Shannon Barber
Mar 6, 2015 · 4 min read

I Know the Rules- I Just Don’t Care

“Yes ma’am, I know.”

To the horror of the woman I was speaking to, I was in fact fully aware that my over the knee boots and very tight pants accentuated my large thighs.

A very helpful woman maybe my age or a bit older whispered to me in the grocery store that my outfit might have been more flattering if I wore a tunic or long jacket. As it was my hip length cardigan combined with the boots and tight pants fully exposed my terrible secret.

I have big meaty thighs. The thing that brought on the horror was that I responded to the fashion advice with a smile and the declaration that I liked my outfit and had done it on purpose.

Image for post
Image for post
The author. Wearing a favorite outfit.

I know- take a minute if you need to. The shock of such an idea might upset those with delicate sensibilities.

I have to confess, I don’t care what is supposed to be flattering. I know that according to stores and magazines and society in general, I should be sure to never let people see or know any of the following:

· My aforementioned big thighs.

· My round never gonna be flat belly.

· The stretch marks on my upper arms.

· My jiggly butt.

· My (currently) hairy legs.

· My large bust.

· Etc etc.

I am fully aware that I am supposed to work very hard at camouflaging and redirecting attention from my “problem areas”. I know I am supposed to take great care in never wearing anything low waisted because I have love handles and a belly. Or if I do, I should wear something very loose so no one is ever subjected to my fat.

I am supposed to make sure I hide my dark armpits or work at lightening the skin. I’m not supposed to wear certain shades of lipstick; I’m too old for the nine pounds of black eyeliner I prefer.

Image for post
Image for post
Bitch face and ton of liner. I regret nothing.

Just like everyone else I know what I’m supposed to be covering up or hiding or giving up.

I’m just not going to.

As of this writing, I will be 38 years old in a few weeks. There is gray in my hair, hairs on my chin and a hitch in my step. At this point I can happily admit that I am rapidly heading for Fine Old Auntie Status.

I am over 30 and should have long ago hung up my fashion eccentricities- but what has happened is that I’ve shed my ability to care about how I am supposed to be doing it.

I know the rules I just don’t care.

My body has gone from average size, then fat, then thin to fatter and back to just about average size has taught me a few things more valuable than the ideas about what is flattering and how I am supposed to present my over 30 ass to the world.

The big thing I‘ve learned is that, regardless of the size of my actual butt there will always be some sort of problem. My thighs will never be the right thighs. My skin will never be the right skin.

I accept those facts without giving them further thought.

The other big thing I’ve learned is that my life is too short to not enjoy my body and how I decorate my body as much as I can.

That means- how can I put this delicately?

Screw flattering.

Screw age related prescriptive fashion.

There are so many terrible things in the world. So many reasons to be depressed, so many tragedies and heartbreaks- why should I repress my own expressions of joy just because I’m not supposed to?

If I am on my own time and not breaking the law, what is the point of adhering to other people’s choices about how I should cover or not cover my body?

At this point I know what some of the reasons are. Normally, the first one is “why do I have to look at that?” That can be fat, wrinkles, cellulite, and my inappropriate makeup. Whatever, we have all heard it, had it directed at us or said it.

The great news is you don’t have to look at me. I don’t actually care if you think I’m attractive being that I’m not trying to get in your pants. The even better news is that, you don’t have to think about me beyond a passing thought.

Amazing, right?

There is no real reason for me to be aesthetically pleasing to anyone but myself and possibly someone I am trying to attract. If I’m not trying to attract you, I just don’t care.

Naturally, I’m not talking about company uniforms or dress codes. That is a whole other subject. My philosophy is that if you aren’t screwing me or paying me how I look is none of your beeswax.

So what now?

Wear whatever the hell you want to.

At 40 or 50 or older, wear the brightly colored tights with the clashing shirt and the sparkly purse.

Wear ALL the tulle.

Wear glittery, sparkly make up that makes you feel like a disco ball in the sun.

Look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Look down at whatever ridiculous thing you have put on your body and laugh.

Be happy and decorate the vehicle in which you perambulate around the universe while you have it. Even if it makes other folks recoil in horror or judge your big meaty thighs.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store