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Rosemary McLeod ponders the idea of beach bodies and voluminous hair

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1 January 1970

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What’s the big idea with perfect beach bodies and hair that defies physics, wonders Rosemary. She shares the questions that plague her in the summer.

The trouble with summer is always the body. Gay laughter trills on the air as the handful of people whose bodies truly merit it celebrate the flaunting season. Enjoy. Santa won’t be delivering you one, but the sheer confidence of the less perfects’ body exposure is something I admire amid my seasonal misanthropy.

Flaunters have a short season – like raspberries, before the first mould appears and leaves begin to fall. They don’t believe it, but it happens. The handsome dude who sweeps them off their feet leaves them pregnant, more than once, and their bodies, like ours, become atlases of romance. Varicose veins from pregnancy circle their legs like important rivers, stretch marks appear, their tributaries, and with any luck a C-section or two leave talking point scars.

Let’s not mention breasts. It’s a long slide down to the common denominator.

Think of merciless time as flaunters frolic around in ever-skimpier clothes this summer, and avert your eyes as they bend over in micro-miniskirts. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Think how lucky you are that it’s all behind you – possibly literally – as you linger indoors breaking into everyone else’s festive chocolates and blaming it on the dog. Your days of agonising sunburn are behind you, and you no longer care if boys are looking at you.

I bring you tidings of comfort and joy. At this point, men get their turn with advanced pregnancy tummies and it evens out in the end.

Such are my thoughts as summer sneaks up on me, laughing unpleasantly at my bare, pale legs. Nature has a nasty streak. It brought us our genetic flaws.

Lately I’ve been pondering one of life’s great mysteries: why American women have so much hair, and if they use fertiliser. If you watch US news channels, you’ll have noticed that female commentators and anchors often seem to be sprouting hair thicker than you’d have thought possible. We take it for granted that they get regular top-up surgery and Botox, and it’s fascinating to watch their pleasantly sculpted faces, which show few signs of life other than their lips moving. They give nature the finger; they’re going to be young and lovely forever, and I applaud their willingness to rage against the dying of the light.

But rather than focus on them, it’s current Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler, 50, whose lush locks mesmerise me. They frame her face like the uncut but well-brushed tails of half a dozen palomino ponies, almost down to her waist. What evolutionary lapse makes mine thinner by the day and hers not?

Does she get curried or use an ordinary hairbrush? And what would she look like without them?

American Vogue boss Anna Wintour, 71, intrigues me too. Her perfect bob with full fringe seems only to get more lush and lovely as time passes, with never a trace of regrowth or colour change. Does she have a full-time hairdresser? Does she sleep? Is she human? Think about that.

It’s much the same question for French president Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte, 67, whose thick, blonde kindabob never changes, and who can wear startlingly short skirts because she has immaculate legs. What does it cost to achieve this? Can she be real? Surely after three kids this is a miracle.

I’d like to leave Melania Trump out, but to be fair she’s another thick head of hair at 50, and, like the other older women, does something incredibly daring: she goes boldly sleeveless in summer.

How can it be that their upper arms don’t have zillions of tiny pleats in the skin and hang a bit loose? How many hours a day do they work out? Do they eat?

We need to watch these creatures closely. They resemble us, but remotely. It’s my belief that their kind were actually crossed with horses at a time long ago when aliens landed to conduct experiments. Listen carefully. They neigh when they laugh.

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