Hellosie, it’s Maisie. A cosmetics company is offering women more than one orgasm. Read me to find out.


Tom Ford’s new perfume is Fucking Fabulous – at least that’s what it’s called. Ford announced his latest fragrance during New York fashion week, and the name alone has caused a stir, with descriptions ranging from “racy” to “obscene”. Certainly, it’s a gear change for the designer, who has previously favoured more literal fragrance names – Tobacco Vanille, Tuscan Leather, Venetian Bergamot – but, in the increasingly risque world of cosmetics monikers, it is unlikely to raise eyebrows for long.

Cosmetics’ names were once chosen for sentimental, rather than shock, value. Chanel’s numbered fragrance line marked dates including her birthday (No 19) for example, and Dolce & Gabbana’s Sophia Loren No 1 lipstick was released to commemorate the actor’s 81st birthday. Meanwhile, Nars’s Jungle Red lip and nail colour reference the nail polish from 1939’s The Women (a film that memorably featured not a single man).

Yet Nars is far better known for Orgasm – a blush colour that managed to overshadow the likes of Threesome, Sex Appeal and, sadly, Mata Hari, in what is a relatively risque range – rivalled perhaps only by (the pigmentally similar) Deep Throat. This year, the brand launched an entire Orgasm collection off the back of its popularity. (Tagline: “Have more than one.”)

“François [Nars, Nars’s founder and creative director] has always wanted to give the products an identity and character,” says Magalie Parksuwan, senior vice-president of marketing at the company. “He wants people to remember the names and to provoke.”

The high street has embraced provocative and “rude” cosmetics, with brands such as Soap & Glory marketing innuendo-laden products, from Sexy Mother Pucker lip shine to Glow Job tinted foundation. Too Faced’s Boudoir Eyes palette skipped the puns entirely, with shadows titled Fuzzy Handcuffs and French Tickler, while the brand’s Better Than Sex mascara proved so popular that it inspired a line of shoes.

Unsurprisingly, the ever “edgy” Urban Decay has its own selection of suggestive cosmetics, including a blusher in Fetish (a name shared with a lipstick by Mac) and a lip gloss in Rule 34 (Google it). Illamasqua takes a more straightforward approach, with a rubber-finish nail varnish in Kink and an eye shadow simply called Sex. But can raunch-based retail really seduce potential customers? “It definitely has an impact,” says Parksuwan, “[but] there’s more to the success of a product than just that.”

When Kylie Jenner, something of a bellwether for millennial makeup trends, released her blush collection in March, she ditched the sentimental nomenclature of her Lip Kits (Mary Jo K was a tribute to her grandmother and Dolce K was named after, er, the family dog) for vastly more provocative names including X-Rated, Virginity and Hot and Bothered. But it was her rosy pink Barely Legal which proved most controversial – sparking a similar backlash to that prompted by Kat Von D’s Underage Red lipstick in 2015.

Even so, an Instagram search for #kyliecosmetics conjures more than two million posts – many of them photos of the products themselves; fully packaged, lascivious labels neatly aligned – which perhaps goes some way to explaining why suggestive stickers, no longer sheepishly consigned to the base of nail varnish pots, proliferate. “Names help to create a story and elicit a reaction [online],” says Parksuwan. And, given the epicurean competition, who would want to be #beige?

That said, the chance to be immortalised in makeup may not yet be dead. Last week, Ford also expanded his Lips & Boys collection, which now features 100 lipsticks – each named after one of the designer’s closest friends.


Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Cowardly People with their Terrorism come to London again this morning. Cynical and inhuman criminals.


A terrorist incident has been declared by the Met at Parsons Green underground station in west London after an explosion on a tube carriage.

The Metropolitan and British Transport Police forces, including armed officers, are at the scene, along with the London ambulance service.

The Met’s assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) was thought to be responsible for the blast. He refused to say whether anyone had been arrested.

Police sources said the device only partially exploded. Initial examination by explosives experts have led them to conclude it was “viable”, meaning it was meant to explode more fully.

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, SO15, has taken the lead in the investigation, supported by MI5. The inquiry into the explosion was initially led by British Transport Police.

St Mary’s hospital in Paddington has declared a major incident, and there have been reports of people sustaining burn injuries.

The LAS said it had taken 18 patients to a number of London hospitals. “None are thought to be in a serious or life-threatening condition,” a statement said.

Another passenger, named only as Lucas, said: “I heard a really loud explosion – when I looked back there appeared to be a bag but I don’t know if it’s associated with it. I saw people with minor injuries, burnings to the face, arms, legs, multiple casualties in that way. People were helping each other.”

