Ignorance is Bliss

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images.” Cheri Erdman

May 6, 2014 | | Blogs | Community | Leisure | Two Blue Boots

Last week, at the Hair Salon, I had a very unfortunate revelation.  I was waiting for my $200 Chunky Style highlights to set and decided to glance through one of those women’s magazines.  My eyes spotted the headline, ”CANKLES – DO YOU HAVE THEM?”

The article stipulated that the ideal female leg has a well- defined calf and ankle.  Some unfortunate women, however, have a condition where the calf meets the foot in an abrupt fashion – hence the moniker “Cankles.”   I perused the photographs that accompanied the article.  There were several photos of beautiful women with very glamorous gams.  There were also photos of dreary, dumpy women who were the not-so-proud owners of unattractive, shapeless legs.

As I continued to read, my eyes glanced forward at my reflection in the large hairdressing mirror.  I was wearing a pair of shin-length Capri pants and upon my feet I wore my trusty Birkenstocks.  The plastic hairdressing cape covered my upper body and fell to my thighs.  As I scanned my mirror image, from my knees to my toes, I was horrified at what I saw.  Cankles!!

How is it that I never realized that I was afflicted with this condition?   When I was a young girl I never looked good in knee socks. I always wondered why my skate laces gaped around the grommets in such an unflattering way.  I just assumed that these fashion failures were due to my Dollar Store brand socks and my garage-sale skates.  I never realized that the issue was actually due to my very own shapeless “tree-trunk” legs.  We didn’t have the terminology to describe this malady back then.  And so – because we did not have the words to describe it – it didn’t exist. I have lived for all of these years in total ignorance.  I had no idea until that fateful day at the hair salon that I was the shameful owner of sausage legs—otherwise known as Cankles!

I nervously continued to read. The article went on to explain that Cankles have a medical and a genetic cause – they are actually “adipose tissue surrounding the soleus tendon, probably congenital, and worsened by weight gain.”  I read on to discover some possible solutions:

  • low sodium diet
  • exercise
  • surgery

I discovered fashion-advice galore.  It was suggested that Cankle victims should refrain from wearing sandals, loafers, ankle socks, anklet jewelry, ankle tattoos – basically anything that will draw the eye to the unsightly ankle region.

My sexy-new-hair confidence had been completely deflated.  I sat and pondered my fate.  How could I continue to live with legs shaped liked PVC pipes?  How could I dare be seen in public with my chunky ham hocks?

I took a deep breath and I had a stern talk with myself.  I reminded myself that “beauty is only skin-deep.”  True beauty is about the joy in your heart and the smile on your face.  How could I have allowed a magazine article to distort my image of myself so quickly?  I am not that vain.  I shook my head and sighed.

The hairdresser removed the plastic cape and performed the final primping and spraying.  I turned the page in the magazine and my eyes fell upon the headline:  “MUFFIN TOP – DO YOU HAVE ONE?”  I looked toward the mirror and examined the area above my waistband…

Next time I go to the hairdresser, I’m taking a good book to read.  No more magazines for me.

About the Author More by Laurie May

Laurie teaches Grade 4 at Island Lake Public School in Orangeville and writes in her spare time. She lives in Mono and looks for the humour in everyday country life. Check out her blog “Two Blue Boots”.



  1. Great toes though! Love this story; it applies to many of us!

    Joan D on Jun 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Joan! That photo was taken in NYC at Times Square. We were sitting on that famous staircase.

      Laurie May on Jun 11, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Reply

  2. Love your blog! It always puts a smile on my face.

    Danielle on May 11, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Reply

  3. Joy–you have a wonderful way of putting things into perspective. Yeah for writing brains!!!!

    Laurie May on May 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Reply

  4. Ptui! They are all envious of the Lauriebrain and her writing ability.

    Joy Gaskin on May 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Reply

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