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It's before noon - it's Friday - and I'm blogging. I feel weird. But my car is getting a long, long over-due servicing so it only makes sense to use this time to write. So... what shall my topic be today? I'm not sure. Let's just go for it.
I saw a picture of a half-naked fat chic online (there's a promising opening sentence) and it got me thinking. Mostly the accompanying text was about all the positive responses, though it acknowledged the god-awful body hate that also got dredged up. So let me throw down what I think about beauty and love and all that crap. This may be "date hair" part 2, in a way. I feel like all this should be a given, but sometimes it's important to see it written aloud. So here goes...
I wonder how far women could have gone in this last century if modern media - movies, magazines, television - hadn't been invented until after society had already embraced women's liberation. Would we still have the relentless body shaming being beaten into us from every direction? I wonder... But as it is, we have to work hard to do our own deprogramming.
So, first thing you need to accept: fat people are not Love's lepers. They can be beautiful, too. They can, in fact, be considered attractive - even by skinny people. And most importantly, they can be loved - by anyone.
This should not be shocking. No one should be going, "yeah, but..." Nope. Basically everything you've been told about beauty and love by movies and stories and fashionistas is nonsense. It's a bullshit mythology so expansive and so ingrained in our collective psyche that we are emotionally crippled for most of our lives. No matter how much we try to over-write the coding in our brains, we are still so drowning in the bullshit messaging that when we see a storyline that deviates - a love-interest 10 pounds over the Hollywood norm - our mind recoils and says that it's unrealistic. We can't believe that someone that looks like us could be found attractive to a Hollywood Heartthrob. Even though that is the reality that surrounds us everyday - somehow we can't see it.
Not to toot my own horn but I have stopped traffic (on more than one occasion) when I was still about 180 pounds. That's obese for my height. Not just overweight - obese. I reduced a guy to a slack-jawed, giggling idiot at 200 pounds. And I'm not attracting only equally overweight guys. One guy who asked me out looked like a goddamn Adonis. He was a sweet guy, too. But I turned him down. He was a subordinate. And I didn't have my Date Hair on. But, though he was hotter than any Hollywood hunk I can think of right now, he was still into rubenesque - obese - me.
The truth is beauty will turn a head. But that is not the whole story of attraction, and certainly not of love. And beauty is highly subjective to each person. There is an innate beauty to health - the genetic symmetry and the physical display that shows viability for child-bearing and child-rearing. When it comes to our fat stores, from a health standpoint, it's beneficial to have some extra in cases of emergency (sickness, food shortages, etc.), but there's a limit to the benefit. At some point, carrying around too much extra is going to put strain on systems throughout your body, though that point is a lot farther out than Hollywood would have you believe, and you can still maintain your fitness even carrying a lot extra.
But we're not just rutting animals. We're social animals. We're complicated. And we care about the mental health of our mates as well. Happy people are attractive, whatever else they look like. I've said before. I've never found someone with a genuine smile to be unattractive. And then there's that intangible - personality. Quirks, favorite bands, your civility while driving... they infuse attraction as well.
For me, parking your car an extra space farther away from your destination just so that the next person will have an easier time parallel parking - that's damn sexy.
I'm sure that I have a "type" that I could call that most attractive to me. I have a favorite color, after all, why not a favorite face or body-type? Well, for one thing, not everything in my life is the same color. My car is blue, my microwave is red, my favorite dress is green. In fact, I don't generally believe in having a favorite anything. It robs you of enjoyment of a multitude of things by fixating on one thing. I don't want to have a favorite song. I like all kinds of music and I would give you wildly different answers depending on the mood I'm in. So, too, with people. I have liked and loved all kinds of people. Short guys, tall guys, fat guys, small guys - and a plethora of Dr. Seuss combinations all around. And all of them have been attractive to me - beautiful - in their own way.
When it comes to appearance, people can control how they dress and how they groom themselves, they can control their fitness (though it doesn't always feel like it). But people cannot control their genetic make up. So someone's appearance seems to be the most ludicrous and inconsequential thing to compliment. And, yet, we do it. We're obsessed with it. And we still conflate the concept of beauty with someone's random genetic result. I put zero work into this face, these... huge tracts of land... But I have put considerable work into my mind. I've contemplated the shit out of the Universe... and religion and politics and economics and so much nonsense. That's where I dwell. And no grainy internet picture is going to capture that.
So, I cannot deny that a pretty face will turn your head. But a pretty face alone will not hold your heart's attention forever. Not really. And beauty is something much deeper and more complex than appearance, and, in truth, is unconstrained by something so random as numbers on a scale.