Sex, Lies and Soda Bread – Being a hungry woman in the 21st Century

My first post! Ooh, this is a difficult one. I think I’ll start with an issue that’s dear to my heart.

For my lunch today, I had what could at best be described as a painfully mediocre pasta salad. If disappointment and abject monotony had a tangible taste, then Tesco’s Finest spicy chicken pot would be it.
I sat in the lunchroom with a scowl that could be seen 20 steps away, hostility emanating from my pores as I stare at the greasy spoon cafe across the road from my workplace. Joy and ketchup smeared across the customer’s faces as I pick halfheartedly at a rogue piece of sweetcorn caught in a soggy piece of fusilli. Fuck you and your delicious, artery-clogging lunch, General Public. Tonight, I’m going to a Kettle Fit class whereby I will punish my poor, undeserving body in a series of exercises that have been estimated to burn an average of around 700 calories in a single 45-minute session. Why would I do that, when there’s a bar of Galaxy chocolate at home with my name on it? I could be rewatching the Game of Thrones season finale and getting a justice boner about Stannis “The Mannis” Baratheon. More to the point, because I’m bitching so much about it, why don’t I act like a goddamn adult and go over in the greasy spoon cafe myself, hoovering up the delicious poison that is 102% of all junk food ever? I can still see it from the window. There’s a man sitting in the corner having a foodgasm over a plate of chips. Bastard.

Simple answer. I’ve got a dress to fit into in three weeks for my Graduation Ball.

Being “healthy” in the 21st Century is a sticky wicket, since it means so many things to so many people. I myself fall into the godawful limbo that most women appear to find themselves – “Well, I’m quite happy with my weight and my shape, but I think if I could just lose that extra half-stone I’d be a lot better off.” To be fair, most of the time I’ve only got myself to blame, I can hardly hold myself up as a shining example of a gastronomical saint – last Wednesday I woke up with half a cheeseburger and a Dominos pizza box in bed with me with absolutely no recollection of how it got there. I suspected the empty half-bottle of whiskey that was lying on the floor had something to do with it. On a related note, a cold pizza-and-cheeseburger sandwich is the perfect breakfast to have if you want to start your day mired in self-loathing. Tasty, tasty self-loathing.

Indeed, my mother, a woman for whom aesthetics encompass her job, life and livelihood, frequently bemoans my piss-poor culinary habits. She always says that the reason why I’m so tall is that instead of getting wider and my dress size grows, I get taller and the length of my legs grow. At six foot one, vertically challenged I am not. She essentially calls me vertically obese. Having said that, pissing and moaning about that stubborn half-stone that just will not shift seems a bit trite. I’ve never been any bigger than a size 14, and at my skyscraper height, carrying a few extra pounds can be forgiven, as long as you don’t squint too hard at my thighs. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that despite my height, being model-skinny is a distant dream.

I suppose this is the time in such a post where the infamous Kate Moss quote gets trotted out – “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” This is fairly true in my case, because nothing else quite encapsulates that giddy feeling when you squeeze yourself into a tight dress and you look shit-hot. Or, similarly, nothing compares to that crushing feeling when you look a bit fat in your favourite dress and it doesn’t fit properly – if I had a pound for every time one of my friends phoned me a crying mess before a night out – the battle cry of “I’m so fat! I’ve got nothing to WEAAAARRRRRRRR!!” is sounded – I’d be rolling in it. But all the same, there’s a sweet tooth and a baking goddess inside me that would like to have a wee word with Kate Moss about her sentiments. Somehow, I don’t think she’d still be saying that if she’d experienced the post-hangover pathological need for Food. And not just normal food, Food. With a capital F. If Kate Moss had ever been so hungover she ate a cold pizza-cheeseburger sandwich, then the unadulterated bliss she would feel as her arteries began to fur and the hangover dissipated would be incomparable. Having said that, I doubt that cocaine and vodka hangovers have quite the same effect on the body as too many pints of Strongbow.

Giving up delicious scran for the sole purpose of looking shit-hot for in a dress for a few hours at a formal function like a Graduation Ball kind of seems like a bum deal from an outsider’s perspective, though. Why torment yourself with a lack of deliciousness for weeks – months, even, depending on how much weight you want to lose – all for the purpose of one night? A prime example of how not to do risk/benefit calculation. I wish I could spin the bullshit that “Oh maybe I’ll develop healthy eating habits and I won’t WANT to go back to my unhealthy ways!” but I can already guess that it’s not going to happen. I’ll wake up the morning after, hungover, craving Food, and life will go on. Why is it so important for me to look good in that one dress?

Because because because. I’m not a sociologist or a dietician, so I’m not sure if weight has become such a prevalent issue in the 21st Century because society has told us that aesthetic perfection comes in the form of a size 8 or we genuinely are all getting bigger and it’s only a matter of time before a Death by Chocolate cake is no longer ironically named. But in 2014, being “the fat one” holds all the social faux-pas as being “the smelly kid” did in school. I may complain about this sorry state of affairs, but it’s hypocritical. I still ate that pasta salad for my lunch and will continue to do so until the Grad Ball because I don’t want to be “the fat one”. And when one poor girl (because it’s always the girls) draws the short straw that night, we will giggle with a mixture of cruelty and relief because this time, we weren’t “the fat one”. And thus the cycle will begin anew for the next big event in the social calendar. Rinse, repeat. Name me one girl who is completely and utterly unconcerned about her weight and I will name you a liar.

Naturally, this shit needs to stop, but how? My own personally preferred method would be to slap the face of every woman who thinks she’s fat. A lovely, crisp, resounding clout across the chops for being so daft as to think that being “the fat one” is worthy of making one a social pariah. Oh, you like cheese? AWESOME! Let’s eat cheese together! I’m partial to a Smoked Bavarian. You also like chocolate? ME TOO! You like them together? Ehhhh maybe you should work on that. Might go a ways to explaining why you take up two seats on the bus. Being a stone or two heavier than you’d like to be is one thing, but from my own experience, it would take active effort for me and undoubtedly many others to be THAT fat. How can you even spend that much time eating?!

Anyway. Slapping some sense into girls to teach them that they’re all beautiful is the way forward. They should really teach that shit in schools.



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