.

In fact, the opposite has happened: thanks to several high-profile recruitment drives, numbers have increased: from 224 newly registered donors in 2004 to 396 in 2008. In theory, at least, this should be enough to satisfy demand, since each donor can "enable" up to 10 families. But it hasn"t done so.

The mismatch is so great that last week Laura Witjens, NGDT chairwoman, called for donors to be paid. At present, they are awarded a maximum of £250 in expenses and lost wages. Spending by individual clinics on awareness raising, recruitment drives, and medical testing add to the cost of making sperm available for donation. All things considered, clinics, according to Infertility Network UK, fork out somewhere in the region of £5,000 per donor.

If, says Witjens, they were to add payment into the mix, clinics would be in a position to attract more donors, thus satisfying demand. Yet it"s not obvious that a lack of donors is the problem, nor that financial incentives would provide a solution. Earlier this year the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) discovered that the average donor was enabling just 1.5 families, far fewer than then legal limit of 10. Given that some 80 per cent of donors agree to the maximum amount, something is clearly amiss.

The answer lies with the clinics. Clinics recruit donors individually, and work through the process of donation — from preliminary tests to repayment of expenses — separately. Frequently, unused sperm isn"t shared with other clinics, and much of it goes to waste. "It"s something we are trying to address," confirms a spokesman for the HFEA. "At the end of the day, we can"t force clinics to share their sperm." Until the system is sorted out, the only option is to recruit more donors. Or, if you are a woman in search of sperm, to head, as it were, off-piste, and wade into the murky world of unlicensed private donation.

Ed Houben of the Netherlands has been donating sperm since 1999, and doing so privately since 2002. He is Europe"s most prolific sperm donor. Head to his website and you are directed towards an upbeat missive in which he explains his willingness to offer "a good sperm cell" to needy couples around the world. He has fathered some 70 children, several in his home country, and others as far flung as Australia, Canada and Israel. At present, he has another eight on the way.

Like Jackson, he was initially drawn to donation by the desire to make a difference, to leave his mark on the world. "I didn"t want to look back and not to have accomplished anything," he says. "So I went to a clinic near my home and gave sperm." His move towards private donation was motivated, in part, by the restrictive policies incumbent in many a hospital. "Because of the donor shortage, clinics were less likely to help homosexual couples or single women. I was raised by a single mother and I"ve seen a lot of unhappy heterosexual couples. Maybe two mothers is better."

Houben is the friendly face of private donation. Kindly and businesslike, he takes his role seriously, hosting annual get-togethers for his offspring. Women come to him secure in the knowledge that theirs will be a safe, reliable experience; of the dozens who have approached him, only a few have been turned down. "The most important thing to me is that the child has the best possible chance of a normal, happy life." Of course, he isn"t alone in his integrity: many donors recruited privately are equally altruistic, going on to help couples in the most desperate of situations.

However, this so-called "grey market" of private donation can be a tricky place, because it is unwieldy and unregulated. Websites offering to introduce sperm and egg abound in listings classified as for the family-minded. While most — such as feelingbroody.com and co-parentmatch.com — recommend that women insist on medical checks before accepting a donation, there is, ultimately, a limit to what they can do. "I have met people who donated without any checks," Houben reflects with a sigh. "That"s playing Russian roulette."

It"s not simply a matter of health. As the HFEA warns, without a clinic to mediate, "the details of parenthood can become problematic". Indeed, private donors have no guarantee of their protection from parental duties. Three years ago, in the first case of its kind, Britain"s Child Support Agency forced a 37-year-old fireman who had provided sperm to a lesbian couple to contribute to the child"s maintenance. In that instance, the pregnancy was a result of artificial insemination. Natural insemination, when the mother conceives through sexual intercourse with the donor, only further muddies the waters.

Natural insemination, or NI, is more common than might be expected. "I would never have mentioned it," says Houben. "But then people began asking. I was amazed at first, but there are people who find artificial insemination lacking in intimacy. For many, NI is the closest they get to being normal."

Back in London, donors for licensed, artificial insemination are in high demand. "We advertise in the London papers," explains Neeta Bala, donor bank coordinator at the London Fertility Centre. "We"re hoping to go into men"s magazines soon too, and we"ve done other papers and in college guides." Their hit rate is around two donors per month — more than the average clinic, but far fewer than they would like. "It"s less than we need. We have peaks and troughs."

Oddly, for such a prominent issue, the act of donation is rather opaque. What, one wonders, goes on within the hushed confines of the donation room?

For those in need of illumination — and it"s not simply a case of five minutes with some cut-price pornography — the process goes something like this. On calling the clinic, potential donors are talked through their decision by an embryologist. Then, if everyone is happy to proceed, a "semen assessment appointment", is made. The donor"s sperm is sampled, frozen and cultivated to assess its longevity. Their blood, meanwhile, is tested for disease and genetic disorder. If both results come through clear, the man in question will be asked to return for between six and eight visits, producing samples every time.