Another passenger said: “I have just seen a woman who was just stretchered off here and clearly her legs are wrapped up and she has burns. She had burns to her face – she’s conscious, she was taking oxygen and pain relief as well. She seemed to have burns all over her body from top to toe.”

The “device” in the last carriage. “It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag.

Police have advised people to avoid the area and a 100-metre cordon has been erected around the station.

The London fire brigade said it had six fire engines, two fire rescue units and about 50 firefighters from Fulham, Wandsworth, Chelsea, Hammersmith and other surrounding fire stations at the scene.

A Transport for London spokeswoman said the District line had been suspended between Earl’s Court and Wimbledon.

Downing Street said the prime minister, Theresa May, was to chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee on Friday afternoon to discuss the incident. In a statement, May said: “My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and the emergency services who, once again, are responding swiftly and bravely to a suspected terrorist incident.”

My thoughts; Again, this is not a difference of emphasis between us or them. To suggest that there’s something about me and about my beliefs here in a western society is something I won’t hear said and you shouldn’t believe or support the murderous attitude supported by just bad people hiding behind a religion. If they weren’t doing that they probably be robbing banks saying it was some just socialist cause.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Sexual fluidity is a fact of life for women. This is what you need to know.


My life used to involve statements beginning with: “As a lesbian, I …”.

The findings of the latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) seem to suggest. The number of women reporting same-sex partners has increased from 1.8% to 7.9% over the past 20 years.

I’ve been checking out this world recently and have found that while the male half of couple’s profile will identify as straight, it’s pretty much par for the course that a woman will indicate “bi-curious” or “bisexual”. Sure, a lot of this is about women trying to please their men – it plays to a common male fantasy of a threesome involving two women and a man – but actually, in my experience, the bisexual ones really are up for it. I think there are a ton of “straight” women out there who, once they’ve ticked all the safety boxes (get married, get financially secure, have babies), are ready to “play”. And that is the thing about this new sexually fluid world (for women). Its politics are much less right-on compared with the old-school lesbian separatist thing. The women who claim to be bisexuals in the Natsal survey are not the type to go marching on the streets about it.

While some big actors and singers have admitted to bisexuality, there is a lot of fudging from other young ­heroines of popular culture (what is all this “wifey” business, as Cara ­Delevingne refers to her friend Rita Ora? Go on, Cara, you’re a rock’n’roll chick, spell it out), which makes you wonder how on earth the unfamouses are going to be proud about their ­not-totally-100% hetero status.

London’s biggest lesbian club impresario of the moment, Nicola Chubb, who runs the high-end lesbian club night Mint, says she has noticed a sea change of so-called “fluidity” going on in her clubs. Straight girls who, a couple of years ago, might have preferred the company of gay men and would have suffered the “fag hag” tag are now choosing to hang out with lesbians. “They’ve worked out that lesbians know how to have a good time too.”

Women allowing one another to be sexual beings rather than seeing other women as a threat. In some ways, this is one of the unexpected boons to have come out of feminism.

Certainly, the rise in the number of women-only clubs, gyms and networking organisations points to a feel for more all-girls-together stuff that lezzas have been doing for years. I personally prefer the old word for “networking”: cruising – but maybe this will come about in this new oestrogen-only renaissance. Otherwise, it’s rather like going to a Japanese tea ceremony and leaving before you’ve tried the tea.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. When teenage girls are denied classroom time cause of the length of their skirt it privileges their sexualisation over their right to learn.


As pupils go back to school this month, institutions may hit the headlines for sending girls home for wearing skirts that were deemed “too short”.

The most contentious issue for some schools, is the style and length of the skirt worn by the girls.

But parents do express frustration at their struggle to find skirts that would fit their daughters’ waists while fulfilling the length requirement.

Other reports have described children being sent home from various schools in the past week for wearing the wrong footwear, or even the wrong kind of socks.

 And while boys have been punished for some dress code violations too, it is clear that the majority of cases involve girls’ appearance being policed.

A number of pupils at a UK school were made to change because their trousers were deemed “too tight”. And these cases follow hot on the heels of two schools that have banned female pupils from wearing skirts altogether. It was reportedly said by the headmaster from both schools. ‘It’s not pleasant for male members of staff and students either, the girls have to walk upstairs and sit down and it’s a complete distraction.’

This week the same school is reported to have sent home 10 girls whose trousers were deemed too tight because they would prove a “distraction” to male teachers.

The media images of schoolgirls in their “inappropriate” skirts, worn over thick black tights, powerfully remind me of another case, in which a US teenager was sent home from school for wearing an outfit that revealed her collarbones. What is so shocking, or offensive, about the bottom inch of a teenage girl’s thigh, or the bones below her neck?

