The Arms War


Bingo wings are not the latest spicy appetizers; they’re the flabby upper arms so many of us boomers are fighting. This genetic condition also goes by many lovely names such as bat wings, Jello jigglers, flabby dabbys, shakers and movers, Miss Wigglys, and Parma hams. And like a ham, they’re big and hard to hide, especially with today’s sleeveless fashions.

This sleeveless trend was designed to vex women over 50. Aside from covering them, the only way bingo wings don’t show is if you hold your arms elevated, like Vanna White revealing a vowel, such as the letter O, for “Oh, my God! How did this happen?”

Back in my twenties, an older woman came to work in my shop and she had that cottage cheese thing going on, and I thought, No way. I’ll never let my arms look like that. The sweet innocence of youth. And now, guess what? I am that woman, except she had the spunk to go sleeveless in the summer. Me, I’ll sweat into a puddle of goo before I publicly expose my upper arms. I know this is America and I have the right to bare arms, I just don’t have the courage.

Sleeveless has become a fighting word, pitting the firm against the flabby. It’s nothing short of an arms war backed by the fashionistas and led by a way-too-buff First Lady—God, I miss Barbara Bush. I wish this fad would hurry up and fade into the annals of fashion faux pas like Neru jackets and palazzo pants.

Hundreds of Internet sites promise to rid you of truck-stop-Judy arms. The cures range from firming creams, to toning exercises, to the surgical cure. Yes, you can have an upper-arm lift—it’s the new facelift. To determine optimum arm size, doctors measure your arm-fat index using sensitive calipers and a complicated mathematical formula that makes quantum mechanics look easy.

Based on my own experience, I can tell you that the creams and exercises don’t work. And the surgery is way too expensive to even contemplate. There is a temporary fix touted on the Net: body taping, the sounds of which gave me flashbacks to my first and only waxing session, the most painful two minutes of my life. I still suffer from PWSD—Post-Waxing Stress Disorder.

Actually, there is a viable option for those of us with small pocketbooks and large bat wings. A smart marketer has come to our rescue with a stylish product called Sleevey Wonders, which are shear knit sleeves that compress and contain the jiggle. They’re like Spanx for your arms. But if you’re rich, by all means, slice off those Parma hams.

Though for the rest of us, the news is not all bad. At least when we wave goodbye to loved ones they know how much they’ll be missed because five minutes later our arms are still waving. And what says love better than that?

So, in protest to the arms war, I will not fight it. I’ll stay as I am, and—Peace Brothers—make love; not war.