Saturday, 15 July 2017


I would have expected Image to be a popular theme among Dead Good bloggers, wide open to interpretation. Not so, it seems - and I fly the blogging flag alone this week. Maybe the distractions of Wimbledon have had something to do with it, or the insistent demands of the real world.

I'm actually a bit pushed for time myself, being down in that there London for the week-end, celebrating my elder daughter's birthday (and doing some shoppings), so I've commandeered a poem on theme by the American humourist and poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971) of whom it was observed "he could make frivolity immortal".

Probably everyone at some time or other has had issues with their own image, or sense of themselves. The social pressures to conform to certain expectations of shape, size, style are not new - reference the poem - but they seem to have been ramping up again decade by decade since being temporarily defused for a while in the libertarian Sixties (or was that just a different model of conformity?)

The prevalence of social media merely intensifies those pressures, which don't only apply to girls and women, despite Ogden Nash's emphasis. I know he was making a deliberately jokey commentary on obsessing about weight, which has its serious and dark side in slavish dieting, anorexia and bulimia, all of which can afflict boys and men as well. Beyond that, I am told that in 2017 the sales of grooming products for men have outstripped those for women for the first time in the UK.

To me it seems that being fit and healthy is of the first importance; if it can be achieved and maintained, that brings its own balance and beauty - to which everything else is secondary.

Anyway, enjoy the poem by Ogden Nash, a product of its time and place and a cautionary tale in its own light-hearted way...

Curl Up And Diet
Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much,
But all ladies think that they weigh too much.
They may be as slender as a sylph or a dryad,
But just let them get on the scales and they embark on a doleful jeremiad:
No matter how low the figure the needle happens to touch,
They always claim it is at least five pounds too much;
To the world she may appear slinky and feline,
But she inspects herself in the mirror and cries, Oh I look like a sea lion.
Yes, she tells you she is growing into the shape of a sea cow or manatee,
And if you say No my dear, she says you are just lying to make her feel better,
And if you say Yes my dear, you injure her vanity.
Once upon a time there was a girl more beautiful and witty and charming than tongue can tell,
And now she is a dangerous raving maniac in a padded cell,
And the first indication her friends and relatives had that she was mentally overwrought
Was one day when she said, I weigh a hundred and twenty seven, which is exactly what I ought.
Oh, often I am haunted
By the thought that somebody might some day discover a diet
That would let ladies reduce just as much as they wanted,
Because I wonder if there is a woman in the world strong-minded enough
To shed ten pounds or twenty and say There now, that's plenty;
And I fear me one ten-pound loss would only arouse the craving for another,
So it wouldn't do any good for ladies to get their ambition
And look like somebody's fourteen-year-old brother,
Because, having accomplished this with ease,
They would next want to look like somebody's fourteen-year-old brother
In the final stages of some obscure disease,
And the more success you have the more you want to get out of it,
So then their goal would be to look like somebody's fourteen-year-old brother's ghost,
Or rather not the ghost itself, which is fairly solid, but the silhouette of it,
So I think it is very nice for ladies to be lithe and lissom,
But not so much so that you cut yourself if you happen to embrace or kissome.

Thanks for reading. Be happy inside your skins, S ;-)


Anonymous said...

Hope that you treated yourself to lots of lovely things.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about Ogden Nash. He's not very PC is he?

Steve Rowland said...

Well anonymi, thanks for your comments. If the first is in reference to shopping in London - I bought replacements for a pair of worn-out Camper shoes and broken Pantone mugs plus some spinach lasagne... you know, stuff you just can't get in Blackpool.

As for political correctness, it irks me. I don't condone people being offensively rude (racist, sexist etc) but political correctness, in my opinion, has a tendency to be overly censorious and inhibiting.

Adele said...

I certainly don't think that Nash would be a good mentor for anyone with an eating disorder.

The struggle to fit the media view of beauty has never been more desperate for young women and sadly these days for young men too. Social media has helped take the idea of perfect body image to the extreme and the fashion for wearing as little as possible puts young women under incredible pressure.

I think that the vintage trend towards costs and fuller skirt is a first step in the rebellion against super slim modelling. I hope that the media takes notice. Healthy and curvy was the ideal in the 1950's. Who wouldn't rather look like Sophia Loren than a stick insect. Marilyn Monroe was a US size 16.