My mother woke me up this morning to tell me that I'm getting kind of fat - not that I see any difference myself. I have a rather large bulge around my stomach, which is at odds with the rest of my frame; according to my natural shape I'm tall and thin. I just eat too much so I have a flabby stomach. This I know.
But the fact that my mother actually told me that I looked overweight made me feel both humiliated and physically repulsive. I'm the nicest guy you'll ever meet (a little weird at points, but I'm lovely really), but for years recently I didn't have a girlfriend and was therefore convinced that the main reason was the fact that I have a large stomach. A particularly embarrassing moment came at a camp once where everyone took their tops off, and even the other geeks had flat stomachs. I just looked hideous.
At least, society dictates that I looked hideous. I'm not a fat person - I feel fat, but I know that most of me isn't. Just check out my guitar-playing, violin-holding, button-bashing, songwriting, lady-fondling hands. And the muscular arms that are attached to them. But I still feel like I've done the wrong thing because since the age of 11 I've had this stomach bulge. It's not like I've gone up and down, it's just stayed the same.
So why, I ask, do we live in a society that says thin is attractive? It's almost like you have to conform to an exact size; too thin is too thin / too fat is too fat. Look at me from the side and I'm too fat; from the front I'm OK. Where do you place me? And where do you place me when I wear my work uniform, which accentuates my curves?
The health risks aside (and you are only at risk if you are very large; obese people often live with no health problems at all), being slightly larger-than-average merely shows that you enjoy good food and living life. I'm not generally a happy person, but because of job and girlfriend and music and people I've started to occasionally think that it's not so bad after all.
So I put on a bit of weight. I didn't notice it myself (because I don't weigh myself), but evidently my mother did.
I don't weigh myself, because that's fighting a losing battle. Rebecca, neurotic and deluded, used to weigh herself daily and cry if she was over eight stone, even if she didn't physically look any different. What I go by for myself is size - and I know my waist is too big by society's standards. I don't even know what my standards are any more. I just feel very unattractive now that it's been pointed out.
I don't even eat that fatty a diet. For a start, vegetarian food doesn't have any animal fats in it. I eat a hot meal at work, because I need that fuel boost when I'm working, and usually have a snack when I get home. On days off, I'll have a cheese toastie and glass of fruit juice, and maybe some baked crisps (very low fat). I rarely ever eat breakfast. And sometimes I'll go on a date with TD and we'll have something in a restaurant. When I cook, it's usually something with pasta and salad and they're both good for you. And yet, short of starving myself, there's not much else I can do in order to get any smaller. I'm not sacrifising food, and besides, diets don't work, because they fuck up your body's metabolism.
"You're quite active, aren't you?" said my mother after making me feel ugly.
I don't know how much she knows. I have a demanding job with lots of walking, I practice guitar a lot, I dance (although not so much as I used to - have to get into that again), I act, I swim, I go on long walks by myself and I have very energetic sex. I'm not sure she knows about that last one, although my birthday sex was rated "amazing++", so I don't care even if she does. But evidently that doesn't work either, because short of going to a gym every morning, like Clive Owen does if he has to take his top off in a movie, I'm not actually going to spend a hell of a lot of time and money (because I don't have any) exercising. Unlike Hollywood actors, I don't have a lot of leisure time, and when I get a bit, I'll spend it in actual leisure, such as spending time with friends, or girlfriend, or playing video games, writing songs, making up stories, watching Doctor Who or writing incredibly long posts in my sex blog.
You see, I'm living an OK life for the first time in years, and because that has made me slightly podgy if you happen to be looking at my midriff if my T-shirt is off - although for what reason that might happen I don't know, unless you're about to sleep with me - society's claims now tell me that I am physically repulsive. If I had a six-pack, maybe I'd be okay to look at again. Never mind my blue eyes, my soft hair or my strong arms.
But then again, if I had a six-pack I probably wouldn't have much of a brain either.