Friday, August 12, 2016

food shaming and other musings...

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I’ve got something to tell you guys. In fact, I can’t keep it in any longer… OK, here goes, here’s the truth: I like white bread. There. I’ve said it. But how wrong am I to actually like white bread? After all, Encyclopaedia Britannica tells us that Marie Antoinette actually meant “brioche” when she said “cake” – and we all know that brioche is actually white.

I know, I know. I’m supposed to say that I just love, love, love brown bread. But I don’t. In fact, I would rather stick needles in my eyes than eat government brown. Seed loaf, on the other hand, I happen to like. But please understand that this is completely by accident and not because I have been pressured into liking it because it is healthy.

Why am I compelled to make this declaration? Well, were watching the Olympics and Mr Chilled says to me “Mom, so do you know what Michael Phelps eats in one day”. 

“No”, I say. Because I don’t. And because I suspect that he eats homemade granola made from seeds, quinoa, and goji berries, I hope the conversation stops there because I don’t want to feel bad about eating Wheatbix.

Not wanting to be left out of the conversation, TFTF asks Mr Chilled,

“Well, what DOES he eat in a day?”

“Yes”, I say, without much conviction, “lets Google it”.

You can imagine my surprise when the image that came up of “what Phelps eats” revealed the following:

Pizza (big fucker too, no smallness here)
2 monster sized servings of pasta (looks like spaghetti with mystery meat)
6 – yes 6 – milkshakes (they could be smoothies, but who can tell?)
3 Dagwood type sandwiches (also, big fuckers – I believe they have egg on them)
3 pieces of French toast (very, very chubby slices)
3 chocolate pancakes (OK, you know what, if he’s able to eat that, I’m hitting the pool)
1 bowl of um, something white (on investigation I found out it’s grits/oatmeal)
A 5 – fiiiiiiivvvveee - egg omelette (and that’s the only thing that looks flat on his plate)

This revelation has made me love Phelps all the more. Should he apologise because he lives mostly on refined carbohydrates? No! He doesn’t. Apparently the world thinks he’s redeemed himself enough through hours and hours in the pool. So much for the “it’s not what you do, it’s what you eat” theory.

But back to the title of the post. Food shaming. We’ve all seen those foodie pictures that people post on Facebook and Instagram (why, oh why do I follow “FitGirls”???? WTF?!) My worst has to be when people post photos of fruit and then hashtag it #naturescandy. 

Let’s get one thing straight. Fruit is fruit and candy is candy. You can eat fruit and you can eat candy but don’t try and fool me with fruit when what I really want is candy.

I was once fooled by a “fruit-candy” type of video that someone posted on Facebook. It showed a beautiful cake that looked like a mammoth carrot cake with shedloads of frosting. Just as I was about to jump into my car and rush over to Mugg & Bean to go-get-me-some, it was revealed that the “cake” was actually a watermelon that had been peeled whole, cut in half and then smothered in plain yoghurt. I think the strawberries that were dotted on the top were supposed to pass as glace cherries.

Disappointed is not the word. Tricked? Yes. Cheated? Most definitely. The person who posted it commented that it was a “super” idea for their kid’s birthday party. I was once severely reprimanded by a 4 year old for not having party-packs. One can only imagine the wrath that would ensue if one was to serve a watermelon cake at a kid’s party. (And also, you can only use the word “super” in relation to things that really ARE super … like Olympic swimmer’s bodies).

Of course, the sub-text of posting fruit that’s dressed up as cake is:  a) Look at me I’m so healthy and b) I can’t believe you’d put real cake in your body.

Nowadays you can find almost any food that has been demonised by someone. Gluten? Colon cancer - that shit’ll kill you. Cream? Clogs the arteries – that shit’ll kill you. Dairy? Sinus and allergies – that shit’ll kill you. Carbohydrates? Obesity and depression – and oh, that shit’ll kill you.

This brings me to recent commentary regarding sugar. I’m sure you’ve all seen it: sugar = cocaine. Actually, Mail Online reports that Sugar ‘is the new CRACK cocaine’. Fuck. If watermelon cake disappoints cake lovers you can only imagine a drug-taker’s horror if you were to serve them sugar instead of cocaine. The way I see it, many folk have a glass-half-empty approach when confronted with this sugar/cocaine argument. We should rather be thankful that we have sugar or else we’d all be doing cocaine.

