“Plus” what, exactly?

ImageThe woman to the far right is Jennie Runk, pictured here in a Glamour spread circa 2009. The intarwebs have been a-buzz because she’s H&M’s new “plus size” swimwear model.

Let’s take another look. Here she is in H&M’s new swimwear shots:

ImageYes, apparently this size 12 woman is “plus-sized.” Excuse me? She looks HEALTHY. AND NORMAL. And pardon me, but I believe one finds size 12 in the “misses” (that is, the NOT plus-sized) section. Since when is this plus-sized? Certainly it’s not the size 0 we normally see, but should we really be calling this “plus”? Plus what? A normal amount of body fat and muscle?

As two women who are not size zeroes, we object. We object first because calling this woman anything other than normal is a gross misstatement. To imply that this woman is somehow heavier than she should be is nonsense. She looks beautiful as-is. I don’t just say this because when I look at most retailers’ models, I want to feed them giant Katz deli sandwiches by the fistful, but because this is the same kind of nonsensical distortion we get with the size zero model. Girls who are Ms. Runk’s size and one higher (14) are shopping in the section that advertises with size zeroes. Women who are size 16 and over are shopping for the clothes Ms. Runk is modeling. Isn’t it time we have just a bit of truth in advertising? If you’re going to sell “plus size” clothing, you need to use a plus size model. A model, that is, who wears size 16 or higher.

Additionally, there needs to be some parity across sizing. I give you the following anecdote: In December, I went looking for a New Year’s Eve dress. I headed to the predictable spots: Forever 21, H&M, etc. H&M was my first stop. My dress size, 95% of the time, is a 6 or 8. I do have a bit of trouble finding dresses that fit because I’ve got a lot of booty and not a lot of booby. But, I digress. I went looking for a black sequin number I saw on the website, and found they only had a size 4 left. I thought to myself, I might as well try this on. It’s realistically only one–maybe two–sizes below me. Maybe it will fit.

And what do you think happened?

Not only did this “dress” not fit over my ass, it hardly fit over my boobs! My tiny boobs! Most women who are my size or a bit smaller have bigger boobs than me! And, on top of that, the notion that this thing was a dress was a joke. Even if I had gotten it to begin fitting over my hips, it wouldn’t have made it much farther because there just wasn’t any more fabric! The damn thing was shirt for a 10 year old being passed off as a dress.

My call, therefore, is for parity in sizing as well as in advertising. I should be looking at models smack dab in the middle of the spectrum of “misses” (that’s a size six, by the way) and smack dab in the middle of “women’s.” And I should be able to reasonably enter a store and try on one or two sizes of clothing and find items that are at least close to fitting. I shouldn’t have to shop at store A as an 8 and then go over to store B and have to buy a 13/14. If we could actually get some real sense of what size we were and stick to it, and saw real humans modeling the clothes we’re buying, we’d significantly reduce the amount of body-hating that goes on.

CREEP Week: The Old Man (with issues)

The Mysterious Old Man

This is a man with experience.  He believes that this experience will show him the way into your pants.  He believes that he can convince you of his skills in the bedroom.  He will tell you how good he is with women, but he will not show you that he is good.  The Old Man believes he is smooth, but spends all his time talking about being smooth, rather than actually being smooth.

When you, inevitably, reject him, he will get angry and dismiss you as a bimbo or just as stupid.  He will tell you that you’re missing out.  And he’s right, you are missing out on getting to see how long it takes for Viagra to kick in.

Have you encountered such a creep?  

We have.

YOU ARE GROSS.

The Negatives: 

His name was Matt, but I called him “Tom.”  Why?  T.O.M. = Tall, Old Matt.  He was 36.  I was 21.  He was a Class A Creep.  This is a dude that was out hunting for younger ladies and came upon me at a book stand.  He claimed to know about the book I was holding, which was later revealed as a farce.  He spent the next few weeks trying to sleep with me or marry me or move to NYC with me or something else altogether.  He was weird.  He slowly revealed that he was a recovering drug addict, working part-time as a line cook, who lived with his mom and step-dad.  Oh, he was also sexist, afraid of strong women, wanted to dress me, and thought I looked like a lesbian when I wore shorts.  Also, he was 36 and he was trying to date a 21-year-old.  That’s borderline illegal.  Speaking of borderline illegal, after I dumped his old and wrinkled ass, he sort of stalked me for a few weeks.  The police were involved.

