Monday, January 28, 2013

Body Issues

"You know how I feel about bodies? Think of the best Christmas/birthday present you ever got in your life. Something that made you cry, you were so happy to get it. Got a picture of that thing in your mind? Good. Now...what was it wrapped in?
Who cares, right? That's how I feel about bodies."
--Me, on entirely too many occasions to count

"A waist is a terrible thing to mind."
--Tom Wilson

I keep hoping that women, of my acquaintance and otherwise, will eventually learn to stop worrying and love their bodies. This is not one of my more realistic hopes, alas. At least in part because too many men of my acquaintance and otherwise insist on judging women by their covers. Hell, we're told not to do that with think maybe we shouldn't be doing it with living, breathing beings? You think? Just maybe?

In all my life, I can count the number of ugly women I have met on the fingers of one hand. Three of those women were conventionally was actually a model, and if you didn't know that by looking at her you'd soon find out from listening to her. An honest-to-God moustache on the lady wouldn't have repulsed me as much as her personality did. Cue the Northern Pikes:

 Another of those ugly women was in her late twenties when I knew her, but she acted about twelve most of the time. She considered herself God's gift to men, and couldn't understand why men didn't feel the same way. I felt terrible for her, because she reminded me so much of me.

When I was a teenager, I was not exactly a rippling bundle of exotic man-flesh. (I'm still not, but I wasn't then, either.) But back then, internally, I was a mess. I was Mr. Nice Guy to any passing woman, and we all know where nice guys finish, right? Thing was, I knew I was ugly, knew it with an ironclad certainty. Glasses, acne, startling lack of musculature, and next to no social graces...what's not to detest?
Those insecurities wrote themselves in permanent marker on my personality, and so I was at least as ugly as I knew myself to be. Fast forward a quarter century, and outwardly not much has changed. I've more than doubled in weight and the acne's gone...but the misshapen teeth are still there (fixing that this year, hopefully) and I'm every bit the absent-minded professor I was back then. I'm still never going to make the cover of Playgirl--if there even is such a thing anymore.  (Quick check: yep.)

Difference: I no longer care.

I'm not saying that because I'm married to a wonderful woman. (Though I am.) Actually, what I'm saying is that my slowly abating insecurity was what allowed me to meet my wife. Ask  her--I was pretty damned insecure even after marriage...but if you ask me, I was considerably less so than I had been before we met.

I still have flashes of insecurity, momentary attacks of self-doubt, and so I'm sure it's pointless, not to mention hypocritical, to think women should just [snap] feel better about themselves. But "you teach what you have to learn", and in that light...

There's a commercial for Herbal Magic on television that offends me to my core. It's your typical success stories..."I went from a size 22 to a size 10, and I feel great"...but they take it waaay too far. There's a man who says something along the lines of "I can now present my ideas to upper management, and I'm a better employee"--yeah, because fat people have no ideas and are crappy employees, right? That's followed by a woman who says she's lost some trifling amount of weight and then gushes "I've got me back! I've got my life back!" I want to gain a couple of hundred pounds just so I can SIT on people like those two.

If your health is an issue, of course you should try and  lose weight. Bear in mind, though, that obesity, in and of itself, MAY be maintaining your health. (That article needs a wide, wide audience...our society deems it fair and funny to mock the overweight. It makes me sick to my stomach.)

There's this incredibly widespread belief that thinner equals sexier. Women go on crash diets to "look good" for their weddings--when they look fantastic already, certainly fantastic enough to attract a fiance. It's sad. And stupid, as Pink says. And it's NOT universal. Google "Reubenesque"...or go to Africa...and you'll discover that there are places and times where skeletons aren't sexy.

I'll keep banging my head against this here belly and bouncing off. Boing...boing...boing...The fact is, beauty is an internal thing. A beautiful and joyful spirit makes you beautiful. We're all gonna be ugly on the outside someday. Some of us are ugly on the inside already...try not to have a head start on the uglifcation, okay?

No comments: