Today at the gym (four times in a row! GO ME!), before the class even started, I managed to:

1. Drop a barbell on my thumb, creating the kind of pain that makes your heart rise into your mouth, and makes you feel like you’re going to throw up any second.

2. During a gap in the ear-splittingly loud music that was playing at the time, shout out the phrase, “HE LIKES TO STOP AND PEE ALL THE TIME!”

I think I may be starting to understand why I’m Amber-No-Mates at the gym…

(On that second one, I was having a shouted conversation with Terry at the time, about a man I’d spotted through the window, who was out running with his two dogs.

Me: I wish I could go running with Rubin!
Terry: You could go running with Rubin.
Me: No I couldn’t: I’d never get to do any running because he…

Well, you know the rest. And so does everyone who was in Body Pump this morning. Gah.)

On the plus side, this product, on sale in the gym’s reception, always makes me smile, so it’s a good job I always have my phone camera with me at the gym, for those “pretending to be busy” moments:


OMG, size zero! Isn’t it terrible the pressure kids are under to be skinny these days? Particularly given that, as we all know for a fact, size zero is ugly and unattractive, and ALL MEN hate women who are that size. Because those women are not “real” women. Nosiree.

Note: I’m being sarcastic, by the way, just in case anyone didn’t realise. (And trust me, I have to say that because there’s pretty much always someone who doesn’t. Case in point: the angry comments I sometimes get on this entry from people who want to tell me off for being so “nasty” about redheads and “hating on them”. Because yes, folks, I am secretly one of the redhead hatrz. That’s why I have this headfull of red hair, you know? Because I hate it. Not as much as I hate the use of the phrase “hating on”, though.)

Where was I? Oh yes, size zero. Yes, I was being sarcastic above, because God knows, this is my pet hate right now, the way people would never in a million years make a derogatory comment about larger women (and quite rightly so), but think it’s absolutely fine to call thin ones “ugly” and tell them endlessly than no men find them attractive. Names like “stick insects” and “lollipop heads” and “skeletons” are bandied about with gay abandon in the UK media right now (and particularly in the fashion blogosphere, where slagging off the skinny girls is de rigeur these days), but overweight people are regularly described as “curvy” and “voluptuous” and “real women”. (What are the thin ones, then? Imaginary?)

It winds me up. So much, in fact, that I don’t think I can even trust myself to write any more about it without it degenarating into an incoherent rant. Even more so than it has already, I mean. Here, have a picture of my dog:


  1. yeah, I used to get called anorexic at school even though the evidence was/is strongly against such a claim. I eat like a horse (seriously I have 'hollow legs') I hate exercise except for swimming and horse riding – and regularly used to hide when it came to PE class. I never believed I was grossly overweight.

    At the same time there was an overweight girl in my class at school – I think she got bullied too, but for the opposite reasons.

    People will be cruel. It is just what some people do – it makes them feel better. The media don't help at all.

    Sometimes you do see a picture of a celebrity in a magazine or newspaper who looks disturbingly thin – and wonder if it is healthy for her to look like that. I guess people get worried that looking so thin is so desirable that young impressionable girls will starve themselves to achieve size 0. So the publication will say she is a 'lollipop head' or a 'skeleton'. But, in the same publication there will be an advert for weight loss pills or surgery (and I know that these ads are there because the magazine needs to make money) there are so many mixed messages out there.

    I guess beauty really is 'in the eye of the beholder' – and if someone thinks they look great, they usually do. The human body is varied – there is all sorts of shapes and sizes out there – usually if you are a nice person, with a smiley face you look beautiful – so body shape is pretty much immaterial. I watched something about the biggest woman in the world and was struck by how beautiful her face was – even though she really was morbidly overweight – then someone like Keira Knightly has just as beautiful a face – and she is really slim. It is a person's outlook on life that makes them beautiful – believe in yourself and you will look great – because it really does come from inside.

