I’ve always been bad with numbers

This column appeared in The Sunday Times on 27th October 2019

I was boarding a plane, when a very lovely young flight attendant offered to help me with my luggage because he could see I was pregnant.

I was momentarily conflicted.

Yes, I definitely wanted him to help me with my luggage, I’d been humping those verkakte bags around Europe for weeks. But I also wanted to order a couple of whiskies from him after we took off. So, I responded with my standard, I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat line.

I was on my way home from Italy, it’s not my fault I accidently ate every strand of pasta in the country.

When I moaned about it to a friend, saying I was never eating again. Or getting on an airplane again. Or being nice to a flight attendant again.  She pointed out that at least he thought I looked young enough to fall pregnant.

Bring on the silver lining.

How do I feel about aging? Not that brave. Slightly more hopeful since I started following Advanced Style gurus on Instagram. And better than I would have felt if I was a forty-five-year-old woman in any other decade. But still, I can’t say I’m being very grown up about it.

Hence the dilemma; would you rather appear fatter and younger, or thinner and older?

I did spot research amongst some friends, but they were no help. Their answers were all over the board.

I also happened to eat Istanbul out of house and home on this trip, and their stance on aging seems clearer. After coming across strangely bandaged head guy number fifteen, I Googled ‘men with massive bandages on their heads in Istanbul’, to see if it’s a thing. And it is. Every year, many thousands of Turkish men sell their hair, from root to tip, to men who flock to the capital for a cure to baldness. We do safaris and face lifts and they do Turkish Delight and hair transplants.

After spending a hundred and sixty hours mulling it over on the treadmill since my return, I think I’m leaning towards fatter and younger. Thanks for the epiphany, flight attendant. It seems easier to lose weight than it is to reverse aging. Cheaper too. And I’d rather do a billion sit-ups than try figure out how to alter the world’s attitude towards aging women.

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