Monday, April 23, 2007

It's an honor just to be...

To Aunty B, whoever you are, thanks for the nomination. I could make the argument that many of my regular contributors are equally worthy.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fall fashion.

A friend called Tuesday night. Did I want to meet her and her friend for lunch in Beverly Hills the following day? My external voice said, “Oh, I’d love to” in a way which I believe concealed the degree of anticipation I felt. A lunch date! A real lunch date! Most days, what I would call my “Lunch plans” could also be described as “Eating a cheese sandwich while window-shopping on Ebay while waiting for someone from Tech Support in Mumbai to take me off hold”. Eating food in the company of people who weren’t actually in India sent me into finger-flapping glee.

It got even better. Because I was going to Beverly Hills, a trip of at least forty minutes, I had to find another errand to justify the fossil fuel outlay. And I did. I made an appointment for a haircut, dovetailing neatly into my lunch. Not only would I be eating with real live people and not eating a cheese sandwich off a legal pad — I would be doing so with a fresh haircut.

More gleeful finger-flapping ensued.

When one eats at a nice restaurant in Beverly Hills, or even nice restaurant adjacent to Beverly Hills, one does not wear one’s usual pile of stained rags. In my case, I wore the least-disgusting jeans and least mottled short-sleeved polo shirt I could find. I also carefully applied moisturizing sunblock to my arms for a semblance of healthy sheen and general freckle-mitigation. I then went to the closet and pulled out the new shoes I had bought only last week. They are black platform espadrilles, and they were so casually hip and cute that I could barely look at them. I shimmied into them and turned to the closet mirror.

Oh my….this is incredible. For the first time in my life, I’m five-seven, five feet of which appear to be legs. I look younger. I look thinner. Somehow, I even look more tan. Why haven’t I been wearing these every single second of my life? Let’s see how they look from the side…


I used the dresser to help get up off the floor. My ankles bowed under me like a newborn foal’s. I stood and gazed appreciatively at my profile view. I went to turn to the back…


Huh. Floor again. It seemed the espadrilles worked fine as footwear fine until I moved. It’s a credit to the cumulative effects of the five (or possibly six) concussions I’ve suffered over the years that it never occurred to me to change into different shoes. I gave my reflection one final “lookin’ good” fingergun, and wobbled to the car.

Two nights before, Consort, Daughter and I had been driving home from dinner someplace, talking about stuff when I became aware of a ticking sound. A reflexive scan of the dashboard indicated my left-turn signal was activated. I switched off the directional lever, which had no effect. I toggled it up and down, which neither stopped the blinking nor moved it to the right. A complete reboot of the ignition switch didn’t stop the blinking. The car was stuck in a closed loop indicating a left turn.

I said to Consort, “I bet that guy behind me really hates me right now”.

“Your left-turn signal has been blinking since we left the restaurant and you’re not very tall, so cheer up,” he said comfortingly. “He probably just thinks you’re really old”.

The good news: by the time we got home, many miles later, the turn signal had stopped blinking. The bad news: the turn signal was now indicating nothing at all. Of course, this now meant that while waiting for a slot to open up at our trusted mechanic I would be forced to use hand signals. In these modern times – and especially in Los Angeles – it turns out using a hand signal to indicate you’re changing direction encourages other people to use a hand signal to indicate you’re an idiot. Knowing my left arm was going to be flailing around out in the sun I reapplied an extra layer of sunblock.

Once I got to Beverly Hills and parked, I was forced to reconsider walking, a skill I had incorrectly assumed I had mastered for this lifetime. It appears, however, that walking in platform espadrilles with a heel only a half-inch wide at its narrowest makes every previously-held assumption a fraught negotiation. The shoes allowed me to walk forward, so long as I didn’t do it any faster than your average geisha. The shoes allowed me to back up, as long as I held onto something solidly connected to the earth to maintain my balance. However, the shoes quickly and brutally established that we weren’t changing direction.


If I leaned one way or the other— if I tried to, say, turn a corner—the shoes would reward me with a quick downward trajectory. Since the fall was starting in my ankles, a joint not known for its love of sudden lateral pressure, I was pleasantly surprised each time I didn’t hear a snapping sound while crashing onto the pavement.

That’s me: Miss Focus-on-the-Positive.

Getting my hair cut was very relaxing, primarily because I was sitting down and thus had very few chances in which to fall. I had bangs cut, which is one of my three life cycles -- the other two being Growing Out Bangs and Thinking About Wearing Bangs Again. During the procedure, I was immersed in a book about Louis the 14th and his romantic complications so it wasn’t until the final blow-out before I noticed that my arms were covered in hair trimmings. I brushed at my arms casually. I brushed at my arms purposfully. I brushed at my arms frantically. The hair remained immobile.

