Sunday, May 19, 2019
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We spend a lot of time worrying about girls but Poldark and Love Island prove body pressures on boys are getting just as bad

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. He said in one interview that he trained himself to 'enjoy' hunger pangs

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. He said in one interview that he trained himself to ‘enjoy’ hunger pangs ( BBC )

Yes I am watching Love Island, under a variety of different quality duvets according to what sort of hotel I find myself in, on my iPad, wine in a paper cup (I travel with my own Chardonnay, not because I’m fussy, but because I’m cheap), gloating at my own voyeurism.

Because this is the one we’re all allowed to watch “ironically”, isn’t it? Somehow, we’ve all got a free pass to watch this one, whereas owning up to viewing Paddy McGuinness’s Take Me Out is a no-no.

So here’s what I like about Love Island so far: Jack and Dani. I also like Wes, who is a gent, but for me, it’s the Jack and Dani show. He sells pens, she is Danny Dyer’s daughter, a cheerful Cockney sparrow of a girl with not much guile and a lot of heart (her breasts are also unashamedly her own.)

He, of all the boys in the villa, has the worst body, in terms of abs. Jack is ab-free: instead of an eight-pack, Jack has the tiniest hint of a party seven. Jack looks like he might do other things than go to the gym; he has, at the age of 26, what people are referring to these days as a bit of a “dad bod” and is all the more likeable for it. Jack looks like the kind of bloke who would come for Sunday lunch and eat seconds of your Mum’s crumble.

Weirdly, the least likeable man in the house is supposedly the “fittest”, an oiled peacock who looks at least a decade older than his apparent 22 years.

Love Island: Jack and Dani make-up as friends following a rocky patch

Back in the early eighties, when I was a similarly-aged twentysomething, I didn’t know any men who went to the gym. Gyms didn’t exist; all the men I knew smoked and drank and the one I lived with had thin arms and thin legs and no bottom to speak of. Thirty-six years later that same man has big hairy arms, a nice fat tummy and good sturdy legs and certainly couldn’t fit under the old Porsche he was fixing when I first met him.

I, back then, weighed around seven stone due to a massive relapse back into some very bad anorexic habits. London was eating me up and I couldn’t cope with it – the only thing I could control was food.

We have become rather fat together. Our joint hobbies of art galleries, reading and drawing rarely do much to puff us out, unless we visit somewhere that has a broken lift, and I have to admit that on some heavy writing duty days my step app struggles to reach the low hundreds.

And yes, I am slightly ashamed of myself. Ideally I’d like to take myself in hand before I reach 60, but it won’t be the gym that does it –  it will be walking, swimming and rolling around on a yoga/pilates mat more often. But enough of my physical decrepitude. I genuinely feel sorry for young people today: brains seem to have taken such a back seat to the body perfect. One of the girls on Love Island (I shan’t mention names) is physically amazing, but she’s dangerously thick and ultimately poisonous.

The other peculiar thing about all this physical perfection is that, despite the fact that the entire cast spend their days in swimwear, none of them ever get in the pool. What’s the point in being “beach body ready” if you never get in the water?

Apart from Jack and Dani’s brief and rather touching dip in the sea, I haven’t seen a damp trunk or soaked bikini, although I suspect the girls can’t get wet because there will be hair consequences.

What’s weird about all this is that for years we’ve been bemoaning the fate of young women buying into the myth of the perfect body, but it seems we should be equally worried about the boys.

Poor old Aidan Turner, whose role as Poldark seems to have been reduced to onscreen totty, has recently admitted to exercising every day (sometimes twice a day) and only eating after 7pm.

How boring is that? Imagine being knocked over mid-afternoon and realising that you might die without having had either breakfast or lunch.

So, while two new hunks of chunky man hood and a hot new girl bod have arrived on the island, one can only feel a slight sense of déjà vu. It’s all getting a bit samey. Just to mix it up a bit, I’d love the villa to open its doors to a couple of lard-arses and maybe some girls with trailing pubes and empty bra cups; it would be worth it just to see Adam’s face.

In fact, this tour is over quite soon and as my diary’s pretty empty in July, I’ve decided what Love Island really needs is a 58-year-old woman in a faded Boden one-piece doing belly flops into the deep end.


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