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Body Image Issues; It’s not Me – It’s You, Pig.

oglingAbout a month or so ago, I had a really interesting conversation with my Mumster. She’s a wonderful woman, and someone whom I admire for her insight and brilliant sense of humour.

We were having side-by-side pedi’s and talking about the men in our life. You know, the oblivious sex. Particularly the middle-aged, if not beyond that demographic.

We were talking about how our confidence is much higher when we’re on our own, either completely out of the relationship, or at least not in the same room with them. I talked about this with other women as well, just to get a feel for it, and it seems to be generally true; women are most confident when not with their partners.

We feel capable and sexy when we don’t have someone around passively suggesting that we need to fix something about ourselves.

My oblivious man  is famous for patting me on my ample ass and asking if I’m going to the gym, or oggling another woman while we’re out together. Yes, it’s that obvious, and no, we don’t have to ignore it. Have some respect. You know what I’m talking about ladies, the general disrespect that has been deemed socially acceptable forever. Just last night it was, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but have you ever thought of having a breast reduction?” To which I thought, why yes darling, just last month when I was ready to dump your ass you ignorant tit.

Here’s a shocking newsflash; we live in our bodies. We know them, and we are keenly aware of their beauty and how they don’t measure up to society’s standards. And you know what, we love our luscious bodies anyway, because they are amazing works of art.

If you have a woman in your life who is vibrant, sexual and intelligent, you should appreciate and respect her.  Crawling out of the cave is a good start, it’s the twenty-first century after all.

If a man wants to be considered a gentleman, all of the high-priced grooming products in the world will not disguise his behavior as a douche bag.

 

sexy old man

Do I appreciate the physique of an anatomically-extremely-correct man? Absofreakinglutely. Do I rub it in my partner’s face that he bears no resemblance whatsoever to Channing Tatum or Dwayne Johnson by giving him a not-so-subtle smack on his ass and the condescending, “Are you going to the gym today baby. It’ll make you feel better?” No, I do not, but I think it may be time to start.

As a mother, it’s the last thing I want my son to have to worry about; looking like the cover of a Men’s Health magazine.

As a death care worker, I’m struck by the awesome beauty of healthy bodies every day, and I think we need to rejoice in that simple joy every day.

When your daughters, sisters and partners  struggle with mental health issues spurred on by body image (as most women do) your having the Swimsuit edition floating around your house doesn’t really help her. What it might do is fuel your fantasies of being a better lover than you really are, and makes every woman think you’re a pig. Oh yah, and that they never, ever want to get naked in front of you.

So don’t expect us to cower in our chubby bodies and be anxious about spending our days punishing ourselves with diets. We’re confident on our own. We love our bodies and quite frankly, if you want to act like you’re living in the mysogynist 60’s all over again; have at it, and while you’re there stud, get used to masturbating, because there isn’t a woman around who’s going to put up with your shit.

There are gentlemen out there who do respect their partners, and we have figured that out.

Confidence is not the issue; respect is the issue.

When it comes to humour, the only thing that’s still acceptable is woman bashing by men. We’ve all agreed that gender identity and race are not a joke, but somehow, being a woman still is.

Confidence is not the issue, men acting like pigs is.

 

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Posted in Advice for Women, Creative Life, Dating Advice for Women, Dating Love, Falling In Love, Fashion, Health, Healthy Living, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Meaning of Life, Men's Health, Mental Health, Professional Women, Self-Care, Self-Help, Sexual Health, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Women's Rights, Working Women

Once Upon a Time: Adventures In Plastic Surgery

fairytalecastleOnce upon a time I found myself in a plush waiting room with comfy chairs and glossy fashion magazines…

Today I found myself sitting in a questionably disinfected examination chair, clad in a mint green hospital gown and wondering what the hell is wrong with the world.

You see, I was in a plastic surgeon’s office. Not because I’d requested to have my belly banished, my nose narrowed or my melons maintained. No, it was a mistaken referral which should have been to a dermatologist.

In the waiting room, a screen played images of women’s bodies over and over, giving us all a good 3-D look at the natural flaws that ‘appear over time’. I saw nipples and bum cheeks, lips and noses. Not once did I see a man’s saggy testicles or jowly chops. Not once did they put man-boobs or beer guts in the glaring spotlight.

Nope. It was all women. Every bit of marketing was directed toward women and just how insecure we should feel about our bodies. Every single image dissected women’s bodies and divided us into pieces to be criticized and rebuilt into a singular image of beauty.

manBalderdash. How freaking boring is that? Pass the gin and bring me a man.

