A day on the nude beach

my first experience of naturism is more, a lot more, than I expected

naturistI like my body. It has its curves, it looks good in a dress, and I have no fear of being naked in the locker room at the gym. But while I’m ok with being nude, I have never seen the appeal of ‘naturism’ until my day on a nude beach last week.

I’m not much of sun worshipper these days, but when I decided to scope out some more idyllic beaches on vacation, was thrilled to hike to a ‘South Pacific’ setting with miles of sparsely populated sand. Plonking down my towel/Kindle/30 different factors of lotion/snacks/phone/water, I lay back, relaxed and thought of England. Perfection!

Except perfection really got even more awesome when a naked surfer type calmly walked from his towel to the ocean, tan as a nut and as shredded as coconut. After leaning back and stretching his not inconsiderable shoulders, he dived in..the last thing to disappear his pert, brown ass. I looked around expecting someone to ask for money, or perhaps a film crew but nope.. 2 minutes later another surf god headed in. Jaw.. in sand.

Feigning disinterest I waited for the glorious exit and wasn’t disappointed. Screw Daniel Craig’s Ursula Andress moment..these guys really could have charged money for those 60 seconds of full frontal. I couldn’t stop giggling to myself that this was ok, free, and oh-so-the-best decision of my life to date. I’m not ashamed to say that I grabbed my glasses for the next one. Unfortunately she was a woman… but hey, still glorious viewing. I always wanted tiny tanned tits.

A word of advice: if there’s going to be one nude beach you visit in your life, make it on an island where the only thing to do is surf. The bodies are insane.

After ogling a not inconsiderable amount of nekked hotness I started to realize what I perv I was being and not wanting to appear prudish, I took off my top.  Suddenly putting on sun cream felt all porny, and I made the executive decision to keep my bottoms firmly attached to my ass. Who needs a brown beaver?? Plus I didn’t think I had sun cream strong enough to prevent an extremely painful burn.

It was a glorious 5 hours. I swam, chatted, observed (a lot) and finally got used to all the bodies. It all seemed so normal, I even took off my bottoms then nodded off. Just as I was starting to gather my things to head home I thought ‘I sorta get the nude thing’. Its freeing, swimming feels amazing and for the ladies, its refreshing to ogle back after years of being the ogled. Wow.. I felt a a whole new perspective opened up.

Then a huge old hairy man with balls half way to his knees ambled over and plonked his towel down right next to me, staring at my tits as he rearranged his balls.

There are some things you really just don’t need to see. Even my glorious location couldn’t improve the sight of grey pubes, a saggy man sac, and bigger tits than mine.

A week later, when I think of my day, my mind doesn’t turn to the glistening hard bodies, the tanned pert butts or enviable tiny tits. Nope, I’m stuck with hairy old brown balls.

Naturism. It’s (unfortunately) for everyone.

Boobs on the beach

Its mid summer and as thoughts turn to sand and surf, its time for the dreaded death bikinimarch known as ‘swimwear shopping’. I’m not going to moan about crappy lighting, lumps and bumps or the awful southern migration of everything once pointing north. Thats not my problem.

After all, having no kids means I’ll probably die alone and unloved, but I won’t have saggy tits or a mom pouch. Hey, there’s an upside to everything. So what’s my problem with swimwear?

Its boobs. Specifically big boobs.

Living in the US means 90% of all female attire is designed for 5ft 10 waifs with flat chests and a 34 inch inseam. Clothing options for big boobs are limited to the ‘Misses’ section, Fredricks of Hollywood hoochy section or the nude granny bra’s hidden next to the flannel nightgowns. Its like the tits fell off the immigrants when they came over on the Mayflower or something, because America sure doesn’t provide for those of us who are blessed in the breast department.

And before you start playing the worlds smallest violin, check out Miss Tits in the picture. See the challenge? Nuff said.

Hailing from the UK – the original land of the pendulous breast – I was used to skinny model clothing everywhere, but stores did still recognize that women – by and large – have tits. And sometimes, big tits, monster tits. Check out a lingerie department in the UK and be awestruck at the sizes. Most Americans would claim ‘fake news’ in the face of a 28GG. But I’m here to tell you – its normal and it does exist. In fact, I’ve seen more than a few IRL.

But here in the US, you’d think that big boobs don’t exist, young chicks definitely don’t have them and they certainly don’t exist the moment you step on a beach.

I discovered this my first year in the US during one of the most depressing days of my life. With a beach vacation looming (and many years before online shopping), I spent 8 hours traipsing around every store I knew in search of something, anything that would cover more than a nipple.

Every store was the same. Tiny triangles designed for mutant sexless elves. Fabric so thin you could see my heart beat through it. And for every top, a bottom designed for an 8-year-old boy. I sized up. I sized up again. I moved into the plus section. And still I couldn’t find anything that covered more than my nipples or my ass crack. I wound up eventually in the ‘Big Girls’ section of a department store, flicking through swim suits with skirts and spaces for my future mastectomy. I felt like a mutant.

So that was my choice. Sexless grandma, cancer survivor or porno reject.

I wound up laying out in a Speedo that year.

Thankfully these days we have the world at our fingertips and I can summon the best swimwear from anywhere (where women have tits), for just $4.99 shipping.

I can look like a 50s pinup, an LA madam or even Aquaman if thats my thing. There’s  ‘full coverage’ or ‘partial coverage’, underwired, ‘bandeau’ (aka wrapping them around your back) and even the mumsy ‘tankini’ to hide that lunchtime prosecco pot belly. Hell you can even go whole hog and grab a burkini. And of course, they still make those triangles.. just bigger and with sturdier straps for us grown up girls.

I still struggle to find options that don’t push my tits up to my chin or come with extra padding (because my DD’s NEED TO BE BIGGER?) but at least there are possibilities.

So thank you internets. Thank you Brazil, Canada, Germany and the UK for acknowledging that women do indeed come with chesticals which we can’t remove for our summer vacation. That our asses have curves bigger than two limes and most of us don’t shave from here to next Tuesday just to pop for a swim.

And for those considering heading out to find that suit for Labor day. Don’t bother. Google ‘bikini’ and your chest size on Amazon and be prepared for the onslaught. It’ll be the best bikini shop of your life.






This one’s done..can I get another?

Image result for broken bodyThe world needs another post about Trump today like I need another 1st date. So instead I’m obsessing about how knackered my body is. Not just tired, but worn out. Done. Ready for recycling. Broken.

Ok, a little bit of an overstatement, but I so feel busted. Hot on the heels from an ENT appointment about my growing allergy to everything living thing, last week I learned that my nose is busted. One side hasn’t worked for a year or so, and the other side is thinking of decamping to Canada. The impact – that I start suffocating when I’m swimming, hiking, riding, running – is a bit of a challenge but “a simple surgery” with fix it.

The last “simple surgery” took a year off my life, left a hole in my shoulder and added a stone (14lbs) to my ass. I still hurt every day from the “simple-ness” of it all (though my  shoulder makes a great hook for a handbag and stores rainwater).

