Summer's on the way, but who really wants to be Beach Body Ready anyway?
PUBLISHED: 10:58 30 May 2019
Are you feeling the pressure to get your body in tip top condition for the beach? Chris McGuire says there really is no point bothering
I cry with laughter every time I see it.
There's a great clip on YouTube (other streaming services are available, not that anyone uses them), where a group of trainspotters stand by the side of a track, waiting. They're expecting the famous locomotive The Flying Scotsman to pass by. It's the first time the legendary train will visit their locality, and the spotters have been prepping for months. But, as luck would have it, just as the distinctive puffs of smoke appear at nearby kink in the track, a vast Intercity train screams in from nowhere. This train masks the Scotsman, obliterating the iconic locomotive from the spotters' view. Their one chance of enjoying the moment is gone. The thing is, the clip is genuinely funny. I'm not proud to admit it, but I enjoy the schadenfreude of the moment. Not because I wanted the train fanatics to miss their time in the sun, rather it's just a perfect microcosm of what life's like.
Sod's law in action.
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It's the same with the British and the summer. In my experience, summer in this country is so fleeting that several times I've popped inside to make a cup of tea and missed it completely. "What did you do over the summer?" people will ask. "I ate half a bag of Monster Munch. To be honest, I wasted half of the summer struggling to get the packet open."
OK, so I'm exaggerating - but not much! Summer is an unreliable friend at a party, the type who either turns up early (before you're ready), late (when the moment has passed, and you're busy) or not at all. I'm beginning to wonder why we bother inviting summer along at all!
As a nation we've a very unhealthy relationship with a little bit of sun. As soon as a ray (or two) escapes from behind a cloud we strip down to our underwear and attempt to barbecue ourselves - just in case that's all we're getting until next year. I'm convinced there are thousands of men who wear Speedos under their clothes all the time (other types of swimming trunks are available, apparently) so they're prepared if the summer arrives during their lunch break. It seems these fellas actually enjoy their masochistic attempt to show just how unkind Mother Nature can be, and embrace the waves (light, not water).
It's in this context that our media has invented the idea of being 'Beach Body Ready'; a nonsense, primarily aimed at women, that they should be prepared from February to November to hit the sand in a bikini. The idea that ladies (unlike men who seem to revel in their terrible unsightly near-nakedness) should be stood by, toned, plucked and tanned 'just in case' for an event as unreliable as the British summer is crazy! Why not focus on being 'Everest Climbing Ready', as scaling a rock face seems just as improbable as an uninterrupted glorious day on the beach! It's just another pressure that, frankly, women do not need! So can we stop the 'Beach Body' rubbish this year? I don't want to hear about diets, tonics and techniques to prepare anyone's body to be seen in sand. The beach can take us all as it finds us! Don't you think?
I do, however, hope we get this year's summer over and done with quickly, the Speedos I've been wearing under my clothes since Burns Night are really beginning to chafe!
Chris McGuire is a writer and stay at home dad. Check out Chris's new book, 'The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro', illustrated by Spencer Wilson, published by Ice House Books, a hilarious look at the cycling culture of middle aged men in Lycra - out now. @McGuireski