In Vogue with Armpit Flaps

Once in a while, if I’m waiting in the line at the grocery store long enough, like others, I scan the covers of magazines.  I glance past Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine, because I have those and others at home in some state of being dissected, stickered and splattered with my latest gastronomical creation.  Instead, Style, Town & Country, or Vogue coerces me to lift it from the rack after a silent argument with myself about not needing another magazine in the house, a five-dollar magazine, a magazine that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

But right before the clerk grabs the last item on the conveyor belt, I throw the glossy—and not quite as thick as the September issue will be—August issue of Vogue toward her, and avert my gaze from her glance as she correctly sizes me up as the poser I am.

I have succumbed to “The AGE(LESS) ISSUE,” it seems which is “Vogue’s Guide to Looking Amazing at Every Decade, On any budget, Through Every Season.”

And then there is always that piece on “Beauty Fixes for Your Knees & Arms.”

Knees, maybe, since I’ve always thought I had knees that resembled those of a cow.  But I’m sort of speechless over the idea of someone being insecure about a flap of skin on her upper arm.  Not the one in the back, or the one that sort of waggles when your arm isn’t flexed.  The one on the front.

Go to a mirror right now and look.  Look at that place right where your chest meets your arm.  You know— in front of your armpit.  Yes, there.  Poke it.

You have a fold of skin, right?  Sure, yours may be larger or smaller than mine, but it’s most likely there.  Or, maybe not.  It seems it has little to do with weight considering the venerable Vera Wang believes that, “The armpit is nasty, nasty.  Even young girls can have this problem.”  How sad considering young girls already have so many far more important problems with measuring up to others’ standards.  But evidently, this armpit debacle is extremely disturbing to some women—or the men who live with them and who tell them halter tops shouldn’t be worn.

The MoH is far too intelligent a human to even consider suggesting that I should or shouldn’t wear a particular item, not only because he knows I’ve already scrutinized myself a thousand times over, but that my heat-seeking missles would in an instant vaporize his tongue before his brain could transmit the thought.

The article, which to be fair, is written with some self-deprecating humor (the author tells of being obsessed about one part of her body or another (her fat thighs, nasolabial folds, elbows, but just wasn’t ready for the armpit), but I don’t think it’s all that funny.  I’m stuck on the concept of the armpit flap and how women can’t see what is lovely about their bodies, and unique.  Individual.

I try to understand that as much as I search for the perfect light cast on an artistically mussed salad or perfectly shaped peach, some women obsess about armpit folds.  They do exercises for their armpit folds, and search for designers whose style works to hide that apparently unsightly flap of skin.  They wonder whether there is a procedure or treatment to rid themselves of its offensive presence.

Who knew?

I’m still looking at my arm pits and wondering—not about my armpits—but about women who routinely have something nipped and waxed, sanded and plucked, injected or tucked and pay handsomely for it.

Supposedly, it’s all the rage to make small adjustments along the way so no one notices.

Somehow, I can’t take any of it seriously.  Another article illustrates how women should dress in each decade of their lives is unrealistic, that is unless I want to spend a fortune to look great on my leg of carpool duty, or when I pop the garage door open to roll in the trash cans.  Surely my neighbors would talk if I appeared to be too fashionable on these quotidian occasions.

Or would they simply not notice, distracted by my armpit flap and wanting desperately to recommend me to their plastic surgeon?




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14 responses to “In Vogue with Armpit Flaps”

  1. Melissa

    As if I don’t feel bad enough
    when I get a glimpse of myself
    in a mirror with clothes…but
    without clothes…OH DEAR…Our
    bathroom has many large “show it
    all” mirrors… I enjoy food and
    travel magazines… They make me
    feel good… Life is too precious to be worrying over fashion and beauty on the outside.

