Redefining the Perfect Summer Body

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Club Skirt’s Dinah Shore Weekend is right around the corner.  This lesbian mecca is a melting pot of thousands of LGBT women who travel to Palm Springs, California once a year to unite as a community.  The music festival is the largest lesbian gathering on the planet. Pool parties and nightlife events are continuously hosted for five days.

In preparation for Dinah Shore, the term “Dinah body” gets thrown around a lot.

So what is a “Dinah body?”

The original intention of Dinah’s creation was to provide a safe space for lesbians to mix and mingle.  Lesbians from all over the world flock to Dinah Shore Weekend partying in all shapes and sizes.  However, Hollywood has done a great job of warping our perceptions of what it means to be Dinah-ready.

Lesbians from all over the world flock to Dinah Shore Weekend partying in all shapes and sizes.  However, Hollywood has done a great job of warping our perceptions of what it means to be Dinah-ready.

When I try to formulate an answer to the above question, some specific groups come to mind.  The cast of Showtime’s L-Word, the women of The Real L-Word by the same producer, and the girls in almost every photo that pops up in a Google image search with “Dinah Shore Weekend” in the keywords.  These women have washboard abs, no tan lines, and magazine cover hair.  Videos of The Dinah often have gorgeous women scantily clad (if not naked), tight and toned from head to toe.

 

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Photo: LA Weekly

Influenced by this Hollywood portrayal of Dinah, as the days inched closer to this utopian lesbian vacation I decided to retire my sedentary status.  Being totally single, I was sparked by the idea of being half-naked in a hotel pool among thousands.  Images of celebratory swimsuit models tugged at my thoughts.  What started out as a minor health kick, turned into so much more.

This is my personal journey of how I redefined what a “Dinah body” means to me.

This is my personal journey of how I redefined what a “Dinah body” means to me.

The Summer Body Transformation

Standing inside of a machine that looked like it was about to vaporize me into atomic particles and teleport me into another dimension, my body wiggled as I stood on an aggressively vibrating platform.  Although I wore protective mini-goggles, I could still dimly see the red glow that engulfed me while inside of this chamber of mystery.  The heat blast from the lights that radiated onto my skin felt unnatural.  This thing I stood inside was called the “Total Body Enhancement” machine.  The future is now.

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Photo: Planet Fitness

With Club Skirt’s Dinah Shore Weekend creeping up, there was no level of torture I was unwilling to put myself through in the name of nice skin, tight abs, and a perky butt.

After doing some research, I discovered that “red light therapy” has little to no data to back up claims of improving skin quality and melting fat cells — which this machine supposedly does.  However, even with the lack of documented support, I still spent the twelve minutes allowed inside of the “Total Body Enhancement” machine naked and gyrating on the mechanical platform while dripping in sweat.

In the off-chance that it would magically transform me into a tanner version of a young Audrey Hepburn, I convinced myself that it’s worth it.

Actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993) poses barefoot on a sailing boat on the set of the film 'Sabrina Fair', 1954. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) poses barefoot on a sailing boat on the set of the film ‘Sabrina Fair’, 1954. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

When not standing inside of this mysterious beauty-making machine, I was inside of another machine — a tanning booth — zapping my body with harmful UV rays to darken my skin tone by a few shades.  The employee at the gym led me to the entrance of the tanning room.  “How many minutes would you like?”  I asked her for the maximum allowable time.  “Well, that’s twenty minutes… but since you are doing it for the first time, I recommend a lot less than that.  You have a pretty olive complexion already, so I will put it on for eight minutes.”

“Otherwise, if it’s on for too long you might peel.”

Lying on a piece of glass completely naked, I cooked inside of what literally looked and felt like a human-sized oven.  Even though she gave me less than half of the longest allowable session, I was peeling the next day.  My forehead looked like it had rug burn.  Dinah was only a week away.  I prayed that slathering aloe vera on my face would fix this, knowing that it probably wouldn’t.  In addition to the dead skin cells hanging off of my face, my frizzy hair was fried from flat-iron abuse used to transform my naturally bouncy curls into pseudo-straight locks.  Smeagol from Lord of the Rings stared back at me from the mirror.

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Photo via Lord of The Rings

This process of beautification was turning me into an unsightly monster.

The Upside to Vanity Obsession

Despite the self-torture that comes along with attempting to attain an unachievable level of super-beauty only produced by hours of photoshopping, there can be genuine health benefits to striving for perfection.  Lying on the floor of my friend’s apartment during a drop-in visit I shifted my legs in the air while tightening my ab muscles during our conversation.  As we took a stroll around the block, every step turned into core-strengthening, ass-tightening, lunges.

She is now used to this being my general routine when I see her.  The endorphin rush gives me a boost of feel-good energy that is addicting.  I fully feel myself getting closer to reaching the peak potential of my ideal physique.  Nothing about my exterior screams “Dinah body” just yet — but that’s the goal.  I push myself until it hurts so much that I want to stop, and then I force myself to do more.

Most of the day is spent sweating.

Although my schedule is insanely busy, I still make a personal commitment to jog every single day.  Whether it’s in the gym, around the block, or in the middle of a handicap stall of a public restroom.  Even if I only have five minutes.  Even if my cat dies.  Even if my only availability for a run is at three o’clock in the morning.  My shoes hit the cement as the monologue of a self-help podcast recites affirmations into my ears about the importance of self-love.  This motivates me to pound the pavement even harder.  I know the person whispering sweet nothings into my ear is probably an amateur psychology student who doesn’t follow her own advice.  I still let the words swim around in my head as I get closer to my last lap.

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