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Fat Girls …

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On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys…” 

 

beach girl

Trouble getting dates? Yeah, right…

Some things just get to me.

Not very often.

But sometimes.

Today I want to tell you about a TV episode I saw recently that affected me deeply.

It scratched and inflamed a raw nerve that was an oozing wound inside me.

Maybe it’s because of the guilt I feel for being so shallow… or  maybe – just maybe – because I’ve felt the same way – inadequate – at times for similar and slightly different reasons.

Do you know Louie CK?

Middle-aged, slightly rotund and unkempt, somewhat depressed-looking, stand-up comic-guy? I don’t know, maybe he’s the new Rodney Dangerfield. Anyway, he’s pretty popular right now.

I can’t quite figure out whether I like him or LIKE him yet. He’s a lovable teddy-bearish kind of gent, but I don’t want to get sucked into his vortex of minor, low-level gloom. I’m perplexed, is he funny or a downer?

Louie has his own comedy series on FX network called … yup, LOUIE.

It’s kind of like Seinfeld, where Louie does his brief stand-up comic bit followed by a usually semi-autobiographical, weird story arc of an aging, divorced father.

It’s set up to make us feel squirmy and uncomfortable with that unsettling awkwardness that many of us feel from time to time. He’s got the stunned look down pat.

Only for Louie, it’s awkward ALL of the time.

Louie

I’ve had awkward moments.

Once, when I was in my late teens, I climbed into a hot, sticky backseat for a car ride back home from a McDonald’s employee picnic with a dude and his girlfriend – said girlfriend happened to be my ex-girlfriend who I wasn’t 100% over yet.

I sat, feeling sweaty, squirmy, edgy in the back, like a little kid getting a ride home with Mommy and Daddy … uncomfortable? I felt so small.

Many of Louie’s uncomfortable moments revolve around his difficult and embarrassing attempts at dating in NYC. He’s dying to be loved but he’s also the least smooth operator living in the civilized world.

The Episode of Shame

The installment of Louie that affected me so much was one where Vanessa, a plus-sized but sweet-faced server-girl at the club where Louie does his stand-up routine asks him on a date.

(BTW Aside:  the Louie show is worth watching just to see the little girl (Ursula Parker) who plays his 8 year-old daughter Jane. AMAZING little actress!!)

In his typical Louie dazed-style, he looks blankly at Vanessa, gut hanging over his belt, and hums and haws around a way to say “no thanks”.

Sarah Baker as Vanessa is stunning in her frank portrayal of the “fat girl”. She utters such an honest and heartwrenching statement about men and women in western culture that it hurts.

On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys,” she says. “Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us, that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope. Not for us.”

It’s a wonderful and moving soliloquy, isn’t it? Could you feel yourself squirm a little? Maybe you saw yourself in either Vanessa’s position, or maybe Louie’s. That’s the beauty of this episode.

We hold a mirror to ourselves, and we don’t love what we see.

And I reluctantly realize I, like Louie, am guilty as charged.

Yup, I avoided dating fat girls in my early years. I dated a fat girl for awhile – and like Vanessa says in the clip above, we even had sex –  who was very cute and then I backed off when I felt like I was too good. She didn’t match up to the image of what I felt I deserved.

I wallow in the shallowness of my internal self. There are ugly parts to me.

I feel guilty knowing the truth about myself … but then I look in the mirror again.

I realize that just like a fat girl, I have limitations too.

Every one of us has limitations.

Every one of us has the potential to be rejected for something we are or we aren’t.

But I live with my flaws and deficiencies and make the best of it. Sure, I occasionally set myself up a pity-party and knock back a drink or two, but it gets boring quickly and so I head home early and refresh my outlook.

Yes, the storyline is about fat girls, but you might substitute nerdy guys or short guys or an unattractive person. 

We can be fat, we can be ugly, we can have little boobs or a short penis, we can be short or stupid, bald or buck-toothed. Life sucks. But it is what it is.

Yes, I’ve avoided dating fat girls. But really hot girls and too-many-to-count average-looking girls have ignored me and definitely wouldn’t have sex with me in my youth. It’s true, even though since I grew out of my tween chubbies, I’ve been reasonably slender all of my life.