Next up my knees. I’ve always ridden bikes and I’ve run for 20 or so years including quite a few half marathons. Today.. my doctor says I have the knees of a 65-year-old with no cartilage left and torn fascia. But guess what…. ? A “simple surgery” can help eliminate the problem and have me up on the slopes by spring.

I”m noticing a trend here. I’m broken, but not beyond repair.

Except I’m scared of “simple” anything. After all, this election was meant to be “easy” back when we found out a Cheeto was running…

It seems as we age, anything becomes possible. Surgeries are so “simple” they’re not even called surgery anymore. “Procedures” sound more like what I do when putting on a sports bra.. but every doc I see is aching to offer me one in order to fix my failing bits.

Instead I’ve decided I’m opting for all new, all in one. I’m thinking about a full body transplant. An unemployed millennial fresh from a sofa. They’re not using their bodies, and it would be so damn wonderful to ride my bike without clenching at the pain, walk down the stairs like normal (instead of crabwalking with shrieks) or stand up without an ‘oomph’ and a moment to compose myself.

Yes I might have unshaved legs for the rest of my life,  wear a stupid beany while talking about my ‘woke baes’ but I’d trade it for what I’m working with.

No-one needs this many shrieks and moans at 44.  Not unless a Cheeto is talking.

Who’s with me?



Back in the saddle

Image result for shoulder brace after surgery womenAs everyone knows, starting something is the hardest part. A diet, a commitment, a new job, the toilet roll. Re-starting something might be even harder. This time around you know what to expect..how hard or painful it’s going to be. This time.. you think, maybe just maybe it’ll be easier than you remember.

Following 2 extensive surgeries on my shoulder last year I found myself restricted from all physical activity involving my arms, shoulders or upper body movement of any kind.  A sneeze rendered me in tears and lifting a mug of tea became my Crossfit. As an independent lass it pained me to have to ask for help lifting groceries into my car (where I’d carry them, one or two items at a time, up 3 flights of stairs) and I became adept at deciding what to cook based on whether I could cook and eat it 1 handed.

It was pitiful, with spots of hilarity (I fell over a LOT).

To call me disabled was an overstatement, but basically I became a human wine box with bruises for 18 months.

Fast forward a year and I graduated from my various slings and arrows, discovered pitches of screams I didn’t know I possessed and managed to carry my first gallon of milk. All in all, almost back to normal. Sure I’ll never salute an officer , throw down a Hiel Hitler (wasn’t going to anyway) or ‘raise the roof’ (ditto) but I can now wear a bra strap, carry a purse and blow dry the back of my head.

Exactly the qualifications for some mountain biking.

I’d wanted to get back on the back for a while… pretty much 10 mins after I came around from surgery the first time. But everything hurt, I literally couldn’t use my arm, and every time I thought about falling… the sense of doom was overwhelming. What if I fell and needed another surgery? Or a new shoulder? I packed away riding for ‘another time’. Which came this last weekend.

It had been so long. so so long. I think Madonna was on her first face lift when I last rode some dirt. And oh how I missed it. The fire in your chest, the thumping of your heart, the feeling of flying on the downhill. The smell of warm pine as you crash into a tree on a particularly tight switch back. Glorious. And I was finally done being afraid.

I packed myself into straining Lycra, grabbed the Percocet and headed to the hills.

I’ll spare the blow-by-blow suffice to say it went something like this:

  • Shock (‘holy cow this is hard’)
  • Concern (‘is my heart meant to be pounding this fast?’)
  • Horror (‘fuck me, I don’t think I’m even moving forward’)
  • Despair (‘oh god, those people with the old dog are passing me’)
  • Hope (‘oooo is that the top? is it? it is isn’t it??)
  • Devastation (‘damn fucking false flat…’)
  • Resignation (‘Why am I doing this ? I’m clearly too old for this shit’)
  • Self criticism (‘Popcorn isn’t a recovery diet dammit.. should have made more soup’
  • Motivated (‘Damn it.. I can do this.. I have to do this or I’ll get old and crinkly and die’
  • Thrilled (‘I did it!!! I rule!!!! I did it!!!)
  • Alarmed (‘OMG I need to ride down this fucker! This is going to hurt sooooo bad’)
  • Joy (“I’m gonna love every single second of this. This is why I ride’)

I got on my bike, full of Oprah fed wisdom and promptly rode into tree.

Starting again is hard. You look ridiculous, you feel like a loser and your brain never shuts up reminding you of how much better you used to be at this. But the alternate – a life of memories, of ‘remember when?’, fear and failing confidence  – is way way worse.

At my way,  I get to look good in Lycra.. some day.

Riding at my own pace

women mtb groupComing back from shoulder surgery has been hard. Really hard. (apologies to friends, family and random strangers for going on about it all.the.damn.time). I’ve had to deal with a lot of pain, frustration and ridiculous contortions getting out of a sports bra.

But mainly, I’ve had to deal with my head.

Having to fight my inner achiever at every turn.

Of course I can ride my motorcycle. Carry my bike rack. Downward dog. Lift a kettle bell. Tackle a rock garden. Carry the groceries.

Why am I shrieking? Oh that’s just how I do this now.

Not only have I been fighting the obvious challenges of lifting, carrying and moving but on a more basic level, just being stationary has done a number on me. Apparently sitting on your butt for 3 months nursing a bottle of Vicodin isn’t great for your fitness level. Or your mood. Or what used to be your waistline.

FYI I now call it my ‘straightline’.

This was really brought home to me this weekend when I rejoined my cycling chicks for our awesome monthly ride/eat/win stuff/yak (Girls Rock Santa Cruz.. check it out if you possess a vagina and a set of wheels).

Even the drive to the ride gets me excited. Its my chance to connect with non work people, talk in detail about riding minutia and have a laugh.  As I headed off with my usual “Intermediate +” group I was zinging with caffeine and ready to rock.

Except I wasn’t. If you ever watch the Tour De France and there’s a guy who’s dropped off the back and is just way way way back from the peleton (and you sort of feel bad for him but wonder why he’s even riding if he can’t hang)?.  That was me.

Panting like an out of shape pug, thighs screaming louder than my shoulder pain, red faced and apologizing to the sweep girl behind me, I was torn between worrying whether I was having a pulmonary embolism and the humiliation of being so out of shape. As we rode on, the sweep girl started floating the idea of me ‘dropping back’ to the “Beginners+” group who were a few minutes behind.

My ego immediately stood firm “hell no.. I got this.. just give me a few… weeks” while my legs started gumming up with lactic acid and the sweat poured between my boobs. I’m NOT a beginner. I’ve been riding since I was 7.

I wrestled with my superiority for another few switchbacks, falling further and further behind, until my shoulder bitch-slapped me into reality. I’m not fit. I’m still in pain. And riding at this pace would not only ruin me, but remove all the fun for the rest of the group as they waited patiently for the hot, red, slow chick with the massive ego.

I considered that maybe I need to ride at the pace my body was telling me. Slower. Less aggressively, at a pace where I wasn’t going to asphyxiate. After all, the joy of group riding is in the shared experience of a warm autumn ride in one of the most beautiful forests I know. And struggling to catch a group who are happily chatting and rock hopping around for the next 3 hours would be hell. The ride didn’t need to be about pushing. It could and would be more enjoyable if I rode where my body was comfortable.

