As women age, do we grow into our own skin? If we’re lucky we do.
I remember my 20- and 30- something selves frequently wishing I had abs of steel or less cellulite. (Of course, “cottage cheese” thighs are hard to tone when their owner loves chili cheese fries.)
I’ve long wondered what I want more: An enjoyable life or a enviable life? Do I want to be the skinny bitch who incites jealousy? Or do I want to partake of life’s caloric pleasures? Frankly, this is a no brainer; I’m not going to Paris without sampling their croissants or attending a Dodgers’ game and not having a Dodger dog. Hell, I’m not even going more than a night or two without imbibing my beloved glass of wine.
And you want to know the really interesting part? A recent study agrees with me. It turns out that, last fall, a British retailer released results of a study stating that women who wear a size 16 are the happiest and most comfortable in their own skin. (This thrilled me to no end until I realized that a British size 16 is an American size 12; I chose to wave my Union Jack and continue ingesting my Thin Mints and Chardonnay.)
The bottom line is that the research found three-quarters of larger women are happy with their appearance, nearly twice as many as those who are size 6 (an American size 2). Well, no wonder, those girls are hungry! (That’s why they’re called skinny bitches…)
So, here’s to feeling happy — and, yes, healthy — in our own skin. Now, pass the gravy…
This holiday season I have done my best impersonation of a large brown bear, that is if a large brown bear were to stay inside wearing only stretchy pajamas or sweat pants… and eat.
I realized how much winter weight I had gained when I tried to dress up for our New Year’s Eve outing and could not fit into my nice pants. Finally, I squeezed into my fattest pair of fat jeans (made roomier because I had worn them several times and not washed them; in this, my slothfulness paid off). But we were going to a nice restaurant, so I had to disguise my jeans with a stylish shirt. The shirt I chose fit well the last time I wore it — in 2007. It wasn’t until we were at the restaurant that I realized I had to take short gasps of breath because a deep intake of air kept forcing open my shirt’s middle button.
Fortunately, this discomfort did not hinder my enjoyment of a five-star, four-course meal.
However, at the concert we attended after dinner, I started fidgeting in my chair. My XL-sized shirt felt like a child’s small. Between measured breaths, I cursed the shoddiness of workmanship these days. How could my blouse have shrunk this much?
Then it hit me: I had never washed my shirt. Not once.
I couldn’t blame some poor garment worker for my discomfort. The only person to blame was the one sitting in her dirty fat jeans and straining to keep her shirt buttons from exposing the twins.
God help me, I have become a bear. And not an athletic one from Chicago or even a fabulous one from San Francisco.
So Happy Effing New Year, everybody. As for me: I’m going to sleep until it’s 2015.
Bitty and I are upstanding members of society. Bitty is a social worker. I…well, I’m a good for nothing actor and writer, but Bitty’s kind deeds make up for me.
We have a dog that barks occasionally. At the mailman, the gardeners, the solicitors. We like that his bark scares off criminals who have been increasingly displaced and wandering our neighborhood. We keep the dog locked in a dog run on the far side of the house when we are away from home, and even bought a bark collar. Perhaps you read this previous post written by none other than Jack T. Dog.
But if you ask our neighbors (who are not even directly behind us), you’d think we’d killed somebody. Actually, given the NRA sticker on the neighbor’s truck, a trifling little murder might be forgiven.
But not letting an old dog bark a few times.
The wife is into zen. You know, New Age spiritualism and thoughtfulness. She practices in her meditation room with all the windows open. (Let me take this moment to mention that all the windows are open in the house. All. The. Time.)
Now, look, I’m all for being spiritual and zen and thoughtful. Be a Buddist, be a Krisha, be a Christian, whatever floats your boat. Be whatever it takes to be more relaxed and enlightened.
But this situation reminds me of a friend who a dozen years ago was viewing open houses in search of one to buy. After touring a house in which every inch of every wall was covered with plaques effusing morals and righteousness and goodness, this friend said to me, “If you need remind yourself — on every surface of your house — to be a decent person, then what kind of person are you really?”
