The three weirdest things about my body

Tuesday’s blog post about my dream ankle boots made me think about my feet – so here are the three strangest things about my body. Get ready for some real weirdness…

3. Clown feet

I used to have the tiniest feet. My right foot was a size 3 and my left foot was a size 3 and a half, but I used to squash them into size 3 shoes, because it made them look cuter. Then, when I was modelling shoes for TopShop (a story for tomorrow’s blog), I would sneakily splay them out when getting measured, in order to model industry-standard size 4s. Anyhow, these were my feet:

My feet

They were so small and pretty with such high arches that, unknown to me, I was listed on a celebrity website for foot fetishists called Wikifeet! And one of the top Google searches under my name for a long time was ‘Ariane Sherine feet’.

Sadly my feet are not small and pretty any more. These days, I don’t like to draw attention to them.


When I was pregnant with my daughter, I put on five stone. The extra weight I was carrying meant my feet swelled… to a size 7 and a half. A SIZE 7 AND A HALF! I would joke that this is more than double the length, but I think you know better.

Since then, my weight has yo-yoed up and down, and my feet have swelled and decreased along with it. I’ve never heard of this happening to anyone else. I’m currently a size 6, but chances are when I shrink, my feet will shrink along with me. If this sounds implausible, here are measurements of my flabby size 6 right foot today (weirdly, 23.5cm long, 23.5cm diameter at the widest part):

 [Big fat foot. I wouldn’t make it onto Wikifeet these days!]

[Yes, I do need to repaint my toenails. You’re quite right.]

Let’s see how long and wide my foot is after I lose another five stone. Hopefully not size 3, as I sold all my beautiful tiny size 3 shoes. (Though the proceeds went to charity, so at least someone benefited.)

Lesson: don’t put on loads of weight if you have nice feet.


2. Ping pong ball in groin

Aged 17, I was doing a BTEC in Performing Arts (a very short-lived phase that lasted less than a term). I laughed too hard at a joke (probably my own, as they weren’t a funny bunch) and felt something pop out on the right side of my groin. After that, whenever I laughed or coughed, a ping pong ball-sized bulge appeared below my knicker line.

I went to the doctor and was referred to a consultant, who told me it was an ‘inguinal hernia’. Basically, a bit of my intestine had broken through the intestinal wall and was sticking out of the top of my lady garden. Nice!

I was going to have it treated but was too much of a wuss. I think it repaired itself eventually, as after about five years I couldn’t feel it anymore. If you were expecting Thai sex club connotations in this post, I can only apologise.

Lesson: never laugh too hard.


1. Gill (for breathing underwater)

When I was a toddler, my mum noticed a lump on the right-hand side of my neck and took me to the doctor, thinking I had neck cancer. The doctor examined me and said ‘That’s not neck cancer – it’s a gill!’

‘A gill?!’ my mother asked, baffled.

‘Yes,’ came the reply, ‘a vestigial gill from the days when humans used to breathe underwater.’

My mum, you and everyone else could be forgiven for replying ‘WTAF?!’

When the delightful and charming kids at primary school asked what the lump was, and I replied ‘a gill’, they said they were going to hold me underwater and see if I could breathe through my gill.

These days, when anyone asks me about the lump (it’s not very noticeable and about the size of a lump of fudge), I tell them about the gill, then launch into The Temptations’ song: ‘Talkin’ bout my gill – my gill!’ 

And then I ask them if they want to feel the gill, and they invariably do. They feel it and then they go ‘ooh!’ in surprise at the squidgy lump between their fingers. My best friend described it as ‘very exciting’, but then he doesn’t get out much.

[The gill is the slightly raised discoloured bit below the mole.]

When I was in my teens, a GP asked if I wanted to have the gill removed, but I said no – because why have surgery when there’s no need? It doesn’t bother me. I’ve never found out why the lump is there, but the original doctor’s ‘gill’ explanation isn’t substantiated online. It may just be a lipoma. Still, the ‘gill’ theory seems more rational than my Asian grandmother’s:

‘When God was making you out of clay, he had an extra bit left over, so he put it on your neck.’ [Couldn’t he have made my boobs bigger instead?]

And that’s before we get to the amazingly racist bit:

‘White people were baked in God’s oven for too short a time, black people were baked for too long, but Asian people were baked just right.’

Sounds like a half-baked theory to me.

Lesson: If clay left over, put on boobs.

PS: Apparently my nan’s batshit insane theory is a very ancient myth from all kinds of beige and brown people.

PPS Science actually says my nan was half-right when she told me complete bollocks.

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Day 24

Me: 12st 5.4lbs (total loss in 24 days: 8.8lbs)

I had the runs yesterday. John texted: ‘Getting the squits is cheating!’

