I think I speak on behalf of most human beings when I say "When we are young, we are most impressionable".
We are, aren't we?
We're eager to light up so we can be as cool and sophisticated as those older than us, despite our initial response being cough, cough, splatter, "yuck!"
We spend hours in front of the mirror with ten different hair products aiming to replicate that impossibly stylish look that is sported by our teen screen idols -not to mention applying layers of make up to hide our blemishes and mask who we really are.
We turn to methods of pulling hairs out by their roots in order to have smooth silky skin for longer, despite the excruciating pain we endure to achieve such carnal beauty. To top it all off we mask our natural youthful aromas by spraying an assortment of scents, everything from cheap all over body deodorants to expensive French perfumes.
If you're lucky, there'll come a time when you meet someone who changes your way of thinking - forever. Such a time occurred in 1992 when I shared a house with six fresh-faced Londoners in the south east borough of Lewisham.
I met a young lad named Alan (pictured) who turned my attention to natural beauty. I was astounded to learn that he did not care for the overwhelming pungency of perfume no matter how expensive it was. He was not repulsed by female bodily hair and he preferred women without make up and overdone hairstyles. Wow.
Having shared the same abode with Alan for some time, I began to relax in my body and feel confident to walk out the door sans make up and avec a few strands of rogue hair. I was no longer ashamed of being natural.
In case you're wondering, Alan and I shared a purely platonic friendship despite the fact that I thought he was rather dishy at the time.
So for those of you who are inspired by the fact that I'm comfortable in my own skin, you now know how I reached that point. And for that, I thank Mr. Alan.
Until tomorrow, give thanks to those who have changed your life for the better.
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