RUNNING/SWEATING--MY FREE- FOR- ALL-- BUT NOT FOR "SEDENTARY SOCIALITES".
Shortly after I started running, my body began channeling my stress into useful energy. It didn’t take long before I threw away all my prescription drugs and invested in a daily running routine that lasted more than forty years. I used my morning television program and later, my radio show, to promote running. I couldn’t stop bragging about the benefits of sweating--- how sweating was improving my acne-prone skin.
I ran years before jogging and running became a popular fad and a major industry. It was only a matter of time before my female critics raised their ugly heads. I heard “by the grapevine” that women in the neighborhood were gossiping about me, referring to me as an exhibitionist.
These were the same women who not only slept in flannel pajamas but went to bed in granny hairnets ‘stuffed” with toilet paper to preserve their weekly hair “dos.” To these socialites, daytime appearance was everything. These women didn’t dress for men; they dressed for their competition—other women.
Like contestants in a beauty pageant, these women competed with each other to be the most beautiful, stylish, elegantly-dressed and most perfectly-coiffured woman in town. Their hairdos, makeup, and expensive clothes may have impressed their society friends but their bodies—not so much. I’m sure the husbands in these rigidly-routine marriages were starved for some bedroom “fun” and visual “turn-ons.”
In the fifties and sixties, well-dressed women in Arkansas wore expensive, tight, form-fitting girdles, complete with “straps” to hold-up their hose (Panty Hose weren’t invented until the seventies.) Of course, the girdles weren’t complete without sensibly-structured and matching-color bras.
Ladies who were less “endowed” wore either a padded bra or slipped sponge-rubber falsies-- complete with fake nipples-- inside their bras. Over the undergarments, every “lady” wore a full, color-matching slip. The slip was for modesty—the mark of a true Southern lady.
Women of the fifties and sixties, both old and young, wanted the fashionable hour-glass figure—no humps, bumps, sags, or wrinkles. Only by wearing tight-fitting undergarments could a fashion-minded woman achieve the hour-glass look.I remember being “locked inside” such foundations and undergarments for a while and feeling claustrophobic--- but not for long.
Considering all the time it took to remove all-those-many-layers of clothing, including the undergarments, spontaneous love-making was nearly impossible. Besides, the average “lady” didn’t want some man messing-up her makeup, her perfect hairdo, ripping her hose, wrinkling or—“God forbid”—staining her expensive outfit.
Like well-dressed Mannequins, High-Society Ladies were obsessed with looking well-dressed and “presentable” all day, every day. These were the same women who trained their husbands when-and-where love-making would take place and even controlled how long it would last.
When I first married and didn’t know how to say no--- I sometimes--although reluctantly--accepted invitations to play party-bridge. One afternoon, sitting at the table with Ann (from a wealthy-old family and married to a man from another wealthy-old family), I was shocked when she began complaining-outloud: “God, I just realized today is Thursday which means I have to give Al “a little” tonight! I’d rather visit my gynecologist every day then have Al’s hands push and probe me for one hour, once a week!”
Another woman seated at the same table spoke up: “Ann, I can’t believe you actually plan sex in advance. How can you control how long it lasts?” That was Ann’s moment to shine: “Of course I plan it. I put it on my calendar, just like my dental appointment and everything else. I control how long it lasts by setting the alarm clock. Al better be through by the time that alarm goes off because that’s my signal to jump up; party time’s over!
I chose Thursday evenings because Al’s usually at the farm all day and gets home dead-dog tired. Also, I have my hair done on Friday mornings, so he can’t ruin a fresh hairdo. Insatiably-curious, the other woman asked: “You mean Al agrees to only one night a week and for only one hour? Surely he tries to sneak-in some kissing, petting, or a little touchy-feely, on other days.
In response, Ann rolled her eyes, smiled and confidently replied: “Al’s smart enough to know if he complains or tries any “hanky-panky”— I’ll cut off his weekly supply and he won’t “get any” for months!”