So I dropped. I sat down and took 5. The Beginners + group started riding up, gritting their teeth and panting.. just like me. After a  warm welcome I hopped back on and resumed the climb. At a pace I could handle. Heck I was able to chit chat. Laugh. My legs stopped screaming. And as I sat mid pack, surrounded by women having a blast and all dealing with their own challenges (how to jump a log, take a berm, ride off that cold), I realized that they weren’t slower. They were just all riding at their own pace. Within their limits.  Enjoying the ride.

Riding at your own pace. Radical huh? In life, in sport, in work and in play. You can appreciate the scenery, make new friends and have more fun.

Who could argue with that?

Nothing compares to you: Recovery blues

sineadIts been 7 weeks and 14 hours.. since you took your love away. Cos nothing compares, nothing compares to you.

(I always was a bit of a drama queen.)

After a very necessary shoulder surgery to sew up 10 years of riding and yoga damage, plus my brief foray into Crossfit, I found myself grounded, literally, for 8-12 weeks. No riding.

No jumps, rock hops, preloads or pumps, and for the first 8 weeks, no bikes outside of a gym at all. I have never felt more neutered.

I’ve been riding bikes since I was 7 years old. A late start that I’ve been trying to catch up for the last 36 years.I’ve ridden bikes to escape my parents as a teen, to reach the local lake to race sailboats 4 times a week, to school down the hill of death and even on dates. As an adult, I’ve ridden bikes to explore, to meet new people, to feel free and to forget that Powerpoint even exists. To see stars as my lungs explode, to indulge my geeky desire to build the best, fastest, most responsive machine and yes, I’ll admit it, to build legs I’m proud to show off in lycra shorts any day of the week. I’ve raised money for charity during a 98 degree August day, worked through a divorce over hundreds of miles, and quietened my anxious mind during a joyous descent that almost took my kneecaps off. I’ve found friends on my bike, and more than one love. I’ve been lost on a bike, and over the last 10 years, I found myself on a bike.

Sure, I’ve run into dogs, suffered concussions, torn holes my shins and of course the aforementioned rotator cuff, labrum and bicep tendon tears. But its small payment for the hours of joy, the endorphin rush or just winning the mental battle up a particularly steep and sandy climb while chanting swear words in my head.

To say I’m bereft is an understatement. I’m typing next to trainer, a gym is only 30 feet from my front door and I can still do any activity that doesn’t involve my upper body. But I’m miserable.

My mountain bike sits next to my bed, I’m obsessed with the new bikes I can’t try out and the days are already getting shorter which means mid week, post work rides might disappear before I even get to do one this year.

The elliptical, the stationary bike, hiking or walking my dog on the long, beautiful sandy beaches of Northern California .. everything pals by comparison to the memory of terrifying downhills, breathless climbs and the camaraderie that surrounds riding.

Even if you’re riding by yourself.

So with one more week to go, I excitedly signed up for a non technical, fire road climb with my favorite female riders.. not caring if I’m too out of shape to make it up without stopping, or they have to wait for me at the top.

Because nothing compares to some dirt, sweat and grit in your face.

Suck it Sinead. I’m off to ride my bike.

I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a woman!

elephant manThe elephant (wo)man. Or that’s how the last few days have felt at least. Yes, I’m a drama queen but seriously, one facial burn and suddenly I’m having all kinds of empathy for Joseph Merrick.

I’m used to people looking confused when I talk to them, but that’s typically due to my bizarre hybrid accent. This is something totally different. This is women who talk to my ear, checkout counter ladies who gaze off to the next customer while addressing me, the dude at Rite aid just stood with his mouth open and at Whole Foods, a women had an entire conversation with my shoes.

NOTE TO SELF: Wear awesome shoes for the next week until facial abnormality heals.

There’s no awesome, kick ass story to accompany my current ‘bag on the head’ status. Just some wax, a chick in a salon and my upper lip. You know that space ladies.. the one from your nose to your upper lip. Where, in my case, down grows abundantly. And since I’m heading off to a huge conference with media, press, 3,000 customers and hundreds of executives, I decided to smarten myself up a bit. Defeat the down.

1 bad decision and 2 minutes later, 3 Korean ladies were jabbering madly to each other (I mention Korean because I had no idea what they were saying) and rubbing neosporin on my face in a frenzy. The lady with the wax just looked at her feet (something I’m now seeing as a trend) while the salon owner poked me with her finger and accused me of using Retin A.

‘You Retin A?’

Ummm… yes?’ (but not on my upper lip?)

‘You not wax with Retin A’

‘Ummm. Ok (but I’ve been doing it for years??? And not on my upper lip. Do you KNOW how much Retin A costs?)

‘You put spoon in freezer when you get home. Spoon on lip. All night’

At which point I was thinking this is a slight overreaction and glanced in the mirror. To see a massive red welt across my upper lip. Glowing furiously. Not only is it a huge stripe across the middle of my face, I also look as though I’m auditioning for the part of ‘angry Hitler’. Its practically carved into my skin.

3 days later. Hundreds of Google searches. Aloe, frozen spoons, bags of peas, Neosporin (on my second tube) and even Saran wrap. The best I can say is that my Hitler mustache is now brown. What’s worse is the scar has healed into a hard plastic-like shell that sits atop my lip like a large tan fake mustache that hurts to move. Dour is the best I can manage.

But its my colleagues I feel bad for. My work mates have oh -so-politely rushed over from a distance ‘oh my god…what’s wrong?’ and then seeing my scar, retreated to ‘Oh you looked stressed’ before scurrying off to debate what happened to my face. My boss has my eternal gratitude for being the only person in 3 days to look me in the eye… which I can only put down to his military background or extreme short sightedness.   Either way, I could have hugged him for ignoring my Nazi impersonation.

On the plus side, no one has ever taken more notice of my shoes. And I have a whole new empathy for anyone who’s not 100% average looking.

To those skin condition suffers, large mole wearers and strawberry birthmarkers.. I commend you for holding your head up and ploughing through life while people talk to your ear , your shoulder or your shoes.

Me.. I can only hope that my conference has dim lighting.

Waiting for the short bus



Short-Short-BusI got a concussion this past weekend so please excuse the clarity of my writing.. I’m still not quite myself.

It’s not my first – I seem to have landed on my head a fair amount over the last 42 years – but it was definitely one of my worst.

While mountain biking alongside spectacular scenery, a whole 3 hours of blue sky and single track in front of me, I noticed a lady walking her dogs off leash some ways in front of me. No big deal.

Except it became a big deal when she belatedly called the dogs to her, right in front of my front wheel without an inch to spare. To avoid running over the dog (I’m a pet lover even at 13mph), I braked sharply and flew over the handlebars, landing gracefully on the back of my head.