On that note, perhaps you’ve also seen the research that was done on spiders that were given different drugs. (Mmm, a complete aside, I wondered how they administered the drug? I mean surely these spiders have seen the anti-drug campaigns? Must’ve taken some persuasion. Perhaps all their friends were already doing drugs and they felt peer pressure…).

This particular research revealed that while on no drugs  - surprise-surprise -  the spider made a kick-ass web. Curiously, the web it made on LSD was pretty damn fine too. On Peyote it wasn’t that great – probably spent more time communing with its spider ancestors. On Marijuana (I feel so pompous when I use that word), it was pretty sloppy – lots of holes and stuff, and on Benzedrine (I think that’s speed), it did lots of lines that were kind of untidy. No surprises there. The scopolamine web was unfinished business. I think the spider must’ve nodded off. 

Anyhow, the point of this is that the web the spider made while on caffeine was a cluster-fuck of biblical proportions. Hell, I’m not sure you could even call it a web. What is the point of all this you might ask? Caffeine shaming. People have been calling on this research to back up the fact that caffeine is bad for us. Now far be it from me to critisise researcher Mr Witt’s efforts, but I for one see a few flaws in equating spiders with humans. To begin with, I’m inclined to think that six legs require a much more sophisticated sense of coordination than what two legs and two arms do. That, and that not many humans ever really need to weave a web.

I was recently asked – as I often have been since becoming a “reborn” vegetarian – whether I am “still vegetarian”. As though vegetarianism is a temporary setback that one just needs to overcome.  What I’ve found with being vegetarian is that no food shaming is needed. People tend to just launch in and shame the fuck out of themselves. It’s the weirdest thing. They often vacillate between apologising for being a meat-eater and justifying why they still eat meat. Someone recently told me that they still eat meat because  “all the documentaries about meat-eating are actually ‘Americanised’ and are therefore not applicable to us here in South Africa.”  And then I feel obliged to apologise for being a vegetarian so that they don’t feel so bad about not being one. It’s all very awkward.

Funnily enough, although food shaming would be perfectly understandable in the context of vegetarians (and especially vegans), if I personally was to go in for food shaming in a big way, I would target chemicals.

Call me crazy but if I’m going to ingest chemicals, they’d better be fun, darn it. Yup, I would choose cocaine and whiskey over aspartame, psychedelic food dye and all those E numbers anyday (which might actually be why I have the junk that I do. Mmm.) Whereas most of us can generally agree on the food dye and E numbers, the aspartame vs. sugar debate is almost on a par with the HFLC vs. FAT FREE debate (and the margarine vs. butter debate for that matter). Heaven knows, heated shit goes down when the aspartame issue is discussed. Ask Dr Mercola and he will tell you that, “Aspartame is by far the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods”. And then you will find theorists that weigh up the damage caused by aspartame with the damage caused by cocaine (a.k.a sugar) and will find aspartame to be the lesser of the two evils.

So basically, I think you should eat what you like without making other people feel bad about eating what they like. Because after all, we all eat and do things that are unhealthy for us and when we do, we don’t want to feel even worse about it than what we already do. I also think we should stop tricking people with fruit and that we should all do the best we can with the caffeine we’re given. 

And that’s my cue to go and make myself a white bread peanut butter sandwich, or as Marie would put it, “peanut butter cake”.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

talk the walk...

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This morning began as all my weekday mornings do: at the gym. Gymming is a throwback habit of mine from the 80’s that started because I always felt fat (who didn’t feel fat in those high-cut undies and cozzies?) So, back then I went for the sake of my body. Now, with a chemical called “peri-menopause” coursing through my veins, I need to go to the gym to rectify what can only be termed “my rapidly unravelling brain.” Of course, when I tell people that "nowadays I gym more for my head”, I can read their minds: “Do it for your buuuuuummm!”

