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February 13, 1992 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-13

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The Michigan Daily -Weekend etc. February 13,1992

Y \IV

Save your
milk cartons
Pat Bateman, the cultural icon of
Bret Easton Ellis' newest novel
American Psycho, is my kind of guy.
He's rich, powerful and intensely
devoted to the maintenance of his
health and fitness. Being wealthier
than anyone at all attending this
University, Pat's health club
Xclusive is a paragon of physical
fitness technology and facilities.
Modeled with only the best
weight machines from Nautilus to
Universal, Xclusive's equipment in-
cludes free weights, two swimming
pools, life cycles, a gravitron ma-
chine, treadmills, massage, sauna and
steam rooms, a sun deck and that
treasure of 20th century Western civi-
lization - tanning booths.
Healthier and better-looking than
you, Pat is devoted to epitomizing
the American dream with his plati-
num AmEx card, his psychosis and a
dazzling wardrobe, boasting only the
best from Luciano Soprani to
Armani.
My only problem with Pat is that
outside his scrupulous health regi-
men and care for himself lies a kind
of callousness for other human be-

his year's health and
fitness issue is prone
to make an obvious
prescription for
stress relief - vig-
orous (and safe) sex,
of course. This is not always the most
accessible or practical solution, how-
ever. Your partner might not be avail-
able after you've stood in line for an
hour at CRISP or you bombed your
Biology exam. As unbelievable as it
may seem, there are many other plea-
surable solutions to your winterized
stress attacks.
Stress and students go hand in
hand. Most of you ambitious workers
are holding down a full credit load,
have several jobs/internships, and are
involved in some extracurricular ac-
tivities as well. You might even be
gutsy enough to try and fit a social life
in there too. There aren't enough hours
in the day for you. But the work keeps
building up and you sacrifice sleep,
healthy meals and relaxation to fit
everything in.
If you don't see yourself getting an
eight-hour snooze until May, there's
hope for you yet. The new age gurus
have come up with several solutions
for our winter discontent. From 50
cent/five-minute miracles to a once-
in-a-while after-
noon of pamper-
ing,therearesev-
eral ways to get
yourself through
those trying
times that make
you hell to be
around.
Happiness
starts at home,
and stress relief
can too. But who
wants to come A
home to a pile of
dirty clothes on 0
the bedroom
floor, an unmade
bed and the rem-
nants of last bE
week's term pa-
per scattered about? Taking five min-
utes to hang up your clothes and throw
a comforter over those tousled sheets
will make your room a haven rather
than a pit of retreat.
If you're like me and you reli-

giously avoid neatness, I recommend in the sink. This is incredibly relaxing
a large laundry basket in a closet or and you won't have to tip him/her.

storage space. When the piles get to Anotherhomt
be a bit much, throw k v ad%4
them in your basket,
slide the door closed ~
and voila, mess noga( au
more. You won't >?tw .s
have to think about n
that junk until spring, P- L
and by then, you'll be
in the mind-frame to
deal with it.
Taking a hot
shower or bath (es-(
pecially if you in-
clude herbal bath oils
to make your steam
smell sweet - con- ot 6A
coctions of all kinds,+
made from earth and
sea minerals, plants,
fruits and more can
be found at Seva for
$2.50 to $11) is a
wonderful way to relieve stress. If it's you can't make

esourceofrelaxation

can be found in the
kitchen. Nothing's
more comforting
than Mom food -
you know, maca-
roni and cheese,
mashed potatoes,
oatmeal with lots of
raisins, PB & J. If
you just can't face
your semi-grown-
up responsibilities
one day, curling up
for a lunch of Idaho
Spuds with Oprah
(especially com-
forting, since ev-
erybody on that
show is more
fucked up than you)
in footie pajamas is
especially nice. If
it home for lunch,

minutes is enough to get you going
again), burn a scented candle. The air
will be filled with a lovely amber
glow and a warm potpourri scent. The
most importantelementof this therapy
is the music.
Earth Wisdom, a small music store
in the same building as Seva (just

come your fear of exams or raise your
self-esteem. Psychiatrist Emmett
Miller has released a tape called Let-
ting Go of Stress. It's a lot cheaper
than therapy, and the music is beauti-
ful.
Taking a break with some music
or an afternoon bath tends to be a a fix