Thankfully I was wearing a helmet, but pain ricocheted alongside the side of my head and I embarrassingly found myself in tears.. right as the lady – now christened ‘Stupid Bitch’ via my inner dialogue rushed over to pronounce me ‘fine’.  Since I’ve not really been “fine” since birth, how she determined my complete health status within seconds was truly remarkable. That she grabbed hold of the back of my neck and proceeded to start massaging it, also surprised me… but at this point, anything SB did wasn’t really ranking high on my ‘logic’ scale.

Long story short, my friends took care of the situation and I tried to hold my brain in place and 3 hours, one ambulance ride, CT scan and the frightening loss of a few facts.. I’m concussed but completely fine.

Or so I thought. When I finally got around to reading my discharge notes -24 hours later- I realized that a concussion is actually a ‘thing’. And that driving to Whole Foods in order to stand around blankly, forgetting the name of a friend who was standing in front of me and trying to put gas in the car (without taking off the gas cap).. weren’t signs of a brain really functioning all that well.  Apparently its all normal and I can expect my spelling, memory and ability to recall the names of people will all return within 24 hours – 6 MONTHS.


I have a friend who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from an ultimate frisbee incident and she’s not fully recovered after 2 YEARS. And while my injury was nothing akin to hers – I can still get my words out in the correct order – I am now having a whole other level of empathy for those folks who suffer with TBIs. It also got me wondering how many people around me might also have hit their head recently? Potential candidates may include;

  • The news this morning that Tom Ready questions whether the Sandy Hook massacre actually took place or whether it was a hoax to advance gun control measures by the government. Got to love a paranoid Colorado Republican
  • That guy who I went on an awesome date with in July but who has since forgotten my name, number, how awesome a time we had and that date we were going on the following weekend. Clearly he’s wandering around Whole Foods somewhere wondering why he’s there and who that person smiling at him is.
  • The man who yelled at me this morning for letting my dog pee on his sidewalk. While I do pick up after my dog religiously, clearly he was under the misapprehension that I also carry paper towels on my dog walk in order to pick up my dog’s liquid excretions.
  • That fella who contacted me about my motorcycle being for sale and offered me $2000 under listed price OR his grandmother’s 1983 Cadillac as part of the deal. Sweet offer dude.
  • That lady who couldn’t find the appropriate phrasing for ‘vibrator’ on an urgent work call (don’t ask, it’s complicated), and came up with ‘ladies implement’. I don’t know about you, but that could be anything from my eyebrow tweezers to my hairdryer, but now all I can think of is her notion of being ‘impaled’ by something.

The short bus awaits us all. Helmets will be provided.

The CSC Guide to Swimwear – Women’s Edition

Ladies.. ladies ah where to begin? Its summer time, you’ve not shaved your legs in a month and your skin in the color of non fat milk. You’re ass has slipped down the back of your legs into two nice saddle bags and you’re catching rain in your muffin top. Bikini time? Or time to throw 90% of the food stuffs away and nibble on some kale until August.


This isn’t going to be a treatise on dressing to suit your shape, or disguising your flaws, dropping 5 lbs or advice about cover ups. Nope.  This is about looking sexy on the beach. And no, not sexy for a guy, or a girl, but sexy for you. Because feeling good, feeling confident and actually being able to breathe out while reclining in the sun are all related.


Oh dear… you really haven’t a clue. Sit down and read on before you start that Kale and Grapefruit diet. Everyone can look great on a beach.. skinny, flat chested, cellulite ridden, chunky, round, pear-shaped and yes, even shaped like a potato. There’s something out there for everyone and damn girl.. you’re gonna look sexy!

1. The Triangle

01 perfectLets start here shall we? The erstwhile basic triangle black bikini. If this is your go to and you can find a suit that makes you think ‘not bad’ when you look in the mirror then FUCK OFF. You don’t need this guide. You’d clearly look good in two napkins and a strategically placed hotdog.

If the triangle fits you, holds your boobs above your navel and doesn’t cause you to immediately starve yourself, then go Google ‘what to do when you have a great body’  and have at it.

The rest of us ladies… time to move on. The Triangle is popular and available in every single damn store, NOT because it fits us or looks good on most people, but because its easy to make and its cheap to manufacture (minimal snaps, underwires, fabric or adornments). Our bras don’t look like triangles, so why think that triangles are going to work out in public? insanity. So instead of asking yourself ‘why can’t I find anything that fits?’ ask yourself why that store hates women’s bodies and move along…The Triangle. For girls under 15 and women with the metabolism of a lemur.

2. The Underwire

01 undewireGot some junk in the trunk and blessed up top? Instead of trying to hide your curves under a veil of fabric of ‘strategic ruching’, go with an underwired top and some big ol’ panties. Boost those boobs up and out, and cover your ‘ass’ets (no one needs to see your shaving rash). It doesn’t mean you have to look like  that old lady at the pool or a prude. Underwired bikinis keep the girls under control, can give you awesome cleavage and you don’t have feel like you’re giving a free peep-show. Bigger bottoms provide coverage and comfort (no-one looks good snagging a thong out of their ass crack), while highlighting the round curves that God gave you. Not sexy? Think Bridget Jones in her bunny girl outfit and gi-normous panties… sexy as hell.

As a side note, underwire’s used to be ‘the’ bikini standard back in the 50s and 60s because they showcase the ladies, and goddamn, they’re hot. Like pencil skirts and stiletto heels, they’re back ladies… so prop those babies up and out.

3. The Underwire Plus

01 large binkini‘But what if you’re not a size 6 or 8?’ I hear you whine. Bingo.. the Underwire Plus. Tell me the chick on the left doesn’t look sexy and I’ll question your ophthalmologists diploma.

Underwired bikinis come in every size.. and I mean every. Pair it with some high-rise shorts with some strong Lycra and -bam- hot chica. Suddenly you’re Jessica Rabbit.

Compare this option to the usual recommendation for larger ladies..the strategic ‘sheet of despair’.. aka the empire waisted tankini.. 01 grandma

Now tell me. Which lady would you rather be?  Guys – which chick is more sexy?

I rest my case.

4. The Tankini

01 tanki slimLadies.. ladies. I know that for many of you this is the ‘go to’ option for swimwear. It kind of covers up the lumps and bumps in the stomach area, and hell, you think you’re too old for a bikini. Maybe you think this is the best option since you just had a baby and no one needs to see your stretch marks, and you’re not willing to give up and buy a Speedo swimsuit just yet. Maybe you’ve got a bit of a pooch, some extra muffin in the hip area or just a few rolls you’d rather not share. The tankini hides a multitude of sins…


Tankini’s are the biggest hoax that women have bought into since high-waisted jeans. And yes, like high-waisted jeans they only look good on skinny women.  You can look find great looking tanks all over the place but notice the size of the women modeling these items? They’re all ‘Triangle’ girls… those who’d look good wearing literally anything. Add in some actual curves, some actual lumps and bumps and you wind up with this…

01 tankini badSee? Sausage casing city. Your body is suddenly a solid square block of fabric.

But the swimwear industry isn’t stupid, they know that no one wants to look like a potato, so they came up with a solution for actual real live women with curves…More ‘tank’ to hide those imperfections…

01 ruffle

So suddenly we’ve gone from a cute ‘sporty’ look on our size 2 model, to what amounts to a dress for anyone over size 8 and what resembles a wedding cake for anyone in the double digits? What’s worse is that layers of fabric, once wet, just add additional lumps and bumps to an already curvy body and suddenly you’re Christmas tree.

