Monday, June 06, 2005

summer lovin'...ehhh...notsamuch.

getty images

summer is here.


know how i i know?





i know i'm supposed to be happy about it. i'm supposed to welcome the sunshine and italian ices and flirty summer dresses. i'm supposed to lay (lie?) in one of the city's myriad parks cradling the latest urban fiction novel in my hands, loving the feel of the cool green grass between my toes, sipping an iced coffee from the independent coffee seller on the corner (because i am way to hip and socially conscious to buy my coffee from starbucks). i'm supposed to love the, the, the, the...

oh, screw it. can't think of anything else i'm supposed love in the summer b/c i abhor it so very much it's hard to even conjure something i theoretically could love.

the city, during the summer, is just one big convection oven, and i am a loaf of bread. i rise, i expand, i bloat. i, however, do not turn a lovely shade of golden brown. i burn. my feet, in their comfy sandals (i refuse to torture my feet in teetery manolo knock-offs), are not only calloused and cracked, they are also bright this-little-piggy-went-to-market-pink and swollen. my normally clear skin breaks out into a little rose garden of acne around my hair line. my hair is greasy but my scalp is dry. it's a great look. really. you should try it. (note: only if you want to remain dateless and have no interest in procreation.)

i have never liked the heat. i was born in michigan, land of april snowstorms, but we moved to the south when i was 8. deeeeep south. not maryland or tennessee, or any of those weenie borderline states. louisiana and south georgia - places where people keep cockroaches for pets, make sun tea in January, and go golfing on Christmas day. one would think i'd have gotten used to it. nope. nevah.

there's a saying in the south -

Pigs sweat. Gentlemen perspire. Ladies...glisten.

bullshit. i write thank you notes, adhere faithfully to the convention of RSVP, and never come to someone's house emptyhanded. i am a lady, but i sweat.

why do i hate summer so? well, beyond the basic discomfort of sweating like a stuck pig, there's the obvious. i don't like my body so much, and here i am having to show it. in summer attire - spaghetti-strapped tank tops, mini-skirts, shorts - it's all just out there for everyone to see. the imperfectness of it all. the ample arm. the sturdy leg. the little roll of fat between my arm and breast.

but it's also something more than that...


buried my...bosom.

ja. zee breasts.

i am 100% woh-man. i've got breasts, i've got a bootie, and during the summer, there just ain't no getting around things that during the winter months are shrouded and safe beneath comfy cableknit sweaters and courduroys, are now jiggling about and subject to criticizing glances from other women, hoops and hollers from caddish young boys, groping on the subway, harassment by homeless men.

breasts and bootie and being woh-man are beautiful things, but they are, sometimes, more trouble than they are worth.

this is getting a little psychotherapy session on you, but one of the many reasons women become anorexic is to keep themselves safe by rendering themselves asexual. when you're anorexic, you have little or no breasts, you aren't menstruating, your libido weakens, you oftentimes lose your hair. you lose, by most conventional standards, your womanliness, and regain your childlike body. this is why many women who have been sexually molested during their childhoods often suffer from anorexia or obesity. either way, they've rendered themselves unattractive, thereby safe from unwanted intimacy or advances. (i should note, for any relatives or close friends that might be reading this, do not panic: i was not a victim of molestation. i'm merely educating here...i have my own lovely issues which, i am sure, if you stick around long enough, i will eventually delve into on this blog. stay tuned.)

so, for the past few years...after oodles of therapy, a brief stint on birth control to regulate my menses (made me CRAAAAZY), and a couple of almost relapses, i've finally got a healthy [i.e. sexual (gasp!)] woman's body back, but it's still a challenge - learning to deal with The Woman that comes with The Healthy.

i just have to remind myself that it's practice. my best friend r. told me when i started dating again and felt the need to make every date - The Date:

"Think of it as practice, M. It's just practice."

god, so true. it's all just practice. life. dating. wearing that 100% cotton top that allows your decolletage to peek out and bask in the summer sun, even if it's just a leeeeeeeetle bit.

my body isn't dirty or fat or scandalous because it elicits rude comments from less-than-gentlemanly menfolk. it just means they're assholes. the same goes for anyone who might indicate that your body is less than holy, less than gorgeous, and less that woh-man all rolled up into one. the truth is, most of those fuckers are just intimidated. intimidated by the glorious mystery of our womanly form. that which they do not understand, they fear. (someone important said that...who? oh crikey, don't have the energy to google it.)

so...i'm practicing this summer. practicing being an unashamed healthy woman, and letting people see (if only a leeeeetle bit for now) my womanliness. i still hate the summer. you won't catch me trotting about central park in my bikini and slathering on baby oil. i still worship my air conditioner and will continue to wear spf 45 even on cloudy days, but i'm trying to learn to love it (and my body) a little more. i guess i'd better seeing as how it comes back around every year, dammit.


Anonymous said...

i'm right there w/ya sista! my belly-button even made a sweat mark on my shirt yesterday after spending 5 minutes in the late afternoon standing outside in a parking lot where i'd run into friends. i was holding my drink against my belly and i looked down and there was a little circle of sweat on my shirt. bring on the snow!!! i'm melting down here. love, a

karma said...

i highly recommend knitting in a shady backyard all day - that's what i did.