In fact, that case was just the latest in a recent string of high-profile dress code battles in the US and Canada, where students have been protesting for some time about dress codes that unfairly target girls. 

While the principle of asking students to attend school smartly dressed sounds reasonable, the problem comes when wider sexist attitudes towards women and their bodies are projected on to young women by schools in their attempt to define what constitutes smartness. It’s no coincidence that many school dress codes contain far more rules pertaining to girls’ clothing than to boys’, as we live in a world where women’s bodies are policed and fought over to a far greater extent than men’s. When girls are denied time in the classroom because their knees, shoulders or upper arms are considered inappropriate and in need of covering up, it privileges the societal sexualisation of their adolescent bodies over their own right to learn. We don’t have the same qualms about seeing those parts of their male peers’ anatomy.

All this is before we can even begin to explore the potentially negative impact of draconian dress codes on trans or non-gender-conforming pupils, many of whom have reported being blocked from their school yearbooks because of clothing choices.

Another common refrain is that it is important to prepare pupils for the “world of work” – this was the explanation given by the headmaster of an Academy school on the Isle of Wight when more than 250 girls were taken out of lessons because their skirts were too short. But if schools pull girls out of lessons and publicly shame them for exposing too much of their bodies, they are only preparing them for a sexist and unfair working world in which women are constantly judged and berated on their appearance. Men, by comparison, get a free pass. Look at the endless articles about whether women “should” or “shouldn’t” wear makeup to be taken seriously at work, or cringe-worthy instructions from firms on how female staff should dress.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a school taking a stand against the idea that girls’ bodies are irresistibly dangerous and sexualised, instead of reinforcing it?

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. The fashion world goes gender free mad!


Fashion reflects the times we live in, said Coco Chanel, and schoolchildren and the French bus drivers prove her right. We are more relaxed about gender rules, these days. A century after women started wearing trousers and 19 years after David Beckham was ridiculed for wearing a sarong, the last taboo of fashion – men in skirts – is being swept away.

Zara has capitalised on the market for clothes that can be worn by men or women, offering a gender-neutral fashion range. And the further up the fashion food chain you go, the more the boundaries between menswear and womenswear evaporate.

At the menswear catwalk shows in London, skirts appeared almost everywhere. Men wore silk dresses at Vivienne Westwood’s show, puff-sleeved gowns at Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, and hooped floor-length skirts at Edward Crutchley’s. As did Palomo Spain menswear spring/summer 2018 collection.

Among the more commercial brands, too, the rules are increasingly fluid. Louis Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand, last year photographed Jaden Smith, the rapper-slash-model son of actor Will, in a leather kilt for a womenswear advertising campaign. Smith, who wore a floral T-shirt dress to the Coachella festival, captioned an Instagram post of himself in a skirt with the words “Went to TopShop To Buy Some Girl Clothes, I Mean ‘Clothes’.”

Co-ed catwalk shows are becoming a badge of honour for brands with agenda-setting ambitions. Calvin Klein in New York, Burberry in London, Paul Smith in Paris, and Gucci in Milan all combined clothing for men and women on their catwalks during the last fashion show season.

The Gucci designer Alessandro Michele has said that blending the two collections “seems only natural … it’s the way I see the world”. The impact on menswear is clear. On the Gucci catwalk men wear pussy-bow silk blouses, on the Burberry catwalk they wear pastel-coloured lace shorts.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Older people think being gender fluid is a fad. But people have always felt non-binary?


Some days my friend Sophie Doe, 21, wakes up feeling feminine and puts on a dress or lipstick. But on others she feels much more masculine and the thought of wearing a skirt induces an overwhelming sense of dysphoria.

Her male personality is more outgoing than her female one. It’s like having both male and female energies and some days a mix of both.

Sophie Doe is gender fluid, and doesn’t identify with one gender, instead fluctuating between feeling more male or female.

It’s hard to explain, before referring to the way society tends to define gender, on a spectrum. At one end is being male and the other female, and you kind of move between the two, and usually remain in the middle.

Young people are increasingly challenging conventional gender stereotypes.

Facebook offer custom gender identities to include a variety of options such as “androgynous”. Some universities accept gender-neutral pronouns – allowing students to be called “they” rather than “he” or “she”. Even the civil service in the UK allows gender-neutral pronouns. But probably more in lip-service than any meaningful way.

So, waking up to your gender identity.

It isn’t a choice; it is more of a fact of life. Some young people do see this very differently, and this will be a culture change for the world eventually.

In the case of Sophie Doe, her gender is ever evolving. She gravitated towards masculine clothes as a teenager.

