Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today's body shape, yesterday's posture

I'm trying to remember if we had anything equivalent to today's body shape obsession when I was young.

Certainly our mother told us frequently to sit up straight, stand up straight and don't slump. Round shoulders were anathema. Posture seemed to be more a matter of manners than looking beautiful. Some people's idea of good posture was ill-conceived, too: they wanted us to look more like a chest-beating gorilla than a natural human being.

Nevertheless it was essentially good advice for beauty. Standing taller does improve the figure (and the morale), and it doesn't cost a cent.

We also paid attention to bust-waist-hip measurements, dreaming of the perfect (?) 34-24-34 hourglass figure. That's inches, of course. Very cute, but for me unattainable after the first pregnancy.

And I do remember in my teens being bothered by my hair. We used sugar and water instead of gel or foam. Yech, stiff and sticky. Three cheers for the pony tail, which required no control beyond a rubber band.

It's so crazy that women worry so much about beauty when we're young. I mean, almost everyone who gets three good feeds a day is breathtakingly beautiful when they're young. The young are gorgeous, they're all gorgeous, they can't help it. If only they knew it. But they look in the mirror and see not Angelina Jolie.

Nowadays I'm way past the point where plastic surgery could restore any part of my youthful beauty. But standing up straight still hints at an illusion of [comparative] youth. Thanks, Mother!

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