Sunday, 5 August 2012

Dare to bare!

This post started out life as a personal rant in one of the Never Diet Again newsletters but I've been thinking about it a lot since then and so I decided to post it here too.

About a week ago, self-styled 'Etiquette Expert' and all-round stuffed shirt, William Hanson went on ITV's This Morning (a UK morning television show) to argue that women over 50 should not be allowed to wear bikinis. In fact, he added, women under 50 who didn't have great bodies should have the decency to cover up too. In the opposite corner, mature hottie Nancy Dell'Olio was arguing that you could be over 50 and still va-va-voom in a bikini. Click here to watch the old-before-his-time fuzzy cheeked Mr Hanson argue his side whilst squirming with embarrassment and trying not to look at Nancy's legs.

What pretty much everybody seemed to be missing was that if you want to wear a bikini, that is entirely your decision, and nobody else's business but yours. Whether you are tall or short, straight up and down or well-blessed with what my hubby calls Cuddle Padding, whether you are smooth as a baby's bottom or sporting a chest full of ginger curly hair, whoever you are and whatever you look like, if you would rather spend your day at the beach in a two piece, then that is your right.

Mr Hanson rehashed his ridiculous argument the next morning on a local radio station. If you feel like tearing your hair out, you can listen to the segment here - it starts around the 1 hour 17 minute mark. The man clearly has issues with his own body, and apparently thinks it only right that nobody else should be happy with theirs either. Or even if you are so deluded as to think you do look good in a bikini, he claims, if your attire makes anybody else feel uncomfortable, then you shouldn't do it. It's not polite. And he feels uncomfortable. And some people agree with him. So there.

I suppose he would argue that if people are uncomfortable with two men or two women holding hands on the beach (or anywhere else) then that shouldn't be done either. Actually, he seems the sort who would be just as uncomfortable seeing a public display of affection from a 'traditional' couple. What if people are uncomfortable seeing ethnic bodies at the beach, or mixed race couples, or people with scarring. Some people might be uncomfortable seeing a group of severely disabled children on a day trip to the seaside. Clearly these people should stay at home behind closed doors for the good of common decency and not have the temerity to spoil Mr Hanson's Big Day Out.

Of course, there's always the alternative. Look somewhere else. Or if you're that sensitive about seeing other people in less than head to toe cover up, don't go to the beach!

On a personal note, following my first year of HAES, this summer, for the first time ever, I have gone (gasp) sleeveless! Gone are the angst-ridden frustrating attempts to buy summer clothes with sleeves. To never purchase any item that doesn't come with a cover up. This year, clothes are just clothes, and I have dared to bare. And I finally understand why most summer clothes aren't made with sleeves. No, it's not a conspiracy against fat people. It's because in hot weather, it is more comfortable not to be covered up. Mr Hanson, who looked damned uncomfortable on that sofa, should try it sometimes. In fact, in the last couple of months I have been to the supermarket, to concerts, to dinner, and just gone about my daily business in sleeveless tops. And you know what? To date, not a single person has keeled over in horror at the sight of my upper arms. Who knew?

I'd like to leave you with the wise words of Mrs Avoirdupois on the two important steps you need to take to get a beach body.

Number one: have a body.
Number two: take it to the beach.