The Hamptons are among the nation’s most gorgeous locales. The women living and vacationing here are equal to the landscape. Simply stunning. Enhanced bodies, refigured faces, doesn’t matter. Walk the Hampton towns: Short dresses barely there, hems touching slim upper thighs, feet with manicured toes peeping from pricey sandals with six inch heels. Bodies to die for. And that’s just for starters. Same women at the beach..now they’re in thonged bikinis. Flat stomachs. Toned to please, if not pop our eyes out. Then there’s me – a bit plump and already in receipt of my AARP card. What’s a girl to do?
Even when I was younger, I never looked like a Hamptons woman. But still, I was not a bad catch. Now I’m mad. Mad because when I had what it took to be part of the Hamptons scene, I didn’t have the money to live here. Now I do but I can’t pull off the look. Same thing happened when I was rich enough to buy a fur coat (in the days when we wore fur). I was too hot to wear it. My body temp was (prematurely) through the roof. Life can be cruel.
At least I feel good I tell myself trying to dissipate my misery. And then I’m reminded of a bit Billy Crystal did years ago on “Saturday Night Live,” (imitating of Fernando Lamas): “It’s better to look good than to feel good.” I still laugh when I think of the line because in my heart of hearts, I know there’s some truth. Even with a serious illness that causes weight loss, it’s not uncommon for a woman to say, I finally lost ten pounds.
Admittedly, my out-of-shapeness was a conscious decision. Perhaps a bad one but at the time it seemed I was onto something profound. On my fortieth birthday, I gave myself a gift for all time: I vowed never to diet again. Prior to that, I was obsessed. I never indulged — I was forever dieting to maintain my place in the world where men sought you out, or at least you got a head-turn.
My gift empowered me. I pigged out at will and wrote an article about it for the local newspaper. Before then I had no fame. Now the townswomen were watching my every move. While some congratulated me, said I released them from the societal tyranny of being gorgeous no matter what, others were waiting to see how long it would be before I fell off the wagon. I didn’t. It wasn’t that hard. In a restaurant, I drank high-calorie cocktails; ate all the bread in the basket. Happy at last!
Okay. I was somewhat bothered about carrying around “unwanted fat” as they say, but I learned to deal with it. Stretch clothing was my answer. Everything always fit — pull it up, pull it over, wrap it around. I no longer zipped up or buttoned anything. I thanked the actor, Don Johnson, for introducing a tee-shirt with a business suit. He freed me from the worry of busting out of my button-down blouse in the middle of a board meeting.
Life in the fat lane was working out just fine.
At about the same time, feeling at one with the new me, leader of a diet-free world, I let some grey shine through my blond hair. It was my time, I announced. How long do I need to be Miss America? Well, in some places, very long.
As a resident of East Hampton, it bothers me a bit that I can’t be young and beautiful all over again — wear those short skirts and high heels. When I was younger, and gave myself that 40th birthday present it was a choice. But now I have no choice. Yes, I can be older and beautiful; (actually, I’m not bad if I do say so myself), but we live in a youth-and- beauty culture. For my last birthday, a friend gave me a book called “Getting Gorgeous.” I can report: Getting gorgeous is a lot easier than staying gorgeous.
You might think the problem is unsolvable and I should just accept my age and love my body however it is, but I like a challenge. I’m approaching another birthday. My gift to myself? I’m going on a diet. I know I’ll be going back on my word never to diet again, but that was then. Who’s going to remember? I’m even starting to forget it. I’ll work out, have diet tonic with my gin; fat-free cream cheese on my bagel. Maybe I’ll reduce my age by a couple of years as well. (Return my AARP card). Watch me. Look for me on the beach — thong-bikini, flat belly…maybe a little orange in my hair. Ya think?