Throughout the process, alcohol and sex will be strictly regulated and, afterwards, donors are asked to attend a counselling session. Six months after the final appointment, a second blood test is taken. Finally, the sperm is banked. The whole thing takes around eight months.

Happily, part of the enigma surrounding donation may be about to evaporate, thanks in part to a new book by Greg Wolfe. How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup: A Guy"s Guide to the World of Infertility explains in detail the comings and goings of gamete giving. From donation-room etiquette (chapter title: "Sperm-a-lot") to the inevitable awkwardness of the clinic waiting room, it offers a wry, occasionally laugh-out-loud, briefing.

"Donation has become normal to me now," says Jackson. "It"s part of my life." As things stand, he knows nothing of the people his sperm has created. If they choose to look him up one day, he says, he"ll be happy to meet them: "I don"t have strong feelings. It would be up to them."

For the time being, he has three children at home to take care of: a toddler, a five-month-old baby, and his girlfriend"s son from a previous marriage. Houben, meanwhile, continues to see those of his offspring who want to maintain contact. As for the future of his sperm, he remains uncertain. "Who knows how long I"ll continue? But whatever happens, I know I can look back on many happy families that I"ve helped create."

Source: The Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:11 pm 
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Poor Egyptians seek better life with plastic surgery
By Sarah Mikhail
November 24, 2010

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Dr. Alaa Gheita performs plastic surgery on a patient in Cairo, November 9, 2010.
REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters Life!) — Working-class Egyptians are getting botox, breast implants and tummy tucks in the hopes that the cosmetic surgery once reserved for a wealthy elite will boost their own marriage and job prospects.

Illiterate housewives fearing abandonment, soldiers mocked for flabby chests and overweight women struggling to find a husband sometimes pay with their own blood, rely on charity, borrow money from family and friends or turn to unlicensed cut-price private clinics for a procedure.

The extra business from the poor is boosting the experience of Egyptian cosmetic surgeons and lowering the cost of operations, helping Egypt compete with rivals such as Lebanon and Tunisia in the growing market for medical tourism. Egypt's top cosmetic surgeons say good surgery that improves self-esteem among the wealthy can mean much more to the poor. But they also warn patients to beware of the growing number of cheap clinics which make false promises and botch operations.

"The poor, particularly those who go to university hospitals, help in increasing the experience of new-generation surgeons because they get trained, so the poor are definitely part of the plan," said Rafaat Gohar, former president of the Egyptian Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ESPRS).

Though expensive by local standards, plastic surgery costs a quarter of the price in the United States or Europe, Egyptian doctors say. Botox to treat wrinkles costs 1,600 Egyptian pounds ($278) compared to nearly $900 elsewhere. Gohar said tummy tucks cost 20,000 pounds, a third lower than in Gulf Arab states. Poorer locals who forego a private recovery room and opt for a ward housing several patients, pay even less for treatment.

"Egypt compared to the (United) States and Europe is a quarter of the price and with the same capabilities, if not better," Gohar said. "We are the hub of the Middle East in plastic surgery. We are even better than Lebanon in terms of number and quality of doctors... It's (Lebanon's) marketing and patient privacy that makes foreigners go there."

With image so vital to the industry's success, top Egyptian surgeons are worried about the cheap, unlicensed clinics that have sprung up in the country to cater for less wealthy clients. Patients have suffered burns from chemical peels, nerve damage in facelifts and crooked noses from failed nose jobs, said a surgeon who corrected problems incurred from private work gone wrong and asked not to be named.

Another doctor, Mohamed Zaky, said he fixed badly done operations on various parts of the body on a daily basis. "I pity the poor patient because he goes for plastic or reconstructive surgery for the better, only to come out with results that are not good," Zaky said.

FEARS OF DIVORCE, SPINSTERHOOD

Plastic surgery is a big draw for poorer Egyptian women as men are usually the breadwinners and women often cannot read and are unskilled, making it vital to find and keep a husband.

Marwa, a 22-year-old unemployed woman who weighed around 300 pounds (136 kg), underwent liposuction on her thighs when successive diets failed. She said she needed to find a husband after breaking off a four-year engagement. "I would see billboards of female Arab pop stars who went under the knife and wished I could have the means they have to look beautiful," she said. Doctors at a state hospital removed 12 liters (2.6 Imp gallons) of fat from Marwa's outer thighs. She gave them 350 ml (12.32 fl oz) of her blood and 350 pounds for a post-surgery belt, paid for with her savings and loans from family and friends. A few weeks later, as the pain was receding, Marwa received an offer of marriage and her satisfaction was mixed with fear: "If we get married, will he still love and respect me if he ever found out I had plastic surgery?"

A taxi driver said he had planned to divorce until his wife had a breast reduction. At first he regretted pushing her to have the operation as he was left to mind the kids and house. "I shouted at the doctors to release her before the due date because the house was a total mess and our triplets were left alone all that time," he said, speaking at a university hospital where his wife was having a check-up after surgery. "But last August, her breasts were drooping and had no form. Now they are firm," he said, asking that his name was not published. He said the operation was free apart from a post-surgery bra costing 180 pounds.