The Positives:

We never slept together.  I got rid of him.  No harm.

The Lessons:

  1. Ladies (and gentlemen), never let a man tell you how you can dress.  You wear what you want.  You do what you want.  Creeps don’t rule the world.
  2. Ladies, never let a man lie about his age and get away with it.
  3. Ladies, never let a man stalk you.  

Creep Qualifications:

  1. He lied about his age.
  2. He was seeking someone in the low twenties.
  3. He admitted to dating a 16-year-old.
  4. He wore swim trunks everywhere.
  5. He talked about how hot he was all the time.
  6. He used tanning oil.
  7. He was a straight-up scrub.
  8. “Live at home with your mama?” Oh, yes. Son, I’m talkin’ to you.
  9. “Have a car, but you’re walkin’?” Oh, yes. Son, I’m talkin’ to you.
  10. He had just been released/escaped from rehab.
  11. He ran away from rehab.
  12. He thought I looked like a lesbian when I wore shorts.
  13. He accused me of being misleading because I was wearing a dress when we met, but didn’t always wear dresses.
  14. He really wanted to have butt sex all the time.  NEVER happened, FYI.
  15. He just kept talking about butt sex.
  16. He was paranoid about abortions… with no risk of pregnancy.
  17. He was obsessed with having public… encounters… with strangers.
  18. Did I mention he lived with his mom?

Horrible Realization: I’m Too Old for Cheap Beer

When I was in college, I could drink like a fish.  I put huge douchey dudes to shame with my incredible ability to chug, handle, and hold my cheap liquor and beer.  I preferred nicer beer, even in those days, but I wasn’t about to turn down a few dozen free cans of Natty Light or PBR.  You just don’t do that in college.  You drink what you are given… You know, if it’s not from a very shady source.  Hell, even if it is shady, you might consider it if it’s totally free.  I mean, you’re supposed to be poor in college.  Why not enjoy cheap-ass bear?

College students love beer.

Everyone loves beer.

However, not everyone can drink cheap beer like 20-year-olds.

Once graduation occurs, and you move on graduate school or perhaps a real-life, grown-up job with benefits and a salary and everything, your lifestyle inherently changes.  It just does.  Life is very different after college.  Now, instead of just wanting to get drunk and maybe get a date or two out of some dude/lady, you are actually talking about relationships and even….  MARRIAGE.  Well, maybe just long-term or like… living together or something.  You’re still figuring that part out.  Anyways…

Life after graduation is quite an adjustment.  It takes some g.d. time, y’all.  And that’s okay.

There are many lessons a post-graduate must learn, and one of the first I learned…  Nah, actually the most obvious one I learned, was that I cannot drink the way and the crap I once could.  I’m a grown-up now, and Natty Lite ain’t gonna cut it.

When you start to get old, your body can’t handle the vinegar/acid/gasoline contained in cheap beer.  At least, the body can’t handle it at the same level.  When a body is young and virile, it can fight off the poisons of cheap beer – the pee in Busch Light or the dirt in Natural Ice.  When a body gets older, it starts to give up on dying and it wants to live.  Cheap beer wants to kill you and your body.  Old bodies know better.  They demand good beer.

Older bodies also don’t want you to make them suffer with yucky beer.  I learned this the hard way.

I have now learned, once and for all, that I am now too old to drink a whole bunch of crappy beer.  My body hates it.  My body wants to be a temple instead of a garbage can.  I must obey.

Until very recently, I was entirely immune to hangovers.  I had only once had a hangover, and it was after a week of no-sleep and then heavy, celebratory drinking.  You can read about a lot that night in the post, “When Kate and Patty (Almost) Got in a Bar Fight.”  With that one exception, I have been a total boss.  This has annoyed many people.  Understandably so…  Hangovers suck.  Now that I’m a little older, I’m starting to catch them.

After a night of drinking… we’ll say “some” beers, I have started to feel a little less-than-great the next morning.  Therefore, I must accept that I’m now too old for drinking cheap beer like a college-kid.

Damn.

So, Pregnancy Is Inevitable Now?

