The Big Four-Oh!

Perhaps moving to Hong Kong at 40 wasn’t such a great idea. I have come to a land where women have zero body fat just when my body is beginning to betray me.

When you’re faced with tiny child women wearing short shorts, vest tops and towering heels as day wear (and looking good, goddammit not downright tarty as somehow a caucasian would) life can be a bit daunting. Worse still because I used to look like that.

Since turning 4-0 and moving to Hong Kong (a cruel coincidence) my weight has steadily crept up. Such are the trappings of a slowing metabolism and the ever present temptations of dumplings and fried rice. And what has happened to my arms? Once slim and toned they are now sort of slim but have some bizarre crumpling on the upper region going on.

Why oh why did I not relish my decades as a taut UK size 8 and walk around in a bikini 24/7? Whether it’s day or night (it doesn’t seem to make a difference), everywhere I look in Hong Kong, and not just the bars of Wan Chai, I see bottom-skimming mini skirts and plunging necklines. In the same outfit. Obviously these girls’ mothers never told them it’s either or – don’t give away all the goods at once – a la the Double Happiness Cafe household back in Blighty. And legs and cleavage is the very least – often backs are fully revealed too.

Since the look is always finished off with bare legs and seven inch heels or knee high stiletto boots it does feel at times as though feminism never happened. This overtly sexual look is often partnered with a “who me?” little girl cuteness. When I see a grown woman carrying a handbag over an arm crooked at the elbow and walking with teeny tiny steps like a five year old is it wrong to want to punch her in the face?

Now I’m not looking to compete with the 20 year olds. Not even the 30 year olds. I just want to look like pre-expat me again. Running at least three times a week doesn’t seem to be helping at all (and alas, I don’t seem to be one of those people who get a “high” out of it like so many people I knew in London. What are they talking about?) so I’ve taken up Pilates. I’ll report back in due course.


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