Tag Archives: pilates

Invisible, fat and sex-free

12 Jul

Yesterday I received a letter from my employer thanking me for my ten years’ service and for my ongoing hard work. After the initial panic wondering where my life has gone, I conceded I was chuffed to get the letter (frankly, a bit of praise and I’m anyone’s). However, the thanks for my “ongoing hard work” worried me slightly because I have been on maternity leave for the past five months. Have they not noticed I’m not there? What that says about my contribution to the office I don’t want to think about. (Mental note to self: must work on raising profile when return to work.)

It started me thinking about where else I’ve become invisible since becoming an aspiring yummy (but more often than not ragged) mummy. (Aside from, that is, generally not being seen anywhere in the evenings near pubs, restaurants, cinemas, wild drinking sessions, etc, etc.)

Muscular young men touting gym membership no longer approach me and I’m sure it’s not because they think (a) I get lots of exercise pushing a buggy, or (b) that I look great already. However, I was approached randomly in the street by a postnatal personal trainer. Once I’d stopped feeling fat and offended I signed up to her pilates class. Excellent saleswoman, targeting the vulnerable. In fact, almost Rogue Trader material although without the conning aspect as she was darned right I needed to get sweaty. Those gym boys could learn a thing or two from her.

The orange women on makeup counters now turn their laden lashes away from me. (No facial expressions though – why’s that?) But thank god. No more running the gauntlet as I try to get to the products deemed important in my household – mostly baby wipes, tissues and cheap concealer. I’m clearly seen as one of those women who have let themselves go and wouldn’t know the difference between this season’s colour palette and what colour their baby’s poo should be.

I even seem to get less spam now from over familiar Russians trying to sell me Viagra and penis enlargers. How could a woman in her mid-30s with two kids (including a 14-week-old) possibly be interested in sex? Max Gentleman often used to be in touch with his special offers and I do so miss him. Shame on you Max for your fickleness – it’s the lithe, blonde, buxom ones who don’t need you in the first place, you know!

To quote the original Invisible Man: “my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone’s way but my own”. So hurrah for saggy bottomed jeans,  shaggy legs and ricecakes in your hair! And boo hiss to yummydom!

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Seeing blue

20 Feb

A couple of days ago I nearly killed myself doing a pregnancy pilates DVD. Admittedly I should have started doing it sooner than 34 weeks into my pregnancy. The teacher on the DVD had, despite being 36 weeks up the duff, retained an ability to move with the speed of one of the X-Men. I on the other hand had to keep hitting pause in order to get into the next position before she’d finished it. What’s more, Lil’ Miss California Flexibility (surely the bump was fake?) stated that she was naming her baby Sienna Chilli. Sienna – fine, but Chilli? That was enough pilates for me. Far too North London.

To cut a long tendon short (ouch), this brief experience of home exercise settled in my mind that swimming is the activity for me. (Principally because I’ve been doing it regularly for a while and therefore am not trying to master it at one of the least fit and inflexible times of my life, nor is there anyone to keep pace with and I can still perform it with relative speed – although now more like a whale than a dolphin.)

Arriving at the swimming pool midweek revealed a peaceful haven in comparison to the usual weekend rabble of toddlers screaming and dads trying to outdo each other on the diving boards. Midweek swimming promised proper lanes, serious swimmers and, without kids, far less pee in the pool (although there were lots of elderly folk so this latter assumption may have been ill-founded). And whilst we’re touching on the scatological (rubber gloves on of course) it never fails to amuse me that the sign for the toddler pool is always slightly obscured and thus reads ‘Teaching Poo’. How apt. Keep your mouth shut in that pool. It was lucky that my daughter only got a piece of foam stuck up her nose in there.

Unfortunately, the serious swimmers (ie those that like to swim up and down and don’t do underwater handstands) hadn’t totally eliminated the idiots. I was always sceptical of my brother’s tales of ‘swim rage’, thinking it was more to do with his lack of patience than the other swimmers. However I’ve grown to appreciate his intolerance. Offenders generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Those who have chosen to swim in a lane that is above their ability (the safest option I’ve found is always to opt for the ‘medium’ lane).
  • Those who can swim fast but splash like they’ve got trays strapped to their arms (clearly a failure of technique – speed over style is not going to earn you any friends in the pool, especially with people like me who swim in their contact lenses but no goggles and risk blindness at the merest hint of a ripple).

A particular offender in both categories was a one-armed man who swam with a float. Not only did he splash but he was also slow. Actually, it turned out that he had two arms so I’m not exactly sure what it was I saw sticking out of the water. Nothing would surprise me in a public pool, even in oh-so-civilised St Albans.

To pick up again on bodily functions (funny that – they always seem to be inextricably linked to public swimming baths), my mood was somewhat lightened by the ‘farting drain’. Located at the deep end of the pool (which I never get to at the weekend as it’s cordoned off for the diving board idiots and their belly flops and wedgies), the drain created noises to rival that of the glorious Whoopee Cushion. The trick was to wait until someone in the lane next to you drew up alongside the said drain, wait for the drain to let rip and then shoot them a look of combined horror and surprise. Ah, the joke that never gets old. Well it got them out of my water space pretty quickly and I even forgave them a splash.

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