Friday, August 12, 2005

Tell 'em Large Marge sent ya!

I recently had the mixed pleasure of seeing exerpts from a beauty pageant hosted by Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson, featuring large women in negligees.

Being nearly 6 feet (1.8 m.) tall and 260 lbs (117 kg), , wearing a 46DD bra (and with a bit of spillover, if I am forced to admit), I know whereof the lady speaks, when she says that fashion designers deliberately exclude us. I still recall (from back when I was but a teen-aged waif) the moment that I heard Calvin Klein say, "I don't think women should be any larger than a size 12". At the time, I was a statuesque 38-25-38, which put me into size 16. For years, I stewed about that. My view, which I couldn't bring myself to tell him in a letter, was, "I don't think any man should be smaller than Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I won't deny you the right to dress your skinny a** well!" (This isn't entirely accurate. The love of my adult life is the exact same height as James Madison, and, in my mind, resembles, in body-type, nobody so much as Jackie Chan --- even down to the peculiarly contradictory modest swagger). Due to Klein's attitude, I learned to design and sew my own stuff (and I'm a dab hand at stitching without a machine, although Mom is better).

Now, though, I prefer to ignore fashions. I've never been a girly girl. The last time I wore pink ruffly stuff, I was too young to make my mouth say "ew, yuck!" around the pacifier. I like wandering about my neighborhood in oversized "bib-alls" and bare feet. The fella I occasionally flirt with seems to prefer it, too (still, when I'm out gimping -- er -- strolling with my cane, I like to wear my top hat).

I also have experienced flat-out pre-judging: among the most egregious cases, a doctor, without having even the most rudimentary knowledge of my background or vital statistics (other than what his naked eye told him) once informed me that, "Of course you are going to have problems with your cholesterol and high blood pressure, with all that weight." When the nurse handed him my chart, he saw that my weight was 320 lbs, my cholesterol was, at the time, 128, and my blood pressure (which had skyrocketed after his words) had been 110/60 (cause for real alarm. Any lower, and I'd have qualified for my own death benefits ;-) I am also anemic, allergic to most medications and many foods, have a slight thyroid imbalance, and have a heart murmur, none of which did he note). He did not apologize. I did not return to his office. I have heard that he retired a few years ago -- about a decade too late, in my view.

Total strangers seem to feel they have a right to make personal remarks, too. When I once boarded an elevator, leaning on my crutches at the end of a long work day, a man said out of the blue, "If you lost weight, you wouldn't have those leg problems." My reply? "If I didn't fall down while running on rough pavement, I wouldn't have this problem, and I wouldn't be seeing a physical therapist or receiving the advice of ignorant twits." I was pleased to see him turn beet red with embarrassment. I'm not usually into publicly humiliating anybody, but that guy asked for it.

My life hasn't actually been all that difficult as a result of my weight. I know my injuries took longer to heal, but I also know I have enough upper body strength, after hauling myself around on crutches, then a cane, that I can toss an annoying fool across the room with ease. That's mighty comforting for this mighty large, mighty broad broad.

No comments: