Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Rant

This actually has nothing to do with body image, and everything to do with men. So let me say...I love the notion of Valentine's Day. I love that there is one day dedicated to romance. That there are hearts everywhere. (I love hearts). I love that it's a day to let it out and not be ashamed of it. Silly giggles, secrets, cards, candy (yeah, I love candy), possibly jewelry, and then later....lingerie and sex...what's not to like? Well, here's the thing. It takes two to Valentine. In my case, it takes a guy. I can't do this by myself. I suppose I could, but what's the point? If I'm buying a box of candy for myself, I'm waiting till the 15th, when it's half off. Not the 14th. So why are men such simpletons about this day? I don't get it. I'm not even talking about the ones who are on the fence, who don't want the woman to get the wrong idea (insert eye roll here, but I suppose that's permitted). I'm talking about the ones in long-term relationships, the ones who are already committed. The ones who "forget" the day, get "too busy", or whatever other lame excuse you can think up. WHY? I don't get WHY!!! If I told a man that I knew of something that happened more or less in the dead middle of winter, that brightened everyone's day, that would in fact make the REST of winter better, that would guarantee him at least one day of a happier home life, possibly a week and with luck a month, and that this thing was available more or less anywhere, could cost as little as $20 (though it could cost substantially more), only took, oh, a half hour to accomplish, and, not only all of that, pretty much guaranteed him SEX--and HOT SEX--wouldn't you think he'd be jumping at this miracle? Why, yes, you would. You would think that. But then tell his same man, who thinks he's going to get the answer to all his prayers that this thing is a card and a box of candy (possibly flowers) for Valentine's Day, and he's appalled. Horrified. Starts spouting things like Hallmark Holiday. Has a million excuses. Just can't bring himself to do such a thing. I have no answers here. And this is a thing that affects all women, across the board. Fat, thin, tall, short, young, old--you name it, a woman with a man (and probably a good many lesbians, too, though I have absolutely no statistics on this) has probably gone through this. MEN! GOOD TIMES!! SEX!! HAPPINESS!!! SEX!!! PEACE IN THE HOUSE!!! PROBABLY A BLOW JOB!!!! Buy the damned card!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Who deserves a hot guy?

First let me say that I managed to watch about 15 minutes of the first episode of "Girls" and had to turn off the television. I admit freely that I'm too old. Those girls are my daughters' ages, and no, I don't mind the notion that they're having sex, or whatever else they do, (since I had sex at that age myself) I minded how incredibly awkward it was. Not the sex. Everything. So, having said that, let me go on to say that everything I know about the show is complete hearsay. But I think I got some of they main stuff, at least as far as it has to do with body image. Lena Dunham/Hannah Horvath does not have what is considered a perfect body and she has the audacity to show it naked anyway. Does that about sum it up? And by the way, I know that I'm not the first person to have said that particular thing, either. So, I guess there was an episode where she hooked up for a weekend with a hot, successful older man. ALERT THE PRESS!!!! Which has been done, in fact. Lots of press, press that didn't exist when that phrase was coined. Apparently this is news. Apparently this upset/s people. Because, you know, this was just stretching the limits of poetic license TOO far. We can all believe that every single young mother in every movie and every TV show is tops a size 4, we can believe that sort of tubby, schlumpy guys get hot girls all the time, but we can't believe that. (Well, we can believe that last thing because we see it all the time in LIFE--! Unshaven, and not hipsterly unshaven, guys with beer bellies, with girls who you KNOW are counting their potato chips and having sex with the lights out because of their imperfections). But it can't be shown in the name of art, or the name of art that shows us reality. Because apparently, that never happens. Life is strange, my friends, life is strange. The first time I ever had my attention called to the fact that not all couples are not equal in terms of attractiveness, and that the attractiveness does not always skew to the female, I was probably 22, and right out of college. Honest to God, I swear I never thought that much about it before that. I had issues, God knows, we all do, but just about everyone I saw around me was reasonable looking, with the occasional stand-out one way or the other, and so it just wasn't a thing. But I moved to my mother's old neighborhood (ironically enough, in Brooklyn) and so my mother knew the back-story on most of the people I saw around. Some of them figured out who I was, and talked to me. One was a very nice lady called Milly, who, to be perfectly honest, had a face like a prize-fighter. Really. And I think I said something like that to my mother, who said, "Yes, she does. And you know what? She had the handsomest husband--handsome like a movie star, and he adored her." And that was the end of that conversation, because there was no more to be said. And so, since I was learning an awful lot about the world at that time, most of it by eavesdropping, I filed it under, things about adults I don't get, and moved on. I'm pretty sure I saw some uneven couples other than that over the years, and I read stuff about how people generally choose others whom they perceive to be of the same general attractiveness as themselves, and I noticed stuff. And then there was me. I was (and remain, though I'm working on it) convinced that I would win no prizes....that I'm not very pretty, as things are judged. (Now, over the years, a great many people have said the same exact thing to me, to wit, you're much more attractive than you think you are, you have no idea, but that's for another blog altogether). But I have some pretty good anecdotal evidence that every once in a while, a non-supermodel girl can get a hot guy. Mostly it has to do with sex, I'll be the first to admit it, but when you're that age, a LOT of things have to do with sex. I wouldn't dignify any of those things with the name "relationship", because "encounter" comes a lot closer to the truth, but attract them I did. Not on every street corner, and not every day, but often enough that I was good with it. So when I heard about that particular "Girls" episode, I thought, oh, that. Yeah, I know about that. Let me say that in spite of having lived a lot of years, I don't have any special idea about what attracts one human to another. I think that some people do absolutely have more pheromones than others, and that attracts members of the opposite sex. I can remember working at a craft show in a hip location and two separate men came through. One was tall, Hispanic, had strong features and swollen eyes (and I found out later in a very roundabout fashion, it was because he had allergies) but he looked to me like he had been up all night having sex. I wanted to keep him up all the next night having sex. At the same show was a hippy-looking guy, long no-color hair, nothing remarkable whatsoever about him, but I poked my friend and said, "Him. Him I'd do." And she looked and said, "Yeah. Throw HIM around for a while." And all these years later--maybe 15, maybe more? I remember him. And a young man who was oozing so much not even sex appeal, just appeal, that I wanted to tell him that we needed to get started on my having his 7 children, because that was what he made me want to say. exists. In people who are otherwise perfectly average. And I myself have maintained a relationship for over a decade with a man who everyone agrees is very hot--and I don't have any clear notion of what sustains it from my side, but I can tell you for sure, it's not my size 4 body or my conventional prettiness or attractiveness. And I wonder sometimes, but then I shrug my mental shoulders and say something to myself on the lines of "whatever", or my daughter's favorite, "I don't know. It's weird," and move on. Because whatever else I know, I know this. People have sex with each other ALL THE TIME. They aren't perfect, because people aren't perfect! Guys have beer bellies and funny moles (and funny dicks--strong bend to the left, anyone?) and strange ears and HAIR in those strange ears, and they're still getting laid and women fall in love with them. And girls have pooches and muffin tops and boobs that don't stand at attention, and big noses, or small mouths, and big thighs--and men fall in love with THEM all the time, too. And they all deserve it, there's no nonsense about not deserving something based on how you look, at least not something as nebulous as love. I'm not positive I agree with Lena Dunham and her drive to be naked on TV to show us all what it looks like, but I do agree with that particular story line. It happens. It absolutely happens. Tonight's Saturday. It's probably happening right now.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Heating Up

In this corner we have Fit Mom, who has (I will say it) an enviable figure, and who apparently had 3 children in as many years. (I will not be snarky and say that some of them may have been borrowed for the picture). She asks what YOUR excuse is... And in the other corner, we have Chrystal Bourgon of Curvy Girl Lingerie, who encourages women of all sizes (I guess, though it's mostly plus-sized who have been stepping up) to post pictures of themselves in lingerie. Her shop specializes in plus-size lingerie. She promotes body diversity and acceptance. Fit Mom, Maria Kang, says that society, in normalizing and even applauding the acceptance of plus-sized women, even those who can be termed obese, is, put bluntly, killing itself. Chrystal Bourgon says it's okay to be larger. Large. Very large. Also, that size is not a reliable predictor of health. Also, there's the meme making the rounds on Facebook that says that (and I am paraphrasing) that protruding bones in animals is seen as a sign of neglect and abuse, whereas