“That dress is adorable! Can you actually go sleeveless? Those days are gone for me,” wrote my friend in reference to a cute dress I’m planning to wear to a GRAMMY event.
I replied, “I’m wearing a DKNY sweater. My arms aren’t very good either. Whose are at 51?”
This got me wondering: What the hell happened to my arms? What the hell happens to most of our arms after we turn 50? As few as five years ago, I was flaunting a set of tanned biceps that I was fairly proud of. I could still perform the Rose Bowl Queen wave without hitting myself in the eye with flappy under arms. I could still toss a ball to a child in a park without worrying that the backs of my arms would catapult forward into my elbow like a misshapen water balloon as the ball released from my fingers. But in a recent photo of myself wearing short sleeves, I looked more like a linebacker, than the 46-year-old sunkissed girl in a halter dress from a few years before. And this raised the question, “Am I never allowed to show my arms in public again?”
The short answer. No. Unless I decide to pick up a barbell in the near future (which most likely won’t be happening), my days of comfortably airing anything above my elbows is over.
I envy those women who just let it all hang out. You know the ones. You’ve seen them at the State Fair, Wal-Mart, barreling down the grocery store aisle, tank tops framing ham-sized upper gams. They’re completely oblivious to the fact that they aren’t exactly supermodels. They simply don’t care. While I’m wearing a turtleneck to cover my arms, crepe paper décolletage and creased neck in the middle of a sweltering San Fernando Summer, these women are cool as cucumbers, sporting an “I don’t give a f*** what you think about me” look on their faces as they toss a cheesecake into their shopping basket. These are the same women wearing short-shorts, too. Not remotely concerned about the cellulite craters opening and closing like Venus Fly Traps with every step they take. I stopped wearing shorts about 20 years ago, when a drunk audience member at one of my comedy shows in Dayton, Ohio yelled out, “You have ugly knees!” I stood on stage, fighting back the tears, vowing to never, EVER wear shorts again. And ne’er a patella has been spotted since. Thank God I’m short, because most dresses I buy hit me below the knees revealing the only part of my body that has yet to disgust me – my calves. Although, after a male friend of mine recently referred to my ankles as “thick,” the calf covering might be right around the corner. Only five pounds away from sporting “cankles,” it might be time to bust out the summer pants – or at the very least – a long skirt or two.
And don’t think you’re exempt from self-hatred due to aging because you’re thin. Because you’re not. You might not be the victim of crater thighs or jiggle arms, but anatomical phenomena like “knee vagina” (See TMZ’s reference to a Katie Holmes photo that circulated a few months ago) start cropping up and you’re not too far behind me with the Hasidic skirts and 3/4 length sleeves.
Each year, as the Earth makes one full trip around the sun, I lose another inch of skin space. It’s like shrinking glaciers in the Arctic Ocean due to climate change. At this rate, don’t be surprised if you find me with a summer home in Saudi Arabia by the time I’m 60, veiled behind a Burka. Or, in a perfect world, I’ll learn to adopt the attitude of the Wal-Mart Warriors and flaunt my arms at the next Red Carpet event I attend.
Lisa Goich is an author, podcaster, blogger and dog mom. Her award-winning memoir, 14 Days: A Mother, A Daughter, A Two-Week Goodbye (Savio Republic) is available wherever books are sold. For more information on 14 Days, visit www.14DaysAMemoir.com.