If ever there was a place that perfectly captured the 2 extremes of female health and vitality then surely it has to be the airport.
The departure lounge is full of primped and preened women; plucked, exfoliated, spray tanned, minxed, manicured women. Their hair is freshly cut, coloured and styled. They are wearing their best Airport Outfit, especially bought for the occasion. They’ve been dieting for weeks to get their bodies bikini-ready and they’re just starting to relax having bought everything, packed everything, checked passports, money and tickets 300 times and made it to said airport without losing any suitcases or children along the way. They are the picture of good health and contentment.
Fast forward 1 week and the arrivals area reveals a very different picture. Those same women are a shadow of their former selves; what a difference 7 days makes. The spray tan is replaced by sun burn, peeling skin and mosquito bites. The nails are chipped/bitten/have given up and fallen off. The Minx on the toes started flaking on day 2 and only random spots now remain. The once perfect hair is frazzled from a week of chlorine and sea water, as is her temper after spending 168 non-stop hours with her husband and children. The Airport Outfit no longer fits after 7 days of all-inclusive so she’s no option but to sport the weather-inappropriate elasticated waist shorts. Her eyes that a week ago were sparkling with the excitement of the holiday to come are now slightly panic stricken as reality bites as the of the mountains of washing that require tending to and the 487 e-mails that will greet her on her return to work suddenly seem very close.
It seems inconceivable that two such polar opposites could be separated by just a single family holiday. I’m sure that airport staff have to rotate their shifts between departures and arrivals just to balance the feelings of euphoria and depression that must come from being surrounded by passengers at both ends of the spectrum.
So what can we do to help? Perhaps, in the interest of public service, we can do something to lift the spirits of those touching down back to reality with a few small measures at passport control. Maybe a charity bin that allows them to donate all their dirty washing to a good cause, thus removing the burden of laundry AND giving them a sense of purpose. There could be mists of after-sun pumped into the atmosphere to relieve the itchy, sore skin and motivational posters on the walls with slogans of hope such as ‘You may be going back to work but at least you don’t have to see the kids for 8 hours’. I think it would make coming home from holiday a much more positive experience for everybody.