“I probably shouldn’t have moisturized and sunblocked before a haircut”, I said slowly.

“Probably not,” my hairdresser agreed, just a bit too cheerfully.

My arms appeared to be covered in dark brown sleeves. I tottered to the bathroom, turning towards the bathroom…


Getting up off the ground.

I went into the bathroom and washed off my arms. The arm fur undulated under the flowing water like tiny seaweed but otherwise stayed put. Of course, I thought bleakly, waterproof sunblock -- the spar varnish of personal emollients. How wise of me to somehow know I’d be up to my elbows in water today but still want sun protection. Rubbing vigorously with a towel…


Getting up off the ground.

I scrubbed off enough hair so you could see some skin underneath, but I clearly looked like someone who needed a more seasoned electrologist. Well, everyone was just going to have to judge me because my lunch date was in a few minutes and I needed to factor in extra time for walking slowly and falling.

Funny thing about my new bangs. When the hairdresser and I were discussing what look we were going for, I kept stressing “Movement”. I wanted them to be able to be down over my forehead or off to the side, or staying home and doing QuickBooks if that’s what the mood required. Movement, I said firmly, and darned if he didn’t cut them for movement. Those little beggers were dancing all over the place. Having not had bangs for a while, their very motion caused me to keep unconsciously moving my head…


Okay, that’s not fair. I’m not turning a corner, I’m moving my head.

Apparently, somewhere during the haircut, the shoes ratcheted-up their level of diffculty. Now even the most microscopic change in my center of gravity was an invitation to stop, drop and roll. I had developed the gait of a drunk with an inner-ear infection. If you added in my still-hairy arms, I was a drunk Ewok with an inner-ear infection.

Lunch was fun because the women were smart and entertaining...and because I was sitting down. I could gesture with abandon and not fear the taste of floor. An hour later, as we rose from the table, I winced as the cumulative effects of all those falls began to catch up with me. Apparently, wincing changed my posture just enough to annoy the shoes, because my new friend suddenly had a big old armful of Quinn lunging at her. I had explained the shoes during lunch, but I suspect she just thinks I’m overly affectionate.

The upside to being in pain was that I was now naturally walking slowly enough so as not to fall over. I learned quickly, though, that the shoes didn’t like when I tried to brush head-hair off my flypaper arms, or take my sunglasses out of my purse or rub my elbow, which had taken the brunt of several of the falls. And whatever the shoes wanted, the shoes got. I shuffled several blocks to my car.

Inside the car, I immediately pulled off the sandals. Torquemada could not have designed a more effective device for torture. Both of my ankles were swollen in an unwholesome and irregular way. My pinky toe was dripping blood; I had no idea when that happened, and it’s a credit to my overall level of pain that the pinky hadn’t drawn any special attention to itself. I called my friend Armita, a shoe fanatic.

“There are platform espadrilles at Nordstroms. They cost about sixty dollars.”, I said as soon as she answered.

“Ooh,” she trilled, “I know those!” she trilled. “They’re adorable!” she trilled.

“Yeah, they’re adorable,” I said flatly. “They’re Satan’s pug puppies. But they’re completely unwearable and don’t buy them. Let me have learned this lesson for both of us.”

I heard her breathing.

“They come in navy and red,” she countered, finally.

“I know, but they’ll kill you. And they’ll laugh at your dead body.”

“I bet they make your legs look really good”, she said happily.

“Yeah. Great, actually. I’ll have the hottest legs in the ER”.

“You got them at Nordstrom’s. You have the reciept?”

“Sure, I only bought them last week.”

“Then take them back.”

“I can’t do that. I bled in them!” I said, appalled.

“They’ll take them back. It’s Nordstrom’s,” she said decisively. “They have the best return policy.”

I looked at them over in the passenger seat. In the dim light of the parking lot, they looked so innocent.

“I could,” I said slowly. “But…”.

“They’re really cute and your legs look really good in them.”

“Yeah”, I sighed.

“I gotta go,” Armita said.“I’m going to try them on in red before I pick up Jake at school”.

The trip home brought a touch of serendipity. Having to keep my arm out the window in order to signal my turns finally blew most of the pelt off my left arm. And when I wasn’t remembering to signal, I was coming to my senses. I was being too hasty. My legs might never look this good again in daytime shoes. Once the toe clotted and the swelling came down, we’d try again. It was my fault for wearing them too long on the first day. The shoes didn’t mean to hurt me. If you stopped to think about it, I made the shoes do it.

