Random musings on the oddities of life
I’m staying in West Hollywood (WeHo to the locals) and, if I tell you that I’m just a few blocks away from The Big Gay Starbucks, you will get an idea of the neighbourhood. For once, not attracting male attention is not a sign of my advancing years. The place is awash with gorgeous rippled bodies squeezed into lycra and denim, and tiny little dogs.
I’d only been here two days and the place was rubbing off on me. I got rather overexcited when I managed to squeeze into a medium size t-shirt at Banana Republic in Santa Monica (beautiful people central) which then made me think it would be a good idea to squeeze into the tightest skinny jeans and tiny t-shirts all week, not to mention breathing in my belly. Surely, I could be one of the beautiful people too.
At home, TV ads are happily selling us calorie-laden Christmas food, here we are told that we need to hang on to our youth by investing in a Miracle Lift. The two 50-something ladies told us that our lives would be reborn if we only got rid of that pesky double-chin and, as for those lines at the corners of your eyes, frankly we should be ashamed. And to emphasise just how happy and successful we would be once we had taken this medical option, they tossed their lovely (dyed) blonde heads and drove off into the sunset in an open-topped sports car. The credit limit on my Mastercard wouldn’t stretch that far so I switched channels.
I then found out how easy it is to cook fantastic home-made desserts and cakes for my family. All I had to do was buy this lady’s book on making “Dump Cakes”. I really didn’t like the sound of that, but I’m guessing that the American “dump” has a different connotation from the English. In fact, all she did was “dump” the ingredients together in a pan and “dump” it in the oven. So to make delicious breakfast rolls you just need to pour a load of sugar in a cake tin, put a few sultanas in as well and then get a packet of Pilsbury Dough-boy sugar rolls and line them up on the top. Hey Presto! Home-made breakfast rolls. But my all-time mega-fave has to be home-made peach cobbler – simply put a packet of frozen fruit in the cake tin, then cover it with a packet of cake mix and finally – wait for it – pour a can of fizzy drink all over it! I’m sorry, what?!! No wonder people need a face-lift after eating that lot!
The two women in the sports car probably eat in Santa Monica so that they don’t re-pad out their newly tucked chins. I imagine them popping in for lunch at one of the cafes on the 3rd Street Promenade, taking a table in the sunshine (under an umbrella of course) tossing their golden heads and ordering something from an astonishing array of food that has had all the life sucked out of it. For example, they might choose a gluten-free, cheese-free pizza? Or an almond milk cappuccino – which looks and tastes like a long black coffee, but with murky bits floating around in it. How about breakfast with turkey bacon? Or worse still, tofurkey bacon which tastes like a sweaty locker room.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m enjoying being the same size as the Paula of 20 years ago (thank you 5:2 diet), but could I enjoy living in a place where every calorie is counted out for me? Every danger pointed out to me? In Starschmucks, there is a comforting sign where you pick up your carcinogenic sweetener. Rather than point out the dangers of consuming the sweetener, the sign warns that they are obliged by law to point out that their comestibles contain acrylamide. This is a chemical found in cooked food, such as roasted coffee beans and the yummy pecan Danish I have just eaten – and it causes cancer. So I can’t even enjoy a naughty coffee and cake without being told it’s probably going to kill me. Great.
I suspect that I wouldn’t do too well here in the longer term. I like full-fat coffee and full-fat cakes which tend then to lead to a full-fat figure. So I’ll go home and try to stick with the 5:2 diet cos then at least I can cram the cakes in on five days a week and not feel guilty.