No, Nigella, no!

April 5, 2008 at 2:29 am Leave a comment

I’m a woman who can appreciate another woman’s beauty. This doesn’t make me gay. But if I was to turn gay (does one turn gay?), I would do so for the domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson. Have you ever watched Nigella’s gloriously gluttonous TV show and seen how she seductively bites into a pinkalicious strawberry, dripping with dark-sheened chocolate? Or seen her tucking into a wickedly layered sponge cake oozing with fresh (not mock-shock) whipped cream, with a few glistening cherries thrown in? Or salivated whilst she passionately launched herself into a ginger-glazed ham? Or stared in amazement as she slowly licks chocolate from a wooden spoon whilst staring at you with those dark eyes?

This is a woman who is not afraid to eat. When asked to describe herself she responded: “I am not a chef. My qualification is as an eater… I wanted to make my slavering passion for food the starting point. I have nothing to declare but my greed.” Nigella is no stick-insect surviving on a diet of carrot sticks and alfalfa sprouts! No, this woman appreciates food. She lives for food and the gourmet experience. And this is why she is a WOMAN. Seductive, enchanting, exotic, sensual, carnal, Rubenesque…I could go on. She has curves. She is voluptuous. She’s not afraid to be seen on her TV show tucking enthusiastically into food.

It’s a refreshing change from the vacuous Hollywood stick-insects tottering around on their Manolos, clutching enormous handbags that practically knock them over. In an age of emaciated models impossibly air blown to perfection, Nigella has withstood the pressures to be thin. What was it Wallis Simpson (incredibly thin stick-insect) once said?: “You can never be too rich or too thin”. Stupid woman – probably set off whole generations of women worrying about “does my butt look big in this?”. And this is why I love Nigella because, up to now, she could give a toss.

But Nigella has fallen victim to the fat police. Yep, gasp! I saw an article in The Times in late 2007 that dared to ask the question: is Nigella….I can barely bring myself to utter this…..a porker?!! If you look at these pictures:

then yep, you can see that the photo on the right, taken sometime around 2000, shows a slimmer Nigella. And the photo on the left shows the seriously seductive Nigella. Which one do you prefer? Frankly, I’m going for the fuller, more voluptuous version on the left.

I’ve always thought of her as a woman with balls, not afraid to say no, push off. I didn’t think she would ever succumb to the fat police. But our age seems to have an obsessive fear of the flesh. It’s about the gods of command and control. Not only do we command and control what’s going on in organisations; we try excessively hard to command and control our bodies. Now, of course, there can be health issues if one is overweight but I see no reason why we cannot embrace curves on a woman if health is not an issue.

It is NOT pleasant IMHO to see collar bones jutting out of shoulders. It is not sexy to always be on a diet and worrying obsessively if men or women are thinking you are too much of a porker. I was watching a Marilyn Monroe film the other night (Some Like it Hot). That woman had curves! She was bootylicous. She exemplified the female goddess of the 1950s. Men (and women no doubt) salivated over her. Women wanted the little girl voice or the Monroe waddle (ever gasped at how she tottered on heels with butt waggling?). I have to admit that when I saw her in the opening scenes of the film, I thought, a bit of a porker. And that’s because we are so enculturated to believe that to be sexy or attractive these days equates to being a thin stick-insect dripping with the accoutrements of global brands.

Back to Nigella: so when The Times started to question whether Nigella was getting too rotund and perhaps erupting out of her cashmere cardigan, we found her lamenting “Everyone is so critical. All must be sacrificed to the great god of skinny. You must say no to everything. Life has to be pretty fabulous, surely, if you can afford to turn down occasions of pleasure?”.

And now I read that Nigella is getting a personal trainer. I sincerely hope her goal is not to be like that modern stick, Posh Spice. God, Posh’s Hermes handbag weighs more than she does! And that’s probably why she can’t crack a smile for photos – she’s too worried that the Hermes will overbalance her. If she ate a bit more she might not need to be so stressed.

We hear tales of women existing on diets of cigarettes and apples; no carbs; no sugar; no fats; no this; no that. Our relationship with food is the really warped thing about the times we live in. We are made to feel anxious and guilt-ridden about what we eat. I remember eating breakfast recently in Balmoral by the sea. I wanted to have the eggs benedict with ham and hollandaise sauce. Stuff the calories! But as I glanced around, I saw all the pretty young things scoffing on fruit. And so I ordered the fruit platter.

And so that’s what I love about Nigella, she publicly eats her food and relishes it, fats, carbs and all. So Nigella, don’t let the fat police get to you. If you’re hiring a personal trainer to get a bit fitter now that you’re 40-something, that’s okay. But don’t turn yourself into a stick thin, vacuous, insipid Paris Hilton type. No, Nigella, no!

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