We Don't Like Perfect People

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Flabbity Flab Flab

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A confession:  I do not like my legs.  Depending upon the time of year, I fluctuate between resigned dislike and open hatred, as fashion swings from pants and tights to shorts and miniskirts.  The only time I am pleased with my legs is when they are covered in thick, baggy ski pants and are preventing me from zooming off a cliff.

Even when I was little, before I hit puberty and filled out over approximately one month of sixth grade (I have the stretch marks to prove it), I didn’t like my legs.  I have a mole on my right thigh, halfway between knee and hip, that used to bug me to no end.  I have skin so fair it borders on albinism, so it’s not hard to spot imperfections.  And in summer, every time I looked down, that mole was there, looking right back at me.

It’s not an ugly mole or anything.  It’s about half an inch across, uniformly oval-shaped, and doesn’t protrude, flap in the breeze, or have hair growing out of it.  My irrational hatred of that mole was probably an early indicator that I’m better off with a little Sertraline in my bloodstream.  But I digress.

When I hit puberty, the lower half of my body got totally out of control.  I didn’t wear shorts for five or six years, preferring to suffocate in the South Carolina summer rather than subject the world to my hideous legs.  And bathing suits?  Hah!  I can’t believe I remember how to swim.  I still prefer to have a pair of shorts handy as a cover-up, though that comes with its own set of problems re:  pseudo-albinism—shorts rub my sunscreen off, which means that if I don’t reapply constantly, I end up with a really weird-looking sunburn.

The real trouble is that women in my family look like Sid from Toy Story built us.  We have short limbs and long torsos.  We have broad shoulders, broad hips, and narrow waists, which would be great if we came with anything resembling the BOOBS we were PROMISED in sex ed.  We tend to have an extra helping of junk in the trunk, too.  Our asscracks decide to liberate themselves from our jeans all too often, and thanks to that pasty-white skin, it’s extra-obvious when it happens in public.

In the seventies, a dunk-tank carny yelled at my mom, “Baby, you got an hourglass figure, but all the sand done run to the bottom!”

Nice of her to pass those genes on.

Here’s my body’s catch-22:  it’s not fat.  I’m not a sample size or anything—I wear a four or a six, typically—but I am at a healthy weight.  I’m five foot five, and as of this afternoon I weigh 126.7 pounds.  My body just naturally stores all of its fat on my hips and thighs.

I do eat too much junk food, but do you know what happens when I stop eating junk food?  My boobs become practically concave, and my damn legs stay as gelatinous as they ever were.  Same thing happens when I exercise compulsively.  Even though my muscles do become more toned, they’re still covered with a blanket of good old pudge, so you can’t really TELL.  Oh, and on top of that, I’ve got those stretch marks on my hips and the backs of my thighs.  With cellulite poking out in between, like a prisoner reaching desperately from between the bars of an old-fashioned jail.

I’ve read every women’s magazine in existence, and I know what they all say.  Think about your body in terms of what it can DO, not what it looks like, and unless you’re a quadriplegic, you’ll feel a lot kinder toward it.  But you know what I think about that?  I think it still doesn’t change the fact that my legs are ugly.

I’m setting myself up for a life among the non-affluent.  I want to write, and I really don’t want to do anything else with my life.  I enjoy plenty of things, but writing is the only thing that feels real and true.  So unless I marry for money (gag), I won’t ever be able to afford anything like liposuction, even if I do decide that one vain, shallow act is worth not feeling self-conscious and frustrated every time temperatures climb about 70 degrees.

I’ve done research into the different surgeries offered, pricing, and even those freaky compression garments they make you wear so you won’t go all weird and lumpy while you’re healing.  The bruising I can deal with, as I fall down about as often as I stand up, and I don’t see how compression garments are that different from heavy-duty Spanx.  It’s more the philosophical issues that bug me.

Is it ethical to have plastic surgery when people around the world are dying for want of simple surgical procedures?

Is it ethical to spend thousands of dollars on a procedure to improve my outward physical appearance, rather than on travel that would expand my mind, or something more practical like rent?

Will I lose the respect of people whose opinions I value if I work to conform more closely to our society’s unrealistic image of physical beauty?

I’m not a controlling or type-A personality by any definition of the term.  In fact, my grades would probably improve if I stressed out about things a little more, or gave more of a shit in general.  It’s just this one, insignificant, infuriating thing.  Oh, how it plagues me!

I hear sale of body parts is forbidden on Craigslist, but this is Estieslist.  In conclusion….

For sale:  one pair of legs, slightly used but in good condition.  Functional but utilitarian.  Willing to trade and/or pay cash for more aesthetically-pleasing replacements.  Shin splints and freckles OK, peg legs NOT OK.  Similar skin tone, please.  Serious inquiries only.

Leave me my voice, though, please. I use it to snark with.

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Written by Estie

March 25, 2010 at 4:15 am