Columnist Kathy Lette on plus size travel and the prospect of a swingers’ cruise

Q I’m overweight (size 24) and don’t want to travel abroad because I’m concerned that I won’t fit in the plane seats. My weight doesn’t stop me doing much day to day, but I’m a shy person and feel easily embarrassed. I really want to go to California, but the near 12-hour flight terrifies me. Do you have any reassurances, or ideas for similar holidays that aren’t so far away?

A In the days of Botticelli and Rubens, you needed cellulite to be a socialite. It’s only in recent decades that skinniness has become inniness and people have been made to feel embarrassed for exceeding the feed limit.

Watching models clomping along catwalks makes me wonder where they keep their internal organs ? In their handbags? I mean, you can see the sultana they had for lunch. But, you know, fashions come in one era and out the other, so the fuller figure is bound to be back in vogue sooner or later.

Don’t feel any qualms and simply go to California? Just speak to an airline for reassurance about your comfort. Many offer a service called “neighbour-free seat”, which enables economy-class passengers to keep the seat next to theirs empty at surprisingly reasonable prices. Try United for Los Angeles flights.

If any other passenger dares to criticise you for being overweight, just smile and joke that there is a thin person inside you – because you ate them, and actually you’re feeling a bit peckish again right now ?

California will be a great adventure. Don’t miss Los Angeles for amazing food, shopping, art and activities, or Yosemite and Big Sur for the dramatic scenery. Buckle up and begin your search for a life-changing adventure by visiting Visit California.

Should I add spice with swingers’ cruise

A threesome on a swingers cruise
Should I go on a swingers’ cruise?

Q My wife and I have been married for nearly two decades and our sex life could do with a bit of spicing up. We make love about once a month and, while that’s enough for me, my wife would like more. She has casually mentioned going on a swingers’ cruise a few times. I love her and want her to be happy, but I don’t believe introducing another partner on holiday is what I want. Should I just give it a try?

A The worst thing about trying new things sexually is that it creates terrible wrinkles around the eyes, from puckering into a squint and shouting: “You want me to do what?” The very thought of group sex makes me suffer from a performance anxiety that I haven’t felt since those hedonistic hours of enforced folk-dancing in primary school.

Clearly I’m out of kilter with the rest of the world. On TikTok the hashtag “swingers” has been used more than 1.2 billion times. It seems to me that the one good thing about a swingers’ cruise is that it does away with the anxiety about what to wear. It certainly makes packing easy when the dress code is “Your ankles behind your ears”. And of course, unlike a dinner suit, a birthday suit needs no dry-cleaning.

So why are these swingers’ cruises suddenly such big business? The general consensus is that, after Covid, people are craving adventure. And, well, sadly, being “creative in bed” during lockdown for many married couples meant knitting while watching the late news.

It would seem that, after a few years of marriage, all a woman is getting between the sheets is an anticlimax. The reply that most wives would give to a husband who said that he wanted “to make love to her so badly” would be, “Um, darling, I think you succeeded”.

However, while it’s good for all hubbies to remember that “mutual orgasm” isn’t an insurance company, accelerating from sex once a month to a swingers’ cruise is going from 0 to 100 on the erotic-o-meter. Could you perhaps suggest spicing up your romance in a less terrifying way? A sexy trip to Paris, Amsterdam, Venice or Bruges, perhaps? A candlelit dinner, four-poster bed and champagne breakfast?

New underwear would help too. I don’t want to shock you blokes, but saggy, baggy boxer shorts are not quite as aphrodisiacal as you imagine. Perhaps try wearing a pair of underpants you don’t have to sniff first to check whether they’re clean and that still have a bit of workable elastic holding them up.

Then try a bit of “dirty talk” that’s for once not to do with taking out the garbage. Now sprinkle in some regular compliments and you’ll be double-parking in your wife’s erogenous zones in no time – and all without having to set sail on HMS Syphilis.

Sex in marriage – well, it’s like when it slips your mind that you’ve put your windscreen wipers on intermittent – you’ve forgotten about it, then whoosh! So, here’s to shifting your sex drive out of neutral, without the help of a crew of naked cruisers.

Kathy Lette’s column originally appeared in The Sunday Times, London