This may come as a shock to many of you, but I was a model once.
I think I was in fourth grade. My public school was considering a more strict dress code. So one day I suppose the administration had the novel idea of a uniform fashion show for the parents. They asked students to volunteer, and I nominated myself. It was so exciting! I had seen kids on the runways outside of JC Penney in Mesilla Valley Mall and I wanted to do that.
The weeks (or days, I don't really know. Time meant nothing to me as a child) went by and the fashion show approached. There was a dress rehearsal a few days in advance, just so we could get down the path to follow, the places to stop and turn. Basically so we wouldn't run into each other on the catwalk.
I was nervous. Nervous/excited. It was almost my turn. My moment of glory was at hand. I stepped out on to the runway and strutted my stuff.
I walked to the front of the runway and cocked my hip to one side. Then a turn. Then another turn. I was doing great!
Then the teacher standing below in front of the stage said, "Could you hold on a second?"
I stopped. She totally ruined the rhythm I had going.
"Stop the music, please!" she yelled to the teacher at the soundboard.
I looked at her expectantly as she peered over her glasses at me with a fake smile.
She glanced at her clipboard, "Uh...Karen?"
"Yes ma'am?" (Because I always used my manners)
"Could you...uh, could you swing your arms less? Much less?"
"Thanks, sweetie," she scrunched up her nose and pursed her lips into an even faker smile, "MUSIC!"
I turned, dejected, to walk back stage, paying careful attention not to swing my arms too much.
"Less swinging, please!" the horrible woman shouted.
Oh the horror. I looked ahead to see the smiling eyes of cruel fourth graders awaiting me at the foot of the stage steps.
It was at that moment I realized I could never be a model. First of all, there's my nose. 'Nuff said.
Secondly, I really really tried not to swing my arms too much and it was still too much for this lady. I had (have) no control over the swinging. I needed (need) the swinging to propel my body forward.
Of course, there's no way I could have ever hoped to recover from this miserable humiliation. I have been and will forever be conscious of my overly undulating arms.
Even now, sometimes I will be walking down the hallway at work and suddenly stop short, realizing that I was swinging my arms far too vigorously. I press onward, trying to tone it down.
Our society puts way too much pressure on young women. To have less swingy arms.