DO NOT WANT.

I’m pretty afraid of pregnancy.  I think a majority of sexually active women in their twenties are also quite afraid of babies appearing inside their bodies.  Pregnancy is a constant threat weighing on us 75-90% of the time.  The other 10-25% of the time we have cramps, so we’re pretty sure we are not pregnant in those moments.  Those are good moments.  Those are moments that remind me of freedom, that ring of choice and birth control, and that remind that I am NOT ready to be a parent.  I’m far too creeped out by pregnancy.  I mean, my god!  Think about it.  Pregnancy is terrifying and a constant threat.  It takes you over.  It wins.  It is very, very scary.

Why is pregnancy so scary?

Oh, I don’t know… Maybe because a parasite grows inside of you?  Maybe because it makes your boobs go crazy?  Maybe because it’s the thing all women fear before some crazy switch goes off in their head?  Maybe because your body will never be the same?  Maybe because if you have a baby, you ALWAYS have it?  Pregnancy is imprisonment, and it’s a lifetime sentence.  Did I mention the stuff it can do to your body?

THERE ARE EIGHT BABIES IN THERE! EIGHT!

You might be wondering what prompted such a vile spew of anti-pregnancy thoughts, the answer is fear.  Pregnancy is not inevitable for me.  I believe in birth control and I know how to use.  It’s a good thing, y’all.

Lately, a lot of people (mostly my mother and my boyfriend’s friends) have been really chatting me up about babies. The message seems to be: “Pregnancy is inevitable.” I mean, I get what they’re saying. Maybe I will eventually decide to do that to myself or to let someone do that to me.  They all seem to think that for me not to know or for me to deny wanting children is blasphemous.  It’s not.  Some women don’t have children.  Some women don’t want children.  Some women don’t want to make their own.  Maybe I just don’t know.  I do know that I want to avoid this question.

Don’t ask.  Don’t wish babies on me.  That’s weird.

I know that a lot of women talk about the magic of childbirth, but I think many women have also experienced/are currently experiencing life as someone who is deeply and violently frightened of pregnancy and children. I’m tired of people telling me that I have to have kids. I don’t know what the hell I want. I’m 23. Back off.

Why is pregnancy being discussed as an inevitability?  Or at least, why is it being discussed as a fast-approaching, oncoming train?

No.

THIS IS WHAT IT DOES TO YOUR BODY. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. OH MY GOD.

Basically, babies come from explosions in women’s bodies.  They are scary.  They shoot out of places and things go boom.  Then they cry a lot.  They cry so much.  There is so much stuff happening.  I get that babies are cute and stuff, but wowzers.  No thank you.

The babies get inside of you and then they try to get out of you.

There is just so much scary stuff about this. For example, THERE IS A HUMAN TRYING TO ESCAPE FROM THIS WOMAN’S STOMACH.

Sometimes I have dreams about babies happening, and I wake up in cold sweat.  I don’t wake up smiling and laughing and clapping my hands.  I wake up terrified.  Sometimes I have dreams about drinking and running and being awesome and single and not having babies and keeping my body the same shape.  Those are times when I wake up comforted and happy and joyous and giggly.  Good stuff.

Sometimes I think about my life in ten years.  When I think about that life including kids, it feels messy and sloppy and loud.  When I think about it without kids, it feels messy and sloppy and loud… Wait.  I guess those are the same.

Sometimes I imagine what would happen if I got preggers right now, and while it is better than a teenager getting preggers, it’s still not my favorite idea.

Also, this:

There are just so many things that can happen.  So many babies can happen.  So. Many. Babies.

10 Ways to Test Your Relationship

Relationships are hard, weird, and hopefully great.  Every relationship will be tested naturally, but if you’re looking for ways to see just how strong, or good, or whatever your relationship is, here are some ideas.

