Some fads, I’ll never understand. Bouffants. Tube tops. Justin Bieber. Those hats you wear to Ascot, like a pheasant on your bonce. Honestly, what’s the appeal? But this detox fad, yeah. Yeah. I get it. Not that I’m into it, but I see it. I see the allure.
It’s about getting older. It starts around puberty, this grubby sort of feeling. Your skin goes all funny, with slick bits and dry bits and bumps that don’t belong. Parts of you smell weird. Your hair stops behaving. And that’s just the start of it. The more years you put on, the more it settles in, gripes on aches on twinges, right down to your bones.
It feels like contamination, like it’s not really part of you. Like there’s something inside you that doesn’t belong, sludge in your tastebuds and grit in your joints, a knot in your belly that just won’t let go. You start thinking, y’know, if you could just get that out, it could be like it was when your body still loved you, all clean and fresh and new.
You try a juice cleanse. You gulp lemon-cayenne fire and spend a week on the bog, and, damn. You feel better. The shitstorm’s over, and of course it feels good. But another week goes by, and your relief’s worn off, and it’s in you again, must’ve gulped a GMO, huffed up a chemtrail. There’s something inside you that shouldn’t be there, and only juice will flush it out.
You join a few cleanse groups, a health forum or two. Everyone’s raving about activated charcoal. The rational side of you says guzzling down carbon might not be so smart—like, sure, it soaks up poison, but what else is it sponging? Maybe something you need? But they’re serving it at juice bars, mixed with kefir and ice cream. It’s in cocktails and hamburger buns. What harm could there be?
Then comes the weird shit. Rhubarb pearls to cleanse your cunt. Stickers to draw out your stress. Rubs and soaks and infusions, both for internal and external use. “Ayahuasca” teas, which may or may not contain ayahuasca. Ice diets and clay diets and aged urine enemas. Colloidal silver, to hell with argyria. Cupping. Kinesiotape.
It’s silly, but what’s the alternative? Accepting your body’s decline. Those aches are a part of you, like the softness round your waist. There’s no mercury in your joints, just normal wear and tear. Late nights are to blame for your lethargy, figs for your room-clearing farts. You’re a bag of meat and bacteria, oxidising in your skin. Rusting away, sort of thing. It’s all right. Life is finite. No-one escapes.
Mother says, to stay healthy, one should eat like a Sardinian, bread and meat and cheese, and a lot of fresh vegetables. My doctor says the same, plus red wine. I’m inclined to agree: between a Mediterranean diet and strange herbs up my fanny, there’s really no contest. Antipasto; strange discharge—no contest at all.
Still, that foreign-body feeling, I see how a person might do anything to get it out. That lump in my throat I can’t swallow, I know it’s just acid, but if I could eat a leaf and dissolve it, what I wouldn’t give!
When the pain’s bad enough, any salve seems appealing.
PS – Restaurants! When I see “detox” anything on your menu, I think it’ll give me diarrohea and don’t eat it. Stop trying to sell me a diarrhoea kale salad. Also, I prefer arugula.