  2. Melissa, it sounds like your bathroom is similar to mine. When we do the remodel, I’m cutting back on a few of them. One tells the story just fine. And I’m with you on the food mags. But I like decorating mags, too. Life IS too precious to worry about it. I figure if I’m healthy, then that’s what matters.

  3. Melissa

    I also love garden design and gardening magazines.. my vegetables don’t care how wide my behind is or how fashionable my straw hat and muddy birkenstock clogs are…although
    I do need something else to go out to dinner in…and wear that
    stupid bra… darn it…

  4. Melissa, I totally understand the muddy clogs and carefree upper region 😉 I don’t have mud anymore, though, and miss it. Maybe in a couple of years. As far as going out clothes are concerned, I have a few things that get worn and worn and worn. Works for me.

  5. I spent about six months several years ago obsessed with this particular “region.” Then I realized that this was how every woman’s body was made and I got over it.

    If I read women’s magazines, I will have to question my current schlub style. So I stay away.

  6. Jennifer, I don’t normally read them, either. They’ve always felt out of reach for me, and if the articles don’t keep my attention, then what’s the point? Personally, I think “schlub” style is highly underrated.

  7. good god.. i was so distracted by the flotation devise around my belly that the under arm flap totally evaded me… no more,, thanks to you i will judge my worth by the size of that flap for ever more…….LOL!!!!

  8. OK, I know I’m a guy, and that I’m not intimate with the pressures society places on women, but are you serious?

    There are far more pressing issues in life to waste time considering than “armpit flaps”. Heck, when I hit my late 30’s my designers added a spare tire for some reason. If I spent all of my time worrying about that I might look as good as our mutual friend Ben. (OK, honestly, I was never that good looking, but I digress.) But when would I have time to actually get any work done?!?

    I’d love to see the media get to the proper topic on beauty. That it comes from the inside!

    Just my two cents…

  9. Ritzy

    Even at my ripe age of young 30s I feel the pressure to be how I was 10 years ago… but then I see my two little boys and decide that my “problem areas” from pregancies and thereafter are not such a huge deal. I got two beautiful boys out of those extra 15 pounds. Some times you just gotta go with the flow and be happy how you are. If you nip & tuck and tone as you go along, super. If not, as long as you are healthy and happy and not obessive about it – the world is swell. I am just glad I didn’t have girls for that whole negative-body-image deal that starts with girls so young. Oy!

  10. Um. What!

    I didnt think it would be possible to find another spot or another place on our bodies that we are supposed to be paying attention to keeping perfect.


    and this is why I just ware pajamas all the time. No concern for armpit flaps when I am in thermals.

  11. Paisley, flotation device, huh? Maybe that’s why I float so well in the ocean…Of course the armpit flaps could help propel me!

    Hey Jerry — Good to hear from you. Yes, unfortunately the article was serious. Well, serious that people stress about that kind of minutae. Whatever floats their boat, yanno?

    Hi Amy. Jeez, am I due for a check in with you or what? I am so not interested in any nipping and tucking. That’s why I was flabbergasted over this. And yep. A bit ‘o relief with regards to boys and body image. I’m not sure I would have been great for girls.

    Meleah, I’m thinking thermals are stylin’ and flaps seriously don’t matter. You don’t have extra skin on you anywhere anywayz.

  12. As if I don’t have enough to worry about, now this. I’ll add it to my list of body concerns: flappy post-pregnancy boobs, acordian stomach, inner thigh wiggle, back skin rolling over my jeans, and post-summer pinky finger weight gain.

  13. Patricia — not to worry. I don’t. Who cares, right? Life is seriously too short for such nonsense. I am thinking about my own post-summer pinky finger weight gain now, however…

  14. jan

    well i think it’s ridiculous too. Who cares about how armpits look???
    But my boyfriend does. I don’t know why but out of nowhere he starts complaining about my armpits. He would literally stare at them until I feel so uncomfortable and he tells me to do exercise to get rid of them. WTF???
    This world is getting ridiculous. I hate it.

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