With catchy little tag-lines on brochures like, “Never Fear the Mirror”, and  “Love Your Lips”, it was a bit crazy.

The only thing I could think was,  “Fuck off. We’re perfect. Now get me outta here.”

My darlings, you are perfect as you are. Love your body and yourself, nothing less will transform you into a beautiful person inside and out.

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Beach Life: Bathing Suits for the Rest of Us

Sennett-Bathing-Beauties-1915_thumbI bought a bathing suit today.

Yes, I know it’s the middle of Canadian winter. No, I haven’t booked a sun-holiday…yet.

I’m debating the merits of an Irish romp with my sweetheart, or a solo beach holiday.

Either way I’m taking a two-piece bathing suit with me that would have made my mother convulse.

You see, I was raised by a woman who suffered extremely low self-esteem and did her best to pass that little nugget of twisted psychology on to her youngest daughter. That’s me by the way.

I grew up in a small town and lived at the beach. Winter, spring, summer and fall. Summer was my favourite. There was nothing better than swimming in the lake all day, the smell of malt vinegar on the homemade French fries that they sold at the little snack shack that would sometimes be lifted off it’s foundation and dragged with the tide when the spring water was high.

Somewhere out there is a photograph of me grinning a grin so wild and wonderful, that I have held that image in my mind for all of these years. It’s a moment of bliss I remind myself I’m capable of, even as an adult.

There I was, white caps at my back,  standing naked, proudly holding my bathing suit at arms length. My waist-long, blonde, pig-tails tangled with lake water and sand, just daring someone to try and get that wet, sticky bathing suit back onto my body.

I may not have been skinny enough, pretty enough, or worried enough about what people thought about what I wore every day. But I was wise enough. Typical of anyone who suffered childhood trauma, I was quiet and very observant. I was constantly tuned in to the tiniest nuance of mood, just in case.

At a very young age, I came to realize that no matter how thin, how pretty, or how well-turned out they were, there were a whole lot of unhappy women out there. And that unhappiness was ugly. Like, soul-deep ugly. Their fear of not being good enough came out as anger and jealousy, and missed trips to fun places. It stopped them from smiling. IT stopped them from going to the beach, getting their hair wet, or smudging their mascara. Their insecurity overshadowed everything. They  let their tummies and their thighs hold them back.

You see, before I even reached puberty I had decided that fat would not keep me from enjoying the beach. Or the snow, or going out to eat a delicious meal. Later on in life, I decided that fat would also not keep me from making wild, passionate love to the man I loved. Some crazy idea of being not good enough would not keep me from having fun.

Being an average looking woman would not keep me from savouring all of the wonderful bits of life, and it certainly did not make me less worthy of healthy curiosity and joy. In fact, I think this joie de vivre is one of the qualities that make many of us beautiful.

I will never be solicited for the cover of Vogue, nor will I turn the heads of men because I’m the ideal beauty. But I will turn the heads of like-minded people. These are the people who buy big, bright bathing suits, get their hair wet, and laugh with every inch of their sun-soaked, skin.

Buy the bathing suit, not because it’s going to turn you into a model. Buy it because it’s a tool in your tickle-trunk of living fully.

 

 

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The Holiday Hustle

santahustleSometimes you just gotta dance. I mean get out there, take off your wrap, your jacket, your inhibitions, and just shake what mamma gave you!

I’m not talking about the stiff, elbows up, I-give-you-a-seven-out-of-ten style of dance. No, I’m talking about freestyle baby. The kind that you do when no one’s home and you’re dusting the Dalton’s.

There are any number of holiday parties to attend, and a zillion reasons to be quiet, go home early, or feel inadequate. Trust me darlings, we’ve all felt that way, and when we feel that way, we wither like a two day old lily out of water. It’s the antithesis of fresh and glowing. Wilted and sad are never in style darlings. Never.

Not that hibernating and living in your jammies with leg stubble and four-day unwashed hair doesn’t have it’s place in spiritual growth, but come on! A bit of frivolous silliness is just what the doctor ordered to combat our winter blahs.

So, last night, I did just that with my mumster. We met a few new people, took some silly photos, and danced until we had to mop ourselves off the floor and go home. Fun, friendship, shaking off the burden of should-be’s; that’s what a party is about, not sitting primly at a table and counting the seconds until you can make your escape.

During my forty or so trips around the sun, I’ve learned that without a doubt, time passes whether you’re enjoying yourself or not. It’s your choice; suffer through the holidays, or do the hustle!

