The prompt this time was The Five Word Free Write (click here for a detailed explanation), and the words were: Swans, Green, Cherries, Glaciers and Holding.
A five-hundred calorie dinner, and twenty minutes of cleaning an apartment the size of a postage stamp, will not give you tight abs, I can tell you that right now. And why should I care anyway? I don’t want to snuggle up with a washboard, do you? Still, during an afternoon meeting, I could feel my stomach pressing against the top button of my jeans, and it felt fat. I felt fat.
Later, at the gym, I was pumping away to Kylie Minogue—Get outta my way!—the elliptical promising 3500 steps in twenty-four minutes, 275 calories melting away, when on the flat screen above me one of those ninety-minute commercials for a $40 wheel with two handles promised abs of Zeus. Could it really be the answer.?
“Cut your fat intake in half,” a personal trainer told me. “And avoid sodium.” Okay. No more salami, right? The guy on the screen was in tiny shorts, lifting his arms above his head and showing off a torso that was closer to a topographical map. When did he last enjoy a tiramisu? Twenty years ago? Never?
“You look great,” people tell me when I’m wearing under-eye concealer and loose T-shirts. But how do I look naked? Only my ex will tell you that. “You have great skin,” he used to say, reaching across the bed, pulling me toward him. Great skin. Lots of it. Especially around the middle. The middle-age spread, isn’t that what they call it?
“You gotta get more cardio,” every dancer I’ve ever met has told me. Okay. The list is growing. Less fat, less sodium, more cardio, stupid $40 wheels, no dessert. (This is getting boring.)
Who do I find attractive? I ask myself this at Bear Bar Berlin. Outside, the sky is starting to lighten; inside, the bearded boys are groovin’ to heavy House music. These guys are skinny. They aren’t bears at all: they’re wolves. Only the little thick guys do it for me. Who wants to bump booties with a bag of bones?
“Here,” Ricky says, handing me a glass of sparkling wine on the rocks with two fat black straws. My wine salesman father is turning over in his urn, but I like this drink. It makes me feel skinny. Sofia Coppola skinny. Wine in a pink can skinny. “See anyone you like?” Ricky asks.
“They’re all too skinny,” I say, feeling like a baby whale. Who wouldn’t love a baby whale though, right?
Only one guy in the whole place catches my eye, and he’s working safely behind the bar. He’s got meat on his bones. Not like the rest of these waify, hungry wolves. He’s the only one I want to nibble on. I can’t help it. When I’m hungry, I need something to sink my teeth into.