Metro-East Living

The standards set for woman can be hard to live up to sometimes

Michelle Meehan Schrader
Michelle Meehan Schrader

I have the toes of a rainforest survivalist. Each digit possesses a hinge-like quality inherited from my father’s side of the family. I also have a semi-flat behind in a Kardashian era of big-bottomed babes. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. And the fact is every woman has something about her that isn’t fashion perfect. Some of us wear it like a badge of honor. And some of us wear it under Spanx.

Spanx are the modernized version of what your grandma used to call a girdle. Stretchy tools of torture, they are designed to strangulate from the knees to the chest. Depending on your problem spots, you can hurt yourself in a variety of ways.

“The worst part is when you have to visit the lady’s room,” my buddy Lisa once explained. “You can’t get them off. You wind up doing this crazy dance.”

It’s a dance too many of us know all too well: The dance of doing whatever it takes to look like the models in the magazines – even though they’re 17 and we’re ... well ... none of your business.

A while back, there was a segment on the Today Show where male correspondents tried on Spanx just for the heck of it. For them, the exercise was one big joke. For us ladies, not so much.

Let’s face it: Nobody expects middle-aged men to have washboard abs. So why do 50-year-old women feel compelled to suck it in? A man merrily dates girls half his age. A woman dates a younger man, and she’s branded a cougar.

Who came up with these double standards — Adam or Eve? According to my gal pals, it was probably the snake.

“Women are just more accepting,” mused my pal Lori, as we sat around a table with some of our gang. “We don’t hold men to the standards they hold us to.”

Love is funny that way.

“We find all kinds of things beautiful,” my friend Claudia concurred, as she sipped her margarita. “I was once with someone who had these enormous, furry forearms. Seriously, his forearms had these bulging muscles from his hands to his elbows. They were all big and hairy like Popeye’s.”

The rest of his arms weren’t nearly as muscular. But those forearms were all it took. Those and the fact he was smart, sweet and funny – qualities Claudia still finds irresistible.

Fat? Bald? Knock-kneed? There is a woman out there who will love you.

Several, actually.

Now I’m not saying that there isn’t a man out there who would love a fat, bald, knock-kneed woman. I’m just saying — 10 to one — women are the less picky of the genders. Probably because we tend to outlive our male counterparts, and, at some point, the competition gets fierce.

There’s an old saying: “Out with the casket and in with the casserole.” I really didn’t grasp what this meant till my own dear mother passed away. Widow after divorcee lined up on my paunchy, 62-year-old father’s doorstep with Jello salad and lasagna in hand.

“I have made a lot of mistakes when falling in love, and regretted most of them, but I never regretted the potatoes that went with them,” the humorist Nora Ephron once wrote.

An intelligent man, Dad never remarried. He ate like a king till the day he rejoined my late mother — who was a lousy cook, but he loved her anyway.