John: 14st 3.25lbs (total loss in 24 days: 4.25lbs)

John is very kindly plugging my latest book. 26 five-star reviews can’t be wrong!

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Chris Birkett, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, Musical Comedy Guide, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn, Emily Hill and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon. 

Rewards start from just $1 a month, which is 85p in real money and gets you access to my weekly Patreon email. It’s like this blog, but EVEN BETTER!

The time I got ‘pregnant’, aged 10

The first boy I ever kissed was Seth*, a boy at my school, when I was ten.

Seth was my mum’s friend’s kid, and I would go over to his house to play after school on a Thursday. Though only three months younger, he was in the year below me, so thankfully didn’t realise how unpopular I was at school.

Seth’s mum had a whopping five children, three of them under six – so fortuitously for us, she couldn’t keep tabs on us easily. One warm evening when I was ten, Seth and I were lying facing each other in a hammock in the garden, our bare legs touching – and I started to feel all tingly and weird. Seth must have felt it too, as he asked, ‘Do you want to go up to my room?’

We went up to his room, and he asked me, ‘Do you want to kiss?’. I hesitated, and nodded. Then he warned, ‘No tongues, though.’

I was confused. How could I take my tongue out of my mouth? Surely I couldn’t. I compromised by pushing it as far back in my mouth as I could before we kissed. I still remember how soapy and clean Seth smelt.

The next week, we kissed again, and he said, ‘Do you want to sex?’

My mum had told me about sex a couple of months previously, looking extremely embarrassed. She’d mumbled, ‘The man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina, and that makes a baby.’

The next day, I’d gone into school and excitedly told a girl in my class, ‘Guess what sex is? The man puts his willy in the woman’s fanny!’

‘You’re lying!’ she accused me. ‘That’s disgusting!’

‘I’m not lying!’ I insisted. ‘My mum told me.’

‘You’re lying!’ she said again.

These days, she’s a doctor and is married, so hopefully she now knows I was telling the truth.

I didn’t know how to have sex in practice though.

‘I don’t really know how,’ I confessed to Seth.

‘It’s okay, I know,’ Seth reassured me. ‘I’ve seen it in films. First, you take all your clothes off except your pants.’

We both stripped down to our pants.

‘Then I lie on top of you,’ Seth instructed.

I obediently lay on the floor, and he lay on top of me.

‘And now I do this,’ he finished.

He began thrusting on top of me, and grunting: ‘Uh! Uh! Uh!’

I could feel something hard pressing into my knickers, between my legs, which wasn’t very comfortable.

After about a minute, Seth stood up and announced, ‘There. I’ve sexed you.’

I was distinctly underwhelmed by the sexing. If that was sex, I decided, I was happy to do without it forever.

The next day, I woke up with a sick, horrendous feeling in my stomach. I remembered what my mum had told me: The man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina, and that makes a baby.

This must mean I was pregnant, which was terrible news. My dad was literally going to kill me!

I didn’t tell anyone, though. I just cried every morning for months, and stared at my belly in the mirror. Was it swelling, or did I imagine it? Was a baby growing inside me?

I hadn’t started my periods yet, but I’d heard that you could get pregnant before starting them if there was an egg there. It was the end of my life, and I was only ten.

To her credit, my mum asked me several times what was wrong, but I couldn’t tell her I’d had sex with Seth. She was embarrassed enough about sex as it was, and would definitely disown me.

Eventually, I was exonerated by my Usborne book How Your Body Works. It said that boys started producing semen aged eleven. Seth was only ten! The wash of relief that coursed through my body was immense.

Of course, Seth hadn’t actually come either, and you can’t get pregnant through your knickers anyway – but How Your Body Works couldn’t tell me that.

*name changed



Day 10

Me: 12st 10lbs (total loss in ten days: 4.2lbs)

I’ve been on tour for the last two days, giving talks for Chichester Skeptics and Worthing Skeptics – and my lovely host has been buying me meals. Unfortunately, it turns out that what goes on tour doesn’t stay on tour, as I’ve returned with nearly a 2lb weight gain (since the day I left).

I’m back on plan today though, and am determined to get my 1 stone award from Slimming World next week. (I’ll actually have lost two stone this year if I hit 12st 7.5lbs, but only the most recent of those will have been with Slimming World.)

John: 14st 6.25lbs (total loss in ten days: 1.25lbs)

The worm has turned! John has started dieting properly and has somehow lost a whopping 2.5lbs in a single day. The race is on!

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters: Ricky Steer, Chris Birkett, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, Musical Comedy Guide, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn, Emily Hill and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon.

Rewards start from just $1 a month for my weekly Patreon email. It’s like this blog, but I’m even more open in it (if you can imagine that!)