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Bullet-Dodging Fat, Cake and the Truth About Donkey Shows | Manolo for the Big Girl

Bullet-Dodging Fat, Cake and the Truth About Donkey Shows

There aren’t many situations where I’m grateful for my fat.

Other than when I’m clothes shopping or that brief moment of anxiety approaching an unusually narrow turnstile or arm chair, I don’t really think about my fat much at all.

For example:

I’m grateful for my Big Girl status now that I live in Mexico because it makes me potentially harder to kidnap.

Before you get all up on my magical-thinking Kool-Aid, I know there’s a whole mess of flawed logic that goes into this, not the least which is kidnapping isn’t a problem in my state.

Still, I imagine potential abductors seeing me –almost certainly bigger than they are in every regard and clearly able to cause some damage, not to mention the difficulty of transporting me– and opting for some smaller victim, at least until the day they can ransom by the kilo.

I’m also grateful for being fat when it comes to dating.

No, seriously.

I read Kate at Eat the Damn Cake’s hackle-raising article  The Chunky/Gorgeous Woman on the Subway and was flooded with borrowed anxiety and personal relief.

At one point Kate, a woman who was once quite thin and is now merely slender with the most adorable hint of belly, butt and boobs pointed out a gorgeous woman on the subway.

Her husband dismissed the woman as “chunky”.

Kate told him:

“It’s just hard. I am a lot heavier now. And the whole world is full of people who say ‘chunky.’ I am chunky. I am chunky and beautiful. And even if you don’t think I’m chunky—I want to be able to be chunky. I want to be able to gain more weight without having to feel ugly. And I don’t want it to be because I have a pretty face.”

Anxiety because I cannot imagine being in a relationship where my partner’s attraction to me would balance so precariously on body size with a relatively small margin of error, and relief because, for the most part, my larger-than-life size kicks those unacceptable applicants from the Get-Inside-My-Jeans pool before they’ve even inflated their floatie wings.

I’m sure Kate’s husband Bear would love and be attracted to her regardless of size, but I know of so many relationships where I’d be willing to bet my life savings (which you know means giving up my dreams of a bionic liver) that a woman’s weight gain of 30 pounds would spell splitsville for the couple.

Meanwhile, it’s been my experience men who are attracted to bigger bodies have a wider appreciation for variation and a swing of 30 pounds in either direction might not even register as long as she still packs an extra scoop in her sundae and her hourglass –provided she had one in the first place– still tells time.

Case in point:

When I went back to Austin in July to tell my stunned friends and family I was selling the Cadillac and moving to live on the beach in Mexico, there was a lot of cake.

There was International Move Stress Cake, Too Sick To Eat Anything Else Cake, Better Eat This Because They Don’t Have Real Texas Sheet Cake in Baja Cake, Goodbye We’ll Miss You Cake, Are You Really Sure You Want To Do This Cake, Vague Racist References to White Slave Trade Cake, New Birth Control Makes Me Want To Eat Everything Cake, Wake Up in the Middle of the Night Wondering If They Really Do Have Donkey Shows in Tijuana* Cake…I think you get the picture.

The upshot was, I gained 30 pounds from July to January.

I knew this wouldn’t bother Hot Latin Boy, my body has done crazy things since we met (and not just in the dirty way, though also totally in the dirty way) but since my vanity knows no limits, I was concerned the small stable of admirers I’d collected during my previous stay wouldn’t find me as attractive.

I still wasn’t going to give ’em any, but I still wanted them to want it.

And they did, so the Duchess of Neediness-Two-Bourbons was satisfied for another day.

 

Which isn’t to say my dating history as Professional Fat Girl has been all Ativan-covered roses.

Just like the FDA allows a certain number of grasshopper parts in your peanut butter, any romantic career spanning over a decade has to allow its share of freaks, pervs, fetishists and nogoodniks who spread rumors about you and several members of the Episcopal clergy having  such loud and enthusiastic orgies (clorgies?) at conventions that a bishop had to pass a resolution to make you bite the pillow. Fantastic had it been true –you can’t buy that sort of press– but more than a little worrisome when made up by someone whose five year plan includes the hope of ever seeing you topless.

