2 min read

When your body is the price of admission

I wondered, what if we weren't in this dark room with the thick walls? Would you show me off in public? Or am I too 'unconventional' for you?

My friend's modelesque mom brings many days of her own food while traveling. I wanted so badly her determination, her discipline to follow her diet at any cost.

Because I wasn't seeking health. I was seeking perfection.

I saw the doors that opened for these women who had the socially desirable bodies.

But now I’m asking, Do I even want to go through those doors?

Do I want to invest in arenas that require so much punishment?

Or is it even punishment for the people who are doing it? Who am I to say.

I do admire them.

I am jealous.

Striving for their physique felt brutal when I was doing it. And when I age, no matter how hard I break myself for a certain look, these doors will close, one by one. That’s not an investment, then, is it?

“I had a sexy little hardbody. And I got so many compliments and praise from it. It’s what attracted my first husband to me. But then he and everyone else expected me to keep it up.”

I spent my summer in Portland. "Everyone in this city is 10% less hot," they said.

Yes, 10% less conventionally hot. But 10% more unconventionally hot. They were in their bodies to please themselves, not some definition of what they should be. I was so attracted. All butterflies and trembling hands and nervous smiles.

It's also a city with less ambition. I think that plays a part in it. Being a certain kind of skinny is a mark of an ambitious US city.

It's classist.

And when I gain a few pounds, I stop looking upper class.

THAT’S what it is.

That’s why the doors close for everyone who stops to catch their breath.

I wake up in the morning, look at myself naked in the mirror and I adore my feminine and dreamy, beautiful soft curves. Even if, when I leave my house, those same curves make me invisible to people 'in the know'.

Love myself in private. Ashamed in public.

I was at a dinner party with a man I had a crush on. And I was by far the ‘biggest’ girl there. Note: I'm not a big girl. I'm just not tiny.

And every other woman he'd invited was tiny.

At the end of the night, when we were alone, after a couple drinks and some old classic music, he took my face in his hands and kissed me like the world was ending.

But it’s telling that none of the other women there earlier had a body like mine. That I've known him for years and never see someone around him who resembles me. I don't have the look.

'The look' in Austin: size nothing, visible abs, either no curves or artificial ones, but artificial curves should look almost real (I say almost because getting the right work done is also a class marker). Long hair, either chestnut brunette or bronde balayage with a money piece at the front. You know the look.

I once went to a women's party full of the 'Austin elite' and asked about prices. This much to get their nails done. That much for hair. Even more for cool sculpting (I still don't know what that is). Don't forget lashes and brows. Trainers and cold plunges (I raise my hand sheepishly). Everything tallied up to the cost of another rent, each month, just for maintaining these women's appearances.

And the doors swing open.

Back to making out with this guy. I wondered, what if we weren't in this dark room with the thick walls? Would you show me off in public? Or am I too 'unconventional' for you?

I already knew the answer.

And I walked away.