Deborah Ross: Exposing your body to the sun? Get busy...

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, sometimes it's hard to be a woman, and no more so than when a beach holiday beckons or, failing that, the sun comes out for four minutes.

Here is a list of just some of the things a woman has to do to prepare: apply self-tan so you don't frighten children with your startlingly white luminosity; wax, shave, depilate, pluck and Nair like a mad thing, while asking yourself: "Do I have to do my knees?"; run around chemists in the hope of finding a self-tan removing product so you don't now frighten children with your startlingly nuclear-orange luminosity; varnish toe-nails, badly; diligently massage cellulite cream into your thighs while using a "circular motion" as directed; remove toe varnish, sighingly.

Get in training for flip-flops by inserting a metal skewer between big toe and the next and twisting it in hard (it should be excruciatingly painful; if only mildly painful, give another twist); massage cellulite cream into your thighs in a disobedient, part-triangular, part-hexagonal, and part-octagonal motion because, let's face it, the circular motion isn't getting us anywhere.

Apply moisturising body lotion after a shower and have it seep though your clothing so that, by the time you get to the end of the street, it looks as if you've done a greasy wee in your trousers; prune your lady garden with gentle snips unless it is so astonishing down there only a heavy-duty hedge-trimmer will do (Bosch do good ones; remember to wear safety goggles). Get in training for running for a bus in Birkenstocks by falling flat on your face in public.

Purchase Dove's Pro Age Deodorant so you can keep your underarms in "optimal condition" and fret about yet another body part; treat lizardy elbows with expensive serums or, failing that, with the contempt they deserve, and spit at them whenever you have a free moment; dye your lashes as well as most of the skin around them; give up on cellulite cream and angrily punch yourself, several times over, to release at least some of the self-hate (don't release it all as you will need some when you put on your bathing suit for the first time, and some for your crepey cleavage).

Alternatively, you could just wear a "burkini" like Nigella. Don't know what all the fuss is about, don't understand why people can't see it is genius. I've ordered six (three for day, two for the evening and one if I'm ever invited on a cruise). Terrific.

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