But I don’t look like Rob Lowe, or Tom Cruise, or thank heaven, Mick Jagger. I don’t own yachts like Bill Gates. I don’t have the compelling intellect of Bill Clinton (and any cigars I’ve had were strictly for smoking!). My gifts are modest but worth unwrapping.

We can accept it or change it. We have choices and if we decide to accept our lot, then so be it.

There will always be Louie’s out there that make us frustrated, but really we’re frustrated with ourselves.

So, Fat Girls … fat girls, I’m sorry. There is no perfection, even if looks like sometimes there is.

I feel for you and I want for you what you want, but I can only tell you what most of us (should) know and reluctantly accept.

Life sucks. Shit happens. Sometimes.

I’m shallow.

But we all have something about us that makes us lovable and makes us special to someone else.

And when we find that someone, it makes the wait all worthwhile.

I promise, Vanessa.

perfection-sign

 

 

 

 

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Double DD’s … A Sweet Slice of Heaven Lies in Perfection?

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Meg Ryan sliced through my heart …

Meg-Ryan before after

She didn’t have to. She had a choice. And I’m left in a soggy heap asking why?

She must have known she had me enthralled even before she went all gastronomically orgasmic in When Harry Met Sally.

And now here she is looking like someone from the Real Housewives of Hollywood — pumped and plumped lips, cheek implants, brow lift and who knows what else.

She’s a 10 who hit the math subtraction sign of her plastic surgeon on her iPhone and sadly, regrettably, ended up a 5.

It kills me when, like a fluffy puppy, you’re cute and adorable and intelligent in a beautiful little bundle, and then you ruin a recipe approaching perfection by adding a cup of salt — there’s no going back.

Every time Meg cocked her perky little head, flipped a few strands of her blond ringlets and coyly smiled at me in Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail, I felt a gentleman’s stirring which meant I couldn’t stand up for 5 minutes.

But Meg? What blurred your senses making you think you needed a Dexter-style slicing and plumping?  Let Dolly Parton and Pamela Anderson and Bruce Jenner have the implants and injections and tucks.

Gold Medalist Decathlete Bruce Jenner

Decathlete Bruce Jenner … Olympic Gold turns to Plastic …

Now me – at my objective best – I have physical faults, lots of ’em.

How do I perceive such? Let me count the ways:

  • My nose is too wide.
  • My hair is thinning and I have a bald spot.
  • I’m a bit overweight.
  • I have wrinkles criss-crossing my wrinkles.
  • I have sagging skin on my jaw line, the start of jowls.
  • Secretly, I fear I’ll never be a folk-singer star.

OK, that last one isn’t a real physical fault, but it just goes to show you the depth of my insecurities.

It’s sad that my outsides are sliding and sagging down a Sochi Olympic slope. I’ve watched my juvenile bloom drain and melt away year after year in the bathroom mirror. Where’s Dorian Gray when I need him?

But you know, I’m at an age and a stage where technology could help me retain a semblance of my youth, if I choose.

And so I ask myself…

Would I take on a bit of plastic surgery?

.

Plastic surgery has become a part of our western culture — like it or not. It has insidiously seeped through our pores like the creams and lotions we massage into our dermis to magically remove the wrinkles.

We pretend that advertising and peer pressure doesn’t affect us, and then we go buy the latest iPhone.

When we see enough people getting BOTOX injections or calf implants or beautiful voluptuous breasts, we begin to believe that it must be OK. Once everyone in your office has had lip plumping and liposuction, don’t YOU begin to feel like the odd one in the group?

Let’s not beat ourselves up about this.

It’s not bad – alright, maybe a bit sad – but it’s who we are. It’s the nature of humans to be a part of a culture, a society … to belong.

You can't handle the boobs!!

You can’t handle the truth …these Babies are REAL!

I can tell myself that I’m superior and above such frivolous thoughts. But am I really? 

What used to be a perk of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous out there, has, like maybe owning a Porsche or a 150″ theatre-style TV, become a possibility for Mr. or Ms. Anyone with a few extra dollars of expendable income.

Remember Bill Clinton’s successful campaign slogan from 1992 that helped him defeat George Bush Sr.?:

It’s the economy, stupid.