Tankini’s.. Stay away. The myth of a ‘slimline tank’ doesn’t exist.. no matter if you’re a 6, 8 or 20.. anyone without the requisite toned stomach and slim legs winds up looking like a Russian cross dresser or something left in the lot on December 26th.

5. The Sexy Swimsuit

01 swimsuitI know, I know.. a swimsuit means bye-bye to a tanned stomach, but hey, that’s what spray on is for, and aren’t we all meant to be wearing Factor 100 anyway?

For looking hot on the beach – perfect or imperfect body – you can’t beat a great suit.

Boobalicious? Focus all the attention upstairs with a low cut top.

Not blessed in that department, look for waist details or high cut legs that draw attention downstairs. Men tend to love the whole house, and as long as you’re not rocking your grandma’s baggy Speedo.. its hard to go wrong in a suit no matter your size. No waist? Find something with color blocking that creates a ‘waist illusion’. Ass that refuses to be contained by skimpy briefs? Go big or go home. Tell me this isn’t better than embracing a mu mu?

01 big swimsuit

6. The Retro look.

01 vintageWho doesn’t think those old photos of Marilyn on the beach were sexy? 50s and 60s style suits embrace curves, create them where they’d don’t exist and sure, they’re modest, but day-am, they’re hot.

Typically suits come lower, perfect for chicks with thighs or cellulite (um.. isn’t that everyone?), and since the tops are generally halter, everyone suddenly has boobs.. no matter your size.

And retro isn’t limited to just suits, bikinis can be equally modest yet sexy, plus no-one is ignoring this suit;

01 modest sexy

Grandma she ain’t. On the downside, you need to wear this look with confidence or you might be recruited to join the local chorus of HMS Pinafore, but you’ll look hot doing it and no one can see your stretch marks. Breath in and out, eat a muffin, a slice of pizza.. no matter. No one is going to be focusing on your stomach when you’re wearing retro. They’ll be too busy wondering why you look better than they do.

6. The Eye Popper

01 insanitySo maybe standing out is your thing and the suits your finding just aren’t singing to your sense of transparency and desire to be noticed. The suits you’ve seen … well they’re just so BIG. If this is you, the Eye Popper is for you.

We can’t vouch for the strap marks on your tan except to say they’ll be small and plentiful, and for gods sake, remember to sunscreen under your boobs or you’ll wind up with heinous sun burn.

This might not be the suit for – well any activity  other than lying motionless in a Hollywood producers backyard but if you’re worried about your varicose veins, trust me, no one is looking at them.


NOTE: Stockings and leg warmers optional, though recommended for those in the UK or Canada.

7. The Why Bother

01 why botherFor the ultimate tan, and maximum conversation in your immediate vicinity, we highly recommend the ‘Why Bother’ suit. No top, just bottoms. One size fits all and its reversible.

Of course you will need to become intimately familiar with your local waxer, and potentially invest in labial surgery, but hey.. in pursuit of the perfect tan, whats a few $$$$$?



8. The Nigella

01 modestAll this talk about stomachs and boobs, cellulite and butts making you sweat? Can’t bear the thought of baring any of it? Consider the Nigella. A full body suit, SPF 1000. Suitable for Mormons, Amish, LDS and anyone who’s just downright given up.. the Nigella is a perfect way to enjoy your local pool or beach with minimum exposure and maximum impact.

NOTE: This suit also comes in pink so you can distinguish yourself any men who might have invested in the male equivalent.

Oh wait.. there IS no male equivalent.




So ladies, as you start to plan out your vacation wear and are blanching at the notion of yet another tank suit, tankini or strategically placed sarong, let me remind you that every woman… EVERY woman can look fabulous in swimwear.

01 big beauty

Yes, even you.








The CSC Guide to swimware – Mens edition

01 man thongIts summer, its hot and, unless you’re Amish, that probably means its time to break out the swimwear. But – quelle horror! – what to wear? Swimsuit, Bikini, Tankini, Monokini, Brazilian briefs, the David Beckham pocket pouch or your Eurotrash speedos? So many options. But before you swear off the pool/beach/park or start ‘googling’ ‘Mormon swimwear’ (I dare you), I bring you my guide to swimwear for all ages, shapes and situations.  There’s something for everyone…yes, even you. Starting today with the guys. Ladies.. read on for a preview of what you might be seeing this year around the pool.

1. The Douche Bag

01 baggy boardFor many years, the Douche bag, long baggy short was all you saw at the pool or on the beach in the US. It hid chicken legs, pot bellies and god forbid, any chubbies that might *ahem* arise. I get it – it was safe, plus you didn’t need to change if you headed off somewhere and what’s a dude if not lazy. Now beloved of funneling spring breakers and spotty adolescents at the local rec center, the Douche bag signals a man with no control over his erections, a predilection for pushing people in the water or trying to drown them for no reason, or a fast approaching weight problem. If non of these resonate with you, its time to evolve. Ditch the Douche bag and move on. The ladies will love you for it.

 2. The New Baggy

01 perfectOk, so maybe you still can’t control those erections and despite just knocking out 20 sit ups you’ve still got a bit of a pooch. Check out the ‘new Baggy’.

No Douch baggery here.

They’re not short shorts (no-one is checking out your sphincter muscle when you bend over) and they’re somewhat form-fitting. So us ladies can actually check out your butt when you get out of the water, AND you can hide the result of cold water.

And no, they don’t may you look gay, they’re innocuous and most importantly, you won’t look like a member of Justin Beibers posse.

3. The Daniel Craig

01 daniel craigGratuitous shot for the ladies, but honestly guys, what’s wrong with this picture?


The Daniel Craig – a short for real men. Yes they’re tight, but they still cover all of your “assets” and there’s not even a suggestion of man thong going on here. Goddamn it, they even have racing stripes and a safety drawstring for those strong rip tides. Of course, if your upper body looks like Mr. Peanut these might not be for you, but if you’re in possession of even a suggestion of a pec or an ab, you might want to pull the ripcord and declare your manhood. These shorts say ‘I’m in control and if you can check out my packet, have at it ladies’ You know, but in a classy way.

4. The Man Bag

01 metallic suitAre you supremely confident? Do you possess the body of a professional athlete ?(sorry, bowling doesn’t count) Do you have a body fat percentage in the low digits and want to show it off? Are you willing to shave off your ‘highway to heaven’?

These are the shorts for you Sir.

The Man bag still leaves something to the imagination (well, we can’t actually see the details of what’s in the bag), but not so much that us ladies can’t decide whether we’ll date you. Full coverage at the rear (you’re aware that no-one needs to see your steroid pimpled ass), but wowser, a metallic, wet look display case for your frontage. These babies put you on display, and, unless you’ve got the buttocks of a Russian Gymnast, watch out for any strong waves.  The Man Bag.. for a man who’s got plenty in the bag and isn’t afraid to show it off.

