Women are forever watching our weight. I can see it right now, in fact, out there in front of me – a little tootsie roll of tummy that sprouted after menopause, which is why, like most women my age, I now spend a lot of time holding my stomach in.
Attending a posh garden party the other day, I held my stomach in so firmly that my neck got thicker. Why? Because I’d stupidly chosen to wear a sheath dress so tight you could see the half a sultana I’d binged on for lunch, so as not to ruin the frock’s ‘line’.
On the drive home, as I gasped for air like a stranded goldfish, I thought to myself, how many more decades must I clench my tummy muscles like this? Is there a cut off point where a woman just decides to let it all hang out? None of my male friends worry about their paunches. For blokes, a beer belly is nothing more than a ‘veranda over the toy shop’; while women get saddled with the dreaded “muffin top” moniker and are forced to contort into Spanx or, like me, hold my breath until my internal organs run up a white flag of surrender.
Recently Kate Winslet revealed that the director of her hit TV series Mare of Easttown offered to edit her sex scene to hide her “bulgy bit of belly”. He suggested showing her middle-aged body in a more flattering light by digitally slimming her mummy tummy. Kate refused, saying television should show unfiltered images of middle-aged women.
But it wasn’t just Kate’s curves that endeared her to audiences. It was also her character’s chipped nails, hair roots and wrinkles. Kate disclosed that she twice sent back the promotional poster for the drama because it had been retouched. She wanted viewers to read between her lines – her facial lines that is.
Winslet’s performance is sublime, but what’s winning her global accolades is her “bravery ” for being “an average weight” and not wearing make-up. Brave? Let’s just think about this for a moment. “Brave” is dashing into a burning building to retrieve an orphan. Brave is gnawing your own leg off when it gets caught in a bear trap while hiking in a remote wilderness. Kate Winslet didn’t diffuse a bomb or crawl across enemy lines. No, she was simply filmed with a wrinkle and a muffin top. And yet, judging by the media hoo har, anyone would think the Victoria Cross beckoned.
A few years back I gave a talk in Hollywood to female studio executives about feminist empowerment. It was a funny speech – I’d test run it in front of a London audience the week before – and I was expecting big laughs. But as I delivered my punch lines, I looked out at a sea of unsmiling faces. Panic set in. Desperate, I cracked even funnier jokes – but still that collective Easter Island countenance. But then I detected a noise… a murmuring gurgling. It took me a while to realise that it was actually laughter; waves of laughter, but emanating from frozen faces, ossified by Botox.
Later, over cocktails, these glamorous, stick thin women with store-bought boobs came up to congratulate me on my comedy routine – which they loved, apparently, despite the fact that they looked less animated than the Sphinx. They also congratulated my “bravery” for daring to age naturally.
Nor could they believe the way I was wolfing down pastries – which they were avoiding as though laced in plutonium. I told them that whenever I’m about to decline food, I think of all those women on the Titanic, shipwrecked and shivering, cursing themselves for turning down the dessert trolley. My motto? Check the obituary; if you’re not in it, order the crème brulee. But my “food for thought” remained the only thing these women ate that day.
My question is, when did ageing for women become the ultimate sin? Why do men get ‘silver fox’ status, while older women are dismissed as hags and old bags? Ms. Winslet proves that it’s time to reassure older women that if we go into the House of Horrors we won’t come out with a job offer. What’s making Winslet a box office heavy weight is not caring about her weight at all.
Women will finally have achieved true equality when you see me and say, “Hey Kath, why are you wearing a life preserver?” And I simply smile back, breath out and reply – “I’m not. That’s all me.”
What do women really want in bed? Breakfast. Oh, and a good book. If you’re looking for a funny, frivolous yet feisty new read, do slip between my covers. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Here’s a selection of scribblings in which I peel down to my emotional underwear – a psychological striptease that occasionally reveals all.
I think women are each other’s human Wonderbras – uplifting, supportive and making each other look bigger and better.
If he wants breakfast, tell him to sleep in the kitchen.
Men think monogamy is something you make dining tables out of.
Many marriages break up for religious reasons – he thinks he’s a god and she doesn’t.
Love prepares you for marriage the way needlepoint prepares you for round-the-world solo yachting.
Boys will be boys, and so will a load of middle-aged boys who should know better.
Ladies who lynch.
No wife ever shot a husband while he was vacuuming.
I think therefore I’m divorced.
All husbands think they’re Gods. If only their wives weren’t atheists.
Happy wife = happy life.
I couldn’t ask for a better husband… as much as I’d bloody well like to.
Statistically, 100% of divorces begin with marriage.
Marriage is nature’s way of promoting masturbation.
Marriage is a fun-packed, frivolous activity – only occasionally resulting in death.
It’ll be an amicable split. You’ll both get 50 % of the acrimony.
A new invention is required. The monogamous husband. Patent Pending.
How Do I Hate Thee? Let me Count the Ways.
My wedding vows didn’t say To Love, Hoover and Obey.
I’m Having my period so can therefore legally kill you.
You are going to enjoy this marriage, even if I have to divorce you to do so.
A happy marriage is like an orgasm – many of them are faked.
All this emphasis on women faking orgasms, but what about men faking foreplay?
Why do men like intelligent women? Because opposites attract.
Why don’t women tell jokes? Because we marry them.
What does a woman really want in bed? Breakfast.
For women, life is full of lies – I mean doctors maintain that wrinkles don’t hurt.
Legal aid cuts prove that the Tories believe a person is innocent until proven destitute.
Sexist men are so stupid it makes you want to take the ‘men’ out of Mensa.
If a man ever tells you that women fall at his feet – it’s only because he gets them drunk first.
A woman must always fight back. Never just lie back and think of Canberra.
The best cure for menopause is the toy boy diet. A case of having Your Beefcake and Eating It Too.
I don’t fake orgasms. I’m faking being six foot one and seven stone.
Trophy wives tarnish quickly and then get left on the shelf.
Lawyers work 24/7. The partners of lawyers suffer from a bad case of subpoena envy.
Most shrinks should book an appointment with themselves.
The question on the minds of most women is – why doesn’t chocolate go straight to your boobs?
Don’t fall for a man’s puppy dog look… Just get him wormed.
It’s been so long since a man has touched me, not even medical science will want my body.
My top tip for keeping your youth? Lock him in the pool house.