AS CLEAR AS CHICKEN FAT
February 8, 1998
Leslie and I were watching TV in bed the other night
when 20/20 did a piece on the dangers of diet pills. After watching just
the promo to the show, we were relieved that we never went that route. 20/20
showed a street scene while someone did a voice-over about how fat the nation
is. While we watched I noticed something most bizarre.
"Is that my ass?" I asked Leslie.
I was looking at a montage of huge butts intercut with people taking diet
pills that might kill them. I would swear one of the street scenes showed
my big butt walking, quite jauntily, down a San Francisco street and stopping
at a red light.
The fat people spoke about being fat. The skinny news people asked about
being fat and its effects on the quality of life. These were Fat People,
representatives of a whole section of the population. No other aspect of
their lives had any impact on it, they are FAT.
As a card carrying member of the homosexual community, I have to come out
to anyone who isn't clear on how I recreate with my personal bits-and-pieces.
I started coming out, in a big way, in college. I went to Cal Poly San Luis
Obispo, a fairly small school on the coast of California. I'd speak in front
of classes of about 150 or more students at a time. After a few of these
questions and answer sessions I was very well know around campus. I became
a Lesbian instead of a lesbian.
I actually got a few proposals from older women who were married to men but
were in the midst of coming out and wanted to take me out for a "test drive",
if you get my meaning. Although I was quite flattered and almost always horny,
I decided against it. I have very few morals but one of them is never be
anyone's first ever again and the other one is no married women. I figure
I'm much less likely to be killed by irate husbands that way.
After college I made the conscience decision never to hide my sexuality.
When meeting someone for the first time I've never introduced myself as Laura
the Lesbian but I do try to work it into the first fifteen minutes of
I try subtle things like, "Well, my partner, Leslie, and I went on a cruise
last year and had a ball. I'll tell you though, those beds are tiny for two
people, I don't care what the brochure looks like."
Or perhaps addressing the current rage, "No. No children yet but my girlfriend
and I are talking about it. It's a little odd to think about mail-order sperm,
don't you think? I'd be so tempted to refer to the baby as our little
The first and only time I tried this one was more than eleven years ago but
it has stayed with me since. "Really? I've heard too much booze does that
to men. It's funny, because no matter how much I drink my fingers are never
impotent!!!!!!" It preceded me making a pass on a very straight woman and
was quickly followed by my first drunken bar room brawl featuring her boyfriend,
me and a chair that was broken over my back.
I never have to identify myself as a fat person. I suppose that's because
it's all out there for people to see. It's very black or white. Either you
are fat or you aren't. I do have to clarify my race most of the time.
My dad is Mexican and my mom is white so I, of course, look Jewish. I don't
mind being confused for a Jew, I think I'd just prefer to look more Latin
or more Anglo. I guess when it comes down to it, I'd just like to look like
I'm related to my relatives.
Shopping is always a joy with the way I look and the last name I have. First
of all, the phonetic pronunciation of my last name would be HE-MEN-ESS. I
know that the clerks are doing their job when they look at the name on the
card and then look at me, but it still irks me when I see the thought, "What
is this White chick doing with this card?" shoot across their face. Usually,
they merely ask to see my ID and that's that.
Sometimes I get the pleasure of having to explain my lineage.
"You're not Mexican." It's a statement rather than a question, really.
"My dad is, my mom isn't." I respond, dreading their reaction.
"You don't look it." Usually it's just a comment, but every once in a while
(especially when I venture outside California) it's meant as a compliment.
I don't leave the state a lot.
Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I want to call 20/20 and find
out if that was my ass. I never gave permission to have my posterior floating
on the airwaves and landing in America's living room. If I knew my ass was
going to be broadcast in America's living rooms I'm sire I would have worn
nicer pants. Either that or I would have mooned them.
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Copyright 1998 by Laura Jiménez.