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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | October, 2010
Archive - October, 2010

Happy Halloween from Twistie and Plumcake!

via

May you all find a chocolate-covered Eddie Izzard on your doorstep this fine holiday… or a couple leftover candies among the sofa cushions, at any rate.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

No, this will not be an ode to The Sound of Music. It won’t even be an ode to Julie Andrews, despite the fact that I find her a lot more inspirational overall than any Rogers and Hammerstein musical. This is more about looking around and opening up my own private box of awesome and encouraging all of you to do the same.

There’s a lot in the world to be angry about, or depressed about. Heck, I’ve merrily pointed some of them out to you. I will again. There’s a lot to be done before the world can accept a bunch of fat, happy women out being amazing without spontaneously combusting.

But if we wait for all of them to be ready, not one of us will enjoy our fat happitude, and that would be just plain stupid and wasteful of us. We are not stupid. We are not… well, not all of us are wasteful. We certainly aren’t going to waste our own fabulous just because there are some deeply confused people out there who wring their hands in anguish at the thought of our existence, let alone our refusal to wallow in the shame they try to heap on us.

So every once in a while I like to get all Little Mary Sunshine on their cabooses and celebrate cool stuff that I enjoy. In public. With a big ol’ grin on my face. What things might these be? I’m so glad you asked.

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Five Great: (Mostly) Lost Albums for Halloween

You’ve got your costume. You’ve got your thematically creepy snacks and signature cocktails with dry ice and bat-shaped ice cubes. You’ve got six dozen raisins and toothbrushes to hand out to trick or treaters because it’s never too early to learn that life is about disappointment, oral hygiene and screwing with future generations. All you need is the music.

Allow Miss Plumcake to make a few humble –by which I mean unerringly awesome– suggestions:

1. Flametrick Subs – Undead at the Black Cat Lounge

Crucial tracks:
Tijuana Cat Toss
Creepy Dead Folk
Lie Detector Machine
Life-Sucking Voodoo Women

2. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Cow Fingers and Mosquito Pie
Crucial Tracks:
Little Demon
I Put a Spell On You
Alligator Wine
There’s Something Wrong With You

3. The Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle
Crucial tracks:
Rockin’ Bones
Voodoo Idol
Under the Wires
Goo Goo Muck

4. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
Crucial Tracks:
Big Black Mariah
Cemetery Polka
Tango Til They’re Sore
Walking Spanish

5. Shivaree – I Oughta Give You a Shot In the Head

Crucial Tracks:
Cannibal King (Tri-Delt sisters will recognize this one immediately)
Bossa Nova
Goodnight Moon

Dear Maura Kelly and Marie Claire

I was all geared up to do a Suck It: Marie Claire and Maura Kelly for the execrable piece of trash Ms Kelly wrote and Marie Claire published that, had it been said about any other minority group, would have gotten her fired.

But I’m not.

Because rule one of being a decent human being is not to beat someone when they’re down.

Mostly I feel sorry for her. That is not the writing of a happy camper. If her body issues are so severe and long-lasting that she’s still making physical size into a moral issue to the point where she would be:

“…grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

That’s just sad. I mean it’s outrageous and embarrassingly immature and ignorant, but mostly it’s just sad.

Think about it: Would you ever want to feel like that? What kind of life is that? How much self-loathing does one person need to have where watching fat people in the act of EXISTING is an offense? I don’t hate her: I pity her.

So Ms Kelly, here are some things you need to hear:

You are beautiful. You are beautiful at whatever weight you are now and you’d be beautiful 100 pounds from now. You might not feel it if you were fat, but I’m not all sure you feel especially beautiful now. Beauty has breadth, it has depth and the more you look for it, the more you will find. Wouldn’t your life be better if it had more beauty in it? The way to find it isn’t to narrow your definitions.

–If you rely on having a certain socially-accepted body to feel good about yourself, you are fighting a losing battle. It will hurt you. It’s probably hurting you now. It’s a shell game, sweetheart. There will always be someone younger and prettier than you are, with a “better” body. Always. God-willing you’re going to get old, you’re going to get wrinkles, you might even get fat. Gravity will take its toll and someday you and everyone around you will refer to your looks in the past tense. You will be someone who once was pretty. If that’s all you’ve got, I hate to break it to you but not liking to watch fat people will be the least of your worries.

Since you don’t have fat friends, I’ll give you a pass for not knowing that a lot of stereotypically Great Catches –you know, those David Beckham body doubles with great jobs and healthy emotional boundaries– are into big girls. Not just because “beauty is on the inside” but because they actually physically prefer overblown curves. So those rolls that make you sick are incredibly sexy to a shocking (even for me) percentage of traditionally hot guys. Being fat doesn’t mean you have to settle, it just means you’re fat. I’m a size 20. My gentleman caller is an athlete and fitness model who should be on a Calvin Klein billboard, which a) is bragging b) illustrates my next point:

The only thing you’ll get with a man who likes your physique to be just so is a guy who will leave you when you don’t look that way anymore. How can you have a successful romantic and sexual relationship if you’re constantly worried that once your package has expired (and it will expire) you’ll get tossed in the trash? I couldn’t handle that sort of insecurity and I don’t exactly suffer from a lack of self-esteem. It’s useless at best and dangerous at worst to assume you have to have a certain body to attract a man with a corresponding one.

