The Grade: Legs

Words by Maggie McDade

Published on November 25, 2013

Reviews of life and stuff.

Once, I saw a segment on A Current Affair that chastised a middle-aged woman for wearing mini skirts. And so one month shy of my twenty-fifth birthday, it is perhaps time to review my own pins; to assess how they will be publicly received as I enter my second quarter-century.

1. Shade and Tone
When I peer down in the shower at my calves it looks like a dusty spiderweb has caught around my leg. I am coming to terms with no uncertainty that I have varicose veins. Close to six years of work standing atop concrete floors, crossing my legs whenever I sit down, and genetics, have all contributed to my permanent purple spindles. Even the males in my family have varicose veins. Compression stockings are inevitable.

2. Shape
Won’t lie. Pretty happy in this department. Thin to average calves and thighs. Most happily viewed in black yoga leggings, purchased for this reason, and not for any yoga or yoga-related activities. Ankles most striking when poking out bottom of Hard Yakka overalls.

3. Box Gap
Due to what I can only attribute to a strange dance of genetics, without any exercise I am able to maintain a solid two-finger box gap. Please do not mistake this for bragging. What affords this luxury are knees that do not touch, point outward, and retain fluid after nine-hour days behind the bread counter.

4. Speed and Agility
Fair to above average. Came second in year twelve cross-country over five years ago. Dad says I have the stature of a ‘natural long distance runner’. Repeat statement to myself when struggling to run four km around the ‘tan in South Yarra, where I closely follow a lady walking her dog in high heels.

5. General Health
Some nights when I lie in bed, my legs ache so badly that I get up to take a Neurofen or two. See varicose veins.

6. Maintenance
I stressed so badly when I was thirteen about shaving my legs — weighing pros and cons about the sexiness of smooth skin, versus the horrific concept of black spikey regrowth. I had also read The Female Eunuch. So I decided to just go 50%, and shave only to the knee. Now, when standing in the sun, my thighs glisten with blonde hairs. While this was funny-looking next to my year nine girlfriends, I thank my former self frequently for not adding another zone to maintain.

7. User/Viewer Feedback
‘Maggie, you’re almost perfect, but you walk like a duck.’  — Lee, Rosalie Gourmet Market, 2005.

Legs at age 24 and 11 months: 3 stars.