Spring: The Perfect Figure

The author, Freshman year (age 14)
Beatle haircut

When I was just coming of age – about age 12 – The Aspirant Perfect Figure consisted of hourglass dimensions, the Jayne Mansfield (40-21-35) and the Marilyn Monroe (36-24-34) configurations.
36-24-36 was considered the gold standard, The Perfect Figure – never mind that few women ever reach those exact numbers.
As I was bursting into bloom, it seemed that my body could be well on its way to achieving near perfection.
I was slightly bigger than perfection, more like 38-27-40, but with some dieting – by now I was a veteran of the dieting wars – I could do it!
My grandmother Mo pooh poohed my 36-24-36 goal: “You’re a big-boned girl! You’ll never be a Marilyn Monroe.”
Actually, I wasn’t big-boned at all back then, and I’m not now; even when my weight is up, I enjoy skinny wrists and ankles.
When you can find it, a small skeletal frame.
In my fat days, whenever someone commented on my skinny wrists, I used to joke, “It’s the only skinny part of me.”
Ha, ha.
Okay, not so funny.
Once, in high school, I did achieve a near-perfect figure, something like 37-25-38 – not too shabby, although I had achieved it by fasting for three days.
But after passing out in front of the Dean of Woman, I, pale as a sheet, was sent home from school by the alarmed nun.
Mo put the kibosh on further fasting and made me eat a bowl of Chicken Noodle soup in front of her, scolding me the entire time about my foolish ways.
Although, in the mid-1960’s, Anorexia Nervosa was largely undefined in the popular culture, Mo was having none of that.
I was tired of fasting anyway and embarked on a full-onslaught binge. Even then, my body had a way of exacting its revenge when I dared to abuse it with silly and dangerous diets.
So my body returned to its slightly chunky state, and I might have been satisfied at that, except…
In 1966, Twiggy (30-23-33) and Carnaby Street burst onto the scene, blowing me, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe, already dead by then, out of any hope for perfection.
Suddenly, my aspirant perfect figure was considered passé, the straight up-and-down boy figure and big doe eyes the new perfect.
Always a girl out of her time.
As I have grown older, my body has assumed more of the apple shape, albeit still slightly buxom: my hips and butt became smaller, my legs stickier, my waist bigger.
My fat measurements are unknown – what fat woman goes anywhere near a tape measure when she weighs nearly 200 pounds?
I would guess something like 44-40-45.
But as of this writing – keeping in mind that I’m subject to turning fat at a moment’s notice – I am 38-34-37.5.
Once again out of fashion step.
In 2017, young women are getting buttock and hip enhancements – a jaw dropper for a woman who has spent her entire adult life in search of the minimalist butt.
No, I wouldn’t even think of going there.
I would never seek out such a voluptuous keister, at least with a straight face.
In the end, though, none of it will matter, so I might as well rearrange my attitude and stop trying to sculpt my body into current fashion.
After all, my descendants won’t cluck their tongues and say, “My great great great great grandmother had a 34-inch waist” or “She weighed 200 pounds” or “She lost a lot of weight in 2016.”
In fact, they won’t think of me at all – unless I accomplish something truly memorable.
I’d better get to work on that.

First, make the bed…


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