Saturday, May 20, 2017

“Blubber + Boobs = BLOOBS”
A Middle Ager Tale of Growing Older and Wider.
by: Marianne Curan

I’ve been avoiding my annual “Well Woman” gyno exam. Like most women I don’t like the exam (only a perverted exhibitionist would) but I don’t mind it. It’s quick, painless and protects my health. More importantly, they have candy at the desk when you check out. Plus, I really like my doctor. He’s gentle and kind. He listens to my whining, or pretends to, and I can usually make him laugh. These guys love hormone jokes.
   What I don’t like is getting weighed which is the very first thing they do. So I keep rescheduling, buying time to drop a few pounds.
   This all started a few visits ago when I was on the plump side–for me, and knew that stepping on the doctor’s scale was not going to be good news. I don’t have a scale at home for exactly this reason. I’m perfectly capable of perpetuating my low self-esteem by trying on a pair of old jeans. I don’t need the added humiliation of knowing how much I actually weigh.
   I was rescheduling for the third time when I was told I couldn’t refill my Ambien prescription without a checkup. Damn. They’d got me. So I sucked up my pride, sucked in my gut and went to the gynecologist.
   As soon as I arrived, Nurse Brenda, a cheerless and efficient woman in pink Panda Bear scrubs, grabbed my chart, grunted something that might have been “hello” and pointed to the scale. “Wait,” I said. “Don’t you need a urine sample?” figuring that would shave off a couple of ounces. She rolled her eyes and handed me a cup. “Make it quick.” 
   That done, I peeked out the restroom door hoping to make a run for the exam room. No such luck. My captor awaited me, tapping her pen on my chart. “Okay. Give me a second” I implored as I began to strip off my clothes next to the scale–which is in the main hallway. I figured we’re all women here, right? Sure, most of the doctors are men, but I’m guessing they saw a lot more than this in anatomy class. Off go my shoes. Belt. Jacket. Wrist watch. For a second I thought I was at the airport. 
  I was just slipping off my jeans when Nurse Ratchett squawked, “Other patients are waiting.” I looked behind me to see six half naked women shivering against the wall. One of them was trying to scrape off a tattoo. They all gave me a thumbs up–perfectly happy to put off their “turn.” I handed Brenda my wedding ring. “I’ll let you pawn that if you shave off five pounds.”
  The scale is one of those old fashioned clunky contraptions with the floating lever that slowly, torturously bobs up and down as you adjust the sliding metal bar to the correct weight. It’s like being in Vegas, waiting for the roulette ball to finally land on your winning number. “132! 132!” I shouted. All the women in the hall join me! “132! 132!” The bobbing slowed down, it was getting close and it was clearly not going to be 132. “136! 138! Oh-am-I-regretting-what-I-ate.” Nursey Dearest kept pushing the metal bar to the right. I’d push it to the left. She’d push it to the right. “Hey! That’s the wrong direction!” I squealed in protest. “It’s never gone that far before.” 
  I jumped off the scale and popped out my contact lenses. Brenda was not happy with my display. I stepped back up and she testily tapped the bar even further. “Wait!” I begged. “Got any nail polish remover? A lint brush?” She ignored me and announced the number for the whole hallway to hear. They let out a collective moan of empathy as she scribbled it on my chart. “Don’t worry” she snorted. “I’ve seen worse.”
  So here I am again facing my upcoming exam, wishing peanut butter toast didn’t taste so good at 10 p.m. and wondering how I’m going to lose 8 pounds in eleven days, 4 hours and 23 minutes.
