Sunday, 30 January 2011

The good effects of badminton

Whoops! You've got to be really careful when using wide-angle lenses, as these two shots illustrate. Just a very slight difference in aim; the camera was in both instances at the same distance, at the very end of my extended arm. Which is the truer representation of the Melford face? Or Melford boobs, come to that! I personally think the top shot is the one I'd want on a 'Most Wanted - Armed and Dangerous' police poster. The bottom one - ugh - no words to describe my horror at the Pinocchio nose, and a jaw so massive that it could bite off an elephant's head. Can't deny the tired eyes in both pix though: I'm not getting enough sleep. Never mind, nearly one month ahead, I'll be post-op and sleeping like the living dead.

The badminton facilities in The Dolphin Leisure Centre at Haywards Heath show up nicely. That's my friend R--- in the lower shot, and we're just about to set to. I won't tell you the score, nor who won the most games, but I secretly handicapped her with a beef casserole to die for earlier on, which must have weighed her down like a ball and chain! But we both played well, getting in some cracking shots over the net. And that's one of the good things about badminton - you can be less than a champion, but still regularly play shots to be proud of, even if many are flukes aided by mysterious breezes and the intervention of gods.

But I'd praise the game for other reasons.

First, it gets you fitter, toning up muscles that (in my own case) hardly get a twitch otherwise.

Second, it boosts the diet, using up at least some calories. But you must be careful not to have any kind of snack once back home afterwards, because the good work will be undone if you do.

Third, it sharpens your wits. You have to think pretty fast. Ditsy people like me need to have their brain cells stirred into action at least once a week!

Fourth, you can show off your girly arms and your girly figure, not so much to attract attention, but to give yourself confidence that your arms and legs and parts in between are worth showing, that they really are shapely and natural-looking, and absolutely like the parts exhibited by the girls on adjacent courts. Maybe you'll actually be less flabby and plagued by cellulite, and therefore enviable.They'll notice, believe me.

Fifth, you can practice being graceful and light-footed, and standing to receive shots as a girl would stand. Boys are stiff and inelegant; they slouch and crouch; and they they plod and lumber. Even a fat girl moves in a liquid and flowing way, that belies her actual weight. So be a ballerina, not the Incredible Hulk.

Sixth, you can practice your 'excited voice' - not the careful female voice that you use in conversation, but the loud, gasping, competitive, sometimes anguished or triumphant cries and shreiks and laughs that girls emit when pushed hard, or getting in an amazing shot. These are as hard as sneezing. You absolutely must sound like a girl would in these pressured circumstances, and it needs a lot of attention. Imagine plunging into a pool that is much colder than you thought: you must give the right kind of scream. That's what I mean.  

But there are things to watch. Do not fall into the male mindset of 'must win'. It's a friendly game - skilful yes, definitely worth playing well, but the score really doesn't matter. You're being uncharacteristically ungirly and Olympic if you play ruthlessly to win. Remember: ordinary girls want to co-operate and have a nice chat afterwards, they're not out for blood or glory, and they're not normally showoffs. Quite apart from the fact that intense, frowning concentration looks a bit over-serious and gladiator-like. And you want to avoid working up a sweat. You absolutely don't want to look hot and flustered and annoyed.

And pay attention to your hair! Girl pat theirs all the time, and flick it out of their eyes. Do the same. I think I made a mistake wearing that shiny black plastic hairband in the pictures above. All wrong. It was a practical improvisation on the night, but it detracted from the female look, and revealed just how artificial my painted-on eyebrows were. The other girls playing nearby didn't wear hairbands, even though they mostly had fringes; They relied on keeping cool and the regular hair flick. Lesson learned!

Finally, don't do as I've done here, reveal The Word as if reciting from tablets of stone!

R--- and I have two more sessions now, then badminton must stop for quite a while, until I can safely play a game without popping stitches or collapsing in exhaustion after five minutes. I will miss it through the early summer.


  1. A feminine sneeze or squeal of delight is a challenge, clearly badminton is an excellent way of practising the latter, how about the former, any suggestions?

    Caroline xxx

  2. I love your advice, I might take note of some of it .

    I was going to ask you how you were getting along with your eyebrows. They're looking good.

  3. @Anji:
    I have to draw my brows in each day, meanwhile plucking underneath. There's some real hair where I want it, but it's all but invisible, it's blonde or colourless. Sigh. I may be fated to draw them in forever!


  4. Lucy, you do know that you can get a semipermanent tattoo in many beauty salons.

    Caroline xxx

  5. @Caroline:

    Indeed I do, but who knows what facial surgery I may eventually go in for? I don't want permanent skin markings just yet!


  6. @ caroline; I didn't know that! My eyebrows dropped out a few years ago now - could be the answer to my prayers


This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

Whoever you are, if you wish to make a private comment, rather than a public one, then do consider emailing me - see my Blogger Profile for the address.

Lucy Melford