It’s an odd thing, and astonishing to me that it’s taken me nearly thirty-seven years to consider it.


Since my childhood, I have been at war with my body. I have been fat. I have been thin. When I was thin, I was just working too hard in a job I didn’t like, I was quite stressed, and I was full to the brim with Red Bull.

My favourite quote from Liberace is and always has been: “My clothes come in three sizes: Thin, fat and impossible.”


Much as, at the moment, I am firmly in a fat phase – my body is not so much a temple as an airport hangar – it is, at least, cooperating.

Now, it happens on ‘Come Dine With Me’. A group of people who don’t know each other, sit around and quite often, make some sort of terrible faux pas. Something genuinely awful. I think most people know not to guess other people’s ages. But it is shocking when they talk about plastic surgery.

Someone, perhaps after a little to drink, will wonder (aloud, which is often an error) what everyone else would have if they could have any sort of surgery. What usually makes it truly stomach-churning is when they either a) have a list: devastating, or b) ask the others to guess: oh, lord, no.

Usually, someone around the table will give a full recitation of their entire body and everything that, time and cash permitting, they would have removed, shrunk, enlarged, or shuffled about a bit.

When the question comes, ‘If you could have any surgery, what would you have?’ the answer usually goes something like this:

(Deep breath)


“Well… Tummy tuck, breast enlargement or breast reduction – possibly one and then the other, face lift, bum lift – just yoink up the whole body and snip off the excess.

“Then, oh, whatever the surgery is called where they can remove upper arm fat and tighten the skin without your having to prick it like sausages if you’re going out on a warm day.

“What next? Probably an eye lift, smidge of the old rhinoplasty, tighten up the jawline… In all honesty, if they could just swap out the face with silly putty until I’ve got it into an order I’m okay with, and then ram it full of botox and filler before it melts, that would be great.”

No one ever says, “I’d probably get my varicose veins done.”

I had a chat with a chap in his, perhaps sixties, the other day. I’ll point out, this was in the foyer at Sainsbury’s. He was on his way in, I was about to leave. I don’t know his name. He doesn’t know mine. But we’re polite. He asked how I was. I said I was fine, thanked him, and asked how he was. Because I’m a person, and that’s what we do.

Years back, he broke his shoulder. Since then, he’s had three knee replacements. Three. One of them wore out. But just recently, his hip has started crunching. Audibly. Now, this is not when he walks, or jogs, or tries to get out of a chair after a nap. This is when he’s lying down. Flat on his back in bed, straightening the bedclothes, and thinking over his day, he can hear his hip crunching.

“Anyway, love,” he said cheerfully, “how are you keeping?”

I imagine I did an excellent impression of a goldfish while I tried to think of a less complacent way of saying – “I’m really well, as it happens.”

Fat be buggered, I’m feeling pretty well.


So, there you have it. Day 73 of #365HappyDays – A Body That Cooperates.