I couldn't possibly have a week of "contrast" (you had noticed, right?) without the starkest, and perhaps cruelest of them all. Show us a pictureof a female bodybuilder and we'll tell you no average woman can possibly compare. Show us a picture of a female bodybuilder and an average woman and we'll say, "I told you so."
She is, at the very least, twice the woman.
I remember her! Cathy is probably thinking. She was so nice and beautiful. She dreamed of competing and I'm sure she is now, and I'm sure she looks amazing.
But at that time, pretty though this wannabe competitor was (and yes, there's a bit of shoulder development there, she was most certainly lifting then), you don't actually notice her unless you really try because she's standing next to Cathy Lefrançois!
So much more woman. Bigger. Stronger. Oozing confidence and sex appeal.
And she doesn't even have to be that huge to look huge in comparison.
For example, I would urge those still prefacing the term Figure competitor with "only a" to look long and hard at Azaria Glaim's upper body and a long hard look at her admirer's, and then have a long hard rethink about their terms of reference.
But sometimes it's so not even close, it's ridiculous.
Poor skinny, says one forum wag. She best not try to armwrestle Carla Maria.
A bit of a thing, that, with one department of the female muscle fan club - projecting onto these pictures their fantasies of muscular goddesses physically dominating and/or humiliating the regular girls they are photographed with. She could pick her up, lift her overhead, lift her by the throat... they pant with increasing excitement.
Not my thing at all. But if Lisa sees a gap in the market she's in there quicker than you can say, Yeah Lisa! Spank that skinny girl raw! Show her who's the DOM! (pant)
It seems to me though that with so many pictures like these being taken at Expos or gyms, it's a case of the regular girls wanting to be photographed with their heroines, and for me, that's much more of a turn-on. I'm excited that they're excited about being so up close and personal with these magnificent muscular creatures.
I'd die and go to heaven if my shorts were brushing up against one of Gracyanne's boombastic thighs, or I had one of Rene's arms around me and her bicep (not to mention her muscle pit) within sniffing distance. I'd love to be faced with the dilemma of whether, having placed my hand quite reasonably - in the circumstances - at the top of one of Angela Rayburn's hard glutes, I should just go for it and squeeze...
But a decent second best would be hanging out with the woman who had got the photo with the object of our mutual admiration. Tell me again about when you were living down in Fort Worth and Delane Hart was one of the PTs at your gym...
Sometimes there's no hiding that admiration, that excitement.
Sometimes they just can't keep their hands off.
And sometimes they are living out the dream I had last night!
But I have to admit my absolute favourites of this type of comparison photo are what you might call the "inadvertent" comparison - the regular woman just happens to be in the photo. Captured, perhaps at the moment when she clocks the fact that she is in the presence of a completely different, bigger, stronger, sexier, superior female...
And once you've seen that photo, you can project that moment onto any photo where your (actually chubbier than) average woman is in range. Whether she's just laid eyes on or is just about to lay eyes on Claudia's Bonavoglia's physical perfection, what's certain is she's going to leave that beach feeling differently about her own body.
We would hope for the latter, that the outcome would be an increase in the sum total of female muscle in the world. Perhaps she might even have left the beach and gone on, like Cathy's friend at the start of today's post, to dream of competing, and having a body that could inspire more women to do exactly the same as she has done.
Readers' persobnal favourites from this genre would be gratefully received.
Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org