in women it's seen as a sign of beauty. And all this in December, when you can hardly save yourself from Christmas cookies, candy canes and buffets. So where are we in the discourse? I don't think it's a discourse any more, even if it ever was, which I feel doubtful about. It's a secondary national shouting match, following health care, gun control and the conviction that Obama is trying to turn us into a socialist state. Where we're all fat, except Michelle doesn't want that. I myself am living proof that a person can be fat and healthy, because I was. I am also living proof that it can impact your health, because my numbers (which I actually believe in) are worse than they used to be. Now....would they be there if I were thinner? That, is, of course, the question. Interestingly, a small change, really just a bit more mindfulness, in my diet, lowered my blood sugar number, so that's interesting right there. My blood pressure seems to be well-controlled with medication and I'm also not sure that has much to do with my weight, because my father had high blood pressure at a very well-accepted 165 lbs. So some of this may be genetics and I should have chosen my parents better. Or, it's me...and I should choose my food more carefully. But then we get to the whole sexy thing. Are plus-sized women supposed to feel, be perceived as, and be sexy? Is that a thing, as the kids like to say? Well...I am plus-sized and yes, I am perceived as sexy, and I feel sexy, and I enjoy sex. Not all the time, of course, or by all people, but enough to suit me. Is that bad? Of course, this brings us to the national dichotomy, of all women should look young and sexy but not engage in sex other than when a man wants her to...sometimes. Sex is such a trap! Sexuality is such a trap! I guess the real question here is, should fat women be permitted to be sexual? Should they permit themselves to be sexual? Or are women only supposed to indulge one bodily appetite, and they should choose which one, and stick to that? There's another meme that says (again I paraphrase) that the way to make a section of society tractable is to make them focus on their appearance and what they eat. Something like that. Also, and I'll throw this in, if you keep half of society borderline hungry all the time, they're not going to be thinking about all that much else. It's like needing to pee. It fills all the available space in your mind. Big is seen as powerful. Big men, big countries, big trucks...all seen as powerful. The bigger the better. (Also breasts, unless they're attached to a big woman). But big women? Oh, hell no. A woman who unapologetically takes up space? Um, not good. Big women scare society, or Society. But at the same time, being fat is seen as being lazy, out of control, self-indulgent. That every plus-sized woman spends her days on the couch watching Lifetime movies (because there are almost no more soap operas) and eating bon-bons. Or, going through the drive-through at McDonald's in her 15-year-old minivan with the sprung suspension, and buying the family sack of Big Macs and eating it herself. But there are, in fact, fat women who eat sensibly. And exercise regularly. Could they get thinner? Oh, probably. But would the degree of deprivation be worth it? I just don't know. Back to health. As I've said before, my husband's family sort of specializes in plus-sized women. (It's those good Mediterranean genes). They do NOT have blood pressure problems, because the other thing they got, other than asses, is low blood pressure. Also no diabetes...doesn't run in the family. So, yes, seen in that light, they're healthy. There are also heart issues in that family, but it hits the average-sized men. They die young. The comfortably padded women live into their 80's and 90's. Now, to get back to where I started, I think that some people, and Fit Mom is probably among them, are offended by the sight of fat. Wobbly, jiggly fat. Uncovered, unapologetic fat. And, to be honest, jiggles and rolls sort of bother me, too. I have no problem with being big, I've been big, or at least biggish, all my life. Being wobbly, jiggly, whatever, bothers me. I mind that I don't have a waist. But I don't EVER have a waist! Does it make me bad? It makes me dislike myself sometimes, when there's not an especially good reason to. But back to society and beauty--that tells us that we should not have jiggles. Soft spots. Cushions. You can call them all sorts of things, you can put a good or bad slant on it. Even though I do it too (and I try not to, but I do do it) I think that what it comes down to is that we are all too quick to judge. We judge by what we see, not by what is below the surface--literally and figuratively. Our actual physical health lurks below the surface, as does the quality of our characters and our souls.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Big Women

