Thursday, October 29, 2015

A hearty woman

A hearty woman for her years!
Image from the British Library's new copyright free
collection 
She started, "Given your size and your age…" she was saying something about my skirt.  By the end of the sentence I wouldn't have been able to repeat it, so it's impossible to quote it verbatim a few hours later. While I think it was meant to be a compliment, I was floored and that's rare.

I had to turn my back and laugh. Then I had to go outside and laugh. I am 60 and a size 12-14. No spring chicken, not skinny, but that phrase somehow seemed to amplify both.

I've been thinking about body image more than I would, as someone else I know has been repeatedly asking if I've lost weight and, also with kind intentions, pointed out that "now" I have a waist. It seems churlish to take these comments any other way, but it had me thinking, what the hell did she think of me before? Did I really have no waist? I thought a waist belonged to corsets and the 1950s. Wrong.

Before all this I woke up excited by the idea of building on an old poem I had printed up as a postcard (which allegedly found its way to the Woman's Hour noticeboard).

It's only a list of synonyms but perhaps its form makes what women are called a kind of game, lightens the intention. I could have done with a sniff at its humour later because although I was laughing, I was also hurt.

I looked at another I tried out at the same time - synonyms for prostitute. I thought I could make them into a sequence, although it is misleading to call either of them a poem. They are blocks of text. I don't know yet, I want to see what they could become. Maybe a collection of aprons or cat bowls.