Even if I weren’t a bikini kind of gal, the notion that anyone needs to undergo a body bootcamp to prep for the beach or poolside is ridiculous. It’s meant to be a holiday, not an assault course
Trying on a new bikini last week I realised there should be one of those special places in hell reserved for whoever came up with the phrase ‘beach body ready’.
It’s managed to turn the buying of new swimwear into an even more loaded challenge than many women already find it.
I need to spool back here a couple of years to one of the most surreal moments in my life, when my Instagram selfie in a Boden bikini appeared in national newspapers and on a zillion websites.
Here it is again on this page. If I’d thought for even two seconds about what message the picture sent before I posted it – which, since I’m not a professional Instagrammer, I didn’t – I would have said it was simply a carelessly happy, snap.
This was on my first holiday after leaving Vogue, with a long summer to look forward to.
I did not think, as one fellow Mail columnist suggested, that I was showing my ‘wobbly bits’ as penance for having propagated unrealistic images of women throughout my career.
Nor, as many of the online comments kindly suggested, did I consider myself ‘brave’ (surely the least appropriate use of the adjective imaginable) by exposing my mosquito-bitten, middle-aged body this way.
Now it’s perfectly true that, as a friend of mine remarked the other day, I’m missing the neural link so many women have which makes them uncomfortable exposing a chubby tummy.
Trying on a new bikini last week I realised there should be one of those special places in hell reserved for whoever came up with the phrase ‘beach body ready’. A stock photo of a woman on a beach is used above [File photo]
I don’t love mine. I’m certainly not proud of it. But when it comes down to a choice between the sheer, sensual pleasure of feeling sun and sea on my bare skin or squishing said area into a swimsuit or high-waisted ‘control’ bikini briefs, there’s no competition.
Even if I weren’t a bikini kind of gal, the notion that anyone needs to undergo a body bootcamp to prep for the beach or poolside is ridiculous. It’s meant to be a holiday, not an assault course.
Rather than fretting over whether we are exposing ‘wobbly bits’, stretch marks, body hair, cellulite or any of the other hotspots we tend to worry about, we should take a leaf out of the books of local women on Mediterranean beaches.
You find these matriarchs in their 80s unabashedly strolling along the sand in a variety of swimwear, proudly trailing great-grandchildren and often an elderly spouse in skimpy Speedos (not so keen on them!), tucking vigorously into a gelato. Now they’re my role model.
Even monsters can make you laugh
You know how it is. Somebody invites you to a play months in advance and then, when the night arrives, you find it’s had terrible reviews.
That’s what happened to us last week as we took our seats at David Mamet’s widely maligned Bitter Wheat, featuring John Malkovich as a thinly disguised Harvey Weinstein.
That’s what happened to us last week as we took our seats at David Mamet’s widely maligned Bitter Wheat, featuring John Malkovich (above) as a thinly disguised Harvey Weinstein
We’d all agreed that if it was as bad as the reviews we would make a run for it at the interval. But after the first few minutes it was clear that we would be staying for the duration.
Malkovich is wildly over-the-top yet hilarious as the monstrous producer, supported by two strong female leads, Doon Mackichan playing his long-term PA, and Ioanna Kimbook as a young hopeful.
Mamet has been lambasted just for being a male playwright daring to address the issue of Weinstein’s abuse of women, never mind making it the stuff of farce.
But why should men not be allowed, indeed encouraged, to excavate this territory and more importantly to use humour rather than polemic to explore uncomfortable issues? At the final curtain, the standing ovation showed the rest of the audience seemed to agree.
Want to get rich? Help Russians divorce
London divorce QCs are licking their lips at the prospect of representing Princess Haya in her split from her husband Sheikh Mohammed. The pair are pictured above in 2009
London divorce QCs are licking their lips at the prospect of representing Princess Haya in her split from her husband Sheikh Mohammed in what is bound to be a spectacular and lucrative case.
The current instability in Hong Kong has caused a slowdown in that rich divorce market which employs many of our top legal guns, so an opening in the Middle East will be welcome.
For the moment though, Russians remain the top-dollar clients doing a brisk turnover in wives and, as I was told by one of the most successful barristers in the field, racking up enormous fees because they ‘never, ever want to settle’.
A row that really erupted…
Last summer, as we tucked into dinner on the slopes of Stromboli (which erupted last week), we were entertained by small pops of flaming magma from the crater.
They were the regular sideshow at the restaurant, as was the sight of the long trail of hikers’ headlamps as they headed back down the volcano in the dark.
At the time, my partner David regarded me as a complete wuss for not wanting to join them the next day, claiming that I was catastrophising and that there was absolutely NO danger of an eruption. Hmm? I think I’ll strike that one up to me.
My failed love match with Ilie Nastase
Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff is this year’s spectacular new Wimbledon talent.
At that age, my own claim to tennis fame was as a ball girl in a pre-Wimbledon knock-up tournament, with my love god of the time, Ilie Nastase, on court.
I had visions of his spotting me crouching at the net, as I masterfully rolled balls down the tramlines. He would declare his heart captured, or at least buy me a drink.
How brutal it was, to find our sole connection was when he flung a dud ball back at me in a fury, when it didn’t have the right bounce.
Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff (above) is this year’s spectacular new Wimbledon talent. At that age, my own claim to tennis fame was as a ball girl in a pre-Wimbledon knock-up tournament
The best of frenemies
Has the concept of frenemies reached new heights with Boris’s frequent, patronising allusions to ‘our friends in Brussels’?
Men behaving badly – right outside my door
Regular readers probably know we live opposite a park. What you don’t know, however, is that because of this, the street has become a public urinal.
What makes men think it’s OK to stand outside our house, unzip and blithely pee through the park railings at any time of their choosing?
Just because anatomy allows such behaviour, doesn’t mean it’s remotely acceptable. And just because they can’t see me, it doesn’t mean I don’t see them.