It’s not the start of a healthy relationship, but it’s going to make a wonderful movie for Lifetime.

Fatal Footwear: The Quinn Cummings Story.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our mum, she's so house-proud

I don’t know what you people were doing on Saturday night, but we hipsters were cleaning out the refrigerator. I was separating the food products into Tasty, Edible, Unknown and Furry, and Consort was putting the Tasty and Edible products into storage containers more proportional to the size of the food; I favor a “Teaspoon of lentils works best in a gallon-sized container” school of thought. Being as I was fascinated by how air currents acted upon the hair on the roast-beef slices, I didn’t realized Consort was frustrated until the obscenties kicked in.

I looked over. Consort was sitting on the floor, the cabinet doors open in front of him. A flood of square and rectangular plastic storage containers was threatening to wash him into the living room. He held up a lid and barked, “Do we have the container for this? Did we ever have the container for this?”

I said blithely, “Oh, I have no idea”, which didn’t help his mood.

He said grimly, “I’m going to match every single lid to a container and then stack them in the cabinet that way. Then, we’ll actually know what we (expletive deleted) have.”

I said softly, “You can do that, but then there won’t be enough space in the cabinet, which is why I jam all the containers into one another and the lids into the fish poacher”.

I wasn’t heard over the clattering of storage containers being matched.

Twenty minutes later, I had cleared the most egregious examples of inedible food out of the fridge and looked over at Consort. He was still sitting on the ground, surrounded on all sides by perfectly matched storage containers. He was staring into the cabinet, which was completely full of perfectly matched storage containers.

“There’s not enough room”, he said in dismay.

“I know, honey. Just put the lids in the fish poacher and jam the containers into one another. They don’t mind.”

“Why do we have a fish poacher? You don’t eat fish and I have never used that thing. It’s just taking up room.”

“No, it holds lids.”

Consort got to his feet, angrily brushing away the containers which had been temporarily stored in his lap.

“I hate this kitchen”, he said fiercely.

“You think I like it?” I snapped back, “You think I like having to move the drying rack if I want to make coffee? You think I like keeping our good plates stored under our child’s bed? The place was designed for a Buddhist monk who owned a plate, a cup and a spoon.”

“That’s it.” Consort said definitively, “We have no cabinet space and twenty-six drawers without handles. We’re doing it, we’re getting the kitchen renovated.”

“Okay,” I said warily.

We looked at each other. We then looked around the kitchen. The fridge, sitting alone in what used to be an outside porch, seemed to gaze at us wearily.

Consort said thoughtfully, “We’ll take down the wall into the fridge-room, turn it into one big room. One big, well-designed room. With counter-space.” he sighed happily.

“Maybe,” I offered shyly, “we could finally fix the electrical…situation.” Upon moving in many years ago, we had removed the supremely ugly light fixture in the fridge-room, only to find that all the wiring of the house seems to run through that fixture, and touching any of the dozens of wires hanging down can turn off the television or opens the garage. Sometimes, Consort would touch a wire and nothing would happen; I imagined we were shorting out lights in houses for blocks around. Frightened, we have never replaced the light fixture. The only light in that room comes from opening the fridge.

Consort and I grew more excited.

“As long as we’re going to be opening walls, let’s get the laundry room done!” he fairly shouted. The room next to the fridge room, which had clearly been some kind of lanai, had been described by my real-estate woman, a florid psychotic, as “The maid’s room”. Since Lincoln freed the slaves and Russia freed the serfs, I cannot imagine who she thought would live there voluntarily. We had set up the washer and dryer in there because they lacked vocal chords with which to complain.

Consort and I stared at each other.

“So,” I said, slightly less gleefully, “we’ll gut the kitchen and the laundry room, and redo the wiring in the back third of the house.”


“Couldn’t we just do the kitchen? Leave the wiring alone?”, I asked hopefully.

“During electrical storms, the hole in the ceiling hums. That can’t be good.”

“…put off doing the laundry room?”

“We could, but it makes more financial sense to do the whole thing at once.”

“We’ll need an architect for this, right?”


“Which means I’d have to hire one.”

We’d hire one, yes,” Consort said encouragingly, knowing I have a cell-deep belief that I instinctively hire the least-competant person at any given job, and have therefore arranged my life to involve very little hiring.

“And it will take a while.”

