Learning to Accept Your (My) Thighs

Let me start by saying: I used to have great legs! Not movie star great. Not model great. Not perfect. Ok, now it sounds like my legs weren’t as great as I thought they were. But I guess now I’m judging my past legs by today’s standards. The dreaded thigh gap. I remember never having thigh gap. I recall in the old days, when we used to cut off the legs of our jeans to make cutoffs instead of paying the big bucks for already cut jeans, that if I cut the jeans too short, they would ride up and I’d have to keep pulling them down. That was annoying.

You might wonder why I even say I had great legs when I am complaining that I had to pull down my cutoffs. Because legs are more than just thighs. There are knees, calves, ankles. Those parts were perfect. Yes. I had great knees and calves. I could wear shorts. I could wear short skirts. I learned to draw attention to my good parts and not focus on my thighs.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that as I age, so do my thighs. The cellulite that used to be limited to the top of the thighs, has migrated. I guess that’s why women wear their hems longer as they age. To cover up those telltale age giveaways. But what about in a bathing suit? Men have it easy. Except for those Speedo-wearing exhibitionists, most men wear bathing trunks that cover their legs. Even though their problem areas are their bellies.

Women’s bathing suit ads tout the miracle fabric that hides the tummy, reduces the larger breast, lends support, pushes up, holds in…. The miracle bathing suits do everything but hide the thighs. Yes, I bought the little skirt to wear over my suit. It worked for a few years, covering up the top of my thighs. But now the skirt isn’t long enough. My thigh bumps, dimples, cellulite, has worked its way down to my knees. Although I wear a cute sarong for walking along the beach, nothing will adequately cover up my thighs during that long walk from the lounge chair to the pool. During the stretch from sand to ocean.

What do I do? I paid for my cruise and I wanted to use the pool. Yes, I wanted to get my money’s worth and enjoy the water free of fear that people are pointing at my legs in horror. Feeling sorry for me. Wondering at what point my legs went downhill, hoping, praying that doesn’t happen to them.

As I lay on my lounge chair, sunglasses firmly in place, I opened my eyes and looked at the other sunbathers. The other swimmers. Women, ages twenty through eighty, paraded past me, not thinking for a moment that I might be staring at their legs. Admiring, criticizing, judging. Actually, comparing. I learned something very interesting. Very few women had perfect legs. Almost none.

Those skinny twenty-somethings, even those who looked great in skimpy bikinis, very few had thigh gap. And they looked fabulous. There were old women in dress-like suits sunning themselves with their feet in the water. There were fat women in two-pieces and skinny women not covering up their stretch marks. There were surgically-enhanced women and women who looked like they left their boobs at home. There were short women, tall women, old women and young women with cellulite. There were young women with varicose veins, old women with bulging knots. spider veins, lumpy legs, loose skin and scars. There were women in crutches, women in wheelchairs and even an aging tan-mom who could have been anywhere from 40-90 years old the way her skin had leathered from too much sun.

There was one thing I noticed that most of these women had in common. They didn’t seem to care how they looked as they strutted their stuff around the pool. And no one else cared. Real life doesn’t resemble those old Love Boat shows and has nothing to do with an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Real life is real people being themselves. Looking real. And not caring what other people think. After I realized that there will always be people who look better and those who look worse then me, and that, more then not, most people’s thighs looked like mine, or would eventually look like mine, I tossed the skirt. I took the long walk from lounge chair to pool, thighs exposed for the world to see. And the world did not end. No one even looked at my thighs. No one cared. Who knows? Maybe if they did look, they would be staring at my double DD’s. Yes, I do have something other women envy. And that’s another thing I complain about. While there are many women who want implants, I would love a reduction.

Are we ever happy with our looks?

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