I have long believed there are certain aspects of being a woman that are inherently not fair. Like the fact men don’t get cellulite on their thighs yet wear swimsuit bottoms that come to their knees. Meanwhile, women fight cellulite from the moment puberty comes to call and are expected to wear the equivalent of their underwear every time they venture out to the neighborhood pool. But honestly, the thing that bothers me most is how quickly most men can lose weight.
One Saturday night my husband, Perry, and I went to a party for some friends of ours who recently got married. After we got home, Perry said he still felt hungry, so he made himself a milkshake. Then, right before we got into bed, he decided to weigh himself.
Who does that? I would rank weighing myself right before bedtime after a full day of meals and beverage intake right above bungee jumping at one of those carnivals they hold in a mall parking lot with workers who don’t appear to have safety at the forefront of their minds.
I heard an expletive coming from the bathroom, following by his announcement that he had put on ten pounds. I’d like to say his pain brought me no joy, but that would be a lie. Especially because I had just spent the last twenty minutes listening to him slurp up a chocolate milkshake while I drank water with a delicious and totally satisfying bit of lemon juice squeezed into it.
That night I went to sleep with the sound of his new diet resolutions ringing in my ears.
The next morning Perry was filled with zeal that can only be found in a fresh convert to diet religion. He had seen the error of his ways and was ready to repent. He was laying his trans fats and high fructose corn syrup on the altar.
He read nutrition labels, he vowed to make Frito-Lay his arch nemesis, and he spent most of the day feeling hungry as his body adjusted to a caloric intake that was significantly less than that to which it had grown accustomed.
And because I am a supportive wife, I spent most of the day telling him why he had put on weight. It was the nightly milkshakes he’d drunk to help with his “acid reflux”; it was the powdered Hostess Donettes; it was the extra seven hundred calories a day he consumed purely in York Peppermint Patties.
I just wanted to be helpful.
Then, in a show of allegiance to his newly turned leaf, I made grilled chicken salads filled with fresh vegetables for dinner. They were a monument to healthy eating: fresh greens, sliced avocado, chopped carrots, with bright-red tomato garnish and a small side of low-fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
After dinner, Perry said he wanted to go weigh himself and see if his day of living right had made any difference. I watched him walk into the bathroom and thought to myself, Oh bless him. He has no idea how long it will take to see a significant difference.
He returned to the kitchen triumphantly and announced he had already lost six pounds.
(Insert profanity here.)
Oh sure, you can say it was water weight or whatever, but you and I both know that the only woman in history who ever lost six pounds in one day was Marie Antoinette. And I don’t think any of us want to go that route. Because what’s the point in being six pounds thinner if no one can tell it’s you?
When I exert my best weight-loss efforts, I can lose about a quarter of a pound each month. Max. One good bout of PMS, and that quarter of a pound plus five of its friends come straight for my rear end or, worse, the dreaded inner-tight section. I don’t understand why God did this to women while men can eat their body weight in cheeseburgers and loose weight.
Even still, for most of us, our bodies will never again look as good as they did the day we walked down the aisle. But in a weird way, that’s part of the beauty of marriage. It’s the journey of watching the handsome young man you married turn gray, and seeing lines form on the face that was once wrinkle-free, and hold hands that don’t have the tight skin of youth stretched across the bones. And the assurance of knowing you wouldn’t trade those hands or that face for anyone else’s.
Even someone who can’t lose six pounds in one day.
Taken from The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle. Copyright © 2014. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.