“Oh, yeah. A couple of months, start to finish. But afterwards, we’ll have storage space!” Consort said, frantically trying to recreate my enthusiasm of only a few minutes before.

“Yeah,” I sighed, “but…contractors. And sub-contractors. And tilers. Remember how the tile guy from the bathroom went off on a drinking spree and we didn’t have a floor for two weeks?”

“Not all sub-contractors are alcoholics,” Consort said in a less-than-credible tone. He shifted slightly, which caused a cabinet door to open. A bag of rice fell on the floor. He put it back in the cabinet, cramming it towards the back, causing two boxes of cereal to make a break for it. He looked up at me eloquently.

“I’m not saying it doesn’t need to be done,” I said defensively, “I’m just saying it’s a huge and stressful renovation. Living with no storage or counter space is stressful, but it’s, what, an hour of stress a day? Total? To which I am already acclimated? Remove the back third of our house and that’s an IV of stress until it’s done. I’d rather use a salad spinner on the couch than spend a day trying to find why my cabinets were shipped to Guam.”

Consort nodded meditatively.

“You’re insane, you know”, he said conversationally.

I shrugged.

“Just hand me the lids and the fish poacher."

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Egg(s) and I.

This orginally ran in March of 2005. Here's hoping it holds you until I get what I am writing finished.

It must be one of those traditional, family-oriented holidays; I just lost it with my kid.

In my defense, what kind of sick mind puts Easter in MARCH? March is St. Patrick’s Day, April is Easter, and May is Mother’s Day and me eating an overpriced, undercooked omelet in a room filled with other families. It’s just wrong to be making sure Daughter is wearing green on March 17th, only to have some other (prepared) mother sing out “And Easter is less than two weeks away”. I took this news as one would take the news that the biopsy came back iffy--“No! It can’t be”.

But it was.

For my own twisted pleasure, I looked up how the Easter Sunday is decided. In case you don’t know, it is “the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs next after the vernal equinox”. And that isn’t some astronomical Full Moon, you understand, but an ecclesiastical moon, which is determined from tables unavailable to laypeople (They might be in the Vatican Times, next to the Daily Jumble). I guess the moral of the story is I should just be happy that it didn’t land in February. I took my usual tack with an unpleasant situation: I pretended that Easter was a show on premium cable. As a basic cable-type person, it didn’t apply to me.

But you can only ignore the Pinnacle of Peeps at the grocery store for so long, not to mention the steady inflow of Easter-related artwork coming in from the school. This is the time of year that I pity the observant Jew, not to mention Buddhists, Muslims, and the odd Atheist; like radon gas, Easter tries to infiltrate every corner. The Christians--or, more likely, the Marketing team at the Mars company-- took what was a fairly adult, somber event (There was this guy, or maybe a God/Guy. He said a bunch of things that were really worth considering. For this, he had a terribly bad Friday. But the weekend got better), and turned it into “Hooray! Our Redeemer sometimes resembles a chocolate rabbit with a marshmallow filling! Eat him!”

It’s hard to compete with that.

But you really lose the Minimal Parenting Standard if you don’t get the eggs dyed in time. I could buy her a PAAS kit next week cheap, but everyone looks at you funny. I suppose we could pretend to be Greek, and celebrate the Greek Orthodox Easter on May 1st, but I’m not fond of lamb. So, I got the egg kit a couple of days ago. On the way home from swim class tonight, I simply could not remember whether we had more than three eggs in the house, so I dragged a chlorine-scented daughter to the grocery store to find a dozen unbroken eggs. Three days before Easter, this is harder than you might think. For the last week, people have been opening the egg containers, removing the cracked ones, placing them in other egg containers and grabbing unbroken eggs for their dozen. This means that what was left tonight was sort of like the Island of Lost Toys.

It quickly stopped being a situation of “I need twelve unbroken eggs”, as much as “...let the cracks be small, so that I can pretend it’s a cat hair on the egg. No, I don’t know why a cat hair would be on an egg in a grocery store. Shut up”.

I took my damaged little friends home. Since, due to scheduling, this is the last night that Consort and Daughter could do them together, I set the water to boil while opening the egg-dying package, while simultaneously removing swimsuit from Daughter and getting her into the tub. Daughter realized I was completely hectic and distracted, so she tried to outdo her personal best of 6,732 questions in under ten minutes:

“What makes the bubble bath bubble?”

“If an owl ate a raccoon, would it die?”

“What makes the tide?”

“How about if an owl ate a raccoon which had eaten a poisonous snake, would the owl die then?”

