Thursday, June 26, 2008

Girl Talk (And A New Game!)

A recent email exchange between myself and my friend Lucy:

Lucy: I just bought some yogurt-covered coconut clusters, thinking they sound fairly healthy... only to find the main ingredient is chocolate... and they're amazing. Damn you, diet! No wheat in them, though. I win!

Léonie: My "diet" is also going badly. Food-wise I'm doing...ok... but I think drinking 5 glasses of wine (last night) and three pints of beer (night before) is not strictly ideal. I am thinking I am going to stop drinking anything but gin/vodka and tonic for a bit, because it's all very well cutting down calories food-wise, but if you basically double your intake via alcohol it kind of negates the whole damn thing.

Lucy: Yet not skinny... at least not legs?! It's confusing being a girl - I was talking about my diet earlier, and got a bit offended when the woman next to me gave me some advice - as though she was agreeing with me that it was for the best that I diet...

Léonie: Ha! Last night my friend said something like, yeah, well we're just normal sized people, right? And I of course agreed but in my head I was going what? Normal? Normal like fat? Fat normal? I can't believe you just called me fat! Aaaaah!

Which perhaps is not terribly rational. Because it's really not 'cool' to talk about oneself as fat (third wave feminism tells us not to) so we all deny we're on diets (at least I do). I deny it, but then get home and stare woefully at my (really quite normal) self and impose a One Love Bar A Week And No Chocolate And If You So Much As Look At A Bit Of Toast You're A Horrible Weak Person injunction to try and become skinnier. I hate the word skinny but if someone used it to describe me (not just my legs - as the implication to me is pig on sticks) I would be secretly absolutely bloody delighted.

Anyway Lucy you don't need to diet, you're tiny.

Love Bars all round, I say. We can always puke them up afterwards. (Too far?)

Lucy: Haha! God, I hate being a girl. We're ridiculous creatures, all of us. There's actually no way to win. All straight men must be bonkers!

And you don't need to diet either. Go buy yourself some yogurt coconut clusters.

Riots, not diets!

I think this sums up perfectly the relationship that most women my age have with their bodies. We tell ourselves and each other that We Don't Care, and Down With Size Zero etc, but secretly we all want to be a bit thinner. Peculiar creatures, aren't we?

Also, on a side note, I drink too much.


I have developed a new game to entertain myself on the tube. It's called Imaginary Counting, and basically involves pretending to count stuff in your head. For example perhaps you're trying to remember which cats you put in that saucepan or how many ponies it take to change a lightbulb. If you use your fingers to count on, and do some pausing/squinting between each number, it can be really fun. There is, of course, no reason for it, but therein lies the joy. Only somebody with a penchant for the ridiculous would sit on public transport and pretend to count stuff for no reason, and that, my friends, is exactly why we should all do it.


Blogger Jaywalker said...

God. Very familiar stuff for me all this and I am the great old age of 33, when I would have hoped that I might have gained some sense. Seemingly not.

So, I am embarking on my new zen journey into wisdom and self-acceptance (ha! good luck with that, self). I have caused myself enough harm and sadness like this already. I am so tired of the space all this takes up in my head. Space that could be better filled with imaginary counting. Or ruling the universe. Oooh this is a bit serious for me, isn't it?

Love bars would be hard to puke up I reckon.

1:57 pm

Anonymous Lucy said...

I'm feeling a bit ashamed of my overenthusiastic use of exclamation marks in that exchange.


2:08 pm

Blogger Curly said...

I love the counting game!!

Did I tell you about our game called CHAPS? It's mainly played on trains, but cars work too.

You have to spot an animal beginning with each letter of CHAPS - a Cow, Horse, Anteater, Pig and a Sheep - once you've spotted each one you can shout "CHAPS!" and everyone in the train carriage (or car) applauds you. If your opponent sees any of the same animals in the same paddock after already you've called them, they can't call them and they have to sport their own.

That game may stutter on the tube though.... Tube CHAPS could be invented though I suppose.. Crying Baby, Hat, Asshole, Princess and Spaniel.

2:34 pm

Blogger justme said...