0

the middle of the day and your room-
mates aren't banging on the door, go
ahead and use up the hot water.
A blast of cold water at the end of
a shower can be invigorating too, but
I prefer that languid lounge in the tub
where your feet turn bright red and

I:

rmmT 1sr 0Ws

ings. Like the Black derelict whose
eyes he removes in a doorway using
a switchblade. Or the Asian-Ameri-
can delivery boy whose throat he
slashes before dumping cartons of
Japanese food over his body, recall-
ing that he can now complete two
hundred abdominal crunches in less
than three minutes.
Pat's a bit nicer to the women
surrounding him (in his own words,
"little blond hardbodies") when he
isn't butchering their firm, healthy
bodies. He confides in us, "My arm
muscles burn, my stomach is as taut
as possible, my chest steel, pectorals
granite hard, my eyes white as ice. In
my locker in the locker room at
Xclusive lie three vaginas I recently
sliced out of various women I've
attacked in the past week."
We find him compensating for
his dearth of spirituality while chew-
ing on a dead girl's intestines and
gagging on the bad-smelling paste
inside. As he mechanically relates to
us, "I want to drink this girl's blood
like champagne and I plunge my
face deep into what's left of her
stomach, scratching my chomping
jaw on a broken rib."
I could tell you about how Ellis
uses Pat as a symbol of the decay of
Western civilization. I could cite
Pat's expert criticisms of classic
Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis
and the News albums, or his love of
The Patty Winters Show, with topics
ranging from Dwarf Tossing to Teen-
age Girls Who Trade Sex For Crack.
But I won't bore you.
I'll suffice to say that, typical to
the formula, Pat's own penchant for
cruelty and lacl of compassion ulti-
mately cause him to renounce his
own humanity.
As he tells us, "There wasn't a
clear, identifiable emotion within me,
except for greed and, possibly, total
disgust." He decides that God is not
alive. Justice is dead. Individuality
no longer an issue.
One of his deepest self-apprais-
als tells us, "Surface, surface, sur-
face was all that anyone found mean-
ing in ..."
Tf vn,'re e hia n elt nt,

carry a bag of vanilla wafers (ginger
snaps, and even a small flannel blan-
ket to rest your head on are good too)
to class with you. Better than Calgon
for taking you away from it all.
One of the best (and a little more
dignified) ways to unwind is with a
cup of tea. Celes-
tial Seasons Mel-
low Mint or
Sleepytime teas
or Good Earth
teas are delicious
and caffeine free.
If you don't
have time (and
most of us don't)
for an hour or
more of lounging
yourself back into
* * * shape, there are
quick fixes that
are surprisingly
effective in
unknotting those
shoulders so you
h a r d can getback to the
library. Tea saves
the day again - cool, damp chamo-
mile tea bags placed on the eyelids
will do wonders for tired eyes that
have been in the library or at a com-
puter terminal all day.
While you're resting (five or ten

LSA first year student, Jeannie Boersma, relaxes in the soothing jets of
a steamy hot tub at Oasis Hot Tub Gardens.

follow the cinnamon-scented vibes to
this cozy, caramel-colored nest) has a
host of new age music. You can relax
to the sounds to of the ocean, airy
wisps of bamboo flute or complex
synthesizer.
Many of the tapes are meant for
meditation or study aids, such as Great
Lakes Suite or Accelerated Learning
by Steve Halpern. The latter uses sub-
liminal messages (it may come in the
form of a heartbeat, or you never
know, it might be Prince reciting the
periodic table) which will help you
study more efficiently, and relax while
you do it. Others can help you over-

