Deborah Ross: Solved at last ... the problem of my body

If you ask me...
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The Independent Online

If you ask me, you should beware M&S and their promise of "body solutions," as they appear to solve diddly squat. Here is what happened: I was mooching through Marks the other day, as you do when all the other high-street shops frighten you – Zara? So many sleeveless tops, and so little upper-arm tone to wear them – when I wandered though the lingerie department into a section called "Body Solutions".

Who knew M&S did "body solutions"? I didn't, and I got fantastically excited. I can solve my body? For real? Like, right now? Wow! Let's do it! There was an assistant in "body solutions" who was obviously a professional body solver, as she was wearing a tape measure round her neck, and so I appealed for help. "I would like to solve my body," I said. "Thank you."

She said: "What part of your body would you specifically like to solve?" I said: "I would specifically like to solve all of it. I have front fat, back fat, side fat, fat that seems to come at me diagonally, and that peculiar fat that sometimes turns your knees purple. I don't know where all this fat comes from. It must be genetic. I only have to look at a Twix and it goes to my thighs, although not before I've eaten it first, obviously. Now, solve away. I haven't got all day. I want to kick stuff about in Zara before I go home, and maybe stamp on it a bit."

She talked me though the various options: the waist-cinchers, the thigh-cinchers, the "magic" pants that "help fight cellulite"; and something called a "low-front plunge body". You mean, I said, I could leave right now with a low-front plunge body? "Yes," she said. "I could walk over to the till, pay, and then a low-fat plunge body is mine, for life?" "Yes," she said. "My husband could get into bed tonight, cop a feel, and say: 'What have we here? A low-front plunge body? I'm astonished. Are your knees still purple?'" "Yes."

But I thought I would try on my low-front plunge body first, so disappeared into the changing room, and here is the thing: fat pushed down in one place has to splurge out somewhere else, and the "body" was all right, oh yes, but the displaced bits? I looked like an explosion in a fat factory. I looked like Popeye, only less feminine. So you know what I did instead? Have you guessed? I bought a second fleece (navy). Here, in fact, is a body solution that is the far superior body solution: wear big, comfy fleeces and no one will properly know what's going on underneath. End of.