NO CHARGE

Some operations are paid for by charitable donations, others carried out by private surgeons for free.

"The rich have their money to support them but the poor only have God to support them... I take enough money from the rich to spare some for the poor," said Alaa Gheita, a plastic surgeon who gives lectures on "Plastic Surgery Rights for the Poor."

Hospitals often perform cosmetic surgery for no charge to ensure trainee staff take part in enough operations to earn international recognition, one teaching professor said on condition of anonymity. Some patients requesting cosmetic surgery are asked to donate blood, part of it used during the operation and the rest added to the hospital's blood bank for other procedures such as emergency operations, said another cosmetic surgery professor who also asked not to be named. He said hospitals often had a shortage of blood.

Abdel Rahman Shahin, a spokesman at the Health Ministry, said patients could be treated by a trainee surgeon for free as long as the operation is supervised by a senior doctor. He said patients could not be obliged to donate blood, adding: "This should be voluntary and no one can force a patient to donate blood in exchange for surgery."

Cheap, unlicensed clinics charge as little as 4,000-6,000 pounds for breast enlargements and 1,000-2,000 pounds for liposuction. Some private clinics make false promises such as curing baldness or fattening skinny legs. Misleading "before and after" photos exploit a widespread lack of medical knowledge and hospital doctors have warned potential clients to think twice.

The government has shut 10 percent of private cosmetic surgery centers for lacking a license, but many have found a way to reopen, according to Health Ministry spokesman Shahin. "They have good lawyers, good connections with retired policemen, simply following the 'Wasta' (connections) culture to get their way," said Gheita.

(Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Paul Casciato)
Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:51 pm 
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Spanish woman fakes kidnapping to test husband: police
27 December 2010

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Spanish police have detained a woman who faked her own kidnapping to test whether her husband would pay ranson, sending him a photograph of herself with bound hands and feet, police said Monday.

The man received the photo on his mobile phone from someone claiming to be one of the kidnappers along with a text message demanding a ransom of 20,000 euros (26,000 dollars) for her release, they said in a statement. The ransom request was repeated in later text messages as well as warnings that the man not go to police, which he ignored.

Police launched a search and spotted her car, which they followed to a shopping mall in the town of Gandia on the Mediterranean coast. "The woman, who was travelling alone and was in perfect health, was the supposed victim of the kidnapping," the police statement said. At first she told police that she had been released that morning but later confessed to faking her abduction "to find out what her husband would be willing to do for her".

In 2008 a Spanish court sentenced a woman to three-year-a-half years in prison after finding her guilty of extortion by faking her children's kidnapping seven times.

Source: Breitbart AFP.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:38 am 
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Bald or not, we spend our lives with one eye on the mirror

Men spending vast amounts on their hair is no surprise. But there's grooming, and there's vanity...

by Tim Lott
Sunday, 9 January 2011

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The news that Gordon Ramsay has spent £30,000 on sorting his rug out — coming only weeks after photos of the regenerated follicles of James Nesbitt — holds up a brightly polished mirror to the perennial shadow that haunts the male psyche, vanity.

There among the rows and stalks of the wilting male thatch, there is more potential for pride and preening than any other part of male physiognomy I can imagine — willy size included. The other news last week that scientists are now not far off a cure for male-pattern baldness will be translated by many men as the promise of endlessly prolonged youth. Indestructible self-esteem may be only a generation — and a course of pills — away.

It is easy to mock these male affectations, but I cannot entirely deny or mock the power of hair. When I was a teenager, I cared more about my hair than I did my parents or my collection of platform shoes. In those days, a shock of something long, sleek and yet naturally groomed (think Neil Young, James Taylor or Gram Parsons), big and bubbly (Robert Plant, Arlo Guthrie) or wild and untamed (Roy Wood, Arthur Brown) seemed like the way to a girl's affections or, failing that, her pants, providing as it did a source of glamour and unimpeachable cool.

Good hair — and I can say, without a scintilla of vanity, that I once had great hair, long and golden and wavy — was the holy grail. It mattered. I am embarrassed to recount this, but I can actually remember a single day in my early twenties when I looked in the mirror and my hair was perfect. It lay down flat; it slipped nicely behind my ears; it sat elegantly on my shoulders shining, dandruff free. I never got it that way again — but the feeling lives with me. Tragic, I know, but that's hair for you.

Hair is merely the most visible and obvious symbol of male vanity. Its loss for many is more inevitable than the expansion of the waistline, and more significant than the multiplication of wrinkles. As far back as Samson, it betokened weakness and a lack of virility.

Male vanity itself is often considered a recent phenomenon, but in fact a Cambridge University study only a few years back discovered that Viking men spent more time grooming themselves than raping and pillaging. There is even a theory that they invented Oxford bags. It was no accident that Narcissus was a classical invention — was there ever such a cultural monument to male physical vanity as Greek and Roman sculpture? And certainly, in this country since the days of the Regency era and Beau Brummel, the concern with one's appearance has been a prime concern for at least the upper sectors of society, barring the odd outbreak of modish indifference.

