Well Being

12-Year Study Reveals Secret To Shapely Legs: Don’t Be A Real Woman

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Ladies, I interrupt all this health and hurricane and election coverage to bring up something I know you're all secretly thinking about: How to get shapelier legs. If you're thinking, “Whoa. How did she read my mind?” — stop right there: I did not read your mind. In fact, I just made an educated guess, based on the knowledge that half of all women hate their legs. If you're thinking, “Whoa, that seems a bit hyperbolic to me” — well, me too. But a new study conducted by plastic surgeons say it is so.

Now, now, don't fret! Not only are plastic surgeons kind enough to point out that half of us should hate our unshapely legs, they also spent 12 years analyzing what makes legs attractive. This way, we can compare our own legs to their ideal — culled from “sources as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Greek statues and even Barbie Dolls” — and see how we measure up (how else would we know how much to hate our legs?).

I think these plastic surgeons are a bit confused — it seems many of the models used in defining the perfect pair of female legs are inanimate objects and not, in fact, women with actual legs. But that didn't stop the study from getting published in a medical journal (Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), so why dwell?

According to the 12 years of study of rubber, stone and oil paint legs, the perfect pair should be both straight and slender, in order to convey both “strength and fragility.” Straightness is key, because “as soon as the column departs from the straight axis, it deviates from our perception of beauty.”

But straightness alone is not enough: on the inside of the leg, the calf needs to have a well-defined convex curve, short, but pronounced, say researchers. And then a short concave curve as it descends into the ankle. The outside of the perfect leg has a much longer and smoother convex curve. The curves on the inside and the outside of the legs should not be symmetrical.

I've read that paragraph several times, but the meaning still alludes me. Are my legs supposed to be straight? Or curved? Curved on one side but straight on the other?

Sigh. Maybe I should just listen to Mark Soldin and buy new pumps. A spokesman for the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, Soldin explains that heels “make the leg more attractive because the elevation of the heel enhances the convexity of the upper calf muscles, while making the ankle region appear even thinner, more fragile and feminine.”

Never forget, ladies: The secret to shapely legs is looking as much as possible like you can barely walk. Hot!

Photo: NYTmagazine