  1. Ask about porn.  When you do this, make sure to ask about the frequency, type, subject, and any other details you can imagine.  The more you push for details, the more of a test it really will be.  Once you’ve completed asking about this wonderful subject, make  certain you share your interests and preferences just as openly.
  2. Road Trip!  Being trapped in a car for hours and hours and hours is a sure-fire way to see if you secretly hate each other.  Plus, if your partner doesn’t shoot you when you scream and startle them upon seeing a spider…  You’re golden.
  3. Fart in front of your partner while maintaining eye contact.  I haven’t tried this, but it seems like it would work.
  4. Have a really awful day.  Then, hang out.  While it’s hot.  And you’re tired.  Experiment away!
  5. Go hiking.  You will quickly learn if you or your partner are whiny, lazy, weepy, weak, annoying, or cool.
  6. Debate who is weirder.  This will get ugly fast.  You will see what your partner finds odd and possibly annoying about you.  If you can withstand this, you’ll be alright.
  7. Have weird sex.  I don’t care if it’s role play, bondage, blindfolded, exhibitionist, group, or just different – try something a little out of your comfort zone together.  When you do this, you will either build trust and see that you already have a great deal.  OR it will be an awkward mess and perhaps a sign that you should avoid each other forever.  OR maybe it’s bad, but you can both laugh.  It’s a test.  You be the judge.
  8. Meet the parents.  What could be more telling than that?  Do you hate your partner’s parents?  Do they hate yours?  Are they creepy together?  Do you feel judged?  It will be awkward, but you can do it… and if you can’t, maybe you’ve failed.
  9. Meet the friends.  You will be judged so damn hard.  Get ready.  Get set.  Get to impressing.  Friends will tell it like it is.  You have to impress each other’s friends, or you will ruin each other’s lives.
  10. Throw up on your partner’s bedroom floor.  Trust me, this will test you both. Big time.  If your partner simply begins to take care of you, cleans your barf, and then refuses to sleep to maintain surveillance of you and your illness for the night, then they are awesome, and they deserve major rewards.  If they get mad at you and tell you to clean it up, they might be a real dick.  The lover that holds your hair deserve high praise and hella love.

Your Bra Size Is NOT My Concern

Sometimes, I am a loud-mouth.  Still, I have self-control, and an awareness of myself whilst in public places.  A young lady I encountered today was lacking in the whole control area, but she was clearly an expert in loud-mouthery.  Man, oh, man…  She could talk.  LOUD.  She struck me as the kind of person who updates her facebook status at least twice a day; likely about half of those statuses are vague and emotional so that people will ask what’s wrong.  Basically, I’m saying she was really darn annoying.

We were all trapped trying on clothes in the Salvation Army, when some loud-mouthed teen decided to declare her cup-size to us all.  I was not amused.  Here are a few things she exclaimed:

  • “I’M ONLY 5’1″ AND MY BOOBS ARE D-CUPS!  D-CUPS, I TELL YOU [and everyone else].”
  • “OH MY GOD, STACY.  YOU HAVE TO COME SEE HOW HILARIOUS I LOOK.  MY TITS ARE SPILLING OUT ALL OVER THE PLACE.  IT’S RIDICULOUS.”
  • “DEFINITELY WHEN I’M DONE LOSING WEIGHT, I’LL BE ABLE TO FIT IN THIS… OF COURSE, THAT’S ONLY IF MY D-CUPS SHRINK! HAHA!  THEY’RE SO BIG!”
  • “UGH! I HATE MY D-CUPS!”
  • “MY BOOBS ARE SO HUGE.  IT’S SO AWFUL HAVING BOOBS THIS BIG.”
  • “BIG BOOBS ARE THE WORST.”
  • “NO ONE MAKES CLOTHES FOR BOOBS THIS BIG!”

I have a lot of issues with this.  First of all, don’t scream about your boobies in the middle of a store.  It’s one thing to say to your companion, “This won’t fit over my boobs,” or, “Haha! Look at this.”  It’s very different to share your cup-size like a news announcement.   I promise, no one cares as much as you do.  You can share the moment with your friend, but you don’t need to share it with everyone else.  There are kids around, and old folks, and folks who just have normal levels of privacy…  They don’t care.

Also, they do make clothes for big boobs.  As a lady with boobs EVEN BIGGER than yours, I can assure you that I wear clothing that I do not make.  Therefore, some clothing has to fit over boobs of that stature.  Yes, it is harder to find button-ups, bathing suits, dresses, and tanktops, but you learn to deal.  Big boobs happen.  Big shirts happen too.  You just have to accept that you can’t fit into anything and everything… You know, like everyone else.

