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.
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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