As democratisation has come, this obsession has moved down from the aristocracy to commoners and peasants like myself. But it is here we must make an important distinction. People often elide pride in one's appearance with vanity. Ugly fat men can be vain, and handsome well-dressed men can be humble.

As Jane Austen pointed out 200 years ago, in Pride and Prejudice: "Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously.... Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."

Pride in your appearance is an excellent trait, and I am glad that men, in the space of a few generations, are definitely getting the hang of it at last. It's easy to knock Nesbitt and Ramsay for taking it to an excessive and extensive extreme, and I intend to do so, but it wasn't so long ago most men above a certain age, 30 perhaps, very quickly became not merely balding, but balding fat slobs wearing artificial fibres and trousers with droopy arses.

No longer. Most men care about their appearance now and that is a good thing — for their own self-esteem and out of concern for the opposite sex, who do not want their men using Benny Hill or Ernie Wise as their stylistic role models any more.

Vanity however, is a different matter — and it is not at all the same as taking trouble over how you look.

My dictionary goes to great lengths to define vanity as "want of substance to satisfy desire; emptiness; unsubstantialness; unrealness; falsity"; "an inflation of mind upon slight grounds; empty pride inspired by an overweening conceit of one's personal attainments or decorations; an excessive desire for notice or approval; pride; ostentation; conceit, anything empty, visionary, unreal, or unsubstantial; fruitless desire or effort; trifling labour productive of no good; empty pleasure; vain pursuit; idle show; unsubstantial enjoyment".

Phew. Clearly there's more to vanity than an appointment at the hair clinic.

Nietzsche had something to say about this subject (as he did about pretty much every subject). He described vanity as an "atavism", a condition dating back to the days of slavery in which "the ordinary man was only that which he passed for... he did not assign even to himself any other value than that which his master assigned to him".

Nietzsche noted that, by and large, vain men define themselves by the opinion of others. "The vain person rejoices over every good opinion which he hears about himself... just as he suffers from every bad opinion; for he subjects himself to both, he feels himself subjected to both, by that oldest instinct of subjections which breaks forth in him. It is 'the slave' in the vain man's blood, the remains of the slave's craftiness which seeks to seduce to good opinions of itself."

This seems to me exactly right. The vain man is a slave. I myself suffer from vanity, because I am insecure about my appearance. (Since a child I have had scars on my face which have made me feel ugly.) Vanity stands in relation to confidence as arrogance stands to self-esteem. It is not caring about how you look that matters — it is worrying about the judgement of others that is the key issue.

The style commentator Glenn O'Brien, in an article for GQ last year, provided a contemporary coda to Austen's observation. He observed that "the self-defined man who delights in himself and what he can do, he's not a slave to his press clippings and the tweets of the twits; he does his thing to make the world a more fantastically personal place. He dresses as he thinks, dangerously".

It's clear enough — vanity is an interior, not an exterior thing. However, I think it has to be said that vanity also has something to do with the degree of self-concern that a man displays. As far as I'm concerned, whether you are a slave or "free", if you are spending £30K on a hair weave, you are probably vain. There are limits.

It is easy to treat all this as a trivial or minor matter, and in many ways it is. The comb-over and the bad hair weave are intrinsically absurd. But since we're back on to hair, again, it's worth considering that it really can have a severe effect on your sense of who you are, even if you are a humble person.

My mother, for instance, suffered alopecia, and was bald by the time she was 30. This caused her great and genuine mental distress. Admittedly, the taboo is far greater for women than it is for men, but to be concerned about the trappings of your body is not necessarily foolish or risible.

On the other hand, it would take a heart of stone not to have a giggle at Nesbitt and Ramsay's desperate attempts keep themselves looking gorgeous — especially since, in the aftermath, Ramsay looks like a potato that's just had an encounter with a splinter bomb.

Whether they are vain or just silly, only they will know. But in the meantime, whatever the case, we have come a long way since the comb-over. After all, now huge numbers of men take the dignified solution to hair loss — shaving it all off. Then again, given the sizeable increase in the numbers of men choosing Botox injections or pec implants nowadays, perhaps we've come no way at all.

Source: The Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:42 pm 
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Why grooming is the fashionable way to make a real man of you

A new website and weekly magazine are aiming to woo the well-heeled, style-conscious metrosexual

by Ian Tucker
Sunday 9 January 2011

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Eyebrow plucking is all part of the metrosexual's grooming routine. Photograph: Michael Rowe/Getty Images

They are plucked, preened and pouting — and wouldn't raise a carefully groomed eyebrow at the notion of spending their pay cheque on a Comme des Garçons blazer. The ever-deepening designer wallets of today's metrosexual men are being eyed by two new business ventures due to launch in the coming months, which hope that the flourishing male grooming industry will be booming in 2011.

