Sunday, 17 May 2009

Strike a pose

What is with the gym and beautiful people?

I’m not talking about bulging biceps or buns of steel. No. I’m talking about styled hair, mascara and lipstick. Why do people have to look so God damn glamorous when they’re at the gym?

It’s a difficult concept to get my head around. You wake up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and think “I know, I’ll go to the gym”. You grab your gym gear and water bottle, but before heading out the door you decide a bit of makeup wouldn’t go amiss.

Um, why?

Let’s think about this. Gym equals exercise. Exercise equals hot and sweaty. Hot and sweaty equals tomato look-a-like, equals unglamorous.

Well this is how it works for me.

Within five minutes of befriending the stepping machine I’m panting like a heifer, thighs wobbling, wishing I hadn’t consumed that second piece of chocolate cake. My face is now turning an unpleasant shade of red, a sticky dampness is forming on the back of my neck and I have the distinct feeling my underarms might be starting to smell.

Some foundation and mascara is not going to help that.

Indeed, if I was wearing makeup, I believe my face might resemble a tan-coloured oil slick, with smudged eyeliner and a drink bottle sporting a pink hue where I’ve been sipping.

But who cares about that – it’s all about the exercise.

And if my exercising neighbours are lucky I might just push myself hard enough where a grunt escapes my mouth or strain my facial muscles in such a way my face is contorted into what some perverts have dubbed “the sex-face”.

Hmmm attractive. Not!

So am I the only one that works hard enough to bring up a sweat?

Oh ok, so maybe that is the trick. Just don’t do any exercise.

But we have a problem folks. I suspect these makeup-wearing, sex-oozing Aphrodites are frauds. There is no way she could have biceps like that without some elbow grease, and that washboard stomach wasn’t purchased over the internet (even if the boobs were).

My theory is she has a bit on the side – aka a personal trainer. It is the only way to explain how she can afford to waste an hour batting her lashes at the hunk pumping iron by the mirror.

So the question is, are you fit to be seen or seen to be fit?

Alternatively, I could just invest in some waterproof foundation.


Saturday, 9 May 2009

An untapped market

Boys, boys, boys. Where are you? You’re missing out on an untapped market.

Now I know when you break up with someone the last thing you want to hear is “don’t worry dear, there’s plenty more fish in the sea”. Not only is this the most stupid saying – and whoever invented it should be shot – but it’s only fine and dandy if you know where to fish.

After living in London for two and a-half years, I’m starting to think that there is either: a) a serious man drought; b) some form of insidious pollution killing off eligible bachelors; or c) something seriously wrong with the bait on offer.

Now the thing is I know it’s not just me thinking this. I have several single female friends in the same empty fishing boat.

And I know there are more – because I’ve found a readily available source of them.

That’s right boys; no more complaining you can’t find a good woman. The secret is to go on tour.

I recently returned from a chartered tour of the Lake District, home of William Wordsworth, with about 40 fellow travellers. About 12 were in couples, the rest were girls – the majority single at that. And keen to meet a likeminded intrepid traveller of the male sex.

If there had been a single guy on our tour he would have had a smorgasbord of female morsels to choose from – girls from at least three different nationalities, big, small, blonde, brunette, relaxed, high maintenance. It was all there ripe for the picking.

And everyone knows what happens on “tours” – a heady mixture of confined bus quarters, shared enthusiasm for travelling, party atmosphere and an often never-ending imbibing of alcohol. What better place for some bloke to try out his new pick-up line.

But sadly there were no pick-up lines on this tour and no eye candy.

I can understand why guys shy away from chartered tours – they’re blokes, they do man stuff, drive their own cars, party all night, sleep till noon, seek more adventure, and of course prefer to “sample” the “local” goods.

Yes, I can see why Wordsworth and poetry wouldn’t really do it for the average guy.

So while, from a single-girl point of view, tours are about as useful relationship-potential-wise as going to a gay bar, they are undeniably an untapped market for men; no beer goggles needed.

Forget internet or speed dating – tour surfing, like wedding crashing, is the way to meet a woman.

And what goes on tour stays on tour.

An untapped market

Boys, boys, boys. Where are you? You’re missing out on an untapped market.

Now I know when you break up with someone the last thing you want to hear is “don’t worry dear, there’s plenty more fish in the sea”. Not only is this the most stupid saying – and whoever invented it should be shot – but it’s only fine and dandy if you know where to fish.

After living in London for two and a-half years, I’m starting to think that there is either: a) a serious man drought; b) some form of insidious pollution killing off eligible bachelors; or c) something seriously wrong with the bait on offer.

Now the thing is I know it’s not just me thinking this. I have several single female friends in the same empty fishing boat.

And I know there are more – because I’ve found a readily available source of them.

That’s right boys; no more complaining you can’t find a good woman. The secret is to go on tour.

I recently returned from a chartered tour of the Lake District, home of William Wordsworth, with about 40 fellow travellers. About 12 were in couples, the rest were girls – the majority single at that. And keen to meet a likeminded intrepid traveller of the male sex.

If there had been a single guy on our tour he would have had a smorgasbord of female morsels to choose from – girls from at least three different nationalities, big, small, blonde, brunette, relaxed, high maintenance. It was all there ripe for the picking.