Not all science is good science. You know how the little trope about how women’s brains are smaller than men’s was used for more than a century to support the idea that women are intellectually inferior to men? That’s bad science and it’s dangerous because it perpetuates dangerous biases. You’ll find equally incendiary-to-our-ears biases about other minorities in old textbooks. Blacks are such-and-such, Jews are such-and-such, Gays are such-and-such, all with the same result: it dehumanizes the group and by making them Less Than, thus giving society permission to treat them without basic human decency. There’s a lot of bad science out there that will “support” popular ideas. Don’t swallow them wholesale.

Fat people can be healthy, check out the Health at Every Size community. Or heck, check out my friend Kerrie and all the women like her who run marathons and triathlons as a big girl. Are you really going to call someone who can run 26 miles unhealthy? Crazy yes, but not unhealthy.

Don’t kick someone when they’re down.

Listen, Ms Kelly, the reason I’m not laying into you is because I’ve been where you are.

I’ve made an ass out of myself in print before. I said I didn’t want to look like a tranny in a pretty major publication. It was a cheap throwaway joke and because I’m so vocal about my support for GLBT issues –I’ve even driven the big convertible in a pride parade– it didn’t even occur to me that I’d offend anyone.

Wrong. I got hate mail by the bucket.

It took a bizarre personal experience of having my OWN gender questioned –and I’m just this side of Jessica Rabbit on the femininity spectrum so imagine MY surprise– for me to realize how wrong I was. I can’t know what it’s like to be born in the wrong gender. I can’t know the pain of coming out, either as gay or transgendered and having my entire world turn against me –or feel like it– just because I want to live my life honestly, and because I can’t know I have no business talking about it or making high-handed moral declarations about it.

You can’t know what it’s like to live as a fat girl in a world where fat girls are treated as less than fully human. You just can’t. All we can do is empathize and do our best to remember that everyone wants the same thing: to be loved and happy, just as they are.

What you did was dangerous and hurtful.

It was stupid too, but I don’t really care about the stupid part. I do stupid stuff all the time. Generally I’m smart enough not to publish my stupidity, but hey everybody makes mistakes.

You know first hand what it’s like dealing with an eating disorder. Do you have any idea how many of my readers –not to even think about the Fat World in general– are recovering from eating disorders and have gotten fat because their metabolic system has been permanently damaged? Do you have any idea how easy it is to slip back into disordered eating and the psychological shame spiral? I have a feeling you do. I also have a feeling that you know what a trigger is. Your little post was a great big trigger for a lot of people, I guarantee it.

Finally let me make this clear: It truly doesn’t matter to me what you think of the way I look. You don’t hold any power or authority by right of your thinness. My life is great. I’ve got a great job, oodles of fans, love, happiness, flawless tits and a freakin’  Birkin I didn’t have to pay for. I’m doing Just Fine.

What does matter to me is that you learn something.

This ugly situation can be a great jumping-off point for an open and honest exploration of your fairly apparent body issues. With any luck this will lead you to be a little more thoughtful about the reasons behind your body image issues and help you develop a more loving relationship with your own body. Other people don’t need to be bad to make you feel good. Other people don’t need to be ugly for you to be beautiful. It’s not a zero-sum game. Never has been. Your bio says you’re in your 30s and have never been in love. That’s unfortunate too, but not surprising. If you don’t love yourself, regardless of measurements, how are you going to love anybody else? Think about it sweetheart, and try to get better.

Gin and tonics,

Miss Plumcake

Advanced Style

Howdy gang! I have returned from my two glorious weeks of vacation in Virginia and am ready to hop right back in with both immaculately-shod feet.

I’d bore you with the details of my little holiday, but the interesting parts aren’t for family television (if you know what I mean, and I think you do) and the boring parts are well, kinda boring. I mean, not boring to ME but I don’t have a television so the realization that there was an ENTIRE CHANNEL devoted to Proper Football was like that moment I discovered gin or Jesus. I basically spent an entire week watching Premier League and swearing at Wayne “Angry Eyes” Rooney for being such a total tool. Except not because tools are actually useful UNLIKE YOU, MISTER GIMPY ANKLE POTATO HEAD.

/bitter

Anyhoodle, I was bopping around my favorite blogs and came across an outstanding entry from the always entertaining Ari Seth Cohen (and can we even TALK about how cute he is? If I were a boy I’d totally kiss him) at Advanced Style.