I’d like to think most healthy relationships allow room for both partners to change both emotionally and physically, and that most of the men who  can’t find beauty in anything but the narrowest of spectrums end up broadening their horizons or weeding themselves out of the DNA buffet, but I know my size has let me dodge that bullet many times and for that…plus the whole kidnapping thing (hey, it’s worked so far)…I am grateful.

 

 

*They don’t. It’s a scam invented by enterprising taxi drivers in Tijuana’s red light district to take advantage of drunk tourists. They drive around racking up the fare, pretending they’re looking for the illegal event that is forever on the move, finally dropping the boozy pervs off at a barnyard animal-free strip club/brothel with which the drivers have an arrangement, but not before lightening their wallets considerably.

16 Responses to “Bullet-Dodging Fat, Cake and the Truth About Donkey Shows”

  1. Liz April 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    I didn’t like the “Woman on the Subway” post. I know it resonated with a lot of people, but I just found it annoying. She just seemed to be picking a fight for no good reason.

    Maybe it’s just because I loathe the whole “everyone is beautiful” nonsense. That’s not true, and it should be fine to accept that. She seemed to be using the word as a synonym for things like feeling good about herself and accepting her body.

    And what do terms like “feeling beautiful” and “feeling ugly” mean, anyway? Serious question.

  2. aa April 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Two things.

    (a) Beauty is subjective.

    (b) There’s nothing wrong with not being beautiful (particularly with women not being beautiful. I’m fed up with people going all Berlusconi on Angela Merkel and saying that she has an un****ably fat a*se. Besides the insult, so what? How is that relevant to what she does?)

    (c) I say this as a very vain person. Do I contradict myself?

    (d) I also found the Woman on the Subway post annoying and whingeing.

    (e) Of course Miss Plumcake is the pinnacle of beauty in our time.

  3. wildflower April 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Your writing is wonderful. Just wonderful. It generally is, but this post is particularly delicious!

  4. Teteatete April 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    My God. That post you linked was so awful I couldn’t finish it. Acknowledging bad behavior does not make it ok. Her poor husband. It is not a sin to have different opinions of beauty. What an insecure and shrewish woman. Everyone is entitled to some woe-is-I insecurity every now and again, but abuse-which is what she was heaping on her husband – is not ok.

    I hope Ms. Plumcake is willing to share some bourbon/gin/smelling salts. Her fantastic writing has revived me somewhat, but I’m still disturbed by the whingeing awfulness of that Kate creature.

  5. aa April 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    (Actually, that was five things. Oops.)

  6. Thea April 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Yeah, if I made comments like the woman in the blog, my husband’s response would be ‘It’s a trap!’ in his best Admiral Akbar voice – and he’d be right. There is absolutely nothing he could say that wouldn’t make her the victim, which isn’t fair and doesn’t address her real concerns – she’s insecure about the way she looks and she took it out on him. I’m glad that at some point she sorta acknowledged that.

  7. Thea April 3, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    PS so donkey shows are an urban myth? You mean Kevin Smith LIED? My life has a little less meaning today ;-)

  8. Miss Plumcake April 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    If it makes you feel better there ARE extremely popular donkeys in Tijuana. The well-loved (but not like that) zebra donkeys.

    From wikipedia:

    The Tijuana painted donkey, or Tijuana Zebra, came about some time in the middle of the twentieth century. The reason for painting the donkeys was to ensure that the animal be seen in photographs. Since the donkeys were mostly white, on sunny days with the old black and white cameras the donkey would be seen as a ghostly figure. A long-time tourist staple, the donkeys live on a hillside below the Casa de la Cultura in Tijuana.

  9. Madame Suggia April 4, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Painted donkeys?

    What color?

    Solid, or a snazzy plaid/polka dot/floral/paisley?

    My head just exploded.

  10. Bethany April 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I never could figure out why the Silence of the Lambs killer scared me so much, when no other kidnappers/killers ever did. Now I know. I just had an epiphany right here in the kitchen.