They bother people. They bother people in a way that I think big men don't bother people. You can think a man is a fat slob, but it doesn't offend you at your core they way a big woman does. I'm not even sure I know why this is. Of course, I've had it drilled into me that women are supposed to look a certain way, and so I can barely imagine what it's like to think that a larger woman is attractive. Right now I'm thinking about two things on this topic. One is Melissa McCarthy, who is a lightning rod in a way I think I haven't seen anyone be for a while. She got an "Elle" cover. She's got this great, tousled, big hair, and she's wearing a coat with her hands in the pockets and it's sort of scrunched up. To me, it looks like she got up to see her lover off in the early morning and the first thing she laid her hands on was this coat, to cover up her...lingerie? Nakedness? Whatever. I think it's an amazingly sexy cover and it makes me THINK in a way that Reese Witherspoon's cover doesn't. (Marion Cotillard's cover just makes me sad for the ribs that you can see from the back). I'm fine with this cover. It's flattering. It makes her look good. I think...and if anyone actually reads this, I'm going to take a ton of flak for this...that Melissa McCarthy, while beautiful and extraordinarily funny and willing to take risks, doesn't look all that good dressed up. (I said it. Please forgive me). Or at least in what she's been dressed up in. So I can see why they went with an amazing coat and amazing hair and a sultry look. Okay, so there's that. But more interesting, is, why does she piss people off so much? I think it's because she's willing to take up room. Yes, I said that, too. Women are allowed to be successful as long as they don't occupy too much space doing it. They can be rich, they can be talented, they can all sorts of things, but they can't take up space. They have to be demure in some way, and if physically is the only way we can get, well, that's what we'll take. I remember reading somewhere that the more successful and visible women become, the greater the pressure for them to be small. Petite. Narrow. They have to deny themselves in some way. Now, I understand that no one wants Henry VIII, of any sex, large, starting religions, throwing chicken legs over his shoulder, beheading wives, all because he can't have his own way (no....we just got an entire house of Congress acting that way, and if they could behead, they would), but men can still be big. They can be tall, and broad, and loud and take up room and people think they're wonderful. Everyone, in the end, has to curb his or her appetites to some degree, or not stay in the world, but woman are forced to do this more than men are. So that's what I think about Melissa McCarthy. I think she has it all and so she can't be big, too. I'm also curious to see if there is a point where she does in fact lose weight--maybe if she goes on "Dancing with the Stars" because everyone does then...but every single actress who's said she wouldn't lose weight, has in fact done so. Leah Rimini. Ginnifer Goodwin. Scarlett Johannson. The list goes on. And they were not large women to start out with, they were just not lean and chiseled in the way that's demanded of actresses. Our cathartic stand-ins must not look like us. Okay, I said all that, now I'm going to say the next thing. My daughter went to a Halloween party this weekend, hosted by her boyfriend's cousin. Said cousin is a "Big Person", and either runs or is active in a group of Big People. (Brobdingnagians?) My daughter is just over 5 feet and weighs in the area of 140 (maybe...I don't ask her, she doesn't tell, because it doesn't matter) but they referred to her as "the skinny one". She's a very non-judgmental young woman, so she was mostly describing, not passing judgments, but she said some interesting things. That most of them didn't move much. Once they were seated, they stayed. It was too much effort to move. Many of them were on disability, directly resulting from their weight. They all, she said, had fat aprons. Well, yeah, they did. Now, as I am fond of saying, I am not a small girl, by any measure, except, I guess, by the measure of the Big People, because she said, quite firmly, "You are NOT a big person." So....let's think about this. Let's think about being so big that you more or less have to sit. I was in that condition, having to sit, before my hip was replaced, because the pain was so great if I got up. I hated it, or it at least made me rather unhappy. So I feel as though if I were in a state where I just had to sit all the time, I might want to do something about it, rather than making it a point of pride and a pivotal part of my life. Now, let's think about the whole disability thing. This means, in its starkest terms, that there is a group of people so fat that they cannot earn a living and they have asked the government (because where else does disability pay come from?) to pay them to live. I understand that for some people, there are untreatable conditions that make them that big, but I can't think it's all of them. I also don't like not being productive. I will be the first to admit that I don't have a fabulous career, but I do like to be productive, in a day. Well, maybe they are. I can't say anything about that. But...they're getting PAID. Like someone who was in an accident and can't work. I don't know. I don't know if I can agree. I'll buy that