Beach body ready bollocks. Tilf explains ‘safe’.

Ages ago, someone I used to know got offended. He was offended because a female friend and I called him ‘safe’. He couldn’t see why we had called him safe, and seemed to think we had attacked his manliness.
I will now explain why he was wrong.

There are a lot of unfair ways that people behave towards each other. For a currently famous, or possibly infamous, example, a recent advert has been pulled from the London railway for being horrifically misguided. A poster with a tragically thin model asking “Are you beach body ready?” Every poster was swiftly ‘vandalised’ (I like to think they were improved) with phrases like “Everybody is beach body ready” and similar phrases. After a mere couple of weeks every poster was pulled down, the company has been banned from advertising on the rail and a spoof set of ads featuring what is considered a ‘plus size’ model has been made. Though I am a little curious as to when size 12 became ‘plus size’.

Women are frequently reminded that they need to be shaved, primped, curled, dyed, trimmed, starved and toned. We are reminded from several angles a day that we should stay thin, exercise constantly to be the ‘right’ size and tanned to perfection. Thankfully, with the advent of the internet, widespread feminism and acceptance of everyone we are coming to the realisation that women can be other things than a firm, slappable behind, a pair of perfect surgically crafted boobs and a dentally impossible smile. But it’s still taking too long.

But here’s where things get a little frustrating. Men are getting the same treatment. They must be toned, muscular, buff, tanned and strong. They must be well dressed without being overdone, they should be clean shaven, but also stubbly and at the same time have a huge beard, which has (deeply unfortunately) become the sign of a hipster. Grim. But no one is fighting their corner.
It seems to have become unacceptable to shame women into some artificial shape, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining that I’m finally living in a world where it’s less acceptable to judge me for eating a load of junk food, but it’s ok to judge a man for not being the peak of physical Adonis-like perfection.

This seems a little unfair.

I work out three times a week; pole dancing in Mondays, silks on Tuesday and circus/hoop on Wednesday. All week I am an undertaker, so I spend all week carrying coffins and the deceased. It’s a fulfilling job and also rather satisfying to know that it’s getting me stronger and more toned, while being an important job for those who need me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a muffin-top, but it’s smaller.

But here’s an interesting thing: Whenever you look down at yourself, you will always look fatter. You will always look shorter and more soggy round the mid-section. So you will never look as others see you. To quote Baz Luhrman “You are not as fat as you imagine.”

My muffin top is nowhere near as big as I see it. My crippling self delusion, in the form of body dismorphic disorder, makes me see a fat, shapeless lump where others see a woman who’s 6 feet tall and a good build, maybe a little thinner than I could be, or sometimes maybe a little more solid than I could be, depending on the week! But all in all, an average size with above average height and intelligence. Not that I’m boasting. Ok, maybe a little!

But, I digress, he was offended at being called safe. And really, he shouldn’t have been. They call women who hang around with gay men ‘Fag Hags’. What we don’t call them, at loud, at least, is ‘Safe.’ A friend of mine, one of my longest standing male friends has also become a good friend to one of my best friends (who is also my tattooist!) and he hangs with us at the pub, shopping and days out. He, to us, is safe. A self confessed feminist and straight male, an occasionally odd combination! In regards to the fact that we’re safe with him, we call him part of The Clitterati. And he loves it.

He knows that us calling him safe is probably one of the best compliments he can get. It means we know he won’t try to get us drunk and get in our pants, he won’t drug us, he won’t attack us, he won’t push his luck and he won’t try anything. In return, we basically pimp him! We sell his good points, he’s funny, he’s intelligent, a little boulshy sometimes, but he’s a big Scottish guy, it’s in his blood! He’s not really sexually attractive to me, but it’s not personal, he’s just not really my type! Also, I’ve seen him an average of once a week, at least, for the last, oh, gods, about 10 years! It would be weird!

But the man who was offended at being called safe missed the point. We weren’t saying he was incapable of getting his end away, or that we knew we could take him if he attacked us. Women learn really quick that there are certain cowards in the world, some of them are rapists and women beaters. Seriously, the most cowardly arseholes ever, alongside child molesters and animal harmers. I don’t like children, but people who attack and kill children are so pathetic.

Anyway, to draw this to a close, judging books by covers and all that. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be gentle, but be cautious, just because someone is nice to your face, doesn’t mean they’re not sharpening knives for your back.

But have faith, there are still good people out there, I promise.

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