I was looking seriously cute. My hair was behaving commendably, my face did not have anything obviously wrong with it, my belt was making my waist look seductive, and my new boots gave me a taller, lither look than I’m accustom to. Even my little boobs were cheerful and holding form in my bra, rather than sliding disobediently down, as is their evil habit.
“You look great!” said my husband, picking up on the whole thing. He snapped a photo on his phone. And another, and then a third.
“Hmm,” he said, “I can’t really get a good angle. Wait.” One more. “Okay,” he said, sounding satisfied. He showed me.
It was a little shocking, how wrong I’d been. My hair was stringy and frazzled at the same time. My face had aged 10 years. My waist was bulging around the belt, and my little stunted legs looked almost hilariously comical in their silly, trying-too-hard boots. Even in the “good” shot, I appeared to be lumbering off to terrorize a small village, possibly to capture a maiden or two and haul them off to my cave for supper. I’m not even going to get started on my boobs. Keep reading »
When I was in college studying in Italy, I got insanely, disgustingly skinny. My host mother fed us very little. I think she requested vegetarian students because she thought vegetarians ate less. Each night, she would stir a tablespoon of canned spaghetti sauce over a 1/2 portion of pasta, cigarette in hand, and when we were done eating (she never ate — she was the size of a mouse) she’d look at us with threatening eyes, shrug and say, “What else you want?”
I was just so happy to be there, so willing to assimilate into my new lifestyle, and always a little nervous about doing new things, that I was too timid to ask for more. After a while, I didn’t even realize I was hungry. And my stomach got smaller and smaller. I weighed about 120 pounds when I got there, a healthy amount for my 5’2″ frame. After a few months in Italy, since I didn’t have a scale, I can only guess I was down to about 90 pounds. It scares me to type that number out. So much. Keep reading »
The other day, a girl emailed me:
“I’m worried that I’m not pretty enough to get a guy. I’m single, and want a serious relationship, but sometimes I think I can’t find one because I’m not prettier.”
I wanted to exclaim, “That’s ridiculous!” But instead I thought, Well, of course you’re worried.
When I was single, I reasoned that being hotter was always better because it would give me more options. The hotter I was, the more guys would be interested in me, and the more choice I’d have in the matter. So even if I thought I looked fine, it would’ve been better to look, well, even better. (And then there is no limit—you can always be hotter, somehow.) And when I thought that I looked significantly, depressingly less than fine, I was scared, because I felt as though I might miss out on something essential.
This is not irrational. It makes sense, when we think of women’s worth as being closely matched, at least initially, with their beauty. Keep reading »
This weekend I was wandering around one of my favorite stores when I spotted a sliver of blue plaid fabric peeking out from the crowded rack of dresses. Blue is my favorite color, and plaid is my favorite pattern, so I was immediately intrigued.
When I reached into the mass of hangers and pulled out the mysterious dress, there is a good chance I audibly gasped. It was lined in silk, with a cutout in the back, a sweetheart neckline, and a flowing hourglass shape. It was surprisingly formal, but the plaid fabric made it feel playful and fun. It was unique without trying too hard. It was, quite possibly, the most beautiful dress I’d ever seen. “I would pay $200 for a dress like this,” I thought, flipping over the price tag to reveal numerous crossed-out sale prices making their way toward a grand total of $39.97. I practically skipped to the dressing room. Keep reading »
I liked being Jewish. I just hated my face. I wanted desperately to like my face better. I’d spent too many years laughing with my hand over my nose because I thought it looked even bigger when my face was happy. Stupid, right? It’s amazing, in retrospect, the things we are tormented by.
When I was a little girl, I thought I’d grow up to look like a queen—exotic, powerful, with a strong, regal profile. Queen Thayet, in Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals series, had a hawk nose and she was the most beautiful woman in the world! Why not me? I had a hawk nose! I figured I would be decent at ruling a kingdom, too.
But then when I was 14 a girl told me I needed to get my face fixed. She said she had a friend whose daddy could do it because he was a rich plastic surgeon. She said that if I went to him he’d make me pretty.
The things kids say! Keep reading »
I like to consider myself a strong and independent woman. I live alone; I take care of myself and never waiver in my beliefs. I’ve managed to convince myself that I’m fearless; I look confrontation in the eye and am without regret in my behavior – even when it isn’t the most flattering or well thought-out way to handle certain situations. I am, admittedly, a hot head.
I do not allow others to define me, put me in a box labeled by how they see me and will scream at the top of my lungs before I’ll ever let someone try to silence me. I am all these things; I have been all these things, and years from now these expectations that I have for myself will still be true. I don’t give a fuck who might be angered or won’t agree along the way. In the words of the great sailor, Popeye, “I am what I am.”
However, there were a few years in there, the dark years, that I was not all these things. When it came to Christoffer, I was a shadow. Keep reading »
Fairest shmairest! Let’s get real about beauty and body image. Mirror, Mirror is a column running every other week on The Frisky. It is written by Brooklyn-based columnist, freelance writer, and bagel enthusiast, Kate Fridkis who also writes the blog Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatthedamncake.
I lead services at a synagogue, and I need to dress up for my job. Nothing over the top—just business-y, tailored clothes paired with nice shoes. For the longest time, my mom was my workwear fashion consultant, because none of my friends were working somewhere that required a suit, and she advised that I go with padded shoulders, long skirts, stockings, and thick, low heels. So I did, because I am oblivious. Then I moved to NYC, and I was like, “Oh! THIS is how people dress.” And I bought some pencil skirts and some legitimate heels. And then those heels wore out, and then, stay with me, because this is about to get really interesting: I went to DSW.
And I tried on heels.
And I began to ask some existential questions like, “How do women wear these things and not fall down the subway steps and kill themselves?” Keep reading »
Sometimes you’re just having what Judith Viorst might call a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And despite your best attempts to self-soothe and console yourself, you just can’t deal. That’s where the smart and lovely folks at Emergency Compliment come in. Head there on a particularly shitty day, and be showered in kind words and inspiring thoughts. Like about how good your hair smells, and about how your prom date still wishes they could see you. It’s all true, you know. Plus, these emergency compliments are available as artworks, too. Buy one and display it anytime you’re feeling a tad bit insecure. [Emergency Compliment]
Fairest shmairest! Let’s get real about beauty and body image. Mirror, Mirror is a column running every other Thursday on The Frisky. It is written by Brooklyn-based columnist, freelance writer, and bagel enthusiast, Kate Fridkis who also writes the blog Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatthedamncake.
Every year for Halloween, I used to dress up as a gypsy. I was a lazy little kid, I guess, and I didn’t want to make some complicated costume. So I just put on a long skirt and a bunch of my mom’s jewelry and wrapped a bandana around my head, and people were like, “Are you a hippie?” And I was like, “Obviously not. I’m wearing a sash. Come on, people.”
One year, when I was being a gypsy and I was trick-or-treating with a pirate, a witch, and Simba in the sprawling ranch house development lower-income suburban New Jersey had conveniently provided us with, I saw my babysitter, dressed as a devil. But she didn’t look like a scary devil. She looked like some other kind of devil I’d never imagined. It was weird. I wondered if when I got to be older, as old as 14 say, if I’d wear things like that, with my belly showing even though it was cold. I wondered if Halloween was different when you were my babysitter’s age. Keep reading »