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This is NOT my body!

September 14, 2012

The elephant in the corner of the lounge is what I call it. It’s quiet; you’ve been ignoring it for months, nay, yeeears. You’ve even managed to convince yourself it’s actually a really large grey armchair with ivory armrests. But it’s going to trumpet really loudly when you very least expect it to. 

My elephant blew its trumpet really loudly in my direction last week, when I realized two things: I couldn’t ignore the fact that I’d been invited to a spring birthday party – an evening do in a fancy hotel – and I couldn’t continue to  ignore the nauseatingly pretty frocks in the shop windows. They were reminding me that spring is here, and that, no matter how much I’d want to, I couldn’t continue schlumphing around in my two faithful pairs of give-up pants.

A give-up pant? That’s what you start wearing when you’ve given up on your body and its increasingly wayward sideways meanderings.

Mind you, I used to have a reasonably nice little body. It was far from perfect, but it wore no 34 clothes with style and its pear shape I could always hide expertly by wearing tight T shirts and A-line skirts.

Several things happened at once. My thyroid started playing up, middle age struck with an enormous BONGGGGG! and my robust appetite didn’t decrease along with my estrogen levels. So, over two-three years, I have slowly inflated, like a camp mattress. My erstwhile give-up pants made way for slightly larger give-up pants. And now, even they’re starting to strain at the seams.

My body has also developed strange new ways of moving. My ass, never tiny, has taken to, well, bobbing when I walk. When you walk, the bottom goes bob-bob-bob-bob. You stop. The bobbing stops. You look behind you suspiciously. Shrug your shoulders and start walking again. Bob-bob-bob-bob. ..

Stop that! You screech to a halt yet again. It stops. You get going again. Bob-bob-bob-bob. Jeez. It literally has a life of its own. My butt cheeks push directly backwards as I move forward, creating the effect of what my gran used to refer to as “two fat little boys wrestling underneath a blanket”.

My boobs – my once-upon-a-time pert little “ballet boobs” – have, well, bulged and sprawled. And a big no to all those leering tit-men out there – they’re not pretty. They’re simply ponderous. I try and knead them into my bra, and as soon as I’ve got one in place, the other one rearranges herself, amoeba-like, without my permission. You say cleavage? You could hide a small child in there. In my days of major denial, I once tried on a bra in my “previous” size. After wrestling with the damn thing for five minutes, I let go of the clasp and it shot across the dressing room like a rejected catapult. I put my old rag back on and fled, cheeks flaming and muttering foul expletives under my breath. I haven’t been back to repeat the exercise.

My greatest sadness is my waist. Oh, I used to give Scarlett o’Hara a go in the waist stakes! I could draw people’s attention away from all my other flaws by simply wearing a belt or a tight top! I was the master of the cinched-in look! Said waist has now become an entity all on her own. She rises above my pant button like dough cursed with too much rising agent. I suck in my gut like my ballet teacher Mifanwy Austin taught me. “PULLL UPPPP!” she used to bellow. So I pull up. But that causes my other boob to rearrange herself in my bra cup. Fuckaduck. I am The Human Muffin.

In one of my other lives, I am an occasional singer. Once, before a concert, I purchased a “secret slimmer” to wear underneath my dress. It’s like a pair of cycling shorts from hell, just higher in the waist to mash your tummy back into place as well. After the required amount of sweaty wrestling, I finally got the damn thing on. But on stage, as I was singing a more challenging number, the seam on the one inner thigh laddered spectacularly as I was squeezing out a high note. “Eeeeeeee!” Brrrrrrmp!

This. Is. Not. My. Body.

I’m not even going to start on the subject of diets – that’s a topic for five other blogging sessions.

I’ve seen the price that older women pay while they try too hard to hang on to the bodies of their twenties. Some effortlessly manage to stay in shape and look OK; others grow gaunt and lined and leathery while slogging it out in the gym. And not everybody can afford industrial-size tubs of facial filler like the superstars can.

I think it was eighties supermodel Christie Brinkley who once said that at some point, you have to choose between your ass and your face. I chose my face. But crap-a-loola, what an ass I got in the process!

Back to the elephant in the lounge. I have to either try on an existing outfit for Saturday or I have to buy a new one. Time is running out – it’s Thursday already – and I cannot tiptoe around the topic anymore. I have been warily circling a few clothing shops in the past few days, even entering one or two to meekly paw at some of the merchandise. I have, inevitably and without exception, fled as fast as I could after a few minutes. When salesladies start subtly suggesting carefully draped arrangements, I yell “tummy bug!” and run out of the shop as fast as I can, clutching my backside. A girl has to hang on to her dignity.

Dressing rooms themselves I avoid like the plague. When I’m totally, utterly forced to use one, I try and find one with a blown fluorescent tube overhead, or I pinch my eyes shut while trying on my garment of choice. On more than one occasion I have narrowly avoided crashing through the curtains onto the floor with a pair of pants around my ankles, because I refuse to open my eyes while trying them on. But I have now even managed to find ways around dressing rooms. I either buy baggy boy pants, as I don’t understand their sizes anyway, or skirts with elasticized waists. And if you’ve never heard of Thai fisherman pants – they’re fab for girls in denial. They’re the ultimate give-up pants – they inflate or deflate when you do.

I stare at my clothes rail. I have gorgeous, gorgeous clothes. Pity so many of said garments don’t fit me anymore. I fix my gaze on a nicely draped cerise skirt. Hmmm. With the right top and the secret slimmer and two bra’s and a really large scarf draped over my fucking HEAD I might just consider leaving the house…

I CAN’T DO THIS!

Wonder if they’ll let me in wearing my give-up pants?

Not. Give-up pants don’t come in semi-formal.

Right now, I think I’ll do what most girls in serious denial do. And in this regard I still manage to give Scarlett o’ Hara one helluva go – I will think about it tomorrow. ..

After all, tomorrow is another day!

If you enjoy my scribbles, forward the link to your friends on Facebook, and tell them to send Madeleine Barnard a friend request if they want to receive the link in their newsfeed every week. Remember – if life makes you want to cry, blow a raspberry at it and laugh!!!

Yours in despairing plumpness

Mads

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