As far as the diet goes, I find considering chocolate to be a vegetable, and wine to be fruit, helps no end. That way I have no problem getting my five a day....
As to the counting game on the tube, I will be watching out for you now,. Definately crazy, definately my kind of crazy!

3:18 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

JW - "new zen journey into wisdom and self-acceptance". I think might prefer a nice zen journey somewhere else. Possibly a bar.

I think, though, that we're all always going to have strains of body issues, I cannot see how it would be possible not to. I reckon it's probably about finding a balanced way of viewing yourself, not expecting perfection all the time. And most importantly, not literally harming yourself when you don't live up to your own unrealistic expectations.

I learned that in therapy. God I am so complex.

Lucy - I think you use the exclamation mark very well. Don't start beating yourself up for being an over-enthusiastic exclaimer. Your grammar is always delightful, otherwise I would not let you be my friend.

Curly - Public transport games are always a treat. CHAPS sounds excellent, I shall attempt to adapt it at once. I must have told you about Carriage Marriage, right?

Just Me - Crazy in a "you're only making a fool out of yourself - this is why you have no friends" sort of a way. That is why I like it.

4:22 pm

Blogger Jonathan said...

I used to be really great friends with a girl who played in a ladies football team (and yes, she did like ladies better than men, before you ask).

Anyway - as half the team had bedded the other half of the team at some point in their chequered past, it transpired than no conversation could ever pass without it descending into an argument. Ever.

Girls always read the world into the most innocuous comment - and it will drive men mad until the end of time :)

5:14 pm

Blogger Badass Geek said...

I think women are the most attractive when they feel confident in how they look, regardless of social pressure.

5:22 pm

Anonymous nuttycow said...

You're not fat.

That is all.

6:09 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Jonathan - Ha, true. This morning on the tube I witnessed a girl having a go at her boyfriend because because "he wasn't engaging in what she was saying". He just kind of flailed around helplessly, but the conversation was ended by her saying "this is JUST like that time at my Mum's house" and going back to her paper.

BG - Yeah, yeah I know. My point is that we (at least I) do feel confident most of the time, but it is chased by the horrible nagging feeling that it wouldn't be too bad to be a bit slimmer. Nobody is immune to society's pressures, fact. It's just a case of how we deal with them, and Lucy and I in this case chose to deal with it through the medium of exaggeration and humour.

Nutty Cow - I know, I know. I was mainly just being silly. I was exaggerating my own reactions, really. I have no idea how to count calories, do not own scales, etc etc, but sometimes just wish I was perhaps a little more Kate Moss-y, you know?

9:30 am

Blogger Jaywalker said...

Hmm. That sounds like a good thing to learn in therapy. I learnt:
- to wear good shoes so I had something to stare at
- you have to say something or else they will all pick on you

I will join you on the zen journey to the bar I think. Will there be pints and pints of cocktail? I do hope so.

9:34 am

Blogger Clarissa said...

You are not fat. You are hot and sexy and beautiful.

BUT, I know what you mean. On the cusp of 40 and I still don't believe that his is my ass ... it belongs to someone else.

8:54 pm

Blogger Jaywalker said...

Léonie I am just popping up in non-sequitur corner here to tell you that I have just read a really great essay about a girl who asks people for a pony all the time. And I thought of you. 'I was told there would be cake' - Sloane Crosley.
Sorry everyone.

9:00 am

Blogger Marianne said...

So true, could be me and my friends talking- such a nightmare being a girl.

The worst is when someone says, "but you're not fat at all", with hatred in their eyes, and you assure them that yes, your tummy is ginormous, it's just hidden under layers, and they're all, "shut up, some of us actually ARE fat" and then you lift up your top and show them and they're like, "oh, but you're pushing it out" but you're NOT and then you realise that you are in fact, HUGE, and want to die.

PS on a side note, would love to add you to my bloglist if that's ok? x

3:54 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

My boyfriend called me 'womanly'.. after I said I couldn't stand these hips anymore.. and then I said.. yeah.. 'womanly' means 'hips'.. ugh. I'd kill to go back to being 115 lbs which I was like.. 9th grade maybe? So I'm eating a lot of salads this summer.. and then still taking my 3pm chocolate fix. ;) xo

9:25 pm


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