Jewish Journal

You Should Be Skinny

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

April 4, 2011 | 2:30 pm

This is not my advice on how you should get skinny.  I’m simply telling you, you should be skinny.  Everyone has to figure out what sort of diet and exercise plan and tricks and tips works for them.  Since I retired from dancing professionally, my weight has been pretty steady – five pounds heavier than it used to be which I’m not happy about but still pretty thin.  But, every year around my law school finals, I gain another 5 pounds because I stop exercising as much as I normally do which makes me fatter which makes me more depressed about studying the federal rules of evidence all day which makes me eat more to feel better and so on.  But once those hellish few weeks are over twice a year, I fall back into my routine and lose those extra pounds pretty quickly.  Right about now, is when I usually feel skinniest and if you think it doesn’t make a difference in your dating life, you’re just kidding yourself.  I’m 5’8” and as of this morning was 120 pounds; I’d feel better if I knew I was going to be 115 in two weeks when I’ll be at Coachella but I also feel good enough to look in the mirror naked and feel hot, and as long as this is true, I feel pretty good about my body. 

Look, it all sucks.  I hate watching what I eat all day and skipping dessert and ordering salads instead of pasta.  I hate that the media photographs the skinniest models and we perpetuate this almost unattainable ideal and that girls get eating disorders with terrible consequences.  If I could waive a magic wand and add ten pounds to every image of every hot woman in America, I would do it.  But until then, men and women will continue to associate that archetypal thin body on the pages of every magazine with the definition of beauty.  And let’s face it, women want to feel beautiful.  So glorifying the thin female form is part of being human in Western society.  I recognize that part of my own body image opinions are informed (or misinformed) by the fact that at one point in my life I signed a contract with a dance company where I agreed not to change my body type, which meant I had a job that depended on me not gaining weight.  And let’s face it, if you’re looking for a body image disorder, there’s no faster way to get there than to be a model or a dancer.  And as an ex-dancer, it’s hard for me not to compare myself now to the body I had when I was dancing six days a week.  But you don’t have to have the body of a supermodel or a dancer to be hot.  But you do have to be thin for what your body type is.

If you’re sitting around convinced that you’re a great catch and you just have to find a man who will love you for who you are and you shouldn’t have to feel bad about wearing the same size as the average American woman, you may be a better person than me, but you’re going to either be waiting a really long time or you’re going to have to start dating men that date fat women.  You can rail against and disparage this feminine ideal and eat whatever you want and most of you will find men to love you and make it all ok and you’ll accept your body for what it is.  And I’m genuinely happy for you that you will have a happy life. 

But in a certain pool, a certain class of men, the kind of man that says when I settle down, I want to be with a 10, well that kind of guy wants someone who fits in to his understanding of beauty.  And you know what?  I don’t begrudge him that, because I’m the same way.  Settling down has the word settle in it for a reason.  And when I settle down, I don’t want to settle for anything less than a guy who’s a 10.  Now this doesn’t mean he’s perfect because of course no one is.  But he needs to be a total package and the truth remains, if the guy were perfect for me in every way but he was fat, that’s not good enough for me.  So a top quality guy wants to date a thin girl.  You can’t change that.  You can find someone else to love you.  But if you want to date a truly top-tier guy, be realistic.  If you’re holding out for a guy with an incredible job, who makes good money, who’s smart and funny and accomplished and well-dressed with good taste who likes to ski and travel and knows how to order good wine and is well read and hot and well-spoken and went to a good school and will give you the life you always dreamed you wanted – guess what?!?!  He’s holding out for a girl just as amazing.  If you’re not that girl, recognize that you’re competing against girls who are.

Ok you hate me for this post.  Look I’ve been there, struggling with my weight too.  I thought about posting a picture of myself from my freshman year at college to prove to you all how much I’ve been there, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Obviously, I’m not saying you can only have a happy life if you’re thin.  You can add 20 pounds or 100 pounds for that matter and go on to have a great life, a successful life even, with a great career and a wonderful family.  But you’re going to have to marry someone who is ok with your extra poundage and I’m telling you, out of the ever-shrinking tiny pool of guys who are 10s, it is a tiny miniscule number of those who don’t care about how hot his girlfriend’s body is.  Most of those guys care and have the luxury to care because let’s face it, there are enough girls out there who are accomplished and successful and younger than you and thin, that he can easily afford to be picky.  And you’re competing against all of them.  If you’re complaining about how there are no guys out there but you refuse to date anyone less than a 10 and you don’t look like the best version of yourself, you have to stop eating as much.  End of story.  Throw out your junk food.  End drunk munchies.  Get thin.

If you don’t want one of these “10s” of which I speak because they’re mostly superficial j@ck@$$’s anyway, good for you!  Don’t listen to me.  You’re probably already eons beyond me in your level of wisdom and enlightenment and you probably date really nice genuine guys all the time.  Enjoy your life and leave me to my screwed-up self-absorbed shallow world.  The fact is most girls are hypocrites when it comes to this.  We come up with the most superficial arbitrary reason not to date someone, like he’s balding or he wears tacky polyester shirts without irony or he has a goatee, but then we tell ourselves he should like us despite the fact that we don’t want to look at ourselves in a bikini.  You’re not less superficial, you’re just a hypocrite!  Date a step below or make yourself the kind of girl the step above wants to date.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting you make yourself into a walking bag of bones either.  Being healthy is part of being beautiful and being toned and fit is really what I’m talking about.  I don’t suggest girls starve themselves until they lose their curves; most men don’t want to date a girl with the body of an eleven year-old boy, anyway.  When I get overly annoying about what I’ll eat my mom usually says Tamara! Men don’t want to date girls who don’t eat! And she’s right – there is such a thing as too skinny.  A few bites of dessert won’t make or break your love life.  In fact, when I’m 125 pounds, I don’t honestly believe that men who thought I was attractive before suddenly don’t think I’m hot.  But I feel different in my own skin.  I dress differently.  I probably act more confidently and am more willing to take social chances and risks.  I feel more comfortable talking to strangers.  And all this does effect how men perceive me.  I get hit on more when I’m 120 pounds not because I’m noticeably that much hotter but because I’m that much more confident so I put myself out there that much more often.  So if you’re starving yourself into some ridiculously low body fat percentage, you don’t need a boyfriend, you need a therapist.  Otherwise, figure out how you like to be active (I’m a power yoga devotee) and eat less of everything and once you feel thin, realize you are.  You’ll probably notice a few more tight fitting shirts and dresses in your closet and perhaps the next time you see a cute boy and you’re thinking of talking to him, you’ll feel thin and sexy and you just might surprise yourself by going over to say hi.  You’ll know that suddenly there’s no man out of your league because you are at the top of the league.  So stop letting ten pounds convince you, you’re not.  Stop eating so much, buy a tight dress and welcome yourself to a club you know you should be in!

Tamara Shayne Kagel is a writer living in Santa Monica, CA. To find out more about her, visit www.tamarashaynekagel.com and follow her on twitter @tamaraskagel. © Copyright 2011.

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Tamara Shayne Kagel is a twenty-something fixture on the Los Angeles scene currently living in Santa Monica.  Currently, Tamara is a successful freelance writer (just ask her...

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