Glo is one of my favorite sites to browse when I’m bored, but don’t feel like actually getting up and doing something productive (like cleaning, comps reading, & etc.). I came across a story —“I Love My Body, Hate My Legs“—a few hours ago that got me thinking. The catalyst for the whole thing: the writer’s *grandmother* telling her that her legs are fat.
I did a double-take after reading that. It’s not the sort of statement I typically associate with grandmothers. It seems so much more cutting coming from her than, say, from a friend or a stranger at the gym. It wasn’t even meant to be hurtful, though. B’s grandmother clearly wanted to help her granddaughter improve her quality of life, vis à vis her physical appearance.
My own grandmothers did (and still do) offer advice, but more along the lines of standing up straight to project an air of confidence, or looking the world dead in the eye and taking it by the horns. Either they figure I’m as pretty as I’m going to get, or they recognize that I can get just as far and do just as well with attitude as I can with appearances. Or maybe I’ve just got superbly polite grandmothers who prefer to just stuff me with food so I can move from “freakishly skinny” to “fashionably slim.” There’s always lots of food on offer at my grandparents’ houses. They never actually say anything about it, though.
Granted, I’ve got my share of physical insecurities (One doctor told my mother that I was the most knock-kneed child he’d ever seen. Jerk.), but neither my mother nor my aunts nor my grandmothers ever mentioned them to me, or suggested ways to skirt around them and make myself fit better into physical norm.
They’re nothing but supportive when I go through phases like insisting on wearing horizontal stripes to make myself look wider across, or always having ringlets in front of my rather prominent ears (ironically, they’re not actually very big…they just stick out at a crazy angle), or keeping my bangs blunt-cut across my ginourmous forehead even though it might not be the best look for my face shape.
We all have our own idiosyncratic coping mechanisms. I have blunt bangs. B wore maxi dresses for a long time after her grandmother’s private chat. Still, I’ll bet that completely random couple telling her that she had great legs must have made for a fabulous night.
*Photo credit: Adrienne.Paris.Photographs via Flickr