[Partial nudity warning: this post contains a full-on wardrobe malfunction. This may or may not interest you to know.]
Holy crap, people. This is a no-brainer. The other day I was walking to pick my son up from school (this appears to be a fruitful practice for generating blog post material) and I kid you not, within a one-block (ONE BLOCK!) radius, all of a sudden I got hit over the head like a sledgehammer by the sudden realization that OHMYGODINHEAVEN it must be bathing suit season in a matter of … well, in a matter of soon.
Why, you ask?
Oh, allow me. It’s all about how shop windows change.
Remember the pharmacy (ie, place where you go to fill prescriptions for blood pressure meds and allergies and certified clinical illnesses?) that promoted this? Well, their windows of late have changed as a harbinger of warm weather to come. Witness:
Oh, where to start, where to start? How about with the name: CELLU DESTOCK. 14 days! (exclamation point added for emphasis) I think if you just throw “cellu” into the product, it automatically communicates “this cream will banish cellulite forever” or something thereabouts.
Clearly the awesome derrière needs no additional commentary, except for my astute observation that I don’t honestly think that Cellu Destock had anything to do with that. However, let’s read what the ad copywriters have to say about it:
TODAY I CAN
SHOW OFF (everything)
FEEL GOOD (in my body)
WEAR (what I want)
I might add: Oh, ladies! All in a little cream!
But hell, don’t take it from me or the ad geniuses behind this miracle product. Just read the reviews:
I love the contrast here. “Girls this thing is working! It took me a while to make a decision on buying this cream.” (really?) to “Haven’t seen any dramatic changes or improvement in the appearance of cellulite on my thighs and hips.”
Um, no. That’s because dramatic improvements in cellulite are not possible. But don’t tell reviewer #1’s husband. He said, and here I quote: “Did you do something with your legs? They look different.”
(I will not dignify that with any additional commentary, it is just too great all on its own.)
But, again: the idea that you can’t improve cellulite? GASP! THE HORROR! Take it away, Dr. Garry S. Brody, professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California (a place where they know a thing or two about body image):
Women who believe that they can eliminate cellulite through creams, or even weight loss, are likely to be disappointed, said Dr. Garry S. Brody, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California. “So-called cellulite is the natural anatomic contour characteristic of many women’s thighs and buttocks,” Brody said. “It is unrelated to weight gain or loss. There is absolutely no surgical or medical solution to women’s dislike of this appearance except for the psychological self-deception of wanting to believe the ads.” [source]
Ok, ok, you’re thinking: but I’m not convinced. Psychological self-deception—pshaw! you say. Show me more!
Your wish is my command:
What about if we frame our formerly-cottage-cheese-laden-thighs with our hands to show how effective the product is, and we put a big ol’ headline that says:
Cellulite is a sickness.
To cure it you have to act on the causes.
Somatoline cures cellulite and helps prevent it from returning.
Whoa! SICKNESS! CURES! Who knew?
But before we leave this (pharmacy) window, let’s look at ALL the products on offer, shall we?
This is maybe my favorite because it combines two things that people want: more sleep, and getting thin. Look at the headline on this puppy: “Get thin in 10 nights*.”
How much am I loving that asterisk?
The tag line says: Somatoline Cosmetic. It works.
I guess being fat isn’t a sickness. You can just sleep it off with this cream. 10 nights, folks!
Let’s cross the street to the profumeria, where they sell makeup and skin care products (non-pharmaceutical, obvs). Hello, window shopping!
Add a neon green line to the profile of the beautiful buttocks. Then show your whole entire line-up of miracle anticellulite products. And see, ironically, this is the one place where we see pills to cure cellulite. The subhead is “Special Perfect Body” line.
They contain caffeine. Like, you know, that other thing called espresso that they drink around here.
And for those of you growing anxious to see boobies, or rather, booby, as promised—fine. Here:
For the low, low price of €9,90, you too can have a cream that, I kid you not, is called Breast Firming and Volumizing* Cream. Volumizing! According to Dictionary.com (the venerable Merriam-Webster doesn’t even have ‘volumizing’ as an entry):
|Part of Speech:
||to add volume to, as the hair; to enhance the thickness or body of
Etymology 1991, that’s awesome, you know that was ALL Pantene Pro-Vitamin B Complex.
Anyways, whatevs. If you want boobies with more body, buy this cream. SOS! Save Our Ship! Sinking Boobies!
What about the esthetician, right? Italy is big on these shops that do all sorts of things to save everything that’s sinking on a human body. Check out these signs in the window:
10 anti-cellulite massages cost €300. But the best part for me is the sexy woman running on a track, advertising the “Weight Loss Fitness Program” that encompasses something called a “Hypertonic Program” that inclues something called an “Electric Sculpure Massage” for €350. That scares the holy bejeezus right out of me, but I am reassured by the underlying print: “Personal trainer on request.” Oh folks, I couldn’t make this shite up if I tried.
Electric sculpture massage? Is that even legal?
A bit of cursory research into the world of electro-sculpure massage reveals that they use things like this device named “Sculpturelle,” that look like this, and say “Professional beauty equipments” on the bottom.
I don’t know about y’all, but if I was subjected to the use of an electric device applied to my body by a company that didn’t even take the time to appropriately translate the words on the device, well—hmm. But, the caduceus is the sure sign of it being an officially-sanctioned medical device. Not that the RMS people even know the meaning of caduceus, but that’s beside the point: this is professional beauty equipments, people!
Oh, sigh. So, you know. This is Italy and we need to get ready for the beach. No exercising, we have electro-sculpture and anti-cellulite pills and booby volumizing cream! This is almost getting exhausting, but I feel I must be exhaustive in my research, to offer you the full range of options. So, let’s not forget the “tummy and hips” cream:
€49,50 and it’s going to “help reduce circumference in 4 weeks” ASTERISK.
My 4-year old daughter saw this one and goes, “Look mommy! She’s standing on her toe!” and I was like, right you are, little one! Don’t try this at home!
This one is “Leg Thinning and Draining Cream, Ice Effect Formula.” This one promises to “Thin legs in 2 weeks” ASTERISK. [Are you loving these time ranges? Very important. This means I can start using it just a couple weeks before I plan to wear my bathing suit, no? But I have to be strategic with my hip and ab cream and my 10-night cream too.]
And, menopausal women? Don’t think you’re off the hook, eh? The pressure to be Photoshopped beautiful continues into post-menopausal age. Just look at your typical post-menopausal woman here:
Sorry this one is so blurry. I think quite possibly my hands were shaking from the realization that the post-menopausal woman on the box has a body that looks better than mine did at 18 years old when I was a high school cheerleader. No matter: the National Institute on Aging tells us that the average age for menopause onset is 51. So, maybe what happens is that starting now, around my current age of 37, my body starts to magically transform (perhaps with the aid of all these costly creams in the window) into a better-than-teenage body by the age of 51. Priced to move at €54 (that’s $75 for my American-dollar-carrying friends).
Well, what can I say? Please don’t tell the Italians that next week I’m embarking on this program. It requires clean eating and lifting weights, in an actual gym, where you—GASP—sweat.
Shh! If they find out, they might shame me into buying a booby-volumizing cream.