American Thighs The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Preserving Your Assets

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-12-29
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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Jill Conner Browneis theNew York Timesbestselling author of six Sweet Potato Queens books. She lives and writes on all things Queenly from Jackson , Mississippi .



Although this book falls into the "NONFICTION" category, on account of I didn't make any of it up, I hope you are not looking to, like, LEARN a bunch of FACTS from it. If that was your expectation, then I hope that you have at least already paid for this book and that it is nonreturnable on account of my Plastic Surgery Fund needs all the help it can get. I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. There will be no medical advice herein -- with the exception of repeated exhortations for you to "GO TO THE DOCTOR, YOU IDIOT." I hope you find that helpful.

This is sort of a Handbook and a Memoir for the Hot and Flashy -- from the time we first felt the urge to put mascara on an eyelash and then bat it at somebody to the most recent time we looked in the mirror and tugged back on our neck and face skin to see what it would look like if we had a little "work" done. From the too-brief time in our youth that we actually looked "hot" and could pull off "flashy" without seeming pathetic -- to the seemingly endless time in our later years when we only FEEL hot and that comes in flashes with buckets of sweat.

I will not be offering much in the way of "remedies" for anything that ails you -- other than, hopefully, laughter, which I do believe is good for that, whatever it is.

I'm writing, of course, from the only perspective available to me -- that of a woman completely stunned, stupefied, and not a little discombobulated and discomfited by the fact that she has personally passed into the latter range of that spectrum, and I'm writing with several goals in mind: to provide some much-needed laughs for my companions on the Twilight Path and some even-more-needed WARNINGS for our daughters, who are careening, willy-nilly and faster-than-they-will-everbelieve, in our direction. I hope to help some folks misspend their middle ages as blissfully as we misspent our youth and I hope to help keep some of the youngsters from spending their middle ages in bad relationships, jobs they hate, and/or prison (which is actually almost redundant).

To say that Youth is wasted on the Young has got to be THE understatement of all time. But a few too many of us are also not exactly taking advantage of all the wisdom we have supposedly been racking up in our inexorable trudge into Geezerdom. Appearances might suggest that some of us may not have learned ANYTHING of pith or import since we survived puberty.

If one is at all influenced by the cover stories on magazines available in the checkout lane at the grocery store, one could be convinced of one thing: Life Pretty Much Peaks in the Seventh Grade.

While waiting to pay for my weekly mountain of groceries, I gave a cursory glance to three different magazines -- one for hip teens, one for hot twenties to forties, and one for perky geezers -- and I was agog.

The teens were offered detailed instructions on achieving a HAIRSTYLE that would "get them what they wanted" -- an arrangement of the hairs on their heads that would bring them all manner of success.

Hairstyle A would get them a job -- not just "a" job, but THE job, the best one EVER. My husband, The Cutest Boy in the World, used to be a Human Resource Manager -- he has never mentioned having studied cosmetology as a part of his education for this job. How did he know which candidate to hire without this info on Hot Hairstyles? And it couldn't be just a one-shot class either -- hairstyles change -- it would have to be a continuing education series for everyone in HR, would it not? Otherwise, the people with the best hair might not actually be selected for all the plum positions in Corporate America. And THEN what would happen? This could explain a lot about our current economy if you think about it.

Select B and you would instantly become irresistible to that certain guy. Okay, this could work. If all the guys who will date someone simply because of their great hairdos could be matched up with all the girls who will date somebody because they drive a hot car -- well, it would take a whole big wad of Truly Shallow people out of the Dating Pool and that would have to be a boon to humankind.

Hairdo C promised you fame. I can't right off think of anybody who got famous only because of their hair -- except for Rapunzel, there was her, but hey, happened once, could happen again, I guess. (Godiva does NOT count -- nobody woulda cared about her hair if she hadn't been naked underneath it.)

But D, now, D was probably the one most often selected by teen girls across the USA. And I have to admit, it's the one that tempted me.

If you styled your hair like D, you would become known far and wide as The "IT" Girl. Oh. My. God. The IT Girl. I could be The IT Girl? And all it will take is this hairdo? I am so ready to be this, I am tempted to buy the magazine on the spot. Won't my friends and family be amazed when suddenly everybody in the world wants to look just like me -- because I am THE IT GIRL? I grabbed the magazine off the rack and flipped it open to see for myself these amazingly powerful hairstyles, and of course there was a catch. FIRST you have to have about 850 times more hair on your head than I have on my whole body combined and it has to be thick and lustrous and very shiny. It also has to be about three feet long and platinum-blond. I am so not going to be The IT Girl by morning -- or by the end of time as we know it. I imagine I am not the only one with dashed hopes in this regard.

My brief exam of the World Domination through Hairdos article did not give any info on which particular segments of the population (in this country or abroad) are especially susceptible to being held in total thrall by the Powerfully Coiffed, so if you do happen to be one of those individuals bountifully blessed by the Hair Gods/Goddesses and therefore capable of achieving and maintaining a Dominating Do, there was no hint as to where you might need go to sign up for The Job, to meet That Guy, or to catch the eye of any of the media, let alone commence being The IT Girl.

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this -- if you bought that magazine and have been disappointed by the overwhelming lack of worldwide response to your new hairdo -- but I think you've been had.

Also in the publication for Hot Teens, there was one section devoted to teen boys who were invited to write in with questions about their own bodies. Who is surprised that there was a "size" question? Who is surprised that, once again, the response was "it doesn't matter"? Who agrees with that? Same answer for all of the above: nobody.

