We’re told that they love us, and like fools, we believe them. It’s time to set the record straight…

1. “Bad skin is just a phase”

There are days – more days than you can shake a tea tree stick at – that I wake up with a face that is the woeful love child of the surface of Mars and a meat feast pizza. When I was 13 and spotty and the mother figure said her piece, I started counting down the minutes to the day on which my Beano character-esque visage would transmogrify into that of a Michelangelo statue.

Still waiting. I’m 26 now. Time to throw away the clock and invest in a paper bag / tea tree stick.

2. “It’s what’s inside that counts”

Try telling that to a Fabergé egg. The choices we make about our appearance are not arbitrary, no matter how convincingly this case is made by the manufacturers of Crocs shoes. Seriously: WHY.

Far be it from me to suggest that children should become empty husks with a conditioned aversion to perturbing footwear. To point out some alternatives: “what’s inside also counts”, “it’s what’s inside that counts most, but you might want to think twice about getting that One Direction tattoo”, and “do yourself a favour, son, and never enter a Crocs shop”. You’re welcome.


3. “Washing your hair less often stops it getting greasy”

I learned my lesson in gullibility the hard way here: by spending many miserable months being given a wide berth by all and sundry on account of the fact that my head looked like it had just been schmoozed by a hagfish. This tactic DOES work for some people, admittedly, but only those folks who aren’t blessed with overzealous sebaceous glands that are the as yet undiscovered solution to the world’s fossil fuel crisis.


4. “Carrots help you see in the dark”

STEP AWAY FROM THE CARROT. This is a myth that was spread by accident to parents everywhere via the Air Ministry during World War II, who circulated the news that British pilots were guzzling carrots in order to see better, thus preventing the Germans from figuring out that it was in fact radar giving the night bombers the perspicacious peepers they needed. Sure, vitamin A has a range of health benefits, but if it’s seeing in the dark that you’re after, I’d recommend getting your mitts on a torch. Or a radar system.

That said, were we to overdose on carrots, the amount of beta carotene you’d ingest means that your skin would turn orange. If hi-vis vests have taught us anything – other than that they vastly increase the whistling capacity AND sex appeal of any given man – it’s that obnoxious orange is indeed highly visible. Chomp on, children.

5. “Junk food gives you bad skin”

This guy, paired with #1, is the dream team of evil twins. You know what gives you bad skin? Stress. Hormones. Genes. Sensitivity to certain ingredients in beauty products. And of course rubbing a melted Twix over your forehead, which I suppose means that #3 is actually only half-false. There are far more troubling effects of junk food though, so let’s start talking about cancer and arthritis and diabetes and heart disease, and leave the bad skin to exams and teenage heartbreak.

6. Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy et al

Does anyone else still have nightmares about the time they witnessed the beloved Father Christmas stumbling through a darkened bedroom, tripping over a box of Barbies, and tearing off his beard to reveal the sweaty face of their actual father? And the time they found out that their left molar was apparently only worth 20p, whereas their sibling’s right incisor netted a cool 50p? Even though you KNOW you brushed your gnashers for longer than they did?

The memory of such gross and inexplicable injustices still make my blood run cold. Cold like a deception-weary reptile. Speaking of which, we also have the opportunity here to put Crocs out of business, so let’s snap to it and give the truth a chance.