IN a society that is obsessed with youth it can be difficult sometimes to hold onto your dignity as you limp toward your fiftieth birthday. You cannot open a newspaper nowadays without reading how a leggy, firm breasted popsie has elbowed aside some old trout with bulky thighs, and is to become a diverting panelist on Strictly Come Dancing. The fact that the lady in question is the same age as a male colleague on the show and is a mere slip-of-a-girl compared to Bruce Forsyth, -- who must be at least ninety if he's a day yet sails serenely on as if his voice had just broken. So confusingly we have not only ageism to contend with but sexism as well, fine for some of us of course, but for the other 50% of the population a tad unfair. To be honest if I were a woman of “a certain age” I would be spitting tacks at the puerility of it all. Nevertheless, although a number of male executives have copped the flack over their decision to dump Arlene Phillips, it is my contention that women are their own worst enemies when it comes to being unfair to high profile older women celebrities.

The massed ranks Fleet Street's female columnists only have to glance at an unfortunate photograph of Judy Finnegan leaving a London restaurant after what looked like a long and enjoyable lunch with her husband, - whotisname, and they go into paroxysms of --- “what on earth does Judy look like?” It's the same with Leslie Lawson aka Twiggy, in most sensible people's opinion Twiggy, who will not see 60 again, is a beautiful woman who has defied nature and manages to look better and better, classier and classier as she gets older. Not anymore she's not! Why not oh wise one?

Well it appears that Twiggy sometimes has the crumpled face look that is common in many females of her age at certain times of the day, --- you try and look like Cheryl Cole when you are a recipient of a bus pass and you are putting out the morning bin bags. Nevertheless, the harridans of Her Majesty's Press Corp went into full indignation mode and they revealed that Twiggy “had some help” both with her personal make-up artist and the judicious use of some photographic air-brushing, --- how dare she! The debate about “airbrushing” images of women is raging in the press at the moment. Apparently, even models with almost flawless skin are regularly “touched up” during the picture editing process, the word “almost” in this context is very revealing, -- and so what hope for your average woman you may ask yourself.

As I said earlier every national newspaper has a huge female section, constantly nagging their readers to slim down, look good, be sexy, experiment with sex, (I tried that once and fell off) who writes this garbage? -- Why women of course. Talking about airbrushing, the hundreds of women's magazines out there do it all the time, often with bizarre results, for instance Mrs. Victoria Beckham has featured recently in a campaign promoting Armani, --- rumour has it that the only thing that was the “genuine article” in the whole shoot was Posh´s pout.

Do I really have to point out that it is women who read these magazines, --ladies, if you are looking for somebody to blame for this enforced body fascism, take a long look in the mirror.

IN direct contrast your average 50-year-old-man is fitter and healthier than a chap half his age, --- how marvelous is that? The study that revealed this used Sting aka Gordon Sumner as an example of the mature male who keeps himself in shape, as I think that I am exactly the same age as this saintly tree-hugger I am more than a little pleased with myself.

Not that I have any of his attributes you understand, but I am quite happy to be seen to be associated with his trim figure, modest lifestyle, and the fact that Sting always seems to be more than pleased with himself, -- indeed if he were chocolate I suspect that he would eat himself.

Trying to keep in shape post your 50th birthday is not easy you know, there are times when I have to hold my stomach in for hours on end, and as you strive for middle-aged-male perfection there are times that you are, shall we say, --- “economical with the truth.” One evening last week we were strolling around Port Andratx trying to find a bar where a beer and a gin & tonic wasn't going to cost us twenty euros, when I was phoned by a lady who had read an article of mine in which I had revealed that I come from Eastleigh in Hampshire.

Pauline was really nice and we chatted about the schools that we went to and tried to discover if we had any old friends in common.
It was then that I made a BIG mistake, Pauline naturally asked me how old I was, --- without thinking and totally unconsciously, I blurted out my age minus five years! With this I looked up to find the lovely lady hands-on-hips staring at me in a most unpleasant way, ------“you lying bugger” was the general gist of her many unkind comments thereafter. Oh dear, the more I protest my innocence the more sarcastic she became. The moment we met our friends for a drink she was off, -- “do you know I have just caught him lying about his age” was the general theme, and because she has just about told our complete circle of friends about my unfortunate slip-of-the-tongue I just as well share it with you lot as well I suppose; never again.


YESTERDAY I received this communication from a reader. I was touched by the writers desire to warn us about another possible pandemic that appears has already taken hold on the island. ---------- “I went to a dinner party last night, --- I awoke this morning not feeling well, with what could be described as flu-like symptoms; nausea, chills, sore eyes, etc ---. From the results of some initial testing, I have unfortunately tested positive for what experts are now calling “WINE FLU.” This debilitating condition is very serious – and it appears that this is not an isolated case.

Reports are flooding in from all around the island of others diagnosed with Wine Flu. To anyone that starts to exhibit the aforementioned tell-tale signs, experts are recommending a nice cup of tea and a bit of a lie down. However, should your condition worsen, you should hire a DVD and take some Nurofen.

Others are reporting that a McDonalds Happy Meal can also help to combat this unusual type of flu. Wine Flu does not need to be life threatening and, if treated early, can be eradicated within a 24hour period.

If not, then further application of the original liquid in similar quantities to the original dose has been proved in the past to be most efficacious.” Thank you for sharing that with us reader! frankleavers@hotmail.com


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