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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Say Cheese?

Truth be told I have cellulite. Yes, at times when I am as honest with myself as a three way mirror I will easily acknowledge that butt looks like two scoops of cottage cheese. Make no mistake, I am okay with the divets that scatter my backside like pushpins on a map of the world. I like that at the ripe age of almost 40, I am safely in the best physical condition of my life. I can run and swim and bike as long as I want to and even do 20 "boy" pushups with ease. My body has become my opportunity to get things done. No longer am I hindered by my limitations in a physical sense.

Quite frankly, I am happy with my physical sense of selse, and yes, dressing up has become one of my favorite sporting events. But there are times in the flourescent light of of day , when I must acknowledge that my ass is a place where dimples go to die. Yes, the medical term is cellulite and NO the best cream in the world will not fix my “field of indentation dreams”. Rarely is there an occasion for me to stand in the bathroom and appreciate my backside for all its cottage cheese glory.

But recently I have developed a new appreciation for all things cellulite, when I discovered it is not only very common, but can be quite satisfying as well. In fact I would go so far as to argue, that cellulite may very well be “the great equalizer”.

Take last Friday night for example. I was invited to attend an ECO Fashion Show as part of the Cultural Olympiad that is making Vancouver even more fabulous than it already is. Yes I am aware that we have nothing on New York City- but a little delusion can be healthy and after all- New York IS New York and we have the Olympics- so SUCK IT!

An ECO Fashion Show for those of you who don’t know is a regular fashion show where all the clothes are reclaimed fabrics and materials. Imagine my surprise to see fur and leather on the run way? Apparently as long as someone else has killed the rabbit or the cow, it can be used lest it be thrown into a landfill.

I have never professed to be the authority on all things fashionable, but as far as this ECO fashion show goes, it is safe to say that some things were meant to be in a landfill. I realize that these fabrics were considered "throw aways" but there is no excuse for parading down a runway dressed like the maid of honour at a circus. Sisters note- if the bearded lady ever marries the tattooed man- do I have a dress for you!

Let me set the scene. We stood in the courtyard of the Vancouver Public Library which as some of you know looks like a coliseum. The models for this ecological event stood on the second floor balcony above us- each in an alcove with a clothing rack behind her. Every few minutes the spot light would shine on a new model in a new outfit. The model would pose like a moving mannequin for a few moments showing off the latest and greatest in recyclable fashions. The spotlight would go out and the model would then strip down to a body suit and put on another outfit while the spotlight shone on another model in another outfit.

There we stood drinking organic wine and watching the models pose to a mix of 1980’s dance music. And just as my macrobiotic buzz took hold (yes, one glass later…. even organic wine will do) I had a revelation. High above me in the second balcony was a woman easily 6 feet tall tall with 5% body fat. Her perfect blond hair was perfectly styled, her make up professionally done. She was long and willowy and her eyes shone with a hunger that only a diet of nicotine and diet coke could produce. I am sure she was born a model and would never see the inside of a gym unless it was for a fashion shoot. And yet when the spotlight went out and she stripped down to her body suit I could see it like a beacon of hope for all chubby girls everywhere. Cellulite. It was a ray of sunshine as bright as the spot light to come. Her thighs had more cheese curds than the Quebec House at the Winter Olympics.

Here was a woman who could not spell the word CARBOHYDRATE let alone bring herself to eat it and she had a backside that looked like the cold salad section at a Las Vegas buffet. On me, cellulite was expected, on this fashion stick insect.... it was a revelation.

One of the medical terms for cellulite is Gynoid Lipodystrophy. In fact the medical community remains in disagreement as to whether this condition is actually an abnormal state. Cellulite is a condition affecting 85% of post adolescent women characterized by dimpled tissue on the upper outer thighs, posterior upper thighs, and lower buttocks. Ultrasounds of fat tissue have shown that cellulite is caused by a deterioration of the skin's dermal matrix and vasculature (structure and blood supply network) particularly loss of the capillary networks, leading to excess fluid retention within the subcutaneous tissues and the skin. Fat cells then clump together and fluid collects in the tissues between them causing a dimpling of the skin.

This formation is thought to be influenced by genetic factors and certain genes have been implicated in the predisposition to the formation of cellulite. Hormones play a dominant role in the formation of cellulite. Estrogen may be the important hormone and initiate and aggravate cellulite. However, there has been no reliable clinical evidence to support such a claim. Other hormones including insulin, the catecholamines adrenaline and noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are all believed to participate in the development of cellulite.

So my dear girlfriends.... most of us are destined to dimple from the waist down. Embrace it as the great equalizer as common as chin hairs and as welcome as control top pantyhose.

And so the lights went up again on the 6 foot amazon wonder. Her dimpled butt cheeks were now covered with an outfit that was once bound for the city dump. There in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library a new world was born.... I found solace in a universe where no outfit is every thrown away, where even the wine is organic and therefore good for you and where every ass, regardless of its creed, colour or constitution can be as "dimply" as nature will allow.

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