Thursday, 24 June 2021

Beach body

 In this Pride month when there is more anti-LGBT activity than ever before, it is tempting for me to make comments on trans participation in sports or the Vatican City State's extraordinary attempt to interfere in the passage of a discrimination bill in the Italian parliament. 

But it's hot and there's enough strife to contend with as the world continues to battle Covid and its resultant economic difficulties.

So I'm going to go all light and fluffy and talk about the beach body I have been cultivating! But there's a little detail of the Sistine Chapel in my regular dip in the archives (below) that is all one needs to comment on the fact that it was actually the Vatican that initiated more modern ideas on LGBT life!

As for beach bodies, let me just say that I am with so many other women who don't believe that there is an ideal body shape. If you want a beach body then, first, check that you have a body; if you do, put it on the beach. Voilà! Your beach body! And if you want a bikini body, put a bikini on it.

But in the everyday meaning of the term, I'm looking to get in better shape. I've already lost nearly one and a half stone this year (10 kg) and am returning to a healthier weight. Yesterday, I bought a new swimsuit, just plain black but with a cutout back detail and removable insert pads in the cups. They are supposed to hide nipples when the costume is wet but to me they are a welcome help in enhancing my bust.

I also bought a floppy sunhat which I've desperately been needing as I sunburn easily.

Both items are quite plain but ideal for sitting out in my private space, which will be private on Sundays when the builders take a day off (you can imagine there are lots of building works that have been delayed but are now in full swing, and with men on roofs its hard for a girl to get some privacy).

These last ten days have seen gorgeous, hot, fine summer weather at last and I have been swimming every morning in the beautiful outdoor pools here. The anti-Covid rules are strict but reasonable and the exercise has been doing wonders for my shape. The beautiful trees, grass and flowers all around the pools are good for the spirit, too. So that's been a real morale booster after nine months of Covid closures and a mainly indoor life.

I used to go to Slimming World when I lived in the UK, but clearly I can't now. But I do still apply some of the principles. But the big difference has really been stopping eating ham and pork products which are so delicious but which are so fattening! And I drain off all the excess oil from anything preserved in a jar or can. The worst thing for making you fat, though, is alcohol and the hot weather reduces my desire for a glass of wine with my meals that is such an everyday, normal thing in Italy. If you don't order a glass of wine in a restaurant they regard you with great suspicion! I treat myself to a summer cocktail once a week, which means a tipple becomes a treat again.

Seville Spritz: 1 x Tanqueray Seville orange gin, 2 x prosecco, 1 x soda water, a twist/slice of orange, and lots of ice. Very refreshing and such a delicate colour.


I'm certainly noticing the weight coming off, my mood improving with the sunlight and my whole body feeling more energetic and less tired than I was last year when I was overweight, locked down and still limping from my leg injury.

Photos of my new swimsuit when I get a bit of privacy.

A dip in the archives

My local LGBT support group jogged my memory of this little corner of Michelangelo's huge fresco painting of the Last Judgment on the altar wall of the famous Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

Here angels (controversially, without traditional wings) welcome souls that have been reunited with their resurrected bodies with a fraternal kiss. It's a pretty smoochy kiss, right on the lips (tongues too? 😜 ) and straight-laced art historians and priests insist it is all very proper.

But the Sistine Chapel is a temple of homoeroticism and although I am unaware of any contemporary sources that state overtly that Michelangelo was gay, it's pretty likely given the robust and perfect male forms that are so striking a part of his output. It is said that some of his artist's models were rent boys from the back streets of Renaissance Rome, but who can be quite sure?

Michelangelo at his best. The tomb of Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici in Florence. Lorenzo sits in contemplation, a perfect figure of a man, beautifully posed. The reclining figures are Dusk (male) and Dawn (female). The robust musculature of the male figure is typical; but looks odd on the quite robust female figure with her firm biceps and powerful thighs yet slack tummy skin. One feels that the artist understood the male body more than the female one.

The Renaissance was a remarkable fusion of medieval Christian tradition with the learning and ideals of the classical civilization of ancient Greece and Rome. In art, the former required the continued expression of Christian faith, the latter informed the style. But, of course, new ideas brought new practices and a more overt expression of the rarer forms of sexuality than had been possible in the Middle Ages. This resulted in a much richer exploration of gender variance, from the cult of hermaphroditus to women of the regiment to castrati to boys playing women in theatre and so on. And it was in large part the Vatican, with its unearthing of ancient artifacts and commissioning of avant-garde artists, that initiated the cultural revolution that it now seems keen to backpedal on! 

Sue x

Cari lettori italiani

Continuo a perdere peso (quasi dieci chili!) e ho appena comprato un nuovo costume da bagno. Spero di essere molto più snella alla fine dell'estate.

Arcigay Imperia mi ha ricordato di una piccola parte del Giudizio Universale del Buonarroti nella Cappella Sistina dove degli angeli accolgono le anime con dei bei bacioni sulle labbra. La carità? un bacio di fede? Sicuramente, ma anche un' espressione dell'omoerotismo che pervade gli affreschi dell'artista in quel luogo santo. Che ironia che proprio lì, dove il Rinascimento e la libertà delle idee si sono sviluppate, vogliono intervenire, come hanno sempre cercato di fare, negli affari di altri paesi come l'Italia mentre che si discute sulla legge contro l'omotransfobia.

Sue x


  1. Love the pictures! Doubt I'll ever get there, but it's nice to see them... Hugs, Mandy

  2. "...beautiful trees, grass and flowers all around the pools are good..."

    Greenery and getting out into nature seems to help doesn't it. Good luck with your continued weight loss and in not being overlooked by the builders! 🙂

    FWIW, at Chez Jones, we've switched to alcohol free beer and they've really come on a long way. Plus, less calories FTW

    1. There are two things that for me have always beaten the black dog: sunshine and greenery. It's a magical tonic, and usually free!

      Alcohol-free beer is certainly a lot, lot better than it was 30 years ago. I don't drink much beer these days as it makes me very sleepy, alcohol or otherwise! It's probably the hops, which they put in herbal sleep remedies.

      Sue x