If you were too thin, you were stuck off the list in Betty's day.
If you were too thin, you were stuck off the list in Betty's day. SolStock

Yes, there was a time men preferred 'beefy birds'

EXERCISE, there are some people who can't get enough of it. We are bombarded daily about being obese.

When I was a girl, men did not like thin girls. They used to say that they looked "consumptive". If you were called a "strapping lass" that was considered a compliment.

Most liked "beefy birds", as old Albert Steptoe said in Steptoe and Son. During the war, film star Betty Grable was one of the pin-ups for soldiers. Airmen had her photo on the sides of their bombers. Today, she would be considered overweight.

Some men had very definite ideas about women in those days. A man whom I knew back then told me recently just before he died that he had thought of asking me to marry him when we were young. After sizing me up, he decided I would not be a good breeder. He wanted several sons, which he got because he chose the right girl.

To choose a thrifty wife, some men used the carrot test. If a girl sliced the sides off a carrot instead of scraping it, she was considered to be wasteful and ditched.

Now we have to be stick thin to be accepted. We see all those skinny women on TV advertising all kinds of exercise equipment. Usually those machines end up being dust collectors when the novelty wears off.

I hated exercise classes in recess, physical culture they called it at school.

All that jumping up and down.

I loved walking. I would go up that great hill to Grandma's farm a few miles away, sometimes twice a day. I also collected the cow from the back paddock sometimes, to milk when I got home.

I come from a family of walkers.

Mum used to ditch her walker at the nursing home and walk off.

My dad was once asked by a fellow in a truck if he wanted a ride. Dad replied: "No thanks, I'm in a hurry." My 84-year-old brother walks all over town every day, and another brother does the same in another area.

Although walking for years early in the morning, I am not in my brothers' class.

I felt satisfied to do about three or four kilometres each day.

These days illness and old age have caught up with me, and I stagger along the nice new footpath, puffing and panting my way for a couple of blocks, then remember I have to do it all over again to get home.

Still, I don't feel like sitting on the veranda with a rug around my knees watching the world go by.

That is for other old ladies.


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