Now, I know that lots of people look down on gyms and gymming people. I know that I’m “supposed” to prefer exercising outdoors (because it’s much more, um, noble and, um, outdoorsy and, um, connected-to-nature-ish) but I, for one, love the gym. I fucking love it. One of the reasons I like the gym is that it is so neatly compartmentalised. You don’t go to the gym and “accidentally” end up exercising. You go there to exercise and then you go home, or you go to work. And then you either do home-stuff or work-stuff and you don’t have to clutter your brain with thoughts of exercise and you can fully apply your mind to other exciting pursuits. Later, if you like, you can walk the dogs with no thought of exercise at all because you already did your exercise and you can walk as slowly or quickly as you like without bothering about things like “heart-rate”, “calories burnt” or “personal best”.

Just to clarify, it’s not that I dislike being outdoors. I love it in fact. It’s just that I feel the outdoors is too nice a place to spoil with blood, sweat and tears. For me, the outdoors is purely a place where I can lose myself in the sounds of birds tweeting and feel the breeze upon my un-sweaty skin. It’s a place where I could ride a bicycle in a white frock down a country lane (think: most movies set in Tuscany/Provence) and where I can use phrases like “just look at those sweet lambs gambolling”.

My thing with the outdoors is somewhat inherited. Exactly half my family are any-kind-of-weather outdoorsy types who like nothing more than doing almost anything outdoors (although I must add, they do seem to have a weird preference for being outdoors in unreasonably hot weather.) The other half of my family, of which I am one, are fair-weather outdoorsy types. We like doing things like lying on the grass reading a book, taking a stroll in a leafy forest or perhaps doing a spot of beach yoga. Needless to say, sweating doesn’t typically come into it.

But I digress, back to the gym. As you know (if not from me, then surely from your own experience), gyms are funny places. One of the most funny things about gyms is what I call “the gym-walk”. I’ll explain.

A gym-walk is a walk that is mostly reserve for the gym only. Sometimes, you will see guys doing their gym-walk outside of the gym, but then they will most likely be on the beach or be doing some other kind of sporty thing. Both girls and guys have gym-walks but they are characterised differently. Girls will hardly ever use their gym-walk outside of the gym, unless they are walking alone and suddenly feel threatened. But then they will use the men’s gym-walk and not the women’s gym-walk.

Women’s gym-walks tend to lengthen their necks, which calls for raising your chin slightly and pulling your shoulders down. Women’s gym-walks aim to reduce any Quasimodo-like shoulder hunching, which means you have to pull your shoulders back, but not too back that it looks like you’re showing off your boobs. Women’s gym-walks are also inclined to resemble a sprinting sandpiper rather than a striding cowboy. Many women have plenty of swag but they tend to speed it up – like those old fashioned silent movies – because as you know, women always do things at pace because they have places to go and shit to do and they mostly rush their workouts.

Men’s gym-walks are different and for some bizarre reason, I’ve adopted the official men’s gym-walk rather than the official woman’s gym-walk. I attribute this to trying to look like I belong in the free-weights section. It’s taken me years to perfect and I have to say that it often fucks out. It looks something like this.

I warm up my gym-walk between my car and the gym entrance. This involves a kind of bouncy walk (you know, the kind where it looks like you’ve strained you Achilles, or your heels are hurt and you don’t want to put them on the ground. BTW, I have a friend who walk s like this all the time.) This walk is important to establish the impression that you are “ready to do this shit and then rule the world”.

There is a brief period when I swipe my card where I kind of suck in my tummy and puff out my shoulders a bit – just to set the tone. But by the time I hit the cardio area, I’m in full-on gym-walk mode. Working from the top down, this involves several things. To begin with, my head is pulled slightly back, as though I’ve just smelt something unsavoury. This automatically makes my neck look thick, like a boxer or wrestler, and gives off the vibe that I’m not to be messed with. My shoulders are slightly hunched forward, as though I’m just about to wrestle a heavy, but rather short bear. This sends a message of “possession”, as in “this is my machine, back off”. It’s different to the puffed out shoulder look because it implies humbleness, suggesting, “I’m not full of myself, I’m just here to do my shit”.

