An Ode to My Thick Thighs
Three dates in, the man who would become my husband told me that he loved my “thick thighs.” I was 24 years old at the time and luckily, by that point, finally secure with my robust femoral region.
I thanked him, but I also warned him that should he find himself dating other women in the future, he might want to be careful with this particular compliment. He seemed genuinely taken aback. Who wouldn’t appreciate thick thighs? To him, they signaled vitality and strength.
Oh, if only the rest of our culture shared his reverence.
I first became self-conscious about my thick thighs in the sixth grade, the same grade that my daughter will enter this week. She and I have always been sturdy females, lean but strong, with dense bones and muscles that make doctors tsk tsk over our BMI.
It was in my 12th year of life that I noticed my thighs spread to what I considered grotesque proportions when I sat down and they still kissed in the middle when I stood up. I thought there was something wrong with me. One of my best friends had made a similar observation about her own thighs, so we started the “Thick Thigh Club” to make ourselves feel better.
Despite my best efforts to celebrate my thighs, I still thought they were gross. I jogged in place in front of my bedroom mirror to try to burn off what I considered excess fat. But to no avail. My thighs remained stubbornly thick. Meanwhile, my chest remained stubbornly flat and my body remained stubbornly short.
I was just beginning to make a grudging peace with it all when, as a junior in high school, I shot up nearly five inches in the course of a single year. Suddenly I was not just lean, but wispy. It took some time for my body fat to catch up.
I loved my new rangy image, all angles and points. But my thighs refused to cooperate. They continued to insist on nuzzling one another.
I concealed them in the baggy pants that were fashionable at the time, yet still felt self-conscious at swim practice, when they were on display for all to see. My swim coach did me no favors by insisting that everyone on the team keep a diet diary, which we were to hand in once a week so he…