Are you familiar with the French expression, “bien dans sa peau”? It literally translates to “well in one’s skin” or loosely, being comfortable with one’s self. This phrase was brought to mind the other night as we attended a 1940s-style burlesque show in Oklahoma City with friends.
As I watched these young women perform, I wondered what it takes to allow someone to be that comfortable with their body. I suppose I can understand it to a certain degree with the slim, well-toned girls. However, one of the young women in the show was anything but “slim and well-toned”. She was significantly overweight and “jiggly” — not at all the type you’d expect in a show like that. But there she was, strutting her stuff with all the confidence in the world.
The fascinating thing was the response she received from the audience. I wasn’t surprised to notice the women cheering her enthusiastically. I’m sure we were all thinking, “Way to go, honey!”. What did surprise me were the reactions of the men. Young and old alike whistled and clapped for her, even more than they did for the thin and more traditionally attractive dancers. Despite her chubby body, this young woman was so obviously comfortable with who she was that her attitude was contagious. You couldn’t help but like her.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one wondering about her. One of my friends leaned over and said, “I’d like the name of her therapist.” Exactly. How does one become “bien dans sa peau”, despite perceived flaws? I know very thin women who obsess over the slightest roll of flesh so why was this significantly over-weight woman so comfortable with her body that she would bare most of it to an audience? I really don’t know. I wish I did, though.