Coupling up…or Disentangling…

There must be a reason why the popular press loves to dollop liberal helpings of news about celebrity couples all over their pages. Does it make enjoyable reading because relationships are what interest the public more than anything? Who is with who? Who has had a baby? Who has been seen on holiday cavorting in the waves with who? And even more riveting: Who has split up with who? Who is having an affair/threesome/visits to prostitutes/paedophile allegations? Recently we’ve seen the split of Hollywood royalty ‘Brangelina’ as well as having to suffer the odious Donald Trump crowing about Bill Clinton’s indiscretions [of years ago-and for which he paid a hefty price].

You have to feel for the poor celebs. Their relationships have to weather the storms of fame, being in the public eye, having to undergo endless photo shoots for ‘Hello’ magazine, having loads of money and getting photo-zapped by stealthy paparazzi whilst exposing their flesh on expensive yachts. One or two famous couples have also amassed more children than the old woman who lived in a shoe by jetting around the world and hoovering up spare tots like flies on a window sill.

But what of we mere mortals? Observing couple behaviour is an interesting slant on people watching and a sport I’ve been enjoying during the time we’ve been away. Unless it’s an arranged marriage a relationship will usually have begun with some mutual attraction or downright lust from one or both partners. The lust gets tempered over time for a variety of reasons. Babies are renowned passion killers as are domestic chores and financial duress. For some couples, however this round of domestic obligation can be the cement that sticks them and an adhesive that fails once the chicks have fledged and the pair realise that the sprogs was all they had in common. I know a number of these.

Many couples, however seem to stick together even though nothing remains or they’ve forgotten why they became one to begin with, sharing their accommodation and little else. In our local hostelry the same individuals [almost exclusively male] can be seen any or every night of the week, leaving spouses to their own devices. Most people don’t want to be joined at the hip, and a few different interests in retirement is a good idea, but some seem not to have contact at any point, like the couple in a motorhome in Agde, France, one of whom spent each day cycling and the other inside watching TV. I’ll leave you, reader to imagine which half of the couple indulged in which activity.

Separating is scary and expensive for we commoners, more so in older age, but myself I couldn’t contemplate living the meagre remainder of my life with a cold vacuum of relationship in which the property we occupied was the only thing in common.

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Agony in the Waiting Room

                I arrived a little too early for my annual dental check up, not out of enthusiasm for the ordeal to come, but an over estimation of the time I’d take to get there. This is not a disaster, as the waiting room offers a range of magazines for every taste and from almost as many eras. The table is awash with a range of periodicals -from ‘The Oldie’ and ‘Saga’ to ‘Good Housekeeping’ and ‘Woman’s Weekly’. Take ‘Hello’ magazine, for instance. It makes no difference to me whether the edition is February 2014 or July 2003. I’m still none the wiser who most of the featured celebrities are, or in which field they have achieved their notoriety. Of course I do recognise the more prominent members of the British royal family and I am aware of such tabloid royals as the Beckhams, but most of the names and the faces are a complete mystery. So it is with a sense of the surreal that I read the caption-‘Chianti Cosmetique’s bump makes a debut at the Innuendo fragrance awards party’ or ‘Krayde and Melliflua Lamprey’s engagement party at Legoland Windsor’ or ‘Lady Hermione Drake-Smatterborn settles into her new home following her split from husband Basil’.

                I wonder what it is that creates this appetite for pictures and news about ‘slebs’ and/or royalty, when their lives, actually, are not of any interest at all. Like us, they have encounters, they form relationships [albeit brief in many cases], they buy homes, they marry, they divorce, they have babies, they ‘find happiness’ again, they party, they holiday, cavort, pose in expensive outfits in exotic locations and presumably on the proceeds of the sales of the magazines.

                A cursory delve into who some of the unknowns might be generally reveals that they are known for being married to someone famous, or that they are born into a famous/rich/royal family. In other words they are not known for anything they may have achieved, but by the tenuous thread that is as an appendage dangling off the end of a ‘famous’ person. This is irritating. Not only have they benefitted from marrying/being born to a [vaguely] known person but they are then able to rake in more dosh by appearing in the magazine in this lightweight capacity, not having actually done anything themselves.

                It was a mistake to arrive early for my appointment. I then had a wait of 35 minutes while the dentist dealt with someone else’s complications. Grim! I was left to occupy myself with photos of the Ponsonby-Smythes’ garden party of summer 2010 and Victoria Beckham’s shopping trip to New York. And after all this torture, what a relief to be invited in to sit in the chair and have my teeth prodded, my gums scraped and my tongue mummified. This time next year, when I return for my annual prod I will either ensure a more accurate arrival time or take along my Kindle!

Too Rich and too Thin

                The tale of Kate Moss’s meteoric rise to international supermodel stardom has been much related. She was ‘spotted’ at 14 years of age at an airport by a model agency scout. This is hardly a ‘rags to riches’ story, since young Kate was on holiday in the Bahamas, but still, doubtless provides fuel for hopeful adolescent girls’ imaginations. Since that time she has barely been out of the headlines of the tabloid press, either for her sense of style or for her wild party lifestyle and dubious partner choices.

                A cynic could be excused for thinking that Kate’s excessive over indulgences and subsequent exposure [photographed snorting cocaine, consorting with drug users] had done her no harm at all, since she continues to appear in ‘rich lists’, ‘super lists’ and so on; nevertheless there has been an outcry at the latest depictions and criticism of her inflated and imperfect physique as she holidayed in Ibiza.

                Kate has been lucky in most respects. Born with reasonable looks and being in the right place at the right time has been the catalyst for her success, then by cunning employment of the media and following the mantra that no publicity is bad publicity she has maintained a long [in supermodel terms] and financially satisfactory career. She is not the first or the last person to do this.

                But you should not expect to both exploit the masses interest in you and all you do and eschew all sense of responsibility. Having made a fortune from staying adolescent thin into middle age, using that look to get work and exploiting the media, it would be refreshing if Kate were to either retire from modelling or reveal the secrets of her bodily success; for in order to stay whip thin she must have loaded her system with myriad cocktails of drugs.

                With an obesity epidemic looming [or present], how helpful can it be for the huge, rich diet industry to keep focusing on the way we should look? Wouldn’t it be so much more helpful and motivating to encourage activity and show struggling dieters not only how much better they would feel by keeping within the average weight band, but how much more healthy life they could have.

                I suppose it must be more of a dilemma for those who, like Kate, have built a career around their looks, whether to ‘let it all go’ and live a normal life as they approach middle age. She could certainly afford to do this, although presumably the dieting habit would be hard to break and she famously told the world that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’.

                I must admit I quite enjoy the anonymity that being older bestows. I probably ‘scrub up’ reasonably well if the occasion demands it. Mainly, however I want to stay as fit as possible for as long as possible-and enjoy life, so I do my best to get regular exercise, then I can sometimes have a few chips with my lettuce leaves.