Hunching my shoulders is further enabled by the fact that I’m trying to simultaneously pull in my gut and pull in my bum – which means that all that junk gets displaced and is repositioned in my shoulders. My legs are responsible for striding out purposefully - no hesitation is permitted on my way to the “machines” – which is the non-verbal equivalent of saying “there’s just no stopping me”. Once I start training, my gym-walk is supported by various noises and facial expressions. These involve devil-may-care face-scrunching, tongue-out panting, and, on occasion, grunting or unintentional loud whistling as air is forcefully expelled from my lungs.

The irony behind my gym-walk is that it pretty much fucks out the minute I start running on the treadmill. Here, the word “running” is to be interpreted in very elastic terms because I’m not sure that you could call what I do on the treadmill “running”. Its more a short-stride-shuffle, seasoned with a touch of imminent- wipeout. To make matters worse, I often do “rapper hands” as I run – to look tough, you understand – even though I am actually listening to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” (which, by the way, is perfect in terms of BPM if you’re wanting to run at a speed of 10 minute per km). Another reason my gym-walk fucks out on the treadmill is that I’m always very busy rearranging myself. I have to manage my pants so that they don’t slip down and my top so that it doesn’t slip up. Actually, I’m thinking of inventing some kind of braces for gym tops. They would look almost exactly like men’s braces but they would be shorter and worn upside-down. The two front straps could fasten to the front of your gym top and the singular strappy bit could go under your crotch and fasten to the middle-back of your shirt. I suppose this is why leotards were invented but fuck knows, I’m never wearing one of those again.

Anyway, next time you’re at the gym, look at everyone’s gym-walks and then glance at the mirror and look at your own. Heaven knows, mine makes me laugh.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

africa burnt...

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I had planned to write a blog about “gym walks”, but what with AfrikaBurn underway and so much being said about it on social media, I couldn’t resist the urge to “get involved” myself. In truth, the mere idea of the event has been filling me with a growing feeling of annoyance that I can only liken to an untreated STD – you know it’s there and it bothers you but you can’t talk to anyone about it. However, on reading Kurt Seigfried’s colourful and wonderful rant, I feel as if I am no longer alone and therefore safe enough to “express” how I really feel.

To be clear from the start: I haven’t been to Afrika Burn so everything I know is wholey based on what people – people who have actually gone - have said. So guys: no judgement. Don’t fire back at me because this is about me and my issues, not about you and, um, yours.

By all accounts, it sounds like AfrikaBurn is an event that is short on venue and long on attitude. A dusty festival of druggery, fuckery and white-neckery. What is wrong with druggery, fuckery and white-neckery I hear you ask? Well, nothing actually. And as my dad would say, if that’s your thing, bully for you. Except I can’t help but feel that if it IS your thing, you should state quite clearly that it is. You could say something like,

“I’m off for some druggery, fuckery and white-neckery” in the desert for the week”.

And then, your family and friends could say something like,

“Awesome. Have a wonderful time! See you next Tuesday.”

That way, there would be no confusion about what your intentions are. Because, despite the honourably conceived principles that underpin the event, most people are there for the aforementioned activities, and the “gifting”, “self expression” and all those other admirable things, are peripheral to the real experience.

But let’s back up a little and give deserts, druggery, fuckery and white-neckery some due diligence.

Deserts. I do like them. A little. But mostly I like them far away from me and not when I’m in them. Also, I like deserts a whole lot more when they have a lot more grass, a big lake, perhaps a stream or two, and a ton of trees. Guys, deserts are overrated. There’s a reason bedouin’s are nomads. They’re trying to find their way out!

Drugs. No problem with them. Not at all. Except that I, for one, like my drugs the way that God intended them to be taken. Prescribed and predictable. Also, the concept of “recreational drugs” and “decommodification” somehow don’t go hand in hand. After all, we can only assume that all the E and coke that has been purchased to aid “self-expression” has been “bought”, and not “gifted”. Of course, the fact that these drugs have entered the “Burn” through unconventional, black-market avenues might be of some comfort to those “burners” who don’t want to make big corporations rich. But personally speaking, I like my drugs utterly tested. And no, I don’t care that I’m making pharmaceutical companies rich or that my hard-earned buck is sending their sales force to the Seychelles. When I need drugs because I’m sick, I call on Cipla, not my local dealer, to help me out.