 

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‘Tis The Season For Fancy Frocks ; Bonus Tip for the Gentlemen Included

sparkles…for parties and galas and fancy frocks- oh my!

Today my good friend and shopping mentor helped me pick out a new dress.

“Don’t let me spend more than an hour in here. Grab anything that you think might fit, and I’ll try it on, ” I said, already neck-deep in sequins and zippers. So began the hunt for a new fancy frock.

When you’re not a size 6, you are the price-tag’s bitch. You pay what you have to so you don’t look like Baby Huey in a onsie. On top of having gained weight, the boob fairy must have had a seizure when she shook the titty dust on me. I have capital-B-double-Oh-my!-BOOBS. I have not seen anything below my nipples and above my knee-caps since I was 12.  At this age, I’m never wowed by what looks back at me from the mirror.

I got to thinking last night that I really needed a new dress. Not because I coveted one. Not because I deserved one. Not because I was hoping to wow prince-charming.

I needed a new dress because I am beginning to feel a little like a sausage in the one I bought in honour of a romantic holiday weekend away.  That was two relationships ago, and the last relationship I was in ended about three years ago. So, that takes me back almost a decade.

Yes, you got it right. I’ve been wearing the same classic cocktail dress for a long, long time. Granted, I do have classic taste, I’ve gone up a size or two beyond the comfort level of my supportive undergarments.

My professional-quasi-social status requires a dress for at least one gala, and two Christmas parties this year. I can no longer go out and be worried about a ripple here, or how my spanx might be riding down when I sit and stand. I have to be on my game and focused on whomever I’m speaking with.

Trust me ladies, especially ladies of a certain age, ’tis the season. The party dresses are out and waiting for us to come and challenge them. Be brave, start your odyssey among the jewel-toned jungle of dress-racks and walls of accessories before all of the sized-for-real-humans are taken.

I also highly recommend taking a good friend, one who can zip and unzip you, bring you dresses that you never thought you’d look good in, and, if you’re like me, to coach you through the guilt of spending money on yourself. At times like this, our girlfriends are not our friends, they are priceless life coaches brave enough to get in the trenches and adjust our wiggly bits.

Shopping is not on my ‘Top 100 Things I Like To Do’ list. I have nothing but sincere gratitude for my gal-pal for not only coming with me, but having an eye for the dress I finally chose. What would we do without our girlfriends ladies?

Bonus tip for gentlemen: appreciate  your woman when you take her out, the world is still a tough place to be a lady and a professional. Be sure to pay her a sincere compliment, and remind her why she’s so special.

Wishing all of you a dress that makes you feel confident and even pretty.

 

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Food, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Men's Issues, Music, Poetry, Politics, Relationships, Sexuality, Singles, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Writing

Trying Too Hard

trying too hardThe world seems to be trying too hard.

Just this morning the ticker-tape news on CBC news included these little gems; Bear bites boy off 9-year-old boy in Chinese Zoo, 350 Runners finish windy 20km race in Newfoundland, 14 people arrested after New England Pumpkinfest turns ugly, South, North Korea exchange gunfire across border.

Other than being vaguely entertaining, it really wasn’t news. North and South Korea exchanging occasional fire across the border? Pul-eazah, deliver some real news.  For instance, perhaps give a little more screen time to this Ebola vaccine,  the pr0-democracy demonstrations in Hong-Kong, or perhaps even the on-going sale of Canada’s democratic principles and social humanitarianism to China itself.

On a much less serious note, but serious to anyone (like myself ) who considers art, of any kind, the expression of the human spirit, consider Neil Diamond’s appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The only feeling I had for old Neil was pity.

What old Neil Diamond needs is to be himself, not a duded out old songbird trying for one more. Thank you for your classics Mr Diamond. Even Jimmy Fallon, whom I adore as a truly talented man had to force amusement during the most entertaining part of the interview;

Neil’s performance was a swinging tribute to the 70’s, a decade fashion needs to leave  behind.  Granted, Mr. Diamond may be considered an attractive older man, with  skeletal legs holding up his leather jacket and huge, gaunt eyeballs, I just wanted to go on stage, gently take the microphone from his hand, and pat him on the back as I escorted him to a comfy chair and a plate of biscuits.

Even dear old Leonard Cohen’s last album was nothing to write home about. Sorry Leonard, you know I love you, but your persona as the ever-curious lover was awesome. Save the singing of your new poems, and let us instead hear you recite your poetry as poetry, not lyrics. You are a literary icon, not a playboy. We love you, but make room on the stage and pocketbooks of music lovers for fresh, new talent.