Another thing, most people don’t want to hear complaints about big boobs.  Big boobs get a lot of press and a lot of love.  Maybe don’t whine in front of all the A-Cups and B-Cups of the world.  They’re hatred of you and your D-Cups could penetrate your skull and crush you at any moment.  Stop complaining.  You’ll be fine.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old lady, but I just don’t want to hear about a stranger’s boobs from across the store.

Do you think Christina Hendricks screams, “HOW WILL I FIT MY CRAZY-HUGE TITTAYS IN THIS OUTFIT?!” every time she tries to buy a tanktop?  No.  She does not.  Christina Aguilera doesn’t either.  Some ladies have big boobies.  Every single person who sees a lady with big boobies will, with a doubt, notice that she has them.  Big boobs are kind of hard to miss.  Therefore, they don’t need to be announced in the Salvation Army dressing rooms.


Thighs of Glory (Read: Beyonce’s Thighs)

(Amendment at end.)

Today, I learned that I have thighs of glory.  This does not mean my thighs are skinny, because they are not and they never will be.  Skinny thighs give me the creeps.  A “gentleman” walking about downtown Ann Arbor exclaimed upon seeing my pasty, glorious thighs, that they were, in fact, “Sweet and juicy.”  My first reaction, as always, was to get incredibly angry.  I generally get hypermasculine, start swearing, and calling people dudes when I am approached in this manner.  As you might imagine, I do not like being approached by random men who want to comment on my specific body parts and their potential “uses.”  Instead, I simply laughed at these strange and utterly creepy proclamations of my thigh’s awesomeness.

I thought to myself, “Here I am, a slightly-less-fat-than-average person with well-developed leg muscles (mostly the calves), pasty skin, a partial sunburn on my forehead, jiggly thighs, and fairly low self-esteem.  Yet, this possibly drunk man has enjoyed the show (by show, I mean that I walked by in longer-than-apparently-average shorts).  Maybe, I will just laugh at this and be thankful that someone out there still understands that thighs are meant to be thick, strong, and fleshy.  Thighs should look like thighs.”

I would much rather have Beyonce’s thighs of glory (however pastier, less toned, and altogether less glorious), than skinny thighs (ahem, LeAnn Rhimes, Victoria Beckham, Kiera Knightly, almost every model, and Miley Cyrus).  I would rather look like Serena Williams than a 12-year-old.  Skinny thighs are for children.  Thick thighs are for women.

Beyonce looks amazing. Her thighs are made of glory, sunshine, dance skills, and squats.

Seriously, how great does Beyonce look?  This lady helped bring back the popularity of thicker thighs, and I am thankful.  The ladies who write this blog are fans of curves.  Curves are normal.  Beyonce is clearly above average in all ways, but I think we need to remember the glory of “sweet and juicy thighs.”

This picture is so intimidating and amazing. Serena Williams could jump over a skyscraper with those legs. She could crush anything. They are glorious.

Serena Williams could destroy us all with her thighs.  I feel pretty good about that.  She is strong and sexy; her presence in pop culture is good for women with curves.

I know that this post may seem a bit strange.  *After all, I did get inspiration from a drunken cat call.*  However, it is somewhat comforting that people are appreciating pale, fleshy thighs.  That’s all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amendment:

After reading some comments, I realize that this post needs clarification.  Thin thighs are not “unacceptable,” “horrible,” nor are they somehow inherently “bad.”  It is not bad to be a thin person.  No one is a villain simply having thin thighs.

What is bad and scary, then?

It is bad and scary to push a body to extremes.  It is bad to glorify thinness above all else.  It is bad to glorify unhealthy habits that push people into unhealthy weights.  Just as a person can be too fat, a person can be too thin.  Both are bad.  The thing, not a lot of people are striving to be fat.  A lot of people are spending their days and nights obsessing over being thin at any price.  A lot of people have blogs and tumblrs devoted to “thinspo” with all kinds of ways to get skinny.  There are too many little girls and women out there who hurt themselves to achieve a level of thin that is not healthy for them.

That said, making thin women the villain is wrong.

Thin women just so happen to be thin.  Many people want to be thin, and that’s okay.  But wanting to be thin, or wanting to have Beyonce’s thighs, at any cost… that’s scary.

Also, Beyonce is amazing.