Yeah, I know this is a sewing blog, but I’m wanting to get this off my chest, so feel free to skip the diatribe that follows if you’d prefer. The picture below is me circa 1987, fully convinced that I was ugly and obese because I weighed a horrible 120 pounds. I remember going over the 100 lb mark when I was about 11 years old and drowning in a panic because I was therefore “fat”. I am not, nor ever will be, a Twiggy type. It’s not in my genetic programming!What is it with people these days? Female friends and acquaintances, specifically. Why all the comparisons? Comments? Envy? Self-loathing?Whispered conversations about weight gain or loss, especially around someone a couple of sizes bigger than you? Geez! The first day I wore my Vogue 1250 feather print dress, I got appreciative looks from my husband (who thoroughly enjoyed taking the pictures) and a “compliment” (quoted in the title of this post) from an acquaintance.
“Wow! You look fabulous!! Have you lost weight?”
Did you mean that you like my dress? That I look content with the world today? That my hair looks good? Or that you’ve been thinking to yourself that I should lose a few and are happy to think that I have? For the record, “No. I have not lost weight, and even if I had, I wouldn’t know because I don’t weigh myself! That’s my physician’s job once a year!”
Just to put the comment in context: The woman is about 15 years older than me, slim, pretty and counts every single calorie she puts into her mouth. Imagine not being able to enjoy a mouthful of something really tasty without thinking that you shouldn’t have the second bite!
Yet again, this past week a couple of friends were commiserating with each other about the “battle of the bulge”. They’re both in good health, their children are healthy, they live full lives, and they are very much appreciated by their respective husbands. One is about my height (5 feet 6 inches) and confessed earlier this summer that her physician is concerned about her inability to put on weight because she’s so underweight. Yet she’s complaining about the usual addition of bumps that occur due to multiple childbirths, never mind the general phenomenon called maturing.
Ummm….. does the only person that you punish on a daily basis with views of you in your birthday suit or skimpy lingerie complain about the excessive extra pound? Or was that two pounds? “Gee, honey, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve been adding a bit to your circumference lately. I kinda prefer not having my hands so full of you, if you know what I mean. Could you eat less and exercise more?” And if he’s happy with whatever you’ve got for him to look at, who cares what the next person in the room looks like? Is wearing? Is size whatever?
Some time ago I picked up an issue of I-don’t-remember-what magazine in a waiting room, but it wasn’t a magazine I do not usually read. Because I was unfamiliar with it, I started with the “Letters to the Editor” section. Most were from men, interestingly enough, and they were about a photo spread on lingerie. No big surprise there. Guys like lingerie. But what did give me pause for thought was that every single letter spoke about how they were glad to see Crystal Renn as the model. Not one letter stated they were disgusted or horrified that they were looking at pictures of a what our weird society calls a “plus size” woman in underwear. There was even a comment about how it’s really ugly looking at the pencils that the magazine usually uses for their shoots, and could they please do more with Ms. Renn, because her curves were eye candy. Interesting.
I am so very tired of people obsessing about their bodies. Who cares? Did people walk around 100 years ago comparing each other’s waist measurements? “Oh, Sue, I wish I could lace my corset as tightly as you!” How flat they could make themselves look during the flapper years? “Sarah, you look so beautiful! Tell me your secret! I’d die to look as androgynous as for that party tomorrow night!” How much of the preferred (extremely unhealthy) “S” shape they could acquire in their spine? Good grief! Everyone wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe at some point. Why? If every woman hired a stylist and a great photographer, she could pull off pin-ups like Marilyn. And d’ya think she looked like that 24/7? What about Elizabeth Taylor and her 24-inch waist? Wasn’t that a corset-induced look, too? Heck, when I got married, my waist was 24 inches, and I thought I had a lot of extra blubber hanging around that I worked for years to starve off. Why?
Do people really want to look like a piece of dowelling that has breasts smaller than 1/2 a lime and no hips to hang their skirts on? Sure, it’s easier to fit a garment to the “standard” B cup perfect bust-waist-hip ratio body, but is anyone that? I mean, really. It took years to reach the point where I don’t want to look any different than I am, and I owe a lot to the very obvious, often embarrassing, enthusiastic appreciation and enjoyment expressed in my DH’s eyes most days. Can we please just be happy with how we’re shaped? There’s a million options out there for dressing well and looking good; for highlighting what you like about your shape and playing up what you want people to notice the most about you. How about starting with a smile? At the person in the mirror?