Peaches and Face Cream

Poor little Peachy Geldof! The sharp-tongued denizens of New York City have been calling her “tranny” and other unpleasant names. This discourtesy has been provoked by Peachy appearing in public with several layers of foundation on her face. For some mysterious reason she acquired a queer fancy to mimic Boy George, the hermaphrodite singer of the 1980s. This aptly illustrates the danger of fame at too young an age – lacking a sense of decorum, one is tempted to indulge in grotesque displays. Young female baboons often smack their own bottoms to make them appear more swollen and red. It never impresses the males.

If I were Peachy’s guardian, I would send her to a convent until the age of 27. Mother Superior would be given strict instructions not to tolerate her conceits and caprices. She would be permitted to read classics of English literature such as Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, and expected to give a seminar on each book. Any inane opinions would be ruthlessly censured and derided by the nuns. She would only be allowed to leave the convent in the company of four strong-willed sisters, armed with coshes and mace sprays. By such means, she would be prevented from engaging in frivolous behaviour that might otherwise haunt her to her dying day. In the fullness of time, she would appreciate what I had done for her:

“My dear Uncle Bananas!” she might say to me on her wedding day. “What a headstrong filly I was, and how I needed to be restrained for my own good! What chance that I would have wed the honourable Chad Cadwalader without my corrective sojourn in a convent? I owe my good fortune to your timely intervention.”

Let me emphasize, in passing, that I have no issue with humans wearing make-up. If one habitually exposes one’s bare skin to the elements, there is much to be said for a little plastering and varnishing to fill in the cracks and cover the blemishes. As a former circus ape, I fully appreciate its decorative function as well. Fellow performers of both genders used cosmetics to beautify themselves before appearing in the ring. It made the women look like dolls and the men look like Freddie Mercury. I never needed to wear the stuff myself, of course – a gorilla’s noble countenance needs no decoration.

"What about clowns?" I hear you ask. They are a special case. The purpose of their face paint is to make them look like clowns, which it never fails to do. It amuses me that some humans actually find them frightening. It seems they are scared of the mask-like quality of the make-up, which allows the clown to hide its true emotions from the observer. Beneath the painted-on goofy expression, they fear that the clown may be glaring at them malevolently and planning to assault them in their beds.

I must say such thoughts never entered my head. My job was simply to kick the clowns in the arse, which I did repeatedly with considerable zest. We gorillas never over-analyse the intentions of a potential adversary. Ignore the attitude but watch the movements, as we say in the jungle.

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