Last night, while in the throes of making love, my partner relinquished all control and moaned in ecstatic pleasure. "Oh baby, give me your thigh gap!"
Except that didn't happen—and not just because I failed to get laid last night. It didn't happen because, contrary to whatever the latest dieting trend would have you believe, the thigh gap doesn't make you more desirable. Nor does it make you happier, more fulfilled, more confident, more loved, etc. etc.
Why do I know this? Because I have a thigh gap, and always have.
And I'm here to tell you it's not a life changer.
The Self-Loathing Never Ends
My mother once asked, "What's a 'thigh gap?'" When I explained, she laughed and said, I kid you not: "Oh good! I'm glad. That's such an improvement from the three diamonds trend."
Apparently, the previous trend in this madness involved a woman needing a "diamond" of space just below her knees and right above her ankle. So she was supposed to have three gaps. Which just goes to show: It doesn't matter what you have; when it comes to women's bodies, there will always be pressure to attain something else.
People Thought I Was Bowlegged
Growing up, I was a very scrawny child with a surprisingly fat face, like a pre-pubescent Betty Boop. Going a day without being teased by my peers was rare. Meanwhile, adults stared at my spider-like body with sheer terror. Did I need leg braces? Was I malnourished? Could I run properly? When I see people working to get the thigh gap, I remember the times I felt like a freak for that very same body. Repeat after me: There is no "perfect" body. And for many women, there will never be a time when they don't feel judged for the way they look . . . even if they do have a thigh gap.
I Get Chilly . . . Down There
Whenever I venture outside, an instantaneous chill cools not only my thighs, but a certain area south of the naval. And here's a fun fact: If your genitals feel cold, there's no way to warm up the rest of your body, leaving you in an extreme state of both discomfort and terrifying awkwardness. Imagine standing at a party with your legs pressed together, and having to constantly tell people, "no, no, I don't have to use the restroom!"
Like I said, awkward.
You Can Always See My Crotch
In 10th grade, a good male friend of mine came up to me one day and said: "Giana, you need to sit better. I can see up your skirt every day."
Indeed, when wearing a skirt and sitting, my southern regions are completely exposed unless I cross my legs or squeeze them tightly together. I'm always checking to make sure I'm not flashing the world . . . which as you can imagine, is also pretty damn awkward.
People See My Other Insecurities
So often, when people say, "Wow, look at your thigh gap!" they immediately start scanning my body, searching for flaws to feel better about themselves. But having one physical "ideal" doesn't protect me from body-image battles. I fear that when others look at me, they will notice my weird neck moles, questionable scars, asymmetrical bottom lip, gray hairs, veiny feet . . . I've even had people point out another flaw to me, like, "You have a nice thigh gap, but your feet are weird."
I'm grateful for my body, and I'm not here to whine about having a thigh gap. But it's dangerous to presume that me or any woman with a thigh gap doesn't deal with body-image struggles. Having a thigh gap comes with its own issues, and it definitely hasn't saved me from the pain of insecurity.
I too have looked in the mirror, wishing for things I don't have. And sadly, that's something every woman can relate to—thigh gap or not.