Disclaimer: These shorts should not be used by anyone under the age of 21 or anyone in a long-term relationship with anyone of either sex. We might be laughing, but we admire your confidence. Best used while reading Camus or Dostoevsky around the pool (you don’t want sand in these babies) to indicate you’re not a total douche.

6. The Frightener

01 low cut briefDo women routinely chat you up in bars? Are you always getting hit on when you’re doing your grocery shopping or just filling up with gas? Fed up with women approaching you for no reason? The Frighten-er is for you.

A thong brief for the supremely fed up, the Frightener does what it says on the label. It literally scares away those who might otherwise be trying to find out where you live or your marital status. With full baggage on display both front and back, plus a back up ‘transparent when wet’ app, only the most foolhardy or ocular challenged would dare approach you in these babies. Perfect if you just want a quiet day by the pool or on the beach. Best of all, you’ll find the Frightener only works with women, so they’re great for meeting new fellow Frightener wearers or very old European men.

 7. The Display Case

01 frighteningFinding the Frightner a little too conservative for your taste? Want to stand out from your fellow Frightener while maximizing your tan? Already shave every inch of hair from you body?

The Display case is for you!

Simply, it does what it says on the label – displaying your wears for fellow beach goers to admire.

Yes, we’ll admit that your tan might be a little stripey and, yes, your ability to hide any “limitations” is extremely challenging in this swimsuit, but if you’ve got it, we say ‘flaunt it’.

Display case wearers rave about the attention that their ‘case’ attracts while out and about during the summer;

“My Display Case is ‘full’ of achievements”

“The dollar bills fit right through my slots!”

“It’s also great for filing business case cards during a busy day at the pool”

8. The Sling shot

01 uniballFed up with those annoying tan lines from your other suits? Blessed with a small package? Want all eyes on you, and only you this summer.. The Slingshot is for you.

A feat of modern engineering, the Sling shot cups your external features and hooks over one leg to provide a modicum of support and a stylish place to rest your cellphone. Rotate the direction of your Slingshot on a daily basis to equalize your tan. Oh, and you might want to spend the day thinking about your grandma or Margaret Thatcher so you don’t get arrested for indecent exposure. There is, of course, only so much the Slingshot can cover.

NOTE: This swim suit is not appropriate for Lance Armstrong, Tom Green or anyone with one ball or possessing human dignity. CSC will not be held responsible for any car, bike or Rollerblade accidents as a result of your Slingshot appearance.

So there you have it guys, every option for every guy who’s ever wondered ‘what should I wear to the beach’. And no matter which way you go, you’re safe in the knowledge that you look better than this guy.

01 man swimsuit

How to lose weight… in 1898

l-My-friends-9wk-old-Pitbull-puppy-rolling-in-the-grass.I’m on the second week of my ‘Clean Eating’ program and while I’m starting to crave quinoa more than any sane person should,  my cheekbones have reappeared after a 19 year absence.

(I was so bemused by what appeared to be ‘dirty’ smudges on my face last night that I spend 10 minutes trying to scrub them off. Note to self.. one cannot erase cheekbones with apricot scrub or Dial hand sanitizer.)

Its weirdly easy. Eat three meals a day which comprise mostly of vegetables and eat until you’re full. Exercise. Sleep. Drink water. Boring.. but hella effective.

Who knew?

Well apparently not everyone. Looking back some of the dieting advice from 100 years ago, its amazing anyone fit into a corset. Yes, even back then, people were interested in trying to lose weight. And is not wonder why, given Countess C’s assessment in Beauty’s Aids: Or, How to Be Beautiful (1901);

“A very thin woman is not beautiful, but she can be graceful even to a remarkable degree; but what shall we say of an old woman, overflowing with fat, no longer possessing a human form, much less the form of a woman, always gasping, sweating, and breaking out into redness at the slightest movement, looking, in short, vulgar, ridiculous, and half-bestial.

And so fattism was born…

Mrs. Annette Kellerman in her 1901 book, Physical Beauty, How to Keep it, has lots of advice for keeping one’s figure from straying into ‘bestial’ territories, starting with the travesty that is sleep;

“Mere napping about for those who already have too much rest and luxury is suicidal to both mind and body. Oversleeping at any time makes one stupid and logy, yes — fat”

Wow.. so apparently beauty sleep had yet to be invented. I know that too much sitting around makes you lazy… but suicidal? In fact, she posits;

“Exchange her soft and downy bed for a harder one and reduce her sleep by two or three hours daily.”

Damn. That Mrs. Kellerman was kind of a hard-ass. And who’s doing that ‘exchanging’? If my spouse told me we’re now going to be sleeping on a board and waking at 4am, I’d think he’s lost his mind. Assuming you managed to cling to your pillowtop, next up.. working out.

“much exercise, even violent exercise, must be taken” [Beauty’s Aids: Or, How to Be Beautiful]

I like the sound of ‘violent exercise’. What did she have in mind? Boxing? Lifting of weights? Punching the husband who now has you sleeping on a board and waking at 4am? Wait for it, Lina Cavalieri (1914) tells you exactly how violent your exercise should get;

“Begin your rolling. There is no mystery about rolling. It is simply what the name indicates. Down upon the floor you go and roll over and over swiftly, not slowly as a porpoise rolls. The porpoise, you will observe, is not a slender animal. Roll over as a puppy, tingling with the joy of life, rolls in the dust when at play. Roll quickly. Make at least 80 revolutions before stopping. [My Secrets of Beauty]

Presumably rolling, like pastry, rolls out your fat. And, unmentioned side effect, gives your spouse something to laugh at.

Because I work at home and had nothing better to do while waiting for a call to start, I decided to give rolling a try. Result – the dog thought I’d lost my mind, I acted like a extra large Swiffer pad to all of the dog hair and dust in my carpet and I got a bit dizzy.

I don’t think I lost anything except a tiny bit of self respect.

But when you’re done ‘rolling’ ? Helen Follet Jameson (1899) warns;

“Do not drink much water. A little lemon juice added to it will make it less fattening”

Why of course! Water, that known fattening substance. I don’t know about you but after a glass or two of water I’m positively stuffed. But Countess C goes one step further in her groundbreaking ‘Beauty’s Aids: Or, How to Be Beautiful‘ (1901), and counsels;

“First and most important, drink very little, as little as possible, and only red or white wine, preferably Burgundy, or tea or coffee slightly alcoholized.”

No water, but tea with bourbon after my rolling? How can this fail?

(After brushing off all the lint on my person, I briefly considered a shot of vodka but even I can’t be talked into booze at 1pm as a diet aid).

Amazingly, even 100 years ago, the American obesity crisis had already started, according to the treatise: Beauty, Its Attainment and Preservation (1892);

“In America the number of fat people is growing larger every year… As a matter of fact, a great deal of this discomfort might be avoided if people would not drink such an inordinate quantity of ice water”

I knew it wasn’t the donuts and Doctor Pepper.. its all that sleep and ice water. You indulgent and gluttonous people. Stop with that right now!

