In which I start off all Venetian and then become distracted by daytime television

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Ahoy there! The blog plan for today was to tell you all about my lovely holiday last week, but since making that plan I’ve become quite disastrously distracted by what I suspect may be the worst television programme ever made.

I’m going to try to stay on topic for at least a couple of paragraphs though. So I’ve been to Venice. I went there with darling husband, senior sibling, her hubbie and my favourite nephew. And these are the things that I learnt:

1. Holidays with six-year olds are knackering

Now I appreciate that many of you will have actual children of your own who live in your house and are knackering all the time. Well I don’t, so this was news to me. This particular six-year old, although charming in all respects, does not appear to have been fitted with any sort of activity level control. He runs with two settings: asleep and not asleep (aka totally manic).

I, unfortunately, am quite a sedentary animal, used to sitting still on my rapidly-expanding writer’s bottom, so can only really maintain manic for about seven and a half minutes at a time. Probably, when I am Queen of the World, I shall decree that all children be fitted with some sort of wakefulness dimmer switch, so that the grown-ups can just turn them down to “sitting quietly” when they’ve had enough running about for one day. I am confident that there are absolutely no practical or ethical issues with that plan at all.

I was at this point going to include a pic of aforementioned nephew, but everytime I try to upload it my browser crashes, so you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that he exists, is blond, curly and quite unfeasibly cute.

2. People who don’t like Venice are just wrong.

There are many complex issues in the world. Questions like “why did Germolene stop being pink?” are tricky and deserving of lengthy debate. The question of whether Venice is brilliant is not complicated. It is, without question, one of the best places on earth. It has no cars, which makes it a bit like Center Parcs (which the self-same nephew reliably informs me actually is the best place on earth). It has incredible architechture, amazing art and is bountiful in its provision of gelato.

Some people have told me the Venice smells funny. They are wrong. I’ve been there twice. It smells fine. Other people complain that it’s full of tourists. Well, in places, yes. But it’s wrong to be snobby about touristy places – if lots of people want to go somewhere, that’s just as likely to be a sign that the somewhere is amazing, as it is that the people are fools. And secondly, you just need to walk for 5 minutes beyond St Mark’s Square and it’s actually not that busy at all, or, if you’re too lazy to walk, hop on a boat over to San Giorgio or Salute and get away from the crowds that way.

Venice is brilliant. If you haven’t been, go. If you’ve been and didn’t like it, then go back and do it properly. If you’ve been and loved it, share your highlights down in the comments.

And then I came home, where my attention was rapidly taken up by a “reality” tv wonder which I had not come across before. It’s not actually a new programme – it went out in America in 2010, but I’m in Britain and I don’t have Sky, so forgive me for being a little behind.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you the wonder that is BridalPlasty. On BridalPlasty twelve brides compete to win the “perfect” celebrity-style wedding, including winning items off their plastic surgery wishlist. As is the norm with tv reality, each week the brides complete challenges, and the challenge winner gets a prize. On this show that prize is an medically unnecessary major surgery! Whoop-de-doo! Only if they win the show will they get their full surgery wish list, and then they can have their perfect wedding, assuming of course that their thigh skin hasn’t been left too tight to permit walking down the aisle.

Now, the obvious next paragraph would be a big ol’ rant about tv reinforcing the idea that there’s just one form of perfect beauty and that only by conforming to that precisely can any woman expect a man to look twice at her. Probably that rant would come with a side order of “who decides what’s perfect anyway?” and possibly a dipping source of “actually they all look fine to start with.” And all of those would be good points, but you are intelligent readers, so I’m assuming you can fill in the details on all of those rant elements.

I could also wonder why none of these women and none of their fiances appear to be particularly concerned about the risks of major surgery. Surely, when your girlfriend tells you she’s going to enter a competition to win a perfect wedding, with a small associated risk of death on an operating table, most husbands-to-be would have something to add to the discussion. Wouldn’t they?

Anyway, I’m going to jump straight to: Where are the bridegrooms in this process? How come they’re deemed pretty enough to have a perfect wedding without being cut and bandaged and remodelled? How come a groom can have a bit of a big nose, or a hint of a beer gut, or wonky teeth and be considered characterful, whereas brides need to be ironed and stapled until they all look like the same stepford blank canvas?

Here’s the bottom line: faces are supposed to show expressions; lips are supposed to be able to smile and laugh and shout and whistle; boobs are supposed to be squishy and jiggly; years are supposed to add wrinkles; bodies are supposed to change over time, not under a knife. We’re not all supposed to look the same. There isn’t supposed to be a template of perfect beauty that you can buy off the shelf. Love the body evolution gave you, and (and this is important) don’t go marrying anyone who doesn’t love it, in all its wonderful imperfection, too.

That is all. Ciao (cos I’ve been to Italy, see) x

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One thought on “In which I start off all Venetian and then become distracted by daytime television

    Polly Robinson said:
    June 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Love this post, Alison. Love Venice. Love the ‘all children be fitted with some sort of wakefulness dimmer switch, so that the grown-ups can just turn them down to “sitting quietly”’ comment – so identify that as I have three children – all probably around your age now, so very grown-up, but I vividly recall their hyperactivity when small peeps … it was great, but when I look back I do sometimes wonder how on earth we coped! 🙂

    Like

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