Men, does your weedy physique or receding hair line make you feel inadequate? Women, do you worry about wrinkles or whether to brave the pain of a bikini-line Brazilian wax? Ever feel that all of us, every day, are bombarded with images of physical perfection that are impossible to live up to?

Relax. In ancient Egypt they had it worse. A slim-waisted, broad-shouldered, muscular torso was the masculine ideal; both sexes wore elaborate wigs and oiled their skin to slow the signs of aging; women opted for total body-hair removal — and wore pleated skirts open at the front to reveal the alluring result.

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