Deborah Ross: 'One day your upper arms are fine and dandy, the next they’re flapping away like washing on the line'

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The Independent Online

If you ask me, when a lady gets to a certain age, her upper arm area can no longer be counted on as the good friend it once was and, in my own instance, my upper arm area was once a very good friend, the best kind of friend, a fine, true upstanding friend of the sort I was proud to be seen with in public, while wearing short sleeves, and maybe even cap sleeves. (Cap sleeves! I used to wear cap sleeves! Can you believe it?)

I don't know when exactly my upper arms turned against me, or why they turn generally, but it happens sometime after your 40th birthday, and just, well, happens. One day your upper arms are all fine and dandy and on message – vest tops! I used to wear vest tops! – and the next they're flapping away like washing on the line on a breezy day. It's terrible. It's upsetting. These are not your arms. These are the arms of the dinner lady you had at school, the one who served the mashed potato with an ice-cream scoop and flapped all over the place. "I'll never have arms like that," you thought, and now here they are! ONE ON EACH SIDE!

What is going on here? I don't know. I can only guess that it has something to do with an Evil Upper Arm Fairy who visits in the middle of the night and basically just sucks all the tone out, perhaps with her special Tone-Sucking Machine as available from the Fairyland equivalent of Robert Dyas, where any fairy can also get a mop and a toaster. (Robert Dyas is always handy, wherever it is.) And there is no avoiding her.

Personally, I didn't sleep a wink between the ages of 40 and 43, being always on the lookout, but she still got me, the bitch, and now I can't hail a taxi without knocking out four pedestrians and sometimes myself. Whoops, there I go again! Knocking myself out with my own flapping upper arms ... nice! Is there any way to fight back?

Apparently, something called "Triceps Exercises" are to the Evil Upper Arm Fairy what garlic is to Nosferatu, but who can ever be bothered apart from Madonna? They involve a chair, and heaving. No, the only solution is sleeves, lots of them, at all times, even in bed. In fact, especially in bed, and buttoned at the cuff. End of.