Friday, June 25, 2010

What Does Hollywood Have to do with Norman, Oklahoma?

I'm working on a research article about teaching in prison. Spent the afternoon puttering around OU and talking to my qualitative research professor. She's pretty amazing, having taught at the university for 27 years, written several books and generally been a successful woman despite what she called her resistance to the soriority world by becoming a GDL during her first year in college. GDL means Goddamnliberal. And snubbing her affluent roots, turning her back on the small Oklahoma high society cost her dearly in terms of friendships and support, but paid off in the long run for her sanity and self-actualization.

I had to go get a transcript too, so I went to the records office. I was third in line, and as soon as the guy in front of me left, the blonde haired, blue-eyed young lady with very white teeth turned to the carbon copy of herself at the next window and said: "Did you see that cute guy that was just in here? He was totally checking me out. I looked at the carbon copy's customer. She looked at me. We shared this "do they realize we can hear them?" moment- silently- because they could hear us too. The records clerk went on to talk about the guy for another 30 seconds, ignoring me standing right in front of her, the IT guy standing behind her waiting to fix her computer, and apparently, the rest of the world.

A word to the wise: be careful about what you say in public. You never know when it will end up in someone's blog.

It was a long hot day, and I needed to cool off. I'd ridden my little 150cc red, zebra-striped scooter all over in the heat. So I grabbed Luke and we went to the OU pool to jump in the water and swim laps in the sun. Very refreshing. Fun. And too much sun. Too much heat. By the time we got home, I had a little heat exhaustion. Had to drink fluids and nap for about half an hour. I was cranky for the rest of the day.

I noticed the people at the pool, in all stages of life and in all sorts and sizes and shapes of bodies. An older man in medium shape wore long swim trunks that covered from his waist to the knees. They were speedo trunks because he was there to exercise, swim laps and have a low-impact work out. I've seen men with far heavier, decrepit bodies wear far less (think thong speedo) out there working it, but thankfully not today. I saw a couple of moms with typical mom bodies, and they had some cellulite. Still attractive, I say, even if my younger self would object and argue to hide that stuff. I think after the reality of turning 30, just being grateful that all the body parts still work (me, I've got a few physical challenges) and that you can have fun in the sun is more important than the mythological Hollywood image forced upon American women.

Speaking of Hollywood, there was a young woman, maybe 18. She was very thin, and wearing the latest in gold two-piece attire. She was so skinny that her vertebrae stuck out. She weighed may 90 pounds. Lots of women are naturally that thin, but her highly blonded hair was also dull and her entire aspect was one of being simultaneously angry, proud and not wanting to be looked at, despite her repeated walking to and fro around the pool for no apparent reason. It made me feel sad and I hope that she doesn't suffer from an eating disorder the way that 40% of college women do.

Peaches Geldorf is sort of a normal sized woman. She's got some curves and a little going on in the rump section. An English subject, she was visiting in LA and hanging out by the pool, when photos were taken (unflattering ones, of course) and printed in the rags. London's Daily Mail printed some of the photos- both flattering and unflattering- and defended her for her resistance to "beauty" standards- and commended her on her beautiful body and healthy self-image. I've posted a photo so you can judge for yourself.

Yesterday I wore a two-piece swimsuit. For a long time I wouldn't go out in public wearing shorts or a swimsuit or anything that wasn't very flattering. I'm still a little that way. I like to cover things up. But now I do it because something hidden is more tantalizing that just putting things out for the world to see. And I've got some good stuff going on. It's just not for public consumption.

So what did we do? Went to Tarahumaras for Mexican food. And later, much later because we were so stuffed, we went to Sonic for ice cream.


  1. That 40% statistic you mentioned, it was especially bad at Baylor. While I was there they, quite literally, had to replace the sewage pipes in two female dorms because of how the stomach acid was causing the pipes to erode and begin to leak. I found out one of the things RAs were trained to do was if they had a reason to be in someone's dorm, to ... See Moreglance at their medicine cabinet if it was open, and notice any blunted instruments. The most common thing was an old toothbrush, and they'd be worn down by the constant interaction with stomach acid on a daily basis.

    I've always had a problem being overweight, so Baylor was a tough environment to get by in, especially when I took a class on "weight management" and the vast majority of the class was girls that would make Kate Moss look big. When it was warm, and lets face it Baylor is in the middle of Texas so it never gets all that cold, seeing girls walk around in low cut tops with their vertebrae sticking out was practically normal. The "bear trail" track that goes around the school is more commonly known as the "meat trail" according to the sororities at the school (or so I was told) because guys would put on some baby oil and then go run, and the women would do the same. It not only made you look good, but it made you look like you were really working out. I found it all incredibly fascinating, but almost all of that was an alien world to me, like I was looking at it through the lens of a microscope far removed. I just never bothered trying to be social with people that made that their primary focus. As an example, if I tried to bring up something about Christopher Hitchens it was really a waste of time if they knew who he was, not just because he was a liberal (which was bad), but because he was fat. Fat people, you see, can never be right.

    Then again, I've never really been a "fun in the sun" type unless it's the ocean and I'm off snorkeling, but I haven't done that in years.

  2. Sonic? Ice cream? Wow, the heat must really be getting to you.