Keen to capitalise on its success in building a huge female following, the designer fashion online retailer Net-A-Porter is preparing to unveil a partner website next month called Mr Porter which will — as a "dedicated men's shopping destination entirely conceived with the stylish man in mind" — be selling brands such as Gucci, Lanvin, Burberry and Margiela.

Also hoping to woo the fashion-conscious man with a spin-off from a female favourite is Bauer Publishing, the owner of weekly magazine Grazia, which plans to bring out Gaz7etta, a male companion that combines some of the content of traditional men's monthlies with the personal delivery of its sister publication.

On the surface, these launches would seem to be brave moves in a period of hiked VAT and tightened belts. But many in the industry are confident that style-savvy male consumers have reached a point in their attitude to self-enhancement that their spending on clothes, creams and even cosmetic surgery can be relied upon just as much as their female counterparts.

"Fashion and grooming are two of our biggest and fastest-growing advertising categories," said Mike Soutar, who edited FHM in its heyday and is now the founder of Shortlist Media, which publishes the free men's weekly of the same name. "Style-conscious men are willing to spend a great deal of money on making themselves look great." The metrosexual, he added, is now the rule, not the exception: "In the laddish generation they were unusual, but now to be image conscious is the absolute norm."

It is, broadly, to this discerning male consumer that Mr Porter and Gaz7etta will be making smooth-talking overtures once they are unveiled. The website, which will be run by former Esquire editor Jeremy Langmead, is shrouded in secrecy, but industry insiders predict that it will deliver an "immersive, slick experience". The pilot issue of Gaz7etta, meanwhile, features Italian Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on the cover looking fashion-ambitious in a pink-and-lime green check scarf. Stories about the "revenge of the double-breasted suit" sit alongside more orthodox features on football.

For Soutar, the growing market in male grooming is unsurprising given the spike in pressure on men to look good, fed in part by photographs on social networking sites such as Facebook. "There's far more scrutiny on a casual level in the way men carry themselves than ever before," he said.

And others suggest that, far from being an irresponsible waste of money in straitened times, splurging on appearance-enhancers could be an intelligent investment by employees uncertain of their professional security. In a survey carried out by Kantar last year, around half the men questioned felt their fashion spending was unaffected by the downturn — and one in 10 thought they were spending more.

"Men have to look good in an office, particularly in the times we're living in," said GQ associate editor Robert Johnston. "Attractive people go further, alas." He admits to trying the avalanche of new products that sweep across his desk — face scrubs, foot lotions and hair fudge, among other products — and is keen on a new Sisley face cream that costs £210 a pot, and lasts about six weeks.

But these days men are not stopping at creams. Once a practice generally reserved for gay men, hair removal — such as the "back, crack and sack" — has slunk into the straight world. "One imagines there must be a lot of straight men who are downstairs gardening," said Johnston. "You imagine most footballers tidy up their pubes."

While some men are removing hair, others are moving it around. Hair transplant techniques have made breakthroughs — as recent photographs of actor James Nesbitt, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and, last week, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay would appear to testify. In order to tackle an array of worrisome physical features from "man boobs" to bald patches, more men are seeking cosmetic surgery — the number rose 21.5% last year and will continue to grow in 2011, says the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors.

"Treatments are really delivering now. In the past when you'd had cosmetic surgery you looked like you'd had it. But now done correctly it can look very natural, and that's what men want," said the association's chairman Dr Mike Comins. He said that men often accompanied their wives or girlfriends to his clinic and ended up having treatment themselves. "In my own private business we have seen a 100% rise in demand for hair transplant procedures," he added.

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:32 pm 
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Bridget Jones knickers proving popular with men

Men, hoping to shed a few pounds in the New Year, are cheating by buying Bridget Jones style "tummy tuck" pants, rather than hitting the gym, sales figures suggest.

BY Harry Wallop
11 December 2010

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Sumo grand champion Asashoryu and other wrestler worship at Yasukuni Shrine Photo: REUTERS

Figures from Debenhams, the department store, indicate that customers are buying bottom-lifting pants, sculpting T-shirts and clothes with elasticated waistbands in serious numbers.

Two-thirds of 1,000 men surveyed by the shop said they were worried about the average of 7lbs of weight they piled on over Christmas. Man-boobs - or moobs - love handles and flabby bottoms topped the list of men's concerns. Over the past week demand has jumped at Debenhams with sales of sculpting T-shirts increasing by 317 per cent, bottom-lifting pants by 238 per cent and elasticised waistbands by 340 per cent.

The success of these products follows in the wake of Selfridges selling 'Core Precision Undershirts' for £49 two years ago, which flew off the shelves. The department store sold 350 in the first day. Marks & Spencer too has stepped on the "spanx for men" bandwagon offering pants that promise, supposedly, a 38 per cent "visual enhancement in size". Some in the fashion press dubbed the items "mirdles" or girdles for men.

