Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Skinny, The Pudgy and the Ecto/Mesomorph

Is there any middle ground in the physical department for a woman after her late twenties? Leaving aside models and certain athletes, and Angelina Jolie, is there anything left between being unappealingly skinny (sunken cheeks, dull complexion, lanky hair, concave chest and absent rump) and deliciously endowed (overflowing bosom, rosy cheeks, luxuriant locks, full lips, and welcoming hips)? Is there? After your late twenties? Without counting Botox, lipo, reverse lipo (where they inject your own body fat into your face for example), or retouching on photoshop?

Show me. That’s right show me. No, she’s still in her mid-twenties. And that one's just turned 21. And this one doesn’t count. She used to be a man – they age better.

So what are we supposed to do? Until some clever boffin comes up with a way of re-engineering our DNA and turning us all into Mesomorphs (well those of us who want it – there’s no accounting for taste.) are we to be lamentably torn and tormented between these two archetypes?

So which one would you rather be? Sexy and size 14 (God knows all the good theatre parts seem to be written for them) or pinched and a size 0 (they have loads of parts for them in Hollywood, but then they expect you to have monstrously disfiguring plastic surgery: cheek bone implants, bigger eyes, smaller nose, and big big lips)?

- So what’s it gonna be?

- Somewhere in the middle.

- There is no middle after 28, you have to chose, take sides. Skinny or pudgy? Your call.

- Do I really have to make a choice?

- Yes. Stop wasting my time Lady, can’t you see the line behind you? If you don’t choose, we’ll choose for you.

- No!!

- OK then. What’s it gonna be?

(I don’t know where this exchange has come from, I appear to be channeling a strong African American lady with links to the US Immigration Services at JFK. “Stand behind the yellow line!” Let’s see where it takes us.)

- I’ll be sexy and size 14. But only if I can dress like Marilyn.

- What do I look like to you? The Fairy God Mother? Grab a boiler suit.

- A boiler suit? I don’t want to be a size 14 in a boiler suit! I want to be a size 0 in a boiler suit. What am I saying? I don’t want to wear a boiler suit. Period.

- Silence from the other girls waiting behind me in the queue. Stern gaze from the Matron. She’s a cross between Mama Morton and Meryl Streep in Doubt. I know, terrifying.

- Are you and me going to have a problem?

I’m shaking my head no.

- Cos it looks to me like we’re having a problem.

- Not really.

- Are you calling me a liar?

- Oh no! I just need a minute to make up my mind. It’s a difficult question.

- Let me get this straight. (She’s now referring to a bunch of note in her red notebook.) You’re the girl who always wanted to be thin from when she was like 7, the girl who obsesses about the size and shape of her belly, the girl who won’t buy new clothes because she’s terrified she’ll have to go up a dress size, the girl who periodically starves herself or goes on detox diets. It’s you we’re talking about. Right?

- I nod sheepishly. The queue behind me is straining forward and all ears.

- I’m giving you the choice, the opportunity to be a size 0, but I’m saying you can also be a size 14 if you like. You know, so that there’s no pressure. And you can’t make up your mind? What have you been secretely wishing for for the last 25 years every time you blow your birthday candles, or see a shooting star, or eat the first fruit of the season?

- (Me, in a whisper.) To be a size 0.

- What’s that? I can’t hear you. Quit mumbling!

- (Me, louder.) To be a size 0!

- Alright then, so is that what it’s gonna be. Size 0?

- I’m not sure.

- Excuse me?

- I don’t know anymore. I’m all confused. I want to be a size 0 because that’s supposed to be attractive but now you’re saying I can be a size 0 and unattractive or a size 14 and sexy and well see I had my mind set on being both a sexy size 0 and now you’ve turned it on its head so I’m confused. I’m not sure what I want.

Sigh from the Matron who’s got a heart of gold underneath that stern exterior. “I shouldn’t tell you this, but you can make one choice today, and then if you change your mind, we can accommodate that. Legally, you’re entitled to switch as many times as you want. At no extra charge.”

I bite the inside of my lip the way I do when there’s too much information for me to process.

- So what’s it gonna be, just for today?

I smile. Why didn’t I think of it sooner? And run to the back of the queue.

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