some people are just meant to be that way, but I don't think all. Now...the fat aprons. I have one myself, except I call it a Caesarean flap and I do know I don't like it. I also know that it grows and shrinks with weight gain and loss, so they can be smaller. Wouldn't you hate that? Wouldn't you hate having that for no other reason than because you're fat? But then, if I say these things, I'm not fat accepting. I'm not body accepting. I'm judging. I'm imposing societal standards on people who don't want societal standards imposed on them. But if I keep my mouth shut, am I imposing them? Am I at least allowed to think it? So where's the line? Is Melissa McCarthy the line? Are the Big People the line? Am I the line? My own line keeps moving. For a long time I held tight at 16, and now I tend to think that wasn't a bad thing, either, because once you cross into plus sizes, it's hard to come back. But I think there should be good plus-sized clothes. I think it's wonderful that Isabel and Ruben Toledo are going to do a line for Lane Bryant, because we need nice clothes, too! So I'm torn. As I was at the beginning, I still am. What's fat? And does that matter? Does health even matter? Is is ANY of my business?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

You Need a Great Big Woman

That is the name of the first song I ever heard by the blues singer, Candye Kane. (Here's a link to that song ...okay, you just heard it for the first time, how great was that?) It was her mantra, I believe, because she was, at that time, a great big woman. She helped me a lot in my quest for body acceptance. I also liked the fact that she said to "work what you've got, whether it's a little, or a lot", because that, of course, is the message of body acceptance--to work what you've got and love what you've got. I loved all of her music, including the very raunchy songs. This is partly because I am, in fact, very raunchy myself, and also because she was very clear on the facts that 1. big woman can be sexy 2. big women can like sex and 3. big women deserve as much sex as anyone else. Which was always my attitude, along with, all you need to be sexy is to believe you're sexy. So I believed. And loved her music. Then something happened....around five years ago, Candye Kane was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer. It's clearly not the death sentence kind, because I just saw her live last night, but one of the affects of that cancer was that she lost about half of her body weight, in what I think was a very short time. Last night when I saw her, and let me just say right now that her voice is magnificent (and even that sells it short) and her spirit is indomitable, but physically, she's just a little bit of a thing. She fits more closely into the stereotype of the attractive woman, being thin, slight, a bit fragile. But I have read things she's written and she's quite vocal about a few things that are decidedly not conventional wisdom. First thing she says is (and I paraphrase greatly here) damned good thing I was so fat. Because if I hadn't been so fat, I probably wouldn't have survived at all--I needed all the resources (fat) my body had to offer. The second thing is, I don't like being thin! I liked being fat. I liked how my body felt and I liked how my skin felt...and I was healthy then and I'm not now. So that's interesting, right? That someone who lost one half of her body weight (wow, they could put her on the cover of "People", in one of those articles, because hey, she lost half of her body weight, without surgery) can be NOT HAPPY about it. That someone who used to be FAT (like fat, fat, the water rat fat) can miss that. And that she can attribute her very survival to that fat. Interesting because NO ONE (maybe outside of Africa) is supposed to think that way. Thin is better, and hey, if it took cancer, then it took cancer. Interesting because you're not supposed to miss the fat when it's gone. As I said to my trainer, after another one of our "why aren't you losing weight" conversations (yes, we have them) I know we're all supposed to be throwing confetti and blowing up balloons when we lose weight, but...maybe not. Maybe not. I actually like the changes in my body that are coming about because of my working out. I like that I can tense up my leg and it's muscle, from the top to the bottom, almost without exception. I never minded being bigger, but I minded being jiggly and the jiggly is going away. I like the way I can feel my muscles when I move, I mean feel them under my skin, sliding away, contracting and relaxing...I like that. I like feeling stronger and I like feeling though more of what constitutes me is muscle--but my goal is not necessarily to be either light, or thin. The first notes of "Great Big Woman" settled into my soul that night, and stayed there. Her words settled into my soul and stayed there. I suppose the take-away from her music, but also her life, is that you do indeed need to love what you've got, no matter what it is, because it is there to serve you. Love yourself. Everything else flows from that.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Does size matter?