Renee Zellweger's character in the Bridget Jones film was mortified when her enormous tummy-control pants were discovered during a moment of passion.

A spokesman for Debenhams, said: "As the cost and effort of the gym kicks in, instantaneous figure fixers are proving immensely popular with men as a cheap fix alternative. Shaping T-shirts and pants also require a lot less willpower than a carefully controlled diet, something that women have long been wise to. Gone are the days when the only way to fight the flab was confined to the gym. Canny blokes now have access to the tricks of the trade that women have been using for years."

Source: Telegraph UK.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:46 am 
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The male beauty contest judged by women
By Megan Lane
20 January 2011

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Wodaabe men participate in the Gerewol beauty contest

Make-up, flirting, bling outfits. But this beauty contest has a twist - the men dress up, the women pick the winners. What does the Wodaabe people's pageant tell us about male beauty?

Tall, slim, facial symmetry and good teeth - this could be the universal tick list of a beauty pageant judge. And when the contestants are men, their faces painted with red, white and yellow clay, the aesthetic holds true.

These unusual beauty contests, known as Gerewol, celebrate the fertility the rains bring to the parched edge of the Sahara. Filmed for the BBC's Human Planet, Niger's Wodaabe men decorate their faces and dance for hours to impress female judges - who may take them as lovers.

Lipstick and beads may be associated with femininity in Western eyes, but the ceremonial costumes aim to emphasise male beauty:

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Wodaabe men participate in the Gerewol beauty contest. Photo by Timothy Allen

1. Tall and athletic: Ostrich plumes and pompoms emphasise height
2. Narrow face: Decorated with red ochre
3. Wide eyes: Black eyeliner made from charred egret bones
4. Facial symmetry: Enhanced with black, yellow and white patterns
5. Aquiline nose: White clay arrow stripe to look more streamlined
6. Long braids and cowrie shells: Symbolise fertility and wealth
7. White and regular teeth: Bared and emphasised with black lipstick
8. Good dancer: Beaded necklaces and bodices jangle against chest in time to the beat

The colours used are symbolic too, says Mette Bovin, a Danish anthropologist who has worked with the Wodaabe since the 1970s. Red ochre, which coats the face, is associated with blood and violence and so only used on special occasions. Yellow clay, used by some dancers to paint patterns on the face, is the colour of magic and transformation. And black, to darken lips and emphasise eyes, is a favourite hue, partly because it is the opposite of white - the colour of loss and death, says Bovin in her book Nomads Who Cultivate Beauty. Adding to the black lipstick's significance, it is made from the charred bones of the cattle egret, a bird the Wodaabe associate with "expressivity", says Bovin. "To have charm - that is to have expressivity and charisma - is highly valued in a young man."

The dance moves emulate the poise of the egret, and the men sing by vibrating lips painted with this "bird-lipstick", as Bovin describes it.

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Judges are high-status women, such as daughters of past winners

And the prize? Each judge chooses her champion and may take him as her lover - even if both already have partners - and the winners are celebrated for years to come. Nor is the potential for match-making limited to judges and winners.

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Djao Djao dressed to impress, but didn't win. He and Tembe stayed together

"You dance Gerewol to try to win a lover, even if it means stealing someone's wife," says contestant Djao, who met second wife Tembe at a previous Gerewol. "You can marry her, or have a fling with her." She, too, is on the look-out. "I've spotted three men here that I like."

No stigma is attached to setting aside one's marriage vows at Gerewol whether temporarily or permanently, says Human Planet director Tuppence Stone. "The initial marriages in Wodaabe culture are arranged when the bride and groom are very young, so Gerewol is the chance for a love match," she says. This is not a polygamous culture - marrying a new partner means leaving the old.

Drought, conflict and, more recently, insurgency from al-Qaeda's North African offshoot means this traditional celebration is rarely practised - except at tourist hotels in eastern Niger, where Wodaabe troops may demonstrate the dances.

For the clans filmed by the BBC, who live in small, nomadic groups on the borders of Chad and Niger, it was their first Gerewol after six years of drought. Only when there is enough water to support several hundred people in one place do the normally isolated Wodaabe gather.

Source: BBC News.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:53 pm 
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'Metrosexuals' on the rise in Pakistan
by Claire Truscott
8 February 2011

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A Pakistani beautician applies makeup to a man at a beauty salon in Karachi. …

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) — In Pakistan, as militant Islamists wage war on anything smacking of Western culture, "metrosexual" man is quietly on the rise.

Confounding expectations in a country where most street scenes are filled with men wearing the traditional shalwar kameez, a simple cotton tunic, male grooming salons are springing up in the main cities. Despite Pakistan's dire economy and widespread poverty, rich urbanites have more disposable cash than ever and are now spending it on their image, says Hassan Kilde Bajwa, of Synergy advertising agency.

Bajwa says the rise of the metrosexual, or "metropolitan heterosexual" man, is a result of a liberalised banking sector and a massive explosion of media in a country that 15 years ago had just two television channels and no FM radio.