.

Well, plastic surgery should have its own slogan:

It’s our insecurities, stupid.

.

I have insecurities, you have insecurities, we all have insecurities.

And so we place ourselves under the knife or needle to fix on the outside what we can’t or won’t repair on the inside.

The inside stuff is just too difficult, and often emotionally painful to deal with. If we can fix the outer problems, maybe our critical inner voices will melt away, right?

Or maybe its just that we struggle with respecting or accepting the value of aging and therefore reject the mantle of wisdom.

…………………

I have a friend Julia, who recently had some work done to her face. Twice actually.

Julia is an attractive, slender, divorced woman in her early 60’s.

Unlike Meg and so many others who have become possible substitutes on The Walking Dead, she looks really good after her facial manipulations.

When I talk with her, I see a perky youthfulness that gives her a freshness that had ever so slightly waned as she entered her fifties and then her early 60’s. The changes have been subtle but restrained enough to see that there wasn’t an attempt to regain a face of a 30 year-old.

It makes her feel good about herself and I can’t criticize her or judge her. I guess I only hope she didn’t do it as “Whore Lure” to attract the male of the species.

…………………………..

I feel badly Meg. You didn’t need to change for me. You were good and nice in so many ways already. And I’m really glad you didn’t have breast augmentation, despite your modest endowment in the pectoral area.

I don’t like the look of fake boobs. And honestly, large real boobs don’t really call out to this Man on the Fringe.

But I digress. Have you noticed that I’ve skillfully avoided answering the question I posed earlier?:

Would I take on a bit of plastic surgery?

.

My hesitant answer?

Forgive Me Father for I have sinned!

.

  • I admit that a portion of my fitness activity is partly an attempt to retain a semblance of youth without taking a blade or needle to the temple that is my body.
  • I’ve had my some amalgam added to a couple of my teeth to remove the appearance of gaps.
  • I’ve had my eyes surgically-lasered so that I don’t need to wear glasses.

By a matter of degree and nuance, I’ve already joined Meg Ryan and so many others desperately seeking perfection.

I won’t be running to a cosmetic surgeon any day soon, but, in a few years, if my Levis begin to sag badly in the rear — or heaven forbid — I should succumb to one of those “male enlargement” e-mails … well, who knows what sin I’m capable of!!!

Butt implant

BITCHES Have All the Answers …

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Driving along the Penticton beach strip, I looked out at the dark, foreboding, icicle-cold water of Okanagan Lake.

Just a few months ago, I had swum across this lake on a bright and balmy summer morning – my annual 2.6K cross-lake paddle with my amiga de swimming Jennifer.

IMG_0127

Today, it wasn’t really all that cold outside, maybe slightly above the freezing point, but the dusky colour of the lake and the sombre grey sky gave the impression of an Arctic-frigid kind of day.

I felt a little chill run through me as I gazed out at the small ripples on the water. Even the stately, visiting Trumpeter Swans looked shivery bobbing out there.

Motoring along just in front of me was a big, dark-toned pickup truck, the kind driven by men with tattoos that cover their entire meaty arms and shotguns in the back window.

A large black dog with a sleek, shiny coat of fur was zig-zagging across the box in the back of the truck … one side, then the other, then the other, over and over again. It was hypnotic the way she floated like a pendulum back and forth, back and forth.

Just so you know – and I know I shouldn’t make snap judgments – I’m calling the pup SHE because her owner probably likes the idea of owning a bitch.

(Aside: It’s illegal to carry untethered dogs in the back of your truck in B.C. but I don’t think doggy knew she was at risk of being jailed. She maybe even smokes forbidden pot without realizing this isn’t Washington State or Colorado… some dogs can be so nonchalant.)

Black Dog in Pickup

Anyway, I wondered.

What was this dog thinking?

Was she taking stock of her situation just for the moment at hand, or was she trying to determine if this was the life she really wanted to lead?

Searching for life’s key, she flashed a thoughtful look out in all directions, imploring, begging for the answer to find a windy pathway into her nose where she could digest its meaning.

Did this canine have a secret, a secret that I should know?