Somewhere during a storm of questions which were the follow-ups to “Why do dog farts smell worse than human farts, but not as bad as cat farts”, I finally broke down.“WOULD YOU PLEASE GIVE ME SOME SPACE; I AM TRYING TO BOIL YOUR EGGS!!!”Words fail to express just how loud and whiny this was. If I had been my own kid, I’d have sent me to my room (which gets a little complicated, but there’s cloning for you).

Daughter didn’t cry. I apologized immediately and sincerely. The eggs boiled without my watching them, which only proves that an unwatched pot always boils. And I considered plural marriage.

I’m not saying I want another couple of women hanging around the house, laying equal claim to Consort and eating my jalapeno olives. But, the tasks of mothering are frequently brainless at the same time that they are mentally taxing. If I could divvy up the mind-sucking essentials of motherhood, I promise that I would be so much more excited about the frills. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a couple of friends in the house and be able to ask one “If you can cover bathing the kids tonight, Betty over there will make dinner, and I'll check the Vatican Times to see what holidays we need to plan for”?


Meanwhile, I am going to eat a blue egg-salad sandwich.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Embraceable Me.

Daughter has entered a phase in her athletic career where she is frequently and intentionally airborne. Gravity being what it is, this also means she is frequently and unintentionally hitting the ground. I have come to view practice as sanctioned falling. In order to keep from gasping and clutching at my throat while shrieking “…my BABY!”, I am careful to bring a magazine, usually of the high-fashion variety. Candidly, I’m not sure that staring at a five-thousand dollar handbag made from the front legs of unborn llamas is any better than watching Daughter hit the ground head-first again, but if I hiss in horror at the magazine, the magazine doesn’t have ammunition for its therapist a decade from now.

This is all in explanation as to why someone with a wardrobe consisting of jeans and striped shirts was spotted reading Vogue magazine. The cover model was Scarlett Johansson and directly next to her tumbling and highlighted hair was the phrase EMBRACE YOUR SHAPE! Briefly, I wondered if this was an order, but decided the exclamation point was just Anna Wintour’s way of saying that she wanted me to, you know, embrace my shape in a non-immediately-groping way and more of an “I’m neat!” way.

Directly below my embracing orders was the sub-heading “Towering, tiny, thin or top-heavy?...What to wear”. I suppose this means the pear-shaped woman, having not been able to be wedged into the alliterative prose, must now die.

According to the cover, I could also rest assured knowing that “Nobody’s Perfect”, that there is a total body workout I can do in ten minutes, and that Ms. Johansson feels she can dress in whatever she wants. Soothed and excited by all this potential and dimly aware that Daughter was airborne again, I dove in.

My first stop: Yves Saint Laurent ad. An Yves Saint Laurent ad starring a streetlamp. No, sorry, that’s a woman. The incredible height and absolute lack of secondary female sexual characteristics threw me off.

Next: Bottega Veneta ad. The dress is pleated and wrinkled over the waist, hips and butt. Thank God some fashion designer heard the cries of women everywhere “…won’t someone add some bulk to my lower half!”. The model appears winsome. In the same dress I would resemble a knitted toilet-paper cozy.

Next: Oh, finally. A model who is my height! Of course, it’s a Baby Gap ad and Caroline the model is 20 months old, but I feel as if Vogue is embracing my height, if not my weight or age.

Oh, here’s Scarlett Johansson in a Louis Vuitton ad. Did you know she feels as if she can dress in whatever she wants? Because I do.

Next: an article. Under a picture of a woman mystifyingly lounging in a metal box is the title: “LEG ENVY. Can fabulous legs be created and fast?” Greedily, I read. The writer is short and even with a regular workout schedule feels as if her legs weren’t ready for the new short skirts of spring. My heart warmed. I’m short! I work out regularly! I’m fairly certain I’m not as ready as I could be for the short skirts of spring! Of course, the writer is pining for the Prada hotpants-and-turban look and I’m just hoping to get one more year out of J.Crew shorts before my legs make toddlers cry. But no matter, Vogue is embracing me while I’m embracing myself! Vogue cares about my appearance and Vogue isn’t ashamed to say so!

The writer, Dodie Kazanjian, plunges into a four day a week Power Pilates program. She doesn’t say exactly how long each class is, but for the sake of argument let’s say each class is an hour. She also swims four days a week at the Time-Warner building, for an hour a day. I don’t know where her Pilates class is, but I am guessing it isn’t in the Time-Warner building, nor do I think Ms. Kazanjian lives in the Time-Warner building. So, we’re up to two hours a day, not including commuting or rinsing the chlorine smell out of her hair.

