There is supposed to be an age when one, or let’s be honest, I should accept what I am, act my age, behave and head quietly out to the pastures. The problem is that I don’t like cocoa or early nights and have this general feeling that I will live forever. I don’t think I have even started the transition from middle-aged to old.
I still have the ambition to run a marathon, I will always hanker after world travel, I understand social media, and I have a beautiful, young fiancée. Great, you might say, but this youthful attitude makes me susceptible to advertising targeted at the properly young.
Show me an open road and Harley and I am tempted and will buy anything that goes along with it.
Go back to 2015 and Protein World was advertising weight loss products with a huge poster on London Underground of a young and well-proportioned woman in a small yellow bikini against a sunshine yellow background. It was the banner words and not the picture that caused controversy: Are You Beach Body Ready?
It was banned because of concerns over its weight loss claims and in the following furore, our awareness of beach readiness was launched.
Beach ready is all about self-perception.
When I was in my early 20s I was reading a book by R D Laing: it might have been The Divided Self. Anyway, I remember the opening chapter.
You are lying on the beach. It is a hot day and you need to cool down. Maybe also you need a pee! You need to make your way to the sea which is 20 or 30 yards away. Do you just walk to and into the sea, wait until it covers your nether regions, and then return to lie on the towel to absorb more of the sun’s rays?
Depending on your age, ego and nationality that is unlikely. It is more likely you will try and trot to the sea to show your vigour, and then lift your knees high to show feigned surprise that running in the sea is more difficult. When far enough in you will dive, dolphin-like and swim a few meters before dipping to the seabed just to show you could have swum as far as you wanted but decided that Spain to Morocco should be saved for another day.
If you had been watching yourself at the seaside would you recognise your intentions? How you present yourself to the world is often be very different from how the world perceives you.
But you can check. More than ever we are obsessed with how we look and how we are perceived.
Today, somewhere that stroll on the beach has been recorded. If not on Instagram or Twitter, then I am sure you can find your promenade on YouTube.
Selfies are not for me, but Sasha has a photo of every moment of her life. Sometimes, to my horror, I appear in them. She is not alone taking selfies and they are the core currency of social media. I wonder if all these people who take them have their perceptions reinforced?
The thought I might be snapped and turn up in one of her photos fuels the dread of not being beach ready and drives me daily to the gym. Finally, it is working, and the results of the effort are showing.
I am moving towards being beach ready.
The next time I might be near a beach is October and it will be with Sasha who, as a model is always beach ready. That just adds to my angst. But October gives me three and half months to tone the muscles, pull in the tummy, shed some kilo and get myself finally ready for the beach.
Sasha be ready for the bulging biceps and fighting pecs. I am taking up the challenge!