November 3, 1996

I am a woman of size.
As with most titles, this means I have more size than most.
That is to say, I am fat.

I am always amazed by the surprise people express when I point out my obvious size. A couple of weeks ago I was supposed to meet a woman I had never met at the airport. She asked what I looked like so she could spot me coming off the plane. I described myself as short, about 5'5'', short frizzy brown hair and fat. She started laughing immediately. I know the image of my hair isn't that humorous, so it must have been the size thing.

There are lots of myths in this world about fat women. It is believed that because we are fat, we have no taste. The fact that I am fat has no bearing on my hatred for tropical print, polyester pant suits with elastic waist bands that go up to my tits.

If you doubt this trend to make fat women look hideous and laughable, please take a stroll on my side of the street. Go to any department store and head toward the "plus" section. It's usually next to the maternity clothes, a.k.a. temporarily fat. These clothes are made to comfort women that aren't used to having a beer gut.

The "plus" sizes are meant to punish and humiliate. Even having money won't save you. Remember Oprah when she was fat? Pleated shirts, long sleeves, high necklines and over sized jackets. Now that she's thin, short shirts, no sleeves and tight jeans. I think she'd do the show naked if she could find a topic to match. And Rosanne wore big untucked shirts and polyester jeans when she was making millions. And let's say a little prayer for Nell Carter. That woman wore gold lame mu-mus.

The colors are bright and loud, the shoulder pads are huge and the material is obscene. I think the perfect "plus" size outfit would be a velour pant suit with fusha and orange vertical stripes and a three inches of elastic at the waist.

If anyone out there knows a designer which specializes in large women's fashion, give them this message: I have no interest in wearing culottes in any color. No cute sailor suit with anchors over the boobs. My waist does not end where my boobs begin and I am not colorblind. I'd also like to slap them silly for inventing the stretch pants that end mid-calf. Who the hell wants to look like they are ready for clam digging all the time?

I'm positive there is a conspiracy to keep fat women off the beaches and out of the pools of America. The reason I know this is I've shopped for a bathing suit lately. The colors are embarrasing. I tried on one that was electric blue with a pale yellow racing stripe that accentuated my hips and bust line. Believe me, people are aware of these parts of my body. The second one was a solid purple so dark it made me look like a huge bruise on the butt of humanity.

The worst thing about fat lady bathing suits is the way they try to cover reality. Do the designers believe that by putting a little skirt on the suit that no one will notice my thighs? Most of these monstrosities are designed to kill. They have breast pads the size of Dolly Parton. As if I need bigger boobs!! These incidious items are made from a spongy substance that absorbs water. I can imagine myself, enhanced to a dangerous levels, diving into a pool. The water level drops a few inches because of the sponges and I smother in my own cleavage.

My girlfriend isn't without her share of size. When flying on the cheapy airlines that don't have assigned seats, we grab a window and an aisle seat. No one in their right mind wants to sit between two fat women. It's fun to watch people's faces as they try and decide which is worse: sitting between Leslie and me or sitting next to the smelly guy who mumbling the book of Revelations. Usually God wins out. As long as the flight isn't booked solid, it makes everyone much more comfortable.

Movie theaters are also wedging us in at alarming rates. Most of the theaters around here are multiplexes. I can deal with the smaller theaters and the smaller screens but why did they have to make the seats kiddy sized? What good does a cup holder do when you can't move your arms because the seat's too thin?

Am I the only one who listens to the health reports? America is getting fatter. So why is everything around us is getting smaller? We've got a pudgy President and a pretty hefty Speaker of the House. What's to stop us from taking over this great land of ours and demanding some hip room?


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Copyright, 1997 by Laura Jiménez.