PhotoFull-body cringing probably burns more calories than calmly sitting still. So when I don’t have time to exercise, I’ll read about the latest marketing or advertising campaign “for women,” cringe throughout and watch the pounds melt away.

Behold a mystery: 51 percent of the entire human population is female, putting us slightly in the majority, yet market researchers act like we’re these rare, exotic outliers completely distinct from the mainstream. Hence, the existence of ordinary ad campaigns aimed at ordinary “consumers,” and specialized ad campaigns aimed at “women consumers.”

The best cringing (from an aerobic-working perspective) comes from companies that try feminizing non-gender-specific products like writing implements, such as when the Bic corporation decided “Hey! Let’s take some ordinary ball point pens, give them pastel-colored casings, call them ‘Bic For Her’ and charge over four times as much,” but there’s no lack of quality cringe-fodder from people hawking actual “women’s products” like cosmetics.

Today’s calorie-burning cringe workout story comes from MediaPost, covering the latest Omnicom study and assuring us that “For Women, Monday is the Ugliest Day of the Week.” Here’s why:

"You’ve heard of “fat” days. Well, according to a new beauty study from Omnicom’s PHD, Women have ugly days as well and Monday tops the list.

"The shop conducted a quantitative survey of women 18+ across the U.S. that was designed to identify when women feel most vulnerable about their appearance throughout the week in order to determine the best timing for beauty product messages and promotions."

I shudder to think what spammy emails I'll get next Monday morning. Here’s more relevant statistics from the article: 49 percent of American women say Monday is the ugliest day (with Sundays running a close second), 69 percent said they (we) feel least attractive sometime between the hours of five and nine in the morning, 67 percent feel not-so-fresh after 10 p.m., and 67 percent also feel unattractive when we’re sick.

Short window

PhotoSo when do we not feel bad about ourselves? “The findings show that women have the strongest positive feelings about their appearance in a relatively short window between noon and 3 pm.” Three hours out of every 24.

 Confession: Some of those statistics do apply to me. Last time I suffered a cold, for example, I didn’t feel attractive at all, not with clammy skin, watery eyes, fever sweat and a swollen red nose impersonating Niagara Falls. Even when I’m healthy, I doubt I look my best first thing in the morning, either. But — does this really set me apart from the male almost-half of the human race?

Serious question for the men reading this: when you want to look good (maybe, when you’re hoping to impress a potential romantic partner), do you think, “To increase my chances of success, I should sleep now, and wake up mere seconds before introducing myself” or “Gee, I wish I could catch a mild virus first, because I’m never more attractive and charismatic than when I’m sick as a dog?”

Serious advice for the women reading this: A good way to feel attractive and confident is to ignore as much “beauty” advertising as you can. I learned this, quite by accident, during my college days, when I thumbed through a copy of a so-called “women’s” magazine because one of the cover stories sounded mildly interesting. 

The thing about such magazines is, you will not find their table of contents just inside the front cover; it’s hidden somewhere behind literally dozens of pages of glossy advertising. So there I sat, flipping through page after page after page of beauty-product ads, searching for the table of contents, and here’s a rough transcript of my thoughts throughout:

“Hmm, that particular shade of lipstick would look really good on me! I’ll have to remember it .... wonder if that liquid foundation would make my complexion look as porcelain-flawless as the model’s .... ooh, if my eyelashes could only look like these eyelashes here in this mascara ad ….”

Suddenly, fortunately, I snapped out of it, shut the magazine and wondered: “What the hell? Two minutes ago I was perfectly content, except for wanting something to read, and now I feel I need to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of cosmetics which, half an hour ago, I had no idea even existed?”

Then again, this all happened late in the evening when, according to the latest market research, I’m statistically most likely to feel insecure and unhappy about my appearance. Next time, I’ll watch the clock and make sure it’s between the hours of noon and three p.m. in my time zone. And never, ever on a Monday.

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