Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How To Spot an Unhappy Woman

This weekend, we went to a beach gathering at the home of some wonderful friends. Every Sunday, like a ritual, their entire family and any number of random friends show up at their house to spend the day at the beach and enjoy a barbecue and some good company. It's a grand time, and we always enjoy ourselves there.

This time, a couple that we've never met before showed up and joined in. There was nothing terribly memorable about him, but the woman caught our attention and became a bit of a "whisper" discussion among many of the women there.

Why? Her appearance spoke volumes to us. She was older, maybe 40, but was desperately trying to hang onto her 20s. She must have had some sort of eating disorder to be that thin, and she'd clearly had a boob job on top of it...so she looked like a stick figure with tits. Her hair was bleached as blonde as blonde can get, and her skin was pale white, like if it ever saw the sun, she'd turn to dust on the spot. We all wondered how much she owed the plastic surgeon at this point.

She sat in the shade with her significant other, didn't come out and mix with the other women, who were clearly behind her in whatever 'race for perfection' she was running, so we didn't have a chance to gauge her personality. But we all came away with the same conclusion: She must be a very unhappy person.

We could have all resented her for the near perfect body....hers was clearly closer to the 'ideal' than ours were. We could have been envious of the generous cleavage and the 'non-hips' she was sporting. Instead, we just felt like she was a walking tragedy and mostly felt sorry for her. She must live her life in agony, so unhappy with herself inside, constantly on the quest for physical perfection, running a losing battle against the clock, and clearly putting a lot of energy into it. We wondered what tragic life experiences had driven her to this.

I'm all for hitting the gym, slathering on the wrinkle cream, coloring the gray, dressing stylishly and someday, maybe an eye tuck or two. But this was just tragic, truly. That woman should be spending her money with a psychiatrist, not a plastic surgeon.

The other day, I heard someone say they'd never seen a skinny woman who was truly happy. There may actually be some truth to that. Certainly, based on this woman, there is. So sad, and so many just like her. Truly sad.

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