Jealous or what? Ah, the human body. How many women wished they had a body like this? And how many men wished they looked like Charles Atlas? Who is Charles Atlas? In the 40/50’s all males aspired to have a bod like his. His Dynamic Tension work-out: a series of physical jerks to you and me; done for 10 minutes each day would leave you looking like Adonis. Then in the early 60’s there was something called a Bull-worker – a ball-breaker more like. Apparently my father had one, God knows why, I’d have thought he got enough upper body work-out shovelling coal all day.
We, the British, are not used to showing our bodies in public, in fact we get arrested for it. The other week we took the grandchildren to a leisure pool in Sweden, it was the best I’ve ever been in: did 5 lengths of the Olympic sized, laned-off, exercise pool, before I needed an oxygen tank. Then I nearly broke my finger on a stone wall as I was washed around the outdoor whirlpool, then nearly drowned under a cascade of water as Niagara Falls suddenly gushed when I was standing at the bottom of a climbing wall. To top it all, I had to hang on to my grandchildren who were being tossed about on a float when the wave machine was turned on, all of us being washed up every few seconds in the shallow end. Such fun. We were in there 3 hours and I came out half a stone lighter and looking like a prune.
I’m going to do a Michael Caine here by saying, “did you know?” – well I didn’t until I googled it. Being in water for so long makes you want to pee. During those 3 hours in the pool I left it 4 times to go to the lav – apparently its the weight of the water on your kidneys. I should have stayed in the hot-tub, or stuck to the baby-pool, it only had about six inches of water in it.
3 hours of water-torture is enough for anyone: even SAS recruits couldn’t stand it for that long. So I took me and my granddaughter off to the shower room to strip off for a hot shower. Every one in Sweden walks about the changing room stark-bollock naked, and I am now accustomed to doing the same. If you keep your costume on you begin to feel like a nurd; and in Denmark an attendant will insist: much to the chagrin of my sister-in-law, who, last year was ordered to take off her cozzy. My baby-brother: I still call him that even though he’s 6’2″ and built like a brick shit-house: was also severely traumatised when walking into the sauna behind a Dane whose member hung down; he said; nearly to his knees. Baby-brother still gasps when he remembers. I comfort him by telling him: nay lying: the man probably had a penile implant. And, as I always tell Hubby, size doesn’t matter, as he swore blind the surgeon had cut two inches off his manhood during a heart operation last year – come to think of it he does have rather a long scar. But the pièce de résistance to these sojourns is the sauna afterwards where one can lie naked on a towel drifting off into sleep.
Bodies come in different shapes and sizes, as I well know, being flashed once when walking to the bus station with a friend when I was 16. The young man walking towards us wore a mac, and his hands were in the pockets. As he opened the mac we saw his todger hanging from undone flies to flop about as he walked. Instead of screaming, we both laughed like drains at the short, stubby, pink, thing. But it was not nervous laughter: we were laughing at its curvature. Not been bowled a googly like it since.