Nights in White Satin


There are gymnasts on the TV.  Female ones, that is.  And Bob Costas and Bela Karolyi.

I always wanted to be a gymnast when I was little, but at the risk of somewhat outing myself, I’ve never been small.  Thin, small-chested, that I’ve been, but you can’t be a gymnast if you’re not a good eight inches shorter than I am.  There’s something horribly attractive about women’s gymnastics, despite it being disturbing if you think too hard about it.

Who among us didn’t ever want to fly?  The young women, as close to faeries as humans can be in movement and airtime and glitter–for someone who grew up with Fern Gully and Peter Pan, the allure is just a little too appealing.  Thin and young and white and blonde far too often, they have pasted on smiles and shine and ponytails, and meet nearly every ideal of Western society. 

The costs are far too high; to be able to move unnaturally, you need to be unnatural.  Wear yourself even further into tininess with diet and exercise and pills, keep yourself thirteen for ten years, have a sense of balance and sheer devotion, and then, maybe then, you can be a faerie.

I know the costs and I know what it says about our world.  But I can’t look away.


One Response to “Nights in White Satin”

  1. 1 johanna

    Ohhhhh yeah. I used to want to be a gymnast so bad. As someone who was always the shortest & shrimpiest kid in gym class, it was also great to have a sport where my body type was the ideal. I was so pissed that I had to go to a shitty school district (racist zoning laws, yum) that didn’t have a gymnastics team.

    Also, as a figure skating fan (gulp), I totally get the reservations you have about the sport on that front too.

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