Swell sauntered off to the Med with Mrs Swell (and some skimpy outfits), leaving 21 posts scheduled in his absence, each giving "one reason why we love what we do".
They included mini-tributes to individual women (Dani was #17 ), individual muscles (eg. Pec Meat, #8), and even more specific, the particular muscles of a particular woman (Laine Costa's Sweaty Pecs was #2, for example). Some were about the misconceptions muscle women face (see The Greatest Lie Ever Told... at #9), the less obvious reasons why we love them - see #7, The (Better Than Jagger) Moves - others celebrations of the female muscle lovin' life (eg. Being Obsessed, #5).
I don't think he intended them to be taken too seriously, but we got a fair bit more mail than usual about these, and nobody loves their fan mail more than Swell, so he insisted on being allowed to choose which 'Best of' selections made it into today's post.
#3: A Muscle Woman Is A Happy Woman
And, it seems, the more muscle they have, the happier they are.
#6: Fanny Swerkstrom's Bum
And what she does with it.
At the gym, the supermarket, the pool, the beach... in fact EVERYWHERE she goes, EVERYONE is looking at her. And that includes you, my female muscle denying friend. I mean I know you tell yourself you're not attracted to women with muscles and all but if that really is the truth then why can't you stop gawping at her?
#11: The Jaw That Puts Your Jaw To The Floor
I love a conventionally beautiful face on a muscular woman, but having said that, and I know it's a personal preference, the square jawline to me is a woman who's saying "I'm willing to get huge, no matter what the cost", and that is whole different level of sexy and absolutely the biggest turn on. The squarer the jaw, the better!
["Deeper1234", forum post]
All that hard work might as well be appreciated in full.
We're just wired this way, we didn't make a rational choice, but the deniers are going to see the light sooner or later. They'll have no choice either. "Strong is the new sexy" was the phrase du jour some years ago. Take away the "new" and you're bang up-to-date with the now. Female gym membership on the up and up, the number of women competing likewise. Meanwhile, weight training for women is growing in popularity in countries where just a decade ago it was unheard of. Even in the few countries where it's forbidden it's growing. More and more female muscle on the planet. The women who do it "enlightening" the women who don't to take it up. Muscles, for more and more women around the world, are desirable, and those that disagree will, the way things are going, be occupying the weirdo space where we once were.
And then it was time for Tampa, the last pre-Rising Phoenix Female Bodybuilding show of the year, and by far - in the blog's humble opinion at least - the beefiest and best.
Freshly-pro-carded Pauline Nelson had a memorable pro debut with 3rd place, and "outside the top 10, Australia's Kahla Bullemor returned after a three-year break to provide female muscle lovers all over the globe with something to swoon over".
Lisa Cross looked almost - almost - too hot for words. While on holiday, ol' Swell here has to admit to having spent a little more time than usual at the local hypermarket with its free wi-fi on the day after the show, drooling over the women, and Lisa in particular. The rest of the weekend was even spicier than normal for Mrs Swell. I'm sure that Lisa would approve of her effect. But the winner (for the third time since 2014) was Sheila Bleck, "one hard woman who is hard to beat in Tampa".
As a British female muscle fan I can't help but be excited at the prospect of seeing her compete in Physique, and she would make a great British champion, not least because she has, I think, the same kind of star quality (though less naughtiness) as our current #1 pro Female Bodybuilder, Lisa Cross. The camera simply loves her.
Especially when the camera is wielded by one so talented as Rebecca Andrews.
NOW WITH ADDED EVA
A familiar face and body returned after a five-year break to win her pro card at the NPC Teen, Collegiate and Masters Nationals - Overall winner in the Over 40 Physique class.
She'd dredded her long, lustrous locks, but there was no mistaking those eyes and lips. I wasn't totally convinced by the posing suit criss-crossing her lovely back, but otherwise I was immediately in full swoon. She was much thicker than she had been back in 2012. Mary had added considerable amounts of muscle, and she wore it well.
Female muscle and politics (briefly) met as the world's media adopted Caterina Ciarcelluti as the poster girl of the anti-Maduro demonstrations in Caracas.
Ms Ciarcelluti, who is divorced and "hates gyms" - using instead the Ávila, the magnificent forested mountain that overlooks Caracas - is in considerably better shape than most of the uniformed forces she faces, enthusiastically reported Stephen Gibbs in The Times. "We Venezuelan women are all guerrilleras. It’s in our personality," she said. "We tend to look after ourselves physically."
The announcement of the competitor list for the Rising Phoenix ("special invites" and all) prompted Kristal Wood to take to social media in protest, and plenty of "Iron Sisters" weighed in with their views as well, particularly on the inclusion of Aleesha Young. All very revealing, not least the news that Kristal and Jake were splitting up.
On the plus side, Aleesha at the Rising Phoenix has got to be something most of us can get behind. After Omaha and before her "special invite" she was never going to compete again. Right now she's on a mission, and Michelle [Brent] and Sharon [Mould] have fuelled her fire nicely. Shame about Kristal and Jake. This can't be good for Wings of Strength and therefore can't be good for pro FBBing, though at the same time I can't help feeling there are probably some chaps, maybe even FMS readers, out there, less married chaps than I, who are thinking to themselves that the prospect of Kristal being a single woman again isn't necessarily bad news!
THE STATE OF THE USAs
And we ended August and entered September with some very fine women...
Muscle sex appeal in spades at the NPC USAs - Melissa Fanning, Kathy Garza, Aspen Rae and Kristine Nicole Mendoza got special attention - did go some way to mitigate the fact that, with only five competitors in total in Female Bodybuilding, this may well be the last time the division is included at this venerable contest.