Saturday, March 22, 2014

'Target muscular calves'...

Ah, Paris in the springtime! Except - I was there for work last week, and cold, and tired, and juggling other work, and feeling somewhat jetlagged (think waking up hungry at 2am).

Still, I managed to sneak out and get some runs in along the Seine and through the Tuileries Gardens. (DC Rainmaker, who actually lives in Paris, has some good resources on where to run/bike/swim in the city.) It turns out the footpaths directly along the river do not extend all the way along both sides, so I kept having to get out onto the main roads and cross bridges and dodge traffic and run along the islands in the middle of the Seine, like a human pinball game, with little elevation changes and flights of steps here and there. The weather was kind of cool and gray so my only good photos are surreptitiously-snapped pictures of museum exhibits. Hello, Venus de Milo!

I also managed to make it to the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysees. (I was accompanying a friend who had a shopping list of corporate gifts and orders from friends back home.) Specifically, to the restroom of the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysees.

(Some context: there are a lot of Singaporeans and other folks who love to buy and brandish their designer goods, but for me it's more fascinating in an absurdist, anthropological sort of way. Did you know that when Harvard Business School researchers asked shop assistants and pedestrians to rate people entering a luxury-goods store, the women in the street thought the sharply-dressed shopper was more likely to buy something, but the shop assistants - speaking from experience - thought the gym-clothes-wearing shopper was? The idea being that the latter was confident enough in her appearance, and more likely to be a celebrity making a purchase. WSJ article here. I was not exactly wearing designer clothes, but according to Occam's razor what that should really indicate is I do not have a designer budget.)

Anyway, what I'm trying to brag about is that I managed to...use the ladies' restroom in the basement of the Louis Vuitton store. It is a totally ordinary lavatory. I may be the only Singaporean on earth to visit Louis Vuitton merely to pee.

Otherwise, this week has not been so great for me running-wise. Last week it was a little hazy, and when I tried to do my long run outdoors my chest started feeling tight. Same deal again today even though the skies were clear, so it wasn't the air quality. I have some very mild exercise-induced asthma - not officially diagnosed or drug-treated but I know what bronchospasms feel like when I have them - but it usually shows up only when I do track sprints and goes away once I sit down for a bit. It's never made its presence felt at the beginning of a slow long run. Bizarre and uncomfortable. I finished my run indoors on the treadmill and was totally fine. What gives?

In separate news, this is the single best thing I have seen on the internet all day.

This is another pretty spectacular thing from The Atlantic: The Overprotected Kid (caveat, refers to middle-class, mostly Western kids. The problem we have here in Singapore is a total lack of unmanaged play space. Or unmanaged space in general. Mm, and coddling.)

Right before I left for Paris, somehow or other this came up on Facebook:

Here's the blurb:

"Target on Muscular Calves
Say NO to pant and show your slender calves in this year, use 2B For Leg to slim up your calves! Made for muscular and edema calves!
Highly recommended by famous beauty blogger Kelly for the effect!
Special Offer in Chinese New Year!
$34 per box, exclusive in Guardian"
I still don't know what irks me most about this ad: the message that muscular calves are not attractive, the grammar, or the fact that the makers really believe it works to slim down muscular calves...
(For the record you cannot get rid of your muscles, sorry. You can get rid of puffiness and fluid build-up by elevating your legs, exercising, or putting on some compression socks. But edema can also be a symptom of something going really wrong - like kidney failure or heart failure. Okay? GET A DIAGNOSIS.)

My response to this was: 'My calves are sad you don't like them. These calves carried me through a full marathon last year, and can run 5km in under 25 minutes. I think I'll keep them, thanks!'


  1. I'm proud of my muscular calves. They say that I look after my body and use it in the way it was designed for.
    Very disappointed in your LV story, Grace. I was expecting a photo (it's not at all weird to photograph posh toilets) and that you'd stolen some toilet paper. Next time I'd like to see hard evidence of interesting toilet visits. :-)

    1. Hahaha! Yes, sorry Char. I'm such a terrible blogger. You off all people should know though that when you gotta go, you gotta go...LV or no LV, bathroom-dwelling skink or no... :)

  2. Um. Wow. Don't even know what to say about the calf thing.

    But "you are not fingernails?" I can totally get behind that.


    We've already discussed the calves. Blergh. I actually thought that defined, 'sexy' calves were part of the reason that women liked to wear heels...? How wrong I was. [And since I disprefer heels, I just have to work that much harder for defined calves that can be seen when I'm wearing sneakers!)

    And I love the fingernails thing. I don't know where it came from, but I'm borrowing it. It's already scheduled for the RWH page later this week. Thanks!

  4. The calf thing drives me nuts, though I appreciated your humorous analysis of it. I don't know if they do this in Singapore, but in Taiwan, big calves are referred to as radish (daikon) legs. And only on women of course. Sigh.

    BTW, I'm going to recommend you to my friend Cathryn, who is doing a blog series on international running. Hope you can participate!

  5. Hi Grace! I'm Jen's friend (from above). I wondered if I could drop you a note ref my blog series on running around the world, as Jen described. I can't find contact details for you here so I'd be really grateful if you dropped me a note at : If you don't fancy it, feel very free to ignore me ;) Thanks in advance!!