When the calf meets the ankle and there is no distinction between the two leg parts, you have what's known as "cankles." My mother has them, her mother had them, and I too was born with the lower legs of a plow horse. Centuries ago, I suspect my people were the ones who carried those huge slabs of rock up to Stonehenge. Thick ankles are one of those hereditary English traits - like rosacea and bad teeth - that made me want to disown my ancestors. They are also why I went through life wearing sensible shoes and long pants. Sexy strappy sandals and cute kitten heels were not for me because they made me look like Henrietta Hippo.
"Never mind, Sam," said a favorite uncle. "At least you'll stay upright in a sea storm."
I'm not alone. Mischa Barton, Helen Mirren, Hillary Clinton, Miley Cyrus, and British pop star Cheryl Cole have all been accused of having cankles. When Cole bared her ankles for a recent red-carpet appearance, the British tabloids went nuts. ("The Curse of the Cankles!") Not that this made me feel any better.
No amount of spot exercise or diet could contour my ungainly gams. I came to accept my cankles as something I'd just have to live with. After all, from my 5'9" vantage point, they didn't look so freakish. Distance does make things appear smaller. There were the occasional unpleasant reminders - a snapshot of me in shorts and flip-flops in South Beach, a side view of my tree trunks in a shoe-store mirror - but nothing to compel me to do anything drastic.
Then I met Dr. Gerald Imber, a renowned plastic surgeon in Manhattan. We were talking about minor problem areas, such as the flab that bulges around your bra strap. For these spots, Imber is a proponent of microsuction, a version of liposuction that uses a tiny cannula, or tube, not much bigger in diameter than a ballpoint pen. "Betcha can't fix these," I dared him, lifting up a pant leg to reveal a sturdy English ankle.
"Sure, I can," he said. And with that, I signed up for a cankle-ectomy.
For such a small area, it's a pricey procedure: $4,000 to $6,000. But when I learned that he could make normal-size ankles a reality, I realized how much I wanted this. Others might see my fixation on a body part that's an afterthought as extremely vain, and they'd be right. But I couldn't let the idea go.To keep reading "Ankles Away: Cosmetic Surgery for Cankles" visit MarieClaire.com.
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