En route to Jakarta some weeks ago, the woman seated next to me on the plane struck up a conversation and our chat turned to the seven deadly sins. She asked me what mine was. Hers was vanity, she was quick to share. “Without a doubt” she declared “I will do anything to preserve my looks”

I looked over her. Blessed with fine features and willowy yet voluptuous figure, she was breathtakingly pretty – the sort of woman men want, and other women just love to hate. From our conversation, she was also fiercely intelligent, and I was to discover later that she’s a genuinely nice person to boot.

Life just isn’t fair sometimes. But, I completely understood where she was coming from.

A bout of chickenpox some years before shocked me into realizing just how vain I truly am. Really, there’s nothing like a conflagration of angry red welts on your face and body to make you want to rush out and buy the world’s stock of miracle creams, just in case.

Of course I am vain. I dare say we all are. Vanity bonds women in our quest for the best shade of lipstick or the most powerful anti-ageing product, and sometimes messes up beyond belief along the way.

The woman I met on the plane has since had a nip here, a tuck there on a regular basis. She’s still fabulously pretty, but in the preternaturally ageless way reminiscent of Hollywood celebrities who have tweaked their looks judiciously over the years –- you know who they are.When do you cross the line from everyday vanity (in which you want to look your best in a certain amount of time) to a delusional quest for perfection (to stave off the inevitable march of time)?

I’m not sure I will willingly go under the knife to improve my looks. Even the thought of it makes my toes curl. Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder yet sometimes it doesn’t hurt to cut yourself some slack, let yourself go just a little bit.

My deadly sin? Sloth