There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food.
Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a disturbing decline in her enjoyment of eating. Inside the back cover of Damsel was a mail order form with which one could receive a gilded full-length mirror. Since the only mirror she owned was on the medicine cabinet, she decided to take advantage of the offer.
The package arrived, and Annie mounted the looking glass in her bedroom. Then she stood back to examine the purchase. But the mirror reflected what it saw, which was unfortunately Annie. She sank sadly into a chair.
Luckily, though, Damsel’s resources seemed limitless and Annie escaped into an article (marked advertisement in fine print) about a ranch to which could retreat those ladies who wished to achieve the perfect figure. There was a picture of a fat woman tagged before followed by a slim young lady captioned after. Also included was a summary of the healthful activities and daily diet (which seemed to Annie the only drawback) that one would follow during each adventure-filled day of the four-week program at the Feather Goddess Ranch, just outside of Someville in the Midwest.
Making the necessary arrangements, Annie locked the door with finality on obesity to embark on her journey into slimness.
By mid-afternoon, Annie arrived at the log-framed entranceway over which was a driftwood sign, bearing the inscription:
“As you pass through these doors, you are leaving the world of the overweight to reclaim your birthright of slender womanhood.”
As most of the other novitiates had already completed registration procedures, Annie approached the desk. An aging desk clerkess, labeled Your Feather Goddess Guide assumed a senescent smile and extended a wrinkled hand.
“Welcome to the Feather Goddess Ranch, the haven of healthful activity, and the home of individual figure rebirth through controlled diet and supervised exercise.”
The speech ended, she withdrew her hand and thrust a registration form in front of Annie, along with assorted brochures.
On entering her room, Annie dropped into a pink chair and opened one of the brochures which explained that there was no snack bar since the management felt this would be an improper temptation. Instead, they strongly advised the practice of mind over matter if one found oneself beset with between-meal hunger pangs.
Closing the brochures, Annie set out in search of the dining room, as it was the appointed hour for dinner. Most of the other guests had already seated themselves in advance and were now waiting impatiently for the meal to begin.
She was greeted with, “You must be new. What’s your name?”
Feeling that a show of friendliness was imperative, she responded, “I’m Annie Brown.”
Looking around the room, Annie became aware of the striking difference between those who had been her companions on the bus and those who had been at the ranch already. Some of the guests actually resembled the lean models of Damsel except that they appeared downright sullen. And when dinner arrived, Annie thought she knew why.
Attacking the meager meal with little vigor and no gusto, she emptied her plate and drained her glass of iced tea. But Annie was still hungry and now wished bitterly that she were back at home, a wish that even the arrival of a low-cal dessert was not able to dispel.
At length dinner was over. Annie, now deeply dejected, followed the others into a room, which was probably what the brochure had referred to as the lounge. None of the guests were inclined toward conversation—the lean ones being absorbed in lean thoughts of their own, and the fat ones being absorbed in much the same way as Annie. After a time, she decided to go to bed.
The next two weeks passed slowly and hungrily for her. It was not that she didn’t fit in, for as her figure consultant assured her, Annie had made a remarkable adjustment to life at Feather Goddess Ranch. Further, Annie had even struck up conversations with certain of the fatter guests, having nothing in common as yet with the leaner ones. But with each succeeding meal, her life spirit seemed to be waning away, as were the inches around her waist. Annie was bewildered by the fact that she no longer looked forward to mealtimes at the ranch, or even to the day when she would leave and once more be at liberty to plan her own meals.
But the four weeks ended, and the day came when Annie was to rejoin the outside world. Waiting for the bus to depart, Annie became aware of an unpleasant sensation. For four weeks she had nurtured the hope that the new Annie would be royally welcomed by a world seen through different eyes. Not only was this not the case, but the few people about seemed to take less notice of her than before. It couldn’t be the clothes, for the Feather Goddess Ranch had provided her with a new summer dress. What could be missing?
Then it dawned on Annie that this was not the place to make her debut. At home things would be different. There she would begin anew— at last enjoying a full and happy life.
Upon arriving home, Annie looked at her lean form in her gilded full-length mirror and felt absolutely empty. Now there seemed no food delicious enough to fill the void.
So she opened Damsel to a page which asked the question, “Is it true that blondes do have more fun?” Resolution surged through her, and Annie made a solemn promise to herself:
“If I have but one life to lead, let me live it as Annie Blonde!”