23 Aug 2014
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Ugly Knees and a Cool Summer Breeze

As the heat rises, the author questions showing her knees.

Ugly Knees and a Cool Summer Breeze

I have a strict rule against women wearing shorts after the age of 30. Nobody needs to see your (read: my) fleshy white cellulite thighs. Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, but about 60 percent of women think they are the exception and only about 9 percent are. (These are actual statistics.)

Being a good rule follower (and a bit of a teacher’s pet), I stopped wearing shorts when I was 24. I happily sweated it out in Capris or a long skirt. But because I made this rule in the ignorance of my youth, I failed to realize that as you age, your tolerance for heat shrinks to the size of an ice cube (and is melting).  

I should have known this was coming. I was always so annoyed at my mother for saying, “Yes, we can go to the beach but only if we get there before 9 a.m.” Ughhh, that means waking up early and rushing out. It’s only 92 today. That’s not that hot. Now that I’m 35 the thought of going to the beach in temperatures above 78 degrees gives me the willies. I just can’t handle it. Maybe it’s because I’m suffering from post-puberty-pre-perimenopause, but the summer feels like one huge hot flash.

Last summer I suffered in my Capri pants until mid-July, and then I broke. I went and bought some nice, cute summer shorts. I don’t care about the rules, I said. I just care about being cool (which has a whole new meaning in peri-middle age). Ahhh, I was so much more comfortable.

It only lasted two days. I couldn’t handle it. I can’t break the rules. No matter how hot I was, I couldn’t expose the world to these fat knees. So I returned the shorts and went back to hiding inside and judging the length of others' hems.

Monday is Memorial Day and the start of long days spent in the hot sun with children who are immune to the heat. And I sense from the lines of sweat building in my belly fat rolls, that this year the same dilemma will once again rear its ugly knees at me.

So I ask myself: too short or not to short? That will be the question.

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