I followed my female friend’s routine for a week and it was absolute hell

Fake tan, painted nails AND shaving armpits

I’m just going to say it – boys have it just as hard as girls. We men have an equal amount of struggles to women, we’re just programmed by society to mercilessly stamp them down into the darkest pits of our conscience. And I’ll have you know that some of us put just as much effort into our appearance.

At least, this was my viewpoint until this week, during which I’ve been living the same routine as my female coworker, Bean.

During a discussion over who has it harder, we agreed that I’d follow her daily routine for a week, to find out who really does have the harder life, from the sweaty spin class right down to the last lick of nail varnish. And you know what? I WAS WRONG. Women completely, utterly, one hundred per cent have it harder. The shit they go through to be considered “presentable” or “attractive” to the world is insane, and honestly I, salute you. Here is my journey to the path of enlightenment.

Shaving is a pain in the arse, quite literally

The first step was to shave my entire body. Head to toe – apart from the arms, as this is “weird” apparently.

Sorry folks

Unfortunately, a stubble shave isn’t an option for women. With a small bit of experience with manscaping, I knew that I’d be itching and dealing with ingrowns for the next week after this experience (hence the very witty subheading).

Not comfortable in the slightest

If there was an aspect of my experience shaving that sums up perfectly how laborious this is for women, then it would be that after around ten minutes of shaving, my razor ran out of battery, leaving me half shorn. Without my hair, I felt like an itchy, uncooked chicken. Girls, I fully sympathise.

Fake tan is an evil substance

When I was told I had to fake tan, I was actually quite excited to properly try it out, but little did I know that by the end of the week:

a) A constant biscuity aroma would follow me and cling to my skin no matter how much I showered.

b) It stains clothing and bedsheets.

c) You can’t get any on your hands. Like, at all.

After rubbing it in, I was relatively happy with my bronzed hue at first. Yes, it accentuated my blemishes, spots and (poor) facial hair, but it certainly gave me a little glow:

HOWEVER, just when I was thanking the gods of everything St Moritz for not turning me an unsavoury colour, I learnt that it develops over time. Getting up to grab a drink 4 hours after application, I turned the lights on to see a bizarre amalgamation of brown, green and red painted all over my face:

Just nah.

This was problematic for a number of reasons. My face soaked up too much tan and, although a shower limited the fake tans effects, I was still thoroughly bronzed despite only keeping it on for half of its 8 hour recommended time.

Also, it’s not only difficult to cover every part of your body on your own, but you also have to ensure that you leave both the bottle and the mitt in an appropriate place. Too many times I’d prop the bottle up incorrectly and it would fall onto my bed, staining it with the residue from the lid.

I’m not being remotely dramatic by saying that fake tan ruined my life.

Spin classes are a girl’s best friend

I reluctantly shelled out £22 to attend a spin class with the girls (that they routinely pay once a week wtf), and readied myself for what I had been told was a motivating, euphoria-inducing and overall fun experience.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. My clothing soaked up my bodily juices like a sponge as I panted through 40 minutes of pumping EDM nightmare. The instructor was very insistent that I keep putting up the resistance on the bike despite me not wanting to, and it ended up being the most intense workout of my life which, after training for a half marathon a couple of years ago, I didn’t think was possible:

The only action shot I managed to get – the instructor was too scary (also peep the plucked eyebrows)

Painting nails is long. Keeping them that way is longer.

How they’re painted without getting nail varnish on the surrounding skin is nothing short of talent.

I fucked this up so badly by such an alarming magnitude that my female colleagues had to take over the responsibility, but come on. How can you keep your hand still enough not to go Jackson Pollock on the rest of your fingers? How do you stop them from getting chipped at every opportunity? Jesus Christ, this was a nuisance.

Night before/morning prep is a very real and time-consuming thing

If you have a female friend and you get annoyed at how long she takes to get ready, or how the shower room is seemingly forever occupied, just know that there are always a number of good reasons. She isn’t idling about, thinking of what she wants for dinner in there, let me assure you.

Bean’s routine meant that my shower time was a hectic affair, having to shave my legs and armpits, shampoo and leave conditioner in my hair (for 5-10 minutes, what the HECK!), rub oil into my hair afterwards and moisturise my whole body. What usually is a 3-5 minute shower for me, where I address the hair and main body areas, turned into a full-on 20 minute ordeal.

Actually, there’s preparation for everything down to the last detail

You’d think that it would simply be outfit prep for the next day (which is already an alien enough concept), but planning for an outfit can take place DAYS in advance in order to smash the evening. This means that, unlike most of my male friends, girls make plans far in advance and stick to them so that they have the maximum amount of control over the smallest of factors.

It was a unique experience having to actually think about what I wanted to wear days in advance rather than eyeballing the old t-shirt in the washing basket and giving it a sniff to assess cleanliness.

There are too many products required for different things

What, so I can’t use the face moisturiser on my body and can’t use the body one on my face? There is literally no reason why I shouldn’t be able to, right?

Bean’s standard routine

Speaking of which, they’re all ridiculously expensive. I had heard that women’s products were supposed to be expensive, but £35 for a bottle of fake tan and a mitt?! Fuck off.

Girls have to stay on top of every likely situation

I had to carry a bag that seemed to have so many solutions for various eventualities that I was surprised there wasn’t a bloody blow-up lifeboat in there – tampons, painkillers, makeup, tissues, wipes, makeup and many more bits. This was just the start of some of the bits I carried about on the daily:

Everything is meticulously planned. How they manage to focus on anything else like work with all these smaller tasks and life admin bits to stay on top of is nothing short of mind-boggling.

So. Much. Moisture.

There’s moisturising at every opportunity: morning, evening, post-shower, when it’s a cold windy day, or just for the hell of it sometimes.

Face masks are a bonus for girls who truly have their shit together (and me)

This made an already uncomfortably clammy tube ride to work a whole load clammy-er, as my body endeavoured to remove as much of the foreign liquid from my pores as possible.

You genuinely don’t know how time-consuming this stupid bullshit is, and from what conversations I’ve had with girls over this week, they think it is exactly that also. There are simply too many inconveniences that the modern woman either feels compelled to face, or has no control over whether she must. From small stupid stuff like having trouser pockets that are too small to be utilised (if even there), to having to constantly wear a hairband on the wrist just in case. There’s so much thought that goes into everything, and it is honestly a massive pain.

The final commute to work made for the perfect summation of how terrible this experience had been. Not only is being on the tube with painted nails NOT it. Oh, actually how about sweating all your moisturiser and fake tan into your t-shirt? Or even having your freshly shaved appendage itching intensely and not being able to do anything about it? Being a girl is, unequivocally, the worst thing that ever happened to me.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• All the gross things boys do that girls don’t even have a clue about

• I switched to women’s toiletries for a week and realised it’s all a big con

• Apparently testicles have tastebuds so I dipped mine in soy sauce to prove it