   Oh, and by the way, they’ve modernized. Their new scale is digital so now my weight will be displayed instantly in red, glaring neon with nary a nanosecond to drop trou. I’m so nervous I’m hungry.
   Sigh. It seems I can’t escape reminders of those dreaded extra pounds. Like a news report I heard for a new plastic surgery to reduce “Bra Bulge”– or what is actually a combination of blubber (commonly known as back fat) and boobs. Blubber + Boobs = Bloobs
Where did these bulbous appendages squishing out the sides of my bra, these “Bloobs” come from?? I mean I get the concept of muffin top tummies and junk in the trunk, but fat boobs? Isn’t that a bit redundant?
For all my grown life I have been blissfully happy with my 34 B’s. They were perfectly perky and suited to my hip-less hips and my ongoing love affair with high impact aerobics. Even in V-neck sweaters they never distracted men from conversation but if I needed them to get attention, I could always push ‘em up, shove ‘em up in a Wonder Bra. My old boobs were accommodating boobs. Until that day I took them shopping at Bloomingdales.
   It was already a lousy day in the midst of a lousy couple of years. I was mired in a very deep depression after losing both my parents, losing my second lucrative TV job to cheaper, firmer talent, and being caught in the midst of my brand new husband’s salary-sucking custody battles with his deranged ex-wife. Between the meds, the stress driven binge eating and the onset of middle age I was rapidly gaining the pounds I had fought off since 1977 when I found out a mere 6 McDonald’s fries have a 100 calories–without ketchup. It seems I was not growing older and wiser. I was growing older and wider.
   Now I couldn’t wriggle into my size 6 jeans unless I was greased down like one of those fries. All my shirts seemed to have shrunken into size small midriffs when in fact they were still a medium. My midriff had become a large. And I’d gone up a bra size –to a 36B. “One size up, big deal,” I told myself. “And 36 B sounds sexy.” So I grabbed a couple bras to try on. They were snug, so I adjusted the hooks. Still snug. Uncomfortably snug. The sales girl brought me a 36C. My cups didn’t runneth over but the flesh wrapped around my torso and under my armpits did. I tried to smoosh it forward. No luck. Apparently cup size wasn’t an issue, my girth was. 
   A soul wrenching wail from my dressing room brought the salesgirl running. “Can you get me a thi-thi-thi-thirty, eight…” I said, hoping she might bring a revolver instead of a bra. 
   Of course it fit. I looked in the mirror and burst into tears. These were no longer my boobs. These were not overflowing globes of desire for my husband. These were fatty extensions of my overindulgence. They were Bloobs and they had to go. Newly determined, I slinked out of Bloob-ingdales and headed to the gym.
   Slowly and steadily I lost 10 of the 17 pounds I’d gained. It felt so good. I was wearing jeans I hadn’t worn in two years and I could almost get back into my 34 B’s…almost. Seven pounds to go, but I know I can do it. All I have to do is open my underwear drawer for a little inspiration.
   It’s now the day before my gyno appointment. I’m sure Nurse Brenda will be ready and waiting, tapping her pen on that clipboard and pointing at the Digital Doctor of Doom down the hall. But this time, I’m not going to turn my back on my Well Woman exam. I'm going to get weighed without undressing or exfoliating or doing anything else desperate and unflattering. I’m going to step right up on that scale. I’m just going to do it– backwards.
   There are certain things in life I just don’t need to know


