The little red dress fit effortlessly. It hugged my curves and snuggled up to the more-than-slight flare of hips and thighs. I turned to the salesgirl and said, diva-like “I’ll take it” my vanity satisfied by a full length mirror in the changing room and a suitable doting look from my daddy. She twiggy and opinionated looked me up and down and said “plus-size woman in red cocktail dress is very brave woman”. The dress was a willowy. So why did my feminine pride bristle at this onslaught from a lettuce munching skeleton? I could have held on my own explained to her that in impoverished agrarian economies like ours a healthy body mass index was an indicator of prosperity, of a country well fed on the grease of global capitalism. I could have delved into the details of ancient temple architecture and its voluptuous appeal, or discussed how Indian women are genetically designed with dancers’ hips. Instead an image of a much trimmer Kareena Kapoor on the cover of a fashion magazine came to my sight and crushed me with its weightlessness.
I left sans dress foolishly believing that to be at the cutting edge of fashion one needs to be a flat-chested toothpick. The exact dimensions of this heightened state of sexiness are: bust size: 31.5 inches, waist size: 23 inches, hip size: 32 inches. When Sarah Jessica Parker, the Sex and the City star who evidently adheres to the statistics was voted the “Unsexiest Woman Alive” by a men’s magazine. She said “do I have fake boobs, botox and big lips? No.. do I fit some ideals and standards of some men writing in a men’s magazine? Maybe not”. Take the case of a friend of mine once when I was teasing him saying your standards are too high and his Adriana Lima is hard to find in India he quickly added that he just likes to look at her and for a partner he would want someone much shorter n fuller in size. Clearly the ideal standards set by the men we are programmed to lure are in complete contradiction to the rules of the fashion industry. So which do we follow? Either way we spend a lifetime trying to live upto a standard set by someone else. Perhaps the time has come to set our own – to discover that no matter how many fad diets we may try and how bikini perfect our bodies may look, if the process turns us into starving, ashen faced, manically depressed wrecks, someone somewhere will find us unsexy. Thankfully no merciless poll will announce the fact. But when a hitherto adoring a partner’s glance wanders to the chubby-happy girl wriggling into a cocktail dress we will know.