Wednesday, February 25, 2009

#30 The Cankle Gene

A few days ago I was in a neighborhood store chatting with one of the sales associates/friend about body parts. As we were sharing body part information, a woman standing near us piped in and said that she hates her legs because she has "low calf muscles". I looked at her and asked, "do you mean you have cankles?. I happen to know this word intimately because it has been used to describe my lower appendages. My calves pretty much run into my ankles... leaving me with less than shapely gams. At my most dehydrated, I may have some small indentation above the ankle bone, but really not so that anyone would notice but me.

I was playing tennis the other day, and since my partner is on the injured list, I was playing with a substitute I had never met before. As we were walking on the court, she said to me that she usually leaves her warm-up pants on because she has sturdy "Irish legs" or, as her husband says, "fire plugs". I looked at her legs. They looked normal to me and sturdy, but most importantly they had ankles.

It seems that everyone has a body part that gives them angst, is their bane, ruins the look of a piece of clothing, etc. Had my new partner not said anything about her legs, I never would have noticed that they were short and sturdy. I would have noticed that she has ankles. Some women check out other women's breasts or eyelashes or fingernails or hair, but not me. I just look at your ankles and perhaps envy the strappy sandals you might be wearing. You see, because of my ankles, I hardly ever wear dresses, and when I do I try to either wear them long or tea length. And, I love cold weather for one reason only -- I can wear knee length dresses with boots. I have dressy boots, suede boots, patent leather boots, brown boots, black books, high heels, low heels, and so on. I think you get the picture.

One time I went into a beauty supply store and asked if they had cover up for those red/purple spider veins that some of us are unlucky to have. The clerk showed me what they had and asked if I wanted to try one of the shades. When I pulled up my pants leg to try what I thought would be my shade, she looked at me and said, "Girrrlll, who would have thunk it? Your upper part doesn't match your lower part". What she said didn't shock me, nor did I feel insulted. I have heard this on many occasions from both men and women.

Back when I was living in Washington DC, my ankles were loved, desired and complimented. It seems that black men [of all nationalities] and Hispanic men loved my thick ankles and many women of African American descent who had the loveliest lower legs I've ever seen desired to have my lower legs. I told them that I would willingly and gladly trade in a heartbeat.

Sadly, I am third generation cankle holder. Of my mother's two daughters, I was the lucky one to inherit this gene. Yeah me! Over the years I've hoped for miracle cures. I've dreamt of reshaping my cankles with liposuction. I've wondered if there was a way to lose weight in just that area. At 46 though, I've pretty much tried, hoped and dreamed of everything. Although I will have to live with my "heritage" until I'm a doddering old biddy, I can happily say that the cankle gene stopped with me. My daughter, whose legs go from here to eternity, did not get my ankles. Hallelujah!

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