No pictures today I'm afraid. And no name.
This week's Woman of the Week is the lady I saw last week as she enjoyed some lunchtime sunshine with friends/colleagues on the green near where I'm working now.
I saw her twice. Once, very briefly, last Tuesday, and then again a week ago today.
TUESDAY, 3rd JULY
We've had a so-called "heatwave" in the UK (I'm sure we just used to refer to weather like this as "summer"!) recently. Sunshine every day, temperatures in the mid to high 20s where I am. It's been great, and when out and about, I've been as alert as always to any female muscle among the (mainly flabby) flesh on display in the heat.
Largely, I've been disappointed. The city where I'm currently based is not a large one, hardly a hotspot for female muscle, but I had some luck in the spring with sighting muscular women so I was hopeful. But apart from a few women with "toned" arms, and/or flat tummy, my female muscle radar has been pretty much dormant.
That changed last Tuesday. As I walked back to the office from a working lunch with a colleague, the radar went crazy. Ahead, to my left, was a woman in a workout vest with shoulders. Big, muscular shoulders. She was sitting on the grass, leaning back, and supporting herself on her arms, making those shoulders pop. I felt my heart rate rise, felt the adrenaline rush. I fought the urge to stare, tried to maintain the conversation I was having... But those shoulders were proper balls of muscle.
I was side on to her now as we passed, and could see a proper tricep too, bulging outwards from under her shoulder then curving back in towards her elbow. No more than a glimpse but more than enough to make me have to suppress a gasp.
My colleague has a bit of a power walk on her, and I cursed her for it. We'd gone past her too quickly, to see any more now I would have to stop and turn around. My heart still beating fast, I tried and failed to think of a reason to do just that. It was over.
WEDNESDAY, 4th JULY
Over the following 24 hours, I somehow managed to convince myself that the woman I had seen was none other than Britain's Fitness Olympian Emma Paveley.
IFBB Fitness Pro Emma Paveley - NOT the woman I saw
It seemed perfectly reasonable at the time.
For one thing, Emma is based not a million miles away from where my sighting had happened and the woman I had seen was, I surmised, more or less the right height. She was the right colouring - blond, pale - and had the right hairstyle. The muscles, I guessed, were about right too. Shockingly developed next to the "normals" she was with that day, they were still nothing like a full-on Female Bodybuilder's.
Piece by piece my Madness-stricken mind assembled the glimpses I had had of the woman on the grass, and when they were all put together they added up to Emma.
I was back at that green the following lunchtime. Waiting and watching I ran through what I would say to her - "good luck in Vancouver" and so on. Would she think it weird or would she be flattered that I knew who she was and when and where she would be competing next? My tone, I decided, would be key - that and not gushing out everything little thing I knew about her all at once. So I rehearsed as I sat watching and waiting for her. I ran through my lines over and over again.
THURSDAY, 5th JULY
She was there when I arrived at the green with my lunch. And I realised very quickly that though she did bear a passing resemblance to Emma, it was not in fact her. This was, I'll admit, somewhat disappointing, but I was glad to see she (whoever she is) was once again in a workout vest. And there was a vacant bench close-but-not-too-close to her with a great view of her arms, her shoulders, and even a little back.
I settled down and drank her in.
When she spoke even the smallest gesticulation made her muscles ripple a little, and with no one in earshot, I was able to let out little moans and gasps as she did so. It didn't take long for my loins to start acknowledging her - I did get rather hard at one point and had to cross my legs - but I felt more like an art lover in a gallery gazing at a particularly beautiful work than a man on a perving mission in a public place!
A good 45 minutes I spent like that, melting into a full-on swoon at one point when she leaned back on her arms (as I had seen her first), triceps and shoulders bulging, and stretched. As she did so her quads visibly flared in her tight leggings. I felt my eyes widening, my loins tingling, and bit my bottom lip hard enough to draw blood.
I desperately wanted to see her stand up so I could get a better look at those legs, desperately wanted to watch her walk so I could see if her glutes were as tight as I imagined. She remained on the grass, however, and I really had to get back to work.
It wasn't difficult - and nor, at the time, did it seem in any way wrong - to take a few long range pictures of her, and I later spent some of the afternoon at my desk cropping them to focus on her, delighted her impressive definition came out.
That evening I spent some quality time with those pictures, then deleted them all - partly because of the surge of guilt I felt immediately after I had paid my secret tribute to her, partly because I knew deep down I would never have been able to keep them to myself and by sharing them open myself up to all sorts of embarrassing (and possibly legal) situations, and partly because I wanted to spare her the shock of one day coming across a bunch of photos of herself she never knew existed.
She may well be aware the muscles she has built give her more than just physical power. She certainly wasn't shy about showing off her arms and shoulders, quite rightly - I hope and expect she is very proud of the physique she has. She'll never know what she did to me, though. Never know the power she had over me for those few days last week, and clearly continues to have over me as I sit here writing now.
She's my woman of the week without question - whoever she is.
Emma, by the way, finished 3rd in Vancouver, so she didn't manage to defend her title. She was nevertheless "feeling really proud at being soooo much better than ever before" at the show. If I see her, I'll tell her I thought she's never looked better either, though the chances of that are slim. Yes, she's based not a million miles from where I'm currently working, but the only public place Emma ever seems to be is in the gym.