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Piece of Mind: Say goodbye to “Hey Mabels!”

Posted: Thursday, May 2nd, 2013




How do you feel about your arms, specifically your upper arms?

Well, if you’re not satisfied, you could join a growing movement of discontented ladies who are getting upper arm lifts. That’s right. Forget the tummy tucks and face lifts! Lean arms are the hot new thing (thanks in part to First Lady Michelle Obama.)

In 2012, more than 15,000 upper arm lifts were performed in America. If that seems insignificant (307,000 women had breast augmentations in 2011), consider that only 300 were performed in 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In my family, we call the upper arms “Hey Mabels!” Why? Because when you’re in your backyard watering the lawn and pulling weeds, Mabel, your next door neighbor, comes out to say hello. You stand up tall to greet her and yell “Hey Mabel!” across the fence and wave, with your upper arm flapping in the breeze.

The term officially came from my sister’s brother-in-law, who was previously a personal trainer at a YMCA and worked almost exclusively with “women with Hey Mabels!”

I can’t help but think “what would Rod Serling say?” I’m sure you had the same thought. Well, we can learn something from Season 6, Episode 2 of The Twilight Zone, “The Eye of the Beholder.”

Poor Janet Tyler has undergone her eleventh treatment in an attempt to look like everyone else. Once the bandages are removed, you discover that Tyler’s final treatment failed. There’s been “no change — no change at all!” As the camera pulls back you find out that she is in fact (SPOILER ALERT) a quintessential 1960s beauty. As the doctors usher her away, you discover that they are all terribly deformed with pig-like snouts, sunken eyes, and swollen, twisted lips.

What is conformity worth to you? $6,000 (the current going rate for upper arm lifts)?

Of course we each “conform” in our own way, trying our best to fit in. I for one just got my second perm on Friday. I am trying to flee from my straight haired fate. I’ve also taken to wearing flowers in my hair, which hopefully sends off that bohemian-wanderer-meets-motivated-young-professional vibe.

I hope you are confident in who you are, no matter your body modification or style choices. I know I am much more than my arms or fake curls. Sometimes it’s just good to be reminded.



Gena Akers can be contacted at gena.leneigh@gmail.com.












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