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Pretty Girl Bullshit

I'm in Love with Aliya Mustafina!

And the teenage Russian gymnast's sad, sad eyes.

by Bertie Brandes
07 August 2012, 2:20pm

Hello, I’m Bertie. This column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related stuff that I think is dumb. While I appreciate the importance of girl talk, I’m not about to braid your pubic hair or send you the results of my latest smear test. Instead, I will pass on any remotely useful knowledge I happen to discover re: being a FEMALE. Trust me: I’m not a doctor, but I do have a Ph.D in pretty girl bullshit.


OK look, I know it’s seriously not cool to be objectifying the Olympians, and trust me, I’ve read all the articles about why it’s totally destructive and immature. I’ve read articles about that shit for days. Normally, I’d be all for sitting back and letting the athletes get on with their stuff without allowing a single pervy thought to drift across my mind. But you know, at the end of the day, what even is the Olympics except one big competition about whose body is the most fucking crazy pumped and buff?

So yes, on a certain level I know it’s reductive and wrong, but (and I do feel a bit like a teacher who’s been dating a sixth former when I say this) I’m so sure that this is more than superficial objectification. It’s legitimate, I swear, I just love her, my little Russian babushka, my tiny, stretchy princess: Aliya Mustafina. And I’m not the only one.

Other potential suitors have been expressing their intentions for li-li as well, some guy on Twitter even wrote her a love letter (!!). He’s sending it to her gym, which apparently passes them all on to her. I’d probably employ this method of communication if I wasn’t 100 percent certain his cherished token’s going to end up in a dumpster along with all the other Russian Olympic hopefuls who weren’t quite up to scratch.

Anyway, to prove I’m not some sleaze who’s hijacking the Olympics to revel in a disgusting jerk-fest and undermine strong women athletes the world over, I thought I’d compose my own note to Aliya. An open love letter, if you will. If anyone can translate this into Russian and pass it on to her, I’d be eternally grateful. If not, I’ll just keep hanging around outside the Olympic Village weeping and begging to be let in. Either way…


by Bertie Brandes

Aliya. Your eyes are ridiculous.

I’m sure your coaches have you on a pretty rigorous training schedule.

But if you ever want to hang out and watch me eat pretzels dipped in Skippy,

I’m always here.

And I’m willing to travel too,

As long as we don’t have to sleep in some weird sports institute

Because I watched a documentary about Russian ballet schools once,

And the sound of all the kids crying themselves to sleep

Would be really hard for me to ignore.

By the way,

What glitter hairspray are you using?

I normally get mine from Poundland,

But it comes out after like, 15 minutes.

Yours is totally flawless, even after winning a gold medal (!!) <3

Aliya. Sometimes you look so sad.

Is it just because your eyes are so large and unblinking?

Or do you feel all the sorrows of the world upon your shoulders?

If you want, you can come over here and we can watch you on TV and you can teach me how to do eyeliner flicks so perfectly.

It might cheer you up?

Or I guess you can just stay at the Olympic centre in Stratford if you want.

(I live really close… I could meet you in Westfield for shopping and fro-yo?)

Did you read Hamlet recently, Aliya?

Because you’re totally channelling Ophelia,

And for all I know, when you speak in Russian

You might be reciting really beautiful poetry about heartache.

You kind of remind me of a Pinter heroine too,

Like, really odd and quiet and intense.

Do you like to read?

I could learn Russian and read Tolstoy to you if you’d like,

You could be my Anna Karenina.

But, you’re probably really busy being a gold medallist and stuff.

I just wanted you to know.

You’re like, really beautiful.

And if I didn’t have a boyfriend,

I’d totally kiss all the glitter off your eyes.

(Is that weird?)

- - -

It turns out after a little more research that Mustafina has both a die-hard tumblr following and a personal Instagram account, the fruits of which will both satiate my appetite and lessen my chances of becoming her concubine. Sad. How long do gymnasts' careers normally last for, anyway? It can’t be that long. Maybe we can bring her over to London and turn her into an it girl after she’s burnt out doing mad stretchy leaps and stuff. She could pretend to date someone from Swim Deep, but she’d obviously be dating me in real life. Well, if you’re interested Aliya, the offer’s on the table. And don’t worry, you’d fit right in it Dalston, I know a guy who only wears leotards and glitter.

So, um. Tweet me? Maybe?

All images screengrabbed from the BBC Olympic live stream

Follow Bertie on Twitter: @BertieBrandes

Previously: How to Make Your Crush Crush on You

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London 2012
Bertie Brandes
open love letter
Aliya Mustafina
Russian gymnast