Also, if drug-talk is to be believed, ummm… how to but this gently ….  Apparently, drug users have an inconvenient reaction prior to “dropping” their stuff, and that is…they need to poop. Now, under normal circumstances, pooing is no problem. However, given that AfrikaBurn has limited loos (which are located roughly 7km away from where your urge happens), I can only assume that after a few days of reactionary-pooping a bit of a, um, buildup occurs. The lack of lavs (amongst other important things) is hilariously alluded to by the very funny Susan Hayden of discopants blog. Indeed, I feel such a kinship with her after reading her piece that I want to dash over to her house, cuddle with her on the couch and say  “Isn’t this great. Just you and me, fully clothed, in not-a-desert, and with tea and a loo close by”.

Those folk who know me will probably say that I’m being all grinchy about AfrikaBurn because I’m not hot enough to show myself off. And they would be partly right. When asked if I will be joining in the revelry, my standard retort has been “No. Because if I go, I want to be the hot-chick wearing nothing but gold lamé hotpants and a crocheted bikini top, and since I’m not that girl, I’m not going”. Given that the event is held in a hot desert and that I have the opposite of a thigh-gap, my only option would be to wear gold lamé leggings (to avoid chafe, you understand), which would leave me looking like a tubby, trunk-legged minion that never got into the movie.

But let’s get to the fuckery. Fuckery in the desert doesn’t work for me. It’s a very dry environment guys, and heaven only knows how the sales in KY jelly must have spiked over the last few days (see: “decommodification”). Coupled with a severe lack of ablutions (see “wet wipes purchases” and “decomodification”), screwing in the desert just sounds like a UTI waiting to happen. Not only that, but I think I’m not alone when I say that 5 days of not showering is just not sexy. Also, I can’t lie. If I went I’d want to seem like a person who is all “fun-and-up-for-anything” whilst in truth, I’d be the “touch-me-and-I’ll-stab-you-in-the-eye” person”.

Sex in the desert reminds me of the story of when Exotica met her husband for the first time. One of his first questions to her (obviously a deal-maker or –breaker) was, “Would you prefer to sleep in a cave or a hotel”. I’m afraid to say that, crushed by the weight of such a loaded question and by the need to seem “cool”, I would have be compelled to answer “cave”, only to scream out on my fourth cave-date: “I like hotels! I like hotels and showers and soft beds and not-caves. There. I’ve said it.” Because, as most people know, camping (in caves or otherwise) is like blow-jobs. You say you like it at first to impress people but then eventually you just have to be honest about it.

And what do I mean by white-neckery. AfrikaBurn is not cheap. Tickets are over R1000 apiece and that’s before you’ve fired up your ol’ SUV to get there. Add to that, the price of your outfit/s, the cost of your drugs, the petrol to get there, the milk-thistle and ibruprofen to recover, the food, the drinks, the wet-wipes (did I already mention wet-wipes?) and you have a pretty packet. Radical inclusion se gat. There’s a whole bunch of folk that can’t afford the ticket, let alone all the other paraphernalia that helps you be “self-reliant” and “self-expressive”. And don’t even get me going on the environmental footprint of the event. I think The Cooling Man has made his point.

As for gifting. Why just for one week? Why not “decommodify” in real life and offer your services for free for a week to, oh hell, I don’t know, people who actually could do with a gift or two?

By the way, the concept of “gifting” is pretty much the same as “commodification”. Here’s why. Way back when, some guy had some chickens. Then, because he was feeling kind (or perhaps one chicken was troublesome), he “gifted” a chicken to a friend. However, after a while, the guy who was getting all the chickens said,

“Thanks for the chicken, but you know what I really need? I really need a goat.”

And then, the other guy said,

“OK, I’ll ‘gift’ you a goat but I really need a pig. If I give you one of my goats, will you give me one of your pigs?”

And then, after a whole nother while, one guy had enough chickens and enough pigs and enough goats and needed something he could save for a rainy day. So, he said to the other guy,

“You know what, I have enough pigs, goats and chickens for now, and what I’d really like is to have something I don’t have to feed. If I give you a pig, will you give me some of that shiny, heavy, metal stuff?”