This behaviour caused other kids of her age to pick fights, and after getting badly injured Sophie Doe felt forced back to presenting as a woman. But, after striking up a new relationship two years ago, she felt strong enough to appear as male again.

It was then that Sophie learned more about gender fluidity. She would say she is gender fluid but also non-binary. Her gender is an evolving thing, like my sexuality, the more I explore it the more it changes. The only reason why I feel I should put a label on it is just to make it easier for other people.

Young and transgender

A lot of older people aren’t used to talking about non-binary genders, so a little more patience is needed for them. And does the media create problems for them?

Caitlyn Jenner is just another reality TV star, but she’s got people talking, and often not in a positive way. Gender identity clinic waiting times have absolutely shot up in the last year, because suddenly people are realising that they’re transgender. Not only is supply utterly failing to meet demand, but young people are being accused of copying celebrities. So, does the media help?

A friend and I went to a club in Soho, and were told we needed to come back on ladies’ night if we wanted a dance, and a friend of ours, a gay man, also a drag queen, stood up for us. Even in the gay community discrimination is felt, but the more that the different voices are heard, the more acceptance there will be.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Seeing the ego and vanity of D. Trump and Kim Jung Un may just affect my future. I thought I’d write something irrelevant about men, their ego’s, vanity, and make-up.


It costs a lot to look like Emmanuel Macron. His personal make-up artist recently filed two claims for payment: one for €10,000 (£9,200) and one for €16,000 (£14,740) – both for doing his make-up for press conferences. The claims cover his first three months in office, meaning he’s been spending almost €10,000 per month on make-up since becoming president. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, when you realise there is a whole industry, literally, a whole self-help industry consisting of earnest books and stripy jumpers and diets, selling us tricks to appear more French.

But the international outrage expressed is at Macron’s vanity. Male vanity, this perfumed albatross that men must hide beneath their blazers like a goitre for fear of seeming vulnerable, but with a gravitational pull so strong it leads them to organise speeches at sweet little places like the Palace of Versailles.

The real problem with vanity is being caught in the act. This “expenses reveal” is the media equivalent of somebody catching your mirror face, the pony-like pout your lips stiffen into when they happen upon a reflective surface, be it a car window or the back of a dessert spoon. Worse than being caught masturbating, worse than a stranger walking in on you in the Tesco’s loo, somebody seeing your private mirror face, and therefore not just the real you, the vain you, but the you that you most desperately want to present to the world, is the most excruciating of embarrassments.

The associations we have with make-up and that me-time in the mirror are largely shameful, and grimly gendered. There was some kerfuffle after comments Zadie Smith, about limiting her seven-year-old daughter’s mirror time, were miss-framed as a way of scoffing at women’s vanity. Out of context, Smith’s quote, her insistence that an hour and a half for contouring was too long, was pinned to the women’s wall on the internet and pelted with darts by people who felt she was judging their choice to wear make-up. It’s something about the way news works today that leads to these high-pitched rows between otherwise sane and clever women, as if the reporter had chucked a stink bomb over the fence before running away. Is it because we’re trained to rise to it, like mice in a lab? Or because, while we’re primed to resist, it’s easier to slap out against the people we saw as allies – they’re closer, after all?

Anyway, Zadie wasn’t dismissing those of us who enjoy make-up, she was pointing out the disparity between the grooming that is expected of men and women, and teaching her daughter the reality of what those before her have labelled the “hair and make-up tax”. “I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time,” she said. “Your brother is not going to waste any time doing this. Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a shit if you waste an hour and a half doing your make-up.” The cheap alternative, of course, is that men like Macron encourage everybody to take the time to enjoy the thrill of a flattering mirror, and the magic that comes with a really good mattifier.

It’s not that men like Macron or children like Smith’s daughter shouldn’t care about how they look, though the arguments that have bubbled up around them have sought to debate that point. The service these arguments have provided instead is that they’ve opened a window into the twitchiness so many have about vanity, and what is correct.

There are seas and oceans between enjoying the sport of painting your face, and the dangerous pursuit of perfection or even “normality”, and I write this having dabbled in both, my face having caused me such anxiety in the past that I’ve cancelled plans, not wanting to be seen. And now having grown a bit older and a lot busier, and formed whole personalities around eyeliner, time spent in front of the mirror with a make-up bag, while sometimes frustrating, is largely jolly and joyful, and pockmarked with nostalgia.

It’s not nothing, the time spent looking at ourselves. It has value. Whether that’s €10,000 a month I can’t say, but I do know vanity is not simple, and making-up is not wasted time. The danger is in the risk of falling into the mirror as if a deep lake, and drowning for a little while.