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Love etc

Je t’aime, but don’t expect me to say so

Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images

French people rarely bother to say “I love you”, says Sylvia Sabes in BBC Travel. Take it from me, I’ve been married to a Frenchman for more than a decade. I know my husband loves me. He buys me flowers every weekend. He affectionately calls me “ma biche” (my deer). “And when I tell him I was at a party full of beautiful people, he charmingly says something about ‘birds of a feather’.” But he never says “Je t’aime”.

I’m assured this is normal. The French don’t say I love you because they don’t have the words – literally. The only verb to express love is “aimer”, which also means “to like”. You can “aime” your partner but you can also “aime” rugby, a warm baguette or the smell of lilacs. Naturally, it then feels “rather mundane” to “aime” the love of your life. So they make up for it in other ways. Don’t forget, this is the culture that made champagne, perfected chocolate and built Paris. Romance is far from dead.

Lords of the thighs

The hottest look for men this summer is short shorts, says Sam Wolfson in The Observer. In April, American actor Milo Ventimiglia, star of This Is Us, was snapped leaving the gym in a pair of short shorts that “gave way to legs so round and meaty they could be shoved in the oven for three hours at 180C”. Normal People star Paul Mescal delighted fans in his revealing Gaelic football shorts last summer, and Harry Styles has been rocking a tiny pair of denim Daisy Dukes.

And it’s not just celebrities. Vox has declared this a “thigh-guy summer,” #5inseam has taken off on Instagram and The Times says “legs are the new abs”. Legs, bums and tums classes, usually aimed at women, have become common at the “blokiest of gyms”. The “rise of the thigh” comes at a time when “Britain feels at its most sexually charged since the free-love summers of the 1960s”, says Wolfson. After a year of lockdown, men want to dress in an “unapologetically sexy” way.

Premium bondage

A dominatrix in Leeds who earns £200,000 a year has qualified for a £50,000 government bounceback loan, says Carol Midgley in The Times. “Well, no one can say she isn’t strapped for cash. Nice of Rishi Sunak to give her a big whip-round.” The 50-year-old madam says she got the loan because her business is a form of “therapy”, and the money has gone towards therapeutic equipment – a torture dungeon, handcuffs and a sex swing. Still, “if the loan inspector calls she can say, quite truthfully: ‘I’m tied up with a client.’”