  2. Am – you sound like me! I do go to the gym now, but my weight has always been the same, regardless of what I eat (and I do like my food) or what kind of exercise I do. It's just my build, and it always insults me a little – OK, a lot – when I read these articles which assume that anyone who's small MUST be anorexic and then proceed to call those people "lollipop heads" and other nasty names. At best, they're accusing a perfectly healthy, albeit small, woman of having a serious mental illness (which actually has very little do with the desire to look like a catwalk model, if the accounts of actual annorexics I've read are accurate), and at worst they're calling someone who IS ill names. Either way, it's not nice, and while I don't want to belittle the issue of anorexia, which is obviously a very serious one, I don't think the current culture of attacking think women helps much. I just wish the issue could be about HEALTH rather than dress size.

    Erik – thanks 🙂 Thumb is a little better this morning, although not helped by the fact that I just whacked it against the desk…

  3. I totally agree about the way thin women are insulted — but I also find it offensive when women who can't be more than a size 12 are described in the media as "curvy" when actually, they're thin. It sets a dangerous precedent for young women bigger than that who may have trouble accepting their size (the shame of having a body not considered acceptable by society is enormous — er, no pun intended.)

  4. Diane – I know, it's absolutely ridiculous. I hate the way dress size is seen as the be-all and end-all: it's totally irrelevant unless you also know the person's height, frame and build. Size 12 would be TINY on some people, and many of the so-called "larger" sizes are perectly normal and healthy, just as the smaller ones can be too. Women can't win…

  5. You would love my friend Rach, the other day she went HYSTERICAL about a blog on techdigest calling 'lefties' all sorts of names. 30 solid minutes of msn messages. You two could bounce off each other haha!

    I cannot and wont try to add any more to the already-drawn out discussion about size. I think you were right to put Rubin on. 😉

  6. I wrote a post about this after reading reviews about the SATC movie calling SJP various names. My biggest worry is that the next generation will not know exactly what size they should actually be – celebs are slated for gaining weight on one page of the trashy mags and for losing too much on the next. We are leaving them no ground to stand on!

    I recently saw an old friend from high school who was worried that people had started telling her she had lost too much weight. Through school she was your typical very tall, very skinny, lanky teen – and although she ate like a horse she was just naturally built that way. When she went to uni she got into rowing, climbing – general outdoor sports – and began to look strong and slim rather than just skinny. I had to explain to her that, to me, she was just reverting to her pre-training state, while to others it looked as if she'd lost bulk.

    Likewise, at my bikini-ready slimmest (and looking damned good, I should add!) I am still always a size 14 – and to get there I have to work out daily and eat very, very carefully. Which just isn't enough fun for me! Some of us are naturally bigger, some are naturally teeny!

    In case anyone's interested, my SJP post is here:

  7. This is my pet peeve as well! I particularly hate comments like "_________ (insert celebrity name) should eat a sandwich", or "Someone please feed _________"!
    People are rude, nosy and have no manners. Doesn't everyone have the right to live their life and look the way they want to? And these people obviously aren't worried about the skinny people's wellbeing, cause if they were, they wouldn't be so mean about it. It's all just pathetic. I think at least half of these comments come from people who are deeply unhappy about their own physical appearance and hide it by bullying others.

  8. When I read this blog and these comments I was blown away. No one really takes exception to skinny girls in America. At least not the media. You always hear about them ripping on someone who has gained weight and praising anyone who has lost weight. It seems that the UK is more forgiving size-wise. I wish it were so here.

  9. You yelling that out in class made me laugh so hard! You have the best luck in the world! And best because then you always have something to blog about! I'm not really going to get into the size debate. I know plenty of size 0 people who are healthy. But I do think, in the US at least, there is an unhealthy obsession with wanting to be a size 0. People should just want to be healthy. I'm 6 feet tall. I can't be a size zero. I think my bones would snap in half.

  10. Hi, Amber =)
    This is really late, but I love your blog! The posts all made me laugh, but I’m commenting on this one because I’m 4’11” and have a small (but proportionate) figure, and I hate it when people (usually women) pull that “Real women” line. There’s definitely a double standard, and I’ve learned the most effective way to deal with it is to just point out the hypocrisy of it. Y’know, “if it’s okay to call me anorexic, even though I’m not, I suppose it’d be okay for me to call you obese, even though YOU’RE not?” kind of thing. Otherwise, I go all hippie with “I think ALL bodies are beautiful *insert serene smile here*” But yeah, I love your blog. 🙂

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