“No man will ever love you,” proclaimed my grandmother in her self-assessed infinite wisdom.
I was nine or ten — old enough to know exactly what she was talking about, and young enough that I believed her. Thirty-five years later, in the kind of therapy they do for veterans of war, I understood that she wasn’t entirely right. But, she wasn’t entirely wrong. Of course, as any therapy veteran would know, right or wrong, it was not about a man’s love for me, but “my love for myself.” I’ll get right on that.
It took me years — years — to say the word fat. It took what felt like an entire brain overhaul to say the words fat sex. And even now it’s difficult to feel like a normal person. Fetish walking. Oh, the shame.
But as it turns out, not everyone is thin. As it also turns out, not everyone cares. It’s not necessary to say we live in a culture obsessed with thinness. But, we live in a culture obsessed with thinness. It’s also not necessary to say that there is subtle and overt hostility toward the idea of fat sexuality. But, there is.
There is subtle and overt hostility toward fat in just about every arena of life. There is a war against it, after all. I suspect if we lose that war, the terrorists win. It is not clear who the terrorists are in this case, there seem to be many cells: the Happy Meal; high fructose corn syrup; school lunches; overwork; under-work; recess; television; the Internet; video games; eating disorders; poverty; urban sprawl; microwaving Tupperware; lack of breastfeeding; the ratio of calories consumed to calories expended; bariatric surgery; the aversion to anal leakage. Mostly, the lazy fat slobs that just lie around eating chicken wings all day and don’t get off their giant arses. Whoever they are.
So, okay, even if it appears our culture believes fat people are gross, the people living in our culture are, well, doing them. And it’s not just that fat people “let themselves go” after marriage, so post nuptials we are condemned to sex with a fatso. Actually, secretly, or perhaps not so secretly, a lot of people desire sex with the not-so-svelte. There is much evidence of this — procreation for one — but the most powerful is the sex industry. No one knows how many sexually related Internet sites there are (estimates range from one percent to 85 percent of the World Wide Web is made up of sexually explicit material), and no one knows how many sexually related Internet sites there are that feature large women (BBWs: Big Beautiful Women; and, SSBBWs: Super-Sized Big Beautiful Women), but let’s say it’s safe to estimate it at: a lot.