What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
I tried to give up reading the Daily Mail at the beginning of the year, because my daily fix (I say daily, it was more hourly, no, more every 23 and a half minutes) always seemed to throw up a new and exciting way for me to hate myself.
The paper clearly hates women -- this is a no-brainer -- with headlines telling us that we are too fat, too thin, that working mothers are evil, that if we don't breastfeed our children will suffer developmentally, that we MUST work, but not too much, that the reason we are fatter is because housework is easier now (!), that we need to be attractive, but not TOO confident in the way we look (see: Samantha Brick), that our children are being overly-sexualised next to the screaming headline“Bit short! Chloe Moretz, 14, defies her tender teen years in vampish red dress at National Board of Review Awards.” The bitter, cruel irony.
Anyway, so without going off on too much of a tangent, that is why I try to avoid the site. Today I remembered why, with this headline tweeted in my timeline.
"Skinny models spark disturbing trend for 'thigh gap' lipo treatment on Harley Street"
Ah. The thigh gap. That elusive slice of air whizzing between your thighs, the chill reminding you that you are part of this exclusive club. The DM story runs as essentially an advert for the services of a Harley Street clinic who are offering "Lipoglaze," a "non-invasive" surgery to melt away those stubborn fat cells, during your lunch hour.
Now, I don't know about you, but during my lunch hour I prefer to wander about aimlessly through town, perhaps popping to a bakery to get myself a donut or seven or maybe standing in the never-ending queue at the post office. What I wouldn't want to be doing would be laying in paper pants getting the lovely fleshy wobble betwixt my thighs zapped and killed, to eventually "pass through the body naturally as waste products." Would you pee it out? How depressing.
I didn't even know that a thigh gap was an actual thing to aspire to until this article. It had never crossed my mind that my jeans ought to show a glimmer of daylight under my groin, that the handful I can flap about was a bad thing.
For years, I have been told -- as we all have -- that we can have that little bump shaved off our noses, that if our ears poke out just a little too much we can have them seen to. That my breasts ought to be fuller, and higher, and for a few thousand pounds this could happen. That Botox can freeze away those crows feet, and lines from laughing and too much sun, and if my top lip is a little too thin, I can have a couple of shots in it to plump it out.
I can have a tummy tuck, a gastric band, I can have my labia trimmed should I so wish. The list was long enough already, visible when looking in the mirror. If I wanted to, I could become a cut-and-shut version of myself.
With my new course of steriods has come a new handful of side effects, one of which being that my feet and legs are retaining weight at a crazy level, so I have to take another tablet to cancel this out and make me pee out all the extra fluid. No such thing as TMI when you have a chronic illness, you guys!
The swelling has made me gain around 9lbs of water, squishy and distracting, making wearing shoes a total pain in the arse and my clothes tight. I have gained weight too, from the sheer delicious enjoyment I am getting every day from eating, from biting, and chewing, and consuming with real joy. The extra weight has somehow been a comfort blanket of sorts though, the extra puffiness of my thighs filling out my jeans where they had become loose from the sometimes drastic weight loss of previous weeks, the gentle chafe of thigh upon thigh reminding me that every day I am getting better.
And now, this. Another reason to look in the mirror and see "imperfection." The spokesperson for the clinic offering the surgery claims that they have seen a 240% rise in demand in women wanting to emulate the sliver-thin thighs of models such as Cara Delevigne (I only mention her as she is referenced in the DM article) and of course where there is demand, there is supply.
I would be keen to find out though, how many women really have enquired about having a gap between their thighs whittled out on their break. This is more likely to be a small number of women, packaged up as faux-outrage, to look like there is a new trend that we all ought to suddenly think about.
Fancy some cream in your latte? Oh, but what about the thigh gap?! Happy with your juicy, ripe peach of a butt? Great, but do your thighs touch?
Celebrating thigh meat on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM