Solomon Jones: Brooke Shields making us look bad

Posted: September 25, 2010

BROOKE SHIELDS recently told talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres that she could still fit in the Calvin Klein jeans she wore in the 1980s commercial that rocketed her to stardom.

You remember the commercial. It starts with Shields whistling "Oh, My Darling Clementine" as the camera slowly pans her 15-year-old, denim-clad legs. It ends with Shields looking into the camera and purring, "You know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."

Since I'm only three years younger than the 45-year-old Shields, I can remember what it was like to be young, childless, and in great shape. Then real life came along, and I, like most of my contemporaries, picked up a pound or two. That's natural, I guess, since most people my age have jobs, spouses, children, mortgages and credit cards.

Fact is, we're stressed out and food is our most faithful friend. It never talks back, it never judges us, and it never calls us names. It simply sits there on our plates, waiting to do what it's always done - provide comfort. Unfortunately, that comfort comes at a price, and for me, the cost shows up in my gut.

All those beers I drank before giving up on the stuff are still there, laughing at me from somewhere beneath the stomach fat. So are the cheesesteaks, hamburgers and hoagies. My gut is mine, though. I earned it, and despite my best efforts, it looks as if I'm going to have to keep it.

Sure, I've tried running and doing crunches and eating fruit and drinking water. I've often lost weight as a result, but usually the first thing to go is my butt. My waist gets smaller, too. Then my face and neck get skinny. But even as the weight falls off everywhere else, my gut is still there, mocking me as it hangs over my pants.

For women, it's even worse. Unless they're independently wealthy and can afford to have someone else work and raise their kids, it's a challenge for women in their 40s to lose weight. With higher percentages of body fat than men, women tend to be heavier in their 40s than they were in high school. And that's OK. In my estimation, it's nice for a woman to have curves.

But Brooke Shields? She's making the rest of us 40-somethings look bad.

If she, like the rest of my generation, has had children and everything that comes with them, how in the world is she still able to fit into the jeans she wore when she was 15? The only thing I can wear from 30 years ago is a hat, and that's only because I've shaved my head.

Granted, Shields admitted that getting into the jeans wasn't pretty, but the fact that she could get into them at all means that she has not just spent her life with money, power and looks. She's aged well, too. And although I really want to like Brooke Shields - she seems really genuine and well-grounded - her lifetime of good fortune leaves me with no choice but to hate her.

If the rest of us 40-somethings are reduced to watching Dr. Oz so he can give us some miracle cure that can jump-start our metabolism for under $5, Brooke should have to watch him, too. If the rest of us have lost at least one weekend of our lives to a colon cleanser, Brooke should have to lose a weekend, too. If the rest of us have to stay home from the gym because our spouses will get angry if we stick them with the kids to do five more reps on the bench press, Brooke should have to stay home, too.

That's why, on behalf of all the fat 40-somethings out there, I demand that Brooke Shields gain five pounds. It's the least she could do to help make the rest of us feel better.

Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at

sj@solomonjones.com

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