Take Hozier for instance;

 

Give me something unique, sincere, and weird, but don’t give me mimicry of the truly great originals.

The recent global slap to U2’s ego was heard around the world when Apple invaded our privacy and assumed everyone wants the same type of art imposed on our unassuming playlists.

Classics are classics because they gave a stellar performance during their five-minutes of fame on the world’s stage. Let them remain classics.

Julia Child cannot be mimicked, nor can Bob Dylan or Don Cherry. They became the royalty of their own weirdness, and we celebrated them for it.

Enough of the knock-off chefs with over done hair and glasses trying to imitate the sincerity of the proud, Michelin-starred-chefs-of-the-past .

Enough of the Nicki Minaj’s dancing around to someone else’s hit. Sweetie, we lived through Madonna’s coffee table book, your bare ass isn’t anything new.

Let us all have the courage and grace to flow from year to year being our own, unique, selves, without trying too hard to be someone, or something we’re not. That includes doing real work, reporting authentic news, and promoting fresh talent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Entertainment, Fashion, Girl Stuff, Health, Humor, Humour, Life, Relationships, Sexuality, Singles, Uncategorized, Women's Issues, Writing

Dear Princess

worldpeacepedicure“The State shall strive to promote those circumstances that will enable the successful pursuit of Gross National Happiness.” So reads the Kingdom of Buhtan’s ninth article of their Constitution.  Sounds pretty great.

Sounds like the sign that should be hanging on the door to my spa, right here in civilized Canada.

Sadly, there is no such sign, and the idea of happiness is a very selfish one inside our once-upon-a-time sacred-spa-space.

Today I made a visit to my spa. You know, that sacred space of femininity don’t you my juicy little plums? A sanctuary of women getting buffed, plucked, polished, wrapped, primped and waxed.

The spa used to be a sacred place of released sighs, silence, and minimal eye contact. It was once the modern day equivalent to the ancient sanctuary of the fabled ‘Red Tent’. Except no talking, just a few quiet whispers between BFF’s.

Alas, like most sanctuaries the spa is no longer sacred, silent or civilized.

Tonight, my visit was longer than usual. Anything over and above my routine waxing and bi-monthly pedicures is considered spa-indulgence. I’ve been in a funk, and with no one but myself to consult on such delicate matters as my own mental and emotional health, I did what we all must do; I took myself for some pampering and much-needed TLC.

My quiet time was contaminated by women who are ignorant of social grace, or just grace in general. To you my dear readers, I give my open letter to the spa Princesses.

Dear Princess,

I can only imagine how difficult it was to squeeze yourself out of your five-million dollar home and drive yourself (gasp) to have your shellac filled and your stubby toes polished. My heart goes out to you. Truly it does.

Do you realize how ridiculous you look with your oversized, designer bag filled with what appears to be very official looking ‘work’ documents sitting on your lap, as you simultaneously juggle your blinged-out cell phone in your chemical-coated talons?

That wouldn’t be so bad, if the rest of us could simply divert our eyes or even focus on the chick flick that’s playing.

But we can’t do that because you’ve got your lips, which look disturbingly like the arse-end of a baboon in heat,  buzzing a thousand miles a minute at a volume Beethoven could have heard above his 5th-freaking-Symphony!

This is a spa, not a public phone booth. You are an adult, not a pre-teen at a pajama party. Stop acting like one.

Oh, and just so you know, the women who work in the spa are people too. The rest of us don’t really give a rat’s patooty if you like your decrepit looking toenails, “Not that short.”

That you have to cover your phone and yell at the woman who is crouched at your feet, less than a metre from your face, is an indicator that you should really pull your rude and demanding head out of your tiara-lined (and likely bleached) bumhole.

Clearly money is no object, and from the look of the rock on your ring finger, hubby could afford to send staff in to help you out. But I suppose that wouldn’t give him any ‘me’ time.  That, or your ‘rock’ is actually  a little stone you picked up at the flea market along with your spray-on tan and hair dye.

Forgive me sweetpea, but maybe I’ve got you all wrong.

You’re not the cultured sophisticate you want us to believe. You’re just like us aren’t you?

Do everyone, including yourself a favour. Leave the phone and the warrior-princess bravado in your ginormous knock-off handbag. Lean back, exhale, and relax. We’re all in this together darling. No one here will let your secret out of the bag.

With much love,

Your similarly stressed out sister. XO

Please share this with your similarly fabulous gal-pals. Mwah!