In my very young days I used to be the thinnest girl around. At first it was thought that I just had the usual growth spurt as a teenager, and as the doctor told my Mom, height simply overtook weight gain. In my senior year at school, boys would have fun suddenly grabbing me at PE lessons and carrying me around laughing their heads off. Mom explained that young males needed to demonstrate their newfound strength, and elaborated that they were all congenital idiots (out of my Dad’s hearing of course). I was assured that it will pass in time. This left me uncertain as to whether I would gain weight and gradually look different (hard to imagine at the time but possible when looking at all my female relations), or that the said boys will outgrow their mucho-macho period (dubious). At university I was still the thinnest girl in our year, so when I occasionally got the same treatment I was inured. Actually it was not all bad, like for instance I was the girl most often carried across a puddle or a mud patch. Whenever I stopped unsure how to cross a tricky patch someone would rush, scoop me up and demonstrate their prowess.

Naturally I finally gained some weight after having kids. And none of us get any younger with the passing decades. On the one hand our one true love is not very young anymore either; on the other hand nobody would dream of scooping up a mature woman and carry her anywhere regardless of her size. Come to think of it it’s not done today. Young people are too independent, too fit to go in for such immature behavior. Women carry their own heavy luggage for instance; they would stare at a man who offers help. Why? We can all do anything, thank you very much.

Ah, but then come all those romantic thrillers, romances, books and movies. They seem to be stuck in some far-gone epoch when the fair sex was indeed seen as fair and all women were “little women” regardless of their actual size. “So you are the little woman who…” says Tommy Lee Jones (very short) to Julia Roberts (very tall) in “Pelican Brief”. That was a couple decades ago. I read several modern thrillers. In all of them there are scenes when the heroine crawls into the hero’s lap, when he picks her up and carries her out and about and around indefinitely. Ditto in many movies. Well movie magic is one thing. Real life is another. I confess that when I read or see such a scene I invariably remember a passage from Aldous Huxley’s novel “Chrome Yellow”. In it the young protagonist picks up the young damsel in distress fully expecting it to be the same experience he’d observed many times on screen. His reaction? “Heavens what a weight!” He staggers and virtually drops her down. How do they do it in movies? Today we can read about all the secrets, the blue screens which mask the helping hands on the sides, the computer magic and so on. Sure there are a few people, actors included, who can carry a person and look convincing. If need be most humans can perform the fireman’s lift; witness the many movies and TV shows where a pretty young heroine wants to be and does become a fire-fighter, a policewoman,  a rescue worker. I don’t quite believe it when she carries out a large man out of a burning building, but who knows? In a stressful and/or dangerous situation all of us can perform extraordinary feats. It goes without saying that a mother can pick up her child and run or jump even when the child is not small anymore. We can all carry, drag, hold up a person of any size when we must. Walking around with someone in our arms, not so much.

But it looks nice.

I saw a poster recently for the new movie called “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”. In it, Ryan Reynolds carries Samuel Jackson in his arms. This I definitely want to see.


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