when you need it. But if you're into
relaxation rituals or moreconcentrated
techniques, there are accessible solu-
tions for you too. Horst Rechelbacher
can teach you breathing exercises,
massage techniques and give you tips
on herbal and scented oils in his book
Rejuvenation.
A regimen of stretching and breath-
ing every night can help put some
order in your life, but if the regularity
of the practice is a little more than you
can handle, you might try the occa-
sional professional beauty treatment.
These may be pricey, but the effects
See RELAX, Pge 4

your fingers pucker up. While you're
at it, put on a mud mask. That crackly
effect of dried seaweed may not be the
most comfortable, but that soft-skin,
clean-pore feeling can't be beat. Bet-
ter yet, get a friend to wash your hair

--ftft ..

,Mal)ourshed oa)Me) diqest
Media' 9Grbie iMaqeryj

} V

v 1

by Gwen Shaffer

W hen Joette looked in the mirror at
her five-foot, eight-inch frame, all
she saw was flab. "If only I could get
down to 110 pounds," she thought.
In reality, Joette was actually star-
ing at ribs which poked out of her
sides. Her joints were barely covered
by flesh.
Because society places increasing
pressure on women to look thin - as
exemplified with clich6s such as,
"Thin is in," and barrages of emaci-
ated models presented as the female
ideal - it is not surprising that eating
disorders are affecting more people
than ever, crossing age, race and class
barriers.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and
compulsive overeating are the most
frequent and well-known eating dis-

orders. Because the majority of
bulimia and anorexia cases are found
in women ages 12 to 25, the subject is
of great concern to many women in
college. In talking to students on cam-
pus, it seems that everyone knows at
least one person affected by bulimia
or anorexia. In fact, it is estimated that
15 to 20 percent of women at the
University have some type of eating
disorder.
If a broad definition of eating dis-
orders is used - such as anyone who
uses food for purposes other than for
sustenance - then nearly every
woman who is on a diet, preoccupied
with calorie counting, or eats when
she is not hungry, could be consid-
ered to have a problem, said Dr. Toby
Jacobowitz, a University Health Ser-
vices physician who treats patients
with eating disorders.

"A women's obsession with her
body is often a distraction, a way of
dealing with stress," Jacobowitz said.
"But I don't think you can generalize
because we all have a certain preoc-
cupation with food."
Joette Thomas, an Eastern Michi-
gan University graduate student and a
volunteer at the Center for Eating
Disorders, developed bulimia her first
year in high school and continued
binging and purging at least once a
day until she was 19 years-old. Tho-
mas said she was what physicians and
psychologists consider "the stereo-
typical bulimic." -
"I was a high-achiever, voted best-
dressed in high school ... My Mom
was the model '50s housewife who
cooked all the time," Thomas said.
"But certain foods weren't for me
because I was a woman." In many

households, the men may be encour-
aged to enjoy their food, while "eat-
ing like a bird" is a complimentary
comment about a
woman.
Thomas said
that while suffer-
ing from bulimia,
her whole life was
centered around
food. "I would go
to bed thinking
about what I was
going to eat the
next day," she said.
T h o m a s
blames both cul-
tural factors and
family influences for fostering her
obsession with body image.
"Society equates beauty and suc-
cess with being thin, and I was trying

to meet that standard. Also, my par-
ents tried to control my life-always
trying to make sure everything was
perfect -so that
I felt my weight
was something I
could control,"
Thomas said.
"This is a real
paradox because
very soon the eat-
ing disorder be-
gins controlling
them," said
Doreen Murasky,
a clinical social
worker for- Uni-
versity Counsel[
ing Services.
If a woman develops an eating
disorder and becomes dangerously
thin because of dissatisfaction with
her appearance, she may achieve the
opposite effect. Laura Verona, an En-
gineering senior, said she is "dis-
gusted" by some of the women she
sees at the CCRB.
"There is one woman that I see

Women who
emulate this
Virginia Slims ad
will find they've
chosen an
impossibly thin

Ma --'-. .~___b___

m

I

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