I've been away for a while. I've been working out fairly consistently, sometimes more than others. I've also been (sort of) watching my calorie intake. The result is, even if I appear not to have lost a pound, I certainly have lost some inches. This is nice...I must be honest and say that it feels better. But the size thing is baffling. Not my size, exactly, though it does interest me how I can drop whole sizes (WHOLE SIZES!!!) and not lose a pound. No, what I find more interesting is all the different sizes that I take. I'm going to get real specific here, with brand names and actual, tell-the-truth sizes. What the hell, as I always say, everyone knows what I look like. At the end of last winter I bought a Jones New York skirt. It is a wrap, denim, below-calf, full. I purposely bought a 22 so I'd be sure it would fit. To my dismay (and maybe a little horror and disgust) it didn't fit. I felt, in my mother's words, like a featherbed tied in the middle. I was also sad, because it was one of those skirts where you think, geeze, if I had this skirt, it would solve half of my what to wear issues. Ditto the Ralph Lauren black denim skirt. Exactly ditto, in fact, in all cases, including size. I put them away. I wore other things. I was depressed. Then I ordered a bunch of colored denim skirts from Jessica London. (Shoutout for Jessica London, which I never, ever hear mentioned as a plus-sized option, but I love an awful lot of their clothes. Not made for the ages, but cheap enough that you can buy them for fun and look on trend. Also, piles of leather, which is really, really hard to find lately). I got them in size 20, with one plain denim erroneously purchased in a 22. The 20's all fit fine, not to say perfectly, and the 22 was nice for hanging around the house on a hot day. I also bought some tops. I bought those in 22/24, because, frankly, they shrink, no matter how careful you are. I liked them. Sometimes biggish, then fit acceptably after the first washing. I feel like they just keep shrinking...because they are not getting bigger at the same rate as the rest of my clothing, and soon I'd look like a lollipop, if those shirts were anything to go by. But--I just bought a sweater from them. It's green. It's 2X. IT'S HUGE! I haven't quite figured out how to wear it yet, except maybe with a short skirt underneath for decency, and then tights...sort of a mini-dress/tunic? Yes? How did a 2X get so damned big? Okay, let's move on to Talbots. I love Talbots. They have lots of stuff that works really well for me, because I like to include one slutty element (well, it's true) in an outfit, which means that the whole rest of it has to be as strait-laced as can be, because there is nothing worse than a larger (and older) woman who looks like she's trying to look like a skank. So Talbots. Also, they just have pretty clothes. Things that make you feel like a girl. I seem to be wearing a 20 from them, but I haven't tried anything from there on lately. I have a 3X cardigan, but I purposely bought it big. Moving on to Jones New York. I have a skirt in an 18 that fits just fine. I have one in a 22 that I think was mis-sized that fits, too. I also have a whole bunch of jeans and capris in 20 that are now too annoying to wear, because they keep falling down. Except the burgundy pair with the rhinestones on the butt, they fit just fine. But so do the 18 black skinnies. Tops? I have on a 2X right now, that is perfect, verging on big. I have a 3X languishing in a drawer that will fit me about 40 lbs from now. Maybe. I have on a 42DDD bra by Elomi. I can now fasten it, and it fits nicely, but (and this has nothing to do with size) the hooks are skewed off center, which makes it really hard to get on. I like the fit and the uplift, though. But I also like the fit and uplift of the Soma 38DDD Hope bra! How can they both fit? Huh? HUH? My point? I don't even know, except that sizing is a little bit nuts, to put it mildly. Within brands. And the fact that I get attached to my clothes? Don't even get me started. I will be very sad when that floral pencil skirt from Talbots no longer fits, because it magically works with everything, on all days. I could wear it five days a week, with different tops and shoes and have a different look every day. I'll miss it. I'll be on a quest for one like it. (But nothing will ever quite measure up, sniff, because that's how those things work). I was right about the Jones New York denim skirt, by the way. I wore it to an outside party in Vermont. I wore it with flat boots to church yesterday. I wear it to run around shopping. But yesterday I noticed (SNIFF!) that it's already getting big. It had a really small window! And don't tell me to move the buttons, because that really doesn't work. Well, thanks for listening. And hey, don't stew about the size on the label. It doesn't mean shit.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


