“I wish I had your legs,” I heard a croaky voice behind me. Initially I thought it was a man, I turned to see a woman who looked like my Nana following me out of the door of Target.
“Uh, Thank you,” I smiled awkwardly and I’m sure blushed.
“They’re great,” she finished. I slunk away, pushing my cart, not really knowing how to finish the interaction.
What I didn’t tell her is that I have spent years hiding my legs in pants. Only these past few years when I lost weight from breastfeeding and living in a developing nation have I had the courage to wear shorts on a regular basis.
When I was about eleven years old I was doing an exercise video by Raquel Welch, she showed a still of a woman’s legs and said that these were the ‘perfect’ legs; if you can hold a coin in between your calves, in between your knees, and at the top of your thighs, so that there is a significant gap in between your thighs. I remember looking down at the gap in between my calves, and the thighs that were pressed together in one solid seam all the way down the length of them and feeling so defeated. My thighs still touch all the way down, and there is still a gap between my calves, but that didn’t seem to bother the lady at Target.
I remember seeing a picture of myself in college, my friends and I had just rented our first house together. We ran around like big goobers and took extremely goofy pictures of exultation. There is one shot of me from behind, I am wearing one of those ridiculous pairs of super low cut jeans. My bum looks amazing. At the time I can remember how much mental energy I wasted thinking that I was too overweight to wear shorts.
Do you ever wonder what you’re going to be like when you’re older? Often I look at older women and think, ‘I want to be like that.’ I’ll pick women I think are classy. Those that have aged with dignity, accepted their changing body, taken good care of themselves, give advice well, I usually pick those ladies.
Today I pick this lady.
I want to walk around big box stores and tell younger women that they look fantastic.
“Hey, your butt looks great in those jeans.”
“I wish I had those arms, I’d wear tank tops year round.”
“Don’t wear a black bra with a white shirt.”
Did I mention that I would also dispense fashion advice? Because in my head that is what this lady does,
“No one should wear jeans that tight, you might be thin enough, but, dear, it’s just tacky.”
“Oh, honey, purple leopard print boots are always a bad idea.”
“I wish I had your body, but you should still wear a bra with that.”
I don’t know how I am going to develop the gravelly smoker’s voice…I’ll have to figure that one out when I get there.