My grandma had bat wing arms. Her arm jiggle fascinated us kids. My cousin Rachel would reach across Granny’s corset-clad girth, tap the wrinkled drape of skin and shriek with half-delight, half-horror as the bat wing came to life. Granny endured this assault with what seemed like good humor, and I was way into adulthood before I wondered why she didn’t clobber the first child who attempted such ignominy.
Unfortunately, I seem to belong to the same gene pool as the zaftig model for Rubens’ Andromeda paintings. My best friend’s genes are more upper arm-friendly. At her niece’s recent wedding, she wrapped her slender 62-year-old body in a green strapless gown, displaying smooth, well-toned arms that would not shame a 30-year-old. She’s a regular at her gym, but still….
I’m better off than Granny was at my age, having spent years doing weights, push-ups and Pilates. Nevertheless, I detect an incipient jiggle, and I’m facing a crepey-limbs future with all the aplomb of a homesteader watching a shopping mall rise where her garden used to be.
Arm flab says decrepitude in a way no other body feature does. Droopy breasts — there’s an app for that (see: brassieres), and droopy cheeks and eyelids can be plumped with gel fillers. Arm flab won’t be quick-fixed. With arm flab, it’s going to be long sleeves forever — or submitting to brachioplasty, a surgical procedure that modifies upper arm wiggle. Unfortunately, the operation can leave a nasty scar that might rival the bat wing itself.
Bat wings are a heartbreak, but it’s hard to imagine they’d be a deal-breaker in the dating game, that a potential partner would say, “she’s smart, fun, beautiful, and loving, she’s a marvelous conversationalist, she’s great in bed, but it just won’t work — she has arm flab.”
Here’s some bad news: you WILL have bat wing arms — if not now, by the time you’re 65. Here’s more bad news: It doesn’t matter if you’re razor-thin or chubby, female or male; age-related arm flab is an equal opportunity affliction. The good news is that if you’re willing to work hard you can minimize the problem. You might try the excellent exercise regime of the First Lady, whose toned arms are an inspiration to mid-life women everywhere, even those who disavow her husband’s policies. NOTE: These exercises will not work miracles. If you already have a serious dangle of skin flab, no exercise will make it disappear completely.
As for limiting oneself to long sleeves only — blouses, dresses, sweaters, t-shirts, coats, jackets, bathrobes, beach robes — I’m a coward, but you don’t have to be. Life is good. Get out there! Reach up, up, up and let the breeze gently rustle those skin folds! Bat-Wing Power!
Sienna Jae Fein blogs at www.datingseniormen.com. This post previously appeared on the Huffington Post.
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