Saturday, April 23, 2016

Body Language

Body awareness is a life skill. If you'd told me a year ago I'd be out in public in bell bottoms, I'd have mocked you.

But why shouldn't I wear the grooviest of pants to dinner and a play with friends? No good reason, although if that's the case, why am I just now doing it after years of avoiding pants? And why did I put off having someone tell me that my hips looked good in pants?

Words: the intelligent woman's aphrodisiac.

You know what, somebody probably did tell me and I didn't believe them because body awareness takes time. Years of self-delusion. At dinner at Belmont Food Shop tonight, three women discussed how as young women, we'd followed the fickle thread of fashion rather than our particular body contours.

Big mistake.

I'm quite aware of my body's shortcomings at this stage and it's easy enough to dress to accentuate strengths rather than genetic shortcomings. Fashion, we finally learn, is what looks best on each of us, which is why I keep a needle and thread handy so I can hem every skirt and dress that crosses my path. empire waist dresses hide myriad body shortcomings.

Body awareness means sipping Gamay and tucking into a fabulous meal that begins with duck hearts confit ("The kitchen knows you like confit," I'm told. Who doesn't like meat cooked in its own fat? is what I want to know) and warm gougeres right out of the oven without a moment's thought to should I or shouldn't I?

It means feeling like I've hit the jackpot when my virtuous asparagus salad shows up with three rounds of baked Ricotta singing with lemon, a dish boasting splendid spring colors, sublimely complementary flavors and a textural bonanza (Beau is immediately as impressed as I am).

That awareness, though, extends to fullness, so I finish only most of my flounder with pea shoots and Surry sausage because I know I have the most obscene dessert possible - dark chocolate silk pie - en route.

Sure, I'm a little full by the time we depart for the theater, but I also hoofed it seven miles today with Phoenix, so I'm not worried about it.

Watching 5th Wall and Richmond Triangle Players' production of "Body Awareness" tonight, I am reminded that with age comes acceptance.

The middle-aged character Joyce decides to have a nude photograph of herself taken by a noted artist against the wishes of her partner. Would she have done the same at 25? Doubtful, because she would have fixated on what was wrong with her body, rather than celebrating what was right about it.

A few years ago, I interviewed a woman who was painting a series of nudes of middle-aged women for a show of nothing but them. Intrigued by the concept, I told her to please call me if she ever ran out of models. She hasn't, but I'd love to think that someday she might. A photographer friend offered to capture my well-seasoned frame any time I was ready.

I'm about there. I know my body doesn't look like it once did. To be fair, though, it didn't used to walk as fast or as far, nor was it as strong.

And wearing bell bottoms tonight, much to the shock and delight of friends, yet netting compliments from strangers?

One small step in espadrilles and one giant step for hip acceptance.


  1. Jeans, jewelry and now bell bottoms. Is a cell phone next? I'd love to hear about your epiphany.

  2. Cell phone? Never! Maybe I just want to broaden my horizons and see what I'm capable of. You think?