And here comes the confession.
I have no television.
For the most part, it’s never been a problem – the only shows I ever watched when I lived with my parents were Top Gear and Mona the Vampire. I suppose I’d catch the odd bit of the news from time to time, but beyond that I was much more interested in books and computer games. Somehow though – I suppose from being around others who did watch TV – I managed to soak up information about the wider world, about fashion and whatnot. Nowadays however, I work from home and the friends I talk to have no television either – and share my opinion that grunge is still the way forward – leaving my impression of the outside world to be formed by the brief traffic reports which interrupt the CDs on my car stereo and the all knowing entity that is Google.
So because I never see what is considered beautiful – on screen or in magazines – I had no idea, until this weekend, just how thin I am expected to be. Trying on jeans in my size, I found that whilst they would fasten, they simply weren’t designed to deal with hips. I am what traditionalists would call an hour-glass shape, I go in considerably at the waist and look like a woman, rather than a boy or a very young girl.
This isn’t simply a case of sour grapes either. My waist is a respectable twenty-seven inches – five below the upper limit of what the medical profession consider healthy and a full seven inches below the UK women’s average. And yet, the trousers I tried on all claimed to be large or extra large and sat perched so low on my hips that they barely covered areas I won’t mention for the sake of modesty.
As a society we worship the young – women must look like pre-pubescent girls before they are considered pretty – and I, for one, find this Lolita-effect profoundly disturbing. Whatever happened to Marilyn Monroe as the epitome of a sexy woman – aren’t breasts and a grabable ass ‘hot’ anymore? Menfolk, back me up! Why has our society become one in which ‘fat’ is considered a greater insult than ’stupid’? Why should I be made to feel guilty for wanting to pour thick, creamy Bearnaise sauce all over my rump steak, or to drown my fruit crumble in clotted cream? I’m not saying everyone should go out and over indulge in deliciously fattening dairy products but why deny yourself, punish yourself, because our community would rather look at a stick figure than someone with substance – in every possible sense of the word.
I will continue to enjoy my food. I will continue to look and act my age. I will sew my own damn jeans if necessary.