For around 50 weeks of the year I am happy with my body, not ecstatic, but not depressed. I have come to terms with the fact that I either spend the second half of my life on a permanent diet, or accept that I am no longer seven and a half stone and would rather enjoy my food, than look like Madonna. I was thin until my late 30's and even after I had children I was one of those lucky people that lost weight when breastfeeding (yes it does happen to real people) I can't chart the exact age (as I have never ever been weight obsessed) but very slowly time, age and gravity took its tole and I found myself with a middleagead body. Most of the time I manage this quite well and am reasonably happy. In fact, I have often commented that I have the opposite of anorexia, when I look in the mirror I still see my 30 something thin self. Perhaps 'plumporexia' may become a recognised term in the future!!
The problem is, there are two weeks (sometimes three) when one can no longer hide behind smock dresses and footless tights, cleverly cut poplin tops from COS, slimline tunics and flattering high waisted jeans. Oh no, on holiday (especially when its 38 degrees) there is no escape, no denial, no other way, one has to bare all with the best of them and face the consequences. A spray tan can help for the first day. It's bad enough being the biggest, but one simply doesn't want to be the whitest too, but obviously caution is advised. Overweight Jodie Marsh is not a good look.
This year on our annual holiday I was managing well, I had brought lots of stylish kaftan's and embroidered tunics to get me from the pool entrance to the sunbed and had found a cleverly cut, flattering swimsuit. That is, until day three, when we were all settled round the pool. I was under a brolly with several heavy weight feminist tomes and one chick lit novel (guese which one I was reading?) Kids were happily plugged into Beyonnce and ChipMunk and middlegagedad was working on his tan (he goes a bit George Hamilton after a couple of weeks in the sun)
I commented on the cultural trip we were to take later in the day and received no answer, all normal there then, as I am totally used to being ignored (especially when organising educational trips) I tried again, still no response. Middleagedad and teen son seem to be fixated on something or someone at the other side of the pool.
I glance across to see a gorgeous Euro couple settling themselves into their sunbeds. The man looks gay to me (as do a lot of European men, I think I spend too much time with gay men) and the women is stunning, that is, if you like deeply tanned blondes with fake boobs and a g sting. A g string, what the HELL is that about. We're not in St Tropez for pity sake (I feel myself getting worked up)
I try again with the conversation, 'so what time shall we leave for the Alhambra?' Still no response, by now they are practically drooling and I catch a sneaky look of appreciation pass between them, they may even have winked at each other!
I take another look at her, I try to think in a sisterly way and remember that she's a women too and women should stick together. But OMG how smooth and firm is her bottom, has she had botox on her bum, and those boobs defy gravity?
'Oh silly cow', I say really loudly (middlegaed tourrettes has definitely kicked in) 'she definitely doesn't have a brain and she must have had surgery!' Middleagedad and teen son reply without averting their gaze, 'we don't care, she's fabulous.'
I throw down my book and stomp off for an almond Magnum.