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Sisters Under the Skin, Unite

by Naomi Cavalier

For decades, Ive been self-conscious about the Technicolor display on my legs. When I was in my forties varicosities popped out on them like ideas whose time had come. Now Im in my early seventies and my legs are a veritable constellation of color starring purple, red and blue. In winter, I tend to hide them in slacks or dark stockings but summers are a problem. Perhaps if I could swim in slacks and long-sleeved shirts (Im not too crazy about my arms either) they would be less of a problem.   Vanitas has still got me and revealing my constellations in a bathing suit is just too much of a strain, except when there is water aerobics for seniors.
      Surely, I have sisters under the skin out there who feel as I do, who would just as soon keep their legs sheathed no matter what the season.
      Well, I have an idea for us. As a former copywriter, I know what advertising can do for a sows ear. Im not saying we can turn varicose veins into a silk purse, but with the right marketing we might just strip those veins of shame and maybe help out in a few other departments as well.
      We start by redefining our image. Instead of thinking of ourselves as marred, we think of ourselves as murals: ambulating murals. Instead of bearing our legs as burdens, we bare them as blessings (trees are gorgeous when they turn colors, why not legs?). Try pitying the poor blank-legged who are stuck with the boredom of just plain limbs, the monotony of dullness doubled while our lucky legs are more than legs: they are flower pots for natures blossoms (cascading bougainvillea might be a good image) or a canvas for her crewel-work.
      See what I mean? 
      Here we lie (standing too long tends to make positive thinking more difficult), legs lit with color, some even embossed like expensive fabric, wishing these embellishments would disappear.  Well, consider this: while those less fortunate turn to decorated stockings, we grow our own, while they brighten their blandness with tattoos, nature provides ours. Over here, a nebula swirls in blue and purple. Over there, an abstract flower blooms in red and pink. And high on a thigh a miniature Jackson Pollock spatters the flesh. This isnt varicose. This is very beautiful;  designer legs if ever there were any. 
      Granted, when the designs ache, a person could live without all this good news, but we copywriters know you cant let a little reality interfere with a major promotion. 
       With apologies to Jesse Jackson, how about forming our own rainbow coalition and saluting each other with a double 'V' for Victory sign, a kind of secret high five, when we spot a familiarly landscaped limb or suspect one lurking behind those support hose.
       Let those deprived of our bounty wonder what they are missing.
      Well, sisters, thats it for starters. If, collectively, we can turn the big double V around, just think what we might do for the genre of aging, which has about as bad a press as a genre can get. No one is trying to make old look good. Everyone is trying to make old look young.  Genre-wise, lets give aging, legs. Ours. 
      Or theres always the alternative of simply not giving a damn.


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