Does anyone find those health and beauty newspaper supplements in the paper slightly crock ridden and completely guilt ridden. I have variously renamed them the guilty-envy pages, the party pooper pages or the smug section.
Sitting by the pool on our holiday with the newspaper, I inwardly congratulate myself on a few moments of rare relaxation and comprehensive news consumption, turn to said supplement and am instantly assaulted by, “Bikini Bootcamp 101”. The headline is coupled with a series of photos of an impossibly buffed, teeny bikini girl lifting and bending bits of her body while regularly spaced bits of my own bulge through the underside of the poolside lounge as I lift my glass and bend my elbow.
I silently pledge myself to 10 sets of bum crunches just as soon as poolbar happy hour is over and turn the page to a feature on the benefits of a gluten free diet. It comes complete with recipes, one of which gleefully reports on the brilliance of supplementing traditional “carb laden” pasta with shaved zucchini. I picture the reaction from my family if I dared dish up zucchini disguised as pasta. It would be something along the lines of: “You can wrap your pasta supplement in your newspaper supplement and shove the lot up your bottom and don’t try that on us again. You loser.”
So I turn the page again and lo! here’s a spread of healthy kids’ party ideas complete with pictures of little bits of asparagus rolled up in crustless wholemeal bread and home made muesli bars, which forgive me but screams a partyful of dismayed children with stinky wees shouting, “Where are the god damn honey joys?”. Having recently and openly discussed the merits of an ice cream cake made from ice cream, jelly beans and smarties for Lu’s upcoming birthday, I too felt dismayed. Should I be injecting health into my chidrens’ parties? Does this not defeat the purpose of a party?
Suddenly I’m questioning my right to do nothing and my mothering principles. I turn the page again, roughly this time.
Oh great, here’s an article about how microscopic remnant of faecal matter have been found on hotel remote controls. Having let the telly send my children to sleep for a few nights on holiday, their little hands clasping the novelty of a remote in bed, I’m again questioning myself as a parent. Never mind, yesterday some little turd planted three large turds at the bottom of the pool we were all swimming in and we seem ok. I move on, confident that our stool exposed immune systems are set for life. Shove that you smiley, gleaming health supplement editors.
On the next page are a few large advertisements for “delicious and nutritious” meal replacement shakes that looked nothing like any of the cocktails I’ve dieted on whilst away, a face cream with a fresh faced beauty gazing pointedly out at my sun exposed and increasingly wrinkled skin and some sort of krill oil claiming to assist brain function. Maybe I should just give up on Megoracle and take up krill oil.
Then there is a travel section dedicated to ‘wellness travel’, which is – with mojito in one hand and plans for another rich restaurant dinner – is clearly not what I’m doing. I have been taking spirulena when I remember and I thought about having a massage. And look at me reading the health pages. Will that do? Apparently not, say the glowing (glowering) faces of the mountain climbers, golfers and health spa patrons as they smile back at me. More guilt, more envy that I can’t ditch the kids or the comforts in favour of a bit of extreme sport, meditation, silence, and raw food (except a day or two of that and I’ll be craving our daily fix of raspberry sorbet and a bit of a gossip with friends). Okay okay, I’ll have prunes at the breakfast bar tomorrow.
Oh wait, on the next travel page there are some tips on bettering your chances of receiving a papal blessing when in Rome. Brilliant! I could go to Rome, eat, drink and gossip as much as I like and then be cleansed of all sins forever more by one small motion from His Holy Hand. Get me to Rome. What a smug bit of instagramming that would be – me kissing ring. And if I have prunes over there for breakfast too then it’ll be cleansing motions all ’round.
But the next page brings yet another batch of sin-ridden bombshells. It’s one of those god-awful fact pages about how long it takes you to burn off a slice of pizza/cocktail/piece of steak. Oh shut UP.
Moving on, there’s an advice column espousing the marital virtues of erotic massage and how couples should look into doing a massage course together. Are you kidding? I can’t even get my husband to show interest in a wine appreciation course. And on holiday there is always one child out of whack and in our bed so long drawn out massages – erotic or otherwise – are not high on the list of things to do. Again I’m questioning myself – am I being neglectful and selfish these holidays and a no good wife (she asks, engrossed in newspaper and mojito and planning late night blog posting)?
Then there’s a celebrity interview about health which gets all gushy about Quinoa (also known as keeeenwaaaaaaa). I tried to get on this fadwagon but fell off at first taste, discarding my chicken-quinoa salad in favour of a vodka and a vitamin tablet. Now that’s looking after myself in my book. Except look how vital, attractive and successful that quinoa nibbling celeb is. Bugger, maybe I didn’t give old mate Keenwaa much of a chance. Maybe I’m just a terrible cook.
With self-worth ebbing low enough to have soldier crabs emerging from my orifices, I turn the page again. Phew, the last page. Here are my stars.
“One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to make friends with routine and not fear a bit of boredom…it’s your turn to do the hard yards…” Oh so now the newspaper is jerking me prematurely out of holiday mode – as if I wasn’t already suffering from that ‘Sunday night, what time do we have to be at the airport and oh why did I waste money on resort wear when I live on an island close to Antartica, next week I have to take off my anklet and cleanse my liver’ variety of fear.
I reject your claims health and beauty supplement, you pooper. Bugger off with your instant eyelash extensions, your spelt cakes and your youth minerals, I’m on holiday.
PS your dream interpretation column is fillery codswallop.
Tags: advice columns, bikini body, cocktails, dream interpretation, exercise, family holiday, health and beauty articles, holidays, kids parties, Meg's silly bits, newspaper supplements, newspapers, Parenting, Pope, prunes, quinoa, resort life, rome, tabloids, wellness travel