I realize now that I left out a paragraph from last week’s blog entry:
Is there a woman alive who is not insecure about her body? We are watching a series on Netflix called Offspring (recommended by Sydney McDougald) in which the main character is a beautiful young obstetrician who is asked by a daft couple to deliver their baby in the nude. It is a strange request, but she is thrown into a tailspin at the thought of flashing her adorable form, especially in front of the handsome pediatrician she lusts after. She remembers the point in her development when she went from carefree naked child to self-conscious pre-teen. She comes up with a plausible excuse and is off the hook.
First, though, I want to thank all of you who wrote and reassured me, telling me not to be so hard on myself. I am hard on myself, but aren’t we all? One of my favorite books of nonfiction is a collection of essays by Nora Ephron called I Feel Bad About My Neck. In this hilarious collection she writes about her flaws and how she is self-conscious about them. All women of a certain age are self-conscious about, among other things, our necks. Some women get face lifts and some wear scarves wound around their throats. I wear a lot of turtlenecks, but sadly, my neck is so scrawny that the shirts don’t stay up, but puddle around my shoulders. So sometimes, I have to do a turtleneck/scarf combo. In hot weather I am at the mercy of observers. Both my turkey neck and blue-veined legs are on display. Sorry.
My friend Lorraine (her alias) is even more self-conscious than I am. She was very upset when she had her cataracts removed, because she was able to see herself clearly in the mirror and realized that she had way many more wrinkles than she previously thought. I agree that poor eyesight is a gift that allows us to avoid seeing our flaws and those of our loved ones. She has had several procedures to tighten up and in spite of what she thinks, she looks amazing and years younger than her age, which I will not reveal even though I have given her a pseudonym. I recently bought a powerful magnifying mirror and was horrified to see rogue hairs on my chin and formerly invisible blackheads. Was it better before I saw these problems, or is it better to religiously obsess about these nasty things and examine my chin daily to eliminate the little buggers?
Even cute young women fret. My son’s girlfriend, Kate, came in after reading the last blog entry and had even taken notes about points in it that resonated with her. I was incredibly flattered. She is beautiful and flawless in my view, but has self-doubt. And honestly, I worried myself to death when I was her age about my appearance, even though now when I find photos of myself at that age and wonder why I was so concerned.
A male friend of mine stopped by after reading the last blog entry. I had said that I didn’t think men had the same insecurities as women, but he told me that as far as he is concerned, I was dead wrong. He thinks of himself as “pudgy” and pushes himself to run to try to shed some pounds. I imagine, also, that some men have sensitivities about their height and their toughness. The pressure on males to be “the provider” can be a problem, too. I wonder, though, if Millenials have shaken that problem off.
When I was growing up, men were supposed to do the asking, and women were supposed to wait to be asked. I remember agonizing even as a ten year old in Teen Cotillion that I might be the last girl to be asked to dance the foxtrot or waltz. On a date, there was no question but that the male would pay the tab. Based on my brief but painful experiences not long ago on Match.Com, however, men today do not assume they should pay the bill for the date. I found out the hard way when I didn’t bring cash to a coffee date with a creep that he had no intention of paying for my small black coffee. I had to wheedle the money from him, which he grudgingly paid.
Before I go on, though, I want to reassure you, my friends that I have way more self-esteem than I deserve. I wouldn’t blab about my wrinkles and such if I were not very confident. Another blessing of aging is that I no longer care what people think of me. I’m sure you have seen that saying on Facebook, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” That’s me. Also, I am kind of like a movie star in that I believe that any publicity is good publicity. Say what you will about me, but just keep talking!