I cut off an old pair of horse-riding jeans this morning. They’re short, even shorter when I roll them.
Yikes! I checked out my short shorts (and post-momma legs) in our mirror.
My legs, in the back, look like someone else’s legs. Not quite firm, not quite smooth, not quite tan.
I’m sort of concerned. This is what age does to legs? one of the areas I’ve thought was a positive, looks more like a neutral, or negative?
Will I get those veins that pop (I know, I know varicose, but honestly can’t we come up with a more creative, less scary word?)? Will wearing short shorts be unkind to all viewers? (Don’t worry, they weren’t hoochie short!)
I strode outside to seek Dale’s opinion. “I just noticed something,” I announce.
“That your legs are beautiful?” Dale grins.
“No!” I allow myself a slight smile and finish, “That my legs look, well not the best back here.” I point, move, show him in the sunlight and the shade.
“And then there is this part that jiggles.” Dale weighs in agreeing with slight chubbiness, but not varicose veins. I agree with him. Not toned anymore.
That’s okay, I think. I don’t mind having some jiggly stuff. But wait,
“Do you think it’s ugly for people to have to look at my legs in these shorts?” I don’t want to disgust people with my legs. Dale shakes his head.
“No, not disgusting at all.” He smiles at me.
So at age 31, uncommitted to a work-out schedule but a woman who has thin genes and a love for hikes, I have a few more jiggle spots. And, so far, they’re not gross. That’s nice.
But how long? Probably not forever. 🙂
Our body has an expiration date, but we can agree to a complete resurrection. In my new God-given body you better believe I’ll have legs similar to mine now. And I will have curly-hair, too.
For now, as we age, our little good points need all the bolstering they can get. We’ve got to own them and enjoy them while we have them. Which is why I’m stopping my mirror glances at my profile. I know my tummy is no longer flat, no need to berate and criticize at every mirror.
Since we have such a hard time finding little good parts to highlight about ourselves, as we age we need honest, helpful feedback about the lovely, unique things we showcase today, right now.
Which brings me to a player who is working against the good things my husband does for my body image, specifically Denver Water. I know they don’t know me, but they’re working against me.
Denver Water has a new “Use Only What you Need” campaign. I’ve seen the billboards every time we go to Denver. For example
The problem as I see it begins with the fact that my hair only looks like the “overwatered girl” when I spend a lot of time DOING it, we’re talking spiraling it around with expensive products, then diffusing it, careful not to over-dry to prevent that dreaded Frizz. (though if you do it right frizz can be back, but you have to have the outfit to go with it).
There’s another Denver Water billboard where the overwatered guy has a uni-brow and the appropriately watered guy has two eyebrows.
So a girl with big, curly hair is like a guy with a uni-brow? Some blogs, as curly girl friends of mine who religiously straighten, prove that guys prefer girls with straight hair. Would it be safe to say a group of male marketers put the Denver Water bill-boards together?
Probably, or at least non-uni-browed men and some closet curly girls. I don’t really know.
What I do know is that frizzy haired women get affected by this stuff. And it harms our ability to believe curly hair is lovely.
I’m sure curly hair is gorgeous and I’m sure of it beyond yummy moments between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. I know it because my big ol’ curly head of hair motivated Dale to give me a double take.
Do you know what Denver Water’s billboards does to the huge minority of African American, Hispanic, Jewish, Indian (care to add some more?) curly haired women? They teach us we’re not appropriate, we’re “over watered.”
As Jewesses with Attitude point out, why not own the look, why not proudly call it a Jew-fro? or would mine be a “Pole-fro” or a “Span-fro”.
And another thing, why do females with crazy, big, sexy curly hair straighten, while the males wear it curly as part of their look? Denver Water’s billboards show male models with bushy beards and uni-brows who don’t get straight hair, they just trim up a bit.
I’m tired of hearing and watching curly girls go straight because it’s “appropriate”? The man after God’s heart wrote that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That means curly hair is wonderful, fearfully so.
So from this Colorado girl with big curly hair, your efforts at marketing are not appreciated, Denver Water. Time to re-think your marketing strategy. You’re making me want to leave my tap on.
In conclusion, given the few special parts God gives each of us, why do we keep trying to look like the rest of people? Denver Water is part of the subtle, but pervasive cultural pressure that moved Jennifer Grey to endure rhinoplasty and completely alter the unique Jennifer look she was given. As she said of the experience, “I went in the operating room a celebrity – and came out anonymous. It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible.” Grey even considered a name change to jump start her new career.
Okay, I’m not saying straightening our hair is the same as a nose job. I am saying altering our body to be different than a natural, healthy version of ourselves is worth noticing, thinking through.
Why do we do it?
I know why I used to do it, why I used to pull my hair slick back, why I used to wear long skirts, because I didn’t think I was really that cool without the products, the alterations, the leg-lifts and the flat iron.
This summer, I’m wearing the shorts and keeping the hair wild.