Uh, yep. If you need to work so hard to be zen, or thoughtful, or spiritual that you can’t tolerate your neighbors or their occasionally barking dog, then what kind of person are you? One that should get a clue and close your damn windows. We’ve comprised (dog collar, locked dog run). You can do the same.
Thank you for this very cathartic rant. I feel better after practicing my religion — writing.
I could probably drum up some metaphors about how the dog enduring a bath is a lot like how we humans endure so many unpleasantries in life, but, heck, I’m just gonna show you these videos for one reason: they’re funny. And kind of endearing. Because as much as Jack T. Dog does hate getting a bath, he sucks it up and takes it. Why? He chooses not to bite the hand that feeds him. So, ha, I guess I made metaphorical sense out of it after all.
Words that could apply to many things in life — a romance, a job, a TV show. Okay, that last one may seem weird, but, as an actor, it is a frequent occurrence for me.
Say, I love a show with a certain serial killing anti-hero that just ended its run, but for years I cannot get into the casting office no matter how many George Washingtons I throw their way. I start to hate the show. I stop watching it, can’t watch it because it pains me; literally, hurts me (Stella?!? Am I being melodramatic enough?). Then, suddenly, in season seven, yours truly finally bullies her way in… and books a job. Guess what is quickly my favorite television show again? Yep, Dexter.
Or there’s a comedy on the National Broadcasting Network with a fair-haired former Saturday Night Live funny lady, but I’m certain that I’ll never be called to casting, much less reach that heady zenith of booking a role. So I stop watching the show, grumbling that it’s the cool kid’s birthday party I’ll never be invited to. But a couple of months ago, I schlep down to Mid-Wilshire on a Friday morning and by the next Tuesday afternoon, I am shooting a scene with Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation.
My point? As Sting once sang, ”If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.” Sting’s lyrics were inspired by Richard Bach’s “If you love something, set it free; if it comes backs it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”
In other words, let it go — whatever it is: job, first love, friendship. If it is meant to be, it will come back to you.
I never had what I would call “formal” acting training, but, while living in New York City, I did take classes at various renowned studios — Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Herbert Berghof.
Some of these classes reminded me more than a little of the type of acting class noted in the song “Nothing” from Chorus Line where the teacher implores his students to improvise and “Be a table, be a sports car, an ice-cream cone.” After first feeling degraded, the student ends up feeling “this course is nothing.”
I remember in one particular class at the Strasberg Studios, we each had to relax by writhing in a metal fold-out chair. We would jut out our limbs and kick and punch, all in an effort to loosen up our instruments — our bodies. I felt like a spaz. Then the teacher would walk around and “test” how relaxed we were. She would lift an arm and, if adequately loosen up, said arm would twist like a barely-filled sand bag.
I was always as nimble as rebar. We were also to relax our face and loosen up that most important conduit to communication — the mouth. But every time the teacher checked the flexibility of my jaw, working it from side to side then up and down, I heard, “Zat is ze tightest jaw I ever felt. Zhou are not relaxed at all. Zhou will never be an actress.”
Just like in “Nothing,” I felt like a failure. But I also thought, this is crap.
And, as I prepare to watch myself in a scene with Amy Poehler on the premiere of Parks and Recreation this week, I feel comforted in having the last laugh. With my tight-jaw and unlimber body, guess who (Zhou?) is an actress after all.
I have never been elegant and graceful. In fact, I am an outright klutz.
I spill things, I trip over my feet, I slouch.
My future self?
I’ve come to terms with the klutz-orama that is me. But I fear that my life-long slouching is leading to a physical atrocity.
I am getting a neck hump.
In my defense, part of my stoop must be attributed to these damn 40 double D’s I’ve carried around all my life. Too bad I couldn’t sell them to one of those little bitty titties looking for an enhancement.
Just call me the Hunchback of Southern California…