"Now people have a much greater disposable income because of all the banking reforms we've had over the past 10, 15 years where all of a sudden we have people being able to take loans, which was not a possibility in Pakistan before. "And the other major influence is the fact that we now have a flourishing media industry," says the 30-year-old associate creative director. "When you're bombarded with all these new ideas, your consumption increases."

Bajwa says advertising campaigns have rushed in to play to the desire for an improved image, pushing Western beauty trends among men. "Now you see more and more products, personal hygiene products, being targeted at men, which is something quite new. Metrosexuality is definitely on the up in Pakistan," he says.

Hair transplants are one sign of the trend. In the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital, surgeon Ahmad Chaudhry says his hair transplant business is booming, with clients up by one third last year. The past five years has seen a trebling of profits, says the 40-year-old doctor, sporting a thick head of hair and speaking as he performs one of his daily surgeries while his bald client calmly watches television.

"It's due to awareness we have created by advertising and good references," says Chaudhry, adding that business would be even better without the security threats throughout the terrorism-hit country. "Business is growing more and more but when there's political instability or some explosions then there's a down. People are afraid to travel to Lahore or even to Pakistan." His waiting room is covered in posters of satisfied clients and their glowing references, including a former federal minister and Test cricketer.

Chaudhry's client Azhar Amin, 43, is sitting in the surgery chair with his legs outstretched as the surgeon cuts away a section of his scalp under local anaestethic. "I wanted it for cosmetic reasons and to improve my confidence," says Amin, who paid $1,350 for each of two five-hour procedures. "Baldness is a weakness so after the hair transplant I will be more cosmetically acceptable and confident. I saw it on the internet and then decided to have it done."

Beauty treatments traditionally associated with female pampering, such as facials and manicures, are also increasingly popular among Pakistani men.

Michael Kanaan, a Lebanese salon owner in Islamabad, has worked in Pakistan for five years and watched the trend grow. "They're catching up with the (Western) fashion. Everyone wants to look good, everyone wants to feel good about themselves when it comes to their hair and nails," Kanaan says, attributing the trend to increased travel abroad.

Businessman and provincial politician Yousuf Ayub Khan, goes to Michael K salon every three months for a facial. His voter base is in the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a conservative region rife with Islamic militancy. But Khan says male pampering is surprisingly socially acceptable, even among the tribal cultures of the lawless border region, where traditional dyes such as henna are popular for dying hair and beards. "It's a very traditional conservative society in Pakistan, but traditionally it's not a problem over here if you tell someone you've been to a salon, and had a facial or pedicure, noone will laugh at you," he says.

But advertising man Bajwa cautions there is a limit to this trend -- few Pakistanis are likely at this stage to adopt famed English footballer David Beckham's penchant for sarong skirts and piercings. "One thing that still isn't acceptable, even among metrosexuals, is accessories. It's a very common thing for men in Europe to wear a wristband or something, the Beckham thing," says Bajwa. "That's not something you ever see in Pakistan. Earrings, in fact piercings anywhere, socially is unacceptable. It's still a social taboo."

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Do be quiet dear! It's MEN who suffer from sleepless nights due to their snoring partners
4th March 2011

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Kept awake: A study found three in 10 men complained that their partners snored compared in two in 10 women

Women have long complained their husbands" snoring is so bad it forces them to sleep the spare room.

But now it seems it"s their own monotonous drones which are keeping their husbands awake. The latest research shows that men are far more likely to complain that their sleep is disturbed by their partner"s snoring than women. Experts say millions of women have a problem with snoring but they are often too embarrassed to admit it. A study of 14,000 couples found that 30 per cent of men complained that they were kept awake by their partner"s snoring or coughing compared to just 20 per cent of women.

Snoring happens when the soft tissue at the back of the throat rattles when someone breathes in and out. Up to 40 per cent of Britons are snorers, and it is more common in the obese, heavy drinkers and smokers. But these latest findings from Essex University sharply existing figures which show men are twice as likely to snore as women.

Previous research has also suggested many women are too meek when it comes to confronting their husband"s drones and often lie awake trying to ignore it rather than prodding them. This latest study found that women tended to have more trouble nodding off and often woke up several times during the night.

Almost a quarter - 24 per cent - claimed they struggled to nod off three nights a week compared to just 18 per cent of men. A further 26 per cent of women said they had "poor" sleep quality compared to 20 per cent of men. The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, also found that people who worked longer hours tended to have more problems sleeping - probably because they are kept awake by stress. Just six per cent of men and 10 per cent of men who work more than 30 hours a week sleep for more than eight hours a night, compared to 14 per cent of part-timers.

According to the British Snoring Association, there are 4.5 million female snorers in Britain compared with 10.4 million men. Professor Sara Arber at the University of Surrey who analysed the findings said: 'Given the links between sleep, social and economic circumstances and poor health found in this and other surveys, health promotion campaigns should be open to the possibility that the increased incidence of sleep problems among the disadvantaged in society may be one factor leading to their poorer health.'

