Who's to blame when our genes let us down?
By Allison St. Claire
I have a bone to pick with my gene pool. Several bones, in fact, that my pool - obviously a few nucleotides short of a full DNA chain - forgot to provide. Such as cheekbones that are visible, a chin that can't double as an accordion or shoulders that are more than a few inches wider than my neck. (The latter looks great on football linebackers, but I've never figured out how to make a feminine fashion statement out of it.)
For example, think about Sophia Loren, Cher, Julia Roberts. What do you immediately see? Shoulders out to infinity, cheekbones with actual angles, chins (not only prominent but only one to a customer), and maybe in Cher's case a whole lot more, but that's another story best set to the Academy Awards' theme song.
Back to my own gene pool. Maybe I should first blame my parents. My father didn't have much of a chin; my mother's shoulders were fairly small. But then, even though they both came from farm families, I don't think they chose each other on the basis of producing a Super Physical Specimen. I think they just loved each other deeply and passed on even more love to whoever came along.
So maybe I ought to blame the media. Think of all those gorgeous women I used to watch in the movies, clothes hanging from shoulders as wide as hangars (airplane, not closet), chins jutting far enough out to catch the ashes from their cigarettes. Actual cheekbone configurations were a bit harder to discern since they were usually clouded in the smoke swirling up from their omnipresent cigarettes. But they often seemed like pretty wimpy women, totally dependent on what men (and other highly judgmental women) thought about them. And many of them wore high heels while they were cleaning house. Boo, hiss!
OK, it had to be society. Somebody Out There was making decisions about the relative value of long legs and short hair or wide shoulders and narrow noses. And they were doing a superb job of convincing impressionable young women and horny young men that these were the attributes that made for a Fine Person and Suitable Mate. Since so many of them were off mating when I was off at college having huge fun debating heavy issues and moral conundrums, I decided to ignore society's dictates about looks. Society clearly had weird priorities. Evolution needed to take us toward transparent skulls so we could learn to revere brains at work as much as we do rippling muscles elsewhere. Ah ha!
But where does that leave me on those days when nagging doubts about skeletal deficiencies still want to invade my mind. Who's left to blame - computer games, the NRA, the NBA, the NFL? Nah!
Actually I have found peace at last. Enter the millennia-old theory of reincarnation, which is finally taking hold in our New Age consciousness. I can choose next time around. I can pick my bones! I can also have sparkling eyes, the world's most engaging grin, a sleek body, and no shoulders or chins to worry about. Terrific!
That's right. Next time around I'm coming back as a dolphin!
Allison St. Claire gets to the ocean as often as possible from her landlocked home in Denver, Colorado, to visit her future relatives.