Monday, January 5, 2015

Anyone else feeling squishy or vain?

"Isn't it time for your annual women's exam?"

These were the tender words my husband spoke to me the other morning. The fact that he knows the timing of my yearly visit to the crotch doc is either an indication he pays close attention to my health and well-being, or that he takes a vested interest in my hoo-hah.

Whatever the case, I was hesitant to answer. "Kinda."


"Well, yeah. I mean I've made my appointment in January every year for the last couple decades, but I was thinking of changing it up this year and aiming for March. Or April. Or maybe May. June's nice...."

He was eyeing me skeptically at this point, which probably would have been a good time for me to offer up some logical-sounding explanation about a new medical study citing a need to coincide one's yearly exam with the blooming of the lilacs.

But I'm not a very good liar, nor do I have any interest in syncing my lady bits with flower petals, so I was forced to admit the truth.

"When I go to the crotch doc, they weigh me," I explained. "And when they weigh me, it's part of my permanent medical record. And when they do that in January – following two months of gluttonous holiday feasting – plus you figure my clothes are heavier in the winter and they always have me get on the scale before I dress down, I end up weighing five or ten pounds more than I would in the summertime."

By now he was staring at me like I'd just announced my intent to give up romance writing so I could campaign to be the next pope. "Are your medical records posted on your blog?"

"No," I admitted.

"Does anyone besides you or your doctor see them?"


"So let me get this straight," he said. "You'd rather die of cervical cancer than have a scale tell you what you weigh in January?"

I had to think about that for a minute. "Maybe?"

He's right in calling me out for a level of vanity I wish I didn't possess. I swear I'm not like that in most aspects of my life. I can run to the grocery store sans makeup and wearing pajama pants. I buy all my clothes at thrift stores. I consider it a major accomplishment if I run a brush through my hair or wash it more than twice a week.

So why this hangup about seeing the doctor's scale with a number that's a few pounds more than I want it to be? I'm not sure I can answer that, but at least I know I'm not alone. 

Last week I met up with some girlfriends at a local wine bar. As we sat studying the menu, the conversation turned to the inevitable winter weight gain we'd all experienced.

"I'm glad I can talk about this with you guys, because I don't want to mention it to my husband," one or the women confided.

"Yeah," I agreed. "Guys tend to rate discussions of weight gain right up there with conversations about testicle piercing."

"Well, yes," she said. "But also I'm thinking he might not have noticed, so I don't want to point it out and have him start noticing."

Across the table, another woman who'd just informed us she's training for a half-marathon sat nodding in agreement. "I don't complain about my weight to my husband because he'll get excited to have an excuse for the two of us to run more."

What's the deal? What is it about weight that makes perfectly sane, perfectly attractive, perfectly healthy women go a little nutso? I'm asking for real here. What's your theory? Do you find yourself feeling fretful about a few holiday pounds, or do you have bigger fish to fry?

Mmm, fried fish....that sounds good. Maybe with a side salad?

After I call my doctor, of course.


Susan DeBruin said...

I'm a freaking athletic strong woman and discussions of weight make me uncomfortable, too.

I think it has to do with the fact that we (women especially) can never escape being judged by our weight in some way or another -- and that would make any person, regardless of their physical or emotional shape, feel icky. Shoot -- even that supposedly liberating song "All about that Bass" (or whatever the title is) is still about looking the right way to make guys want to bang you -- baloney! In our society we are inundated with messages that equate our worth with our weight; it's hard to ignore that message even though it's crap, because it is such a constant one.

But that's just my two cents.

Linda G. said...

Hmm. I wouldn't have said I was vain about my weight before, but I have to admit my first thought after I was recently diagnosed with low thyroid (a notorious cause of weight gain) was, Yes! It's not my fault! I DO have a slow metabolism. *grin*

Admittedly, my second thought was, Dammit, now I have to take a freakin' pill every day for the rest of my life.

Oh well. There are worse things in life than having to wait half an hour after taking a pill to get my first cup of tea in the morning. Not that that will stop me from complaining about it. ;)

miaohdeux said...

Besides writing and having a day job, I'm also a performer. Specifically, burlesque. And yes, it's a body-positive environment, has made me feel more confident and fearless, and all that good stuff, BUT I'm also hyperaware of my own body and others'. I mean, you can't NOT be, when you're in a dressing room full of women in various stages of naked, plus you're doffing your clothes for a paying crowd.

There are times when I yell HEY EVERYONE, MY ASS LOOKS GREAT TONIGHT! and times when I've broken down crying because I feel so much bigger than the other girls. I love my body, most of the time. But I wish I could escape the constant, constant scrutiny that sadly seems common to most, if not all, women.