Of all the tortured relationships in my life, none is more agonising than the one I have with my thighs.
It's due in part to their size, but moreso due to the insidious subcutaneous fatty deposits known as "cellulite".
Orange peel skin, cottage cheese legs, the lumps-and-bumps, Satan's Curse, the Saggy Moguls, "Indiana Jones and the Dimples of Doom", Rice Pudding Pins, The Hammy Gams, "Look Upon Ye Thigh-ty and Despair", "The Buns of Have-A-Moan"...
OK, I may have made a number of those up. But still, they're reasonably accurate descriptions of the current state of my legs, knees-up.
Oh, it's all my own fault, I know that. A sedentary job, poor diet and exercise habits - mea culpa, mea culpa. And I know I have to love my own body, and cellulite is something that affects 80 to 90 per cent of all women, and so-called cures are no more than snake-oil.... you're right. This is in no way a reflection of anybody's experiences and thoughts but my own.
This is my party, and I'll thigh if I want to.
Wandering through the Valley on Saturday night, my gaze kept being pulled by the long, golden legs that seemed to populate the Brunswick Street mall like gazelles on the savannah. Stride, stride, went the legs - bare to the wind, save the very top part (a short tight skirt), and the very bottom part (large, cumbersome wedge boot-heels). They seemed to exist independently of their often-drunk owners, gambolling and staggering in turn, like sentient bowling pins.
I felt pangs of jealously watching these bright young things. For I never had a "teeny miniskirt leg flashing" phase. I became aware of my own cellulite in my teens, and became suitably paranoid about keeping them far away from accidental gazes. The few times I went to nightclubs, I wore jeans, to avoid a random exposure while breaking out the moves to some sweet late 90s tunes. And to this day I rarely swim without board shorts.
One of the side effects of being paranoid about your own thighs is developing a considerable, if not obsessive, interest in other women's. A glimpse of a leg with a similar appearance is greeted with a small internal yelp of glee - "Hooray! I'm not alone!".
I am not proud of this. As a committed feminist and positive body image type person, I always feel a little dirty engaging in this type of behaviour. But just because I am aware of the unrealities that our photoshopped world now presents us with, doesn't mean I don't buy into them. I remain disappointingly predictable.
Now a few days ago, I bought my second Apple product. It is an 8GB Nano, and so far the only thing I've downloaded are Smart Enough to Know Better podcasts. But eventually I will learn how iTunes works, and I will find a way of getting more sweet late-90s tunes onto the Nano, and I will turn on its pedometer feature, and I will go out and be more thigh-active.
My goal is legs like this:
Yes, those are my ideal legs, but I'm a realist. If I can achieve anything better than the "Clotted Porridge" look, I'll be happy. Well, I'm a woman, so I'll never be happy, but I'll be marginally less full of hate for myself.