First of all, I am not a doctor. And second, I am not so super-pleased with the photos my brother has taken of our Christmas revels this year. Married couples often gain ten pounds after the wedding. I think I have gained more than that. Curse you, British eating habits!
One of the most painful, poignant questions that comes my way--so painful that it is usually only alluded to and never phrased in a direct question--is "Am I Single because I am overweight?"
My answer to this is a quick "I am not a doctor" although my first question (much more delicately phrased) is "How overweight?"
There are many gorgeous fat women. They are not usually called fat, though, which has become a mortal insult. They are called curvy. They include Queen Latifa, Jessica Simpson, Kelly LeBrock, Carnie Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert and any plus-sized model. Kelly Osbourne was until very recently pleasantly plump, and my guess is that she will become so again. And these are just the celebrities. The world is full of beautiful, plump, curvy women. Plumpness was itself a hallmark of beauty until the 20th century.
That said, obesity is on the rise, and because fatty food is so plentiful and so comforting, many women--including me--are tempted to munch away our sorrows instead of eating healthily. And only since I saw my brother's photos of me in my married state have I realized what being overweight makes you look like: it makes you look married.
Now this could be complete nonsense, so feel free to chastize me in the combox. I am not advocating dumb diets and reckless exercising or self-blame or all those other things otherwise intelligent women embrace. Apparently the average adult woman of childbearing age should be eating 1500 calorie a day, so if your doctor says you should eat 1500 calories a day, eat 1500 calories a day. I am just throwing out there the only original thought about weight that I am ever likely to have: that too much weight makes you look married already. Everything else possible has been said.
For example, it is quite clear (and repeated by me over and over again) that men are not attracted just to model-thin women. In fact, many men think model-thin women are TOO thin when they see them in real life. This is not great news for model-thin women. However, I must say that when I was a boxer, and was 117 pounds of muscle, I got hit on a lot more than I got hit on when I was 140 pounds of squish.
Of course, the most memorable person who hit on me was a woman. She thought I looked like a Greek goddess and said so and followed me around a bit. But I do remember more men than before or since hitting on me at the gym and in the clubs, and my telling a male friend that the great secret of becoming attractive was weighing no more than 119 lbs when one is only 5'2". I don't believe that now, however. I was squishy when I met B.A.
Men like who they like, and although fashion designers and other tastemakers have done their damnedest, they can't get all straight men to love only those women who look like teenage boys. Keira Knightley looked so much like a teenage boy in Bend it Like Beckham that is it no mystery to me that the hot Irish football coach fell for pretty Jesminder instead.
Jesminder, of course, was also rather slim, being both a teenager and a brilliant footballer. But she was slim in a very feminine way, and I have noticed that Indian women I have met have the most feminine, graceful hand gestures I have ever seen outside of ballet. And traditional clothes for Indian women are so beautiful, it is little wonder that many choose to wear them outside South Asia.
I wonder if the secret to being attractive while being very slim or being rather plump isn't the ability to make it seem very feminine. Certainly, being obese isn't very feminine--or, in men, very masculine either. It is unhealthy, and healthy people are attracted, not only to happy people, but to healthy people.
If any reader is wondering whether they have crossed the line between deliciously squish and bad-for-their-health, then I encourage her (or him) to toddle off to her (or his) doctor to ask.