Of course. Right then, I knew the black doggy had the right approach. She was actively absorbing and questioning her life’s choices and taking stock.

If she could be so perceptive and insightful, it seemed only right that I should do the same.

But. When is the right time to take stock of your life?

Should we even try to take stock of our lives?

Should we spend those Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours to think, become curious and become masters of our own lives?

Pssst… Let me share a small secret with you.

The laws of biology dictate that our “life road” will come to a dead end at some point.

Turbulent but brilliant Steve Jobs knew that when he spoke at the 2005 Stanford University Commencement ceremony:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs Candle

Absorbing this important message, taking stock isn’t something we should wait until later in our lives to contemplate, is it?

When we’re driving to work, when we’re relaxing by the fire in the evening, when we’re running or knitting, or having sex – no, forget that last one – those are the times to ask ourselves if all is settled and as it should be, or are changes needed. Asking the question:

Am I living the life I thought I’d lead when, in Grade 11 Math Class, I dreamed of the future instead of listening to Mr. Warneke?”

Today, just like Steve Jobs said, I’m in the process of becoming naked.

Just like the black dog in the truck. Naked.

My young adult kids think I’m way too undressed already, and maybe they’re right. But I don’t think so.

I think they’re young like I was just a few … weeks ago. The wisdom of roaming the earth in metaphorical nakedness is something that grows cunningly inside as our hair grows grey on the outside.

Maybe someone should be really taking stock of their life choices...

Maybe someone should be really taking stock of their life choices…

Becoming who we want rather than what our friends and family and media tell us to be is a huge courageous step forward. Taking stock and being honest to ourselves can be slow, it can be difficult, maybe even painful.

There are still some parts of myself that I can’t bring myself to share with the world because of my pride and fear of embarrassment.

I’m not fully naked and I probably never will be. But there are fewer and fewer secret coves that I’m protecting, and it feels good to let go of my pride.

Taking the time to look out the window. To think. To digest the robin or chickadee songs, the views of luscious green hillsides, breathing and smelling the lilac in the air, tasting a bit of sandy grit in my teeth as dust swirls when a truck passes is useless dreck.

Maybe that’s just stuff to be ignored. Maybe. But I don’t think so.

I have less and less to lose and I have a black dog to thank for reminding me that I don’t have to hide the parts of me that used to scare me. It’s a risk that’s worth taking.

Taking stock of where I am and where I’m going is a sign of strength. I love that feeling of risk and fear.

The rush.

Like the carriage return when I hit the Publish button.

Click.

Stories Your Parents Never Told You … on Becoming an Ewok

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There are stories our mothers and fathers never told us because they hurt too much.

My baby pic

Why didn’t my parents tell me about hairy issues?

I get it.

Honesty from our parents should be a given, but parents want to protect their children from the cuts and scrapes of life and so they shelter us from life’s storms. They tell us to be truthful, then they turn around and say Yes, Santa lives, Virginia“, and we snuggle contentedly in our beds and dream sugar-plum dreams for one more night.

Our parents read the newspapers and watch the TV stories of the terrible things that happen: the school shootings, the terrorist attacks, the derailed trains, but they filter and smooth the harshness of life.

Spine-chilling events occur every minute of every day somewhere, and the best we can do in this life is to make sure we keep ourselves out of the line of fire. But we do this while still trying to lead the most fulfilling lifetime possible, right? It’s kind of contradictory, but really, it makes sense.

We all want to be sheltered from the scary things that go bump in the night, so when we look in our kids’ eyes and they glow with the innocence of believing that everything is blissful and merry, we too immerse ourselves in that soothing spa of naivety.

It feels good. It feels warm. We bask in their sunny simplicity.

It’s the salve that protects and heals us in a world that makes us joyously happy as well as heartwrenchingly sorrowful.

Life is hard to live. And even if Facebook tells us that everyone out there is gloriously happy, don’t believe it. We don’t usually share our anguish and ill thoughts on social media. We all have snippets of misery bound up inside of us.

I’ve had to learn some life lessons the hard way. Maybe that’s the way it should be, but I can’t help thinking just a little forewarning would have been nice.