And the other guy said,

“Ja, OK”.

And so, “gifting” became ‘trading” which is “commodification”. Same-same but different.

Last but not least, lets chat “self-expression”. Presumably, this relates to druggery, fuckery and white-neckery. I could be wrong, but as far as I know there is no rule-book that say’s you can’t self-express every day, any day, and everywhere. I’m not sure why you have to go into the desert to be different just so that you can be the same? Any clarification on this point would be hugely useful. Also, as far as self-expression goes, I find it slightly cheeky that you are “allowed” to take pictures at AfrikaBurn but you are not allowed to “use” them for anything other than personal use. Umm, did I miss something? Surely self-expression includes being able to pretty much do as you please so long as you’re not harming anyone?

Anyhoo, perhaps next year I will also be a “burner” (yes, the very word is like nails on a chalk-board to me). Perhaps I will don that outfit and have to eat a big slice of humble pie when I have a rip-roaring, fiery jol. But till then, the only thing I will be burning is the dinner. As usual.

P.S. And for the love of sweet cheeses, can we pleeeeeeease also stop spelling Africa with a “K” in it.

Dr. Seuss inspired "Ode to Africa Burn"
I will not burn
I will not hug
I will not take
Your fucking drug
I will not “gift”
I will not “shift”
I will not sniff
The shit you sift
I will not poo
I will not screw
I will not in
The desert spew
I will not “art”
I will not “install”
I will not pretend
I’m “different” at all
You can take your burn
And all its gas
And kiss my lily-white
Abundant ass

Monday, February 22, 2016

from Russia with love...

(image via
Now that I no longer have my nose buried in books, I decided it would be a good idea to draw up at to-do-list for 2016. To keep me motivated and to give me some sense of direction, you understand. The list includes things like 1) find more freelance work 2) stop drinking copious amounts of coffee 3) get into shape (I’m aiming for something less “boxy”) 4) swear less, and, 5) rule the world. I can’t say that it’s been going swimmingly so far as what I’ve only accomplished is perfecting imaginary arguments (it must be a hormonal thing) and talking more than usual to the dogs.

I must confess, there is another guilty pleasure that’s been keeping me from my to-do-list. You see BK and I decided to switch off the DSTV as we felt that the “kids” were spending too much time in front of the box and also that it was a waste of money. So, we switched to Netflix, which was not the smartest move because instead of watching ten minutes of sport or E-TV, we now waste anything from two to ten hours watching old movies, series, or a several documentaries.

Anyway, I was recently “sucked in” (to be fair, the dogs also wanted to watch it) by a documentary titled “Love Me”, which delves into the world of Mail-order-Brides. The guys they featured were so utterly convinced that they would find “everlasting love” with a Ukrainian woman that I thought it would be interesting to investigate buying a bride for myself (hashtag NoMoreCookingForMe).

The website I visited got me interested at the get-go, as it promised “hundreds of friendly, exciting foreign girls”. On reading the word “exciting” I was instantly relieved that I, myself, was not actually applying to be such a bride because I’m not sure that I’m “exciting” enough (note to self: google “how to be more exciting”).

I was even more relieved that I wasn’t a Russian-bride-to-be when I saw that applicants were obliged to state their vital statistics, including weight, and that most of them weigh around 54kgs. I fear it would be at this point that I wouldn’t make the cut. Vital statistics also had to include height as well as hair and eye colour. This, I felt, was a reasonable request because as you know, all long-lasting marriages are based on height and the colour of your hair and eyes.

Another stumbling block for me would be that applicants have to state their drinking and smoking status. I’m afraid that I only found profiles either stating: Drinker: No, or, Drinker: Social. Disappointingly, no profiles stated: Drinker: Like a sailor; or, Drinker: Is this a trick question?

Despite the fact that I felt intimately connected to most of the lovely ladies through their revealing profile pictures (yes, if I can see your underboob I think that makes us pretty close, eh?) I did want to extend my investigations beyond superficial vital statistics. I wanted to know not only about who these women were, but also about what they looked for in a “husband”.