And everyone knows what happens on “tours” – a heady mixture of confined bus quarters, shared enthusiasm for travelling, party atmosphere and an often never-ending imbibing of alcohol. What better place for some bloke to try out his new pick-up line.

But sadly there were no pick-up lines on this tour and no eye candy.

I can understand why guys shy away from chartered tours – they’re blokes, they do man stuff, drive their own cars, party all night, sleep till noon, seek more adventure, and of course prefer to “sample” the “local” goods.

Yes, I can see why Wordsworth and poetry wouldn’t really do it for the average guy.

So while, from a single-girl point of view, tours are about as useful relationship-potential-wise as going to a gay bar, they are undeniably an untapped market for men; no beer goggles needed.

Forget internet or speed dating – tour surfing, like wedding crashing, is the way to meet a woman.

And what goes on tour stays on tour.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The sheep hills

I should have guessed when I saw the creamy white ice cream with golden gooey chunks, aptly named honeycomb, that it just wasn’t going to be the same as New Zealand Hokey Pokey. It might have been home grown in the chocolate box region of the British Cotswolds but it just didn’t tick the creamy, sweet, or addictively good boxes.

Disappointing yes, but it’s not like the Cotswolds are really known for their milk or cows – it’s sheep all the way. During the 13th to 15th Centuries the region was famous for its wool. And indeed, its sheep is where the region, about the size of greater Tokyo, got its name – cots means sheep, wolds means hills.

And the hills are plentiful. Green and rolling; the first signs of spring showing with bright yellow daffodils. And in the stone-walled paddocks, little lambs bounce around like energizer bunnies.

It’s just a pity about the people. The Cotswolds are notoriously popular and as a British tourist attraction, the region rates high.

It’s understandable, what with the quaintness of English villages, meandering rivers and relaxed pace of life, but the Cotswolds are not for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of London.

Trying to cross the road in Burford not only took considerable skill but bountiful patience as fancy sports car after fancy sports car zoomed past.

In Bourton-on-the-Water, you were lucky to get a spot by the riverside as families flocked to see the rubber ducky race. While the queue for the unimpressive ice cream was more than 10 people long.

But one thing the Cotswolds do know how to do well is an English cream tea.

And where better to try mouth-watering scones topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream than the Lower Slaughter Manor Restaurant and Hotel.

A 17th Century country house, the manor has all the trimmings of English aristocracy and lavishness – log fires, gleaming silver and crystal and the impeccably manicured lawn of zebra stripes.

It’s a world away from slumming it in London. But I remember my manners and use the butter/cream knife and jam spoon as they were intended – serving the relishes to the side of my plate and then using my own knife to heap the jam and cream atop the scone. Mum would be proud.

And I wasn’t “slaughtered” in the process of consuming my cream tea. Despite the name of this little Cotswold village, there is no macabre history. Slaughter either comes from the Norman Knight, Philip de Sloitre – whose name proved too much for peasant pronunciation, or it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon meaning for muddy.

Whatever its meaning, this was one place in the Cotswolds that wasn’t swamped with people and provided a glimpse into the English heritage.

In a word, divine – just like the scones and jam.

The sheep hills

I should have guessed when I saw the creamy white ice cream with golden gooey chunks, aptly named honeycomb, that it just wasn’t going to be the same as New Zealand Hokey Pokey. It might have been home grown in the chocolate box region of the British Cotswolds but it just didn’t tick the creamy, sweet, or addictively good boxes.

Disappointing yes, but it’s not like the Cotswolds are really known for their milk or cows – it’s sheep all the way. During the 13th to 15th Centuries the region was famous for its wool. And indeed, its sheep is where the region, about the size of greater Tokyo, got its name – cots means sheep, wolds means hills.

And the hills are plentiful. Green and rolling; the first signs of spring showing with bright yellow daffodils. And in the stone-walled paddocks, little lambs bounce around like energizer bunnies.

It’s just a pity about the people. The Cotswolds are notoriously popular and as a British tourist attraction, the region rates high.

It’s understandable, what with the quaintness of English villages, meandering rivers and relaxed pace of life, but the Cotswolds are not for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of London.

Trying to cross the road in Burford not only took considerable skill but bountiful patience as fancy sports car after fancy sports car zoomed past.

In Bourton-on-the-Water, you were lucky to get a spot by the riverside as families flocked to see the rubber ducky race. While the queue for the unimpressive ice cream was more than 10 people long.

But one thing the Cotswolds do know how to do well is an English cream tea.

And where better to try mouth-watering scones topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream than the Lower Slaughter Manor Restaurant and Hotel.

A 17th Century country house, the manor has all the trimmings of English aristocracy and lavishness – log fires, gleaming silver and crystal and the impeccably manicured lawn of zebra stripes.

It’s a world away from slumming it in London. But I remember my manners and use the butter/cream knife and jam spoon as they were intended – serving the relishes to the side of my plate and then using my own knife to heap the jam and cream atop the scone. Mum would be proud.

And I wasn’t “slaughtered” in the process of consuming my cream tea. Despite the name of this little Cotswold village, there is no macabre history. Slaughter either comes from the Norman Knight, Philip de Sloitre – whose name proved too much for peasant pronunciation, or it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon meaning for muddy.

Whatever its meaning, this was one place in the Cotswolds that wasn’t swamped with people and provided a glimpse into the English heritage.

In a word, divine – just like the scones and jam.