There are three areas of life my parents never, in the slightest, prepared me to handle or understand:

1. Hairy ears  – It is patently unfair that the hair on my head dwindles as the hair on the rims of my ears and inside my nose grows like a wildfire raging out of control.

Ear HairMy father must have known, yet never explained to me that I was under threat of becoming an Ewok as years passed. Shouldn’t this be common father/son discussion territory right along with “use a condom” and “run if she says she wants 6 kids“?

So here I am taking razors and tweezers to regions of my body that were supposed to be virginally pristine, perpetually clearcut, and looking after themselves. They did their jobs just fine for the first 40+ years, so why change the contract now?

Maybe I’m missing the point and it’s really just divine intervention to ensure that barbers and hairstylists have job security.

My travel agent friend has a fluffy bush growing out of his nose; when I’m sitting across the desk from him do you think I can hear what he’s saying? I can’t see the travel trees for all of the furry forest on display. I’m dying to pull out a pair of little bonsai scissors and try out some topiary design work – give me 10 minutes and he could have a full Disney menagerie hanging from his nostrils for his next ride down Splash Mountain.

…………………….

2. Growing Nose – I didn’t enter my adult years with a large nose. Alright, it wasn’t tiny or something that you might describe as a cute button like Emma Watson’s or Leonardo DiCaprio’s, but it was fairly narrow and unhumped and well-behaved. Not perfect, but pretty damned good.

michael-jackson-nose

My nose is growing the opposite direction that MJ’s took…

Then, as the hair follicles on my head began spitting out their woolly cargo, and the downy fuzz on my ears sprang joyously to life, my nose too decided that it wanted to get in on the action and do its Pinocchio thing. 

Now I don’t have a huge honking proboscis today, but the width has definitely increased and occupies a broader expanse of my face. Dr. Oz acknowledges it occurs, so it must be true. Our noses do keep growing, even if we don’t lie.

The bone tissue stops increasing, but the cartilage keeps adding layers, just like the new 3D printers that are all the rage in the media these days. If the day comes where humans live to 500 years old, we’ll be guessing our neighbour’s age by the length and breadth of his nose, like counting the rings on trees.

When the weight of our snout causes us to tumble over, we’ll know that we’ve reached the maximum lifespan for humans. I’m getting close.

…………………….

3. Raising Children –  is damned hard work and maybe not for everyone. There is a mass societal deception; we’re inundated by positive messages about the joys of parenting and raising a herd of little Liams and Emmas (2013 Most Popular Baby Names, brought to you by Pampers).

Like the myth of Santa Claus, “Joyful Procreation for Dummies” is another one of those fallacies foisted on us by the ones who know better… actual parents and grandparents.

child-play

Of course our parents want us to have kids. What greater joy is there than to see your own children suffering through the same slings and arrows you went through 30 years earlier? It’s called “Don’t get mad, get even.” And Grandparents love their grandkids; as soon as they begin to misbehave, it’s “OK, out to the car Marge, we’re goin’ home.

The real truth is, despite the joys of “Mini Me’s” reflecting our vigours and foibles, bringing up children is exhausting: physically, mentally and emotionally. No minute or dollar is your own once a young’un arrives.

They wait at bathroom doors like meowing cats, except they learn how to turn the handle. Privacy, what privacy?

They instinctively know when a few extra dollars linger in your bank account for a special date night out – an instant need for $100 for the school basketball trip arises.

Have kids … please.

But also know that your workplace labours will seem like child’s play in comparison to the rigours of parenthood. The money train is constantly leaving the station, but there are no income arrivals on this trip.

OK, I kinda get this one. If my parents had told me all, I could have missed the super highs that triumph the perils of parenting. Well played Mom and Dad.

…………………….

So, like a modern-day Scrooge, my rant is now complete.

And you know, for all my complaints, my parents really did prepare me for most of the important things in life eg. SACRIFICE: chocolate truly does taste better after you’ve eaten your liver or spinach; LOGIC: “Because I said so, that’s why“; ANTICIPATION: “Just wait until I tell your father“; and finally, JUSTICE : “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!

It would make me feel so much better and less lonely if you shared even one area where you wish your parents had shared the truth.

And finally my friends: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

There are some things I just can't tell you ...

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa …