by Marion McNabb
So. My fat ass. It used to be my one curve and I didn't mind it. Truth is, it's now one of several curves and I still don't mind it. But now that it's summer the words "beach body" are swirling around like Oreo cookies in a McFlurry. Beach body. Hmmm... What in the hell is a "beach body" anyway? And why does it make me antsy in my pantsies?
Well, if you'd believe endless magazines or online shopping sites or TV shows or movies or unconscious thoughts — a beach body comes in one size and that is a 20-something, size two, tan woman with tousled hair. If smiling, — which why wouldn't she be? — with brilliant white chiclet teeth.
If the above are any indicators, these individuals (and I'm sure they are all lovely, powerful, awesome women) are the only people who are in need of swimwear. Or the counterpart to that thought is that if you believe the images that these advertisers (old, white, men in suits — What? Who said that?) are shoving down your throat, you can buy one of these happy, size two, 20-year-old beach bodies when you buy the suit. (Self-esteem costs extra).
Well... Huh... Hmmm... I don't know... Something seems a little off... This seems a bit limiting... yeah? I mean, everyone is allowed on the beach, right? Pretty sure I've seen some non-size-two types, right? Hello? Because, I'm getting the feeling like maybe there are some underrepresented types out there that might be in the market for bathing suits? You know, like the rest of the beauteous bunch that isn't, never has been, and never will have a stomach you can bounce a quarter off of.
Among others, I'm talking about some folks that might perchance enjoy sunning their superb middle-aged, hard-earned, fat asses. You know the type I'm talking about — the type who carried human beings inside of their beach body and who now actually like to build sandcastles with said human beings and find that difficult to do in a tiny thong? I mean, I am correct, right?
Women, beautiful women, come in other ages and sizes. Females who make up half of planet Earth are oftentimes not 20, right? And don't those "other" women have poesies they'd like to dip in the briny sea? Like for example my gorgeous 11-year-old daughter who is looking more and more every day like one of these charming models/actresses but definitely doesn't need to sex it up on the sand and whom is bombarded with these pictures, these movies, these TV shows.
Read more: Dear Revenge Dioramas: What Does Dressing for My Age Even Mean?
What's the subtext in these ads, these incessant pictures? Should I feel ashamed of my powerful 43-year-old, muffin-topped, slightly dimpled body? Should I compare myself to other beautiful women in a different stage of life and feel inferior or superior to them? Should I feel resentment or shame and then cover myself up and deprive myself of the joys of trolling for beach glass or bodysurfing with my boy?
Hellz to the no.
So. I said fuck it. I went on my electronic journey and after some painstaking mouse clicks I found the most glorious black one-piece with two distracting swans on the front.
When I finally received the suit in the mail a few days later I slapped that sucker on, grabbed a couple of my kids and said, "Let's do this!"
So my earlier question: What in the hell is a beach body anyway?
Answer: A beach body is a body that is on the beach.
PS: the suit! I mean, it's pretty cute. Right?
Marion McNabb plays the roles of writer, artist, mother, and couch potato-wannabe. Her work has appreared in the LA TIMES, on bathroom walls, detention slips, and other equally important places. She lives in Los Angeles with her understanding husband, three naughty children, three dogs, one cat, one fish, a bearded dragon, and a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.