I drank six bottle of champagne and twenty some odd of beer over the course of the weekend which would have made it a raucous celebration were they not all alcohol free. Did I miss the booze? I’d like to say ‘no’ but the truth is that I did. I was on my holidays and celebrating my anniversary, my hubby was drinking and I wasn’t. I felt, at times, that I was detracting from his fun and the distraction that alcohol offers from my woes was missing.
I felt cripplingly insecure on the beach. I carried towels and books in such a way as to cover as much of my body as possible. My husband tried to assuage my insecurities my telling me that no one cares what I look like, he pointed out men with less than perfect bodies and asked me if I thought they cared about my opinion on their body. Of course they didn’t. All that seemed to do was reinforce the notion that I don’t look good. ‘Yeah, you look bad, but so do all these others and no one cares.’
The thing is that women are brought up believing that people care. What you look like, how you wear your clothes, the image you present on the beach, are all of vital importance when you’re a girl. Girls are supposed to be pretty. Telling us that no one’s looking and no one cares just doesn’t ring true, of course they’re looking and of course they’re judging, or why else do I need to bother with nail varnish, or make-up or straighteners?
As much as we tell ourselves that it only matters what our partners think, we’re not really taught to believe it. It matters what the world thinks and the world is always telling us that it has an opinion. We are scrutinised and found wanting, we are expected to know exactly how flawed we are and be working to rectify or disguise our flaws, we are looked at with accusing eyes if we fail to recognise how far we fall beneath the ideal. Confidence is not desired in women, women should anxiously walk the tight rope between not trying hard enough and being too overtly equal, women should seek to enhance what they have with lotions and potions in fancy bottles. Working to be beautiful is part of a woman’s place in the world. To do less is regarded as either arrogance or insecure abdication of feminine duty in terror of the fact that none of our efforts are meaningful.
We try to rebel, to sock it to the man. We try to show the world what we look like without the slap and the hairspray, what bodies look like without a personal trainer or a personal chef or a photoshop artist and we’re accused of attention seeking. We get so wound in how unattractive we are that we stop feeling sexy or sexual and then we’re mocked for not being enthusiastic in bed. But it’s all such a surprise, we’re so unprepared. Why would you want this? This isn’t what men want.
And on it goes. The spiralling down to a shell of unattractive flabby womanhood, in our minds, long before our bodies take the dip. And you wonder why we don’t ‘make an effort’. Why we don’t put on something ‘feminine’. Well that’s why. Because what’s the point? We lost our understanding of it somewhere around the time it stopped being fun and we began to look in the mirror and see a painted monstrosity where a romantic heroine was supposed to be.
Apart from that, it was really good. The weather was perfect. I just wish that heat didn’t go with stripping off.