I am at war with my body.
After two kids and almost 37 years on the earth, not to mention the winter and long, cold, wet spring we just went through (or as I like to call it, Nutella-Palooza, '08 - '09), things don't look quite the same as they did back in the day. "The Day" being when I was a size 0 and my legs looked like tree branches. Skinny, knobby tree branches. Skinny, knobby tree branches that then were the source of much teasing but are now in style. Fucking tree branches.
I'm having difficulty reconciling the fact that my body is different than it used to be. I was always very skinny, naturally so, and I never had to work out (though I did, it's much more enjoyable when you don't have to) and eating a Quarter Pounder with Cheese with a side of large fries and washing it down with a 10 piece Chicken McNugget was something I never gave much thought to.
(Nary an extra pound nor bout of heartburn to contend with. Ah, memories.)
Do you hate me for writing that*? It's okay, I kind of hate me right about now. More to the point, I kind of hate the 22 year old me (and 19 year old me, and 15 year old me and...) for not liking the way she looked back then. I'd like to go back in time and shake her by her slender neck (the one that didn't have the beginnings of a waddle hanging over it) and tell her to lose the negative body image thing (Because, really? You're 110 pounds and 5'8. Suck it up, Buttercup) and enjoy going into any store she wanted to and buying whatever type of clothing caught her fancy without ever needing to try it on. I'd kind of like to tell the 30 year old me the same thing. I'd also tell her to wear more sunscreen.
My body, though still on the slender side, has changed. Things that were once flat are now bumpy and things that were once firm are now jiggly. Which is fine if you're a jello salad but not so much if you're a woman with body issues.
Pants don't fit the same and Spanx is not something kinky one does in the bedroom. And I certainly don't have the luxury of going into clothing stores and buying things without a trip to the dreaded changing room, with their flourescent lights (very flattering to dimpled thigh fat, by the way. If I wanted a diorama of the Grand Canyon I'd make one out of a shoe box and some modeling clay, thank you very much.) and institutional paint job designed to make sure you don't get all cocky in those new clothes.
But believe it or not, this post is not about negative body image.
(Really Tania? After all that this isn't just you bitching about your body? No really, you should thank me. What I've got on that subject could fill the entire internet and if I did that there would be no more room for videos of cats falling off of pianos, so I'll save it for now. You're welcome)
No this post is about denim. Or more to the point, the search for the perfect pair of jeans.
Like ROUS's, I don't think they exist. (Gosh, that joke never gets old, does it?) At least not for less than the price of a used mid-sized sedan. But still I search. I try on. I squeeze and tuck - you know, got to put the muffin top somewhere - and grunt and groan. And then I get frustrated and pig out on french fries.
All I want is a decent pair of jeans that don't make me look like I'm smuggling watermelons in my thighs. Except for cupcake top around my middle (I know it's a muffin top but cupcakes are sweeter. And they have frosting. And I love them with all my heart. And that may be why I have a muffin top.) I'm still on the smaller (read: medium) side and my hips aren't too bad, it's my upper thighs that always get me. I keep hearing Stacy and Clinton say, Look for a pair of pants that hits you at your widest point and then goes straight down from there. Yeah, THEY DON'T MAKE THOSE.
Two words - Skinny. Jeans.
Two more words - Fuck. Off.
Still, they have to be out there somewhere. I shop, I buy, I come to my senses, and I return. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. That's how I roll.
But let's take this step by step, shall we?
So here is how I shop for the perfect pair of jeans, in 18 easy steps
(Okay I know - 18?? It was 29 but I edited. You're welcome.)
Step 1: Go through your entire wardrobe and try on every pair of jeans you own. Chuck out the old, the tired, the out of style, the "What in the Sam Hell was I thinking?" and the "Not in a million years and an eating disorder will you ever fit in these again". Realize you're down to one pair of jeans that fits and you're only keeping those because picking up your child from preschool whilst nearly naked from the waist down is probably not going to win you any friends.
Step 2: Cry over the death of your youth and then give your children the stink eye for ruining your figure. Then hug your children because you feel badly for thinking that way (Oh, you're totally still thinking it, but with love.)
Step 3: Decide to shop for jeans online because poking at your thighs and squeezing your belly flap is more socially acceptable while standing in your own bedroom. While popping Hershey's Kisses.
Step 4: Ask lovely people on Twitter where they shop. Love the people on Twitter. On Twitter no one knows your thighs aren't as thin as they once were. Unless you tell them. Which you will because it's TWITTER.
Step 5: Take suggestions and then search every website known to man. Make disparaging remarks about the anorexic models and their nonexistent hips. Words "bitch" and "bite me" may be used. Liberally.
Step 6: Put a a bunch of jeans that don't scare you in your virtual shopping cart. You can always return the ones you don't like, right? Gasp audibly upon seeing the total while checking out. Decide you could stage a coup in a small third world country for that amount of money and delete a couple (read: all but two) from your cart.
Step 7: Wait for cute UPS guy to deliver a package. Chuckle over the word "package" in relation to cute UPS guy because you're a 12 year old boy. A twelve year old boy with 36 year old hips.
Step 8: When UPS guy shows up 5 days later with your package (heh) answer the door side ways to give the illusion of smaller midsection and smile winningly. Try to ignore his bemused expression and his quick exit. Take box, slam door (but first, watch UPS guy's butt as he makes quick getaway), and then run to bedroom with box in breathless anticipation for Best. Jeans. EVER.
Step 9: Break a nail opening box. Swear. Lie about what those words mean to impressionable four year old who was helping you open the box.
Step 10: Take jeans out of box. Look at them quizzically. Hmm, they looked different online (after two glasses of wine).
Step 11: Try on jeans. Try to find place to put the jelly roll that is your tummy. Above the waistline? Below the waistline? Decide to try to tuck it in like blousy shirt.
Step 12: Detach flesh roll from zipper. Apply Neosporin.
Step 13: Look in full length mirror. Hmm, kind of tight in the thighs. Typical. Maybe heels are needed. Yes, heels are much better! Makes legs look slim! Grunt while running to closet to find pair of heels that don't hurt your broken toe. Give up and decide pain is worth it. Limp back to mirror. Ah, much better. Excruciatingly painful, but better.
Step 14: Decide to take pictures to send to husband who is in California (or Michigan, you forget at this point) to get his opinion.
Step 15: Look at picture in camera screen. Consider Photoshopping your legs before sending picture. Also wonder if your camera is broken. Or maybe your mirror.
Step 16: Cry while on the phone with your husband. I'm sure they look great, he says. Refuse to send him picture. What does he know? He's in Michigan. Or Florida. You forget.
Step 17: Package jeans to return. Suck up shipping fees both ways. Realize that was your iced coffee money for two weeks.
Step 18: Get frustrated. Feel hopeless. Decide after much denial you have no choice but to go to the Mall.
Oh yes, the Mall.
Sometimes, a woman has to do what a woman has to do.
And that is enough for now, lambs.
Tune in next time for THIGHS. IN. SPACE. Er, MALL.
(Okay not really, just part two of The Search for the Perfect Pair of Jeans. Or, If a 100 pound sales girl is murdered in the dressing room of an upscale department store and she totally had it coming but no one is around to witness it, will anyone mourn the loss?)
*And careful about what you say about size in relation to image problems. Many, many years of teasing has made me what I am today. You picking on me for hating the way I look sometimes will only get you a beat down of epic proportions. Also, I'm fragile.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The search for the perfect pair of jeans. Alternate title: The grass is always greener on someone else's thighs.
I am at war with my body.