Sadly, in five weeks of dedicated gym attendance I have gained on average a kilo a week. At this rate, I will weigh 20 stone by the end of 2007.
I’d better stop soon, because Andrew says he wouldn’t love me if I weighed 20 stone. I’m not sure where the cutoff point is – you know, would he still love me at 19.9 stone but after that it’s game over? And what if one day I tip the scales at 20.1 stone and then revert to 19.9 – would all the Love come flooding back?
I don’t think he’s really thought it through.
Andrew maintains that the personality he fell for – the charm, the humor, the caring, the giving (I’m paraphrasing, but he’d totally say all that because if he didn’t I’d get abusive) – wouldn’t be the same if I weighed 20 stone.
I think that’s a very shallow attitude. I’d still love HIM if he weighed 20 stone. Although probably not as much. There’d be less love per square inch, you know?
ANYWAY when I point out the extra 5kg of Me, everyone keeps saying: “Well, muscle weighs more than fat,” but I’m like: “Where”? If two hundred sit-ups a week has given me a six-pack, it’s hidden under a layer of what I like to kindly call ‘flobber’.
Another side effect of the gym – apart from pulled muscles and a hobbling gait (whoever says exercise is good for you is working for Nike’s marketing department) – is a chronic addiction to the Arabic music channel, Melody TV.
There are about five plasma screens mounted on the gym wall, and I have been known to push people off the cross trainer to go hot turkey in front of Melody TV. It is an education, and I have learned more about the Arabic (popular) culture than eight and a half years living in the Middle East.
Because I’m feeling generous, I will share what I have learned. Men and women crooners have vastly different ways of presenting their particular, er, talents, so I’ll commence with what you should bear in mind if you are contemplating becoming an Arabic Diva:-
« You should be of generous Body Mass Index
« You will need to perfect the art of glancing coyly from beneath fat batting eyelashes
« Always wear tight bodices
« Hire a JCB to apply your makeup. Don’t get too close to the camera; if you get stuck to the lens with your lip gloss you will have to be chiseled off
« Your music video should feature fruit. Especially popular are pairs of over-ripe mangoes, which you should fondle and occasionally indecently assault (I find this quite disturbing, being fundamentally right wing when it comes to fruit)
« Finger your cleavage, as in: “Well, I have to rest my hand somewhere. Oh! How did that get there? It appears to have fallen down my cleavage.”
« Exhibit plenty of flesh while stopping short of the money shot. Plunging necklines are acceptable; also skirts cut so close to the crotch you can see the shadow cast by fanny flaps at five o’clock
« Get into the habit of doing laundry outdoors
« Squeeze your bosoms together over ye olde clothes mangle
« Run aimlessly through woods with bouncing bosoms burgeoning out of your bodice
« Hire a European hero to get all heavy over your hand. He may be swarthy, but he should be undeniably European rather than Arabic (think the type of dodgy Grease Lizards you would find lurking in the corners of the New Yorker on a Saturday night who look like they’ve bathed in Brylcreem spiked with deadly levels of aftershave)
Alternatively, if you are interested in a career as an Arabic Rock God, then the following guidelines apply:-
« You should be fond of a doughnut, or several hundred
« Your music videos should never feature slap-happy western harlots. Instead, you will be moved to express yourself in song by shy yet saucy Arabic women
« Look soulful, as if wondering whether you left the car running
« Wear your shirt slashed to the waist with chest hair exploding out the top. If you have a sparse patch, use a chest wig
« Hair oil should play an abundant role in your toilette
« Get used to swimming in the sea fully clothed
« At some point you should ride a horse through a forest and accidentally catch sight of Bouncing Bosoms frolicking through the trees
« You should be comfortable singing to a flower, with your hand pressed movingly to your breast
« Never, ever, ever sit on a seat or chair. If you have to sit, always use a staircase, preferably outdoors. Under a tree
« NB: Always sit with your legs at a 180° angle
« Use sign language for your deaf music loving fans
« The rousing climax should feature marriage, or at the very least a grand proposal. If you are too fat/unfit to get up off the floor, it is acceptable to end the video on bended knee. Close up of face twisted with emotion. Fade out
I have two personal favorite music videos, and I always step faster on the cross trainer when they come on. The first features our hero who appears to be crippled. Three quarters way through the video he meets a woman and casts away his crutches. Who needs religion! I am cured by love! Or lust! Who cares! I can WALK! I CAN WALK!
The second – and I’ve left the best for last – has our hero experiencing relationship issues with his chaste lover. There’s plenty of storming around slamming doors, agonized gazing at each other, lots of coordinated eye/fist clenching and wondering did he leave the car running.
Halfway through, our hero grabs a chainsaw and sets off into the woods. (At this point you’re really looking forward to some gory amputation, because his sulky girlfriend is really irritating. Unfortunately, the video fails to realize its potential in that direction, but it’s a small criticism.)
So off he trots into the forest (sorry, another minor point: he does not seize the opportunity to ride a horse. But I suppose it might have been awkward with the chainsaw).
He fires up the chainsaw and sets to sawing, although you’re not sure what he’s at. Then the camera pans back and you see he has made an ice sculpture of his lover. (He’s quite talented at the sculpting; if record sales ever drop he might be able to turn it into a profitable career.)
Then he sings to his sculpture; it’s very touching. Unfortunately, he obviously feels it’s not touching enough, because he starts to fondle his creation and then he SNOGS it. You’re just waiting for his lips to freeze to the ice, but the director was sadly incapable of seizing the numerous opportunities to turn a good music video into a great one.
And I suppose our Rock Star might have had difficulty lip-synching with his gob glued to a giant ice cube