I truly can’t say enough about Advanced Style because it’s just that good. I hate that I didn’t come up with the idea myself. It’s exactly what real style, perfectly translated is all about. Not that I don’t appreciate The Scott Schuman Sartorialist and his ilk with carefully disheveled Bright Young Things, but it’s easy to look fabulous when you’re a 22 year-old with six miles of leg and cheekbones that could cut glass. They’re fashion plates and that’s fine, but fashion is boring unless you have style and Mr Cohen’s subjects have style in spades, diamonds, moons, clovers and little marshmallow rainbows.

Plus you get gems like this, from 98 year-old Rose:

Here are Roses’ top ten beauty and lifestyle secrets on how to look and feel great at 98

1. Find your perfect perfume, people will remember you by your scent. Rose is known for her Pauline Trigere fragrance.She tells her granddaughter “I’ll give you anything in the world, but I won’t give you my perfume.”

2. Belts and Beads. Rose believes that a belt or unique strand of beads can really make an outfit and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

3. Take care of your feet and wear good shoes, but when you are going out for a night on the town “Fashion comes before comfort” At 98, Rose goes out every single night!

4. “Walking is a must, its better than doctors or medicine”

5. No need to use expensive moisturizers, Rose swears by Oil of Olay which she has been using for decades.

read the rest here, and bookmark it, love it and commit it to memory!

If You Think Fat Hate Isn’t Real, Read This

sugaredvenom over at Tumblr posted the results of an interesting experiment recently: typing variations on the term ‘Fat People’ into Google and seeing what came up in the trends.

For those who didn’t follow the link, here are a couple of the blanks filled in:

Fat People: Falling Over, Insults, Names

This was the most benign category.

Fat People Are: Harder to Kidnap, Hard to Kidnap, Lazy, Gross, A Burden on Society, Immoral, etc.

Fat People Should: Be Killed, Die, Be Shot, Be Ashamed, Pay More to Fly, Pay More, etc.

To be fair, sugaredvenom did find a couple of positive concepts in there as well, such as Fat People are Strong, and a few that might turn out to be neutral or positive, depending on what the results were when you clicked the link, but they were by far the rarest Google trends.

And this morning, sleepydumpling over at Fat Heffalump decided to post the results of her own attempt to replicate sugaredvenom’s experiment. Depressingly enough, she comes up with not only a lot of the same phrases, but plenty more besides. A few of her finds:

Fat People Make Me Sick

Fat People Must Die

Fat People Go Be Fat Somewhere Else

Fat People Have Smaller Brains

Fat People Have No Reason To Live (Yeah, I remember Randy Newman telling me that about my tiny Shetland people, too. Didn’t listen then, don’t intend to now.)

These aren’t full phrases sugaredvenom and sleepydumpling entered into Google and found results for. These are the ways Google offered up to finish the partial phrases they did type in. That means that there are large numbers of people out there looking up reasons why fat people should be shot.

Think about it.

The Big Question: Just the Perfect Blendship Edition

Hello my little cassowaries, how’s every little thing?

I’m gratified so many of you responded to the Letters to a Young Fat Girl series.  I’m semi-ambivalent about giving Meaningful Life Advice because last night (well, last night at the time of writing) I fell asleep in a hotel room somewhere in the beautiful hunt country of Virginia wearing nothing but a pair of Lane Bryant microstretch briefs and my fur coat and when I was greeted by the dawn, I was spooning an unopened bottle of 30 year-old Glenfiddich and that, generally speaking, is NOT the behavior of person from whom you should take instruction in the fine art of …well, doing much of anything other than maybe getting drool out of Eurasian lynx.

I’ve been on vacation for the past week and a half and although the beginning of my hols suckdiddlyucked the second half has been ten pounds of awesome in a five pound bag courtesy of my best friend Meg.

Once upon a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth and Justin Bieber was just a roofie in his mother’s mapletini, Meg and I met at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in a summer program for teenage musicians. We became fast friends in the way  young teenage girls do, swore allegiance for eternity –or the two weeks of camp, whichever came first– and after a cursory attempt to keep in touch after summer, fell out of contact.

Fast forward to the winter of 1998.

I’m a sophomore in college preparing my gourmet dinner of fishsticks and uh, fishticks in the dilapidated deathtrap glamorous confines of the very first Chateau Gateau when the phone rings.

It’s Meg.

I hadn’t heard from her for years, but in one of those fabulous bits of serendipity, she had been assigned to the exact dorm room I had occupied the year before and in the back of the closet was a brick doorstop with just my first –relatively unusual– name on it. She got her Nancy Drew on, tracked me down and we’ve lived happily ever after.

Sure we’ve had our rough patches, but she’s a once-in-a-lifetime pal and I wouldn’t trade her for a guided tour of Daniel Craig’s swim trunks, even if he was in them at the time.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

Tell me all about your best girlfriend. How did you meet, what do you love about her? Got a fun adventure you’ve shared? I want to hear about that too!

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