But wait, there’s more. She has twice-weekly massages and fifteen minutes of daily yoga at home. Fifteen minutes of yoga a day equals one hundred and five minutes. Each massage lasts at least forty-five minutes, so that’s another hour and a half. She also walks to and from her workouts in Masai Barefoot Technology shoes which serve the purpose of maybe firming your butt while certainly being the ugliest and most visible shoes imaginable. She spends the four remaining hours of each waking day applying every cream, gel and scrub Bliss Spa sends over. Her diet, she assures the reader, is Spartan. I’d roll my eyes over this, but she works for Vogue, which means she has probably been on the “chew twice and spit it out” diet before she even headed down this thigh-thinning road. I quake to think of what a genuine fashionista would define as a Spartan repast.

Obviously, as a writer for Vogue, she wasn’t paying for squat, but let’s just guesstimate what this exercise in self-improvement might have cost a less-connected, shape-embracing reader.

I Googled the instructor for Power Pilates; her rate is $125 an hour. $125 times four days a week is $500. She swam at a fancy spa, but let’s be generous and suggest the reader can somehow embrace her shape at the Y. The membership to the YMCA is $500 a year in Los Angeles, so we’ll use that number. Twice-weekly massages are at least $300 in Manhattan. The yoga at home is free, and I don’t know how Dodie let that spending opportunity slip past her. But she makes up for it with the Masai shoes which -- along with being really ugly – cost about $200. Thigh creams, gels, pastes, goos and ointments will set you back at least another $500 if you buy everything on the market and don’t just have it messengered to your apartment when you intone the magic words “…I’m doing a piece for Vogue”.

The total bill is about two thousand dollars and at least three hours a day spent working out, or getting to and from working out. And what did the writer get for a month of this insane amount of effort? Does the final paragraph describe how Ms. Kazanjian was wearing the Prada hot pants while walking up Madison Avenue and just happened to see her ex-boyfriend who looked awful and upon seeing her fell down on his knees and starting moaning for what might have been? No, readers, it is not. Her grand denouement was a half-inch loss on each thigh. Don’t misunderstand me, if I woke up tomorrow and had thighs a half-inch thinner I would be very happy. But if I spend one-fifth of my waking hours working towards something, after four weeks I want something more than the effect I can get from control-top pantyhose.

But this leads inexorably to the grubby little secret of every single fashion magazine on the stands. The one where the writer mentions at the beginning of the article that there is a picture of her and her sister sitting together as children, wearing ballet outfits. Her sister’s legs are thin and hers are not. She can exercise every waking hour of her life and she will not have thin legs. Why?

Because biology is destiny.

Don’t embrace your shape because Anna Wintour says this is the month we do so (before we revert to self-loathing next month). Embrace your shape because you have no other option. I studied ballet for years and wasn’t a bad dancer, but when I was in the front row and could see myself in the mirror I found myself humming “…one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…”. People genetically predisposed to build muscle mass will build muscle. People genetically predisposed to hold on to fat will hold on to fat. You can fool with your shape a bit, you can make healthy eating and exercise choices, but I am not one leg-lift or a million leg-lifts away from being described as “Willowy”.

I don’t think most women think there is an exercise which would change their height, but how many of us keep going back to magazines thinking we’ll find the diet or exercise plan which will change our build? The magazines know this and will keep offering us variations on “Have a big salad for lunch and do some weight work for a lean look” in order to keep us staring at their ads.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this article bothered me so much, besides the implicit appalling waste of money and time, and it’s this. At no point did the writer ever say she had ugly legs, cankles, what have you. She’s worked out for years, her legs are probably as fit as they are ever going to be and yet she still wrung an article out of the idea that they could be better. Or, rather, different. And the final paragraph was how she made peace with her body by purchasing a Miu Miu dress (Cost-maybe $750) which, along with the right Christian Louboutin shoes (Cost-$400), will make her feel pretty.

I get it. It’s Vogue. They live on ads and advertisers want us wanting stuff, buying stuff. But this was an article about physical well-being in an issue seemingly focused on bodily diversity and it still came down to “You’re not enough, you will never be enough. Buy more stuff”.

Daughter flings herself through the air, gambling that she knows enough and has trained enough to land on her feet. But if she is the gambler, learning to calculate and play the odds, gravity is the casino, and the same goes for genetics. You can try to outthink, outwork, starve or Pilates your genetics, and you might be up for a while. But, eventually, the house wins.