I should start by saying that I noticed a difference in criteria depending on which region the woman came from and for this reason and for ease of reference (after all, this is no cattle show) I will sometimes quote in terms of “Miss Minsk” or “Miss Thailand”. 

I noticed that most of the women had pretty modest criteria when it came to what they were looking for in a man. Words like “serious, kind and sincere” came up a lot, which made me wonder whether buffoonery and insincerity are issues with Russian and Ukrainian men? (I’ve always thought that “Funny Russian” was an oxymoron?)

Some women were more demanding, with one even insisting that her life-partner be “not greedy and not very tall”. Another women (I feel she’s a kindred spirit) felt that “someone who can appreciate a good song” was the deal-maker.

Given that most women listed “health” and “fitness” as hobbies (and at 54kgs who am I to argue) it came as no surprise that many wanted a man who was “active enough” (enough?) or “neat, easy-going, sunny…who loves sports”.

Miss Barranquilla felt that a “well-educated and persistent man” (horror of horrors) would be the ideal match but Miss Moscow put a cap on happiness, insisting that she would “like to meet a kind and sincere man to share my life with, to support each other in joy and sorrow and have warm relations and happy family. Up to 65”. What happens after they turn 65? Murder She Wrote?

One self-confessed “nature lover” was simultaneously optimistic and realistic when she wrote that she “admires animals and nature” and wishes she “could find a life partner here and start a happy family with him the sooner the better”. This, naturally, conjured up images of a scantily clad Russian beauty frolicking through the undergrowth, stumbling upon an “animal”, bringing him home and wedding him. What can I say, hope is a wonderful thing.

Miss Thai was by far the least demanding and simpy asked for a “nice ordinary man who wants me and only me….if that is not too much to ask.

But getting the man of their dreams is no easy task. These ladies have to put their best foot forward and this involves a measure of self-promotion. I found the way that they described themselves most compelling, and it would be no exaggeration to say that now more than ever, I want my own Mail-order-Bride.

After all, who could resist Miss Zaporozhyte who claims that “just to be a woman is her soul calling” and that she “likes to study because knowledge is useful sometimes”? Or Miss Kherson who wants to “feel myself weak and at the same time the most beloved”? Miss Minsk is clearly my kind of gal - hardworking and not looking for a "sugar daddy”, she also promises to “always give back twice more” which to me sounds like a very solid investment. And let’s not forget about Miss China who professes that “docile is her communicating principle”.

It must be said that I’d steer clear of Miss Spain. She sounds a little tricky. Describing herself as “a combination of outer beauty and inner beauty” she also claims to be “humble”. Mmm.

An added bonus is that you can search for your life-partner using a Zodiac sign or Chinese horoscope filter. This to me is the clincher and again, a most reliable way to find a life-partner.

It came as no surprise but with some disappointment to find that Mail-order-Grooms isn’t a thing. I found only one website dedicated to Mail-order-Husbands and on reading the profiles, I realised it had to be a spoof and the profiles had me cluching my stomach in mirth.

Here are my favourite excerpts:

Mr Missouri: I’m looking for a girl named “Julie”.. it’s just easier that way. I got this “Julie” tattoo last year, and would prefer to not deal with it. or if you want to change your name that’s cool.

Mr China: Smile for you! Please let me know a reasonable target budget your can afford. I think I can be the husband solution to meet your request. Please let me know what price must beat.

Mr Romania: I am looking for someone who can hold my attention, keep up with me, and who knows how to dress a wound. I am attracted to a girl with a job and a car. preferably a Camaro. I like to meet big american girl.

Mr Lebanon: (perhaps a good match for Miss Spain?) It’s actually quite ridiculous that I’m here. I do extremely well for myself – meeting ladies everywhere I go. Since I don’t really need this, you might not hear back from me, but I do appreciate all your notes.

Mr USA: I will be turning 18 in September. Soon I will be legal and we can marry. My parents are kicking me out after December and I’d like to meet a woman with money so we can have fun. I like women between 18-45, but would consider older if we don’t have to touch a lot.

So chaps, if you’re looking for a Mail-order-wife that looks like a supermodel you will find her – but so will all of those other blokes out there. And gals, if you’re looking for an instant husband, well, good luck with that.