all of the selves we Have ever been
This pandemic is turning into an anatomy class.
Remote learning--adult version.
It started with two-for-one meat sales. Last week’s lesson was on butts. Which turned out to be shoulders.
Today’s class is on legs. More precisely, thighs. And I haven’t seen this many thighs since 1965 when my parents took me to watch the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall.
Unfortunately, the thighs before me are all skin and bones. Intervention is needed. I call on the sharp and trusty tomato knife in the back row of my utensil drawer.
As I work to de-skin and de-bone the chicken, my hands and the knife become coated in a thin layer of fat. Everything is slippery. I hope that I will not end up an amputee. The loss of some fingers would obliterate any financial gains from the two-for-one sale and certainly lead to a failing grade.
My ancient cavewoman instinct is to grab the meat in my bare hands and tear it apart. I wrestle with this call of the wild and quickly triumph over my primitive urge. Though I am a modern, civilized, and educated woman, I only have so much self-control, and thus I limit myself to preparing just one package of thighs per day.
As I work, I have a bird’s eye view of the upper leg, its structure and its strength. I picture a live hen--short, pencil-thin lower legs and chubby thighs, and I wonder: do chickens have knees? Is any part of a chicken’s leg called a calf? And why are poultry legs called drumsticks? The barnyard is rife for body image issues!
This deep thinking leads me to ponder the preoccupation human females have with their own thighs. To understand that anatomy angst requires history, not science.
I am pretty sure it all started with mini-skirts way back in the 1960s. Once hemlines began rising, a woman could no longer hide her long-leg girdle, garter belt, or her hamstrings. Pantyhose entered the picture, a temporary relief from the ties that bind, but they did little to conceal. The thighs were at constant risk of exposure. There would be no more bending at the waist. It was all knee action. If a woman forgot herself, it was gluteus maximus!
If a really groovy gal decided to pair a mini skirt with some thigh high boots, she was trapped in a virtual body cast. A woman dressed in that combo could not bend at the waist or the knees. So, she might as well dance. Maybe she could get away with the Twist, Mashed Potato, Hitch Hike, or a cautious Funky Chicken. Crouching for the Monkey, or raising arms overhead for the Swim might put her moon as well as her thighs on display. You don’t have to be an astronomer to get the picture.
Decades later, and just as women’s clothes were evolving into styles more comfortable and practical than the mini-dress, leggings hit the market followed quickly by their evil stepsisters, jeggings. To borrow one of my mother’s famous and colorful sayings, if you want to look like a stuffed sausage, try a pair. To say that leggings or jeggings cover your thighs is a mere legal technicality. If a woman wearing leggings has cellulite, we’ll know. Just sayin’…
Now the evil sisters, leggings and jeggings, don’t just have it out for women, they like to trick their boyfriends by asking the loaded question, “Do I look fat in these?” Face it guys, you might as well drink poison. Perhaps that is what really happened to Romeo. Back in the days when women were obsessed with their waistlines and tight corsets, Juliet probably asked her beau, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Romeo took the bait. Juliet passed out from outrage and humiliation, and Romeo had no choice but to kill himself. Sorry, I’ve digressed from science to history to astronomy, and now we are talking Shakespeare. Meat sales really are an education!
Somewhere between mini-skirts and leggings, there were tortuous exercises to achieve toned thighs. I don’t believe that is really possible, but women made Suzanne Somers rich by purchasing the Thigh Master. Or maybe it was the women’s husbands who were buying up the videos of Suzanne Somers doing the Thigh Master…That progressed to an obsession with the width of a woman’s thigh gap. Again, is a thigh gap even possible?
But that is all to be dissected in the advanced class. I am still in Anatomy 101 and trying to find the answers to a few more basic questions: Why is a shoulder called a butt? And a leg called a drumstick? Do chickens have knees? And once I’ve mastered thighs, what’s next in the two-for-one meat aisle?