squishy bellies and female detectives

Well here I am, forty, and I’ve finally decided maybe it’s ok if I’m just me. I have the forty year old body now, not the twenties version, and as much as I work out, and try to eat (mostly) right, I’m thinking I may have to accept the fact that I have love handles.

But it’s hard for me, trying to grapple with my less than perfect physique. Not that I’ve ever had a perfect figure, but growing up as I did, and WHEN I did, it’s a struggle of idealism and image.

I grew up with Charlie’s Angels, where the strong and active female lead characters were also tiny and beautiful. And while these beauties carried weapons to take down the bad guys, these weapons certainly weren’t Glocks, because those guns would be far too heavy for these miniscule vigilantes. And along with the gorgeous detectives of the Townsend Agency, I also grew up with the age of beautiful television. This is TV unlike that of today. Today you can find a fairly average looking person trying to sell you car insurance, items at a department store, or itsy bitsy hamburgers that will only satisfy my Barbie doll, but can be purchased for only “$2.99”. When I watched TV as a kid, I saw only beautiful people. Women with perfect teeth smiling and telling you your hair can smell terrific. Women whose immaculate bodies revealed a gorgeous tan you could only get from Banana Boat suntan lotion.

I wanted to be beautiful. It was my goal to be a famous actress one day, but since I was just a kid, I thought winning the Love’s Baby Soft beauty contest might suffice. This is when you send in a crappy picture of yourself to the contest, and someone discovers you are really a rare find, a jewel that is hidden in a rubble of metal braces and bad eighties hair. And then you are made “Miss Love’s Baby Soft” and your picture is on the cover of Seventeen magazine for all to see. So that was the goal; that was the standard in my eyes; be beautiful, because nothing else mattered.

Not that nothing else mattered to ME, but those around me seemed obsessed with beauty. My favorite uncle was in love with Hollywood, and all the young starlets that filled its teeming, piss laden streets. My father had a roving eye that noticed every shiny young thing that moved, and often went off in their direction to cause trouble. It was blatantly obvious that to be noticed, you had to be gorgeous. No average looking broads on board here. Intelligence didn’t matter; ambition didn’t matter. Humor, kindness, philanthropic endeavors…nothing compared to the tight body and supple skin of a super model. What men wanted was eye candy, and if you weren’t beautiful, you weren’t going to find a man. For those of us with imperfect teeth, flat bottoms and stubbornly poochy tummies, well it was a given that there would be no love for me.

I might have done better in a society even a few decades earlier, where it might be acceptable to just be pretty or even homely, so long as you could cook, clean and press slacks just so. But what with TV dinners, and microwave ovens, and permanent press clothing, it soon became obsolete even to have basic homemaking skills, and when you cook dinner as fast as five minutes in the microwave, there is the threat that your loved one will have to sit across the table from you and stare into your eyes during dinner. Wouldn’t he finally notice that I wasn’t perfect then?

But here I am all these years later, finally bothering to ask myself; is that really all there is to love? Is love just a physical attraction and a desire for the best of the pack? Obviously we are all appreciative of perfection in the species. One can’t help but notice a particularly attractive male or female. But after all these years, is that what I really believe is the most important thing in the world? Do I really need to lose my love handles to feel worth someone’s time, effort and investment?

I have to admit that I would feel better about myself if I were closer to my own ideal. But I also have to close the door on that old past as well. There’s a reason there are so many average looking people on TV today; because there are so many of us. Models and gorgeousness and perfection are a smidgen of society. The average person is overweight, or too skinny, or has no muscle definition. The average person has poor vision, crooked teeth, or skin blemishes. The average person has chronic halitosis, intermittent flatulence, and forgets the name of their co-workers on a regular basis.

I am one of the regular average people in the world today, and I guess it’s ok that I’m not a movie star. I guess it’s ok if I have love handles and a squishy belly. I guess, in the grand scheme of things, I’d rather have someone I love look at me and see ME, than have them appreciate the amazing toned shell I’m walking around in. So, pass the pizza, and I’ll get the beer.

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About denelle

writer. artist. ponderer.

Posted on April 10, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Your acknowledgment of who you really are makes you 100x more beautiful than Farrah Fawcet or Jacklyn Smith! You go, girl!

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