But if you’re finding that the pounds aren’t melting away quite fast enough you might want to consider fresh air. As Lina Cavalieri explains in her 1914 My Secrets of Beauty:

“Fresh air is a destructive agent to fat. Oxygen burns carbon. To make this clear, let me ask you if you have noticed how a dying fire flames up when a draught of cold air is turned upon it? That is precisely what happens when a woman who is too fat goes out for a walk. Oxygen acts upon this as a burning match applied to paper.”

Damn I always knew that air had more uses than just sustaining life.. it’s a magic fat melter!  Screw Crossfit, screw clean eating. You can find me in the local park, vigorously rolling my fat away, in fact ‘rolling as a puppy, tingling with the joy of life’, while sipping on some whiskey and breathing in some fat burning air.

Ah.. the price of beauty.

Hey guys…I can’t feel my arm…

dead armDue to an overabundance of push presses and push ups (thanks Crossfit!), I’ve started  suffering from radial neuropathy on my right arm.(That’s fancy speak for nerve damage) Since I sleep on my stomach with my head on my arm, I’m compounding the situation every night by literally sleeping on the damaged nerve.

The result? Every morning I wake up and I can’t feel my arm.

(Stop taking notes guys; you can’t grip nothin‘)

Everyone’s woken up with a dead leg or a dead arm.. Typically from sleeping funny or, if you’re lucky, from being clamped between someone’s arms or thighs all night. As a one off, its no biggy but as an every morning occurrence, it sucks. Especially as the arm starts to wake up – usually about 30 mins into the day – when the pain.. oh my god.. the pain starts.

Needless to say I’m a big wuss, so after a week of walking around like Frankenstein, I put down the barbell and headed to the doc for limb replacement…or at least some really good pain pills.

Sadly all I got was a prescription for physio.  Which is now underway. (oh and the answer to the sleeping problem.. sleep between two pillows….or have someone strap your hands  to your sides. I know which I’d prefer….but that’s a whole other story.)

Anyway, after hearing me moaning and groaning about my fancy pants nerve damage, my coworker sent me a link from a guitar player who was suffering from a similar complaint via online community forum for guitar players;

As I type this out with one hand, I have a question. I woke up this morning and my left arm has been “asleep” from the elbow down for 12 hours now….Needless to say, it has me kind of freaked out. Nothing else is out of whack like bad color or anything and I can move everything, I just can’t really feel. Anyone ever had this happen before? Looking for some insight. Good thing I didn’t have a show or something today.

And here’s what his every-helpful guitar community had to suggest;

A. are you trapped in a canyon in Utah between a wall and a boulder? choices are:
1) cut arm off with a pocket knife or
2) go see a doctor immediately

B. Rub some dirt on it. It’ll be fine.

C. I often sit on my hand till it falls asleep…but that’s a different story.

D.I’ll never understand why some people will ask these questions regarding potentially life threatening problems affecting them on a message board that has nothing to do with medical problems instead of going to see a professional right away.

E. It could be the onset of a stroke. You might die. Are you still reading this message board… or are you at the hospital?

F. A blood clot could also cause numbness in extremities. Is there any discoloration?

G. I’d hang out on the internet for a few days and ask for medical advice on a musicians’ forum dedicated mainly to guitar gear. You’ll probably get much better advice than you would if you went into see your doctor.

H. Windex.

I. Hit your hand with a hammer. You’ll forget all about your arm.

J.Do you actually need your arm? If not, don’t worry about it.

K. I woke up this morning and my left arm has been “asleep” from the elbow down for 12 hours now… Now it will probably be up all night……

Then, 12 hours later… the original poster shows up again….

Thanks for posting on my thread. how long should I wait before becoming really concerned? It’s still numb today and I just slept last night hoping for an improvement. Should I go to the ER today?

M. Go to the hospital right away. Your symptoms can be that of a stroke. It can be permanent. You’re supposed to go to the hospital within 3 hours if it is a stroke. My mother had numbness in a finger as she was talking on the phone. She didn’t think anything of it. The numbness didn’t go away and the full right side of her body was affected. We waited too long to go to the hospital, and now it’s permanent. It may not be a stroke but you never know as that is a classic sign of a stroke. Since you waited this long it may not be reversible.

N. Go see the doctor or it might affect your genitalia very soon. You don’t wanna mess with your genitalia, do you?

O. I had a similar thing happen to me a couple years back. I woke up one morning and both my left foot and hand were numb, by that night, it had spread up to my knee and elbow. Went to the hospital and by the next day my whole left side from my chest down was numb. An MRI confirmed that I had Multiple Sclerosis.

P. Once your arm sees a new Les Paul it snap right back to scratch.

And we never hear from ‘Steve’ the original poster ever again….

So here’s a lesson of the day from ‘Steve’ (hoping he’s still out there).

Don’t ask your online guitar gear community forum for health advice. They are not doctors. If your arm is numb for more than a few hours, you could have had a stroke, a heart attack, you may have MS or just nerve damage.

You most definitely have questionable intelligence.

We need a hug alternative

We need a hug alternative

I’m not a natural hugger. The country in which I was raised is crowded and as a result, the concept of personal space is ingrained from birth. Sure we hug relatives at Christmas, and parents hug their children but the hug, as I was raised, is for close or related friends. Oh and grandmothers.

In the US, the hug is an all inclusive activity. Something I was schooled on when, 3 years ago, my new boss greeted me with a smile and a hug. I immediately assumed a) he’s an escaped lunatic or b) he’s trying to get in my pants. The jury is still out on a) but I do now know that his hug isn’t that big of a deal in the US.. its just a form of greeting and is often exchanged by people who don’t really know each other.

Which is just WEIRD.

Lets consider the act. You are wrapping your arms around another human being, bringing your body close together.. and if you’re a women, boobs may be smashed against the other chest (which may have its own boobs). Genitals are mere inches apart and you feel each other’s body.

Its so not right to happen in a work context.

I don’t need you to know what my boobs feel like, or how deep my back fat goes, or feel any kind of rise of temperature in the pants department as a form of greeting. A handshake is perfectly adequate and I can always wash my hands (whereas the feel of man boobs pressed against mine remains forever). So why is it acceptable, nay, expected in the workplace these days?

In the UK, we greet each other with a  handshake.That covers everyone from a stranger to your boss to potential new friend at a party who you’ve just met or even your parents (hey we’re not a family of huggers). You greet or welcome someone with a handshake. You might… might... part with a hug (if you’ve imbibed a lot of alcohol, broken down crying when recounting your last boyfriends departure or shared the news of your impending colonoscopy since you met)… but its not a given. A British hug means something. It means ‘I get you’ or ‘ I like you’ or ‘I think you need cheering up’. It is never a way to introduce yourself. (unless you are that escaped lunatic or frisky man dog I previously mentioned). We tend to reserve it for a friend you haven’t seen a years, a family member who is walking towards you arms outstretched or potentially someone who just won a major award. Like a Nobel peace prize (BAFTAs and Pulitzer winners get a gentle clap). And even then… even then.. there’s an awkward pause before going in for the hug.. the ‘should I?’ ‘do I have to?’ ‘for England’ mental considerations. I tell you, we Brits really don’t do take hugs lightly in a non familial context.

