After you hit 40, the term `changing body’ takes on a whole new meaning
Marianne came bursting through the front door of my house, very obviously upset about something.
“Look at me,” she demanded. “Do I look different to you?”
I glanced up from where I was sitting at the kitchen table.
“Uhhh . you colored your hair?” I guessed.
“No, that’s not it,” she insisted. “Does anything else look different about me?”
She turned around, and I shook my head.
Marianne sat down dejectedly.
“You’re not going to believe this,” she said. “I just got weighed at the doctor’s office – I’ve gained seven pounds . seven whole POUNDS!”
If it were anyone else, I would feel their pain.
“Oh noooo,” I said, putting my hand over my mouth and feigning shock. “So that puts you at, what … 109? You beast!”
“Shut up,” Marianne said, standing up again and lifting her shirt. “See, look! These jeans are so tight I can barely button them! And I’ve been wearing these pants for YEARS!”
I shook my head.
“Geez, you’re going to have bite the bullet and move up to a size 2,” I suggested, looking at my petite friend. “So, how’d the doctor’s visit go, anyway?”
Marianne rolled her eyes. It was kind of a stupid question since everyone knows a woman’s yearly “female” exam is typically about as much fun as having gum flap surgery. .
“Well, all they could do was talk about how I was now in my forties and that my body is `changing,'” she said with disdain. “The nurse informed me that weight gain is a natural occurrence with age and even had the audacity to mention …”
Marianne looked around to make sure we were alone and no one could hear.
“… premenopausal symptoms.”
This obviously did not sit well with a woman who stopped counting birthdays years ago and refuses to acknowledge in public that she is over 24. .
She then pulled a bunch of pamphlets out of her purse which the doctor had given her, obviously to provide some enlightenment about her “changing body.”
“Whoa, I haven’t seen changing body booklets since I was 12,” I said as I looked them over. “But back then they were all about our newly blossoming bodies – not hot flashes, bloating, depression and fatigue. .”
“Yeah, well I don’t have any of those symptoms,” Marianne denied as she tried to discreetly undo the top button of her too-tight jeans so that she could, like, breathe. “And I REFUSE to let my body change.”
But like it or not, it seems for some reason “40s” seems to be the magical age when the body mysteriously begins to betray its owner.
Not long ago I was baking in the kitchen and looked at the side of the cake box to follow the directions.
But I couldn’t read them.
I held the box close. . I held the box back … and then I got mad.
“Why do they make the print so damn SMALL?” I yelled out to husband-head. “Am I supposed to have bionic vision or something?”
Husband-head was quiet and then I heard him get up and rummage around in the next room. When he returned to the kitchen, he tentatively held out his hand.
“Maybe these will help,” he offered, holding back a laugh.
He was holding a pair of cheap, dime-store, little-old-lady magnifying glasses that someone had given me as a gag gift for my 40th birthday. .
I grabbed the glasses and put them on and then looked at the box and – voila, I could read the print.
“Don’t you DARE ever tell anyone I put these on and actually used them,” I warned husband-head with a hiss.
About a week later Marianne called, again sounding distressed.
“Have you noticed your hair getting thinner?…”
Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent.
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