Monday, May 1, 2017

I'm So Boring My Therapist Is Snoring

I’m So Boring My Therapist Is Snoring

by Marianne Curan

It’s Tax Day and, according to the IRS, my occupation is “entertainer.” 

Unlike accountants, gynecologists or coal miners, being an “entertainer” can mean having a myriad of careers as an actor, singer, dancer, comic, writer, artist or any combo of those.

Being an entertainer also includes street performers like those freaky frozen living statues, chainsaw jugglers or city kids pounding out percussion on plastic buckets. Oh, let’s not leave out New York’s famed “Naked Cowboy” who struts around Times Square playing the guitar wearing only a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots, and a ten-gallon hat. Call him crazy, but this crazy guy rakes in about $150,000 a year in tips from tourists who’ve only had, up till this moment, the excitement of getting their picture taken with the Easter Bunny at their local mall.

*NOTE TO READER: I have not included “reality stars” in the entertainment category out of personal disdain for their misleading oxymoron of a moniker. These stagnations of humanity, i.e. ALL of The Kardashians, ALL of The “Real” Housewives, ALL of the Honey Boo-Boos, Mama Junes & their camouflage be-decked inbred kin, etc., do not exist in any form of reality. More simply put, they alone, and collectively, have no discernible talent to deign them a “star” —even with a small “s.”  I hold the Naked Cowboy and his ilk in higher regard.  At least he can play the guitar.

Moving on.

How is it then, that after 30 years of earning a living and paying taxes as an “entertainer” that I can single-handedly lull my $150 an hour therapist to sleep? 

No, he wasn’t just closing his eyes to better focus on my weekly “woe is me” diatribe and self-absorbed whining. This guy actually nodded off. He was full chin to chest. His lower lip succumbing to gravity was hanging slightly open. His pen was in a slow motion descent from his sleepy grip. 

I had to assume he was in that first stage of sleep— which I Googled while he dozed.  It’s considered a very light sleep from which one is easily awakened. So I decided to blow my nose not too loudly but just enough to get his attention back on the task at hand—listening to my bullshit.  But hey, it’s my bullshit. And, it’s real for me.  Not to mention that his hourly fee could nab me 3 pairs of shoes at Nordstrom Rack. Perspective, people!

My subtle nose blowing roused him. I pretended to be mopping up a case of tear induced sniffles so he wouldn’t guess I’d witnessed his brief nap. He pushed his glasses back up his nose, retrieved his pen from the floor and jumped right back in, “So, how are you doing with your insomnia?”  

The words “Not quite as good as you” started to form but I controlled myself. Barely.

If this were the first time I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Dear God, if I had to listen to people like me all day I’d need a nap—or maybe a bullet in the head. But it wasn’t the first time. And I guessed that if I didn’t get more “entertaining” it wouldn’t be the last.

I remember going to the beach for a girl’s day with a friend who is a therapist. I was so proud of her winning struggle to put herself through grad school which landed her a job working at a prestigious celebrity-studded rehab. 

Yet, on our beach day, she was unloading a tote bag full of tabloid magazines onto the blanket. There they were. The Kardashians, the Boo-Boos, the Housewives… all those “entertainers” I refused to acknowledge above. 

“Are those for research?” I asked since her clients often graced the covers of these rags.

“God no! It’s my day off.” 

“So…you’re going to read them…for fun?”

“Marianne, do you have any idea what I listen to in my office hour after hour, day after day? Yes, I know it’s my job. But you try listening to people whining about their problems and how tough their lives are. It’s exhausting.” 

“Yeah. I guess that would be exhausting.”

As she thumbed through the “Mama June’s Revenge Weight Loss” issue of US Magazine, I asked, “So, have you ever, you know, dozed off during a session? I mean even for a little bit?”

“Oh, my god, yes. At least a couple of times—that I remember.”

To which I thought, “That you remember?!!” 

Now she was on a roll. “Once, I nodded off and only woke up when I let out of those snorts. Wow, that snapped me back to life. It was pretty hilarious.”

“You were snoring? Like actually snoring?” I couldn’t believe it. 

“My client didn’t even notice. When I came to she was still ranting about her blackouts…didn’t miss my blackout for a minute.”

With this in mind, I arrived at my next therapy session determined to entertain Dr. Freud. Keep him fully alert. 

I’d already decided it would be my last session and I wanted to go out with a bang. 

So I channeled my inner New York Naked Cowboy. I entered his office wearing a pair of tightie-whities, cowboy boots and a ten gallon hat—and, yes, donning a tube top to cover my backup singers. I strummed a kiddie guitar while I sang George Benson’s “On Broadway.”  

I got a one-man standing ovation. And, after signing my autograph on a check, I booked my next gig. On the couch. Entertaining my therapist.