Instead we have lots of alternatives. The arm punch (suitable for team mates, coworkers, men in the pub ..or me); the one arm shoulder hug – avoids bodies getting too close, but conveys some warmth and if you’re feeling extra friendly, men can do the handshake/ backslap combo and women, the hand shake coupled with an arm touch. These alternatives recognize a connection but could never be construed as uncomfortable or weird in the workplace or socially.  They can be greetings or farewells, but they’re low stress and, at least in the UK, all totally acceptable for any occasion. Workplace, funeral, wedding, first date…

But, since I now live in the US, I am thwarted at every attempt to shoulder hug, arm pat or shake hands. I am greeted with looks of confusion, and most often, get pulled forward into a hug whether I want to or not. My proffered hand shakes are taken as rude or cold, and the arm pats/ shoulder hugs seen as awkward and ‘standoffish’. One person just stood at gawped at my outstretched hand as though he didn’t know what to do with it. I actually had to reach for his hand and grasp it, shaking it like a noodle as he looked bemused. Yes, its a handshake. Its what civilized people with personal space issues who don’t know you do to say hello. It won’t kill you. Where as hugging you… well it may kill me.

The Answer?

So now I mostly suck it up and take the hug. My toes curl and I generally hold on with the strength of a lettuce leaf, but at least the other person isn’t questioning my integrity or character. In true British fashion I don’t want anyone to be embarrassed and if my boss, my first date or that woman I’ve just met wants to smush my boobs… well have at it.

In the meantime my search for a socially acceptable greeting activity continues.. the only rule being that genitals remain far away from each other and nobody’s boobs get smushed. How about a salute?

Kathleen Turner’s kind of sexy right?

As many of my friends would tell you, I’ve been walking around now for 5 weeks talking like Kathleen Turner. Not ‘Romancing the Stone’ Kathleen, but ‘smokes 60 a day, 2012’ Kathleen.
Its been an interesting time. My voice has been ranging from sexy gravel (my favorite), through raspy Marlboro man talking through a hole in his neck (less cute), to a high pitched screech that makes my dog run out of the room. If I’m lucky, sometimes nothing comes out at all.

My coworkers have been asking me if I’m sick, and on more than one occasion have messaged me (‘are you crying?’), my boss thinks I’m putting on the most elaborate fake ever (though since I’ve not taken any sick days I’m not sure what he thinks I’m getting out of this), and every time I yell for my dog to come, I sound like Barry White wrestling a Bee Gee. Up, down, up, down. Staying Aliiiiiiive.

My primary doctor looked down my throat and shrugged ‘no idea’ (reassuring that I pay $270 a month for that, isn’t it?), and I had to sit around for 2 weeks waiting for an ENT appointment.
I spent the previous weekend convincing myself that I had throat cancer (‘no pain? YES! raspy? YES! large lump in neck? YES!..If I push down hard enough to choke me..actually.. maybe that’s my tongue?). I called my girlfriend;

‘I have cancer’


‘Or maybe a large nodule like ‘The Thing’ growing in my vocal chords’


‘no…Its definitely cancer’

‘you sound like you have laryngitis girl’

‘nooo.. definitely cancer’

‘Go WebMD it. Now. L-A-R-..’

‘Oh… you might be right…that sounds kind of familiar’

The only way I managed to sleep was with my friend Lunesta, who whispered ‘chemo’ to me as I drifted off every night.

The day finally arrived for my diagnosis and despite 12 inches of snow, I was early my appointment. Ready for my terminal news.

After spraying my nose with local antheastic, the doctor pulled what looked like a sewer snake out of a drawer and approached me with a smile.Whaaaa????

“Just relax.. its easier if you don’t fight it…’

‘that’s what my gastroenterologist said …’

‘this is totally different.. you’ll just feel it going down your throat’

Well I finally found a procedure I hate more than a rectal. Yep, sign me up for 100 rectal exams over this. You can even skip the lube next time…Just not this … ever… again..
I could feel the scope ‘snake’ go up my nose, down my throat and it felt like, into my chest cavity. Just when I thought he was heading for my fallopian tubes, I grabbed his hand and snorted at him with wide eyes and a I can only assume, a look of ‘I am about to kill you’. He thoughtfully decided he’d seen enough.

At which point he yanked the thing out.

Along with part of my lung and I think, one of my tonsils.

Jesus! I’d better have a cancer diagnosis after this. I leaned over retching nothing onto the floor.

‘You’re swollen and red and I can’t see anything’

‘….’ (I am going to kill you, once I can stop retching)

‘.. but no weird stuff or cancer.’

‘great’ (you are not off the hook Mr)

‘So I’m going to give you a whole lot of drugs try to reduce the inflammation and then we can have another look’

‘Nhhhh….'(Not if I can help it Buster)

So here I sit, another heap of pills to crunch through for the next month. 5 of these, 3 of these, 1 of these. On an empty stomach, a full stomach and not around grapefruit. Oh and some of them are steroids, so if I’m lucky, I’ll resemble Rambo when I’m done. Goddamn genes. Who gets inflamed vocal chords other than Adele? I can’t even sing for gods sake…

Kathleen Turner sounds kind of sexy, right??? Maybe I just…. ?

Are you there God? Its me, Rachael

Like many girls, I grew up on Judy Blume. I was passed a copy of ‘Are you there God? Its me Margaret’ via my sister at the age of 11 and was astonished to realize that it wasn’t just me who was freaked out about periods and growing up. I don’t actually recall asking for divine intervention, but I do remember the book giving me a vague sense of ‘okay-ness’ that I wasn’t a freak. To be honest I couldn’t quite relate to Judy’s excitement about ‘growing up’ and the promised ‘changes’ made me feel vaguely nauseous and in some cases, downright depressed.
C’mon.. who wants to learn that they’re never going to be able accomplish that back-flip in gym because the new boobs she’s growing are going to whap her in the face? And that weird smells and hair are suddenly things to worry about. One day I was building a dam to catch fish and suddenly I’ve got to worry about wearing a bra???? WTF???? Ok, guys had stuff going on to, but getting stronger and growing an Adams apple didn’t seem quite on the same scale of ‘WTF!!’ as boobs.

Where are you today Judy? I’m 40ish and I need a new book.

I don’t need reassurance about first crushes and the trickiness of girl friends, but I do need to know its ok to spend $200 on a pair of jeans. To notice that my knees aren’t quite where they used to be and that those weird brown ‘freckles’ on me hands are actually signs of wisdom… not an indicator of potential melanoma.That impotence isn’t a rarity amongst guys my age, its called ‘a weekday‘, and that grey chest hair is ‘foxy’ instead of vaguely reminding me of my 73 yr old dad.
I need to know that everyday brings new excitement, and new pills to fix that ‘excitement’. That crushing on a 45 year old isn’t creepy – he’s actually in your age range – and that yes, you can’t drink a bottle of wine and feel super awesome the next day. Sure, being 40 can be scary, but I have a feeling Judy could find a way to make me all feel better about it.

Failing that, I guess I can thank my stars that I no longer have to worry about growing hair, and only have to worry about losing it.