To be honest, until today, I didn't think about them at all. Not at ALL. They are completely not on my radar. This may be because I don't actually shop much in brick and mortar stores--and this is because I got out of the habit before my hip was replaced, and it was so painful--or this may be because I am in fact plus-sized and there aren't all that many brick and mortar stores for me. Or, that I live in a small town, and I don't really have the opportunity to wander past one of their boutiques. Or I'm old and out of touch, that's possible, too. In any event, an article turned up today in the AOL newsfeed about them. How their sizes only go up to 12, and the size 10's and 12's are thrown in a corner so that they can't be seen. Stupid me, I read the comments. The comments made me angry. I agree completely that not every company needs to carry every size. I like it when they do...but it's their choice not to. That was not really what upset me, since besides that, what little I know of the company makes me think that it's marketed to grown-up in-crowders...the ones who liked to make everyone else miserable in high school, the exclusionist ones, the mothers who form tight little cliques you can never penetrate. I'm older now and wiser, though, so I don't care any more. If they don't want my money, I don't want to give it to them. (I would like a non-pastel wicking top and a sports bra that fits me and doesn't look like it's designed as armor for Atilla the Hun, but other than that, I'm pretty happy with Target). What stunned me was the complete hatred of fat women. Not fat men, but fat women. They were categorized as illiterate, uneducated, (I suppose that goes together), unemployed and living in trailer parks, subsisting on diets of fast foot food. The sorts of people, and this is a direct paraphrase (if that makes any sense) that it's bad enough to run into at the DMV, without having to look at them in yoga class. I was an idiot. I engaged. I shouldn't have. Someone attacked me for having my working on my health as last on my list for self-assessment (I said that I was employed, fluent in a foreign language, had a household income in six figures and my house had a basement and stood on 2.5 acres--all direct responses to his post. The health part was not a direct response). Yet someone else responded that I was illogical because I was using myself as an anecdote and that didn't mean (essentially) that there were any more like me. Well, here's the thing: even if I am the only one (and I know full well I'm not) the very fact that I exist--working, working out, speaking German, spending money, wearing (OH NO) pencil skirts...proves that not every single overweight woman is stupid and unemployed. I find this amazing. I find it totally amazing that not only do people think this, they find it acceptable to write it in an open forum. I find the level of vitriol frightening. I will say...I live in an area with plenty of un- or underemployed, ill-educated people. They come in all sizes and shapes. The women, large or small, seem to have what I uncharitably call the white trash slouch...because somewhere along the line, it became okay not to hold yourself upright...but I can assure you there are just as many stringy old broads as fat ones. And the genetically blessed, slender young ones...with a mouthful of bad teeth and a kid or two in tow. But these things come from--I'm not sure what, really. The willingness of the educational system to write off the lower middle class? The way mediocrity is expected of them? Lack of money for vegetables? And yes, I will be honest and say the sight of young women slouching down the street, with their spare tires rolling from side to side and waddling because their thighs are so big--they bother me, too. But I don't think they shouldn't be out. I think they should be encouraged to stand up straight and pull their stomachs in. Does that make me a fat hater, too? I don't know. I do know a lot about not being able to get the sizes you want, though. I remember in Germany, where I was still in straight sizes, though at the absolute upper reach, getting in an argument with a salesgirl who didn't want to bring me a size 44 in a pair of shorts, even though I owned that exact pair (in another color) in a 44. She was adamant that I needed a 46. I won. Also in Germany, I remember walking past the Escada boutique and seeing the sign that said that they only carried sizes up to 42, don't come in and ask us for anything bigger. In Germany you can discriminate openly, which I used to hate...but now I think I like it, it's at least honest. (Which brings me to a sort of funny story, and a great digression, so feel free to skip it if you like: I was in Germany, in Marburg, to be precise, 4 years ago. They were having a Grimm celebration, because the famous Brothers came from there, or at least near there. There were fairy-tale creatures all over town. Some of the store windows had decals of the tortoise and the hare, including Ulla Popken, Germany's exceedingly dreary plus-sized chain. I thought the hare was there to encourage larger women to exercise. My daughter was horrified when I said this. I said that I had heard worse things said to plus-sized women in Germany). The popular Catch-22 was once again voiced--fat people don't belong in gyms, but they need to get off their fat asses and exercise. But not be seen, and my God, why complain about not having workout clothes, because if you exercise then soon you'll be able to wear normal-sized clothing and there will be no need. Oh, and I read any number of these comments after I came back from the gym, where I put in my 50 minutes on the treadmill. And where I had a knock-me-on-my-fat-ass workout the day before. The theory was also advanced that if there were more fat-shaming, the number of fat people would decline. Well, the number of fat people in public I suppose would decline, but I think all you would accomplish would be making them stay home because they feel they're not fit to be seen. I found the level of hatred simply astonishing. And sad.