  11. Talbot April 7, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    I’m sorry but that post you linked was nuts. I get that she understood it was nuts. But there has to be a point where making those who love us miserable and wrong at every turn–when every single frigging thing they say is another cause for anger–is seen as wrong, not as a Righteous Claim to Understanding.

    What is there to understand except that she was acting like a lunatic and driving her husband around the bend?

  12. AnthroK8 April 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Aw. I can understand how she feels. It’s not that her husband has his tastes or whatever. It’s that his tastes happen to be fully supported by a society that values women for their weight in a disproportionate (har har) and sick kind of way.

    Part of the reason “he can’t be right” is because he doesn’t sound like a guy who maybe has his privilege-awareness goggles on. When you have a perfectly acceptable attitude (he likes thinner, conventionally attractive women), but your perfectly acceptable attitude is also the “right in the sense of social norms” attitude, it does mean something. If nothing else, it means you should probably be reflective when discussing your individual likes and dislikes.

    Alternate thing he could have said. “Yeah, she’s got an interesting look.”

    Short summary: Bear. Not really feeling sympathetic for him.

  13. tartandtreacly April 10, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Manually “Liking” AnthroK8’s comment.

    To those who hated Kate’s post: Yeah, because Bear is just the well-meaning, aggrieved husband and Kate is the hysterical shrew, amirite? Now where have I heard that narrative before, hmmm….

    And why is it the sentiment of “why can’t everybody be beautiful” so distasteful? All I know is that I do find a lot of people beautiful, from Hollywood glamazons to stone-cold butches to the fat black belly dancer with a gap in her teeth to the middle-aged Slavic women whose eyes soften when they talk about their daughters. If you can’t find beauty in a variety of human beings (and worse yet, loathe that very idea), maybe it’s simply because – as I told a photographer acquaintance recently – YOU don’t have a good enough eye.

  14. teteatete April 11, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    Everyone is /not/ beautiful. There are perhaps parts that one can find beauty in, but at what point is that “looking for the answer?” When I see a beautiful painting I know it because it strikes me as such. It is a visceral feeling. When I look at a velvet painting, for example, I am not struck with that moment of wow (oh, but it’s texture is so nice! No.). Reactions to people who are beautiful is much the same way. And this is not denying that social constructs exist, but I have found examples of people of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities as “beautiful” but do I find the meth head down the street beautiful? Uh, not so much.

    People who “want to see beauty in everyone” are often people who have a hard time accepting the nasty, brutish and short aspects of life on this planet. Each person has a responsibility to be the best person they can be, but that does /not/ mean that they have to kowtow to other people’s opinions on an all-inclusive beauty club in some bizarre sense of please-don’t-hurt-my-feelings PC bull****.

  15. tartandtreacly April 12, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Based on the following:

    – actually using the term “PC bullshit”
    – false equivalence between finding beauty in different kinds of women and finding meth heads beautiful
    – framing the issue as “poor husband” vs “shrewish woman”

    I’d have to say you are just as clueless as Kate’s husband Bear is. You say you don’t deny that social constructs exist, but you seem at best ignorant and at worse disingenous about the insidious way they inform so-called visceral reactions.

  16. teteatete April 13, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    Sometimes a spade is just…a spade. “Shrewish” as an descriptor fits the bill. The fact that the husband is suffering dreadful mental abuse at the hands of his wife renders him “poor.” She is attacking him because /he doesn’t agree with her./ That’s a cardinal relationship sin. She has a meltdown because she is insecure about herself. Not because the husband has shown the tiniest sliver of indication that he finds her unattractive.

    I suppose that it might be shocking to hear that he doesn’t find another woman attractive while also using the term “chunky.” I get it. I am, after all, chunky myself. My current beau is very slim. Do I worry sometimes that he doesn’t find me attractive? Eh, sometimes, but if we play the “do you think this person is attractive game” it NEVER ends in such a childish manner.

    Perhaps my false equivalencies weren’t appropriate for the discussion, but if defending Kate means that Bear isn’t allowed to have his own opinion (EVEN IF that opinion is informed by a societal construct), then that’s just a double-standard masquerading as righteous indignation. No one deserves that sort of abuse.