Source: Daily Mail UK.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:26 pm 
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Barbie's toy-boy Ken turns 50

Like many a leading man, Barbie's toy-boy Ken Carson has undergone some structural changes over the years, but is still looking nifty at 50.

By David Nicholls
11 March 2011

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It was 1961 when twelve inches of moulded plastic hit the market and forever transformed the way that men measured up in the eyes of women. Two years after Barbie hit the scene, the American toy maker Mattel decided it was time to give her a boyfriend, and Ken Carson arrived.

Like many a leading man, the last 50 years has seen the doll undergo some dramatic structural changes. Initially Ken was a weedy runt of a man with skinny legs and a tiny waist that even his girlfriend would envy. But by the mid-60s he seemed to have discovered the gym and bulked up like his Actionman and G.I Joe counterparts. In the 70s, vain old Malibu Ken got a sun tan and experimented with long hair. By the 1980s, the square jaw had become mysteriously sharper and his once wide and inquisitive blue eyes became tight and feline.

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Pictures: Ken's fashion hits through the years. Then and now : Ken Carson's journey from 1960s waif to 'sweet talkin' Justin Bieber look-a-like

There is a scene in Toy Story 3 where Ken, wearing a pink scoop neck tee shirt and silk neckerchief, insists 'I'm not a girl's toy, I'm not!' But Ken has always been about the outfits. Over the years we've seen him boldly go where few men would dare to follow, embracing American preppy, Disco dazzle and Harley Davidson leathers with equal levels of enthusiasm.

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The right stripes: Loving Ken's towel-lined shirt and pool slides - he is SO working that look! Barbie looks none too shabby here either, reeking of old-Hollywood glamour.

17 things you didn't know about Ken

And in celebration of his fiftieth anniversary, Mattel is launching three new Ken dolls of a distinctly meterosexual bent. Shaving Fun Ken is a grooming enthusiast with glossy blond hair, five o'clock shadow and his own razor. Fashionistas Ken digs pre-worn denim and jazzy graphic tee shirts. Both will in their own way help shape little girls' ideas of what to expect from their perspective suitors some way down the line: a companion who just loves to shop and shares a penchant for baby pink lip gloss.

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Beach blonde and beautiful: Ken enters the 70s in style in pink Bermuda shorts, but we can't take our eyes of Barbie's cute playsuit!

Rather more alarming is the third new model which has been dubbed Sweet Talkin' Ken. Sounds kind of nice right? Wrong. The doll (who looks as though he's be Biebered) features a built-in microphone which can record up to five seconds of sound that can be played back - bizarrely - in high, normal, or low pitch. By pressing down firmly on his heart (there is no significance lost here), girls aged three and up can literally put words into the mouths of their 'ultimate boyfriend for every occasion'. 'Sweet' Mattel's website says. Sinister more like it.

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Hair transplant : Mod Hair Ken from 1972 was the first version to have 'real' hair. It's a bit early in the day for Botox, but notice the new arch to his eyebrows. (L) Extreme Makeover meets Gok Wan intervention : Super Star Ken boogied into our lives in 1978 with his 'handsome new movie star face' and 'celebrity jumpsuit and belt.' (R)

Source: Telegraph UK.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:32 pm 
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Cheeky : In 1979 we were presented with Sun Lovin' Malibu Ken who had peek-a-boo tan lines and co-ordinating swimwear / manbag ensemble. (L) Wired for sound: Channeling Cliff Richard here in roller-skates and micro-shorts in 1980. (R)

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Plastic fantastic : It's 1984. The face is more chissled, the eyes are mean and pulled tight, the smile - forced at best. Anything you want to talk about Ken? (L) Purple haze : The face looks more plumped, the mouth less severe and - oh my - the hair. It's an up-do! The 1991 'Totally Hair' Ken loves purple too. He even came with his very own purple hair pick comb and tube of hair gel. (R)

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Lady Killer: Looks like Ken's been shopping at Tom Ford for this sharp tux. Calm down girls! (L) Paparazzi patrol: Ken and Barbie get a Paris Hilton and Nick Carter makeover. You so know Barbie's going nowhere near the sea with those hair-extensions - major faux pas alert! (R)

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Off duty city-boy: "These jeans are wickad, they totes came with the rips in. Yah! I know!". 'Sporty Fashionista Ken' off to watch the rugger. (L) Smooth fashion criminal: 'Fashionista Ken' comes over all 'Justin Timberlake: the early years' in this straw trilby and surfy t-shirt. Oh Ken.

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Fresh-faced and fancy free: 2011 welcomes metrosexual 'Shaving Fun Ken' fresh from the locker-room. He's not afraid to blow-dry his hair and use after shaving moisturiser, nah uh. (L) I'm a Belieber: The new 'Sweet Talkin' Ken' doll can record up to five seconds of sound so little girls can literally put words into the mouths of their 'ultimate boyfried forever'. Who happens to look like Justin Bieber all of a sudden. (R)

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