The magazine for hot twenties to forties promised to tell me what my hairstyle reveals about me as a person. (Besides the easily observable facts that I am inept, lazy, and have only about four hairs, and not particularly thick, lustrous, and/or shiny ones at that.) Of course, I had to flip that one open to see what my constant ponytail was telling the world about my innermost thoughts, and I was somewhat tickled to learn that ponytail wearers are considered to be quite hot in the sack. Yay, me!

But then I read on regarding the other dos and discovered that all the other hairstyles also revealed the sexy nature of the woman. What it eventually boiled down to, as far as I could tell, is that all women with hair on their heads of any kind are just rarin' to go, night and day. (Clearly, some guy wrote this, hoping to work a little subliminal suggestion on us.)

That was certainly a letdown, to discover that there was nothing special about me and my ratty-ass ponytail after all. I sought solace and inspiration from the "Spiritual" section in the same magazine. The way the table of contents described it, it sounded as if they had a full-time goddess on the payroll, dispensing life-changing nuggets of wisdom as needed. Okay -- hook me up. I eagerly flipped over to her page and I am totally 100 percent NOT kidding you -- this is what it said: "SASSY SAYING: MEOW."

Right off the bat, I gotta tell you, I HATE the word sassy. People are always trying to get me to buy clothes that are "sassy" or get a "sassy" haircut or come meet up with some other people, all of whom are just as "sassy" as they can be. I am NOT sassy, have not ever been sassy, nor do I aspire to be nor could I ever fool anybody anywhere into perceiving me to be sassy if I wanted to which I don't. I actively RESIST sass in all its forms and mutations. "Sassy" evokes a response in me much like "good luck" brought out in Holden Caulfield. I just wanna smack you upside your sassy head with a big ole sassy sack full of sassy rocks.

"Sassy" sounds cute and perky and swishy -- bouncy hair, giggly voice, big crinkly petticoats, patent leather shoes. If you tried to make me sassy, I would look like the world's biggest fifth grader. A big oaf in a sassy suit. I don't wanna hang out with sassy people because the disparity between their sassiness and my non- is too great and glaring. I appear even larger than I actually am -- which is huge. Plus I often find their perkiness to be a tad too much on the little-yap-dog side for me personally. I like my people -- and my dogs -- a little more laid-back.

So anyway, I was taken aback by the whole idea that their big goddess guru was offering me an axiom with a lead-in containing the wordsassy-- I cannot recall ever coming across references to SASSY, pro or con, in any spiritual-type book of ANY persuasion. I have actually met THE Dalai Lama in person and heard him speak, and as hilarious as he was, he never usedsassyeven ONE TIME in his whole talk. (Perhaps he'll work it into future talks since it seems to be quite the buzzword these days.)

But I was completely floored to further discover that the "mantra" their Spiritual Writer was serving up was your basic, unadulterated "MEOW." Meow? What does that even purport to MEAN in that context? Once again I am faced with the Question that has dogged me my entire life on this planet -- WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? I can tell you what I am thinking -- I am thinking that ALL of these magazine articles are written by the seventh-grade class at a New York junior high school.

At this point, I am GLAD I'm no longer young. I am relieved at having finally come to accept the truth about my hair -- it will never BE full and foxy, no matter what the Fall Forecast for Hair Fashion may dictate. I am thankful that my next book contract will not be influenced in any way by my hairstyle or lack thereof. (Unless the publisher is a ponytail freak, in which case, I am SO IN.) I don't think I ever in my life "got a man" because of my hair -- I hope not anyway. That's just not much to live up to, is it?

I am feeling much smarter, more highly evolved, on a lofty spiritual plane -- quite smug in my antisassiness and nearbaldness. At least I know that even a well-placed "meow" availeth little, unless you're in dire need of a saucer of milk.

So what did the near-geezer mag have to offer me, a qualified reader? Two titillating headlines on the cover grabbed my eye immediately. First, there was an article on "waist management" -- har-de-har-har -- "waist" -- get it? and then -- even better -- find a therapist near you.

Okay, so the magazine rack takes us straight from the seventh grade to welcoming Death with no indication that there was anything much in between. Surely there must be?

Is it possible that, as a species, we're not actually capable of emotional growth past puberty? That if we live to be a hundred, we'll be just as goofy as we were at thirteen? On the one hand, that's depressing -- on the other, it could be the best news ever. We could all just relax and accept our own personal igmonosity, and that of others would be far less irritating -- if we just called bullshit on the whole idea of ever Growing Up and just eliminated all expectation of Maturity.

This may be an idea whose time has come -- and what, you may well ask, does any of this have to do with THIGHS, American or otherwise, and the means by which we might strive to preserve these and any and all Other Assets? Excellent question.

Well, you prolly never really thought about it before but -- when you do think about it -- THIGHS (more specifically, women's thighs) are really a major factor in just about every aspect of our daily lives. I would rank them second only to our hormones in level of importance and influence on the Universe as we know it.

I can hear you asking, "Is she SERIOUS?" Naaahhh, not really. However, I have found that thighs, most often my own, but not infrequently those of others as well, have, in fact, played and continue to play a fairly significant role in all phases of my life. (Thighs as birth control, for example. Pretty efficient when used [as in "closed"] regularly -- but backup is highly recommended.) This is not a whole book about thighs, obviously, but I think the subject bears some examination -- in terms of discussion only, of course; no way am I bringing out my actual THIGHS for examination -- not even if you're blind.

Copyright © 2009 by Jill Conner Browne

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